January 2008 Archives

Speak Out Wants to Reach Out

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes Favorites

Speak Out California is proud to be able to assist progressive Californians by providing information like our voter guides, articulating arguments to use when discussing issues and by always promoting progressive values. It's what we are here for.

We feel that it is important that Californians hear about alternatives to cutting police, schools, road maintenance, and the other important things we use our tax money for. And we feel that it is important that Californians learn about democracy, community and the common good. If you feel the same please click here to contribute to Speak Out California.

Here's the thing. You're reading Speak Out California so it is likely that you probably understand and agree with a lot of what is written here. But most of the people in the state do not have the time or inclination to dig into the details of issues. There are few outlets for a progressive viewpoint. At the same time, everywhere Californians go they hear a conservative perspective.

That's why we need to counter this. We need to reach all Californians with a progressive perspective as well. Californians need and deserve to hear both sides.

Speak Out California wants to reach out past the Internet to the general public of the State of California.

We want to explain the benefits to them of progressive values and ideas. This will help create understanding and acceptance of progressive policies and candidates statewide.

We have plans to begin to do that, but we need your help to make this happen. Will you help make this happen with a contribution?-Just click here

How are we going to reach out to Californians? Let us count the ways...

- Imagine if we could develop TV and radio ads promoting the benefits of progressive values to Californians.

- Imagine if we could conduct ongoing testing of the impact of messages to learn what resonates with diverse groups, helping people understand why progressive values benefit them.

- Imagine how our state would improve if Speak Out California could reach out across the state and create lasting demand for Progressive candidates and policies.

If you can imagine how outreach activities like these would help us all, please click here to help us reach California by contributing to Speak Out California.

How does this help progressives?

A few dollars sent our way creates more change than lots of dollars later.

Here's how: As more people learn the benefits of a progressive approach they realize they share our our progressive dreams for California. This creates a lasting favorable progressive environment.

Speak Out California -- explaining to people the benefits of progressive values and ideas. Creating demand for progressive policies and candidates. Providing information about the issues. Helping create progressive change. All year, every year.


Comments (0)

Comments

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes Favorites

Have you experienced problems leaving comments? Let us know -- by leaving a comment.

THANKS!


Comments (0)

The Public Interest

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes Favorites

Whatever happened to the concept of "the public interest?" What about "the common good?"

In 1961 John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural speech, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." This statement inspired an entire generation to dedicate themselves to public service or other pursuits that helped the public-at-large ahead of narrower, selfish interests. And they thought that was a good thing to do with their lives, not a foolish waste of their time.

Many today would scoff at that notion. In the decades since JFK's call to public service the idea of government as a force for good has been severely denigrated. For so many years conservatives and business interests have been getting their message out, trying to convince us that people should be selfish -- that they shouldn't care about others because it is up to each person to take care of themselves. They say that we are not our brother or sister's keeper, that each person should be responsible only for themselves.

But there are some basic facts and realities that get in the way of conservative philosophy.


Comments (0)

Dear Readers:

For the last three years, Speak Out California has been analyzing the key issues and initiatives Californians are asked to vote on during both regular and special election cycles. Last week we launched our fourth Voter Guide to assist progressive voters in considering their choices on measures ranging from school funding to expanding Indian Gaming.

Speak Out California has not taken a position on any of these ballot measures because we find that none of them advance real progressive values or policy. But we believe it is important for Californians to have a clear and unbought look at what each of them will do and not do. No money influences our discussion, no money buys our analysis. That's why we've been California's number one progressive voter guide for the past three years and why we continue to be the source of honest and untainted information that progressives throughout the state rely on in casting their important votes.

Since we posted our Voter Guide last week, there have been additional endorsements from various sources that we include on that guide. In particular, the L.A. Times has come out on all the initiatives so we have updated our guide to include their recommendations. Keeping in mind that they are only one of several papers we believe voters should consider, we want to make sure that, as a progressive, you have all the various opinions available to you in making your choices.

Please feel free to share our guide with your friends, colleagues and other like-minded progressives. It is critical to the democratic process that we have a well-informed electorate so we are able to ensure that our values and priorities translate into reality through our political process.

Election Day is less than two weeks away. Make sure you vote....and that your vote is well-thought out. After all, it's all about our future and our vision.

The 2008 Primary Election SOCA Voter Guide


Comments (0)

Former State Assemblymember and Speak Out California Board member Jackie Goldberg provides her insights and suggestions on Prop. 91 and Prop. 92 in this blog entry. While it doesn't appear that too many knowledgeable people who have no direct interest at stake are very excited about any of these measures, Jackie has some pretty straightforward thoughts on them. We wanted to give you her individualized take and in predictable Jackie fashion, she pulls no punches in her analysis. Here's what she has to say on the first two ballot measures on the February 2008 ballot.


Comments (0)

The country's economy may be experiencing another stock market crash, and the housing bubble has been bursting, causing a housing market crash. And this is all happening before the expected recession hits and causes unemployment to increase. This is grim news indeed for state government budgets.

In particular California just experienced a sharp rise in unemployment. Saturday's San Francisco Chronicle reports, California's jobless rate up sharply,

California's employment market took a sharp turn for the worse in December, the strongest sign to date that the state's economy might be falling into recession.


Comments (0)

Our 2008 voter guide is up. Click here for SOCA's analysis of the issues.

Note - This voter guide has been updated since it first appeared.

The February 5th California primary is upon us. Our top rated progressive one stop voter guide for this election focuses on the ballot initiatives and includes links to the independent and highly regarded California Legislative Analyst's Office's analysis of each proposition. The seven measures that actually made it on the ballot are primarily about money, and how it should be allocated. The one measure dealing with state governance is the so-called Term Limits initiative. While each of these is important to a particular interest group, none of them really incorporate progressive values nor do they serve to advance or impede the progressive agenda. For that reason, Speak Out California has not taken a position on any of them, but we have tried to distill each measure down to its basic parts so you can decide how you wish to vote on each of them.

For more details on each group's endorsement, click on the name of the group in the table, and for details about the ballot campaigns, click on the proposition link on the left hand side of the table for a comprehensive research analysis and scroll down to read our summaries.

For updated endorsement coverage be sure to checked back to this page as additional endorsements come in. Make sure everyone you know votes February 5th, but with our values and state under such relentless attack, we all have to do more than vote. Freedom is a constant struggle. One way you can help is by making a donation, or by joining Speak Out California and forwarding this voter information to your friends!

The 2008 Primary Election SOCA Voter Guide


Comments (0)

California faces a large budget deficit, and the Governor has declared an emergency. The Governor has proposed "across-the-board" spending cuts -- which means cutting all state services by an equal amount.

This inability to prioritize the importance of any particular spending cuts should be taken as a de facto declaration that there is no waste or unimportant spending left to cut -- that all spending is equally crucial. Driving home this point, the Governor is asking for the release onto the streets of prisoners.

If we don't want prisoners released onto our streets the legislature must raise revenue.


Comments (0)

A Budget Shock Attack

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes Favorites

California is said to be having a budget "crisis." Last week the Governor signed an emergency proclamation forcing the legislature to meet and act on the budget within forty-five days.

"Crisis" and "emergency" are serious words, and the public is upset about hearing them. This is, of course, the intent of those using the words -- to get the public upset and demanding action. When people are shocked and worried they will accept solutions that might not be what they would accept if they had time to think, consider all reasonable alternatives and weigh all the consequences. In an "emergency" the public just wants the problem solved. (This is a "Shock Doctrine" approach.)

So having created a crisis atmosphere the Governor is asking for "across the board" cuts in state government spending. This is a tactic that let's him avoid specifying any particular cuts. The reason the Governor does not want to specify any particular spending cuts is because people will realize that such cuts are not a good idea.

Asking for cuts "across the board" sounds so fair. But not specifying also means not prioritizing. By setting no priorities for spending cuts the Governor is saying that one area of spending matters to him no more than another.

Let's be clear about what the Governor is doing. He is cutting police and other law enforcement and public safety. He is cutting schools -- when California already is 43rd in spending per pupil. He is letting prisoners out onto the streets. He is cutting disaster assistance. He is letting roads and bridges deteriorate. That is what government spending is -- and we are who it is for.


Comments (0)

A weekly update on the goings-on in Sacramento


For the week ending January 12, 2008


Key bills and issues we've been following during the


Past week and beyond


With the Presidential Primary and an assortment of ballot measures coming to the fore between now and Election Day, February 5, 2008, Speak Out California is pleased to announce its highly acclaimed one-stop voter guide will be posted on our site within the next few days. We'll be sending it out to our regular subscribers so watch for it in your email!

With seven ballot measures to evaluate and decide, the electioneering is well under-way. Let Speak Out California help you sift through all the hype and conflicting claims of what they do and don't do. We'll provide the progressive perspective on the propositions and give you the key links to all the information you'll need to decide for yourselves, regardless of the millions of dollars being spent by those selling their positions on each of the measures. It's democracy without the dollars, just as it should be. So watch for the Voter Guide coming to you this week!

So what's happening in Sacramento?

As predicted, the proverbial fiscal mess has hit-the-fan in Sacramento. With the convergence of a dysfunctional tax and budget process coupled with the collapse of a greed-driven sub-prime mortgage lending scheme, the uncontrolled and unconscionable profiteering by the oil industry and other greed-driven policies, condoned and supported by the Bush administration and its multi-national corporate owners, the State of California is now among the first states to experience the full impact of this federal administration's failed approach to governance. Although the budget mess has many sources, the state has an enormous task ahead to fix the latest in a series of budget messes fed by economic failures in combination with unworkable structural constraints.

While the Governor is chanting the Right-wing mantra of no new taxes, no matter what, the Dems are calling for all options to be on the table. The Governor has unveiled his promised 10% across the board cuts which have both sides howling about the dangers and inequities of such serious action. Of course, that's the point.

With the two major Democratic presidential candidates starting to create at least a partial California presence as they head into Super Tuesday, Hillary and Barack have each carved out a role in two of the key issues so important to progressives.

As mentioned, the television and media campaigns have started to heat up with the Proposition proponents and opponents starting to burn the TV markets with their 30 second sound bites on what's good and bad about the measures they'll be voting on between now and Super Tuesday. And again, Californians won't be disappointed at the hype and confusion each claim seems to generate.


We here at Speak Out California hope to be able to keep you up-to-date on all of this in the weeks and months ahead, so

If you like the work we've been doing at Speak Out California, with our regular weekly updates which provide inside commentary and analysis on what is going on in our state capital, we hope you'll support our work by making a contribution to Speak Out California. To contribute, just click here for our website so we can keep providing this unique and important perspective on our state and its future.

At Speak Out California we provide the facts and the commentary that keeps you informed on what is really happening in our state. We don't accept any advertising or corporate sponsorships, so you know that we are not beholden to any group or special interest. Our commitment is simply to provide uncompromising reporting and analysis of what is happening in our state from the progressive perspective.

If you can pledge $10, $25, $50 a month, or send us a one-time contribution, we can continue to keep you in-the-know and keep the progressive voice alive and growing in California.

Just click here for our website to support our work in keeping California's progressive voice strong!


Comments (1)

I'd like to bring everyone's attention to a column in Wednesday's LA Times: We can't afford Proposition 13 anymore. Excerpt:

... I know I'm asking for it by even suggesting that Proposition 13 is doing more harm than good. But this topic resurfaces from time to time, and this should be one of those times.

Schwarzenegger is expected to declare a state of fiscal emergency this week to deal with the budget mess. He proposed a constitutional amendment in Tuesday's State of the State address to give him more power over California's finances.

It's pretty simple, though. Either we spend less money or we raise revenue, or both.

Please go read the rest.

I'll be the first to say that Prop 13 did a good deed by helping elderly people stay in their homes. A fixed-income retired person should not face ever-higher tax payments because the houses in the neighborhood are rising in value. Any changes to address the problems created by Prop 13 must take this into account.

But there is no justification for the present situation where people buying a new house can pay as much as ten times what long-time residents next door are paying. And certainly commercial real estate - shopping centers, hotels, office buildings, etc. - should not get a huge tax break! The reason that our legal system grants limited liability and other benefits to businesses is because businesses are supposed to serve the public good. Paying taxes that help us build the roads that transport the products that businesses sell and building schools that educate the employees are part of that public good.

As we address this budget "emergency" I think the very first thing the state should look at is fixing the tax system, recalling Prop 13, closing loopholes, increasing taxes on profitable corporations, taxing oil companies as they pump our oil out of the ground, restoring the vehicle license fee and imposing a surcharge on the wealthiest.

There is more on this over at Calitics where Robert in Monterey write,


Comments (0)

Do taxes drive California's economy? An analysis by the Institute for the Renewal of the California Dream's Senior Fellow Dave Johnson:

The governor says California is in a budget crisis. He says we need to cut the state's spending "across-the-board," and the Republicans insist that tax increases and other alternatives are off the table. The media largely seem to be going along with taking discussion of alternatives off the table, and consequently Democrats are too intimidated to bring them up.

But what they are missing is that taxes drive the economy.

Tax-cut proponents say that increasing taxes on the wealthy "takes money out of the economy." I wonder where they think the money goes? Do they think it just goes up into the air and disappears?


Comments (0)

A weekly update on the goings-on in Sacramento

For the week ending January 5, 2008


Key bills and issues we've been following during the

Past week and beyond


Happy New Year! And welcome to Speak Out California's second year of weekly updates we've entitled, While California Dreams. We hope you have enjoyed our regular analysis of the highlights and lowlights of our state's political goings-on and look forward to providing you with our summaries and analysis in the coming year. But we can't do it without your help.

It takes your support and interest to keep us going. We hope you will contribute to our efforts and help us expand our readership. There are two simple things you can do. The first is to click here and contribute to Speak Out California. The second is to send our link on to other like-minded progressives by clicking here.

With the election season fast approaching, we need your help to keep our progressive message and analysis front-and-center in the political debate. Our goal is to keep California's voters informed as to what is happening. We need your help! Thank you and let's keep working for a productive and progressive year ahead.


If you like the work we've been doing at Speak Out California, with our regular weekly updates which provide inside commentary and analysis on what is going on in our state capital, we hope you'll support our work by making a contribution to Speak Out California. To contribute, just click here for our website so we can keep providing this unique and important perspective on our state and its future.

At Speak Out California we provide the facts and the commentary that keeps you informed on what is really happening in our state. We don't accept any advertising or corporate sponsorships, so you know that we are not beholden to any group or special interest. Our commitment is simply to provide uncompromising reporting and analysis of what is happening in our state from the progressive perspective.

If you can pledge $10, $25, $50 a month, or send us a one-time contribution, we can continue to keep you in-the-know and keep the progressive voice alive and growing in California.

Just click here for our website to support our work in keeping California's progressive voice strong!

So now for the news...


Comments (0)

As the post-mortems continue to characterize the year just past and prognosticators speculate on what will be the year to come, it is clear that California is in for a bumpy ride over the next several months, if not years. With a projected $14 Billion short-fall (with many estimating the number may reach much higher), there is no question that the times call for some courageous leadership. But in today's political world, where cynics and superficial pundits abound, it is difficult for real leadership to emerge and be given the space to articulate and implement that necessary vision, courage and know-how to make the necessary changes we desperately seek and need.

Commentators proclaim that little was accomplished in the year past---no major health care reform, no real water policy emerged to deal with our state's chronic but moving toward acute problem, little real movement to develop a massive but necessary investment in transportation infrastructure, including our roads, bridges, ports or public transit, sewer systems, schools, etc. The bottom line is: we haven't seriously or effectively addressed these needs. Our massive prison system is crumbling under its own weight, while federal judges determine whether we are complying with basic legal and human rights while we warehouse more and more people and spend greater and more scarce resources in doing so.

There are many who study our state's political institutions and systems and declare the state ungovernable, observing that we are too dependent on special interests who fund campaigns; suffer from public initiatives generated from out-of-state business or ideological interests who are using our state as a guinea-pig; a tax system that is arcane and heavily-weighted in one direction or another. Also factored in is simply the massiveness of our state, with one out of every eight Americans living within our borders. So where is the leadership to deal with all this?


Comments (0)
OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Join Our Mailing List
Email:




About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2007 is the previous archive.

February 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.