Governor Gray Davis. Remember him? He was recalled in 2003 and replaced by The Terminator, yet another person from the world of entertainment who thought he could govern.
When Gray Davis was Governor, the California Legislature passed a bill that would have required law enforcement officers to keep records of the race of those stopped. This was in the heyday of the “Driving While Black” movement – a movement that gained national traction until September 11, 2001. Civil rights activists were stunned when Davis vetoed the legislation. We were told he did so because the civil rights community did not contribute to his campaign!!!
When I heard that, I immediately contacted John Bonifaz, a man I had heard of but had never met (He has since become a friend, colleague, a member of the EJS Board, and co-advocate for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump) who worked on campaign finance reform. We put on a conference at Berkeley Law entitled “Campaign Finance Reform is a Civil Rights Issue.” One of the conclusions we reached was that full public financing of elections is the only way to move forward. Many of you who know me, know that I am in touch with my friends from high school – some of whom are Republicans. Many Republicans support public financing because many of them see campaign contributions as “legalized bribery.” We did polling and found that people of color support campaign finance reform. POC are painfully aware that “money talks.” Indeed, it may swear.
Okay many of you are thinking. “Trumpism is kicking our butts. Why are you railing about this issue?”
During the past week, it has been asserted many times that the current tax plan will hike taxes on middle income folks, gut the ACA individual mandate, give breaks to people who have private planes, transfer $1,000,000,000 to Trump’s family, eliminate deductions for state and local taxes, penalize graduate students…even Republicans characterize it as a gift to the GOP donors. Public opinion polls indicate that only 16% of the public support this legislation. Tax deficit hawks from the GOP confirm that this will make the deficit even more out of control that it is. No one wants this bill but the rich donors. Look, some of my best friends are rich donors. They support the work of EJS. I love them but this is not the way a government should run and is not the way to forge outstanding public policy.
Another troubling consequence is that antigovernment ideologues, such as the heartless Paul Ryan, will use the inevitable deficits as a way to cut funding for Medicare and other aspects of the shredded safety net.
The coming weeks will be critical for blocking this tax cut. Our California Senators and Representatives are all over this in terms of leading the charge against this proposal. If you have time, make a call. Some of you are in states with Senators who will make a difference. Take time to call or to have your friends and relatives call:
Happy Thanksgiving – I hope we can stop this latest bit of insanity.