If you don’t yet know that the presidential primary election in California is Feb. 5 – part of a 22-state day of voting often dubbed "Super Duper Tuesday" – we will hang our heads in shame. It’s now too late to register to vote in the nominating contests, but if you are registered, you can still take part in your party’s primary (those who decline to state a party can only vote in either the Democratic or American Independent primaries – other parties do not allow independent voters to participate in their nominating contests).
Being tools of the biased media, we went mainstream this time and asked volunteers from campaigns in the Republican and Democratic parties to tell us why Ventura County voters should choose their candidates, and how their supporters can help out in the last days before the election. Only those campaigns which responded to our request were included in this guide. This week we feature the Democratic candidates and next week we plan to feature any Republicans (and Green, Libertarian and other candidates who might happen to reply).
In addition to a short argument in support of the candidate, campaigns were asked to list upcoming events and Web sites to learn more about the individual candidates. Please attend these events and peruse the Web sites.
Finally, please peruse our handy-dandy guide to outside Web sites we have hand-picked to help you learn more about the race, the candidates, and other facts about the 2008 election.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary ClintonWhy Ventura County voters should vote for her: "Hillary Clinton has shown consistent leadership on economic issues and on reviving the middle class in America. She is an ardent supporter of veterans’ rights and has a plan to bring our troops back home from Iraq. Along with her many years of experience, these are what make her the best candidate for the presidency of the United States." – Official campaign statement
Inquiries from the Reporter were directed to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Santa Barbara-based field director. Volunteer activities in Ventura County are being coordinated out of that city, and anyone interested in getting involved with the former First Lady’s campaign in the next two weeks is asked to e-mail for more information.

Upcoming events: Jan. 24, 7 p.m., candidates’ forum. An open forum for every Democratic candidate at the Topping Room of Ventura’s E.P. Foster library.

Local Contact: Central Coast Field Director William A. Bairamian

Address: 130 E Carrillo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, within offices of Egenolf Associates

E-mail: sbhillary@gmail.com

Web site: www.hillaryclinton.com

 

John Edwards

John EdwardsWhy Ventura County voters should vote for him:"It ain’t over until it’s over. Edwards’s debate performance in South Carolina clearly indicated that he’s still a player in the field and can rise above the bickering. He’s the candidate with the best ideas and the best stands on the issues. He will represent ordinary Americans most effectively. Edwards came out with a universal health care plan first, he came out with a plan to get out of Iraq first, he come out with the best plan to attack the environmental issue. John was the first candidate to come out with an economic stimulus plan, now we can’t get enough politicians coming out with these plans. Edwards has also framed the debate about veterans and he brought the issue to the forefront that there are a lot of homeless veterans. He has a very forceful message that says "I’m going to fight for you." They’re failing to recognize that he crowd that exists in Washington is not in a mood to compromise and has no intention to compromise."

Upcoming events: Jan. 24, 7 p.m., candidates’ forum An open forum for every Democratic candidate at the Topping Room of Ventura’s E.P. Foster library.

Local contact: Steve Kane, Thousand Oaks

Local Contact E-mail: stevekane111@yahoo.com.
Web site: www.Johnedwards.com.

 

Dennis Kucinich

Dennis KucinichWhy Ventura County voters should vote for him:"Being the son of immigrants who never owned a home and even being homeless as a child, Kucinich understands the kind of people who live here and will serves our best interests in Ventura County. Kucinich co-authored legislation that would establish Medicare for all – a universal, single payer not-for-profit system that leaves no one behind and is the best solution to our healthcare crisis. He voted against the Patiot Act and its renewal out of respect for upholding our Constitution. Kucinich wrote HR808 to create a cabinet level Department of Peace that will cultivate proven methods to mitigate violence in all forms, from domestic, spousal abuse and gangs to international conflict.
Dennis can’t be bought by special money interests because he has never accepted corporate contributions and supports public financing of elections. We need to boost our economy locally. Agriculture is a huge part of our economy in Ventura County. Kucinich has articulated the most fair and humane immigration reform option that serves the best interests of American workers and immigrants. If we like to eat, we must appreciate the people who harvest our food, and resolve the issue – not build a wall. Kucinich has opposed the detrimental "free trade" policies which resulted in exporting millions of U.S. jobs, and will repeal NAFTA and the WTO to return jobs to America. He has a 100 percent current environmental scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters, a plan to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and a Works Green administration program that will create millions of jobs to address global warming. Kucinich consistently voted against the Iraq occupation and its continued funding. He would vote against "all options are on the table" towards Iran and is against nuclear proliferation. We can worry less and sleep better at night." -Roslyn Scheuerman, Central CA Coast Coordinator/Team Leader Kucinich for President, 2008

Upcoming event:
Jan. 24, 7 p.m., candidates’ forum An open forum for every Democratic candidate at the Topping Room of Ventura’s E.P. Foster library.

Web site: http://www.dennis4president.com/ or www.california4kucinich.com.

Local Contact: Roslyn Scheuerman at (805) 218-1199 or venturaspirit@aol.com

 

Barack Obama

Barack ObamaWhy Ventura County voters should vote for him: "Barack Obama has shown through this campaign that he is able to unite this country. He has given campaign volunteers unprecedented support and provided them with the tools necessary to affect a change, not just locally, but nationally. Local volunteers from all walks of life have come together not just to hope for change, but to make a difference. It is our belief that our efforts in creating a volunteer network will transcend politics and move us forward as a community. Obama for America groups meet regularly in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Ojai, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley." -Deborah Dent, Congressional District 24 coordinator, Obama for America

Upcoming local events:  Jan. 24, 7 p.m., candidates’ forum An open forum for every Democratic candidate at the Topping Room of Ventura’s E.P. Foster library.
Jan. 26: 100,000 Calls Challenge. The Obama campaign has set a goal to make 100,000 voter outreach calls in a single day. We will have locations across the state where people can come to join in this historic event. Supporters can also make calls from home by requesting a login.
Jan. 27, 10 a.m: Obama Precinct Captain and New Volunteer training. Multiple locations. Our Obama Ventura group meets every Saturday for canvassing and phonebanking. Starts at 1522 Santa Barbara St., Ventura, CA, 93001. RSVP to 648-1026.

Local contacts East County: Deborah Dent at 428 3389, obamaforamerica@deborahdent.com

West County: Jim Mangis, jwmangis@wavecable.com, 641-1770

Web site: http://www.barackobama.com/

 

Keeping yourself informed

You could enter the voting booth Feb. 5 and blindly poke at the ballot or close your eyes and stab at your absentee ballot to indicate your preferred presidential candidate, but we’d like to believe our readers are a little smarter than that. If you’d like to learn more about the presidential race from some sources we trust, please check out these links:

 
Official sites

California Secretary of State Elections and Voter Information http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections.htm
A clearinghouse of information about how to vote, register (if you missed the deadline for the primaries, you can still vote in the general election), being an absentee voter, what to do if you suspect voter fraud, how the elections systems work in California, elections results, links to state campaign finance records, information about candidates and more.

County of Ventura Elections Division
recorder.countyofventura.org/elections.htm
More information about voting in Ventura County, local elections results, information about running for local offices, how to volunteer to help at polling places, campaign finance records for local candidates and more.

Nonprofits

Smart Voter Nonprofit Election Information
smartvoter.org
This extensive site administered by the League of Women Voters is a one-stop shop linking voters to answers to various questions about upcoming and past elections. The information is presented to allow voters to make informed decisions without any particular slant provided. It also links to a number of Web sites where voters can further explore information about the elections.

Project Vote Smart
http://www.vote-smart.org/
This non-profit transforms the efforts of thousands of volunteers into a unique, deep look at each of the candidates and the opportunity for voters to search for information about their local elections. Go here to research your representatives voting records (or the voting records of candidates currently seeking office) to see how the actions they have taken square with their rhetoric, and your views. Learn more about each candidate’s biographical information, their positions on various issues, how interest groups – such as environmental, human rights and economic organizations – rate the candidates. You can even browse archives of the candidates public statements from the past and the present to see how consistent their positions have been.

Annenberg Political Fact Check
http://www.factcheck.org/
A nonpartisan, nonprofit endeavor of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania describes itself as a "consumer advocate." It keeps track of statements and claims made in speeches, newspaper articles, press releases and other statements from political candidates and their supporters.

Campaign Finance

Open Secrets

http://www.opensecrets.org/

Find out whether your favorite candidate is really a corporate stooge. This extensive database provides detailed information about each campaign’s fundraising efforts and who is paying to support various candidates. In addition to reporting campaign finance records from presidential candidates and members of Congress, Open Secrets delves much further into the world of campaign financing. Want to know how much the CEO of that evil business monopoly you despise gave to someone, or whether your annoying blowhard neighbor donated to a particular candidate? Just put his or her name into the donor search and find out for yourself. You can also learn about what industries are spending the most on the election, find lobbying information, see what independent 527 committees are up to and even research donations in past elections.

Federal lobbying disclosure database
soprweb.senate.gov
Find out who’s trying to get U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives to pass laws to their benefit. Search by lobbyist, their clients (the companies hiring lobbyists), individual pieces of legislation, and even foreign entities). Look hear if you want to know why World Domination Enterprises, Inc. seems to be benefiting unfairly from a particular law.