Issues of importance to California and our District
There is no issue as crucial as protecting the environment.
Global Warming is the biggest danger humanity has ever faced.
We must promote renewable energy and eliminate fossil fuels.
The debate about whether climate is changing because of human activity is over. That is well established (even 51 Senators in a conservative Senate agree). The only debate now is what we are going to do about it. And that debate needs to be resolved quickly.
The environmental damage being done today may take thousands of years to repair. We could even be facing mass extinction and the end of life as we know it.
We must reduce CO2 emissions, reduce dependence on all oil, protect all species and preserve their habitat, and ensure our water supply and clean air.
I am well known for my work locally on Nuclear Power Safety. We must fix or eliminate 23 22 U.S. nuclear reactors with the same flawed design that resulted in the Fukushima disaster. I single-handedly got the California Democratic Party (CDP) to include this request in both a resolution and in the party platform. I recruited both Reps. Sherman and Berman to make this request in letters to the President, the Energy Secretary, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
I also wrote the CDP's platform language calling for the complete long-term phase-out of nuclear power.
In the 27th Senate District, we all live in the shadow of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the site of the first meltdown of a commercial nuclear reactor, back in 1959. This is still a Superfund-eligible cleanup site, both due to the nuclear mess and the spill of chemicals related to rocket research. I have been involved in making recommendations to the DOE and NASA on the best way to get this cleaned up fast and thoroughly (with the emphasis on the latter).
I also worked on the successful effort to close the San Onofre nuclear power plant.
Edison apparently attempted to upgrade these nuclear reactors to run at a higher power level without getting approval for the changes.
They got caught when their new steam generator tubes broke and leaked radiation to the environment.
They shut it down rather than face the potential penalties.
I was part of forging a compromise using language I wrote in which the California Democratic Party passed a resolution to call for not restarting the reactors until there has been a thorough, independent review.
Now we are fighting to clean up the mess left behind and make sure that consumers are not responsible for paying for the mistake of Edison executives.
This is crucial for our safety and well being.
I try to do my part by driving a Prius, using LED and compact fluorescent bulbs, buying Energy Star appliances, etc. California is a leader in energy efficiency. We must build on that lead through more incentives, education, and research. The other part of the compromise on San Onofre was to gain the support of labor by calling for creating jobs through an increased focus on renewable energy.
Cleaning up Government
Corruption in government undermines almost everything we need to accomplish. We need Clean Money at all levels of government. We won't end political corruption while campaign contributions remain legal bribery. The conservative activists of the Supreme Court have made this worse by granting rights to corporations in the disastrous Citizens United decision.
That is why I worked at the last CDP Executive Board meeting to spearhead a successful movement to list a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United as one of the state party's 25 top legislative priorities.
And that is why I also worked there with Trent Lange of California Clean Money, Carole Lutness, Susie Shannon, and others to succeeded in getting the party to list the California DISCLOSE Act as a top priority. This will give much-needed transparency by letting voters know where the funding for campaigns really comes from.
Our health care system has been a failure, but some great reforms have been passed and are moving into place.
Ultimately, we should not settle for less than universal care.
While a single-payer system would be best, we must at least have a strong public option open to all customers including employer plans.
Quality health care available to all will help protect California from the many threats experts are watching: AIDS, bird flu pandemic, resurgence of polio and TB, West Nile, etc. The for-profit insurance system is a mess, and it needs to be replaced with a not-for-profit system such as that proposed by then-Sen. Sheila Kuehl.
I am dedicated to protecting Social Security and Medicare. With simple and logical reform of the funding, we can protect Social Security without sacrificing benefits. With Obama's health care reform, we have already taken the first steps to protect not only Medicare but to prevent escalating health insurance costs from strangling business and our entire economy.
Fiscal Common Sense
The Republicans left us in a terrible economic mess.
Following years of their borrow-and-spend policies,
we are forced to borrow more to avoid complete economic disaster.
My urging resulted in the CDP putting HR 1489: Return to Prudent Banking Act (restoring Glass-Steagall) on its priority legislation list, essential to ensuring that our current economic crisis is not repeated. This law will ensure that banks don't gamble with our money by keeping insured deposits and risky investments from existing within the same company. When we allowed such business to be combined, we created a situation where banks could profit even when a loan went bad. They thus didn't care if they wrote bad loans and wrote many of them. That made the crash inevitable. We cannot do that again.
It is wise to save in good years to prepare for possible bad years.
We are now going through some very bad years.
We need to return to long-term balanced budgets, but short-term deficits must stay with us
No Republican President since Eisenhower has balanced a budget.
The last time a Democratic President replaced a Bush, we also did not see a balanced budget in the first four years.
We will return to Democratic fiscal responsibility soon enough.
The path to recovery is jobs.
Giving employers tax breaks will not be enough to create jobs.
They won't hire unless they know their increased production will be met with increased sales.
Consumers have to have spending money to generate those sales.
That requires policies like extending unemployment benefits, reducing health insurance costs,
funding research and the arts, and restoring individual bankruptcy protection.
In short, it requires Democratic compassion.
I also succeeded in having the state party adopt a position of protecting jobs by supporting the purchase of goods that are Made in America. At my urging, the party accepted the resolution I wrote and language in the platform to promote Made in America goods.
We must meet the needs of all students, from preschool to college.
Some parents may choose private school for their children. Others do very well with home schooling. For those for whom such choices are not the best, we need to provide quality public schools. I spent 12 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and in that time I observed the wonderful things that public education can achieve while also seeing the many ways in which we can improve.
I strongly support the right to reproductive choice. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. We must have complete freedom from government involvement in such decisions. Women must have complete freedom to choose, and doctors must have complete freedom to assist in that choice. Pharmacists must not "play doctor" by replacing medical judgment with their own.
I support the
California Democratic Party.
I even contributed several points to the platform.
As it states so well in the preamble to an earlier version, I "believe in people: poor and wealthy, old and young,
woman and man, immigrant and American-born.
We believe that this is America's strength:
different people uniting, working together for the good of each and for the good of all."