By Will Freeney | email@example.com
I was able to talk with Delaine by phone for a few minutes, to fill in gaps and make clarifications regarding her campaign and her intentions for her tenure as Governor of California.
WF: You have said that you want to repeal Prop 13. What is the expected revenue stream that would ensue as a result of that repeal, and how would you allocate those funds?
DE: Reform, not repeal. Corporations should not benefit from the same property tax protections that individuals do. We could implement reassessment of corporately held land, say every ten years. I would channel all of those funds into education. A budget is a statement of values. We have the best-paid prison guards in the United States. We need to invest in education.
WF: You have mentioned our failing infrastructure. How would you fund its repair and subsequent maintenance and expansion?
DE: We are the only major oil-producing state that does not have a tax on Big Oil corporations. 33 states do have a severance tax, and so should we. It is a preferable method to bond issues, which lose revenue dollars to those financing the bonds.
WF: How would you address California’s housing crisis?
DE: We need to build more affordable housing. Some of my opponents have claimed we can build 500,000 units per year, but that is an unrealistic expectation. Approximately 300,000 is the record and is a viable goal. We need to provide a living wage for Californians that will enable homeownership.
WF: And what about our current homelessness epidemic?
DE: I would declare a State of Emergency in California. I have visited Los Angeles and seen elderly women and children living on the streets. That is unacceptable. No child should be without a home, without shelter. We can find the resources to create and provide housing.
WF: You have said that you want to improve California education from pre-school through grad school. How would you accomplish that at the grad school end – in post-secondary education?
DE: Through reduced tuition. I want today’s millennials to have that feeling of hope that the baby boomer had in the glory days of education – including a confidence in the universal availability of clean air and water.
WF: You have mentioned that during your childhood – your parents’ working years – unions represented 30% of the workforce. How would you enable a return to that ratio?
DE: Well, I’m not a union organizer, but I believe that if we create a highly educated and skilled workforce, it will attract unions to represent them.
WF: At the end of your tenure as Governor, what would you hope for as your lasting legacy?
DE: That California has a stellar educational system, including universal pre-school, that everyone can live in safety. We can make that happen. Optimism is a political act.”
Delaine would be the first female Governor of California, but being the first female elected to a state office would not be a new experience for her, as she was the Superintendent of Public Instruction for California from 1995 to 2003, subsequent to her tenure as a member of the State Assembly from 1986 to 1994. Prior to her tenures as an elected state official, she served as a member of the Union City Council, where she chaired the Education Committee for 5 of the 6 years she served on the city council.
So, it should be no surprise that Delaine Eastin set her number one priority for California as education. Her understanding of the importance of education comes from personal experience. Her family moved from San Diego, where her father had been in the Navy, to San Francisco, which was her mother’s homeland – placing a young Delaine in a 44-student classroom in San Francisco. The family subsequently moved to San Carlos, where her class consisted of 20 students, and her educational experience drastically improved. Although she came from a working-class family, her parents were able to make the necessary economic adjustments to pay for her college education. What ensued was a remarkable career of public service as well as private employment. After leaving office from the Superintendency, Delaine eventually became a professor at Mills College.
Education, as Ms. Eastin details, is not just a personal penchant. She has cited studies that show that “the steepest curve for learning is from [age] 0 to 5.” While she was an Assembly member, the legislature passed legislation that would have made kindergarten mandatory in the state, but the governor at the time vetoed it. It is her intention to see the implementation of mandatory kindergarten, and to “fight for children’s education from pre-school through grad school.” That fight for educational improvement includes funding because, as she said, “you invest in education or you invest in incarceration.” Investment should be extended to librarians and infrastructure in terms of technology, she insists. Money for that investment would come in part through a reform of Prop 13.
Ms. Eastin is not, by any means, running on a one-plank platform, however. Her other goals include “ban[ning[ fracking” because Californians “have a right to clean air and clean water.” Her commitment to the environment and its protection is much broader than that, though. Regarding the Twin Tunnels project, she suggests we should “step back and do it right” through replenishing the aquifers that would receive that water diversion. Similarly, she is opposed to the current vision for and implementation of the High-Speed Rail project, citing its unfunded costs and eventual availability (in terms of fare cost and route location) only for the rich. Her intended principle for mass transit is that if the people want it, let them fund it – through incremental sales tax propositions at the local level, like those that created all of the existing light rail systems in California (in place in all but one of the Bay Area counties).
Regarding all government actions in the realm of infrastructure, Ms. Eastin has stressed the importance of long-term planning, mentioning that the last water plan was written in 1957. For a full list of Ms. Eastin’s plans for California, visit her website, https://www.delaineforgovernor.com/her_vision.
At the core of Ms. Eastin’s campaign is a belief that “Three things are missing – courage, vision, and heart. The courage to stand up, the vision to see that the future will be made by young people, and the heart to be compassionate.” That is a need in our elected officials and we the people, their electors.