Friday, August 18, 2006

Meeting Our Next Governor

Yesterday, I traveled with my dad through the amazingly speedy 55 and 91 freeways to Anaheim Hills yesterday to see the retiring state treasurer, and hopefully future governor, Phil Angelides. I wanted to hear for myself Angelides' new budget plan, and my dad wanted to hear for himself what Angelides would do about the mess that Ahhnold made out of Workers' Compensation. In the end, we were both fairly impressed by what Angelides had to say.

During much of his speech, Angelides connected Schwarzenegger's policies in Sacramento those those of Bush in D.C. The centerpiece issue yesterday was education, and Angelides reiterated his promise to roll back the tuition hikes at Cal State and UC schools that have been making state schools increasingly unaffordable over the last four years. Yes, to be fair, the tuition hikes began under Davis, but this has been taken to a new level under the Governator, who infamously said, "Tuition here is too low compared to the rest of the country." When asked for his thoughts on Angelides' plan to make college more affordable, Arnold has said flat out that "we cannot afford it". Well, of course we can't when we continue offering tax loopholes to major corporations and the superwealthy... The ones who need help the least! Just like Bush not realizing how his foreign and domestic policies have both caused great damage to our nation, Arnold refuses to recognize how his state policies are wrecking the future of California. If Angelides really wants to win the state's top office, he needs to continue bringing home the fact that Arnold is out of touch with working Californians, and that Arnold's plans for the state aren't that different from Bush's plans for the nation.

Also yesterday, Angelides explained his new fiscal policy of lifting the financial burden off the poor and middle-class. Specifically, he would like to offer tax credits of up to $660 for families earning less than $100,000. Also, he would like to increase by 50 percent the property tax break for low-income senior and disabled owners and renters. And as mentioned earlier, Angelides wants to roll back state college tuition by up to $5,000. All of these proposals sound great... But some were starting to wonder how Angelides intends to pay for all of this. Well, this is where the centerpiece of Angelides' fiscal policy comes in: he would like to close all the corporate tax loopholes that have been added over the years in addition to imposing a three-year tax increase that will only affect the wealthiest 1% of Californians. This was really something that Angelides needed to do: stress how his fiscal plan will benefit average Californians without boring them with little intricacies. He needs to fight back Arnold's claim that Angelides is raising taxes on everyone, and instead point out that Arnold is increasing the financial burden on working-class Californians. Angelides also likened his fiscal plan for the state to Clinton's 1993 economic recovery package... Again, something he needs to run with! By connecting himself to Clinton and tying Arnold to Bush and the Republican fat cats, Angelides may just be able to take advantage of the national Democratic wave and ride it all the way to the Governor's Mansion!

After the speech, my dad introduced himself to Phil Angelides and asked him what he'd do about the Workers' Compensation fiasco. As it is now, my dad has to fight tooth and nail just to see his doctor. What was supposedly Arnold's attempt to "clean up waste" in the system two years ago was in reality another special interest "gravy train" that has been a boon to the health insurance corporations. Angelides promised my dad that he'd actually fix the system in a way that would help the ones meant to be served by Workers' Comp: the disabled workers! Also I briefly introduced myself to Phil, and told him that I'd do my best to turn out Santa Ana Democrats for him. I also mentioned this to Phil's daughter, Megan. Hopefully, that was a good hint that the Angelides campaign would be better off making use of local programs, such as OC Precinct Captains, to reach out to Orange County voters. There is no reason why multiple GOTV operations should all target the exact same voters... And completely annoy voters in the process! Orange County has already joined the statewide effort to implement Howard Dean's Fifty State Strategy in California... It already worked in turning out more Democrats to defeat Arnold's "top props" last year... Maybe the Angelides campaign should take notice and take up our offer this year!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Phil's visit behind the Orange Curtain... Even if he didn't want to stay too far from the curtain! I really hope that Angelides pulls it off this year. Contrary to Arnold's claims, he's no moderate! He is just another Republican fat cat in disguise. If we get that message out to California voters, then we win! This is why I plan to work my behind off all the way through November... and boy, do I hope it pays off!

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