a meeting of the candidates in Sacramento

Last night, a consortium of Democratic clubs in the Sacramento area held a candidates night. There have been precious few of these forums so far and I was happy to participate.

Joan Buchanan went first and spoke from the heart about education and her years of experience on the San Ramon Valley School Committee. Joan talked about the Delta and her concern that a natural disaster and a resultant breach of the levees would be a catastrophe for the region. I fully agree. Joan signalled her support for legalizing gay marriage. 

Joan and I are probably about 70% in agreement on key issues, but there are some important differences in our positions. I would not vote in support of gay marriage. This district overwhelmingly rejected the Gay marriage ballot initiative a few years back. I support civil unions and equal rights. My views on this issue are consistent with those of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 

On healthcare, Joan supports Senate Bill 840 which I would oppose.  I believe the solution on healthcare has to come from Washington. If California were to adopt SB840 the single payer system which has no deductibles and no co-pay, large numbers of people from throughout the US with a serious medical problems would move here and swamp our medical system. We need a national program with the same benefits in all states. I favor a system with significant co-pays and deductibles to rationalize the system and keep costs in line.

I noted that the chasm that currently divides Democrats from Republicans in Sacramento has become almost unbridgable. Unless compromise solutions on taxes and spending are found soon,  California is headed for the precipice.  I also spoke about the inherent problem of proposition 13 and its treatment of corporate owned property. Since corporations have an exceedingly long time horizon in property ownership and since they nearly always transact properties as stock sales (which do not trigger revaluation) as opposed to asset sales (which do trigger revaluation), most corporate owned properties in California are still on the tax rolls at their original valuation, in many cases the 1978 valuation. As a result residential property owners are forced to carry an ever increasing proportion of the tax burden. The system is not fair.

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