Thursday, November 02, 2006

SF Chinatown - It's About Time for Prop 89! Stop Political Corruption - Clean Elections Now!

Amidst the pouring rain on Dia de los Muertos in SF's Chinatown this morning I joined nurses, parents, teachers and grassroots community activists who are part of a growing grassroots coalition for Clean Elections in California. Soon to be State Senator Elect Leland Yee and Assemblyperson Elect Mary Chung Hayashi, longtime labor leader Richard Leung, and dozens of others also spoke out in support of Prop 89.

Thanks to the courageous folks from CNA [CA Nurses Association] and many others for building this movement for electoral reform in our state. Excerpts of my comments included:

As a SF school board member, teacher and parent, I support Prop 89 because it will help ensure that our Chinese and immigrant communities will have a chance at electing accountable local and statewide officials, instead of those that are bought and sold by big business interests.

As communities are singing all over the STATE - it’s about time for 89!- we need to work together to stop political corruption in SF and throughout our state.

Prop. 89 creates a level and fair playing field for California elections by: Banning contributions to candidates by lobbyists and contractors. Restricting contributions by corporations, unions, and individuals to candidates and to outside groups running negative ads. Letting candidates who reject contributions from big money donors run for office using “clean money” public grants. And if politicians break the law, they can be thrown out of office and even put in jail.

Prop. 89 will help our schools by creating a dedicated fund, from a small increase in the corporate tax rate, so that resources are not diverted from our classrooms. In fact, more money will be available for education since politicians will no longer have the incentive - like Schwarzenegger has done - to divert billions of dollars in public revenues to corporate tax breaks and pork barrel projects to reward their biggest donors.

The broad grassroots labor and community coalition that has come together to support Prop 89 will not go away after we turn out to vote on November 7th.

This is a pro-DEMOCRACY movement to take back our electoral system from the big business interests that are trying to dominate us and our communities.

Immigrant communities – like Chinatown, Vis Valley, the Tenderloin, SOMA, Bayview and the Mission - face tremendous barriers to political empowerment. Our communities have the lowest voter turnouts not just because of language, immigration and other barriers, but also because of the barrier of corporate control and domination of the political process in CA – WE NEED TO CHANGE THIS and PROP 89 is a very good start in ending political corruption in our state!

...I want my students and young people in our schools and communities to see first hand how the political system in SF and in CA is driven by downtown money and big business interests. Pick any local initiative or candidate race for example, and you can see how money most often determines who will win or lose. Local school board candidates or supervisors are often placed for sale to the highest bidder in our City.
Proposition 89 can help even the playing field at the state level so that our communities can have a stronger voice to improve our environment, our schools and our state.

It’s about time for 89!
Yes on Prop 89 on November 7th!

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