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Political Philosophy for Mehul M. Thakker
Economic and Social Justice
There are so many citizens in California that deal with blatant inequality every day. Women, Latinos, African Americans, Asians, and the poor are just a few examples of people who are still gaining ground, deserved by them, in a society that has taken a long time to accept true Equality. In many cases, this inequality has been institutionalized by the State, Corporations,Banks, Political Parties and in pay-scales. The percentages of women and minorities who occupy the executive suites in America's boardrooms is still low, and the total potential of the contributions they could be making is unknown, but enormous.
The State's investments, that which the State Treasurer has influence over, have also been used to institutionalize inequality. Thecash deposits made by the State in large banks could come with "strings" attached; asking these banks to operate in low-income areas, not make loans to "PayDay" lendors setting up shop in low income areas, and various similar requests that protect and support equal acess to capital and opportunity in these communities. These are called Tied Deposits. After all, it is the State's responsibility to ensure that Banks are not dicriminating against the ciizens of California. But the State currently makes no such requests when it (the Treasurer) deposits money, and multi-national banks continue to operate solely for shareholder profit. They do offer some community programs, but very little compared to the overwhemling need in many impoverished communities.
Instead, the State could ensure that its deposits in multi-national banks are Tied-deposits. If the big banks want to do business with California, then they will comply. If they do not, then we can opt to put that money, our money, in California banks, Community Development Banks, and Community Development Credit Unions. These banks operate to serve their communities and members, and almost all of the benefit stays in Califonia.
As Treasurer, I will advance the principles of Tied-deposits, equal access to capital, and financial integration of those who have been left out. These changes in our investments will help Californians move closer to realizing the long awaited promises of Economic Jusice and Equal Opportunity.
The State Budget Deficit
The State's structural budget deficit will continue to grow over the next few years, based on Governor Schwartzenegger's new budget plan. We need to stop the habit of issuing bonds, and embrace true Fiscal Reform for California. This means no more credit binging, and to focus on generating growth from within California. I see enormous untapped opportunity for the State to be a global leader in Solar Asset Ownership and investment. I advocate the immediate planning and construction of 5 Solar Towers, using public leadership and private partners, to provide Clean Energy for 1 Million Homes. Solar Towers are ready investments that will pay by providing clean, renewable energy for Californians and reduce the use of fossil fuels. The revenue from the towers will be used for the State, which will help close the deficit over time.
Renewable Revenue - Solar and Wind Revenue Potential
State and Municipal ownership of Renewable Energy Assets makes very good sense. Renewable energy provides the secure and low cost energy source that communities and larger users can depend on. The best way to facilitate this project would be to contact local planning authorities and determine a suitable site for a City Solar Facility. The state will employ assistance and expertise and will recommend a design, specification, and timeline for completion. If approved by local planners and the community, construction would begin immediately. Any excess energy not used by the city would be sold at fixed price to a wholesale buyer, for a city profit. The system can be designed for maximum income, or for no income. Either way, the community and sustainable building companies will benefit.
Real Estate + The CARE Plan for local Schools
Californians know the value of real estate. The realization that rooftop revenue programs such as vegetable gardens and solar systems, on top of our homes, offices, and public buildings, can generate good jobs, good food and clean energy, is REAL GOOD! We need redevelopment of local economies, in areas of publicly beneficial production of foods and energy. This money made from selling foods and energy back into the community can be used to fund local schools directly, increase teacher pay, and forgive teacher's school loans to attract motivated, quality teachers.
Education is an area that I will focus on closely. We need to generate revenue to increase teacher pay, provide incentives to encourage new teachers, build better facilities for learning, and provide more resources for education permanently. There is a clear learning gap between student attending schools in high-income areas and low-income areas. Their schools are completely different worlds in terms of supplies, books, equipment, quality teachers, and overall academic performance. When presented with the facts, it is clear that schools need to be supported by new start funds so that schools can be equalized; and all children in California have an equal opportunity to get a good education.
Recognizing that managing public health and its costs are very important to California, I advocate changing to a single payer healthcare system. By pooling our risk, eliminating the wasteful "administration" costs of healthcare companies (which are really just the underwriting costs associated with determining whom to DENY healthcare to), and combining all of California's various and confusing plans, we can save $343 billion dollars over the next 10 years (Lewin study) and cover thousands of currently uninsured Californians. That's money in the bank for schools, energy programs, and public benefit projects.
Community Violence Resources
Gang violence and crime, which is prevalent in many low income areas, can also be reduced through investment of state funds. By depositing more money into community development banks and putting money into poor neighborhoods, new jobs offer alternatives to gangs, and despair gives way to hope and opportunity. Our Green Party Slate- "The MVP (Million votes for Peace) Slate" is committed to adressing California's internal peace, by providing targeted resources for communities through creative State investment programs. I also believe that the Iraqi occupation is unjust and must end as soon as possible. I will always advocate peace and strategic diplomacy in the face of tense international relations.
In defense of true Democracy, I fully support public financing of elections, a change to a more democratic electoral process - rank choice voting, multi-seat electoral districts, and of course, The Green Party's Ten Key Values.
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