Community and Government Report, April 2009

National News

As the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus plan, is implemented, we are thrilled to report that the Department of Education has raised our allocation of Federal Work Study to 2007-08 levels, or an increase of nearly $250,000. This will allow more students to participate in our work study program as well as provide more hours to those already on the job.

U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher's announcement last month of her intention to accept President Obama's appointment as assistant secretary of state for arms control sets off a series of events which will impact Moraga and the Saint Mary's community for the next several months. If Tauscher is confirmed by the Senate, she will vacate the 10th Congressional district house seat she has held since 1997. Because the U.S. Constitution designates the House of Representatives as the people's house, the governor cannot make an appointment. There will be a special election to fill the vacancy. The governor has 14 days to set the election once the seat become vacant. Since Tauscher has yet to resign we do not yet have a date for the election.

In an effort to have your opinions heard, Saint Mary's, the only four-year college in the 10th Congressional district, will co-host a candidates' forum for those vying for Tauscher's seat later this summer once an election date has been set. Other co-hosts will be the League of Women Voters of the Diablo Valley as well as the Contra Costa Times. We'll let you know the date for the forum once the governor has selected the date for the special election.

State News

While state legislators passed a budget, they also approved a series of measures that require voter approval. These measures seek approval from the voters to continue some of the budget actions they took to pass the budget. As a result, California will have yet another special statewide election on Tuesday, May 19, to determine the fate of six propositions. The measures are identified as 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F.

The last day to register to vote to participate in this election is Monday, May 4, 2009. For a more thorough and complete analysis of these measures, please visit the Secretary of State's website.

Also, the Contra Costa Election Department is looking for poll works who can work the polls on Election Day. Poll workers must be able to work from 6a.m. to polls-close at 8p.m on Tuesday May 19. Workers are paid $80, for the day. Students are welcome and encouraged to apply. Many groups have worked Election Day as a fundraiser for various clubs and causes. For more information contact (925) 335-7873

Local News

You may have heard that Longs Drugs was recently acquired by East Coast CVS drug store chain. The conversion to CVS is underway and should be completed by this summer. Part of CVS's marketing plan is to be a partner with the local community. CVS in Moraga has been working with our Athletic Department, and is going to sell official Saint Mary's apparel. Look for your Saint Mary's Gaels gear later this month.

Congratulations to Moraga police Lt. Bob Priebe, who has been acting the acting chief of police since Mark Ruppenthal left earlier this year, has been named the permanent chief of police by the new town manager.

Jerry Waldie

Jerry Waldie.On a final note, I want to mention the passing of a great Californian, Jerry Waldie. Waldie served for more than 50 years as a true public servant. In the early 1960's he was elected to the California Assembly, where he worked closely with legendary speaker, Jesse "Big Daddy" Unruh in creating the modern legislature we have today. In 1967, after the sudden death of Congressman John Baldwin, Waldie won a special election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Once in Washington, D.C., he became disillusioned with the war in Vietnam and became a vocal opponent of the Johnson administration's policy there.

In 1973, while serving on the House Judiciary panel, Waldie introduced the first article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. Many may remember the wall-to-wall coverage of the Watergate hearings during the summer of 1973. A dramatic moment came during the first roll call vote on the article of impeachment; there was quiet in my family as we watched the roll call. "Mr. Waldie of California," called the clerk of the committee. In a loud and clear voice Contra Costa's own Jerry Waldie said "aye." The clerk recorded his vote, "Mr. Waldie votes aye."

In 1974, Ronald Reagan was completing his second term as governor and announced he would not seek another term, creating an open seat. Waldie decided to enter the Democratic primary for governor. Although stuck in D.C. to deal with the ongoing impeachment proceedings, Waldie made a spirited run for the nomination. He lost to the young Secretary of State Jerry Brown. Waldie's gubernatorial run meant that he was leaving his seat in his Congressional district, and 29-year-old George Miller of Martinez jumped in and won the Democratic primary. Later that year, Miller was elected to Congress, and he has been re-elected every two years since then. In 1970 Waldie delivered our commencement address and was awarded an honorary degree from Saint Mary's.
For the remaider of his life, Waldie served on many high-level boards and commissions which oversaw mine safety and conservation. Jerry Waldie was our version of a real-life Zelig – a witness and participant to many of the major events of the last 50 years.