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To: Assemblymember Sam Blakeslee
Fax: 916-319-2133
Subject: We all live in Sam Blakeslee’s district

Dear Mr. Blakeslee,
In 2006, a young blogger wrote "We all live in Richard Pombo’s district." He went on to explain that, because of his anti-environmental stance, everybody in the nation had an interest in Richard Pombo’s bid for reelection in California’s 11th congressional district. The post was widely reproduced and money poured in from across the country for Mr. Pombo’s opponent, Jerry McNerney. Phonebanks sprang up across California to support Mr. McNerney. People from all over Northern California went to his district to canvass voters. And my friends and I formed the core of his campaign staff.

With no prior political experience, Mr. McNerney defeated Mr. Pombo and serves in Congress today.

Today, we all live in Sam Blakeslee’s district.

The world has seen how the decline of the U.S. economy impacted countries around the globe. As one of the largest economies in the world, the continued collapse of the California economy could imperil the fragile recovery. And your continued refusal to participate in a balanced budget solution for the state could precipitate that very collapse.

Without popular revenue increases like oil severance fees less than those charged in Alaska, or increased taxes on the wealthy equivalent to the rates charged under Governor Wilson, our state faces an untenable economic situation. With the cuts proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger, we stand to lose federal matching and stimulus funds that bring in as much as $9.00 for every $1.00 of state spending. We stand to lose state parks that bring in $720 million in business revenues in my county alone, and billions statewide. With your continued refusal to roll back the $2.5 billion in tax breaks for the six largest corporations in California—tax breaks you and your Republican colleagues extorted from the Assembly in last year’s budget negotiations—California faces cutbacks in essential services other businesses depend on.

As a business owner myself, I am much more concerned with good roads and adequate police and fire protection than I am about state tax rates. I am much more concerned that other businesses I depend on for services are able to survive than I am about a few paltry fee increases. I care a lot about whether the economic climate in the state will allow my clients to grow and thrive so that they will use my services. That is much more important to me than whether or not I will have to collect sales tax for them. Polls show that other business owners and managers agree with me, and not with you and your Republican colleagues.

The facts show that your economic arguments are lies. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has shown that states with higher tax rates have not suffered more in the recession. Instead they have done as well or better. Facts prove that California does not have higher tax rates than other states. Instead we rank somewhere in the middle. I am tired of your lies. I am tired of your budget bullying and your refusal to consider sensible solutions to California’s budget problems.

And I am going to do something about it.

I have heard that you intend to run for Senate District 15 at the end of Senator Maldonado’s term. As I’m sure you know, Santa Cruz County is part of that district. I serve on the Democratic Central Committee in that County. I promise to recruit a candidate to run against you, and to make sure you go down to defeat. As I’m sure you also know, President Obama won in SD15, so this is not an idle threat.

But I won’t do it alone. The people who helped defeat Richard Pombo are still active. And, like me, they now all live in Sam Blakeslee’s district.

Chris Finnie
Member, Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee

Originally posted to cfinnie on Sun Jun 21, 2009 at 04:56 AM PDT.

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