Thursday, July 02, 2009

An Open Letter to the Governator 

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

Thank you for completely breaking my home state. The only honorable action now is for you to resign, and invite the legislature to go with you. Taxing us to death will not help. Punitively cutting services will not help. We need to hit the "Reset" button and start over. Re-"elect" state government the same way they chose juries (random people could not do a worse job than we've seen), call a new Constitutional Convention to fix the laws under which we live; in short -- desperate times call for daring measures. California will either become the bellwether for a dying, bankrupt nation, or a new model for something different -- not Democracy and not a Republic, but something in between and better.

To put it in terms that you (and I) might understand better as film people -- it's the end of the second act, the hero has just had his ass handed to him by the villain, and it looks like there is no hope at all. This is when a real hero breaks the rules. This is the time when a soft revolution may free us from the corporate elite, the lobbyists and the special interests. You cannot run for governor again by state law, so have nothing to lose. But you have everything to win if you fight on the side of the People of this state, and not on the side of those who are trying to strangle us for profit.

The keys to saving California are:

1) Bring back manufacturing by providing strong tax breaks to industries that provide local jobs, and penalizing heavily those that outsource overseas or out of state.
2) Bring back consumer spending by providing huge cuts to sales and income tax, and encouraging spending by increasing deductions for basic human needs like rent, food, health care and clothing.
3) Reign in non-manufacturing industries by heavily regulating and taxing the financial industry, and all those who profit by the sale and re-sale of money, or through usurious credit rates.
4) Improve education by increasing teacher salaries while eliminating administrative positions.
5) Legalize marijuana for adults under the same rules as alcohol, license California farmers to grow and distribute, then tax at a rate which will be substantial, but still keep the price below current illegal street prices -- immediate result, drug income for gangs eliminated. Long term result, new tax revenues for the state.
6) Release all state prisoners who have been incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses; establish job training/re-entry programs for same. Net result, lower prison costs, new pool of employees. Combine with incentives for manufacturers to hire them for maximum benefit.
7) Eliminate the initiative process and call a moratorium on all bond measures on the ballot for thirty years or until all outstanding bonds are paid off, whichever comes later. Net result: fewer costly court battles over stupid initiatives; state debt paid down before more debt is assumed.
8) No tax, fee or fine of any kind can be increased without a 2/3rds vote of the entire population of the state. This includes any local tax increases, county taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, or increases in government fees or civil fines. The legislature has no authority to impose any tax, fee or fine increases whatsoever.
9) Tie salaries of all elected officials to average per capita income for their jurisdiction -- counting unemployed, but excluding dependents and retired -- plus 25%. The only way officials can get a salary increase is by increasing the average income in their jurisdiction, but their salaries go down when per capita income in their district goes down.
10) Property taxes are only due while equity in a property is negative. As soon as a home or land owner has paid off their property, they owe no taxes. Net result: this will keep retirees and established businesses in the state, since they will have no incentive to sell off and leave.
10) Establish a statewide "vote of no confidence", to be conducted via a tamper-proof, one vote per person online system. Said vote can be called at any time, for any elected official, and functions as an instant recall.
11) Minimum wage will be recalculated annually, based on the cost of living in the most expensive county in the state, plus $ 500 per month kept as savings.
12) Net result of all of the above -- California may once again become an attractive place to live. Net immigration and added tax revenue may offset reductions.
If you'd like to explain to me why you think you can't perform any of the above actions, please do so -- but I don't think you honestly can, unless you admit that you are just a tool, and useless, and not worthy of your office.

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