Corporate-free Campaign

For too long our democracy has been compromised by corporations and the 1% using our broken campaign finance system to legally bribe our politicians. A study conducted by Princeton in 2014 proved that the US is an oligarchy, not a democracy. The most glaring proof of this conclusion is apparent in the tables below:

There is virtually no change in the likelihood of policy passing even if ALL Americans want something. Yet the more the elites want something, the more likely it is to pass. The same elites that utilize our broken campaign finance laws to lobby and bribe weak politicians to get their way.

The only way we will get our democracy back is through evicting corporate cash from our political system. When private interests get candidates elected they are beholden to them. BUT if candidates get elected through public financing, they would be beholden to public interests. To many politicians in this current corrupt system this idea seems radical; I just call it democracy.

Public financing already exists in some of our cities. Richmond is one of 6 charter cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, and Richmond) throughout California that has taken advantage of laws allowing for public financing of elections. Berkeley will be the 7th city to use public financing in its City Council races starting next year. We in the RPA benefited a lot from this. It helped us to get a super-majority elected. I encourage all activists to take local advantage of this law and get local city councils to pass ordinances implementing partial funding and matching funds for local elections. Corporations and developers who generally control city councils are of course opposed to this. They cite other priorities for city money as if having fair elections shouldn’t be a key priority.

There are 400 chartered cities in California which could be pressured by citizens to implement publicly funded city electionsYet again another example of when we organize locally and fight for progressive change, we win.

Having taken that mentality and fought corporations like Chevron in Richmond, and winning, I know how we can take this battle to the statehouse. Our democracy has been hijacked and it is a top priority of mine to evict corporate cash from our system and replace it with public financing at the state level.

Together we can and will win back our democracy, the future of our country depends on it.

Millionaires must pay their fair share!

California needs a more progressive Millionaires’ tax. We need one that raises the rate of the tax as the income increases.

Currently, millionaires making $1 million in a year pay a total 13.3% in California income taxes. I propose a progressive and incremental millionaires’ tax that increases 1% from the current tax rate (13.3%) for each million dollars of taxable income. Someone making $5 million in a year would pay 18.3% total tax to the state. The maximum would be 25.3% for millionaires earning $12 million or more a year.

This tax adjustment would raise billions that we could invest in fixing our education system, upgrading our infrastructure, repairing our roads and bridges, and preparing our grid for a 100% clean energy future. We could also take a serious step to address the gross income inequality that we face today.

A study from Stanford University* has shown that recent tax increases on the top-earners did not cause a flight of top-income earners to other states. For millionaires, living and making money in California have historically outweighed other factors.

To achieve a new millionaires’ tax, we have to get active, organizing and mobilizing locally! We can create progressive, corporate-free, inclusive, diverse and year-round organizations that fight for the local hot issues and elect corporate-free candidates to local office. This is how in Richmond we were able to get 5 out of 7 city councilmembers to be corporate-free progressives. With mobilization and organization, we forced the oil giant Chevron to pay $114 million in additional local taxes.

I am taking the experience of our successes in Richmond to the Lt. Governor's office now. With your support, we can make a Millionaires Fair Share tax and all of its benefits to Californians possible. Your donation of $27 today is not only an investment in my campaign for bold progressive change, but an investment in our future, saying YES to a system that serves the 99%.

Thank you for being with me in this fight for justice. Your support makes it possible!

*Millionaire migration a myth, say researchers at Stanford Center on Poverty and


A candidate for lieutenant governor says inmate firefighters are slave labor. Is she right?

One person who is being vocal is Gayle McLaughlin, the former Richmond mayor who is running for lieutenant governor in 2018. She says using prisoners as firefighters amounts to “slave labor” and calls it an example of a criminal justice system “gone deeply wrong.”

“I want inmates in California to learn new skills – but trading a cell for a wildfire and $1 a day, that’s just crazy,” McLaughlin wrote in an email pitch last week to potential supporters. “We have to pay everyone real wages and restore the civil rights of people who are serving a sentence.”

(read article)

Gayle McLaughlin admired in article on New York Mayoral Policies

To compare our mayor to some of the other mayors you write about. Gayle McLaughlin, from Richmond County, California, she has a program to give ex-felons $1,000 a month stipend. I think de Blasio would have a tough time supporting that. Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the son of the most radical mayor you wrote about who succeeded his father as the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, recently spoke at the Democratic Socialists of America conference. I don’t see Mayor de Blasio doing that anytime soon. He didn't endorse Sanders, or Zephyr Teachout. The mayor doesn't even support the legalization of marijuana when 60% of Americans do. He’s to the right on some issues these other mayors are taking up. Is de Blasio the leader of this nationwide progressive movement because of his ideas, or just the fact that he’s the mayor of New York City?

And Gayle McLaughlin is running for Lieutenant Governor now. She’s trying to move a step higher. I'm not saying de Blasio is the most radical of the bunch. But I'm saying that because he is at the head of America's most powerful and influential city, he certainly is the most representative of the movement. And he has the most influence, because he employs 300,000 people. You know, he could hire 30 people and hide them away some place, and it would take the reporters, like, a year or two to find them!


(read article)

The Real News Network: "Progressive California Mayor Who Took On Big Oil Takes Movement Statewide"

Progressive California Mayor Who Took On Big Oil Takes Movement Statewide

Two-term former Mayor of Richmond, California, who co-founded the Richmond Progressive Alliance, seeks to spread her success taking on big oil and fighting for progressive policies throughout the State of California.

By: Michael Sainato

Published August 27th, 2017. Read the original article on the Reals News Network here

In Richmond, California, a city of just over 100,000 people outside of San Francisco, Chevron has poured millions of dollars into local elections to try to instill politicians who represent their company's own interests. In 2014, the Oil Company spent over $3 million in a City Council race, but lost against a grassroots coalition of progressive candidates who disavowed corporate campaign donors in favor of progressive policies. Chevron was the city's largest employer and taxpayer at the time, but their presence often came at the expense of Richmond residents. In 2012, the city sued Chevron for a fire at its oil refinery in the city that sent thousands of employees and residents to the hospital for respiratory problems. The company took drastic measures to try to assert its influence over the town, including establishing its own media outlet, the Richmond Standard. In a time when corporations are gaining increasing influence over government in this country, the grassroots progressive victory against big oil in Chevron offers a seed of hope in a political revolution that was boosted by Bernie Sanders' 2016 Presidential Campaign.

In the wake of this momentum, two-term mayor of Richmond and former City Council Member, Gayle McLaughlin, is running for Lieutenant Governor of California in 2018 to try to spread the grassroots success she helped lead in Richmond across the state.

"I'm the first corporate free council member to serve on the Richmond City Council and also the first corporate free mayor. I ran four campaigns, two for council and two for mayor until I termed out. All of them were ran and won without a dime of corporate money. I'm also a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, the RAP," said Gayle McLaughlin in an interview with me. Since 2003, the Richmond Progressive Alliance has served as a beacon of progressive hope, offering an opportunity for candidates to run without the aid of corporate campaign donations. "We came together, irregardless of party affiliation, some were progressive Democrats, some were Green, some were Independents and some had no party affiliation and we decided to come together based on our values."

In addition to defeating Chevron backed local politicians, the progressive alliance helped pass a citywide minimum wage of $13 by 2018, passed the first rent control measure enacted in California in three decades, reduced crime through community policing and creating opportunities for youth, helped create a community choice energy program that has enabled 85 percent of Richmond residents to obtain their electricity from renewable sources, and as a sanctuary city, Richmond has led lawsuits against the Trump Administration to fight for the rights of immigrants.

"After we've made all these accomplishments in Richmond, especially after this past November election, we got a super majority on the city council, when the whole country shifted right, we shifted further left. People were reaching out to us, cities, communities, organizations saying, 'How did you do it?' They wanted to know. So we were going out, going around the state and even outside of the state giving presentations. I was doing a lot of them, and it soon became clear to us that our message could travel further. We'd have a larger stage, a broader, a louder microphone if we ran a statewide campaign. So, I decided to run for lieutenant governor to use that larger stage and that bully pulpit to spread the message of building local political power with progressive alliances and running local candidates. That's what I've been doing. That's what this campaign is essentially about. Going around the state, encouraging others to do like the RAP did and form their own alliances and run their own candidates," McLaughlin added. In addition to her own campaign, former Richmond City Council member, Richmond Vice Mayor, and Richmond Progressive Alliance Member Jovanka Beckles is running for California State Assembly in 2018. Beckles' own accomplishmentsinclude a Ban the Box initiative that prevents the city from discriminating against job applicants who were previously incarcerated. "Today, we have five council seats as of this past November out of seven that were run without any corporate money. That's five out of seven, a super majority on the Richmond City Council. So, it can be done. We did it."