Oct 02


Jane St. John is currently serving as the Vice President of the Arrowhead Lake Association representing the West District. She is committed to preserving wonderful Lake Arrowhead.

She started her community service by being active with the League of Women Voters, the AAUW and the PTA. She was elected as a Rim School Board trustee for 13 years, serving three times as president. During this time she was active with the CA School Boards Association and traveled to Sacramento to press the needs of Rim students. Her proudest moment during her tenure on Rim’s School Board was when the Rim District became the first in California to take advantage of new legislation to limit K-3 class size to 20 or fewer students.

Jane St. John received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University. She is married to John St. John and they have raised four children.

Oct 02

Environmental Protection Award

Hugh Bialecki, DMD and Lori Semeniuk are both active in our community, serving in the Operation Provider Spring Makeover Project, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, S.O.F.A., ALA and Blue Jay Jazz Foundation. The couple has worked actively to make sure development on the mountain is done in an environmentally safe way. They have raised 3 sons who attended Rim schools.

Dr. Bialecki graduated from Washington University School of Dental Medicine. He was Citizen of the Year in 2012 from the Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce.
He was a founding member & Director of the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust in 1996. He has been a long time Director for the Rim of the World Recreation and Park District. He serves a President for Save Our Forest Association (SOFA).

Ms. Semeniuk received her MA from UC San Francisco. She has taught art classes in the Meet the Masters school program and worked at the Mountain Thrift Store. She serves on the Board of Rim Education Foundation with special emphasis on the AVID program which works to help students excel in college.

Oct 02

Honorable James Ramos

Honorable James Ramos, Chair, San Bernardino Board of Supervisors

James Ramos, MBA, was elected to and sworn in as Third District Supervisor of San Bernardino County in 2012, and currently serves as Chair. He is a proven civic leader and has served on numerous boards and organizations promoting business, economic and social opportunities in the greater San Bernardino area.

In 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Ramos to the California State Native American Heritage Commission for which he currently serves as chairman. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Ramos in 2011 to the prestigious State Board of Education becoming the First Native American appointed in the history of California. Ramos is also the immediate past Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. He has a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands.
He and his wife of 24 years, Terri, are the proud parents of four children.

Oct 02

Ist Annual Awards Luncheon

Luncheon Date
The Mountain Bear Democrats will hold their first Award Luncheon on Friday October 16th at the Arrowhead Ranch, 480 Cottage Grove Rd. in Lake Arrowhead 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. The purpose is to honor citizens who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of Leadership, Environmental Protection and Public Service.

Hon James Ramos Leadership                                                                                   See full Biography

Hugh n Lori                                                                                     See full Biography

Jane                                                                                  See full Biography

Raffle Drawing

This is an excellent opportunity for you to show your appreciation for these remarkable people. A handshake or smile can’t begin to repay the countless hours they have each contributed to make your community a better place. But making your gratitude known goes a long way toward it!
You are also going to be in the company of some of the best of the area’s “folk” – the people who run the local businesses, the public employees, the friendly faces at the market, Post Office or local stores. Come get to know them. See what common interests you have. It’s going to be a blast!

Oct 01

Awards Luncheon Raffle donation

Jeannine Ad n Gift Cert
Jeannine Home Furnishings has been very generous to our raffle. When you are in the Village, stop by and thank her – then enjoy the incredible home decor items and comprehensive home design capabilities available to our community.

Make sure to attend the Awards Luncheon at 11:30 – 1:30 on Friday, October 16th. It is at the scenic Arrowhead Ranch (480 Cottage Grove Road in Lake Arrowhead) and is in honor of four people who have made big differences for the better in our community.
Look for more posts on the great raffle items.
You can pick up your tickets online here: Eventbrite - MOUNTAIN BEARS DEMOCRATIC CLUB  COMMUNITY AWARDS LUNCHEON
You can also contact Club President Mickey Laws mlawski220lakeside@gmail.com or call (760)-567-6159 and one of our members will meet you at your convenience. Entry is $20 in advance (until WEDNESDAY, Oct 7th) or $25 at the door. Only ten people can be seated without advance tickets, so book early!

Oct 01

November 17th Meeting

Karen Reams, General Manager of Rim of the World Recreation and Park District will deliver a presentation on the Active Transportation Plan. The San Bernardino Association of Governments has recently delivered a Memorandum of Understanding, creating exciting new opportunities for our area. The District was awarded a $284,250 planning grant though Caltrans to create this safe route to schools/trails planning grant. The District has partnered with SANBAG to complete this project. Karen will also talk about the exciting plans the Park District has planned for this year, including the addition of two new parks and celebration of the District’s 30 year anniversary.Karen Reams Mgr Rec n Park

The meeting will begin with Ms. Reams’ presentation at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room of Alpine Escrow in the Blue Jay mall. As always, invite your friends; the public is always welcome!

Sep 17

Present a United Front on Iran Deal

“The former Secretary of State was instrumental in cobbling together the coalition that led to the tough sanctions on Iran as well as backchannel diplomacy that made the talks possible. And as she made clear in a major speech in Washington last week, she understands the arduous work required to implement this agreement, and has experience and global relationships to do so.
Iran Deal United Front
For this agreement to succeed, global unity is key. Trying to rip this agreement apart 15 months from now will do nothing but shatter that consensus. The years ahead require steady enforcement, smart leadership and strong unity by the United States and its European partners. So when one looks beyond the chest-thumping rhetoric and considers who is best suited for this task, the choice is clear.”
Read the complete article by Derek Chollet here.

Sep 08

Taking a look at the record

San Bernardino SUN POLITICS 9/7/15
Taking a look at the record of local reps
No IE-area lawmakers’ bills have been signed into law so far this year
Pete Aguilar
By Beau Yarbrough beau.yarbrough@langnews.com @LBY3 on Twitter

When the House of Representatives and the Senate return to work in Washington on Tuesday [Sep 8th], all of the legislators representing the Inland Empire have something in common: None of them have had any bills signed into law this year.
That’s not surprising, according to Marcia Godwin, an associate professor of public administration at the University of La Verne.
“Increasingly, you have omnibus bills, so being the sponsor of a significant number of bills happens less and less,” she said. “Your influence may be more on what makes it into the final appropriations rather than in what you sponsor.”
Although California’s senators, Democrats Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, have introduced far more bills than even the busiest Inland Empire congressman, Ed Royce, their real influence is seen in what makes it into law generally, with Boxer’s influence most keenly felt over her career in environmental policy, while Feinstein’s impact has been largest in foreign affairs, Godwin said.
But the Republican control of Capitol Hill also has an impact, she said.
“The House of Representatives can be a very lonely place if you’re in the minority party,” Godwin said.
The 114th Congress began Jan. 3 and ends Jan. 3, 2017. The House of Representatives has 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats. The Senate has 54 Republicans to 44 Democrats.
“The biggest power ranking for a member of Congress is majority-versus minority status and what committees they sit on,” according to Brad Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with members of Congress and their staffs to help train them to do their jobs more effectively.
That sort of divide would likely make it hard for a freshman Democrat like Pete Aguilar to get much passed no matter what, but that’s not the only thing that constituents should be looking at when judging their representatives’ effectiveness, according to Godwin.
“I would say that legislative effectiveness is probably the most important measure, but I wouldn’t neglect what’s been called ‘home style’ and their visibility and fit within their district,” she said.
Just looking at bills sponsored and passed isn’t enough information to tell a constituent whether or not their representatives are doing a good job in Congress, according to Fitch.
“There are significant other ways to get public policy implemented other than just passing bills on the floor,” he said. “It also ignores the other things that legislators do for their constituents.”
Some members of Congress work hard on what’s known as “constituent services” — serving as a very powerful elected customer service representative in Washington, helping resolve issues facing constituents. Up to 40 percent of a congressional staff can be dedicated to such services, according to Fitch.
“That’s the kind of service that Pete Aguilar, in particular, is trying to do,” Godwin said. “My sense is that he would do quite similar things even if he wa s in the majority because he’s really staked his reputation on being a pragmatist and wanting to be in it for the long term and that there are these tides and cycles.” Assembling more data about members of Congress would provide more useful rankings, but that takes time, manpower and money.
“I literally created a method for measuring the effectiveness of Congress 10 years ago,” Fitch said, “that used 32 points of data,” including seniority and references in national news publications. Unfortunately, Fitch’s company was bought out and the Power Rankings stopped after 2009.
Alternatives designed for Capitol Hill professionals exist, but for the general public at the moment, Fitch has some recommendations.
“The best tools that constituents can use is their local publications, not the national publications,” which tend to only cover party leadership, he said.
“Also, follow them on social media. Members of Congress are pretty raw and lay out there what they want to say,” said Fitch, a former Capitol Hill staffer and journalist himself. “You get not just the tenor of the work they’re doing, but also their tone. … It’s a great way to follow what they’re doing and whether it’s in tune with their own issues.”
Fitch also recommends voters check with organizations they trust and see if they have scorecards that track how legislators vote and how in tune they are with the issues they care about.
Historically, only about 4 percent of bills become law, according to the Sunlight Foundation government transparency group. Things are likely to pick up in terms of bills getting voted on after legislators return to work on Tuesday.
“Technically, the budget is supposed to be approved by the first of October, so we’re getting closer to things getting serious,” Godwin said.
Still, members of Congress themselves have been complaining about the glacial pace of progress in Washington in recent years.
“This has been a really slow time for Congress,” Godwin said.
(Not everyone thinks Congress not passing new laws is a bad thing. In January, the National Review praised that as a “first, do no harm” style virtue.)

Pete Aguilar
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-San Bernardino, represents California’s 31st Congressional District. During the 114th Congress, he sponsored two bills as of Friday, according to GovTrack.us.
Those bills are H.R. 2431, the On-the-Job Training Tax Credit Act of 2015, and H.R. 3198, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2015.
“In spite of the hyperpartisanship that continues to plague Washington, I’m proud of my record of reaching across the aisle in support of legislation that helps families and businesses in the Inland Empire,” Aguilar is quoted as saying in an emailed statement on Friday [Sept 4], “From working with Republican Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) to pass legislation to put veterans back to work, to introducing bipartisan legislation to cut taxes on small businesses and create jobs in San Bernardino County, my focus in Washington is on working with Democrats and Republicans to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.”
According to Congressional Quarterly magazine, Aguilar voted the Democratic Party line 89.3 percent of the time, the least party unity of any legislator representing the Inland Empire.

Paul Cook
Rep. Paul Cook, (R) Apple Valley, represents California’s 8th Congressional District. During the 114th Congress, he has sponsored eight bills as of Friday, according to GovTrack.us.
Cook’s eight bills are H.R. 496, the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Establishment Act; H.R. 832, the Veterans Employment and Training Service Longitudinal Study Act of 2015; H.R. 1992, the American Soda Ash Competitiveness Act; H.R. 2286, the Prioritizing Urgent Claims for Veterans Act; H.R. 3025, the Wildfire Airspace Protection Act of 2015; H.R. 3026, the Tribal TANF Fairness Act of 2015; H.R. 3176, the Protecting our National Parks Act of 2015; and H.R. 3286, the HIRE Vets Act.
According to Congressional Quarterly magazine, Cook voted the Republican Party line 96.5 percent, the most of any Republican representing the Inland Empire on Capitol Hill.

Norma Torres
Rep. Norma Torres, (D) Ontario, represents California’s 35th Congressional District. According to GovTrack.us, as of Friday, during the 114th Congress, she introduced three bills: H.R. 1829, the DHS Communication Enhancement Act of 2015; H.R. 2485, the Regional Infrastructure Accelerator Act of 2015; and H.R. 2601, the Job Opportunities Between our Shores Act.
She also introduced a resolution: H.Con.Res. 39, which voiced support for goals and ideals of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. “In this Congress, it’s been very, very difficult, although I think we’ve been very creative in trying to go around the obstacles that we’ve faced,” Torres said Friday.
That might mean cannibalizing H.R. 2485 to get its provisions signed into law in other ways.
“A lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle like it but for political reasons can’t support it. So we’ve tried to insert that language in other bills and in Senate bills,” Torres said. “At the end of the day, I don’t care who gets credit for the bill. I care about the bill getting passed because that’s what’s going to help my community.”
It’s a very different experience than her six years in the Assembly and California Senate.
“My glass is always half full, but let’s face it, it’s a very challenging time in the House,” Torres said. “There’s not a lot of laws that I can pass, but there’s a lot of other assistance that I can bring to the community.”
According to Congressional Quarterly magazine, Torres voted the Democratic Party line 95.7 percent of the time.

Barbara Boxer
As of Friday, during the 114th Congress, Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D) Calif., sponsored 33 bills and introduced two resolutions, according to GovTrack.us.
Boxer’s 33 bills included S. 430, Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act of 2015; S. 511, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act; S. 486, the Head Start on Vaccinations Act; S. 669, the Iran Congressional Oversight Act of 2015; S. 864, the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act; S. 1476, the Police Reporting Information, Data, and Evidence Act of 2015; and S. 1977, the Gun Violence Intervention Act of 2015.
The two resolutions Boxer introduced were S.Res. 37, supporting women’s reproductive health care decisions; and S.Res. 206, which congratulated the Golden State Warriors for winning the 2015 National Basketball Association championship.
According to Congressional Quarterly magazine, Boxer voted the Democratic Party line 97.1 percent of the time.

Dianne Feinstein
As of Friday, during the 114th Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D) Calif., sponsored 34 bills and introduced eight resolutions, according to the GovTrack.us Congressional tracking website.
Among those 34 bills were S. 414, the California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act of 2015; S. 630, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Establishment Act; S. 1469, the FISA Reform Act of 2015; S. 1608, the Consumer Drone Safety Act; S. 1837, the Drought Recovery and Resilience Act of 2015; and S. 1894, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2015.
According to Congressional Quarterly magazine, Feinstein voted the Democratic Party line 91 percent of the time. Staff Writer Joe Blackstock contributed to this report.

Sep 08

New Pew poll on Catholics

Pew Research has released a remarkably thorough look at American Catholics, in anticipation of the papal visit to the U.S. later this month. Similar to their recent work on Orthodox Jews, they approach Catholicism as a wide spectrum of beliefs and intensities, rather than one uniform religion, as many media pundits often do.

How often, for instance, do you hear speculation about which candidate is winning “the Catholic vote?” It’s a group that encompasses perhaps one-third of the nation, and runs the gamut from not just liberal to conservative, but also from fervently devoted to largely indifferent about faith. In the end, it’s not much different from referring to the “female vote” or the “white vote,” sadly, both of which are constantly discussed as though they’re monolithic blobs as well.

Pew’s study focuses on social issues (abortion, birth control, same-sex marriage, and even divorce and cohabitation), without delving into issues like party identification, or even much about economic issues beyond “working to help the poor” and the Church’s newfound interest in climate change. It’d be nice to see them expand more on partisan politics, but what’s strong about this study is that it looks at active Catholics (20 percent of the population) who attend mass regularly and those who don’t, and even looks at gradations like “cultural Catholics,” ex-Catholics, and those with other connections to Catholicism (who, taken together, add up to nearly 45 percent of the country’s population).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s a wide gap in opinions on issues like divorce, cohabitation, and birth control between those who attend regularly and those who don’t. But even when considering all Catholics together, there’s a majority allowing tolerance for those acts—and many Catholics have partaken in those particular forbidden fruits themselves: one in four have divorced, 44 percent have cohabited. In a just world, this study would help reduce repetition of the notion of the “Catholic vote” as lazy shorthand for a uniformly conservative bloc, especially as Catholicism in America continues to rapidly shift from something that’s uniformly “white ethnic” to something that includes tens of millions of Hispanics.

Thanks to Daily KOS

Sep 03

How are Federal Judges appointed?

How much do you know about the judicial confirmation process? When a seat on the federal court remains empty, Americans who rely on that court to resolve business disputes, Social Security claims and constitutional challenges are denied timely access to justice. Currently, the courts are experiencing the worst obstruction since 1953, meaning that justice is being delayed at an all-time high. Learn the 9 steps in the judicial confirmation process and join the fight against obstruction here: Why Courts Matter on Federal Judges.
Federal Cour System

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