We did not prevail – this time. Everyone involved in the NO on AA campaign worked exceptionally hard against an entrenched machine that engaged in deception, distortion and fabrication. Add to that that AA’s promoters had to spend about half a million dollars, or about $200.00 for each of their 24,000 Yes votes. They took that money from developers outside of Santa Monica. They also funneled funds to their PAC that had originally been contributed by people from outside Santa Monica to foundations and tax-exempt organizations like KCRW, the SMC Foundation and the Associated Students.
All things considered, they cannot be very pleased with their limited effect of getting just 62 percent of the vote. Although that is better than they did in 2004 it is far below their 70 percent win in 2002 when they spent considerably less money and far less political capital.
To borrow a phrase from Hillary Clinton: The NO on AA voters made 15,000 cracks in a political machine that called in every favor it was due or could borrow, and took every penny it could get, much of it from people it once called the enemy.
Santa Monica voters will have the opportunity to work again to bring some rationality to education funding for Santa Monica’s children, and also to the governance of Santa Monica. With each election we gain more ability and experience and a greater number of organized, committed supporters. As blocs of voters learn that the gifted and dedicated political leaders they once trusted with the governance of Santa Monica have now become the privileged special interest they once opposed, those voters will begin to make more informed choices – and historically it will happen suddenly rather than gradually.
Bond Fatigue Committee – 2008
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This week has been great for me personally. Barack Obama won the presidency in a landslide victory. I am very excited. I guess because I got to vote for the first time in America since I became a US. citizen in year 2006. Most importantly, from my heart, I feel that finally, right and wrong, good and bad, smart and dumb have been straightened out by the great democratic system, and this is what makes America such a great nation.
I am an immigrant from China. I still remember the Tiananmen Square crackdown while I was a college student; the moment that brutal force conquered the cries for democracy. Left with despair and hopelessness, and trying to escape the foreseeable fate that lays out for me, I fanatically applied for American schools. Finally, a letter from a university in New York came notifying me that I was accepted into their graduate program with a scholarship. At that moment, I knew that my life would be changed forever, and I finally got a ticket to a free and better place.
This election reminds me of my good fortune again just to be here. With his confidence, eloquence, and most of all, his idealism, Obama easily erased racial barriers that so many people think are unbreakable. After I came to America, I received an education in individualism and self-improvement, something of which I knew nothing while I was in China. Although I felt the liberation that one can control his or her own destiny, I also sensed that people in America are more practical and short-sighted. Few Americans care about international events; they only wish to have a nice house and a comfortable life. Only a few really have big dreams. That is shown obviously by the presidential election in 2004. Instead of dreaming that the USA, being the most powerful nation in the world, can do a lot better both at home and abroad, people just made a choice to settle with the mediocre policies of George Bush.
I had also become more realistic, content to only enjoy my life and three gorgeous kids. But this week, I feel deep down very happy that Obama did something impossible. He did it with his dream, and his dream inspired millions of others. His accomplishment gives hope to everyone who also wants to do something impossible. America now is great and perfect, at least to me. I can now tell my kids, with all honesty and sincerity, that they can dream, and dream big.
Wenhui Laura Li
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While I remain shocked that voters could approve any tax increase – much less the sales tax – I am even more astonished at the economic plans of our Governor. He has, once again, demonstrated his complete lack of economic common sense.
The state is in a recession with unemployment higher than the national average and a budget deficit worse than when Schwarzenegger led the charge to have Gray Davis recalled. With the people of California looking for answers, his response is to raise fees as well as a 1.5 percent increase in the sales tax. The economic damage from these failed ideas will be long felt.
First, this is the exact sort of economic nonsense that pushed New York City to bankruptcy during the 1970s. Numerous large corporations left the city and the state, further reducing the tax base, many never to return. Secondly, increasing the sales tax will not only LOSE revenue but will predominately hurt the poor. Aside from raising income taxes, a more repressive tax is hard to imagine. Thirdly, if one thinks auto and other large ticket industries are in trouble now, just watch what happens after the sales tax goes up an additional 1.5 percent on top of the 1/2 percent just passed.
If the Governor has any courage at all, he must insist on across-the-board spending cuts or at the very least, a spending freeze. There is plenty of waste up there. Next, he must propose and insist on across-the-board reduction of personal tax rates. Further, he must insist on the lowering of business taxes and fees. While none of this will cause an immediate improvement in the state and local economies, these and other pro-growth ideas will set the stage for a lessening of the pain and a solid recovery in the future. New business growth and investment activity comes from lower taxes not higher taxes. Higher taxes will not only add to the economic damage and the deficit, but will likely mute any potential recovery in the future. And it bears noting that I have never yet been introduced to a “temporary” tax.
To justify the case for the lowering of taxes, the Governor can simply refer to a speech by President Kennedy from January 1963. (My guess is wife Maria can get him a copy.) Those lower tax rates on both personal and business incomes proposed by President Kennedy produced the longest period of economic growth the nation had ever experienced. This was improved upon by President Reagan, who dramatically lowered personal, business and capital gains tax rates that in turn, set the stage for an economic expansion that bested that of the Kennedy plan. The latest example was the lowering of tax rates by President Bush. In each case, revenues from the lower tax rates exceeded those from the previous higher rates. In every case, new businesses were created along with millions of new jobs.
Simply put, the Terminator ought to recognize that our problem is not that taxes are too low. Rather, it is that spending is out of control. The state deficit is worse now than when Gray Davis was recalled. He and our elected officials ought to recognize there is no example in history where a government entity ever taxed its way to growth and prosperity.
If the Governor does not embrace this basic law of economics then the voters ought to recall him using the very same logic upon which he forced the recall of Gray Davis. And we voters should boot every elected official out of office that votes to increase our taxes. California is the second highest taxed state in the union. Pushing policies that cause further loss of jobs and lost economic activity will not solve the problem. This is the height of irresponsibility.
All elected officials, and voters, ought to read the writings of Hayek, Von Mises, Sowell, and Friedman, to name just a few. Lower taxes do not cause deficits. Excessive spending causes deficits.
The law of economics is painfully simple. LESS is more.
Marina del Rey, CA
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I see in the latest Mirror a story about the new field at JAMS. The story mentions that the Santa Monica College softball team will play its home games on the new field. I very much wish that this were true, but it is not. Our Athletic Director for the last few years, Rhonda Hyatt, recently left for College of the Canyons, but while she was here, she supported the program. Her “interim” replacement, Gregory Simmons, has canceled the season.
I have to say that my players and I were pretty excited about the prospect of playing on the new field. Two weeks ago, against my objections, Mr. Simmons told me he was canceling the season. His reason was that we don’t have enough players. I disagree, but he won’t listen to me. I have my own opinions about what the real reasons are, but they probably don’t matter at this point.
Head Coach – Softball – Santa Monica College