Seven months, and the website is up!

The website www.laurawells.org is up, and you can find it here! We are getting everything lined up for the all-important primary on June 3, 2014.

The campaign and the website are growing, and we hope you will join us. Browse the website; listen to an interview on KPFA about Goldman Sachs and who’s accepting their money; read the blog; contact us with your comments and the ways you would like to join us.

If you are able to make a donation to our “No Corporate Money” campaign, we’re delighted to tell you that in addition to sending checks to the P.O. Box, there is now a way to donate online. Whether you can afford to give big contributions or small, they all count, and they are all extremely encouraging!

Thank you for reading this countdown message, and feel free to forward to friends and family. I hope you enjoy the website, and it will be wonderful to hear from you.

Another world is possible, and California is a great place to start.

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Eight months, and rolling up our sleeves

[Written on October 3, 2013]

My daughter Natalia and I “rolled up our sleeves” this afternoon and designed campaign buttons showing people power over money power, with a person triumphing over a moneybag, and the words “Vote June 3, 2014” at the bottom. It’s so much fun to be impressed by what your child can do! By the way, check out her band, https://www.facebook.com/SocialStudies101

Last week I filled out the first questionnaire for the June 3, 2014 primary – exactly eight months from today. There was a question about campaign goals. My goal is this: I want us to win! So, who are we?

We are a huge group of people – we are

  • 89% of Americans who believe there is too much corporate money in politics,
  • the Green Party, whose candidates never take corporate money,
  • other candidates who also refuse corporate money,
  • the new No Corporate Money Campaign that is creating a cool video, to raise thousands of dollars to put up a fabulous website to build a critical mass of candidates who will take no corporate money and voters who will vote for them. Look again at the example of Richmond to see what happens when candidates who don’t take corporate and developer money win. You might want to sign up for their inspiring newsletter; see the left hand column of http://www.richmondprogressivealliance.net/

The trick about California is that we really can start to turn this state around. That’s why it’s so important that good, un-bought people get themselves on the ballot, as soon as possible. Maybe you will consider running, or encourage others to run.

I believe that this destructive corporate-controlled system will crack, and that its unraveling after the crack will proceed fairly rapidly. Why? Because it has happened before. In Latin America people who had not voted – especially the young and the impoverished – started voting, and replaced the old guard. The new governments  championed their people and not the 1% of the world. (And yes, the U.S. government and corporate media are mad – that’s why they lie about Latin America so much!)

I will wrap this up with a big THANK YOU. Last month I said you could mail a check to surprise us when we check the P.O. Box and a bunch of people did! Again, thank you.

Your offers of help are also very encouraging, and a dream I have is to work closely with one or more people who will help our campaign make the best possible use of all the help that is offered! If that person is you or someone you can recommend, let me know as soon as you possibly can!

Another world is possible.

Laura Wells for Controller 2014
P.O. Box 10181
Oakland, CA 94610
510-225-4005
laurawells2014@gmail.com

BLOG WEBSITE: http://laurawellssolutions.com/  is still my best website
WEBSITE:  laurawells.org – not updated yet, but we’ll get there!
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/laurawellscontroller (thanks to Edy in LA)
TWITTER: @wellscontroller

U.S. income gap widest on record – that’s what happens when we don’t Tax The Rich!

News stories have hit this week with titles like, “U.S. income gap widest on record.” The stories mention UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, and should point out a strong correlation he found during his research:

If you lower the income tax rates on the highest income brackets,

inequality of income is increased.

If you raise those rates, inequality is reduced.

A blog post with more information and graphs is here,

http://laurawellssolutions.com/2012/12/05/tax-the-rich-to-reduce-the-disparity/

At the end of Eisenhower’s presidency in 1960, the rate on the highest tax brackets was 91%. As we know, the rich could still get richer even with those high tax rates, just not obscenely richer. Now the titanic Dems and Reps haggle over a top rate of 35% and 39.6%. Why wouldn’t CEOs start shifting more wages to their own pockets when they get to keep most of it? It’s too much temptation. When they only kept 9% of the highest portion, greed was not encouraged.

The 0.1% use their resources to keep us thinking all taxes hurt all of us. Not true.

In addition to increasing taxes on the super-rich, we can also reduce government spending, and lower taxes on the rest of us. Which government spending should we reduce first? Let’s start with the dumbest expense: high interest paid to Wall Street banks. When we vote people into office who are not sold out to big banks and other corporations, we can create publicly-owned banks that partner with local banks and credit unions, and provide good loans to students, home owners, and community businesses. And we can fund our own projects without high interest tacked on top. See blog http://laurawellssolutions.com/category/public-banking-state-bank/

 

Nine months, to a new birth

In nine months we have a chance for a new birth! Here’s a vision that keeps appearing to me, despite all the bad news I hear.

We will begin to crack this system, by doing the things the 1% – really the 0.01% – do not want us to do.

The simple fact is that we vastly outnumber them and if we stop buying the candidates they have already bought, we will win. Then we will have people in government who will champion – not squash – the great ideas we have, for schools, for justice, for housing, the environment, jobs, health.

Replace is the word we’ve left behind in politics, and it’s the action we need to take. We cannot influence or lobby our elected officials to make them do the fair and sensible things that we regular people want them to do. The 1% is sitting pretty, having convinced us – step by step since the Great Depression of the 1930s – that we have only three choices in elections: vote Democrat, vote Republican, or do not vote at all. Their campaign contributions control the titanic Democratic and Republican parties, and their corrupt practices make us sick of the whole system.

But on June 3, 2014, in nine months, we will have on the ballot candidates who pledge to take no corporate money, and we will have voters who declare their intention to vote in the primary, and to vote for candidates who take no corporate money. Why? Because corporate money in the campaign is the best way to distinguish between people who will be on our side after the election, and people who will toe the line of the 1%.

My fondest wish is that many young people of the occupy and student movements run for office. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been at meetings and events where I’ve seen brilliant facilitators and organizers. They seem to understand that the issues are all connected, and so are all the people. That’s my favorite part of the vision.

We do have the power.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Step by step, with help from other people, the elements of my campaign are are coming together.

DONATE?

Yes! If you are able, donations are gratefully accepted. They are very much needed in a practical way for everything from travel expenses to literature and communications, not to mention costly fees to Sacramento. And they are tremendously encouraging, enabling me to reach out and spread the word as much as possible. The two ways to contribute financially are:
(1) Laura Wells for Controller account with PayPal, laurawells2014@gmail.com
(2) Mail a check to surprise us when we check the P.O. Box!

Laura Wells for Controller 2014
P.O. Box 10181
Oakland, CA 94610
510-225-4005
laurawells2014@gmail.com

Ten months, and counting

[Written on August 3, 2013]

On June 3, 2014 – in exactly 10 months – we will have a chance in the California primary to vote for No Corporate Money candidates. It’s a new primary system and any voter can vote for any candidate for state and local office regardless of political party.

How many times have you heard candidates say one thing and then get into office and do something else altogether? Then they run again – and expect our votes – on the basis that at least they’re better than the candidate from the other corporate-funded Titanic Party! Why don’t they walk their talk when they get elected? It’s corporate money, simple as that. Taking corporate campaign money is the first line a candidate crosses, and after that, they have to toe the line.

The freedom candidates have when they do not take corporate money!

I attended a march and rally today in Richmond, California, an East Bay city of about 100,000 that has Chevron refineries. Richmond has run slates of candidates who pledge to take no corporate money. My favorite election in Richmond was in 2010 when Chevron, the biggest corporation in California, put a million dollars into three races, and lost, lost, and lost.

After being in Richmond today, I’m inspired all over again!

I am running for State Controller. We need to follow the money if we want to know what’s gone wrong with our schools, jobs, justice, health, and homes! Joining me will be other candidates pledging to take no corporate money.

I’m urging everyone to use all the power you have to stop corporate control of our government. Ironically the 1% knows better than anyone how powerful the 99% is. Use all the power you have, and vote for real people, who do not take corporate money!

That’s it for now. I’m trying to keep it as short as possible, and trying a new email system. I hope to send you a monthly update – maybe on the 3rd of every month – counting down to our chance to elect people into office who will champion the great solutions people are coming up with!

My best website currently is my blog at laurawellssolutions.com (there’s a little “follow” to click in the lower right corner). My Green Governor website http://www.laurawells.org will get updated one of these months! My contact information is below. If you are able to help financially, please mail your check to my P.O. Box for now, and I expect to make it possible to donate online soon.

Thank you for all you do! And good luck to all of us.

Laura Wells for Controller 2014
P.O. Box 10181
Oakland, CA 94610
510-225-4005

laurawellssolutions.com
laurawells2014@gmail.com

California Budget Blues: Jerry Brown’s May Revise

It’s hard to believe what’s going on in Sacramento.

  • More Revenue. We just got more revenue than the state of California expected – this should lighten up the austerity plans, no?
  • More Billionaires. The economy must be improving. We have more billionaires than ever in California. Forbes came out with their annual list and California has 96 billionaires, up from 94 last year, and 85 the year before that. The billionaires’ total wealth is $360 billion, up 16% from last year. A small portion of that could make up for past budget cuts that affected everyone in one way or another. For years taxes on the wealthy have been lowered, and their wealth has gone up – that’s how it works. (See http://laurawellssolutions.com/2012/12/05/tax-the-rich-to-reduce-the-disparity/)
  • More Taxes from the Rich? Maybe revenue increased because the super-rich paid a bit more in taxes, eh? Could have been even more if Jerry Brown had gone with the real Millionaires Tax, before he watered it down for Prop 30, and added regressive sales tax. People preferred the real Millionaires Tax. (See the behind-the-scenes story in http://laurawellssolutions.com/2013/01/01/no-corporate-money-vs-jerry-brown/)
  • More Prisoners. By a lot, we have more people incarcerated in California than in any country in the world. Many should be in treatment, not jail, and many are in private out-of-state prisons. Jerry Brown recently filed a last minute, court-ordered plan to reduce the state’s prison population, and did not include a single sentencing reform.
  • Less Healthcare; More Health Insurance. Why did Sacramento pass single-payer healthcare when Republican Schwarzenegger was Governor and not pass it now, when Democrat Jerry Brown is Governor? Obamacare will not provide the kind of healthcare provided by all other wealthy, industrialized countries, but it will subsidize health insurance corporations.

Why is all this – and more – happening when the Democratic Party holds every single statewide office and now has 2/3 majorities in both houses of the legislature? Isn’t it the political party that is supposed to be the “people’s party”?

Worse than I Thought

I have to confess, it’s worse than I thought it would be, and I of all people should have known better. After all, I ran against Jerry Brown in 2010, as the Green Party candidate for Governor.

In the race for Governor in 2010, I decided to focus on two signature economic proposals rather than focus on a “laundry list” – a list that includes such vital issues as education, environment, health, housing, jobs, justice, and peace. I made that decision because I expected the huge, corporate-controlled media would give very little attention to candidates who are not from the huge, corporate-controlled political parties. (I admit that at times I refer to them as Titanic Parties. Let’s face it, they’re huge; they’re heading straight for the iceberg; their captains are not turning aside; and passengers came on board because they thought the Titanic would take them where they wanted to go, and on the way they could party!)

I focused primarily on two proposals because I wanted to draw as much attention as I could to the California economy and budget. If the money’s off, it’s all off. The budget needs to be handled well if we are to have hope for all the other areas of life that matter to us.

Two Signature Economic Proposals

My first proposal was and still is to create a State Bank for California that will partner with community banks and credit unions; ensure good loans for residents, small business, and students; and enable us to stop throwing public money away in interest. The State Bank and other public banks will invest in California, not Wall Street. (See also my blog http://laurawellssolutions.com/category/public-banking-state-bank/ and see http://www.publicbankinginstitute.org/.)

My second proposal is summarized in my valentine to Prop 13, “Honey, I love you, but you’ve got to change!” I proposed that we keep the good (keep people in their homes, including our seniors) and fix the bad. The bad has two parts: the property tax imbalance, that now favors huge corporations, and the 2/3 super-majority required to raise revenue, that now favors the richest of the rich individuals and corporations. That last bad part – about the super-majorities – was where I was naïve.

Toward Solutions: Champions in the Halls of Government

I am no longer focused on Prop 13’s super-majority rules. Even with 2/3 majorities politicians in Sacramento are bent on developing excuses rather than solutions. We are focused on replacing our elected officials.

We have all seen candidates who say one thing and then get into office and do something else altogether. Then they run again – and expect our votes – on the grounds that at least they’re better than the candidate from the other huge political party.

Corporate money is a way to distinguish between those candidates who will be on the side of the 1% and candidates who will champion the causes of the 99% that elected them. The No Corporate Money Campaign is strategizing to show how candidates and voters – who are not controlled by corporations – can win.

We are aligned with efforts to change the laws governing our democracy, but not waiting for that. We need champions in Sacramento and in other halls of our government in order to change the laws. Champions of people’s causes have been elected with great results as to the environment, banking, education, equality and so on, in places as diverse as Iceland, Germany, Quebec, many Latin American countries, and Richmond, California. We can continue that trend.

There are solutions. When we use our individual efforts and social movements to promote solutions, we need to elect people into the government who will help us move them forward, not stand in our way and block our solutions.

That’s why a group of community and political activists are focusing our efforts on creating a powerful No Corporate Money Campaign. The Campaign consists of two simple but powerful elements that work together. Candidates sign a pledge to take no corporate money, and voters declare our intention to vote for candidates who take no corporate money.

And now, I’m going to post this blog and get back to work on one piece of that campaign, a book with the newly revised working title, Signs of Hope: You, Corporations and Government. 

Thanks for all you do, and for staying with it!

Jerry Brown’s Budget: We Can Do Much Better!

An Important Preamble

We as the human species really have one job on our to-do list, one responsibility, and that is to take care of the next generation. This means not just our kids or kids of people close to us, but the kids of the species. Everything else is secondary. Fortunately, we can live happy and meaningful lives while we’re handling this basic responsibility. As a matter of fact, that might be the only way we’ll be happy! As current times show, when we aren’t doing such a great job taking care of the next generation, we are likely to be leading lives filled with fear, resentment, excuses, and scapegoating.

We in California have power in this quest to set things up well for future generations across the planet. We have been looked up to in the past, not just for Hollywood but also for our education system. There is no reason our school system should be deteriorating. The current budget proposal is hailed by its author Governor Brown as turning a corner toward balanced budgets and better funding for education, but before we say, “Hail to the chief!” let’s take a moment to think about what we really want in California, and see how far we are from having that.

“We want him to win big!”

When I ran as the Green Party candidate for Governor in 2010, Jerry Brown won, easily, by 13 points. A friend asked his fellow voters, since there was no worry about Brown winning, would they please vote Green if that’s where their values really were – social justice, nonviolence, healthy environment, grassroots democracy and candidates who walk their talk by taking no corporate money. People responded, “We know Brown is going to win, but we want him to win big!” Same thing happened with Obama in 2012. People said, “We know Obama is going to win California, but we want him to win the popular vote in the country.”

“Who Are Our Champions?”

OK, so Brown won in 2010 and Obama won in 2012. They won, and won big, and yet why aren’t we happy with them? It reminds me of a plaintive question from the back of the room at a California Budget Project conference, “Who are our champions?” Apparently our “winners” are not our “champions.” They do not champion our causes. Why?

Pressure and Support

There is a basic approach in negotiating an agreement, whether it’s among peers, between parent and child, or between voters and candidates. Don’t “support” them by giving them everything they want and then expect they’ll do what you want! (Can I get a “Duh!”)

Elected officials have lots of pressures to deal with, and if voters vote for them no matter what they do (excusing their past behavior by saying at least they’re better than the other one), the elected officials would bow not to the voters, but to the pressures of the corporations who fund their political parties and campaigns. The people who decide how to allocate their candidate-purchasing funds do not say, “Oh well, you tried!” They will lower your pay. With voters, our elected officials just devise, issue by issue, a way to tell us what a great job they’re doing for us! They will remind us that, “Politics is the art of the possible,” and imply that, unfortunately, what we want and need for the future generations and ourselves is just not possible in this political climate. “This is the best that could possibly have been done!”

Jerry Brown vs. California

This leads us to Jerry “Look at what a great job I’m doing!” Brown. He is without question the most powerful political figure in California, so much so that it’s hard to figure who comes in second. And although he has responded to pressure, he had the power to do much more than he did. Last year he brought down the real Millionaires Tax and then began using the same name for his watered-down Prop 30. That was the focus of my blog “No Corporate Money vs. Jerry Brown” http://laurawellssolutions.com/2013/01/01/no-corporate-money-vs-jerry-brown/

The annual Forbes list of the richest people in America should come out in the next few months, and we’ll see if the progression continues. In 2011 the state had 85 billionaires and I put that on a sign and carried it to rallies until the new list came out in 2012 and I had to revise the sign to read 94 billionaires. The economy was improving, for a few! (See also blog  http://laurawellssolutions.com/2012/12/05/tax-the-rich-to-reduce-the-disparity/)

That’s where the money is – in the hands of the super-rich and their corporations. Jerry Brown is calling it a success that he allowed a tiny chip to be taken out of the huge cuts that he and his predecessor Schwarzenegger presided over during the past several years. There are lots of taxes that could be implemented; lots of proposals are in the pipeline; voters just gave the Jerry Brown and his Titanic party super-majorities in both houses of the legislature; and so what will our Gatekeeper-in-Chief allow to progress?

What can we do about it?

We have lots of power, and nobody knows that better than the 1%. There’s a lot we can do, and one of them is to join with the No Corporate Money campaign that you will hear more about – from grassroots sources not mainstream media – in the coming months. When we have 1 or 2 or a majority in our governmental bodies, No Corporate Money candidates will champion regular people and our next generation without having to toe the line and bow to pressure from corporations. Which reminds me of a third blog for you to check out, http://laurawellssolutions.com/2012/10/19/no-corporate-money-campaign/

There are many other things that we can do, and that we are doing. We won’t stop strategizing for change, organizing, using the power we already have, using our wallets according to our values, taking to the streets, taking to the voting booth, whatever it takes to take care of the next generation, and ourselves in the process. And we know we can lead happy and meaningful lives too.

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