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State Legislature is where it's at

by johnk Thursday, Nov. 03, 2016 at 10:16 PM

I got this bit of self-promoting spam in my mailbox, and it's a good example of a few things I want to tell my Greens.

State Legislature is...
2016-leg-victories.png, image/png, 650x650

Jill Stein might get 5%, and I hope she does, but we're so far away from winning a presidency that it's not even worth worrying about.

This quadrennial focus on elections also takes our attention away from the legislatures, where the real action is: making laws and spending money.

Brand New Congress and Our Revolution has its eyes on the HR prize, and I guess a lot of Bernie supporters are looking this way, as well, but odds are BNC is going to crap out. Their meta strategy of finding non-politicians to run on a generic progressive social democratic platform ignores the fact that politics, even at the Congressional level, is built on a platform of local issues.

I was don't particularly want to depose my local representative unless the alternative is really good. I"m in Becerra's district, and while I find him kind of corporate, I don't see a good alternative at the moment.

Our Revolution is going to always push for Democrats. They might push some indies, but most will be progressive Democrats, maybe leaning DSA or PDA. There's nothing wrong with that. I really like this strategy.

Besides, the national legislature, as important as it is, isn't that much of a factor for people, day to day. For one, we tend to not get as much money back as we put into the national budget. We're a rich state. For another, our laws are really progressive compared to most of the country, so laws at the federal level don't necessarily affect us.

For example, federal emissions laws have always followed California's lead, for forty years, and all the other states complain about us. We have a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage. We have family leave laws and sick day laws that are better than the nation's.

We lead, and they follow.

How do we lead? Today, we have a Democratic supermajority, and a history of passing state laws that are progressive. (This wasn't always the case of course.)

I got this spam from Miguel Santiago, who represents my district. I don't want to knock him out to replace him with a Green. He has cranked out legislation, and 18 of them passed. That is a lot of law.

We can't win, at this time, anyway. To win, we'd have to have viable candidates across the district, and name recognition across the entire district, with a good reputation. It can be done, but it's not going to happen this year or next. It'll take a while.

But, imagine being like this politician: passing 18 laws, and 7 of them seem to be progressive. See the photo.

Here are the laws: Exide cleanup funding, 176.6 million to remediate soil (i'd rather Exide had paid it, but at least it's getting done). Limit loaning guns to immediate family. School supplies for homeless kids. Density bonuses to encourage commercial developers to add affordable housing. Automobile dismantling licensing. Allow kids to testify in court via video. Dental school loan incentives for dentists who help people in need.

I haven't read these, but I'm assuming they're what they say. You can't trust politicians.... but I'm feeling too lazy to read all the laws. I just read the density bonus law and it seems OK to me. If they add affordable housing, they can build higher and with less parking, more or less. no surprises.

The bigger point here - the state legislature is where the progress happens. It's where the laws that affect the people of California are created. This should be a goal, or maybe *the* *main* goal, of the local progressive groups.

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