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    The Road to Tyranny by Don Jans

    Exclusive Interview with Daniel Wilson for State Assembly District 38

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    By Naomi Fisher

    “My name is Daniel Wilson and I am a working-class transgender veteran choosing to run with no party preference for California’s 38th Assembly District so that there will never be a party, corporate, or any other special interest standing between me and the needs of my constituents…”
    Daniel Wilson For State Assembly.
    Photo Credit Daniel Wilson Campaign

    Q: Daniel, you mentioned Patients Over Profits (POP):
    As candidates, we can take pledges to indicate our commitments and this pledge is to my commitment to prioritize patients over profits. Health Care for All (HCA), both L.A. and CA endorsed me because of my POP pledge and my work with them over the last year to fight for CalCare – AB1400.
    I got connected with Cal Care AB 1400, a bill that would grant universal health care for everyone in CA as soon as it was introduced in 2021. My team held rallies in Ventura County with every Cal Nurses statewide day of action as well as phone and text banking to engage and inform our community about this vital piece of legislation. Unfortunately, due to political cowardice, AB1400 was never put up for a floor vote in February as we were promised and is the reason I am more determined than ever to make it to our State House.
    Q: Should universal health care be based on income?
    Universal should be universal. No income barrier. Universal healthcare will not abolish private insurance, people can always choose to pay for private insurance but everyone should have the same access, standards, and quality of care.
    How can we bring quality public education back to our kids?
    Having a basic, good quality education impacts a child’s life. The way our education system is funded today has effectively perpetuated class segregation when we accept that certain children in certain communities deserve less education and resources just because the property taxes are lower where they live. Our society is fractured by class and I believe the most effective method thing we could do to improve the quality of our public education system is to remove school funding from property taxes so that every school in CA gets the same funding and every child receives the same quality of education. We also need to pay teachers more, cover ALL of their materials, and reduce class sizes so teachers can invest more time in their students.
    Q: Is a mandated minimum wage the solution?
    There needs to be a mandated minimum wage. Otherwise corporations will exploit their workers. For example: The problem of tipped wage earners in Maryland today — a  food server in a poor community where residents cannot tip is legally allowed to be paid only $3.63 an hour – in 2022.
    Federally, we need to raise the minimum wage to at least $12-15 per hour but then states will have the ability to go above that after determining what is necessary for their residents. In CA, WA, and NY rents and homes are so expensive those states need a higher minimum wage. However, rather than have to have this fight over and over, wages needs to be tied to cost of living and that formula already exists and in effective use to calculate the yearly increase needed for all of the United States. Our U.S. Military gives an annual cost of living adjustments to all service members as does the V.A. for disability and retirement payments.
    In the state of California there is currently a ballot initiative called the “Living Wage Act of 2022” and it will be on the November ballot. It will increase the minimum wage in the state of California to $18 an hour by 2026 for companies large enough to trigger the increase and is tied to the Consumer Price Index to ensure perpetual increase. And we can see the importance of this now more than ever as we continue to watch the costs of all things skyrocket. If this does not pass, however, I would propose a similar one in Sacramento to raise the minimum wage to $18 by 2024 and tie it to the cost of living, using our preexisting military formula, rather than the Consumer Price Index.
    Regarding small businesses, because I know that raising the wages is a concern for them. One: If company employees had Cal Care the employer would not have to pay to provide health insurance for their employees freeing up some much needed funds. Two: We need to flip our legislative priorities on their head. Big corporations like WalMart, Amazon and Target get tax breaks in addition to actual financial subsidies and they make millions in profits every year. We need to take those assistances and give them to the small businesses that need them the most and will utilize them the best. In this way, if a small business can only afford to pay, say $15 of the required $18 an hour, the State would step in to provide an extra $3 per hour to employees. If small businesses can be competitive in salary and reinvesting in their businesses, they will attract quality employees, more business and begin to thrive.
    Q: Cleaning up the environment?
    I would like to meet with environmentalists across the state to learn the worst problems in CA., to check with Nature Conservancies to gain valuable knowledge on drought, excessive allowances of oil drilling too close to schools, and food sources in Ventura County. Usually, it is the poorest communities that have been affected the most because they have the least power and voice to fight things happening around them. We need a CA specific environmental plan, and it needs to start with targeted focus on the communities that have been most adversely affected by environmental devastation.
    Q: What about homelessness in Ventura County?
    As a veteran, it is painful to watch my brothers and sisters fall through the cracks and be failed by the system. We need to find a permanent solution to housing but I know there is not a one size fits all solution. States and Federal should set mandates for cities and counties to eradicate homelessness. A CA mandate should be set to get people off the streets and help find solutions, not criminal penalties that will only exacerbate the suffering.
    Driving to work every day during the pandemic I saw more businesses close, more of our neighbors forced out onto the streets and our food lines exploding with no meaningful response from our elected officials. I started volunteering with Food Share, a private company that saw the need and stepped up. Than Ventura County started supplementing them. That is why we need small business and private industry in conjunction with government resources – because they keep stepping up to fill the gaps.
    Q: Your podcast Interview on Independent Thinking, what was your point on justice for all?
    Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect whether they committed a crime or not – that’s why we have due process. It’s supposed to treat people the same, but it doesn’t. A huge problem has arisen over the last two decades – somehow we have allowed our justice system to become a for-profit system. When detention centers and judges are being given kick backs for filling them, we don’t have a justice system. All private and for-profit prisons and detention centers should close. Those buildings and processing would still exist but corporations should not be making profits off them.
    What many people do not understand: Undocumented people are often picked up on the way to or from work or picking up their children. Because of our cooperation with ICE here in Ventura County, things are set up to look like DUI check points but they’re set up for example, at 3pm on a Wednesday. For at least a decade people have been pulled over here in this county, asked for a license or identification, which is illegal because those people have not been stopped for committing a crime. I’ve reminded my Naturalized wife to take her passport with her on her way to work because even with a valid driver’s license, even veterans having served this country – are being deported. Community members and I have been fighting this for years.
    We rationalize marijuana being recreationally legal in CA when people are still in prison for non-violent drug charges. Anyone over the age of 21 can buy a pack of joints while people are rotting behind bars for less than that. We need to look at that travesty, at who is locked up and why, release them, if they are non-violent drug only offenders, and expunge their records.
    Q: What is the first thing you look for in grocery stores?
    By looking at what is being locked up you can tell how much a community is suffering. Again, segregation is based on class. In Port Huneme there are two Ralphs groceries stores within a couple of miles of each other. One of them serves the white, wealthier community and only what you would consider regular items are locked away – flammable and hazardous things for safety.
    The other one serves largely low income, Spanish-speaking communities of color. There, baby formula and medicines are locked up. The reason? They’re the most often stolen. In a news clip about a rash of shoplifting in N.Y. news anchors were not mad that people had to shop lift to get medicine. They were upset at the inconvenience that they had to get toothpaste unlocked for them. They didn’t see that changes need to be made because if someone is so poor they have to steal then fining them exacerbates the problem and doesn’t alleviate the very real suffering. Yes, there are some people that have a psychological bent that will always commit crimes. However, it’s a fact that much crime committed is driven out of desperation and the necessity for survival. As a society if we work to make sure our neighbors have what they need then we will no longer be worried about them breaking into our house to take from us.
    Q: You said in some communities banks discriminate?
    Banks don’t have to serve the public because they are private. If a branch isn’t making money they close that branch. Then things change. Those communities don’t have a way to cash their checks. Home ownerships, home loans, first lines of credit are removed. Payday lenders and check cashers move in. They are predatory, charge people 10% of their pay check. That 10% would buy groceries for two or three people.
    At a Federal level I support postal banking. It can solve many issues. We can also create a CA Public Bank. The benefits of that are numerous. It definitely would have to be located within a certain mileage of all communities. No one could be turned away no matter their credit because it’s backed by the State and since it’s not a private bank interest rates would be better on savings.
    Returning to the subject of legal marijuana, our cannabis dispensaries are not legally allowed to have bank accounts – forcing them to be high cash, high risk businesses. A CA public bank where dispensaries could legally and safely have ways to process their bills, payroll, and services would have tremendous impact on the economy and industry.
    Q: Does the Pro Act discriminate against farm and domestic employees?
    It doesn’t discriminate – it completely excludes them. The unfortunate compromises often made between our contrasting and competing political parties is that we have to cut out or exclude immigrants, domestics, agricultural and/or service workers from labor bills. This bans a vast majority of workers that not even two years ago we were heralding as heroes because they worked through covid. Now we’re telling them they don’t deserve more pay, better benefits nor the rights and protections to advocate for those improvements. I will not sign any labor bill that excludes or conveniently tries to leave out those populations of workers.
    I am 100% in favor of unionizing everything. It’s unfortunate we have allowed corporations to become so powerful we can only have a voice when we rally in the thousands. It’s imperative that we are able to do so. As Americans, as laborers, we have our right of free speech and protest. Our rights are not checked at the door when we clock in.
    I fully believe that no matter who you are, no matter how you vote, we can all come together and rise above this partisanship. We are suffering from the same ills and evils. We need each other.
    Response to all the shootings – People who have a future to look forward to aren’t pushed to such desperate lengths to where they think their only option is to walk into any place and open fire on innocents until their own life is ended. But younger people today have no jobs, broken or no homes, bad education – are afraid to have children because their future would look so bleak.
    My entire adult life has been nothing but mass shooting and forever wars. That needs to change.

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