Tyranny is Back: Its Time for Change

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views

Tyranny — not the kind that tortures or kills people — is back. 

The tyranny is not coming from business.  The problem is not Wall Street or Hollywood moguls, annoying as these entities can be. 

The tyranny, as Thomas Jefferson would have predicted, is coming from government — yes government. 

In one state, California, government is seizing our liberties and our wealth. 

Just look at what a mess California is and might become. 

In 2012, California’s voters passed Proposition 30, which increased the state’s income tax and sales tax.  Proposition 30 produced the highest top bracket (13.3%) of any state income tax in the nation.  In 2016, voters, under Proposition 55, extended Proposition 30’s tax increases for an additional 12 years. 

Then came the ban on plastic bags in 2016.   

In November 2017, the state government added a 12-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax and higher vehicle registration fees. 

Now, the state legislature has a bill to attack local control of cities.  Senate Bill 827 (SB 827), sponsored by Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco),  will, if enacted, ban a local community from exercising land-use controls.  Specifically, SB 827 will bar a local community from stopping any housing construction within one-half mile of a train station or one-quarter mile from a frequently-used bus route. 

SB 827, in the zones of operation, will prevent local communities from regulating building heights and the number of apartments to be built.  Structures could be as high as 85 feet. 

Unruly development puts pressure on local schools, parking, traffic flow, open space, water use, police departments, and fire departments. 

Another bill, backed by Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), would, in sit-down restaurants, ban plastic straws unless requested.  The proposed legislation would exclude fast-food restaurants. 

In recent years, Democrats in the state legislature have had supermajorities in both the State Assembly and State Senate.  A supermajority means control of two-thirds (or more) of the seats in a given house. 

The Democratic Party, the one that existed from about 1932 to 2000, was mostly concerned about jobs, education, and some big projects like dams, aqueducts, and freeways.  Let’s call this part the Old Democratic Party.  This older party would throw in some social-welfare benefits like Social Security and Medicare. 

But today’s Democratic Party, the one that has existed for approximately the last 20 years, is more concerned about taxes, regulation, and environmental extremism.  This New Democratic Party wants a higher minimum wage, attacks suburban living, and wants to ban gasoline-powered cars. 

California’s Republican Party, once mighty and vigorous, has become a ghost of its former self.  Gone are the days when Republicans could win state-wide offices like U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, and controller. 

What can be done? 

The answer is to break up the current Democratic Party monopoly, which does not give voters a real choice. 

The time has come to establish what might be called the Modern Democrats.   

The Modern Democrats would be in favor is small and medium sized businesses, favor job creation, support modest reforms in the workplace (like locally-oriented and privately funded child care), build an adequate transportation system that is self-supporting financially, and not raise taxes or increase regulations. 

The Modern Democrats could favor conservation of precious resources like redwood trees and water.   

Voters could come from disenchanted Democrats, independents, and moderate Republicans. 

The Modern Democratic Party (MDP) could be led by someone who is in the mold of someone like former presidents Harry Truman, a Democrat, or Dwight Eisenhower, a moderate, middle-of the-road Republican. 

The MDP, if organized properly, could win state-wide elections in California and even challenge the ultra-liberal, radical Democrats who dominate the state legislature.  The MDP could support choice in the public-school system.  It could also adequately fund higher education, the entity society will need to make California competitive, especially in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. 

One of the MDP’s goals could be challenging the role of organized labor.  Labor unions, especially those representing public employees, dominate the current Democratic Party.  Instead of continual confrontation between managements and labor, the MDP could encourage workers to buy shares in their companies.  By being owners, workers would more likely be helping the boss become more profitable and not necessarily be interested in going on strike. 

The time for change in the Democratic Party has come.  Let’s not miss an opportunity.

Richard Colman, a biochemist, received masters and doctoral degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.  He is the founder and president of Biomed Inc.,  a biotechnology, publishing, and informatics company.  He lives in Orinda, California.  Mr. Colman is the editor and publisher of The Icon, which covers Contra Costa County in California.  The Icon is a printed publication and an online publication.  Online, The Icon can be found at <www.iconnews.org 

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