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Small Cities Are Doing Just Fine, Thank You

June 4, 2009
By Gloria Penner

The City of San Diego’s well-publicized budget struggles include pay cuts and fee hikes. But even cuts and hikes aren’t enough to quell Mayor Jerry Sanders’ worry, anger and frustration at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s intention to borrow $2 billion from local governments. So I assumed that other cities in San Diego County would also be worrying at the prospect of state legislators shoveling property taxes from small municipalities into California’s coffers. After all, fewer city dollars mean fewer city services and smaller staffs to serve local residents.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Cultural Shift

May 28, 2009
By Gloria Penner

When the California Supreme Court handed down its decision upholding Proposition 8, reaction was swift from both sides.

So You Want to Be Sheriff?

May 1, 2009
By Gloria Penner

Normally, the San Diego County Sheriff is elected by county voters every four years. But this year, it will be very, very different. Sometime this spring, instead of a potential 1.5 million registered voters going to the polls to choose one of the county's most powerful officials, the decision will be made by only five people. True, those five are themselves powerful as members of the County Board of Supervisors and collectively have spent almost 100 years in office. But since all are white and Republican in an increasingly racially diverse region where Democrats now outnumber Republicans, it is reasonable to question whether their choice would reflect the voters.

Surprise! Another Election in May

April 23, 2009
By Gloria Penner

So you thought you had done your good citizen job when you voted last November. Well, you're not off the hook yet. California is in big financial trouble and your vote may be the answer that the state Legislature is looking for to plug a multi-billion dollar gap between what the state takes in and what it spends. But then again, you may decide that you don't want to do the Legislature's job. After all, that's what they get paid those big bucks to do. Or perhaps after reading through the six propositions, you don't like the choices that that Propositions 1A through 1F offer.

The Census: Statistical Sampling is a Hot Potato

April 17, 2009
By Gloria Penner

Try dropping the words "statistical sampling" while in conversation with a Republican politician and watch the sizzle. Why does such a nerdy blending of adjective and noun inflame GOP lawmakers like House Minority Leader John Boehner and Vista's conservative Congressman Darrell Issa? Issa is the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Pitiful Progress of Women in Politics

Feb. 27, 2009
By Gloria Penner

There may be some argument somewhere that although 50.7 percent of Americans are female, there's no reason that half of our Congress or our state legislatures or even our governors need to be women. Well that argument against a 50-50 split, whatever its rationale, apparently is powerful. On the other hand, the assertion that because women are half the people, they should be half the elected lawmakers has little traction in this nation.

Where's the Sacrifice?

Jan. 17, 2009
By Gloria Penner

On a lovely, balmy San Diego evening in January, I reluctantly went indoors to watch a television program. Soon, I was sorry that I did. The content and tone saddened my spirits which had been uplifted by the sweet breezes and warm temperatures of our unseasonal weather. The star and lone actor was San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders who somberly told us in his State of the City speech that sacrifice was in our future.

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