politics

Friday, June 20, 2014

High Times Medical Cannabis Cup Comes to Sonoma County

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 3:52 PM

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News that the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup was returning to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds June 28-29 hadn’t yet reached David Rabbitt by Thursday morning, even as the event rolls into the playground, err, fairground, next weekend.

“It seemed to be successful, so it doesn’t surprise me,” says Rabbitt, the 2nd District Sonoma County Supervisor and its board president.

But…what of the quasi-legality of this whole California marijuana dance with dispensaries and lurching law enforcement, on the county fairgrounds, no less?

“The state, obviously and beyond the state, the U.S. has not come to grips with what it wants to do with marijuana,” Rabbitt says.

Rabbitt strongly supports medical marijuana and applauds self-regulation efforts at dispensaries. On legalization for recreational use, he says, “I think we’re heading in that direction.”

His view?

“I’m torn.”

Rabbitt describes a libertarian, pro-individual-rights tendency to support legalization, and “doesn’t want to be a hypocrite on alcohol.”

Some of his main concerns are with law enforcement, and protecting kids and the environment.

“It’s a tough one,” he says as he warns of a persistent economy of “illegal growers on public and private lands.”

Locally, he is concerned about pop-up dispensaries and places where “it’s legal with some question marks going out the back door.”

Dispensary supervision could be tighter he says, but the supervisor says the bigger issue than recreational or medical use is, “What’s the cost to society when it’s grown on denuded mountain?”

“Until we legalize and regulate it, we really can’t deal with that. Go ahead and legalize and tax the hell out of it to pay for the programs to monitor the issues. … There will always be growers or operators flying under the radar.

“Like most counties, we try to do the right thing,” Rabbitt continued. “Certainly with medical marijuana—far be it for us to deny anyone their medicine.”

The Cannibus Medical Cup features many buds getting together, including jam band Moe, and offers products and services, devices and totemic relics you might associate with certain persons of the varying degrees of the whole sort of pot-smoking persuasion, but never at dusk.

“It is incumbent upon the operators and whoever is putting on the show to adhere to the laws,” Rabbitt says.

“Law enforcement, if called, will enforce the laws on the book. That’s what they are sworn to do.”

He recalled 2013’s Cannabis Cup event as a peaceful, “no negative feedback” affair.

“Last year, I don’t remember it being a problem,” says the supervisor.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Santa Rosa Councilwoman Shares Passion for Happiness Initiative

Posted By on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM

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After Julie Combs successfully campaigned for Santa Rosa City Council last year, she discovered that several issues central to her campaign were important to more than just Santa Rosa residents. In fact, several tied in directly with the nine elements that make up the Happiness Index. “Elements of it meshed so well with things that I ran on,” she says, despite learning of the GHI after she took office. It’s so important to her now that she has made it one of her priority issues.

It’s not that she is pushing for citywide implementation of the Happiness Initiative, which is a real thing, by the way. But so many of parts of the initiative can and should be implemented in revolving Santa Rosa’s issues. Take, for instance, the annexation of Roseland. “Looking at happiness,” she says, “[the initiative] makes some sense here.” Particularly the idea of participation in government and inclusion in culture. Roseland residents do not vote in citywide elections and do not have the benefit of city services, even though they live in a non-annexed island of county land that’s far more central to Santa Rosa than, say, Oakmont or Wikiup.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Watch the Board of Supervisors Condemn Efren Carrillo's Actions

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 3:59 PM

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At today's Board of Supervisors meeting, there was a conspicuously empty chair — Efren Carrillo's.

Supervisor David Rabbitt wasted no time in addressing the elephant in the room by being first to condemn Carrillo's behavior that led to the young supervisor being arrested at 3:40 in the morning for trying to break into a woman's bedroom in his socks and underwear.

In the ten minutes the followed, all four supervisors expressed unequivocal empathy for the victim, which, it must be said, is a refreshing change from the spin being peddled by Carrillo's supporters and attorneys. Susan Gorin even discussed the possibility of Carrillo's removal from the Board.

Rabbitt seems to be the one who arranged and led this discussion, and for that, we give kudos to him.

Watch the full comments below:

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Efren Carrillo Appears in Court

Supervisor ordered to stay away from alleged victim while hearing is delayed to Aug. 30

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Efren Carrillo, right, leaves the courthouse with attorney Chris Andrian. - GABE MELINE
  • Gabe Meline
  • Efren Carrillo, right, leaves the courthouse with attorney Chris Andrian.

Efren Carrillo's attorney certainly has his work cut out for him—and now he has five and a half more weeks to prepare.

Carrillo appeared in court this morning, briefly, while his attorney Chris Andrian and Napa County deputy DA Cody Hunt announced an agreement to enter no complaint and delay the supervisor’s hearing until Aug. 30.

Judge Gary Medvigy accepted the agreement to continue Carrillo’s bond, provided that he stay 100 feet away from the woman who called 911 at 3:40am early Saturday morning to report the supervisor attempting to enter her bedroom window. Carrillo was later arrested wearing only his socks and underwear.

Judge Medvigy ordered Carrillo to have “no contact with the victim in this case, who I’m assuming we’re not naming,” adding repeated instruction to Carrillo that “if you see the alleged victim in this case, you are to make no contact, either directly or indirectly.”

Carrillo spoke just three words in the courtroom: “Yes, your honor.”

Because Carrillo and the woman referred to in court as Jane Doe are neighbors, Andrian made a request on Carrillo’s behalf to “make sure that if he’s in his residence, or going to or from his residence, he’s not in violation.” Medvigy agreed, adding that neither Carrillo nor his representatives were not to contact the woman via either Facebook or Twitter.

Prior to standing before the judge, Carrillo sat quietly, dressed in a grayish-beige suit and intermittently fidgeting with his thumbs. His eyes looked blankly ahead, except for a brief moment when he placed his hands on either knee and closed them, his head facing downward.

After the short appearance, Carrillo got into the passenger seat of Andrian’s BMW and the two drove away.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Remember When it was Illegal to Marry Someone Because They Didn't Look Like You? Yeah, Me Neither.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

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All those photos of people getting married at the Sonoma County Clerk’s Office on July 1—a few short days after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in favor of gay marriage—are a joy to behold. Ecstatic couples, many with decades of relationship behind them, smile through tears, kissing and holding up the rings that make it official. The excitement brings to mind my own wedding day in 2008, when my husband and I said “I do” on a bluff in Salt Point overlooking the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by our family and friends. It stands as one of the best days of my life. At the time, because ours is a heterosexual marriage, we had no trouble heading down to the clerk’s office to get our marriage certificate. I still remember the rush of excitement as we signed the official documents, making our marriage “legit.”

A mere fifty years ago, my marriage would not have been recognized as legal in 17 states solely because I loved someone of a different race; our five-month old daughter would have had parents that could not marry because certain people—I’m looking at you, Harry Truman—deemed marriage between races to be wrong. Seems ridiculous right? But it wasn’t until 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, making interracial marriage legal across the entire country. Now, people don’t even bat an eye, at least in the Bay Area, at mixed race couples, but it wasn’t always that way.

The argument against gay marriage goes along the lines of “Marriage is between a man and a woman” but in the not-too-distant past it was “Marriage is between a white man and a white woman,” or “Marriage is between a black man and black woman,” and on and on. Fortunately, last week, we saw a moment of sanity and grace in American history with the dismantling of DOMA. I look forward to a time, fifty years from now, when we look back and say, “Remember when same-sex marriage was illegal? How crazy was that?” But today, I raise a glass of bubbly to everyone out there making it legal! Mazel tov!

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Five Simple Questions for Aspiring Santa Rosa City Council Members

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM

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The Santa Rosa City Council announced yesterday that in addition to accepting open applications for a vacant council seat, it will offer city residents the opportunity to submit their own possible questions for city council interviews, scheduled to take place on Jan. 28.

In the spirit of civic participation, here are five possible questions for the Council's consideration:

1. If the Sonoma County Economic Development Board weighs in favorably regarding the economic effect of Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Younger on downtown Santa Rosa, would you be willing to replace the water in every public fountain with beer?

2. If Guy Fieri offered the City of Santa Rosa $1 million to erect a 50-foot, blazing yellow statue of himself cooking up a batch of Rockin’ Lava Shrimp underneath a banner that says “WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN" in middle of Courtyard Square, would you vote "aye" faster than Fieri can chow down an order of PBR Pig Stix, or would you tell the man to go jump in a vat of Donkey Sauce?

3. When passing by the mall, what makes your sadder? That ill-sighted city planning allowed the creation of a brick behemoth cutting off one part of downtown from the other without an easy thoroughfare for pedestrians and bicyclists, or the fact that never again will you be able to pile food on your plate from the Fresh Choice buffet and wash it all down with an old-school Orange Julius?

4. If you had to choose to see one of these items blown up for the sake of raising city tax dollars, which would it be? a) Every Peanuts statue between Fourth Street and Steele Lane. b) The Cyclisk crushed bicycle obelisk on Santa Rosa Ave. c) The Measure O baseline funding levels. d) The hand statue in front of the mall.

5. Walmart Neighborhood Market—a terrific solution to the food desert issue on Santa Rosa Ave., or the worst idea to come along since the Press Democrat begin allowing unmoderated online comments?

Interested in submitting your own questions? The deadline to submit questions is 5:30pm on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. Questions may be submitted in person to the City Clerk’s Office located at 100 Santa Rosa Ave. Room 10, or by emailing them to cityclerk@srcity.org.

For more information, contact the City Clerk’s office at 707.543.3015 or cityclerk@srcity.org.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ever Dream of Being on Santa Rosa City Council? Now's Your Chance!

Because anyone is better than Don Taylor, evidently, the Santa Rosa City Council is holding an open application process for Susan Gorin's seat.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 11:55 AM

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As Susan Gorin exits stage left for her new position on the Board of Supervisors, the Santa Rosa City Council is looking to fill her council appointment (it runs through December 2014) as quickly as possible. Tuesday's council meeting saw the six current members deciding against a potentially expensive special election, or doing what might seem to be the sensible thing of filling the vacant seat with the November election's fifth-place finisher (Omelette Express owner Don Taylor, who came ahead of Caroline Bañuelos in the final tally by only 17 votes). Man, the council really does not want Don Taylor behind the dais, do they?

Instead, the council has opened applications to all residents who are registered voters in Santa Rosa. This means you! For anyone who's ever dreamed of having a little power in their hometown, or maybe yearns to become Santa Rosa's answer to Leslie Knope, now's the time. Applicants are required to fill out a nine-part questionnaire, which will be used as part of an interview process to take place on Jan. 28 and possibly Jan. 29, depending on the number of applicants.

Questions include: Why are you interested in this position? What particular skills do you bring to the Council? What are the top two pressing issues facing the City of Santa Rosa? How have you remained current and informed on City issues?

Be prepared to list personal involvement in community activities and potential economic conflicts of interest.

The new council member will tentatively be appointed at the Feb. 5 council meeting.

Along with the questionnaire, applicants must turn in a nomination form with the signatures of 20 registered voters.

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For an application packet and more information contact:
Santa Rosa City Clerk
Santa Rosa City Hall, Room 10
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa CA
(707) 543-3010
www.srcity.org

Applicants must be residents and registered voters of Santa Rosa and must file a Statement of Economic Interests, among other requirements.

Applications will be available starting Thursday, January 10.

The application deadline is Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Extended Play: An interview with Medea Benjamin, Code Pink cofounder and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 11:46 AM

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It was at a Nov. 18 news conference in Bangkok, that President Ogama told Egyptian and Turkish leaders, in regards to the blow up in Gaza, "Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles. They were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders." The statement seems more than ironic in light of the fact that U.S. drones have been "raining" deadly missiles down on combatants and civilians alike in Pakistan, in an area that bordering Afghanistan. Between 2004-2012, between 474 and 881 Pakistani civilians (including 176 children) have been killed by the controversial drone attacks. This week, the Bohemian's news story features Barbara Briggs-Letson, a Sebastopol resident recently returned from a Code Pink delegation to Pakistan. The trip was led by Code Pink cofounder Medea Benjamin, a long-time anti-war activist who's been trying to get the word out about drone warfare in a country with which we are not at war. Here's our complete interview with Medea Benjamin.

Are the actual numbers of innocent civilians killed by drones actually higher than what has been admitted by the Obama Administration?

Oh, totally. What we’ve been told by the Obama administration is that there are a handful of people that have been killed. Or, at the most, we were told by the ambassador in Pakistan that it’s in the low digits—and that is just not true. Even the most conservative estimates are in the hundreds. The one that’s considered to be the most reliable is the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and the numbers are in the thousands. There’s a big question about what actually is an innocent person, given the definition of what is a militant by the administration being any male of military age that lives in the strike zone. For Pakistan, they say somewhere between 500-900 for civilians. For total people killed, 2500-3500, so the question really is, who’s a civilian and who’s a militant, but there’s no question that the numbers given out by the administration are just not true. They’re ridiculously low.

And military age in Pakistan is what exactly?

It doesn’t make any sense. It’s basically somebody who has facial hair on them. In that part of the world, it’s not like there’s a draft. People can sometimes barely even tell you their ages.


Now that Obama has been re-elected, what’s the next step when it comes to drone warfare?

First, we have to do massive education. That’s why it’s so important for people like Barbara Briggs-Letson, to be out there. She can reach into the faith-based community, to students and the 34 people who went on the trip are all doing that. The education and writing campaign that turns around the numbers. The fact that the majority of Americans think that drone strikes are okay means that we have a lot of work to do.

Another thing, is building up the protests, which are really blossoming now. A year ago, there was barely anything, except for a few up by Creech Air Force Base and in upstate New York, but now they’re happening all over. They’re happening on a weekly basis in San Diego, where General Atomics is located. They’re happening at the CIA headquarters in Virginia. They’re happening in Fort Benning, Georgia. In Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. In Whiteman Air Force Base outside of Saint Louis.

These are all places where drones are constructed, or where people are trained to fly them?

Or they’re actually being piloted from there. So the upstate New York group is a broad coalition of people from places like Buffalo and Albany. They’ve organized because Hancock Air Force Base is in their community and is flying drones in Afghanistan and, they think, Pakistan. So it’s not only the training, it’s the actual pressing of the kill button.

That seems so far away.

That’s what’s happening at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada where many of us have protested. Code Pink people. Veterans for Peace. Catholic Workers. People at that base are killing people thousands of miles away. They’re doing it from the comfort of an air-conditioned room, in a comfortable chair, and going home to their families at the end of the day.

It sounds like there is a huge disconnect in terms of the American consciousness about drones. It seems almost like science fiction, even though it’s very real and people are dying. We have such a set concept of what ‘warfare’ is, but this seems like a whole new form of ‘warfare’ that we almost can’t wrap our minds around.

That’s right. It’s really hard to imagine what would appear to be like a video game with consoles, PlayStations and joysticks. It’s a new form of warfare where one side doesn’t put their lives at risk at all. The question being asked by everyone from folks in the United Nations to faith-based communities, they’re saying, if we’re so removed from the human consequences of these actions how can this generation of fighters really value the right to life?

What about the idea that there is a ‘surgical precision’ to the drone strikes?

That’s false. These are much more precise weapons than those they’ve had in the past, but they’re not surgically precise. There all kinds of issues related to them including, what information are the pilots given as to whom is on the kill list? Who is being attacked? A lot of the time, it’s faulty information. They think they’re trying to get the person they’ve put on the kill-list because they’re a high value target related to Al Qaeda, and it turns out they’ve killed a bunch of poor Pakistanis that had nothing to do with the target.

So one instance is faulty information and the issues about the collateral damage. I hate to use that term. So many people who have been killed in are in the homes of the person that’s been targeted. So the wife, or the kids, and then they also have follow-up strikes, where they send in another drone, another missile after the first one, that kills rescuers and humanitarian aid workers who try to rescue the people. There have been drones that have hit funerals because they figure that if they killed someone from Al Qaeda or the Taliban, then the people at the funeral are going to be part of that as well. These are all things that can be considered, in the case of killing humanitarian aid workers, war crimes, and in the other cases, certainly violating basic rules of war. And there’s all kind of other issues that come up around how precise these actually are. There’s the shrapnel and debris that goes flying after these drones strikes. There’s all kinds of ways that you could say that we’re being sold a bill of goods about precision weapons which really leave a lot of death and destruction in their wake to innocent people.

I hope Barbara talked about the question of how this is terrorizing whole populations. There are 800,000 people that live in Wazharistan and with these drones, sometimes 24 hours a day non-stop over their heads, how they live in a constant state of fear. The people we met with talked to us about the tremendous state of depression that people are in, trying to self-medicate with anti-depressants, suicide happening and how it really has changed the life of the community. They said to us, “You’re waging a war on terror by terrorizing our population.”

In a country that we’re not actually at war with.

That’s right. And that’s really paying the price for the spillover of our war with Afghanistan.

Is there anything else that you want the American public to know regarding the use of drones?

I mainly wanted to say how amazed I was at this delegation. The 32 people who had signed up to go to a very dangerous part of the world, knowing that they were putting their own lives at risk. And then getting two warnings from the US embassy while we were there, saying you shouldn’t go, the Taliban is going to try to kill you, we have credible information saying you’re going to be attacked. All but one decided to go on the caravan anyway. It was pretty remarkable, and somebody like Barbara, who’s from a very comfortable family and lifestyle and has no reason to be putting herself in harm’s way like that, to choose to do that out of a sense of conviction, and a sense of purpose, and a sense of valuing all lives, is quite remarkable. I was just in awe looking around at these delegates; At their commitment to showing the positive face of the American people, to being the citizen ambassadors, to showing that we so disagree with our government’s policies that we’re going to put our lives at risk to come and tell you that. It was very profound.

I guess about the drones themselves, I’ve been studying the proliferation of these drones and it’s really shocking to see that know 76 countries have some kind of drones and not just countries, but non-state entities have drones, like Hezbollah, that just flew drones to Israel. We’re setting this horrible example of going anywhere we want, killing anyone we want on the basis of secret information, and somehow thinking that this is not going to blowback, and that other countries are not going to do the same thing is crazy. That’s why it’s so important to get people aware of this. I think it’s hard for people to think of President Obama, whom many of them like and think of as a constitutional lawyer and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, to think well, he wouldn’t be doing something like this. The more they learn about it, the more shocked and horrified they are. We have to really build up this heartfelt opposition that’s going to be able to be effective in getting more allies in Congress. Right now there have only been 26 Congress people that signed onto a letter calling for transparency and accountability regarding these drones, but we need a lot more than that.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

John Sawyer and the Republican Party "Preference"

Posted By on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Last week on KSRO's 'The Drive,' Steve Jaxon hosted a lively debate between John Sawyer and Susan Gorin, both candidates for Sonoma County First District Supervisor. You can listen to the full debate below, which covers a lot of ground on candidates' histories, key votes on Santa Rosa City Council and positions on pension reform.

Note a particularly testy exchange at about 27:03, after Sawyer opts not to support Prop. 30 because of his distrust of Gov. Brown:

Gorin: "Well, maybe that's why you're recommended by the Republicans and I'm endorsed by the Democrats."

Sawyer: "Well I'm not recommended by... you make it sound like I'm endorsed by them, and I know that your campaign has made a point of making me sound like a Republican, and it's a very interesting... another scare tactic on the part of your campaign to try to make people think that I'm not a Democrat. I think that's just..."

Gorin: "Hey—they're handing out voter cards!"

Sawyer: "You know what? I can't control the Republican party."

Who's right? A quick check over at the Republican Party of Sonoma County's website finds that indeed, John Sawyer is recommended by the party in their list of endorsements, but because he is not a registered Republican, falls under a technical exemption from the specific word "endorsement":

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So in a sense, both candidates are correct—note Sawyer starts to say he isn't recommended by the Republican party, but cuts himself off. Sawyer is, in fact, recommended by the Republican Party, along with endorsements of Mitt Romney, Dan Roberts, and, in the Santa Rosa City Council race, Don Taylor.

In all likelihood, Sawyer must be aware that being a Republican is the kiss of death in Sonoma County politics, and that candidates who'd clearly be Republican in other counties simply call themselves "conservative Democrats" here in order to survive at the ballot box. On a related note, those campaigning for Sawyer evidently know the tried-and-true Republican technique of taking an accusation leveled against themselves and throwing it right back at their opponent, no matter how unwarranted. Here's the latest anti-Gorin mailer out by the "Sonoma Jobs Action League," an IE largely funded by the Sonoma County Alliance:

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If you ask me, that looks a hell of a lot like the work by Steve Rustad, the political cartoonist for the Argus-Courier who was suspended by the newspaper for the breach of ethics in anonymously illustrating hit-piece mailers in support of David Rabbitt in 2010. (Rustad and the Argus-Courier parted ways in June of this year, so he's free to design political mailers again.)

But... "masquerading as a Democrat"? Really?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney, Victim Shaming and Medi-Cal-Induced Guilt

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM

At 2:04am last night, I had just watched "Mother Jones’" astounding video of Mitt Romney at Marc Leder’s home and I couldn’t sleep. This is surprising because I have a two-month-old and can usually pass out on command whenever the opportunity presents itself. But after listening to the GOP candidate lampoon that “47 percent” of Americans who believe they are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing,” the people who allegedly should “take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” I lay under our hand-me-down comforter shaking while I held my sleeping daughter.



When I finally got out of bed, went into the living room and flipped on the light, I thought I was righteously incensed. I thought I was peeved because of things like food-and-transportation deserts, skewed access to education and health care, affordable housing-based discrimination and the million other infrastructure disparities that Mitt apparently can’t see—or chooses not to see—from his Saruman’s tower. But then I sat down at my laptop and realized my anger was much more less noble and much more personal. In fact, it sucks. The reason this particular piece of victim-shaming makes me uncomfortable is that I subconsciously bought into it, and it nearly cost me $150,000.

Almost a year ago, I unexpectedly found out that I was pregnant. I had just quit a job with health insurance for my current part-time position, which I love, but which is 30 hours a week and does not offer benefits. After making the Esurance rounds and a dozen phone calls and realizing that, no, pre-existing conditions are not a myth, my husband and I discussed Medi-Cal.

We didn’t want to apply—and we almost didn’t. We had the best intentions, or at least we thought we did. We both work. We have two cars, even if they are both older than people who can reproduce. After visiting the county office and waiting in line with pregnant teens and a guy talking to his own toes, we felt like we didn’t have any right to use the state’s scant resources, when so many other people obviously needed dollars from this dwindling money pool more. Our line of reasoning was also, of course, a naïve and sort of pompous way of setting ourselves apart, but we didn’t see that at the time.

We decided to have our baby at a birth center, largely because it cost roughly a fourth of the hospital’s out-of-pocket estimate. Still, we didn’t want to apply for Medi-Cal. We knew that we could be transferred during labor, but I’m 26 and healthy, and our growing baby seemed to be doing fine. We would take care of our own expenses, we reasoned, because although the “entitlements” Romney talks about were probably necessary for plenty of people in plenty of circumstances, we were responsible Americans, dammit, and we would foot our own bills.

When my water broke, yellow and thick with meconium, and I had to be transferred from the Birth Center to Memorial, I was glad my mom had insisted we apply. When my beautiful, fat baby burst into the world covered in the greenish tar; when she started wheezing and choking and had to be whisked off to the NICU; when she developed pneumonia on her first day in this world and had to be hooked up to oxygen; when it was the only thing giving her tiny, heaving chest any relief, I was glad we had applied. When we got the bill for her ten-day stay and it was enough to keep us from ever paying off our student loans or buying a house or sending our daughter to college, I was glad we had applied.

Angry and jotting down incoherent notes about how this whole experience did NOT make us entitled victims despite the words of this presidential candidate last night, I realized, sadly, that on some level I still believe it does. Every time I pull out my little Edith’s Medi-Cal card and read the numbers aloud, I feel guilty. Even though I know this experience was purely circumstantial, that we work very hard and pay state taxes and just happened to fall through the lower-middle gap, I still feel like it was my fault, like we’re no longer worthy of the title “responsible.” Probably not unlike the millions of others in our situation, I’ve internalized the myth that Romney laid out in chilling language while seeking donations from a private-equity manager in Boca Raton last May.

But then I look at my 12-pound daughter breathing easily and the guilt melts away.

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