News from a real Progressive…..

I’ve had many a conversation with Stevan and he’s one of the most knowledgeable and progressive people we’ve had attend our D/L, Oakland events. Here is an announcement from him regarding his candidacy for State Assembly 15.

Toward a California that is "governable" and works for the citizens

California faces a number of hurdles and challenges that make it close to ungovernable by the legislature. In my view, the only way to get to the reform that we need is to put it forward as a package. There have always been a fair number of people who don’t trust the legislature and historically there is some basis for that. All too often legislators are working for their own interests or special interests, not the interests of the majority of citizens who vote for them.

California is one of only a very few States that requires a 2/3 vote to pass a budget. The California economy is the 7th largest in the world. It’s shrunk, it used to be 6th. An economy this large, that requires a 2/3 vote to pass or be held hostage to a tyranny of a minority is absurd. It will take a Constitutional amendment to change.

Campaign finance reform. Our system now is one of legalized bribery. It’s time for truly "Clean Money" provided by public financing so our elected representatives will be working for us, the people who put up the money to get them elected.

Competitive redistricting with no "safe seats." There will always be a few natural enclaves, but there are many more areas where if we do rational and competitive redistricting that truly makes sense, citizens will be far more likely to trust their representatives. It’s time to compete on ideas that actually work for the people trying to live the California dream.

End term limits! Term limits destroy all institutional memory and promote short term thinking to long term problems. It would make more sense to limit the amount of time a legislator can be speaker of the Assembly or Pro Tem of the Senate, than to throw the good legislators out with the bad.

Proposition 13 reform. California is revenue challenged. In 1974 when this proposition passed, it was sold to the citizens as a way to keep retired people from losing their homes due to increasing property taxes. Why then are commercial properties like oil refineries that never change hands, covered under Prop. 13 when they are making record profits? Real Estate Limited Partnerships also can have a complete turnover of all the partners without triggering a sale that would change their tax status. Why is any commercial property that charges market rate rents given what amounts to a huge windfall tax subsidy at our common expense? Another point is when Prop 13 was passed, the top Federal tax rate on millionaires was 71%. When Reagan cut that to 33%, we went from being a country that could afford a space program and be the creditor to the world to one that now can’t even repair infrastructure and we’re the largest debtor nation in the world. California’s share of Federal tax dollars is correspondingly smaller.

Making a "package deal" of these essential reforms would go a long way to making California governable, making the legislature relevant and effective again, and making the California dream something once again in reach of most Californians.

I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last several months doing what’s necessary so my parents are less likely to lose their home in San Francisco. It’s going to take many more months over the next year. Therefore I am withdrawing from the Assembly race in District 15.

Thank you for your support and interest in my campaign.

Stevan Thomas
Elected Delegate Assembly District 15
California State Democratic Central Committee
Member I.B.E.W.

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