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Doug LaMalfa

LaMalfa, a rice farmer from Butte County, is a former member of the State Assembly.


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Today's Commentary on the News


God Bless Gerald Ford


by Jon Fleischman - Publisher (bio) (email)

1-2-2007 8:00 am

As I pen this first entry for the New Year, it is a somber occasion.  This morning as I compiled all of the stories for the main page, I had the television turned on to watch the ceremonies surrounding the funeral of former President Gerald Ford, from the processional that took his body from where it lay in state underneath the Capitol Rotunda (where is was viewed by tens of thousands of Americans paying tribute) to the National Cathedral.  As I write this, President Bush is escorting Ford's widow, Betty, to her seat between her four children, in the front pew.
Over the past few days, much has been written about the life of Gerald Ford.  About the years before his Presidency, where the college athlete and veteran became a Congressman from Michigan, ultimately rising to the post of Minority Leader, as the top Republican in the House of Representatives.  Also about his time as President, coming in on the heels of President Nixon's resignation, his controversial pardon of Nixon, and the healing he brought to the nation.  And finally about his decades of life as a former American President, seldom weighing in on political issues.  Brit Hume, on the Fox News Channel described Ford as the President who "seemed most at ease and comfortable in his post Presidency years."
I am sure that I speak for all of our FR contributors when I say that we salute the service of this President who was also a husband, a father, a grandfather, a veteran, a Congressman, and an important citizen of our nation.  Rest in peace, Mr. President.
It is a bit difficult to transition from the somber subject of the passing of an American President, to what seems like a much less significant topic - California politics.  Much of the Federal Government is closed today in observance of President Ford's funeral, and apparently the State Capitol is largely empty today (not due to the funeral, but apparently legislative leaders have made this a day off in further observance of New Years Day).  As such, our two main 'kick off' columns from FR State Capitol Correspondents Dan Schnur and Ray Haynes, which are ready to go, will be featured in tomorrow's issue.
That said, we are featuring today a great read from our good friend Jon Coupal, the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who looks at the Governor's decision, last week, to form a commission to look at the issue of public employee pensions -- specifically trying to figure out the actual liability to the state, and to come up with solutions on how to pay for this obligation.  Jon's thoughts are definitely worth reading.  Also, don't miss the many great columns we are featuring today, including some great thoughts from the Orange County Register on how to, and not to approach this issue of access to health care, as well as more reflections on President Gerald Ford.
2007 marks the beginning of our second full year of bringing you California political news, and providing a forum for some of our state's most insightful and talented political minds to give you their thoughts, perspectives and insights on goings-on in their area and around the Golden State.
As always, your feedback is welcome.  So please feel free to e-mail us with any thoughts, comments or feedback.  We read it all!
Happy New Year!
Jon Fleischman

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