Friday, October 2, 2015

• Coffee With Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez October 2015

Today there was a community coffee for Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez at Las Palmas restaurant in Lake Elsinore. There was a small crowd of about 30 or so people, that enjoyed breakfast and coffee as we listened to our elected official go over some of the things still pending in Sacramento.

She mentioned:
• AB 74, which deals with Highway 74 coming under local control. It's awaiting the governor's signature.
• AB 545, requires an individual who is a repeated domestic abuser to remain in custody for no less than 48 hours. This is awaiting the governor's signature.
• AB 950, this will allow an individual the right to transfer their firearm(s) to a Federal Firearm Licensee if they are forced to surrender their firearms due to a restraining order. Goes into effect January 1, 2016.

At this point she threw it open to questions from the group.

Honestly, I heard a lot of talk from the crowd that really can't be dealt with by Sacramento, even if we had a fistful of Billion Dollar Bills. Things like, the general decay of the current generation. How the young generation doesn't have respect for their elders, etc.

Melendez handled such topics with adroitness and aplomb, but in the end, such things are not actually subject to legislation. We can't pass laws demanding parents actually be good parents... though the thought is nice.
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez speaking to locals at Las Palmas restaurant in Lake Elsinore.

I did love it when one person mentioned that the societal decline could be traced back to violent video games, which received nods and applause... except from me. That's just flat out silly.

I steered the conversation back to legislation and asked the Assemblywoman her thoughts on SB 25 (SB 25 was the bill that would have helped Wildomar out by returning $1.9 Million per year to us).

Wildomar Rap:

Bringing it back to legislation, maybe you can talk about SB 25 which was going to help Wildomar. I don't know if it's even worth trying anymore with the current governor. 

Melissa Melendez:

SB25 was a bill where they took away the [portion of the] Vehicle Licensing Fees that went back to the cities. Wildomar was one city, and Menifee as well,  where when they calculated their budget, they calculated that money in with the other money they were supposed to be getting.

Then the state, in 2011, took that money away, and so there went Wildomar's budget. There has been a bill three years in a row, my entire time in the legislature, they have done a bill to give that funding back, because it was promised to these cities.

The cities didn't do anything wrong, they played by the rules, but the state took it (VLF funds) away. Three years in a row I helped with this bill and three years in a row the governor has vetoed it.

Now I will tell you, and I don't mind saying this out in public, that I had a conversation with governor Brown a couple of months ago. We were at dinner, not just he and I it was a group of people ((which led to some laughter among the attendees)). But it just so happened that he was sitting right across from me... I got the lucky seat.

So I said to him, "Governor Brown, we have this bill coming up which will really helps two cities in my district [by] giving back their vehicle licensing fees. They were pretty hard hit, what are your thoughts on that?"

And he paused for a minute, and he looked at me in his Jerry Brown way, and he said, "What was the percentage of votes I got in Riverside County?" 
((The assembled let out a protracted gasp at that))

He actually said that to me. 

I was stunned, I said, "uhhh... Well... you know, it was probably higher in some other areas of the state." 

And he replied, "I think it was about 22 maybe 23%, so I'm not really motivated."

So that bill is never going to pass (be signed into law), ever.

One guy, that logged the most speaking time from the floor, chimed in towards the end with a quote from Plato:
"One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors"
 ...and then asked, "Do you consider yourself a career politician, and if so will you be running for governor?"

To which the Assemblywoman chuckled and said, "Oh good lord no!"

She then went on to explain that the political climate in California will most likely preclude any republican from being elected as governor for the foreseeable future.

A shot from earlier this year.
Melissa Melendez:

I can't imagine I'd ever run for Governor. Only because this state, I don't think is going to see a republican Governor for a very long time.  I don't think I am (After some hesitation choosing the right wording) "moderate" enough for enough Democrats to put me in office. I have my certain principles and I'm not going to change. I'm not crazy off to the right off the cliff, but I think for California, because we are a very liberal state, I can't see it happening. 

After the coffee session had ended I chatted for a moment with the Assemblywoman, reminding her that I lean Libertarian and she probably knows where the divisions lie between that and a traditional conservative like her.

She had pushed for audits of Planned Parenthood, and she must have known such a thing was a nonstarter in Sacramento. I asked her about the point of pursuing something that had no chance of advancing and I liked her candid answer, which I really knew all along, but needed reminding.

I'll be honest with you, sometimes as an elected you have to fall on your sword for your district because it's something they want you to fight for. Even if they know you're going to lose, by god they want you to fight for it. 

If you ever get a chance to speak with Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez take it. She's very personable and genuinely is interested in her district and her constituents.

Here is the Assemblywoman's contact info:
Local (951) 894-1232
Sacramento (916) 319-2067

•      •       

The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.        
—  Socrates


  1. Good post. If this is where people can go for talk therapy, e.g., to complain about the disrespectful youth, then perhaps I should attend one and complain about getting unwanted AARP invitations.

    Regarding the governor, I was willing to believe that his refusal to sign AB25 had more to due with uncertainty over the state budget. I'd sacrifice a few towns for the state, depending on the circumstances. But upon reading this, I think the governor's response is unacceptable, and so I mentally start crafting my letter to his office. But I'm reminded of getting the same treatment by Hollingsworth 10 years ago. Though he was my state representative, his office staff made it clear I was not his constituent. Politics is a numbers game, then and now, Democrat and Republican. It's unpleasant to be reminded of that.

    So what was Mendez hoping to accomplish with an audit of Planned Parenthood, that she can witch-hunt as well as anyone else? I don't believe she does her homework before announcing her positions.

    1. I felt that too much of the meeting involved things that weren't something the legislature deals with. Nice academic talk, but not sure such chatter was worth the drive to Elsinore.

      Politics have always been partisan, but the level it's risen to these days is just annoying as all get out. I understand it on some levels, but it seems to be the case on nearly every topic. As a non partisan, it makes it more vexing at times since I get it from both extremes.

      In the handout sheet she gave, it mentioned that she spoke out against SB 277 (mandatory vaccinations to attend school) "There is a fundamental problem with the government telling parents how to raise their children."

      That was right after the entry where she mentioned "Pushed for audit of state funding to planned parenthood". I asked her, though it didn't make the blog, "How, on the one hand, can you be bothered with the state's interference of choice, and then turn right around and push for the planned parenthood audit" (because I feel it's just another attempt from the religious right to outlaw that medical procedure).

      She told me that she wasn't going down that road with the audit request, and I saw that... though I'd be willing to wager that if an "either/or" option was magically put in front of her, she'd opt for it to be eliminated. I could be wrong, but that's my reading on it.

  2. Thanks for the additional information.


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