Mitt Romney and the Lying Trash Man

The afscme, a service employee public union, has released some short videos featuring people who have worked in Mitt Romney’s upscale San Diego neighborhood.

Richard Hayes is a garbage man whose route includes La Jolla, the ritzy suburb where Mitt and Ann have a home. In the video clip, Mr. Hayes says that many times citizens will come out to give them hugs and Gatorade, to thank them for the job that they’re doing. He also says that he picks up 15 to 16 tons of garbage by hand.

Red light! Red light!

I live in San Diego. I haven’t seen a garbage man get out of the truck for residential trash pickup in years; possibly decades. It’s one of those things I’ve thought about that my kids might never see, like phones with cords or cassette tapes.

San Diego issues every single-family residence an approved trash receptacle. The garbage goes in, and on trash day, someone has to pull it out to the curb. The trash men cometh on your assigned day, in their air-conditioned trucks, and they stop next to the can. Then a robotic arm shoots out, grabs the thing, and dumps it into the back of the truck.
It’s not exactly the hard physical labor it once was, and certainly nothing is done by hand.

Mr. Hayes says that when he’s 55, 60 years old, his body is going to be broken down. Broken down from what? A sore finger from pushing the button to make the robot arm pick up the trash?

Just in case you didn’t know, San Diego has some of the most insane employment and retirement benefits. You can read about them here. So this guy is going to drive around in a truck until his mid-fifties, then basically retire on a full pension complete with healthcare, and thanks to the way the system is set up, he can even double dip by getting another job with the city. After all, who retires at 55?

This guy has a cushy job, and it’s on my dime. I’m paying taxes so this guy can retire at 55 while I have to continue to work, because in the private sector, no one is offering me an insane pension that will pay out even more than I made when I was actually working.

Mr. Hayes, I’m so sorry that Mitt Romney didn’t come out to give you a hug for pushing the trash button on your truck’s instrument panel. This is what we like to call a first world problem.

Endnote: When Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts, he spent a day a week doing odd jobs that everyday Americans do, in order to gain appreciation and understanding for what various people do in their day-to-day lives. This excerpt is from his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness:

“One day I gathered trash as a garbage collector.  I stood on that little platform at the back of the truck, holding on as the driver navigated his way through the narrow streets of Boston.  As we pulled up to traffic lights, I noticed that the shoppers and businesspeople who were standing only a few feet from me didn’t even see me.  It was as if I was invisible.  Perhaps it was because a lot of us don’t think garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works that hard deserves our respect. –  I wasn’t a particularly good garbage collector: at one point, after filling the trough at the back of the truck, I pulled the wrong hydraulic lever.  Instead of pushing the load into the truck, I dumped it onto the street. Maybe the suits didn’t notice me, but the guys at the construction site sure did…”

When the Power Goes Out: A San Diego Blackout Story

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my lovely air-conditioned home, doing some research for a story on my shiny MacBook Pro. My kids were either doing homework or playing Polly Pockets, and I was keeping en eye on the clock because Thursday is piano lesson day, and I didn’t want to be late.

Around 4 p.m. there was that pop and a low buzz as every appliance and light bulb in my neighborhood shut down, followed immediately by silence. It happens occasionally (remember rolling black-outs?), so I told the girls to wait a minute to see if the power would come back on.

Nada. My laptop still had power, but with the wifi down, I couldn’t get online. My iphone said I was connected to the 3G network, but it wouldn’t connect to anything. I couldn’t even pull up Twitter or Facebook. It might as well have been the apocalypse, people!

Tried to text, but the service was sluggish. Power outage or not, it was time for piano. Except that the car was in the garage … with an electric garage door opener. There’s a manual failsafe in there for emergencies, but no way was I going to mess with that with two little kids in tow unless absolutely necessary. Piano was out.

Finally got a hold of my husband at work, who informed that power was pretty much down in all of San Diego, and a few other areas in southern California, as well as parts of Arizona and even Mexico. Since it wasn’t looking like the power would be back anytime soon, he shut the office down and hit the road. It took over an hour for him to make the normally 25 minute commute.

Anyway, we all eventually made it home, and I hand washed some dishes and made dinner on our gas stove, while frantically checking my phone for internet connectivity every 4 minutes. I don’t have a disease, I swear. I just like being connected. I can put the Internet away, so long as I know it’s there if I need it.

Once I gave up and tried to enjoy the Amishness of the situation, we had a pretty nice evening. After our candlelit dinner, we took the girlies for a walk to see the stars. I even broke out some glow sticks for them, which they thought were the greatest things ever.

We tucked them into bed together so they wouldn’t be afraid of the dark, and then we played gin rummy and chatted and tried not to sweat in our un-air conditioned home. Eventually we went to bed too, and it’s amazing what kinds of things you can find to do when there’s no laptop or TV to distract a happily married couple…

Overall, I’m glad we had the excuse to take a little break from our electrified life, but I won’t lie. When the house hummed back to life a little after midnight, I shed a little tear of happiness. And then I said hi to Twitter.

And all was right in the my world.

Grandmother Jailed for Child Abuse After Yanking Toddler Off Street

San Diego grandmother is sitting in jail on charges of child abuse. Last Saturday, she allegedly flung her 2-year-old grandson to the ground and slapped him. The child received minor abrasions on his back and head, and was examined at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Kelly Daffara was traveling by bus with her toddler grandson to visit a relative. When they got off the bus in a busy part of San Diego, the little boy ran away from her.

Daffara told police she yelled at him to come back, but he ignored her.

That was when Daffara allegedly screamed at him, went after him, picked him up, and slammed him down onto his back on the pavement. Witnesses told police Daffara slapped the boy once or twice.

The police reported that Daffara admitted to losing control.

Her reaction might have been extreme, but how many of us haven’t lost our minds when our children darted away from us near the street? Kids, especially adventuresome toddlers, are hit and killed bymoving vehicles all the time.

Read the rest at The Stir

RightOnline in San Diego

This weekend, Americans for Prosperity will be holding a regional RightOnline training seminar right here in my beautiful San Diego.

Join Americans for Prosperity Foundation for our regional RightOnline training seminar on January 28-29th at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. The training seminar will bring together an impressive lineup of America’s leading experts in new media, grassroots mobilization, and public policy for cutting edge training in online activism.

We’ll be joined by Conservative Commentator Andrew Breitbart, Talk Radio Host Roger Hedgecock, Fox News Contributor Stephen Kruiser, Conservative Blogger and Radio Host Ed Morrissey, and many other leading conservative voices.

Guess who one of those ‘leading conservative voices’ is? Some chick named Jenny Erikson. Hey, that’s me! I’ll be running a Social Media 101 session with guru James Hickey on Saturday morning from 10:00-10:45.

Tickets for the whole event (Friday evening through Saturday evening) are still available and only $40. Click here to find out more, and I hope to see you there!

PS- If you’ve never been to one of these, they are super fantastically fun.

PPS- Trust me, I know most of these people. They are not boring.

PPPs- One of them even has a mohawk. That is definitely not boring. Not even a little.

SGP Meet & Greet

Hey everyone in the San Diego area!

This Saturday, May 22nd, I’ll be hosting a Smart Girl Politics Meet & Greet at The Barrel Room in North County at noon. Come by and say hi!

PS- I won’t tell if you don’t if we order wine with lunch. 😉

Kill Him Dead.

Someone needs to explain this to me. A lawyer perhaps. Maybe a cop. Because I do. Not. Understand.

John Albert Gardner III forcefully raped and brutally murdered two beautiful teenage girls. He watched as the life drained from their terrified eyes, and hid their abused bodies in shallow graves. He took their lives and destroyed those of their family and friends. He shook the trust of a community. MY community.

He’s flat out admitted that he killed them. He raped them both. He stabbed Amber. He strangled Chelsea. He got rid of their bodies. Didn’t manage to get rid of Chelsea’s DNA though. And through a plea bargain, he led the police to Amber’s body.

The plea bargain basically said that he would avoid the death penalty if he pled guilty and revealed the location on Amber’s body.

He will now serve three life sentences, two of them without parole (The third is for an attempted attack on another woman that managed to escape). Chelsea’s parents agreed to the conditions because they knew the Dubois family needed closure, and the death penalty is an empty promise in California anyway.

Why is it an empty promise?

Why can’t we kill these demented perverts?

Why do they have more rights under the law than their victims did?

Why can’t the cops and lawyers make a plea bargain stating, “If you plead guilty and give up the location of Amber’s body, you can have a painless injection. If you don’t, we’ll fry you. Or hang you. Or chop parts of you off and let you bleed to death. Your choice.”

That’s a plea bargain I can get behind.

Life without parole isn’t good enough.

James Moore was spared the death penalty in 1962 after raping and murdering a 14 year old girl. Thanks to a change in the law, he’s now eligible for parole every two years.

In 1966, Kenneth McDuff killed a couple of teenage boys, then raped and killed one of those boy’s girlfriend. He got a life sentence. And was let out in 1989 when prisons were overflowing. He went on to rape and kill at least nine other women. We’ll never really know how many.

Willie Horton.

Clarence Ray Allen.

And many, many more.

Life without parole doesn’t cut it. Kill him.

Kill him dead.

And that’s how I feel about that.

Child Rapist Let Free to Rape Again

Chelsea King is 17.  A senior in high school. Straight A student. A runner.  A world of possibilities on her doorstep.

And now she’s probably dead.

Last week she decided to go for a run after school.  So she parked her car at a park, locked the doors, and probably even stashed her purse in the trunk.  But she never came back.

Yesterday police arrested John Albert Gardner III, after physical evidence led them to believe that Gardner had raped and killed the still missing Chelsea.  This story sucks.  It is the sort of tragedy that is so vile that it’s almost unbearable to think about.  It makes my stomach hurt and my heart twist into a knot and my eyes well up when I think of my two precious daughters.

But it was a punch in the gut to read this part of the story:

Gardner is a registered sex offender convicted of committing a lewd or lascivious act on a child younger than 14, the Union-Tribune said. Details of a 2000 criminal San Diego Superior Court case he was involved in were not available, the newspaper said.

What the heck was a man who committed a lewd or lascivious act on a child doing out of prison?  Child rapists give up their government protected rights when they decide to commit the most disgusting and perverted act known to man.  Lock them up and throw away the key.  What the heck good is requiring them to register and making their addresses known to anyone through sites like Megan’s Law?  A site with a disclaimer that specifically states: Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability.

I just looked up my neighboorhood, and there’s a man living a mile away from me that’s been charged four times with “lewd of lascivious acts with children under 14,” or “oral copulation with persons under 14 by force.”  Now what am I supposed to do with this information?  Skip his house at Halloween?  It’s not like I can stick a sign in his front yard that says, “Beware of Child Rapist!” That might hurt his feelings or something.

Something is wrong with our system when the sex offenders have more rights than Chelsea King did.  Because of all the protection awarded to convicted sex felons, her young life was unprotected.  A list of addresses is not enough.  Obviously.