True Progressive Live: Special Edition. Discussion and Recommendations on All California Ballot Measures
My name is David Kersten and I’m coming to you from Oakland, CA with Episode #2 of ”True Progressive Live”.
True Progressive Live is a new online video show dedicated to a discussion of California government issues and the restoration of a viable system of government in California that is truly accountable to the people, not the special interests.
In this broadcast:
Section #1: What is a “progressive”?
Section #2: California’s “Tax Revolt”
Section #3 Government Inc. vs. the Taxpayer
BART Bond Opponents Call on BART Board to “Go Back and Do it Right,” Outline Eight Steps that Need to Be Taken to Restore Fiscal Responsibility to Bay Area Transit System
Lafayette, CA: State Senator Steve Glazer (D), flanked by two BART Board candidates and David Kersten with the Kersten Institute, outlined eight steps that the BART district and board need to take to restore long-term financial stability to the system and rebuild the public’s trust, at an East Bay press event held earlier today.
The full press packet, along with audio and B-roll video, is included at the bottom of this article.
“A “No vote” on Measure RR tells the BART board to go back and do it right,” Glazer said. Glazer condemned the BART board saying they have essentially “put a gun to our heads” by proposing Measure RR and saying we need to pass the measure “or else.”
“There are eight steps that we think they should take to rebuild the public confidence and trust in BART so that we can invest in this important transportation system,” Sen. Glazer stated, noting that the current measure is an “unacceptable alternative.”
Kersten Institute, State Senator Steve Glazer, BART Board Candidates to Hold Noon Press Conference Tomorrow Opposing Measure RR (see press advisory below)
Political and campaign activities sponsored by the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy are funded exclusively by California's Future PAC--an official political committee that is on file with the California Secretary of State's Office.
"California's Future PAC intends to continue to shake up the political status quo in Sacramento by highlighting the disastrous financial practices of the current "business as usual" approach in Sacramento. Let's face it, Democrat politicians in California are bankrupting our state and local governments and continuing to mortgage our children's future by sending both public debt and tax rates sky-high," stated David Kersten, president of the Kersten Institute and the principal officer of California's Future PAC.
"Unfortunately, there are not a lot of people in a position of power who realize the destructive financial path that the California Legislature is on at the behest of the state's public employee unions who control the California Democratic Party. If you plan on staying in California and trying to earn a living, I would encourage you to start standing up to the bad behavior of Sacramento Democrat politicians before they have spent all your money, and then try to send you a bill for services rendered," Kersten said.
"The primary objective of California's Future PAC is run a year round campaign against the state's pro-tax forces and the special interests they represent. Currently, there is almost a complete power vacuum of viable political forces who will do anything to contest what has amounted to the "giving away of the store" to special interests who fund California Democrat politicians," Kersten said.
"These special interests collect tens of billions of dollars of year in public funds, no questions asked, and California taxpayers are expected to foot the bill for services rendered," Kersten said, noting that there is no end in sight to the mounting debt and tax increases that will be necessary to fund the skyrocketing cost of government under this current "business as usual" approach.
California's Future PAC is now accepting contributions from all legal residents of California and United States. For more information on how to give please see the two-page PDF below.
California's Future PAC was temporarily changed into a ballot measure committee to fund the No on Proposition 55 Campaign through November 2016, but after the November 8th election the committee will resume its off-year political and campaign activities as a general purpose political committee.
All contributions collected through November 8th will go primarily towards funding the No on Proposition 55 Campaign. For more information on California's Future PAC activities and how to contribute please email email@example.com or call (510) 761-8065.
To contribute to California's Future PAC please click the following link: http://www.kersteninstitute.org/contribute.html
Kersten Institute to Debut "True Progressive" Project to Challenge Political "Status Quo" in California Politics
by David Kersten
The Kersten Institute has been developing an exciting new multimedia project called "True Progressive" which will highlight and discuss truly progressive ideas, and contrast them with the status quo in California politics.
The unfortunate reality is that government in California is failing in California because it is ran by "progressives" that are not true to progressive principles. I have studied the progressive era in California politics and thought long and hard about what it should truly mean to be "progressive" and concluded that the California Democrat Party is about as unprogressive as it gets.
Would a truly progressive party run the entire state into bankruptcy as opposed to having the courage to stand up to the state's public employee unions to correct the state's estimated $1.5 billion pension problem? Would a truly progressive party side with the construction trade unions over common sense reforms to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to help facilitate the timely construction of more affordable housing in California? Would a truly progressive party spend all the state's money on retired public servants, as opposed to investing in our kids?
Many of the "progressives" who run California are really just pushing a their own private agenda that comes at the expense of the public interest and California voters.
I believe that government and public policy can have a real impact on people's lives and do a lot of good. But a poorly run government, on the other hand, can be actually detrimental to the interests of the populace in California. And unfortunately that is where the California Legislature, under the leadership of the California Democratic Party has been headed for a very long time.
I grew up admiring people like John Burton for their solid leadership and Democrat principles, but somewhere along the way the California Democrat Party has lost itself, and started serving the state's public employee unions above all else, certainly not the public interest.
This is reflected in so many aspects of government today in California. Union control of the California Legislature has prevented substantive reform in the following areas pension, tax, budget, housing, education, and campaign finance to name a few.
Many union leaders are political hacks who could care less about what is good public policy or the state's future, they just want to maximize their members' paychecks and benefit packages. These are not the only bad actors and special interests who exert an undue influence on the state's political system but they are by far the most powerful in California politics today in terms of the breadth and scope of policies impacted.
The state cannot really move forward until its political leaders break free from the chains of union control and start thinking about these major issues in truly "progressive" ways. It's easy to go out and spend a lot of public money on government programs and subsidies, but it's harder to reform the system, improve government efficiency, and do things that are initially unpopular. But that is what true political leadership is really about. And if many of these Democrat leaders can't change, then we need to "throw the bums out."
I admire the California Republican Party and Republican lawmakers for standing up to many of the unsustainable practices and self-serving ideas of the the California Democrat Party, but in many races and on many issues Republicans do not provide a viable alternative. I hope this changes soon, but in a solidly Democratic state, significant pressure needs to be put on the ruling party to clean up their act.
I believe in "progressive" ideas such as universal preschool, high-quality education, environmental protection, affordable housing, tax reform and government efficiency and accountability but we are never going to get there under the "business as usual" approach of the current ruling party and Democrat political elites.
We need to start thinking about how we can cut across traditional partisan lines to move into a "third space" from which we can truly start to debate and solve the state's most pressing policy programs. It is always so much easier to attack something than to create and sustain support for highly complex and difficult to craft public policies. But we have not other choice than to take on these challenges--the alternative is continuing to watch California decline relative to other states and nations on many different levels, starting with its failing system of governance.
California needs both an effective and sustained attack on the political status quo to the point of its decline and disappearance, and then the facilitation and emergence of viable policy and political alternatives.
This will not come overnight, but the "True Progressive" project aims to jump start the conversation about what it should mean to be "truly progressive" as opposed to just having a "D" next to your name and doing little more than carry water for the state's public employee unions and other special interests.
David Kersten in the president of the Kersten Institute for Governance & Public Policy.
David Kersten, and Other Citizen Opponents Made Strong Case Before Chronicle Editorial Board to Oppose BART Bond, But Came Up Slightly Short With Honorable Mention
As expected, the Chronicle Editorial Board supported the BART bond Measure RR, but they wrote a thoughtful and balanced piece, and continue to do great reporting on major issues impacting BART.
"The opponents of Measure RR cite the BART board’s poor management when it comes to labor negotiations.
“There’s going to be no incentive to control labor costs,” said David Kersten, president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy. “We’re just kicking the can down the road.”
It’s true that the BART board has a dreadful record when it comes to holding the line on labor costs. This page has supported many of the solutions Measure RR’s opponents call for, including a ban on labor strikes and more modest pay raises for workers.
Some of these changes would require legislative fixes that would be difficult to come by in Sacramento, where labor-allied Democrats control both houses of the Legislature."
Link to Editorial: http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Yes-on-Measure-RR-The-Bay-Area-can-t-work-9943475.php
State Senator Steve Glazer is a Rare Political Leader in a State Where Weak Political Leadership Runs Rampant
By David Kersten
The lack of effective political leadership has reached an all time low in California with nearly all establishment politicians denying there are any problems in the state related to the cost of government, particularly pension and public employee benefit costs.
The state’s unfunded pension liability now stands at an estimated $1.5 trillion, but nobody in the California Legislature will even admit there is a problem. Closer to home in the Bay Area, the BART board has come down hard on State Sen. Steve Glazer for opposing the $3.5 billion BART bond on the November 2016 ballot. Glazer cites poor leadership, fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement by the BART board and management.
The main problem in California politics is that few politicians will confront the big elephant in the room of every state and local government chamber in the state---the unsustainable rise in public employee compensation costs, particularly pension benefits and health care.
State Senator Steve Glazer is different. More than two years ago Sen. Glazer campaigned on fixing BART fiscal mismanagement and cleaning up unsustainable labor practices. Glazer was also one of the only members of the California Legislature to campaign in 2014 on fixing pension abuse, which is the biggest public policy problem in the state.
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David Kersten is President of the Kersten Institute and an expert on public policy issues, particularly budget, tax and fiscal policy.