Sunday, November 06, 2005

Proposition 73 would make hit list of judges

Proposition 73 would set up a "hit list" of California judges
by Tom Condit

California's November 8 special election ballot is led by Proposition 73, a "parental notification" initiative aimed at making it more difficult for young women to get abortions. As part of that difficulty, it creates bureaucratic red tape for abortion providers and seeks to intimidate judges, who would have the power to authorize a young woman to get an abortion without telling her parents about it.

The proposition mandates a 48-hour waiting period for a woman under 18 to receive an abortion, during which her parents must be notified on an official form of her desire. Her only alternative is to obtain a special order from a judge letting her keep her privacy rights.

The Judicial Council would be mandated to keep a public list of how many privacy petitions each judge had received, and the number he or she had granted. This list could then be used by the "pro-life" movement to target judges who supported the privacy rights of young women.

Don't think that targetting would just be at election time. The authoritarian wing of the anti-choice movement demonstrates at people's homes and workplaces. The terrorist wing of this so-called "pro-life" movement murders doctors and health care workers. Why would we expect them to leave out judges?

What the authors of this proposition want is to create a situation where young women have the "right" to petition for their privacy -- but where there are no judges who will grant those privacy petitions. They hope to get rid of those judges who have courage and compassion, and intimidate the rest.

Proposition 73 was put on the ballot by three right-wing millionaires who are opposed to contraception as well as abortion. They're not interested in "parents' rights" -- they want to take away the medical rights of women under 18 as the first step toward taking them away from all women.

Vote NO on Proposition 73 on Tuesday, November 8.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Tom Condit for State Senate

Peace and Freedom Party candidate for
California State Senate, 9th District

Restore the workers' compensation cuts. Make the publicly-owned State Compensation Fund the only workers' comp source. Unify it with a state system of universal health coverage. No insurance company profits and no insurance company campaign contributions.

Double the minimum wage and index it to the cost of living. Let's stop taking crumbs for our labor.

Restore the vehicle license fee to its previous levels. Repeal Proposition 13. Tax the rich and their corporations to meet human needs.

Balance the state budget by closing prisons. Prisons cost an average of $100,000,000 a year to run. Closing five of them would save half a billion dollars!

Restore democratic control over the Oakland and West Contra Costa School Districts.

Condit for State Senate
Peace & Freedom Party
P O Box 24764
Oakland, CA 94623

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Unemployment insurance -- the bosses' next target

Now that the legislature has nearly-unanimously gutted of Workers’ Compensation, the employers’ next target is Unemployment Insurance. Employer groups like the State Chamber of Commerce have already begun a chorus of whines about the “broken” unemployment insurance system and its cost.

For once, there’s some truth in their propaganda campaign. The Unemployment Insurance system isn’t broken, but it is broke —thanks to the employers and their friends in Sacramento. Since 1990, there have been only five years (from 1996 through 2000) when the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund didn’t pay out more money than it took in. With rising unemployment and a tax base which can’t support the system, the situation has grown steadily worse since 2001.

The reason is simple: employers are taxed for Unemployment Insurance on only the first $7,000 of an employee’s pay in California, the same amount as in Mississippi or South Carolina. This is the minimum amount allowed by the federal government and is the lowest taxable wage base as a percentage of average pay of any state. That means when workers go on unemployment, there isn’t enough money in the fund to pay them a decent percentage of their wages. The $7,000 amount hasn’t been raised since 1983.

This affects the solvency of the UI system and also its equity. Employers in lower-paying industries carry a greater share of the load than those in higher-paying industries. Since unemployment insurance is part of the “wages fund” of salary and benefits received by workers, the workers in those industries are also disadvantaged. Moreover, it means that employers with a stable work force are subsidizing seasonal and project-based industries like construction and movie production.

The first step toward “fixing” the unemployment insurance system is to raise the taxable wage base to $25,000 per year. This would still be lower than Idaho, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon or Alaska, and wouldn’t be much higher than Nevada’s base of $21,500. Then we need to index it to the state’s average wage so it doesn’t fall behind again. That’s the first step toward solvency.

But we want more than solvency from the Unemployment Insurance system. We want equity.

*We need to get rid of the crazy system which bases your unemployment payments on what you made months ago instead of what you were making when you got laid off.

*We need to raise the percentage of wages covered by UI benefits from the present average of 31.4% (45th among the 50 states) to at least 50%.

*We need to make it easier to get unemployment insurance. Right now only 46% of California’s unemployed workers get UI benefits.

*We need to extend the period you can get UI to reflect the rise in long-term unemployment.

All this isn’t necessary just to aid unemployed workers. Unemployment Insurance helps keep money in circulation at the bottom of the economy where it can do some good, instead of letting it all flow out to time-share condos in Bermuda.

(Get more info from California Budget Project,

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

In the beginning

This is a weblog which is under construction, begun on the 18th of May, 2004. I intend to use it to publish quick notes on my campaign for the 9th district seat in the California State Senate and for other political comments related to the campaign. It's a new experiment, and it remains to be seen what use I can make of it. Certainly, if the blogger keeps appending two copies of the entire text each time I try to bold or italicize a word, I won't make too much use of it.

More info on the Peace & Freedom Party at:

and on my campaign and those of other candidates at: