Top ten reasons for voting Angelides over Westly
by McSnatherson, Sat May 27, 2006 at 04:29:03 PM EDT
I'm a Californian. Recently, I had a discussion with a friend who was ardently pro-Westly. I told him I was leaning towards Angelides. We argued about it for a little while, then he had to go, but he asked me to write up my top ten reasons for preferring Angelides. I did my research, got to know the candidates better (and found my preference for Angelides solidifying rapidly), and sent him my reasons. He read them over, and now he's gone from being absolutely committed to voting for Westly to leaning strongly towards Angelides. Seeing as this race came up on the frontpage just recently, I thought people might be interested in the reasons I came up with, whether it's because they're undecided themselves, or if they're looking for ideas on how to convince others. Full reasons listed below the break:
#1: Phil Angelides has a comprehensive plan to add, train, and support 100,000 new public-school teachers by, among other things, increasing the amount of support for teachers in the form of pay increases, fellowship programs, and mentoring programs with more experienced teachers, and by decreasing the costs to train and work as a teacher (for more, go to http://www.angelides.com/teachers/). Steve Westly has no such plan.
#2: Angelides plans to greatly increase Californians access to higher education and position California to succeed in the new economy by, among other things, rolling back fee levels to where they were before Schwarzenegger took office (a move that would cut the cost of a two-year community college degree by about $500; of an undergraduate degree at CSU by nearly $2,000 and at UC by nearly $5,000; and of a CSU teaching degree by over $600), creating the California Hope Endowment (to be endowed by a transfer of mismanaged state-owned property from the bureaucracy to a public trust corporation that would manage the property like a business on behalf of the taxpayers and the Endowment) which would, with assets worth as much as $5 billion, spend up to $300 million yearly (enough to double the amount California currently spends) to fund the most promising and innovative approaches to increase the number of Californians who achieve a college degree, and by moving to increase by 50 percent the number of California's young people who earn B.S. degrees in science, mathematics, and engineering - lifting the number from 20,000 to 30,000 a year - by creating California Tomorrow Fellowships, public-private partnerships to provide up to $10 thousand to recipients (for more, go to http://www.angelides.com/collegeopportun ity/ and http://www.angelides.com/california-tomo rrow/). Westly has no plans to do anything like this.
#3: Angelides has the endorsements of, among others, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, Assembly Speaker
Fabian Núñez, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the SEIU (the single largest union currently in existence), the President of the California NAACP, Sierra Club California (to avoid any appearance of disingenuousness, I should note that Westly received this endorsement as well - either one was acceptable to them), the California League of Conservation Voters, the California National Organization for Women PAC, and numerous other elected officials, law enforcement organizations, and Silicon Valley leaders. These endorsements say to me that Angelides is someone who can work with all aspects of the Democratic Party in California, greatly enhancing his ability to win the general election and to govern effectively thereafter.
#4: Westly has the endorsement of the Press-Enterprise. 'Nuff said. (This is a very conservative local paper we're both familiar with. Honestly, these people almost make Fox News look like paragons of journalistic integrity. Their site's at http://www.pe.com/ - if you really want to get a feel for them, look at their editorials. Their news articles are mainly from wire services.)
#5: As Governor, Phil Angelides would set a goal to reduce California's gasoline and diesel use by 25 percent in ten years, making California the world leader in developing clean and renewable fuels. He will do this through, among other things, investing in public-private partnerships to produce green products and energy, and to encourage people to purchase them, and by implementing a comprehensive "smart growth" plan which could reduce vehicle miles traveled by 25 percent below what would occur if current development patterns continue (for more, go to http://www.angelides.com/enviros/clean-c alifornia.html and http://www.angelides.com/issues/envir.ht ml).
#6: Angelides plans to aggressively leverage the state's massive investment portfolio (more than $300 billion) to influence corporate behavior for the better. Some examples are his campaign to divest more than $800 million in tobacco holdings, prohibiting investment in "expatriate corporations" (US corporations which incorporate overseas to evade taxes), and efforts to recover taxpayer losses from corporate fraud (for more, go to http://www.angelides.com/issues/health.h tml and http://www.angelides.com/issues/corrupt. html).
#7: Westly strikes me as being much more of an incrementalist. It's not that his ideas are bad, necessarily, it's that they're not enough. Sure, he has some interesting ideas with regards to higher education, for instance - targeting higher textbook prices, in particular - but they don't begin to approach the kind of comprehensive reforms Angelides has laid out.
#8: I really dislike what I've heard of Westly's plan to track some high-school students into vocational education. Sure, not everyone's going to end up going to a four-year school, but they already have programs like this in Europe. And what they've found there is that generally, the lower-class students get tracked into the vocational ed, while the upper-class students get tracked into the universities, greatly increasing class rigidity - the last thing we need more of in America. Additionally, owing to the racial divide in America, this program could potentially prove a significant setback to racial justice in this country, actually INCREASING the achievement gap.
#9: I'm not sure I trust Westly to make the hard decisions that are going to be needed to balance the state's budget. He's got some interesting ideas on how to increase revenue without increasing taxes, but I know that often - such as with his much-ballyhooed tax amnesty plan - such measures are one-shot deals. Sooner or later, he would almost certainly be required to take some tough measures to achieve fiscal solvency, and what I'm afraid of is that instead what we'll get is a lot of half-measures that maybe squeak him through his terms while keeping his political career intact, but leave the real mess for somebody else.
#10: I think Angelides will be more aggressive and more effective in taking on Schwarzenegger. Westly strikes me as being another pro-business Democrat who may be rhetorically aggressive from time to time when it suits their purposes, but won't really lay out a clear difference between the two parties or act to change how Sacramento operates. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of compromising on "electable" moderate candidates that somehow never actually seem to win elections. Fact is, Angelides is the more electable of the two candidates. He has the positions, he has the endorsements, and he has - if you'll pardon the cliche - the fire in the belly you need to run a successful campaign.
...And that's why I'm supporting Phil Angelides in the primary. Hope this was worth the time spent reading it.