IssuesThe nation has many challenges and grave problems in front of it at the moment. I believe we can once again show what makes this country so great by rising to meet and conquer these challenges. To do this though, we need some new thinking in Washington. We need someone that can and really will work for the people and the nation in this 46th district's Congressional seat. The incumbent does not believe in government and has therefore done little to nothing in his 3 decades in Washington.

I do not believe that government can provide all the answers, but that good leadership can help find, light and smooth the path, so that the people and their businesses and organizations, using our great talents and spirit, can solve our problems and restore our nation's promise and greatness.

Some of the areas I am most looking forward to working on are:

Representing the people rather than special interests, changing the power dynamics and partisanship in our government and bringing together representatives that truly want to improve things for this country, to do the business of the people and the Congress, thinking only of what is best for the country and the citizens, not their next election, donors or "friends". We need to break the gridlock that prevents our state and national legislatures from doing what they know is best and right.

Getting America working again. Far too many are unemployed or under-employed. Business is stagnant in many areas and sectors. Our banks are not lending to qualified businesses and individuals. Schools, cities and states are cutting jobs and services from lack of revenues caused by falling asset values, sales and employment. We may have avoided a great global crash but we can still fall into a downward spiral or stagnate indefinitely if we don't take further positive action. The economy is tied into so many other problems, we cannot properly address them or our budget problems until we get America working again.

World Class Education. To solve our many problems, to build for the future, to compete in a global economy and to have a better quality of life for all Americans we must recover our leadership in education. Our investments in education are returned to the taxpayers and the society many fold. It is when the economy is in trouble that we most need to avoid cuts in education.

Ending our dependence upon fossil fuels, especially foreign oil. We can and we must dramatically reduce (or eliminate) our use of fossil fuels for many reasons, only the most urgent of which is climate change. Our dependence upon this limited toxic resource should have been ended decades ago. The facts that we are shipping much of our money to potential and actual enemies to pay for most of it and that we have to maintain a vast military presence around the globe to protect the supply for ourselves and our allies, are among the many additional reasons we must accelerate our efforts toward energy conversion. We can do this without harming our economy and using our technologies our businesses can help the world convert to clean, sustainable energy sources.

Protecting the environment for ourselves and for future generations. Fighting climate change, pollution, species extermination, deforestation, and protecting our parks and wilderness areas are only the most acknowledged and popularized environmental concerns. I certainly share those concerns and many others. For example, I am particularly alarmed by the degradation of the quality and safety of our food supply. Many once common foods are no longer affordable. Too much of our food stuffs of all kinds are now produced in ways that yield products with far less taste and nutritional value, and that are filled with unnatural chemicals. Rather than supporting local growers and American agriculture, we are getting more of our food air-shipped from distant locations which can create economically unhealthy dependencies and is not environmentally sound. We need sustainable clean healthy cities, open spaces for recreation and protected wildernesses all for our societal, mental, and physical health as well as for the survival of the planet and its innumerable interdependent ecosystems.    

Growing and protecting U.S. Technology for now and the future. Our trade policies, budget priorities and educational policies are allowing other countries to catch and even surpass us in many technologies and jeopardizes our position in the world in the coming decades. We allow China and others to steal and copy our intellectual property without repercussions, and I'm not just referring to entertainment and computer software but to other highly valuable patented technologies for products and manufacturing technology. Over the past decade government funding for much needed research in many areas of medicine and bio-technology was blocked or underfunded and Asia and other parts of the world are moving forward on the technologies of the 21st century without us. Many of our nation's schools have removed or cut back on the teaching of areas of science and mathematics (besides removing key vocational programs, health, physical education, music, civics and much else). We appear to be putting a big hold on our manned space exploration efforts. We need to educate and inspire our best young minds for the research and engineering that we will need to meet the challenges of our times and of the future. We need to enforce our copyrights and patents, protect technologies we have paid to develop and enforce good trade agreements (and cancel bad ones). 

Green Jobs and a sustainable growing economy. To sustain the nation's and the world's present population we must change how we use the planet's resources and dramatically reduce the phenomenal amounts we waste. We can create the incentives to cost effectively employ millions in hundreds of different jobs at all economic and technological levels. We can get people sealing or replacing doors and windows, building wind turbines, solar panels and hybrid vehicles, upgrading our electric transmission systems and researching improved battery technologies and potential bio-fuels. Those and very many more are among the jobs and undertakings we need to get our economy going now and to make it competitive and sustainable for the future.  

Quality affordable health care for all, Our current health care delivery system, even with the latest much needed reforms, is still filled with perverse incentives that prevent many from getting the quality care that they can and should get. It does not adequately educate about, or create incentives for, healthy behaviors and lifestyles. It promotes wasteful use of resources and very significantly has an outrageously high non-productive overhead that places a massive unnecessary burden on us, our businesses and our economy. Our present system provides excellent care to many, but the entire system is costing far too much for what it delivers and puts at least a 6% percent handicap on our economy as we try to compete in the world. We are not developing the number of doctors and other providers that we should, in large part because we are not paying enough for many provider roles, while paying too much to and for massive insurance company bureaucracies and overhead.    

More efficient, effective and less wasteful government, making the most of our tax dollars

A just peace for the middle east and other war torn areas

Promoting Democracy, equality, justice, human rights and religious freedom here and around the world

 

Here are some further discussions of the issues that I believe are fundamental to good representation and that are the underpinnings of my campaign. Click on a title to reveal my position. I will be writing and posting on many more subjects in the coming days and weeks.

Economy and Jobs

Our economy has failed due to misunderstanding of and misapplication of economics, a failure to regulate, a failure to protect our vital industries and technologies from foreign theft and exploitation, unfair trade and just plain ignorance, corruption and greed.


The actions taken to date by the federal government have kept things from total collapse but are not enough. We need to encourage bank lending to business and individuals, continue unemployment compensation, invest in repairing, replacing and upgrading our infrastructure, as well as making greater investments in green technologies and jobs, protecting our local government and education systems, fixing our wasteful health care financing systems and our trade policies and do much more to rebuild the U.S. economy into the dynamic, productive, sustainable, world leading force for good and prosperity around the globe that it can and should be.

Trade.

Our country and especially our middle class jobs have been and are being sold out from under our feet. We do not have fair trade but governments and corporations destroying nations and societies around the world as they continuously shift jobs around the globe in search of cheaper labor. They leave many damaged environments, societies and economies in their wake. Mexico is only the nearest example. Through 'trade' they ruined most rural agriculture, then attracted workers to the border maquiladora factories, only to shutter many of them years later in favor of work in Asia and elsewhere. As we rebuild our economy for the future, we need to return most of our manufacturing with a strong "buy American" ethic restored, and a consumer preference to "buy local" when possible. We need to retain the jobs that come from the great technology and creativity we possess and nurture.
For too long we have allowed totalitarian regimes like China to steal our technology and other intellectual property, to manipulate currency exchange, exploit their workers and the global environment, use monopolistic practices to destroy competition and otherwise not trade or compete fairly, and to exploit our country and its open pro-business democratic and capitalistic systems.
We cannot and shouldnot be protectionist in this new global economy, but we must enforce current trade laws and protections, insist upon fair rather than just "free" trade treaties, and take actions to assure that we maintain capabilities in core and critical industries. Buying American should again be in vogue and especially by our government with our tax dollars.


Public Sector.


This country is hurting and even though the decline in private sector employment may have slowed or stopped, there are still further economic hardships ahead for many people and sectors of the economy, especially for education and local government services suffering from still declining revenues. In California the state, county and local governments as well as all public education from pre-school to university have had to make drastic and dramatic cuts and are looking at further drop in revenue that cannot be accommodated while still providing necessary basic services.Many school districts and city and county governments are already near the breaking point, with class sizes growing toward 50, police and fire services and jobs going away, road and other infrastructure maintenance deferred or cancelled , community (senior, disabled and youth especially) programs eliminated, libraries shuttered or hours cut back, public transportation cut backs when the most people are in need of it and much more. We need to provide temporary help to local governments to maintain critical services and key employees until the economy recovers, otherwise we risk a new downward spiral and the collapse of even more neighborhoods and cities. We don't want much, or any, of southern California to go the way of Detroit and other 'rust belt' cities. The strength and heart of the American economy is the private sector and we must work to get it working again, but the private sector also depends upon the public sector for educated workers, roads, communication and other infrastructure, police and fire protection and much else.

 
Preventive Action.


While the people and administration have been focused on preventing runaway economic collapse or depression and trying to start a recovery, we must also look at what got us here and address the problems in hopes of preventing a reoccurrence.
    The Glass-Steagal legislation that separated commercial banking from investment banking worked well for over half a century to minimize individual bank failures and prevent total failure of our banking systems. Something similar needs to be enacted to replace this law that should not have been revoked.
 Besides the removal of most Glass-Steagal protections, many other sensible regulations have been removed in the past decade(s) and need to be revisited. Further, the previous administration had a poor attitude on enforcement of many regulations so that government departments were not adequately funded or just did not do their jobs. There is also the issue in many areas of the regulators being too 'cozy' with the regulated.
 Authors of any significant financial instrument including mortgage loans, should be required to retain at least some interest therein and thereby have an incentive to do due diligence and write reasonable instruments. A major part of the problem was the creation of the mortgage backed securities and derivatives thereof and a speculative balloon thereupon that allowed lenders to profitably dispose of loans as fast they could write them, regardless of the quality of them (so they wrote bad ones).
Warnings had been being sounded for many years about the runaway market in derivatives and the risk they posed to the national and global economy. The "free market" (other than a savvy few) ignored the warnings, as did most of the administration, Congress and the regulatory agencies. Authority and responsibility for tracking new types of financial instruments and mega-trends in the markets needs to be assigned and funded so that we are not caught of guard again and agencies cannot all say it is "not my job".
We need to have better trade policies, and to enforce the current ones when they are violated by our trading "partners".  We need to protect our intellectual property rights especially from theft and misuse by other countries. We should also include in trade treaties and policies terms for environmental protection, workers rights and safety, and other to create a more fair and humane trade policy and global economy. We must be prepared to, and to, act when foreign trading partners use monetary manipulation, dumping or other monopolistic practices to inappropriately gain an advantage or damage our businesses or economy.
 

Education - Provide access to the education they'll need to compete.

EducationA strong educational system is critical to our being able to compete in the global economy. A well educated and informed electorate is crucial to the proper functioning of a democracy. Knowledge and understanding are the keys to the most happy and productive lives. As my wife, whose family was persecuted and impoverished after the fall of South Vietnam, likes to say ''Education is the most valuable thing becuase it is one thing they can't take away from you".

I am deeply saddened by the state of most public education in this country and especially in this state. California's schools once lead the country and probably the world, now they are near the bottom in this country. The current economic situation is putting unacceptable stress on many schools and institutions of higher education that were already near breaking due to long term budgetary neglect. We had done so much to reduce class sizes and now they are back at record sizes in many districts. We should be sad, ashamed, outraged and very concerned for the future of our country.

I believe in mostly local control of our schools and believe that quality teachers along with strong parental involvement and support is possibly the most important determinate of a child's success. That said, the counties, states and even the federal Department of Education can do a lot in providing guidelines, structure, consistency, materials, educator certification and standards, equitable distribution of resources, funding for facilities, and more. The Federal government does a lot for higher education through the many research efforts funded by various departments and institutes and with the student loan and grant programs, which I strongly support.

We need to hold our schools and educators responsible for performance and outcomes, but that does not mean more testing or threats of funding cuts and privatization. NCLB needs to be eliminated or radically changed to become something that does what it was intended to accomplish.

The increasing tuition at our public colleges and universities are really putting education out of the reach of many highly qualified students whom we would want to have develop to their full potential for the sake of the whole nation and society. Our institutions of higher education are key to our conversion to a sustainable clean energy economy, but budgetary considerations have disabled or hindered many from being fully effective in this realm.

I believe a lot of our nation's success in the last half of the last century was due in part to the WWII Veterans' educational benefits and the growth of our institutions of learning from that. For examples: The focus on education gave us the engineers of the space program, the teachers to educate the boomer generation, the Peace Corp and State Department workers that built up our country's positive image around the world.

We need to see that most taxpayers recognize that education is about the best investment we as a society can make. Then, recommit our schools, cities, states and nation to a program to restore our educational systems and put us back in a position of world leadership, so that we may compete, survive and prosper through these times and into the future.


Veterans - Give veterans the care they need and the benefits they have earned.

VeteransThere are many issues and concerns related to our veterans. I only address a few here. I welcome hearing from our veterans and servicemembers, as I do all my potential constituents. Please let me know of your concerns and problems in this area.

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This district includes a very sizable VA Medical facility, so I'll address that first.


Great kudos are due to the military medical corps and to much of the medical staff of the Veterans Administration. Incredible strides have been made in the treatment of battle injuries, in prosthetics and in rehabilitative care. Troops are surviving injuries that would have unquestionably fatal only a few years earlier. The care and treatment that many, especially severely injured, troops and veterans are getting in the VA system is remarkable. Unfortunately and inspite of Bush era scandals and much increased funding there are still some problem areas in the VA system and many of our veterans cannot get the care or benefits they need, were promised and earned. The new VA administrator is working to correct problems but needs the support and aid of a knowledgeable, caring and concerned Congress. I will work to see that they  get the needed resources to care for those that have risked all to serve our country, but also tto see that our tax dollars are not misused or wasted.


The recognition of the medical problems from exposure to Agent Orange (and/or other chemicals used in Vietnam), was decades late. Many of the soldiers of the first gulf war and of Operation Iraqi Freedom are now not getting adequate care or needed benefits resulting for their service injuries. Further studies need to made of both gulf war syndrome and depleted uranium exposure, particularly with the goal of finding more effective treatments.
I would support a change to law or policy such that when a large cohort of troops suffer symptoms in numbers and frequency that is very epidemiologically significant then the default would be to consider it service related for study and medical treatment purposes until it is proven far more likely to be not service related.


Many of our children are recruited with the 'promise' of educational opportunities. Unlike in the past, these benefits can only be accessed while on active duty. With the frequent rotations into our ongoing conflicts in Asia, many if not most, do not get an opportunity to get the  education they thought they would get upon enlistment. I would support legislation to provide additional college or trade school tuition of up to 4 years to veterans. Such a benefit could be earned as one year of educational benefit for each 2 or 3 years of active service and for each 4-6 months in a 'frontline' deployment in an active overseas war zone.


I have been a strong supporter of Dr. Broder's "Soldiers Project". This great charity provides counseling to active service members, veterans and their loved ones, to help them deal with the consequences of their service. Some of our service men and women are not just dealing with PTSD but chronic stress from repeated deployments into highly stressful situations (often with inadequate sleep) and other consequences of their military service. More of these services should be made available (by the military or government rather than charity) to active duty personnel without risk of disclosure to their superiors. And more should be made available to veterans and their loved ones. Further, the significant others of our troops and veterans should be able to get the information they need to understand and aid their loved one regardless of marital status. 

 






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