“It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work – work with us, not over us, and stand by our side, not ride our back.”
– Ronald Reagan
Fixing the Broken & Corrupt California Legislature. As the Insurance Advisor to Governor Wilson and as Chief Health and Insurance Policy Consultant in the California Legislature, I saw up close and learned why we have a broken and corrupt state legislature and why it serves power interest groups at the expense of hard-working Californians and retirees. We know that, as Lord Action once said, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That is why as an Auburn City Councilman, I led the way in enacting the most far-reaching eminent domain reform measures in Northern California to prevent government officials, in collusion with big business and public employee unions, from taking the land of homeowners and small businesses against their will. As your Assemblyman, I will fight to ensure that the state serves the interests of hard-working Californians and retirees, not the special interest groups.
Why is the California Legislature broken and corrupt? Too many legislators are solely concerned about re-election and they are too dependent on special interest groups to fund their re-election campaigns. The influence of special interest groups increase with the size of the legislative districts. Since the 1879 revision of the California Constitution, there have been 40 State Senators and 80 Assembly members. In 1879, there were just 1 million Californians. Now, there are over 38 million Californians, which means that each Assembly member represents almost 500,000 people and each Senator almost 1 million people. The result is that very few citizens know their legislator or legislative candidates except through slick mailers funded by special interest groups. When the candidate is elected, the special interest groups come calling and want a “return on their investment.” This antiquated structure of our Legislature diminishes the influence of hard-working Californians and retirees. Let’s give the state government back to the people.
How do we fix the California Legislature? I will support transparency and accountability reforms such as creating small and more compact Assembly and Senate districts while, at the same time, decreasing the overall budget of the California Legislature; end the corrupt gut and amend abuse when legislators sneak bills through without public hearings and scrutiny; require the Legislature to comply with the same open meeting and public record laws that it imposes on local governments; reduce the number of bills that a legislator may introduce each year; require that legislators and committees publish their monthly budget expenditures on the legislature’s website; prohibit pay raises for legislators unless there is sustained and substantial job growth and less dependency on taxpayer-funded programs and prohibit legislators from using campaign funds to pay for junkets in other states and foreign countries.
Creating Jobs and Prosperity. Every year, California is ranked as one of the worst states to create jobs. Because of excessive and expensive litigation, California is named each year as a “Judicial Hellhole.” As your representative in the California Assembly, I will support a broad array of reforms that reduces taxes and regulatory red tape, lawsuit abuse, energy, health care and insurance costs. I will support reforms to foster educational excellence, rebuild our highways, roads and bridges, strengthen the electoral grid and build more water storage. As CEO of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, I pushed to defend the constitutional property tax limitations under Proposition 13. As the Chief Health and Insurance Consultant in the California Legislature, I consistently recommended to Republican Assembly members to oppose Job Killer bills as designated by the California Chamber of Commerce.
Targeting Government Waste. California has an insatiable spending addiction, not a revenue problem. I will work with auditors, watchdog groups and legislative allies to expose the many instances in which the state government is wasting our tax dollars and tries to hide the facts. As Mayor and Auburn City Councilman, I examined in detail and cut unnecessary expenditures. I supported 12 balanced budgets with a prudent 30% General Fund reserve for emergencies. State politicians and bureaucrats will not be able to hide wasteful spending from me. As Mayor of Auburn, I led the way to enact lower pension costs of new hires and creating Performance-Based Budgeting, Transparency in Bargaining and competitive contracting policies to give taxpayers more bang for the buck. I will support the enactment of these policies at the state level.
Educating the Next Generation. Educational excellence is vital to maintaining our cherished republican institutions and giving hard working middle class and poor people the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills to be good citizens and have successful careers. As your Assemblyman, I will scrutinize every education bill and judge it based on whether it advances opportunity for children, teenagers and young adults. I will support reforms that shifts more policy, budgetary, hiring and contracting decisions to local schools and school districts. I will support providing earlier and more robust career technical education in high schools and community colleges for those who want to work and do not desire a four-year college degree. I will supporting giving poor parents the financial opportunity to choose a public or private school that best needs of their child, make all public schools charter schools, streamline the certification process to allow more learned professionals in the private sector to teach in the classroom on a part-time or full-time basis. I support giving local school boards more authority to reward excellent teachers and expedite the dismissal of those teachers who are not able to help students learn the materials or pose a public safety risk to children. I will support reforms to ensure that more University of California (UC) professors focus more of their time on teaching undergraduates. I will support the expansion of online college courses and ability of hard-working students to obtain their classes and graduate in less than four years. I will oppose bills and policies that give UC enrollment preferences to those in other states, foreign countries, or based on race. College entrance standards should be solely based on academic merit, not discriminatory racial “diversity.” I believe in putting California citizens first and I oppose in-state tuition for non-citizens.
Reducing Traffic Congestion. We can improve the safe and efficient movement of automobiles and trucks without raising taxes at the local, state or federal level. As a Director on the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), the transportation planning agency for our 6-county region, I saw firsthand how federal and state mandates require our gas tax money to pay for huge bureaucracies and endless studies that make consultants rich but don’t reduce traffic congestion. To build each mile of freeway, California spends triple the national average. On road maintenance and administration, California spends four times the national average. California drivers pay among the highest gas prices in the nation due to taxes, the California-only reformulated fuel requirements and the new hidden cap-and-trade tax on fuel. The state has a huge, multi-billion budget surplus but state officials don’t think that fixing our roads is a priority. They just want more money. More taxes are not necessary to improve our highways and roads. As a SACOG Director, I fought to make alleviating traffic congestion as the number one priority for funding. I was the only SACOG Director out of 28 elected officials in our region to oppose SB 375 (Steinberg), which now enshrines greenhouse gas reduction above reducing traffic congestion as the primary transportation goal. Senator Dave Cox thanked me for my vote. I was the only SACOG Director to oppose outrageous pay raises given to the top SACOG employees.
I will support the California Legislature consistently setting aside each year a percentage of the state’s General Fund to fund highway, road and bridge repairs; provide block grants to local transportation agencies to speed up local road improvements; give voters an opportunity to end the High-Speed Rail boondoggle and instead direct funds toward freeway and road projects; reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to speed up the construction of highway and road projects. I oppose holding citizens hostage to the power of public transit employees, such as the frequent BART strikes and I favor banning strikes by public transit employees.
Enhancing Public Safety. As the Mayor and City Councilman in Auburn, I always made, in working with our Police Chief and Fire Chief, providing public safety as the number one duty of government. And yet, state elected officials are enacting laws and policies, such as sanctuary cities, shifting dangerous state felons to county jails under AB 109, decreasing felonies to misdemeanors under Proposition 47 and making the death penalty so time-consuming and expensive that it’s never used to achieve justice. Following a few high profile confrontations police officers and suspected dangerous suspects, too many legislators have declared a War on Police. A War on Police, accusing police officers of being racist, will result in more innocent people becoming victims of crime.
I will support measures to ensure that we have swift and sure punishment on those who commit crime and support the death penalty for premeditated murder. I support the construction of sufficient state prison and county jail facilities to keep dangerous criminals behind bars in accordance with their sentence. I will support reforms that ensure that inmates are not just sitting around watching TV or lifting weights but are instead working, consistent with the safety of the public and law enforcement officers, to compensate victims or the families of victims. I will support laws that give police officers the benefit of doubt and legal protection when they use lethal force in dangerous situations. I support the Second Amendment and the constitutional right of citizens to bear arms and speed-up background checks. I support reforms to better identify people with severe mental illnesses so we can prevent mass shootings.
The negligent management of our forestlands is causing larger and more dangerous catastrophic wild land fires This threatens our firefighters, residents and businesses. As the co-founder and Chairman of the Greater Auburn Area Fire Safe Council, I took on the federal government to create Project Canyon Safe to allow local citizens to create more defensible space on poorly managed, federally-owned lands. This project was recognized by a think tank at Pepperdine University as one of the best private-public partnership in California. I will support reforms that allow resident create more defensible space around their homes and ease the overly burdensome regulations and litigation that prevents good timber harvesting projects that helps create healthier forests.
High Quality and Affordable Health Care. As Chief Health and Insurance Consultant in the California Legislature, I saw how state mandates and expansions of taxpayer-funded programs raise the cost of health care, lower the quality, disrupts the physician-patient relationship and causes longer waiting times in physician offices and hospital emergency rooms. The implementation of Obamacare has resulted in many more Californians losing their health plan and their physician and now patients are paying more for health care than ever before. Rather than top-down, government directed rationing of care, we need to reform the laws so that patients and their families have the power and responsibility to make their own health care choices. I will support reforms that use the power of competition and less regulation to lower the cost and raise the quality of care in the private market, CalPERS and Medi-Cal. I will support the protection of innocent life from conception to a natural death.
Create Abundant Energy and Water Supplies. Insufficient energy and water supplies is a man-made problem caused by the California Legislature. Homeowners and businesses pay some of the highest energy bills in the nation and we are enduring a drought that is more severe than necessary because barriers are constantly being put into place to build sufficient water storage and supplies. We need to counter the extremist hostility to fossil fuels and off-stream water storage facilities. I will support reforms and streamline regulations and invest in the electricity grid, more energy generating facilities, more water storage, recycling and desalination plants. I will oppose efforts to shackle our economy to unachievable mandates to radically cut greenhouse gases, petroleum use or unrealistically expand the use of intermittent solar and wind power.
Free and Fair Elections. The legitimacy of our republican institutions is dependent on citizens believing that their votes count. But the objective of free and fair elections is in jeopardy when we learn about vote fraud or when we make it easier to vote than cash a check. I will support reforms that require voters to show one of several approved forms of identification.
Supporting Veterans. As a veteran of the US Navy, I understand the way in which state bureaucratic rules make it more difficult for our veterans to transition to the private sector. As the Chief Health and Insurance Consultant with the California Legislature, I drafted legislation that would have made it easier for veterans to get college credit based on the education and experience that they received in the military. I will also support reforms to make it easier for veterans to get credit for their education and experience to obtain civilian professional licenses.