California for All

In many ways, California seems like a progressive dream. We raised taxes on the wealthy to increase funding for our public schools. We are expanding renewable energy for the climate. We are standing up to Donald Trump on marijuana, oil drilling, and immigrant rights. And we balanced the budget and turned a $14 billion budget deficit into a $19 billion budget surplus.

But for many, the California dream is quickly becoming a nightmare. With the median home 250 percent more expensive in California than in the rest of the U.S., the percentage of Californians who can afford a home declined from 52 percent in 2011 to 28 percent last year. Rents are going through the roof, and people are being displaced from their homes.

As a result of the housing crisis, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. No wonder more than one out of four Californians tell pollsters they are considering moving out of the state.

California’s political establishment is responding to these problems with solutions that will make the problem worse.

The other candidates urge more housing subsidies, but it would cost $69 billion to subsidize the construction of just 500,000 additional housing units — and the state needs four million new units. That would just make California more expensive for most everyone.

They urge more funding for schools, homelessness programs, and health care but have no honest plan to fix those systems, much less to pay for them. California’s political establishment got us into this mess and they can’t get us out.

Democrats and Republicans both have corrupted California. Our high income and sales taxes, and our unfair property taxes, fund a bloated government that delivers substandard services:

  • Our mass transit systems including BART are filthy and dangerous, and now the state is building a $100 billion train we don’t need.
  • Government regulators are allowing Big Oil to manipulate oil supplies and raise gasoline prices.
  • Public employees can work for 25 years and receive a large retirement pension for another 50, which is a big part of the reason why Californians owe the state pension fund $366 billion.
  • And dirty energy companies and real estate barons work with NIMBY environmentalists to kill the state’s largest source of clean energy, increasing pollution and electricity rates, while blocking the reforms that would allow abundant housing in suburbs and cities.

California is not a dream, and it’s not progressive.

In fact, the state suffers the highest level of social inequality in the United States.

Our inequality is not by accident, it’s by design. Exclusionary housing policies supported by a minority of selfish property-owners exclude the young, newcomers, renters, and students, and impose highly regressive taxes.

Older and wealthier Californians often pay just one-tenth the taxes of their younger and poorer neighbors who recently bought homes. And we let corporations exploit Latin Americans and south Asians who do hard, unfree labor in our state under threat of deportation and violence — all while claiming to be pro-immigrant rights.

California doesn’t have to be this way.

There is plenty of land in suburbs and cities to build new housing for all, not just the rich and their subsidized service workers.

We need to change zoning rules to allow larger buildings where needed, and close the loophole in our most important environmental law allowing frivolous, duplicative, and anonymous lawsuits.

We need to modernize the school day and personalize education in exchange for significantly raising teacher salaries. There is plenty of funding available by taking the money from the unnecessary and environmentally destructive train and water tunnels, and establishing a fair property tax. 

My plan — California for All — will reduce the high cost of living, poverty and social inequality through abundant housing and high-wage manufacturing jobs:

  • High wage jobs come from manufacturing high-tech and cutting edge products for export, and California is losing those factories and jobs to Oregon, Texas, and other states.
  • I will create hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing jobs in the autonomous vehicle revolution, biosciences, and electronics industries.
  • I will break up the corrupt Public Utilities Commission and require transparency on all government agencies.
  • I will lower gasoline prices by ending Big Oil’s market manipulation.
  • I will lower electricity prices and cut air pollution and carbon emissions from electricity by 50 percent by ending discrimination in clean energy subsidies.
  • I will seek a Workers Bill of Rights that abolishes the use of unfree labor, special treatment for public employees, and raises the minimum wage to above-poverty levels. 

I am the only candidate running for governor who will tell you the truth about California’s problems — and who is offering a bold but realistic plan to solve them. I have worked all my life as an advocate for environmental and social justice causes.

I have fought for students, renters, the middle-class, Latin Americans, the poor, and the natural environment.

I am a lifelong Democrat and want to clean up my party, which has been taken over by selfish interest groups.

I will find common ground by seeking win-win solutions.

Finally, I promise to serve a full four and, if re-elected, eight years in office. California needs a leader with a long-term vision and commitment.