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California State Government March 5, 2002 Election
Smart Voter

Follow The Money and Report To The Boss

By Laura Wells

Candidate for State Controller; State of California; Green Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Putting the public back in control of our finances.
What we want and what we get

The spirit of what the public votes for--in propositions, candidates, and local measures--is generally good. The effects, which are often hidden from us, do not follow our intentions. An insider's close examination of the finances will allow us to see how and where the actual results stray from what we as voters and taxpayers intend. I believe the public needs to be in control of its finances, and the State Controller is the link between what's really going on, and the public.

An example

When we voted to reduce property taxes, we intended to help all people reduce their tax burden, particularly those on fixed incomes. We did not intend that the share of property taxes paid by business properties would go way down, while the share paid by residents would go up. Yet that is what has happened. The Controller is the person to take it to the public, so we can take back control of our finances.

Three-Point Plan

1. Hire, develop, and retain a very good staff.
2. Give the staff specific questions to research.
3. Take the information to the people. The Controller needs to present the answers to the people, to empower us to organize ourselves in community, state, national, and even global action, and to vote FOR ourselves rather than AGAINST ourselves.

The questions

How is it that California has such abundant natural resources, and yet more and more we can't drink the water, our kids have asthma, and we don't eat right?

How can we spend so much on health, and have so little of it? How can it be possible that we have high infant mortality? How can so many of us be without access to good, affordable health care?

How is it that California is a wealthy state, and yet our per-student expenditure on schools is one of the lowest in the nation? And, how is it that we spend so little, and then blame the school teachers, school administration, parents, and students themselves when they don't learn?

How can there be empty buildings and homeless people?

How can the State be holding back social service funds, when citizens are losing jobs, housing, and health care?

How is it that we have harsher and harsher sentences for individuals, including our youth, and more and more leniency when big business commits crimes--crimes which do a lot more damage?

How is it that we build new highways, which are terrible while under construction, wonderful after they're built, and then just as grid-locked as ever in a few short years?

How can big business ask us to forego worker safety, environmental standards, and public health so they can "create jobs," when what they really mean is "create profits?"

How can we believe what big business says when more and more we hear of corporations laying off thousands, while the executives take home millions.

Follow The Money

The Controller can examine these economic questions, in bottom line detail, and report to the boss--the public--in order to point us to real solutions that I firmly believe will save us money and improve our lives.

P.S. -- Explanations from the past

There's a saying, "We love our children--we don't always love what they do--but we do love our children." I feel that way about my country. I love this country, but I do not love some of the things that are done in my name. With the help of the freedom of information act, we can gain understanding of what our government is doing in our name, and become more effective in our voting and our actions.

The formerly top secret words of State Department staffer George Kennan, in the 1948, post-war Policy Planning Study 23, were quoted in Noam Chomsky's book "What Uncle Sam Really Wants." Kennan stated, "we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population.... In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity...." George Kennan's classified memo continued, "To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.... We should cease to talk about vague and....unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization." End quote.

The top-secret planners realized then and now that people want those idealistic goals. Our task as citizens is to undo the centralization of wealth and power in our nation and in our state, and then use that power to improve our lives.

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ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: February 13, 2002 09:13
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