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Don’t let them fool you with their lies

Local Commentary . Politics

Posted: September 15, 2008 8:37 p.m.
Updated: November 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

With less than two months until the election, I believe we are on the verge of some significant and very-much-needed change.

After eight years of the Republican rule, our nation is left with one of the most costly wars in history, a complete meltdown of the housing industry, the collapse of several major financial institutions, massive layoffs and a serious economic downturn with no end in sight. President Obama will lead us all into a new era, while an influx of new Democratic leaders will address the nation's call for change.

As Democrats across the country are getting ready to take charge, we need to pay close attention to local political races. We have several noteworthy candidates to rally behind.

Running against Cameron Smyth to represent the 38th Assembly District, Carole Lutness is a strong advocate of campaign finance reform, and unlike her adversary, is not tied to "big oil" money.

Hoping to win representation for the 37th Assembly District is Ferial Masry, who brings a unique perspective to the local political arena with her experience on the international scene. Also, as a high school teacher, she places a high priority on the importance of education.

Finally, the candidate I think we should really focus on is Hannah-Beth Jackson, candidate for the 19th Senatorial District.

Jackson has a very strong background in the Legislature. She has served six years in the state Assembly. During her term she has introduced and gotten signed into law more than 60 pieces of legislation dealing with important reforms for education, public safety, consumer rights, health care and protection of the environment.

Jackson has been a resident of the 19th Senatorial District for more than 30 years. She has been married to Superior Court Judge George Eskin for 27 years, has a daughter, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

Jackson's opposition, Tony Strickland, has run vicious and misleading TV commercials falsely implying that Jackson supports tax increases. They have absolutely nothing to do with the truth.

The ad features a cartoon of a house and a car and makes claims that Jackson has voted to increase the car tax, the gas tax and that she wants to weaken Proposition 13. Jackson sent Strickland a letter demanding he immediately pull the ad and apologize.

Let's examine each part of the misinformation: the gasoline tax, the car tax and the alleged "weakening of Proposition 13."

The first part of the commercial alleges Jackson is responsible for an increase in the gasoline tax. The bills listed in the ad were as follows: AB 16, AB 1058, AB 1706, AB 1707 and AB1740.

The purpose of AB 16 is to guard against oil spills. This bill requires offshore oil producers to transport oil by pipeline rather than by barge.

AB1058 required the Air Resources Board to comply with the state's greenhouse gas reduction goals.
AB1706 would have required the California Energy Commission to report back to the Legislature on ways to lower gas prices.

AB1707 was a bill to protect consumers from the release or sale of private financial information without prior approval.
AB1740 was simply the state budget for 2000-01. None of these bills would raise gas taxes.

The commercial continues, alleging Jackson has somehow advocated raising the "car tax." There is absolutely no validity to this whatsoever.

There was a vague reference to the "August 2003 Gray Davis Budget Vote." This actually deals with the end of a temporary reduction in the vehicle license fee implemented by the state Department of Finance, which took place in 1998, during a budget surplus.

When the state ran out of funds in 2003, the Department of Finance had no choice but to end this temporary measure. Jackson did NOT "vote to increase the car tax."

The claim that Jackson "weakened" Proposition 13 is absolutely absurd. Her support of AB94 and AB822 were simply to provide an extension of an earlier court decision that certain jurisdictions could set a slightly higher tax rate to cover "indebtedness" incurred from pensions approved by voters before July 1, 1978. The impact of this extension was miniscule and in no way altered Proposition 13.

To be certain, Hannah-Beth Jackson is not the only important candidate, but we most certainly need to give her our support. For us to succeed in taking back the government, we must elect good people at the local as well as the national level.

Todd Hoover, a resident of Castaic, serves as a representative on the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee for the 37th Assembly District. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.

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