Politics Behind California's Primary

Tuesday, 05 Feb 2008 08:05 AM

By Lowell Ponte

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California, the biggest prize in Super Tuesday’s primaries — and home to Hollywood, Haight-Ashbury, and Berkeley — is a peculiar state.

Reading the entrails of how Golden State voters cast their ballots can reveal a great deal about America’s present and future politics.

On Sunday, California’s prestigious Field Poll reported that Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and fast-rising Barack Obama of Illinois were statistically tied here, 36-34, in a poll with a 4.6 percent margin of error.

National news made much of this poll’s finding that Barack Obama has the support of 55 percent of California blacks. This sounds impressive unless you know that African-Americans are now less than 6 percent of this state’s population.

Approximately 11 percent of Californians are Asian-Americans.

The Caucasian minority is less than 47 percent of California’s ethnic salad bowl.

Wise Californians are teaching their children Spanish and their grandchildren Chinese.

California’s fastest-growing community, Latinos, comprises more than 32 percent of the state’s population. Approximately 52 percent of California Hispanics, the Field Poll reported, support Hillary Clinton.

But this poll was partly taken prior to Kennedy family members with close ties to the Hispanic community giving endorsements in this race. Sen. Edward Kennedy threw his considerable weight behind Obama, and ambitious trial lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is backing Clinton.

Hispanic voter turnout in the past has been as low as 6 percent. Distrust of government, 52 percent of Hispanic-American adults without a high school diploma, and large numbers of non-citizens fearful of scrutiny are reasons why relatively few Latinos have voted.

Approximately 22 percent of both black and Latino families in California live below the official government poverty level, and at this lowest end of the economic ladder blacks and Hispanics compete for housing, jobs and power.

Election analysts will make much of how many, and in which neighborhoods, Hispanics turn out to vote on Super Tuesday.

Latinos have more to vote for on Tuesday than presidential candidates.

The California ballot also contains Proposition 93, a measure that would ease term limits that threaten the power of today’s entrenched state lawmakers.

The real reason California moved its traditional June presidential primary election to Feb. 5 this year was to pass Proposition 93.

Proposition 93’s foremost beneficiary could be the powerful Hispanic speaker of the Assembly, the lower house in California’s Democrat-dominated legislature.

Speaker Fabian — as in Fabian Socialist — Nunez will soon be removed by voter-imposed term limits unless Proposition 93 passes, in which case Nunez will continue for another six years to impose more of the confiscatory taxation and runaway government spending that have been killing this state that laid golden eggs.

Who is Fabian Nunez?

Born in late December 1966 in a San Diego hospital, Nunez is the son of a Mexican gardener and a maid who entered California so that he, one of 12 children, would be born here and therefore be a U.S. citizen.

Nunez lived in Tijuana, Mexico, until age 8, when his family moved to the tough Logan Heights neighborhood east of downtown San Diego.

Admitted to the University of California San Diego, Nunez became a political organizer before dropping out. He soon had children and a wife with cancer, but his passion for radical immigrant activism produced little income, a 1994 bankruptcy, and divorce.

Soon thereafter he became a protégé of Miguel Contreras, boss of the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, who hired Nunez in 1996 as its political director.

In 2000, Nunez became a lobbyist for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and soon thereafter became protégé to then-Assemblyman Gil Cedillo. When Cedillo ran for state Senate in 2001, he anointed Nunez as his successor in the Assembly.

Cedillo is best known for relentlessly demanding that illegal aliens be given California driver's licenses identical to those citizens use to register to vote.

Contreras and Cedillo used their considerable political muscle to make Nunez the Assembly speaker by 2004.

Like Cedillo and the best man at Nunez’s second wedding, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Nunez seems eager to restore California to Mexican cultural and political control.

At a 1995 speech to a “Latino Summit” at the University of California Riverside, Nunez described non-Hispanics as “rednecks” and told his fellow Hispanic radicals “you can be as revolutionary as you want; you can be Chicano nationalist; you can believe in the concept of Aztlan [restoring the U.S. Southwest to Mexico] . . ."

At a labor rally that same year, Nunez, using classic socialist-Marxist rhetoric, told a rally: “We don’t have economic power because we don’t own the means of production” and urged the crowd to “bring Washington to its knees.”

Three months earlier, Nunez organized an October 1994 rally at which protestors waved Mexican flags and told “Anglos” to go back to Europe. But proletariat hero Nunez recently has traveled in Europe and, as the Los Angeles Times reported last October, spent many thousands of dollars of political funds on exotic wines, restaurants, cigars and even $1,005.76 on gourmet cookies.

Nunez, reported the Times, spent more than $10,000 in “office expenses” at fancy California clothing stores and restaurants.

In January 2008 the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights filed a complaint with California’s Fair Political Practices Commission. It accused Nunez of arm-twisting companies into donating $270,000 to a non-profit charity that, with direction from Nunez’s staff, used that money to fund events designed to benefit Nunez politically.

Who is bankrolling ballot Proposition 93 to rescue Nunez from being term-limited out next November as Hispanic legislative ruler of what historian Victor Davis Hanson calls “Mexifornia?”

Answer: the same four wealthy casino-owning Indian tribes to whom Nunez has arranged to give vastly-expanded gambling arrangements via other ballot propositions on Super Tuesday.

To get tribal millions for Proposition 93, Nunez turned against his longtime labor allies who wanted to use this more-slot-machines deal to force unionization onto Indian casinos.

Welcome to California, where Democrats Nunez and Villaraigosa support Hillary Clinton, and where this week Chinese New Year ushers in the Year of the Rat.

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