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Jonathan Kraut: Talk about Moonbeam

Democratic Voices

Posted: June 14, 2010 10:48 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

My wife and I are the proud doggie-parents of a now 7-month-old silver miniature schnauzer named Kiki. Kiki is fun, lovable, adores constant human contact and is a joy despite her annoying habit of howling when either my wife or I are talking on the phone.

Kiki has had a few medical challenges already, and of course we want the most professional care for our puppy-daughter. When we have taken her to the vet, we make sure the vet is licensed, experienced and has a good reputation. Fortunately, in Santa Clarita we are blessed with excellent veterinarians, and Kiki has beaten ear fungus, internal parasites and digestive issues, all with flying colors.

If an election was held next month to pick the state veterinarian, what would you consider when casting your vote? Of course, extensive medical experience with animals is key. Understanding treatment protocol and medicines, how clinics operate and familiarity with the world of pet care would help select the most effective candidate.

What if your political party told you to vote for a person who did not possess any of the necessary qualities for this position? What if your party supported a candidate who had unlimited funds for self-promotion, and yet had never used any money to even sponsor free pet clinics or pet issues in the past?

This case is like our next choice for California governor.

There is one candidate who promises "to tell the truth about our state budget ... downsize the size of state government ... never to raise any taxes without a public vote ... and to go after crooks at every level in government and the private sector."

There is another candidate who has never held public office, has a ton of money and, to my knowledge, has never used a penny for any humanitarian, environmental or educational endeavor, and yet has spent $81 million (as estimated by the Huffington Post) on self-promotion in the recent primaries.

Jerry Brown has held elected roles from mayor to Attorney General to Governor. He has nothing to prove by serving as governor again. But he has a passion for California and is motivated to step up and lead.

Some called Brown "Moonbeam" when he was governor in the in 70s because of his way-out notions - like having California put up a satellite for weather forecasting and improving communications, or for wanting to invest in green industry and alternative energy.

Those ideas don't sound so silly anymore.

Brown, whom I have met on a few occasions, is approachable, practical and is more like a professor offering detail in his answers that only the most astute can comprehend.

Meg Whitman, on the other hand, seems like all cash and no strongbox to hold it.

I read Whitman's "plan" online at www.megwhitman.com. Despite the fact she started an online auction site at the right time in history, I found her ideas lacking any vision or logic that one might expect from an inventive entrepreneur.

Whitman says "500,000 jobs will be created" by doing simple things like eliminating the $800 Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) fee, reducing the tax rate for manufacturing plants and limiting the amount of damages for winning a lawsuit.

I think Whitman has been in her ivory tower too long.

If you don't have $800 to form an LLC, you shouldn't even start one. This won't create even one job. And manufacturers won't relocate from India and around the world to pay up to five times more in wages to save pennies on taxes. Talk about Moonbeam.

Whitman wants to cut out a chunk of education from the "overhead" like facilities, staff and teacher training, "leaving more money for the classroom." Whether Whitman is saying is that when you call your school - even though no one will answer and the principal is teaching a class with no lights, books or computers - teachers are doing a better job than before.

Whitman wants to save money by reducing the number of attorneys the state uses prosecute crime while simultaneously beefing-up law enforcement. Another crazy contradiction.

The last governor without experience in government, according to Whitman's website, took office with $1,100 of debt per Californian and has since led our state to record debt of $1,800 per Californian.

Yes, credentials are important. Having a ton of money isn't one of them. We want our Kiki to have the best care possible.
We go with someone who understands how to diagnose, treat and solve problems, not by their bank account.

Whitman's plan stinks - pouring in money to promote it does not make it better.

Jonathan Kraut is a Fair Oaks Ranch resident and serves in the Democratic Party of the SCV, on the SCV Human Relations Forum and SCV Interfaith Council. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or other organizations. "Democratic Voices" appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.

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