California’s New ‘Declines to State Party’


By Richard Eber


Welcome to the first meeting of the “Declines to State” (DTS) Political Party. This group comprises more than 25% of the voters including myself in California.  We choose not to be officially designated Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, American Independent, Socialist, Green, etc….

As such, we should still have a voice in government beyond selecting from the two most liberal candidates in the November election.

Given the fact that DTS sector is expected to be so influential in determining the outcome of close races this fall in California, there is a need for this group to emerge from being a de facto silent majority. With the motto in placeWhen the Republicans are in power they steal most of the money, when the Democrats are in charge they steal it all” Declines to State voters are prepared to take charge

Until a representative DTS group gets together and chooses officers, I will be forced to be the Chairman of the new Party.  There will be no appointments made except for lunch reservations until a convention convenes.

At this juncture were there to be a DTS convention, it would takes place exclusively in my mind and have the plurality of a “Ménage de One”. The DTS hopes to fill the air space where the California GOP once resided.

With the current stranglehold of the Progressive Wave in California politics holding two thirds of all seats in the legislature along with all State offices, DTS voters need to be heard In Sacramento. This constituency, that has historically provided balance and “middle of the road” policies, is badly needed to restore effective government in the “Golden State.”

So how might one describe a DTS member?

  • A Bill Clinton Democrat who wants to take care of the needy but still desires to protect the bottom line. More liberal than a conservative Republican type but not off the deep end like the current Progressives who dominate California politics.
  • A Schwarzenegger Republican who is uncomfortable with the excesses of both political parties who resides close to the middle of the road and express’s independent thought on most issues.
  • Non partisan types who dislike both Democrats and Republicans who feel uncomfortable with the label attached to belonging to either group. This Goldilocks type ideology (not too hot or cold) is arguably the largest constituency of the DTS movement.
  • Disenfranchised Republicans who feel the party has lost the way and are dissatisfied that the GOP lacks the influence and power to contend with the Democratic juggernaut.
  • An all of the above grouping from each of these segments.

With such a diverse group (skin color, nationality, nor identity politics need not apply) trying to come up with a particular set of issues that bind them is virtually impossible.  But this is no concern of mine as worrying what others might think is not a priority in organizing the DTS Third Party movement.

Now that the paperwork has been completed, we can turn to what the new DTS entity stands for. The guiding principles, at least in my case, would be:

  1. Abolish allowing new public employees from being enrolled in the current defined benefits pension plan operating by CalPERS. This task would be taken care of by individual IRA accounts or by programs designated by beneficiaries. Contributions made by taxpayers would be reflected in each pay check employees receive. No making up shortages later at taxpayer expense would be allowed.
  1. Cap and trade to be ended at once. This is a job killer and not accomplishing very much except raising the price of energy. Replace this system with tax incentives for utilizing renewable energy sources to spur conservation.  Punishing businesses is not a way to build our economy.
  1. The state of California would be banned from trying to carry out their own foreign policy. Instead they would be directed to liaison with elected officials in Washington D.C. for the sole purpose of receiving a fair share of federal matching funds.
  1. Caltrans would have 75% of their staff be laid off at once. This wasteful agency needs a complete overhaul. This State bureaucracy has more “gold bricks” than Fort Knox. California should not lead the country in having the highest road construction costs per mile.
  1. The State would be restricted from administering school districts except for distributing Federal funds to local school boards. They would only intercede if local schools are under-performing. We need to go “Back to the Future” when California had one of the best  public school systems in the Country.
  1. A new State agency called the Department of Water would be started with the express goal of providing additional water storage facilitates in California during dry years. Except for damming free flowing rivers, they would be granted exemptions from unnecessary environmental red tape. It is ridiculous how government inefficiency and incompetence has stalled expansion of needed additional H2O for cities and agricultural purposes.
  1. Streamline local, county, and statewide environmental regulations to avoid duplicate permits for similar services in the construction process that has largely contributed to the shortage of all forms of housing.
  1. Prohibit vehicle and gasoline taxes from being spent in the general fund or for mass transportation. These other services would be paid for by income and general sales taxes, and bonds passed by voters.
  1. Modify some of the urban limits for residential construction to encourage building more affordable and middle income housing. These urban limit boundaries need to be analyzed and modified at least every 20 years. Taking this simple step will do more to provide increasing housing inventory than all government programs combined.
  1. Restrict the subsidies given by the State for social services given immigrants to last no longer than 90 days. This is the job of the Federal government. Reduce welfare fraud which is estimated to be in the billions in California. Encourage work for welfare programs. Entitlement programs need to be reigned in as they are spiraling out of control and taking funding away from performing other needed services.
  1. Admission guaranteed for children of residents (who qualify as US citizens) to State run colleges before out of state applicants can be considered.
  1. Stop the construction of the bullet train. If the project resume, lower cost models achieved in China and Japan should be utilized. Turn the Bullet Train over to private enterprise is the best hope to revive this white elephant from the scrap heap.
  1. A firing freeze for state workers except for public safety personal. Reduce overtime abuse on all levels of government employees. Payment of retirement benefits should be based upon base pay. Ban all public employee strikes.
  1. Reform workers comp to reduce cost for employers and make state more competitive in attracting new businesses to California. Ditto for burdensome government regulations that strangle job creation for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. . Emphasis should be placed on encouraging businesses that pay workers above minimum wages. Try to keep employer costs down to prevent the exodus of business from leaving the State.
  1. Stop thinking that high tech is the answer to all employment growth in the future as this sector will never produce enough jobs for the masses that are needed to employ more than a small sector of the workforce.
  1. Stop making the police the bad guys and give them needed support to do their jobs. Trying to provide law enforcement too much oversight makes it difficult for them to carry on their critical duties in communities of providing public safety. This goes for elected officials and their sidekicks in the media who tend to react to isolated instances rather than looking at the big picture.
  1. Make dealing with the Homeless a higher priority than it currently is. Provide not only ample food, shelter, and clothing, but counseling services as well. It is well documented that a large proportion of this group is dealing with serious mental issues plus substance abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Taking a holistic approach will take pressure off law enforcement who routinely deals with the homeless more as social workers than as police officers.
  1. Reduce the amount of tasks of State Government and by doing so return sales and property tax revenues to the counties and local communities where the money could be more efficiently spent. This means “Big Brother” in Sacramento giving up much of the power usurped from local communities the last quarter century or so.
  1. Keep government oversight out of the bedroom. Let consenting adults do as they please unless they are victimizing the young or helpless. The same approach goes for the legalization of pot which is now the law of the land. Defining morality should be determined by families.  Imposing “Nanny” laws is not the function of government on any level.
  1. End the one party system in California which is destroying our State. As part of this promise The DTS Party pledges never to guarantee being transparent because this means in today’s political double speak that lying and deception is sure to follow,

This list was written for the purpose of discussion and is by no means complete or meant to replace political parties.  It addresses only a limited number of topics. The growing numbers of Decline to State (DTS) is more of a symptom of the growing disenfranchisement of many voters today with the current system.

The above list might be a mouthful but as Paul Harvey used to say “Good Day!”

Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.

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