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Let’s be honest … it’s been another ridiculous week in presidential politics.

As a father to two daughters, I am ashamed and shocked that any Americans still think the boorish national embarrassment that is Donald J. Trump is somehow still deserving of a vote for anything other than groper-in-chief.

And as more women step forward with their own tales, it will only get more and more strange.

It’s obvious that those in Trump’s “basket of deplorables” will never abandon him, but what about everyone else?

Well, his support is shrinking and shrinking fast, and as a result his campaign is sinking faster than the Titanic. It is now wildly probable that Trump will be buried under an electoral avalanche of historic proportions on Nov. 8, which means Hillary Clinton will become America’s first female president ever.

And that’s great news for my daughters and yours. I expect the last laugh will be theirs.

Last week’s The Rational Center enumerated the many reasons why Bryan Caforio is the better choice for Congress than Knight, so this particular column will focus on why moderate Democrat Christy Smith is the superior candidate in the 38th Assembly District race.

Smith is a hometown girl with hometown values, a onetime Hart High School cheer captain and ASB president, who went to College of the Canyons before graduating with honors from UCLA with a degree in political science in 1993.

She has served with distinction for the past six years as a member of the Newhall School District board. Her moderate views come from 34 years of life in Santa Clarita and inform why she was resoundingly re-elected with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans. She’s never lost a race.

Acosta, who is in only his second year on the Republican-controlled Santa Clarita City Council while also collecting a paycheck as the field rep for Knight until the primary election, proudly trumpets his partisan moorings.

In the primary, Acosta blissfully positioned himself as the candidate most Trump-like in the race, using coded buzz words intended to co-opt the brash businessman’s image.

Now, with Trump plummeting to a hard landing, the messaging in Acosta’s latest mailers has shifted from “Not Politically Correct” and proudly “Conservative” to “Bipartisan” and “Independent.”

Really, Dante? Did you think no one would notice your cynical Etch-a-Sketch shift from conservative to bipartisan?

Smith, on the other hand, has actually demonstrated a willingness and ability to work across the aisle and has piled up a track record of putting people before politics.

Prior to her election to the Newhall school board, Smith served on PTA and site council for Valencia Valley Elementary School. She later represented Hart High on the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Advisory Committee and was founding chairwoman of the Valencia Valley Education Foundation.

She currently is co-chair of the “Raising The Curtain” capital campaign to restore the Newhall Auditorium.

Smith also mastered the art of advocacy while serving as the legislative chairwoman for the SCV Trustees Association and from her role as chairwoman of Newhall’s $60 million Measure E Prop 39 bond campaign, which voters approved in 2014.

These are just some of the reasons people love her, regardless of their party affiliation. She is one of us.

Her reputation as a bit of a policy wonk stems from several years of working in Washington, D.C., as an analyst at the U.S. Department of Education and from an intimate knowledge of state policy gained during her service on the California School Board Association.

Christy Smith is the real deal. Her deep grasp of policy, forward-looking vision, moral clarity and hometown values means she’s much better prepared and far better equipped than her untested rival to represent all of us, each of us, in Sacramento, where let’s face it, Democrats run everything.

That’s why it is better to have Christy in the room instead Dante on the outside, subjugated to looking in through the window.

After decades of protest votes in Sacramento, it’s time for a new approach. Elect Christy Smith, and in the process break another glass ceiling on Nov. 8.

John Zaring’s columns are called too conservative by liberals and too liberal by conservatives – thus his claim to “The Rational Center.” He lives in Castaic, is a registered Democrat and has been an SCV resident since 2000.

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  • Brian Baker

    “As a father to two daughters, I am ashamed and shocked that any Americans still think the boorish national embarrassment that is Donald J. Trump is somehow still deserving of a vote for anything other than groper-in-chief.”

    And yet it apparently doesn’t “embarrass” you at all that you’re all in for an unindicted federal felon, pathological liar, career corruptocrat, and utterly failed former SecState whose policies led directly to the meltdown in the Middle East, a Russia on the rampage, and a China laying claim to vast reaches of the South China Sea.

    And while we’re talking about “groping”, I have yet to see ANYONE in your party condemn her husband’s perjury and serial sexual assaults, including actual rape, not to mention his “dalliances” with a young White House intern right in the Oval Office, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “there’s nothing like a good cigar”.

    You seem to have very selective criteria for what “embarrasses” you. Is that more of that “rational center”-ness you so laughingly claim?

    • Au contraire, Heir Baker, I have outlined in multiple columns what I believe are Sec. Clinton’s many flaws, but there are only two real options to chose between on November 8th, and I’ll take the imperfect known over the crazy unknown every time. As for Bill Clinton, last time I looked he wasn’t running for anything , so I’ll pay as much attention to his “dalliances” as I give to Melania’s, which is to say none. Back to the basket you must go …

      • Brian Baker

        “I have outlined in multiple columns what I believe are Sec. Clinton’s many flaws.”

        You have? Let’s check the playback, shall we?

        June 14: “She is far from a perfect candidate but she is, in a landslide, the most attractive one still standing.”

        How incisive and cutting!

        Oct 1: “Hillary Clinton has issues, and she is far from perfect.”


        Is this what you mean, from July 29: “… a candidate often derided for being too wonkish and dispassionate… Clinton is sturdy and steely, fierce and strong… proven over nearly four decades that she’s a fighter devoted to public service”

        Yeah, you were pretty brutal there.

        And that’s all I could find in the archives. Why don’t you quote ANYTHING you’ve ever written acknowledging that she flagrantly violated federal secrecy laws with her homebrew email rig? Or that her sham “foundation” is even the least bit questionable? Or that she and her minions rigged the Dem/socialist primary against Sanders? Or ONE SINGLE WORD of condemnation of Quick-Zipper Bill’s record as a convicted perjurer and serial sexual predator?


        • Brian Baker, so glad to see you writing for the Signal and fighting the good fight as you are here. I’ve had a few things published here as well as my very first “SCV” voices recently. I have really really enjoyed your submissions over the years and am glad to reacquaint myself.
          It is amazing to me that even though Democrats almost completely overrun this state already, they would like to completely push Republicans off the map in oh so many ways. Now that Republicans are the minority/ Keep up the good fight!

      • Brian Baker

        Oh, BTW. “Heir Baker”….

        Is this where I start calling you “Comrade Zaring”?

      • indy

        It’s unfortunate that Hillary Clinton has had to ‘bear’ the burden of decades of GOP nonsense directed at her.

        The GOP strategy of ‘hating’ a person sadly blinds them to their abilities.

        As far as Trump goes, I suggest anyone considering electing him review his business failures and bankruptcies.

        As far as his personal behavior, let’s just let it speak for itself . . .

        The GOP voters backing him no doubt will overlook any of his personal failings knowing he will tow the GOP party line positions . . . as witnessed by his selection of Pence . . . who will, if elected, put women’s right back 50 years . . . just look at his record on women’s reproductive health.

        Hillary has far more experience in government while Trump has none. But again, for change to occur, we have to stay on top of anyone elected.

        Finally, neither of these candidates has grasped the globalization mechanics moving jobs off shore . . . Hillary’s suggesting about ‘tax’ breaks simply isn’t going to work . . . and for Trump, he already has his clothing lines made off shore . . . so his ideas are just empty promises.

        Finally, I would suggest John that a future column start with the exploration of ‘sustainability’ linking global population to resources . . . versus outdated folklore that is only frustrating workers with promises that globalization has rendered moot.

        • Brian Baker

          “It’s unfortunate that Hillary Clinton has had to ‘bear’ the burden of decades of GOP nonsense directed at her… As far as his personal behavior, let’s just let it speak for itself . . . ”

          Written without a hint of self-awareness of the irony or hypocrisy he personifies.

          Pure wIndybag.

    • indy

      I’m excited for a democrat to finally have a chance at representing me here in SCV-land.

      I want somebody that can look beyond the CA Chamber of Commerce and start voting wisely to protect our future.

      But we can’t leave her or anyone else ‘alone’ while in office knowing full well of the lobbyist that will bombard them with advice that may not promote the ‘public interest’ versus the ‘corporate interest’.

      I would prefer someone with more experience in business management and economics . . . but in order to run for a given office, you pretty much have to toe the party ideology line . . . of either party.

  • tech

    This week’s column is another in a series of non sequiturs from the soi-disant “Rational Center”.

    “…in Sacramento, where let’s face it, Democrats run everything.”

    Mr. Zaring’s solution? Elect another Democrat! Long live The Party!

    Can you imagine the lunacy that Sacramento Democrats would foist upon SCV if ceded another supermajority? That equals the illogic of nationalizing our local election.

    Key takeaway: Mr. Zaring’s “The Rational Center” equals single Party rule, i.e. all Democrats all the time.

    • Brian Baker

      Tech, be prepared, if Zaring shows up at all, for him to launch into his nonsensical and irrelevant attacks upon your credibility based solely on your use of a screen name.

      • tech

        No worries, Brian. Mr. Zaring isn’t the arbiter of my personal credibility and therefore must address my argument or undermine his own. Logic 101.

    • Here I am gents … and while yes I think Tech takes the easy way out by hiding behind his fake identify, I will address the question as to why having a Democrat — Christy Smith — represent the 38th in the Democratic-controlled State House makes the most sense. It is simple “logic 101” fellas, that working with those in power will yield more results than working against them. Any other conclusion is poppycock. Add to that, the fact that Smith is obviously leaps and bounds more knowledgeable than is Acosta on matters of policy, and has the gravitas to stand her ground when necessary, she is by far the better choice for all area residents.

      As for Tech’s “prevent the supermajority” argument … first of all, Democrats are in control of EVERYTHING already, so they don’t need a supermajority to control the agenda. Again, voting for Acosta just to send a protest voter to Sacramento doesn’t help the people of the 38th, it just makes you right-wingers happy.

      Have a nice day!

      • Brian Baker

        “… first of all, Democrats are in control of EVERYTHING already, so they don’t need a supermajority to control the agenda.”

        By that statement flouting your own ignorance of the political process.

        If the Dem/socialists achieve supermajority status, they will have the power to raise taxes, pass emergency legislation and override gubernatorial vetoes without Republican support. Short of supermajority status they can’t do any of that, which means the Repubs have at least SOME ability to influence things, force compromises, etc.

        Are you truly THAT ignorant, or are you just being disingenuous?

        • You are arguing that Democrats do not control the agenda in Sacramento? Who is being ignorant and disingenuous?

          • Brian Baker


            Your raising of agenda control was irrelevant to the issue of a supermajority, and the fact that you can’t even seem to grasp THAT simple fact, even after having it explained to you, means you’re either utterly oblivious, or are engaging in the time-honored Dem/socialist tactic of obfuscation and misdirection.

            Or maybe you’ve already had too many of those margaritas.

          • I know what a supermajority means; my argument has been, and will continue to be, focused on why Christy Smith is a better choice for the 38th than is Mr. Acosta. Democrats already control the agenda, and all levels of government in Sacramento. She, therefore, will be better positioned to forward policy that benefits us. No one can logically argue otherwise, so claiming this “prevent the supermajority” BS as your reason for supporting Mr. Acosta, ignores the basic facts on the ground.

          • Brian Baker


            Man, was THAT lame and pathetic. Let’s hit the replay again, shall we?

            Tech raises the excellent point: “Can you imagine the lunacy that Sacramento Democrats would foist upon SCV if ceded another supermajority?”

            You veer off on the tangent of who controls the agenda, when any idiot knows the Dems ALREADY do as they’re the majority party.

            You stay tuck on that stupid point even when I fully describe how the situation changes if and when the American Marxists gain a supermajority, saying “You are arguing that Democrats do not control the agenda in Sacramento?”

            Now… when did I say something THAT stupid? I didn’t.

            But then you double down: ” Democrats already control the agenda, and all levels of government in Sacramento. She, therefore, will be better positioned to forward policy that benefits us.”


            In what way? She’s a DEM, doof. Once your repugnant party gets a supermajority, it won’t matter WHAT any non-lefty wants, because they can completely ignore us from that point on.

            The only “us” you’re talking about is you and your fellow Marxists.

      • What a hyporite!

        Your last article was titled “Time for a change in US Congress” a Congress controlled by the GOP. But when it comes to the democrat controlled train wreck state assembly, you want to keep the party of failure in control.

        Are you completely incapable of seeing your own hypocrisy?

        Apparently so.

        • What the the approval ratings for the current U.S. Congress, Gene? Most polls show it as being under 5%, but all have pegged it at under 7%. This is part of why Knight is SO vulnerable, and replacing Knight was the topic of last week’s column (though I don’t control the titles).

          Many of Knight’s views fall outside of the mainstream — so say the polls, not me — whereas Caforio’s views are supported by the majority of voters.

          As for your premise that California’s government is a train wreck, the facts show otherwise. It was, however, a train wreck when Gov. Brown took over. His actions saved our state from catastrophe.

      • tech

        As Brian and Gene illuminated, your non sequiturs are amusing, Mr. Zaring. That you posit them as logic is risible.

        Are you seriously proposing that single Party ideology is a recipe for sound governance? How does that square with a separation of powers and a contest of ideas? Isn’t the logical extension of your idea totalitarian, i.e. Thomas Friedman’s “China for a day”?

        Without rancor, your absolutist ideology is a threat to our Republic and does not approximate a “Rational Center”, Mr. Zaring.

        • My argument is simple: Christy Smith will get more done for us in Sacramento than can Mr. Acosta. Whether or not single party rule is a good thing is a whole other discussion (short answer: NO). My thesis is limited strictly to what’s best for US, in this race, now. She will have the ear of the ruling party and she is smarter and better prepared than is Acosta. Neither of those things are in dispute.

          • noonan

            What will she get done for us?

  • Wow, Leftist democrat Zaring supports the another Leftist democrat? I’m shocked, shocked I say!

    Like a good little democrat, Zaring ignores the lies told by his candidate(s) because with him it’s always party over principles. In fact, given the window into his character that these little essays of his provide, it’s safe to say he has no principles.

    Sometimes I wish I had an bird so I could line it’s cage with his columns.

    • Brian Baker

      Surely a bird would have more common sense than to use such a disgusting… receptacle.

    • Gene, is any Democrat NOT a “leftist” in your book? Are we all tree-huggers to you? We all know that Heir Baker couldn’t reach the center if he walked for days and days and days, but where do you stand? Are all Democrats evil in your eyes?

      • Not at all Zaring, but since I have yet to see you say anything nice about a republican, much less endorse one, I will continue to call you out on your “centrist” lie. Of course, this year in particular the members of the democrat party have to do more than just ignore their candidates lies, they have to embrace them. That’s true all the way from Hillary to Christy, and like a good little democrat you march in lockstep.

        You, Zaring, are a leftist, until you provide evidence to the contrary.

        • You must not be a regular reader. I wrote an entire column that demonstrates why my liberal friends often chide me as being a DINO. Go back, look it up. I’ve also taken many center-RIGHT positions over the many columns I’ve written. I recently said– I think it was last week — that John Kasich would have received my endorsement over Clinton, had he made it through the Primary.

          Despite my support for democrats this cycle, many of my positions are actually more center-right than center-left. For example, I am for the death penalty, support a robust military that is fully equipped, and believe America has a responsibility to be the world’s moral compass. I’m pro-veteran, whether we’re talking about healthcare or job placement or just plain old respect.

          I support free trade, including NAFTA, CAFTA and the upcoming Trans Pacific Partnership (though I reserve total approval until we actually see it), and believe we’d be nuts not to tap our abundant oil and natural gas reserves unless doing so will cause more problems than good, like in the deep reaches of the Arctic Refuge. I’m good with offshore drilling, albeit believe it must be done as safely as possible, and I don’t knee-jerk react against pipelines that are placed with common sense and purpose.

          Few liberals support these positions.

          Coming from a family of cops, I’m pro-police and recognize that they have the hardest, most stressful and dangerous job of any American not serving on a battlefield. As a white dude though, I recognize that non-whites are too often treated with less respect, and I want our justice system to be fair for all.

          Unions still have their place, but it shouldn’t be impossible to fire a teacher just because they have tenure. If they suck, they should be fire-able.

          Along with true conservatives, I believe that ‘big government’ can be ineffective and wasteful and often needs a haircut. I don’t think all Wall Street bankers are evil incarnate, I view taxes as a necessary evil and like Donald Trump, want to pay only what I’m obligated to pay, and not a penny more.

          Still, I think the wealthy top two percent needs to pay higher rates than the rest of us, because income inequality is real, which is why I support the so-called Buffet Rule, named for famed investor Warren Buffet, which says that anyone making more than a million dollars a year must pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent.

          If that impacts you, I’m sorry. But hey, congratulations!

          I’m all for saving the speckled toad, but not if it means we can’t widen an interstate. Sorry, but just because I already live in Santa Clarita doesn’t mean that no one else can come. Let’s be smart about growth, absolutely, but let’s not be stupid either.

          Still think I’m a crazy tree-hugger?

          I’m okay with Americans owning guns. I have one, and if you break into my house I will shoot you without hesitation. But yes, I believe every gun owner should have to undergo a background check, take a mandatory gun safety class and pass a real-world safety test before taking possession of said gun, just like we all do when we want to drive a car.

          That said, I don’t believe anyone not wearing a uniform needs to own any weapons of war – no tanks, no shoulder-fired missiles, no automatic weapons or armor-piercing bullets, and no semi-automatic rifles with high capacity magazines.

          I’m a pragmatist who understands that democracy is based on the art of principled compromise, even when it comes to guns.

          I don’t care who marries whom or whether you sit to pee. I want my daughters, as well as my disabled and minority friends, to be paid equally and fairly, and I want every American to have access to a quality public education and affordable health care.

          This IS the rational center …

          • tech

            Curiously, you never write columns about the topics you declare you’re a moderate on, Mr. Zaring.

            Did I miss one?

          • This week you say: “I recently said– I think it was last week — that John Kasich would have received my endorsement over Clinton, had he made it through the Primary.”

            Last week you said: “…in last week’s column I pointed out that John Kasich was a candidate worthy of endorsement…” but you didn’t say you would have endorsed him over Clinton.

            The week before that there is no mention of Kasich.

            The week before that there is no mention of Kasich.

            So, you lied. Not surprising, you support a couple of liars, who would expect anything less?

            Oh, and what makes you think I just sit online waiting for your big ole helping of partisan stoogery with a glass of KoolAid®?

            This is why I think you’re delusional.

        • Gene, your silence is curious … will you admit NOW that my views ARE centrist? Or am I still some ‘crazy socialist’ in your eyes? I sense you are more honest than is the deplorable Mr. Baker, whose purpose week after week, day after day, seems only to demonstrate his affection for self-flagellation …

          • Brian Baker


            Dude, really, you flatter yourself (big surprise, right?).

            In addition to calling you “Comarade Zaring”, should I add “the disgusting” as an adjective when referring to you?

          • Zaring, your silence is curious … will you admit NOW that you are a liar? Or are you going to continue with your “centrist” fantasy?

      • Brian Baker

        What a tool.

        Bud, I don’t CLAIM to be anywhere near the center, unlike you. I proclaim my conservatism from the rooftops.

        I know that’s hard for you to understand, what with your ingrained hypocrisy and all, but do try to wrap your little mind around it.

        • Unlike me Mr. Baker, you proclaim your (version of) conservatism with indignant disrespect toward everyone you feel doesn’t measure up. It is you, my friend, who sports a “little mind”.

          • Brian Baker

            There are a whole lot of ways I’m unlike you, Zaring, thank God. Starting with the fact that I’m not a hypocrite.

            And you evidently mistake contempt and disgust for “indignant disrespect”.

            Do try to keep up. I know it’s hard.

  • reason1

    I find it interesting the need for some who are jumping on the coordinated smear campaign against Trump with allegations of “groping” somehow believe that citing their own daughters further validates the reason why they are “ashamed”. Shouldn’t one be ashamed and shocked if the allegations are true despite the fact that they have daughters? I guess it helps to tug on the heart strings of the gullible you hope to convince what you are saying is true.

    Anyone with a rational mind that doesn’t find it quite odd that just four weeks out from the presidential election that a spontaneous eruption of women materializes who have the urge to speak out about “groping’s” that allegedly happened as long as 30 years ago better have their BS meters replaced. Once again, the “Rational Center” is displaying their lack of any rationality by inferring Trump is “guilty” as alleged charged.

    Even after much evidence has come out which discredits the claims of these woman. The story of the woman who claims she was “octopused” on a first class flight 30 years ago has fallen apart. If you are looking for the truth in the main stream media, forget it as they have put up their liberal wall of silence. For example, the type of plane wasn’t used at the time, the armrests never were able to lift up in first class, she has worked to campaign for Hillary, not to mention that in her own words she stated that “if he would have groped me above the waist I might not have minded but below the waist”…I mean, really what woman would say that if she was truly assaulted. And how could someone “assault” another in first class without someone else seeing it to begin with?

    Just this morning the former Apprentice contestant who now runs a restaurant has been completely discredited as Trump stated she reached out to him via e-mail a few months ago with praise and wanted his help. On top of that a family member has gone on record stating that she has had nothing but praise for Trump and claims she is just doing it for the media attention.

    Like Trump’s accusers, the Rational Center goes on to create a fantasy that confirms their irrational reality by stating “his support is shrinking and shrinking fast, and as a result his campaign is sinking faster than the Titanic. It is now wildly probable that Trump will be buried under an electoral avalanche of historic proportions on Nov. 8, which means Hillary Clinton will become America’s first female president ever. And that’s great news for my daughters and yours. I expect the last laugh will be theirs”.

    I fail to see the rationality in a Hillary presidency as being “great news for his daughters.” The Rational Center seems perfectly happy in trying to help prevent a Trump presidency by promoting unsubstantiated smears and allegations while helping to elect Hillary, who has stood by her husband who has actually committed sexual assaults on a number of woman while Hillary lead the efforts to vilify, threaten and smear the victims of her husband. How is putting a woman like that in the White House “great news for your daughters”?

    Oh, was this supposed to be about Christy Smith? I couldn’t read any further.

    • I suspect you chose to spend 553 responding to my two paragraphs because you know 1) Smith is the better choice and 2) SMITH IS THE BETTER CHOICE!

      • *553 words

        • Aren’t you the same John Zaring that posted “#factsmatter”? REeason1 presents facts that you are incapable of refuting, so you try to be cute…not a good look for you.

          I guess in LeftyLand® facts only matter when it benefits Der Party, eh comrade?

          • Gene, I refer you and the irredeemable Mr. Baker to my post above, which outlines where the center is found for MOST Americans … as to Reason1’s “facts”, I’ve addressed those above as well.

      • reason1

        Ah, your irrationality is shining through again. If you couldn’t infer from my comment I completely disagree with your bias, smears, illogical thought and falsehoods which are a weekly occurrence so why would you believe I would agree with you regarding Smith?

        You claim you answered my question earlier but I fail to see where. So again, how would a Hillary presidency be “great news for your daughters when Hillary has stood by her husband who has actually committed sexual assaults on a number of woman while Hillary lead the efforts to vilify, threaten and smear the victims of her husband?

        If you think that claiming that Bill isn’t running for president is a valid answer then you are only further proving your irrational beliefs. Yes, Bill isn’t running for president, Hillary is and she is the one who vilified, threatened and smeared Bill’s victims, thereby hindering their quest for justice, making her an accomplice in his abuse.

        If you are missing the associate with that example maybe try explaining how it would be a proud moment for your daughters if Hillary enters the White House knowing that she defended a child rapist years ago who she knew was guilty and is later on tape laughing that she was able to get him set free? Try rationalizing that one and explaining how you would spin that to make your daughters proud of Hillary.

        Or, was it simply where you stated that “well, the most direct answer is that BECAUSE AMERICA WILL FINALLY HAVE A WOMAN PRESIDENT”?

        It must be fun to reside in the land of liberalism where simply one’s gender is good enough to qualify someone to hold the highest job in the land. Let me pretend I reside in that world for a moment. The left likes to mock Trump as “orange man”. So, using the same standards as above I would like to see Trump as president because he would be the first orange toned president that we have ever had, marking it a proud moment indeed. Or, more realistically we could use “the first billionaire”, right? It’s that simple.

        That is your “Rational Center”???

        Finally, I find it unbelievable that you would have ever endorsed John Kasich over Hillary. Like Tech mentioned you never preach about your so called “center right” positions in any of your articles. So, what were Kasich’s top three policy positions which would have put him above Hillary in your book? That one should be easier for you to answer.

    • tech

      How is putting a woman like that in the White House “great news for your daughters”?

      It’s another checkmark in identity politics, Reason1. By that rationale, externalities are of more import than character or qualifications.

      • Well, the most direct answer is that BECAUSE AMERICA WILL FINALLY HAVE A WOMAN PRESIDENT! You know, that whole “breaking the glass ceiling” thing. Hillary Clinton will forever be Exhibit A to inspire little girls everywhere to believe they too can become president of these United States. And Smith will continue her journey in public service, knowing that while our culture and politics are still dominated by men, she’s helping to change that. Those are all good things …

        • Brian Baker


          Proving an amazing intellectual vapidity.

          So… you’d support anyone simply because they have a vagina? Suddenly, being vagina endowed is a presidential qualification? You’d have endorsed Sara Palin if she’d run?

          What a loon.

        • tech

          You make my point rather than rebutting it, Mr. Zaring.

          Nothing prevents a women becoming a U.S. President and there are other examples of women leading powerful nation states. However, voting for gender rather than fitness for the office is a stupidly ideological demonstration of identity politics.

          • It is clear you don’t like her. That’s cool. But to ignore the historical significance of her election is just plain dumb.

          • tech

            Again, non-responsive to my point. “Liking” has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton’s qualifications. Her performance and illegal activities in various government capacities are material.

            I didn’t “like” her mendacious and philandering husband but wouldn’t argue he was unqualified.

            This isn’t High School, Mr. Zaring.

  • Brian Baker

    I’ll give you props for one thing, Zaring: your willingness to show up here and defend your theses. Horton’s the only other one of you lefties to do that.

    • I’m in Mexico sitting on the beach this weekend, so jousting with you with a Margarita in hand is a great way to pass the time! Oh wait, there’s the ocean …

      • Brian Baker

        Better drink a lot of them. You’re losing.

        • We’ll see on Nov 8 …

          • Brian Baker

            I’m talking about right here.

            On November 8th, the entire country loses, either way.

            We just lose less if the Hildebeest tanks.

      • Mezico? Baja perhaps? How are the prices down there?

        • “Mexico” I hate that you can’t edit now

  • James de Bree

    John, in your column you do a great job of restating Mrs. Smith’s talking points, but I believe that you have gotten so caught up them that you have not really evaluated her past performance in an objective manner. I have limited time this evening, so I will only go into her service as a member of the Newhall District Board, which you tout as an excellent example of her community service.

    Last spring I did an extensive 200 hour study of school bonds issued by SCV school districts. I published a 50 page white paper on the topic. There is a huge problem with capital appreciation bonds also known as CABs. They are extremely expensive because all of the interest is deferred until the end of the term. Several states have outlawed them.

    Fiscal watchdogs, including county treasurers and California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, have warned repeatedly that these bonds — which let districts postpone the start of payments for decades — are reminiscent of the lending and Wall Street excesses that contributed to the Great Recession.

    Jerry Brown and Bill Lockyear, neither of whom are Republicans, played a critical role in trying to curb the issuance of these types of bonds. FYI, Assemblyman Scott Wilk also played a huge role in this process.

    In 2013 the California legislature passed and Governor Brown signed into law AB 132, which attempted to reign in the worst abuses of CABs.

    In 2011, the voters in the Newhall District passed Measure E, authorizing the issuance of $60 million of school bonds. To date about $56 million of bonds have been issued, substantially all of which are CABs. The CABs were carefully designed to circumvent the limitations imposed by AB 132, by issuing shorter term CABs that are refinanced with additional issuances of CABs. The sequential issuance of these CABs ensures that the debt will be outstanding for longer periods of time and the interest costs to the taxpayers will be among the highest of any school bonds issued in the SCV.

    Compare this with the school bond financing by the Saugus District and one will see that the Saugus bonds are much more taxpayer friendly and show a much greater exercise of fiscal responsibility. The Saugus District is actually retiring some of its bonds early.

    Yet in your column you state, “She has served with distinction for the past six years as a member of the Newhall School District board.” Were you aware of the District’s issuance of overly expensive CABs when you wrote this? If so, how do you justify your statement?

    It is this type of behavior that really scares me if she is elected and becomes part of a Democratic supermajority that can raise taxes at will. While you downplay the supermajority and say that the Democrats control everything anyway, without a supermajority their ability to raise taxes is constrained and that is a huge deal to me.

    • tech

      Thanks for your comment and point about the Newhall School District bond issue, Jim.

      For readers who need a refresher on what Capital Appreciation Bonds are, this:

      Capital Appreciation Bonds: Disturbing Repayment Terms (Section 5 of 9)
      July 21, 2015/by Kevin Dayton

    • James de Bree

      This is what I posted in response to the Signal’s endorsement of Acosta:

      The 38th Assembly District race is a race where neither candidate is as good as the incumbent.

      Personally, I have been disappointed with Mr. Acosta’s support of the Laemmle Theater. His comments during the city council meetings that addressed the subject indicated a lack of understanding of how tax increment financing and community redevelopment agencies are supposed to work. I also was disappointed that he is not proactive in dealing with the recent embezzlement matter. He goes along with the view that the embezzlement was merely an isolated incident that the city needs to put behind it.

      Having said that, Mr. Acosta has a fine record of community service. I suspect that, if elected, he will follow Republican Party lines, which is important as the state would move farther to the left if the Democrats got a supermajority in the Assembly as a result of winning this seat.

      As to, Ms. Smith, I attended the Signal debate in August with an open mind. At that point I was even leaning towards voting for Ms. Smith. During the debate, she assured everyone that she would cast her votes independent of the Democratic Party’s wishes. She painted herself as a centrist who is open to discussion with people on all sides of the political spectrum. She indicated ambivalence to Proposition 55, stating that the state needs to adopt of more stable tax base. All of this sounded pretty good.

      However, in the closing part of the debate, she switched her approach and really started saying things about Mr. Acosta which both the Signal and I find offensive. Instead of discussing substance, her tactic changed to smearing her opponent.

      At the conclusion of the debate, I introduced myself to Ms. Smith indicating that I had a couple of questions for her. She smiled acknowledging my presence and walked away from me, preferring to talk with her supporters. While I realize that she may have needed some time to decompress from the debate, she certainly did not act like the “I’ll talk to anyone” person she claimed to be.

      Meanwhile, my wife was talking to Mr. Acosta. I joined their conversation. Mr. Acosta was extremely friendly and we had a vibrant discussion of the matters that I had hoped to discuss with Ms. Smith.
      Since the Signal debate, Ms. Smith has apparently changed her tune on Proposition 55 as she now endorses it. Of course since then, she has received the endorsement of the teachers’ unions who need Proposition 55 to continue funding the teachers’ pensions. So much for supporting meaningful tax reform.

      Now let’s consider the likelihood that Ms. Smith will vote independent of the Democratic Party line. Her campaign is everywhere. You see signs, advertisements supporting her. Her campaign is well funded. Who is funding it? Clearly, the Democratic Party thinks they can turn the 38th Assembly District blue, so they are heavily funding her campaign. With all of that funding, do you really think she will be able to resist voting the party line?

      Finally, she campaigns on her record with the Newhall School District. When I studied the school bond situation several months ago, it became apparent that the Newhall district made the most judicious use of capital appreciation bonds of any school district in the SCV. Not only that, but their bonds appear to be structured to circumvent the limitations on capital appreciation bonds imposed by AB 132. This makes it difficult to argue that she has exercised fiscal responsibility during her tenue on the school board.

      This is the race to which I have given the most thought. After much deliberation, I have concluded that I will take my chances with Dante.

      • Brian Baker

        I hope Smith’s behavior didn’t surprise you, Jim. I have no doubt you’re not that naïve, and relayed the tale for information purposes only.

        What you describe is Dem/socialist SOP when they’re campaigning in conservative districts: make a boilerplate claim that they won’t be a part of the Dem/socialist machine. That’s supposed to allay the concerns of the conservatives that all they’d end up with is one more Marxist running around in Sacramento setting what remains of this state on fire. Caforio makes the same nonsensical claims.

  • hopeful

    Jim – John Zaring led the campaign to pass Measure SA (Hart District Bond Measure passed in 2008), so I don’t think he sees anything wrong with this type of financial nonfeasance.

    • James de Bree

      Here is what I had to say in my white paper about Measure SA:

      California voters are typically not provided the full picture when asked to approve bond measures. The measure typically requests voter approval for the issuance of bonds for a certain amount of indebtedness, but rarely is anything said about the total costs of servicing that debt. For example, voters in the William S. Hart School District (the “Hart District”) approved Measure SA in November 2008. The following is the text of the measure as it appeared on the ballot:

      MEASURE SA: “To improve educational opportunities for local students shall William S. Hart Union High School District: repair, replace and upgrade outdated classrooms, science/computer labs, instructional technology, wiring, plumbing, heating, ventilation; improve safety to meet current fire/seismic codes, add a new high school and facilities and classrooms to relieve student overcrowding; by issuing $300,000,000 in bonds at interest rates below legal limits, with independent citizen’s oversight, annual financial audits, all funds remaining local and no money for administrator salaries?”

      The measure contains terms that sound very benign, such as “interest rates below legal limits,” etc. which are designed to make the measure more appealing and to calm potential voter concerns about the measure. There is no mention that, if the tax base does not grow sufficiently to fully service the debt at the maximum rates provided for in AB 1908, the school district can legally petition the State Board of Education to increase the rates above the maximums rates set forth in AB 1908. The measure also refers to all of the safe guards put in place to ensure that the bond proceeds are properly spent. While, all of these are designed to make the voter feel comfortable about the measure, the measure does not discuss items that would make the voter feel uncomfortable, such as an indication of the total cost of the bonds including interest. Typically the financing costs (which are not discussed) outweigh the facilities costs which are subject to stringent safeguards. Contrast that with a homeowner who takes out a mortgage; the lender is required to include extensive disclosures about the terms of the loan and its total cost so that the borrower can make an informed decision as to whether to proceed with the financing. The safeguards associated with consumer protection in the commercial sense are completely absent with respect to voters when it comes to the approval of school bond financing.

  • Brian Baker

    Wow! A random act of honesty from the top of the Opinion page of the Washington comPost:

    “The closing argument against Donald Trump

    “For 16 months, Washington Post columnists and contributors have been making the case against Donald Trump.”

    The column itself is a stroll down Memory Lane of their Greatest Hit Pieces, snippets from past Editorials. But what truly amazed me was that they actually admitted that they’re in the tank for the Hildebeest. Of course, anyone who reads that rag already knew it, as they were clearly just an unofficial PR organization for all things Hildebeest. They spent barrels of ink criticizing everything Trump did or said, and hardly a jot or tittle examining the many glaring flaws of their Chosen One.

    But to come right out and admit it? I’ve gotta say, I was surprised.

    • tech

      The major propaganda organs have been making noise about it for years with euphemisms like “responsibility journalism”, etc., Brian. The excuse for letting the mask slip now is the supposed existential threat that Trump represents, ignoring the reality of the current administration and the corrupt mendacity of the candidate they’re dragging across the finish line (again).

      It’s laughable that these self-important buffoons think we don’t realize they and their fellow travelers have been systematically attacking our Republic and institutions for over a hundred years.

  • hopeful

    Did anyone else see the Trump supporters on the corner of Magic Mountain and McBean last night? They had “honk for Trump” signs, and I was amazed at how much honking was going on as I sat and waited at the light. Although I am not voting for Trump, I have to hand it to those supporters, who were definitely getting rewarded with tons of honks.

    Of course, I did see one black SUV with a LA Kings sticker flip the group off as they turned at the intersection, but the honks far outnumbered any negative response that I could see from my few minutes stuck at that light.

    • tech

      I was out of town yesterday and did not, Hopeful.

  • tech

    Speaking of rational, there are actions of import taking place outside the Carnival Campaign of Hillary and Donald.

    … Perhaps you haven’t heard that the rest of the Republican Party—54 Senators, 247 Congressmen, 31 Governors, the tens of hundreds of state reps who control 68 of 98 legislative chambers, the millions of rank-and-file conservatives—have ambitions too. Paul Ryan gave a speech on Friday afternoon detailing some of these ideas, which deserve more attention.

    As it happens, the GOP has a political and policy alternative, which the House calls “A Better Way.” The consensus product of months of work by the congressional committees, the 213-page manifesto outlines smart, substantive reforms from a pro-growth tax overhaul to rebuilding the military to replacing ObamaCare with more robust private insurance markets and competition.

    A particular focus is upward mobility, alleviating poverty and lifting incomes. The U.S. will spend about $700 billion on means-tested programs in 2016, and the GOP wants to maintain a safety net while changing the incentives to work and move up the income ladder. One idea is to reduce the marginal tax-rate cliffs where earning another dollar in income means losing more than a dollar in benefits. Another idea is to devolve more control to the states for local experiments. Republicans even want to measure programs by their outcomes rather than how much money they spend.

    As a governing document, the “Better Way” is more comprehensive and specific than most presidential campaigns, this unusual year’s included. The plan is also optimistic and realistic in an election where both candidates prefer the apocalyptic and nostalgic.

  • noonan

    ” But to ignore the historical significance of her election is just plain dumb.”

    No, what is dump is to equate importance to be being elected simply because she has a vagina.

    Mr. Zaring, I would be curious to know if you plan on sharing with your daughters the fact that President Hillary stood by her man after he was caught getting blow jobs in the oval office by an intern and what this says about Hillary’s character. I think in an effort to give full disclosure, you should point out to your daughters that President Bill lied about him getting oral sex in the oval office until a certain blue dress turned up with his semen on it. Will you share with your daughters those interesting fun facts and how the husband of President Hillary regularly hangs with a convicted sex offender and has even been to his tropical island, I’m sure just to fish, right? Will you share with your daughters how Hillary laughed and bragged about getting a rapist off?

  • noonan

    dumb….why can’t we edit anymore?

    • tech

      Different content management system (WordPress), Noonan. It’s not specifically designed for forum commenting.