The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

May 27, 2010
With no Palin CSU contract to view, guesswork continues

We're no closer today in knowing what's in Sarah Palin's contract to speak June 25 at California State University, Stanislaus than when students reported finding pages in a campus Dumpster in mid-April.

Thumbnail image for Palin Tea Party.jpgA SacBee headline of May 25 reads, "Blogger says Palin will get $75,000 for Turlock speech" (Page A4).

It's all speculation, however, without official university release of the contract.

That makes ideas in "The Onion," the satirical newspaper that bills itself as "America's Finest News Source," as good as any. Here are a few from the list:

hotel room must have a "moose couture" styling to it;

extra red clothing just in case something happens to her other red clothing;

one baby delivered to her dressing area no less than two hours prior to her speech.

Hey, what do you expect when California's public colleges and universities allow speakers to get away with confidential contracts?

May 26, 2010
Here comes Sacramento's boycott of Arizona

At Tuesday's Sacramento City Council meeting, six members voiced strong support for a boycott of Arizona (Mayor Kevin Johnson, Rob Fong, Sandy Sheedy, Lauren Hammond, Bonnie Pannell and Kevin McCarty).  Two opposed the Arizona law, but have some doubts about a boycott (Ray Trethaway and Steve Cohn). Robbie Waters was not present. Staff will bring back a resolution within a week or two for a vote.

Here's what they said:


JV MAYOR JOHNSON 03.JPGMayor Kevin Johnson:

I believe that this is a human rights issue and civil rights are at stake here. This is very personal to me. I was lucky enough to live in Arizona for 12 years. I have a lot of friends who still live there and are being impacted by this...In 1988, I was part of a very unique circumstance when a governor ran to repeal the Martin Luther King Day holiday. Ran to take it back. Frankly, I thought it was un-American. And I think this law in Arizona now is un-American. I oppose this law. ...I personally support a boycott.

Council member Rob Fong:

This country, as great as it is, isn't perfect. Sometimes under color of law we have done wrong things. When I am asked, or hear the criticism, why would you agendize this or, given the city's budget deficit, spend any time weighing in on this issue, I say, I am not willing to wait decades for wrongs to be addressed in the court system... If enough voices are heard, we can get the law repealed in Arizona.

May 26, 2010
You bet, lots of Sacramento folks support a boycott of Arizona

Of the hundreds who turned out to Tuesday's Sacramento City Council meeting, most spoke up against Arizona's SB1070 and in favor of a boycott.  In a previous post, I sampled comments supporting Arizona's law and opposing a boycott. Here are four supporters urging the city council to boycott Arizona.

Lucy Garcia Robles:

I was a year old when my parents left, and three-years-old when they brought me to the United States. I was crossed over the border, without my consent, to come back with my parents. My father worked in Woodland picking food to put on our table and my mother mopping the floors of a hospital. Until age 16, I was not aware what the word "undocumented" meant. It wasn't until 1988, after the United States granted amnesty, that I traveled to Mexico for the first time in my life. I had never been to that country where I was born.

I went to the U.S. Embassy. The immigration officer asked me: "Lucy, why is important that you become a U.S. citizen?"

My teen mind answered: "It is so important to me that I missed my prom to be here." Not only did I want to be a citizen to be an American teen, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities this country offers and to become the best I can be.

I am a mother of three, wife to a deputy sheriff, an entrepreneur who pays taxes. I'm an active member of the community. Most importantly, I am the daughter of a farmworker and a woman who once mopped floors. They now own their own facility caring for the elderly of this country. I ask you to condemn the Arizona law and boycott Arizona now.

Melinda Guzman:

I'm an American citizen. I have rights in every state of the United States. Opposition to the Arizona law is not about protecting illegal immigrants. It's about protecting every member, every citizen, every person within our boundaries. When I go to the state of Arizona in 2010 in July, I must carry my passport. I'm blond; I have blue eyes (green eyes, some days of the week). My sister who's darker than I am, if we both run a red light, she's more likely to be asked for her passport than I am. We urge this council: We do not want our taxpayer dollars to be used in any way, shape or form to defend, uphold or implement that law...As a resident of California, I would have to show my passport not only at the international border, but in the state of Arizona. Please do the right thing and boycott Arizona.

Linda Ng:

As a community of immigrants, we have historically suffered from harsh discriminatory policies based on perceived ethnic heritage. Implementation of the Arizona law will have a negative impact on all communities of color and immigrants, including those who are U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents by fueling discrimination and undermining trust between immigrants and law enforcement. Capital and OCA, organizations representing Asian Pacific Americans, stand in solidarity not only with our Sacramento community colleagues but also our colleagues across the nation to support a boycott of the state of Arizona.

Julius Cherry (former Sacramento Metro fire chief):

I support the boycott...What if Dr. King had said, "This job is too hard." What if the people boycotting in Birmingham or Montgomery would have said, "You know, African-Americans are going to be hurt by this boycott; they won't be able to get to work." Instead, they pulled together. They car-pooled, walked and biked. And many well-thinking white people picked them up and gave them rides...The way you kill the throat of the tiger is economically.

May 26, 2010
Hell, yes, to Arizona's SB1070; hell, no, to a Sacramento boycott

Hundreds of people turned out in force at Tuesday's Sacramento City Council meeting to weigh in on Arizona's new law requiring police to check the immigration status of people if they have "reasonable suspicion" that they may be in the country illegally.  They also weighed in on whether the city should boycott Arizona until the law is repealed. Both sides were well-represented, though the pro-boycott side had many more supporters and speakers.

Here is a flavor of the comments for the law, against a boycott:

Dan Stark:

We would feel a lot different if we saw signs in English. These signs are in Spanish. That means they don't really want to speak English...One lady in here is wearing a Che Guevara shirt. That is a communist gentleman. That's an anti-American shirt. If you want to be an American, you shouldn't want to wear those shirts. I just wish everyone came here legally. By opposing the Arizona law, really, what you're doing is opposing legal immigration.

Jim Ricketts:

If you're here legally or if you're a law-abiding American citizen, you should have no problem. If you're here illegally - goodby, so long, "hasta la vista, baby." We don't need you here because you don't respect our laws. What this city council is seeking to do is economic damage to people who are just trying to save their own city, their own state.

The next post will sample the pro-boycott side.

May 21, 2010
Steinberg's call to action


Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, has come to leadership in the largest state in the union during a time that, as he told McGeorge law graduates on May 15, challenges representative democracy, our ability to protect the vulnerable, beliefs in the efficacy of government itself.

He believes we have careened into a period of "false theology" of absolutely certainty that changes public debate to, "I am good and you are bad." Yet he remains an idealist at heart:

"Despite all the difficulties, divisions, and distrust, I decided to embrace our collective human frailty, our flawed system, and our unrelenting desire to be better" -- and he urged the law graduates to do the same.

Difficult times tend to bring out the worst in people, and the best. It is heartening to see a political leader who in his public rhetoric appeals to progress over stalemate and larger public goods over narrow self-interest.

But, as Steinberg well knows, appeals to timeless ideals only get you so far. In paradigm-shifting times, hard-headed realism and a willingness to challenge the orthodoxies of one's own soulmates are key challenges of leadership, too -- and will be the test of his leadership in the California Senate.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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