An Alternative Vision for California

California’s political landscape has come to media attention as the state’s citizens could get to vote on recalling Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom’s handling of the economic fallout of the pandemic has impacted his overall approval, and to many he is a caricature of an out-of-touch, establishment politician. California’s Democratic party is neglecting crucial California issues such as investing in housing and infrastructure. Governor Newson botched construction on the planned high speed rail and fell vastly short on his campaign promise to build millions of new homes in the state. California’s Democratic party is focused more on hot-button, national issues and fundraising for national candidates than state issues. California’s GOP has the same issues, being totally  inept and out of touch politically and playing only the role of token opposition.

California has a long history of greatness in cultural and technological innovation, and has been a magnet for the greatest creative minds from all over the nation and globe. There is a sense, however, of decline with growing income inequality, and mass exodus to other states. California has replaced innovation with managerialism, failing to invest in any grand vision for the future.

Lamenting the death of the California Dream, a common theme in populist circles is the top and bottom alliance in California with powerful special interests in Big Tech and state bureaucrats neglecting the needs of ordinary citizens and the middle class. Any new political proposal needs to take into account new political realignments and address the needs of specific demographic groups, embracing diversity in a true sense.

We need a return to that spirit of Californian Exceptionalism, a grand vision, and a new California-based ideology that is beyond left and right, putting forth a forward-thinking vision with out-of-the-box solutions, to reestablish California as a beacon for innovation, creativity, civilization, and inspiration for the rest of the country and world.

Centrist political columnist Joel Kotkin has called for a new fusion party for the Golden State that would focus on California issues. There is also a Californian nationalist and social-democratic political party in California called the California National Party, that supports big tentprogressive policies for California, along with a Calexit.

Put forth is a theoretical political platform, a pragmatic vision beyond left, right, and center to address the issues unique to Californians. This platform is not associated with or endorsed by any specific campaign or political organization, but the objective is to inspire a new vision for California politics that could potentially lay a ground-work for a new political movement or influence existing ones.

Platform

CA State Basic Income

·         Eligibility: all adult US Citizens who have been California residents for at least 5 years 

·         Funded by a tech dividend, automation of inefficient state bureaucracy, an oil extraction tax, and consolidation of non-healthcare CA state benefits 

·         Direct cash payout generated by revenue from above sources issued via a new state bank

·         Bonus payout of new California based crypto currency linked to states business

·         Amount to be calculated based on revenue sources; idea would be to enable economic independence, without disincentivizing entrepreneurship

State Bank

·         Proposal for a new state bank to fund infrastructure projects

·         Bank would also provide low interest loans for citizens and entrepreneurs and small businesses

Jobs

·         Establish a jobs database, a public private partnership, that uses algorithms to pair job seekers with employment based upon compatibility, specialized skills, and personality traits

·         Special jobs program to empower the talented but under credentialed, including neurodiversity

·         State sponsored beautification projects for the unemployed (ex. planting trees in low-income communities)

·         Tax incentives to relocate jobs to affordable regions that lack high paying jobs

·         Creation of remote work hubs throughout the state

·         Oppose legislation that terminates workers for unionization and expand state anti-discrimination laws to cover viewpoint discrimination in corporate and government employment

·         Extend vacation time and offer crypto bonuses to spend on leisure venues

Business

·         Establish a progressive business tax; highest on multi-national corporations but very low on self-employed, small businesses and new startups

·         Corporate tax cuts conditional on providing decent paying jobs and reducing CEO to worker pay gaps

·         Reform regulations and the licensing process to empower the self-employed and entrepreneurs

·         Temporary freeze on all taxes for small businesses that were harmed during the pandemic

·         Implement and enforce anti-trust legislation

·         Impose draconian economic penalties on tech companies that engage in viewpoint discrimination

Arts & Media

·         Create a new cultural renaissance to make California the Florence of the 21st Century

·         State Basic Income bonuses for artists and other creative endeavors with eligibility based upon the Art Association model.

·         Grant artists a greater role in the economy, tech sector, and urban planning via a public private partnership

·         Sponsor public arts and monument projects to create iconic new landmarks

·         Set up local media stations (radio, TV, and film production) open to all viewpoints

·         Establish quotas requiring media corporations to allocate funding and slots on streaming sites for independent filmmakers  

·         Require new developments to provide affordable housing for the creative class in high-cost creative hubs

Race Relations

·         Reject divisive policies based upon Critical Race Theory in favor of a new pluralist vision that respects true diversity (eg. right to form ethnic based student unions in secondary and higher education for all groups)

·         Platinum Plans for all; creating specialized versions for European Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans tailored to each group’s specific needs and concerns

·         Oppose racial quotas in favor of color blind anti-discrimination laws applied to corporations and government agencies but allow for freedom of association for all non-government and non-corporate institutions

·         Encourage enclavism to foster social capital, economic innovation, and tourism, with special designations allowing semi-autonomy (ex. existing Native American lands, European American heritage zones, Asian Pacific Zones)

Criminal Justice

·         Find the right balance between public safety and support for law enforcement and protection of civil liberties

·         Greater funding for mental health and crisis management

·         Increase and support community policing programs

·         Oppose surveillance by federal agencies that violates the rights of  California citizens

·         Use artificial intelligence to reduce violence and misconduct in prisons.

·         Specialized classification using algorithms to address inmate’s specific needs, and create safety and rehabilitation programs

·         End incarceration for all non-violent drug crimes and legalize the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs

·         Legalize and regulate sex work

Education

·         Expand school choice with vouchers to cover the cost of private education and homeschooling for all citizens regardless of income

·         Propose legislation to make it easier to break up large urban school districts 

·         Greater partnerships between education system and communities including apprenticeship programs with local businesses

·         Specialization in secondary education with personalized programs geared towards each student’s personal, academic and education needs and career goals

Higher Education

·         Use AI to reduce the size of educational bureaucracy to cut tuition costs 

·         Greater integration between The UC system, CAL States, City Colleges, extension programs, and with local communities

·         Implement a tiered system offering alternatives to credentialism for those with specialized skills or talents and/or savant intelligence. Goal would be to create the coffee salons of the 21st century, with an open exchange between artists, intellectuals, and scientists.

. Establish certification exams so that people can study independently at low costs

·         Open up specialized Universities (eg. UC Silicon Valley for tech, or Film/Arts focused State Schools)

·         Use and expand City College enrollment to attract students from across the nation and abroad for the “College experience” to help revitalize smaller cities and urban districts into college towns

·         Expand and extend student housing to students to 4 years after graduation to foster social capital and maintain talent

Reverse out-migration

·         Extend in-state tuition costs to attract out of state talent

·         Focus on improving the overall quality of life

·         Tax incentives to move to California from out of state

·         Attract digital nomads to new remote work hubs

Social Capital

·         Promote local social events that foster social capital

·         Use social capital and personal wellbeing as a metric of success for the state

·         Zoning should incentivize social cohesion with massive building projects to create communal amenities (community centers, recreation centers, gyms, pools etc.) across all class lines

·         Promote mental and physical health, incentivizing fitness, walkable communities, and healthy food (eg. support for community gardens)

Urban Planning

·         Zoning reforms and building plans focused on infill development to address affordable housing crisis with long term vision

·         Incentives and grants to retrofit suburban areas into walkable communities and ban on all zoning laws that inhibit pedestrian friendly development (eg. parking minimums)

·         Enforce mandates to increase housing with compromise of allowing greater local input on aesthetics.

·         Implement a statewide greenbelt program to end sprawl and create ecologically sustainable communities

·         Create special zoning enterprise zones (eg. in lower income or industrial areas) to experiment with liberalizing zoning laws

·         Incentives and mandates for developers in exchange for density variance tailored to specific needs and desired outcomes (eg. larger units to accommodate families in wealthy areas with low fertility, and low-income unit mandates in inner city development)

·         Incentivize the construction of new resorts and theme parks to encourage tourism and create a culture of fun and leisure  

·         A Neon sign tax incentives to preserve historic signs and create new ones

·         Reform California Coastal Commission regulation to allow for high rises in urban areas

Property Taxation

·         Propose a new property tax package to replace Prop 13 that addressed unfair disparities between long time and new homeowners

·         New proposal must be fair to middle class with no large tax increase but loosen prop 13 protections on the wealthiest (eg. mega mansions)

·         Property tax relief for families across all class lines

·         Tax vacancies, empty homes beyond modest vacation homes, and real estate investors

·         Commercial property taxation should incentivize utilization of property by taxing underutilized property (eg. large parking lots)

Infrastructure & Energy

·         Invest in Mass Transit, including subways, revive high speed rail, and propose a direct coastal rail connection from LA to SF

·         Invest in alternative energy sources including solar and nuclear in safe zones

. Invest in desalination to meet water demands

·         Improve electrical grids and enforce regulations to prevent wildfires and rolling blackouts

Agriculture

·         Economic incentives for small scale family farms with higher taxation on corporate agriculture with incentives to sell to homesteaders

·         Plan to phase out Factory Farming over a two decade period

·         Invest in Vertical Farming including in urban and suburban areas

Misc.

·         Invest in genetic engineering to restore wildlife habitats (eg. Redwoods)

·         Long term plans to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley and Tulare Lake

·         Invest in biotech (eg. gene editing and anti-aging research) instead of leaving it to Big Pharma

·         Implement term limits for the State legislature

California Nationalism

·         Recognize the legitimacy of Calexit as an insurance policy if national issues are not solved or balkanization intensifies

·         Address problem of institutions and political leadership failing to address unique needs of Californians and to protect the share of tax revenue paid to the Federal Government

·         Regardless of if Calexit happens or not there must be a new California Nationalist ideology outside of the failed American red vs. blue framework