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State of California November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Ross D Frankel's Positions and Solutions for 2010

By Ross D. Frankel

Candidate for Controller

This information is provided by the candidate
I present to you what I see are California's problems, and what are the solutions, in detail.
Decades ago, California's State Government promoted our golden state by being at the forefront of quality for:

  • business,
  • consumers,
  • education,
  • environment,
  • health-care,
  • industry,
  • labor,
  • progressive, fair taxes, and
  • state political reform

But something has gone wrong!

The disparity of extreme wealth and poverty is growing. California has seen some of the highest unemployment rates, greatest losses in home values, and record numbers of personal bankruptcies. For over 30 years, we have had late State Budgets, and for many years we have had Budget deficits.

As an independent, Green Candidate for your State Controller, I will be in an objective position to advocate for you and for positive reforms.

As Controller, my office and I will uphold the highest, most impartial ethical practices to be offered. I will promote state and local governmental legal reforms designed to reduce or prohibit special interest lobbying from unduly influencing your elected officials. I will promote these reforms among our citizenry, voters, and also with members of the Legislature. I will also use the power and authority of my Controller's Office to place pressure upon the Legislature if necessary to move the reforms forward.

Over the past 30 years it appears to me that Sacramento has been overwhelmed. Little is being done either to fix or improve our society and economy. Our State Government is failing to actually serve our citizens. Little is being done to restore decent wages, to protect our environment, to improve our communities' quality of life, and to return our businesses to healthy production and reasonable profits in California.

Therefore, I propose to improve California through implementing two critical areas of reforms.

Political Platform:

1) Bring Fairness and Reasonableness to our State's Tax Structures to:
--> Improve & Favor California's Businesses, Labor, Communities and Environment
--> Improve & Update Prop 13-era Property Tax laws.

2) Reform State Government Process and Focus.
--> Reform California's Legislature Structure.

3) Establish the Independence of the Controller's Office from the "Titanic" Political Machines

4) Provide Independent, Objective, Ethical Representation on Commissions

Here are the details to my platform:

Tax Reforms that Improve California's Business, Labor, Communities, and Environment:

I propose critically needed reforms to the California State Usage Tax. This is a tax that is currently applied to most retail goods when these goods are used in California, in lieu of a "Sales Tax". This tax is intended to offset cuts to various state taxes and fees--not in addition to existing taxes.

First Reform: Usage Tax new rate on all goods and services that were produced involving minimum wages that do not equal/exceed California's.

Second Reform: Usage Tax new rate on all goods and services produced under environmental laws that do not equal/exceed California's. These funds would be reserved for use for environmental protection, pollution reduction, and clean-up (with priority given to California).

Third Reform: Usage Tax new rate on all goods and services produced under business laws that do not equal/exceed California's.

For each reform the rate would be at least 100% of the estimated difference between the two costs: California's legal minimum, versus the product's origin.

How would this help California? By raising the level of the "playing field." The current system, favored by political machinists, actually hurts and robs our State.

The First Reform would end the criminal inequality between third world countries-- where hourly pay may be 25-cents-- or in other American States, where hourly pay may be $7--versus California's $9 hourly minimum wage. Currently, slave-/cheap- labor businesses `dump' their goods on Californians--and ruin our economic-balance. This reform ends their `dump.' They now have to compete fairly & equally with our own work force--or pay us equivalently for their practice.

The Second Reform would greatly reduce the criminal pollution of our planet occurring in third world countries or even other American States--where there are often milder, lax or no environmental laws. These regions would be forced to bring their environmental laws and enforcement up to equal or exceed California--or face an offsetting pollution-footprint charge to their products sold in California.

The Third Reform would encourage all businesses to comply with California business practices, reducing incidences of business malpractices--or force them to pay for the privilege to do business in California.

The State Legislature should be also granted authority to pass legislation temporarily to relax or defer implementation of these reforms affecting specific products or geographical regions under certain conditions: such as a clearly defined Emergency, and not to exceed 2 continuous years. Implementation would be carried-out under the authority of the Board of Equalization. The Legislature should also be given authority to issue extended deferrals or compromise-relaxations of reforms of up to 10 years to other American States that adopt identical or nearly identical language.

Fourth Reform: Update and Improve Our Property Tax Laws. Prop 13 and other property tax codes, some of them far more than 35 years old, have created a tremendous out-of-balance and inequality to our property taxation practices. We need careful reforms to restore balance and fairness to how we tax personal and business properties. I offer these three improvements:

1) Split Prop 13 related Tax Codes between homes and businesses, but keep Prop 13's maximum tax rate of 1% of the assessed value; 2) Use of the most recent ten year basis average for all property assessed values. This will smooth-out changes to property values that sky-rocket one year, and then fall back down the next. 3) Use of up to a ten year basis to transition incrementally from the existing tax calculations to the revised tax basis--to avoid any tax increases from hitting heavily in just one year, and to avoid financial shocks to all of our homeowners, businesses, and communities. 4) Consideration of a progressive property tax deduction. What if the first $100,000 of a single family dwelling were tax deductible from property taxation? Or what if there was a formula based upon the lowest to highest property values throughout the State that calculated a deduction to help the lower and middle classes, but with little or no benefit to the very wealthiest landowners? I will consider and propose such a property tax improvement.

Fifth Reform: Improving California's Legislature

Our current, short term limits of six years in the Assembly, or Eight in the Senate, have proven not to work--they have been a disaster! We actually need expanded term-limits if our State Legislature is to function professionally, efficiently. I support an expansion to twenty consecutive years, or age 75, whichever comes first.

Having only 80 assembly members to represent 40 million Californians is hurting everyone: just one representative for 500-thousand citizens is staggering. No other State has our ratio--the nearest one has about one rep. to 100-thousand only--and several states have one rep for 50-thousand or fewer citizens. So, California's Legislative ratio to voters is by far the worst! Having a separate State Senate is redundant and wasteful. I propose to combine the two houses into just one unified house of 120, and then add up to 80 more members, for a total of 200 members--each representing "just" 200-thousand citizens.

The 2/3rds vote requirement for budgets and tax increases has caused our Legislatures of the past 35 years to fail to serve us competently. I support reducing the requirements to between 51-55%. Almost every other State has the standard 51% majority requirement. It's time we did, too.

I propose that the Legislature be elected by "Proportional Representation." I oppose our corrupt, winner-take all, "safe-district" gerrymandered current system. Our current system actually influences many people to not vote, because the existing two-party political machines do not represent many voters' interests. Right now, in our State, 20% (twenty percent) of all voters are independent of any party; they are "decline to state." As many as another 5% to 10% have belonged to another political party, such as the Greens. But election laws virtually guarantee that ONLY a Democrat or Republican ever will be elected to our State Legislature. Proportional Representation Elections would guarantee that if about 20% of California voters choose a competent slate of Independent and Green candidates, then about 20% of the Legislature would be seated by Independents and Greens. Our Legislature would thus reflect more accurately the will of the voters in California.

Together all of these reforms will:
-> Boost California Businesses and Reduce California Labor Unemployment;
-> Increase Standards of Living for all Californians, America, and the World;
-> Encourage Environmental Protection in California and World-Wide;
-> Reduce Global Trade Imbalances.
-> Restore Fair-Market Competition to California.
-> Eliminate Existing State Budget Deficits and Restore Revenue to State and Local Services;
-> Improve State Legislature Operations and Representation of Our Voters.
-> Restore California as a World Leader for Business, Labor, and Environmental quality.

Independence of the Controller's Office

As California's next Controller, I will be independent of the two political machines. I will push also to make this Office a "non-partisan" office. This independence is critical if the Controller's Office is to be optimally effective. By maintaining my Office's independence, I will be able to communicate clear, practical information and messages. I will quickly alert government, voters, and public to any cash-flow, bond, or forecast concerns. California cannot afford to be taken by surprise by cash short-falls, resulting in employee furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts, or rash cuts to governmental services, or lowered bond-ratings.

By maintaining a clear independence from political parties, I will take actions that are objective, ethical and necessary for the good of our government and our citizens.

Independent, Objective, Ethical Representation on Commissions

As California's next Controller, I will maintain a clearly independent position on many State Commissions. I will use the highest objective and ethical standards. My mission is to act in the best interests of all of California's business, communities, environment, government, and labor. I will never sell my responsibility nor my vote. I answer to you, all of the voters of California--and not to political machines or 'special interests'.

For example, as Controller, I will sit on a State Commission to decide the fate of offshore drilling along California's Coast. Although I am a Green Party Member, I do not "categorically oppose" new offshore drilling! I will, however, use the highest, carefully thought-out standards as the basis to develop a wise, pragmatic, informed position. If a proposal does not meet or exceed the standards set, I will reject the proposal. But if the proposal results in a win-win "across the board", then the proposal may actually win my support.

Increasing California's credit rating will require that the Legislature and Governor produce balanced, on-time budgets. It will also require an immediate end to the shell-game of moving current debt off the current year's balance sheet and onto a future year's balance sheet. In my opinion, this shell-game is unethical! As Controller, I will use the power and authority of my office to apply pressure against both Legislature and Governor to end their shell-games, and to promote a truly balanced budget. Balancing the budget will also require major tax and revenue reforms. Without these long term improvements, independent bond rating companies will be less likely to provide California with a high bond rating. Bond companies need to know that we have a realistic plan to return our cherished State back to prosperity. And I am the only candidate for Controller who offers such a realistic plan!

Many other states and governments do not have as good of quality service provided to their citizens as our State government employees provide to us. That does not mean that there is no room for improvement! As Controller, I will conduct recurring, independent, objective audits wherever possible and feasible to determine where any further improvements to State efficiency may be achieved, and how best to make transitions a win-win for all concerned.

I am NOT accepting any donations for my campaign. I believe firmly in publicly supported election campaign processes! I intend to promote expansion of publicly funded campaigns. We citizens of California must stop the serious threat to our democratic processes from two corrupt forces: big political machines and excessively wealthy power-brokers. The best way to maintain a democratic process is by moving toward publicly funded campaigns.

Instead of donating to my campaign, I strongly encourage you to donate to or become actively involved with the California Green Party.

As a member of the "Green Dream Team--2010" and as a Candidate for Controller, I plan to push for these reforms to improve your quality of life. Please vote for all of us. Vote against "Titanic" political machines, and their disastrous failure of over 30 years to govern California. Vote for people who will honestly, ethically, and carefully improve the quality of State Government. Vote for members of the Green Party. And vote for me for Controller.

Cheers & Regards,

Ross D Frankel for CA State Controller

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