Our current Assemblyman forever trashed our shoreline when he was a city council member in Hayward. He built an ugly power plant next to Hayward Regional Shoreline. You can best view the plant by driving east on the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge, or from the Shoreline Interpretive Center at 4901 Breakwater Ave., or visit the plant south gate at 3700 Enterprise Ave. Without trees or walls to hide it, everyone can see the power plant is really ugly. Why we have the plant is a story even uglier than the plant itself. The Hayward Power Plant makes electricity for San Francisco at peak times. It is needed ONLY because Mayor Gavin Newsom CLOSED both of the San Francisco power plants. If Hayward had not built a plant, then San Francisco would have had to build a new plant on its side of the Bay. But why despoil San Francisco when our Assemblyman will trash Hayward instead? In the next election you can give our power-plant-loving Assemblyman what he deserves for putting San Francisco ahead of us.
Not only did our Assemblyman disrespect us by building a power plant here, but he failed to get compensation for the harm to our shoreline. The dirty secret about power plants is, they pay no taxes, neither sales tax on valuable electricity nor property tax on expensive machinery; or rather, they do pay taxes but under special provisions of state law the money goes directly to Sacramento. (Hayward did receive a one-time payment of sales tax on material bought to build the power plant; the money was used for a library.)
I will change state law to give all tax money from power plants to the cities and school districts where the power plants are. I will change state law to allow power plant cities and school districts to either pay down the property taxes of their residents and businesses, or to increase their operating budgests without offsetting penalties from the state. Every trashed city and disadvantaged school district in the state with a power plant will support me in these changes. Their Assemblymen and Senators of either party will line up to help.
Everyone who does not live in Assembly District 20 drives through it to someplace else. People from the north and east drive through our neighborhoods to Silicon Valley. People from the penninsula drive through to Sacramento or Tahoe. Even people from Oakland drive through our Assembly District 20 to get to the airport. Where we live is the ground underneath three major freeways: I-580, I-680, and I-880 formerly Highway 17. Our neighborhoods are also the landing points for two major bridges, the Hayward-San Mateo and the Dumbarton Bridges.
The powerful politicians and beaurocrats of Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco think these freeways and bridges belong to them. Their Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) includes representatives from those cities, but none from us, even though Southern Alameda County as a whole has more people than any one of them. With Regional Measure 3 in the June 5th primary election, they want to raise tolls on our bridges and spend it to relieve traffic congestion all over the Bay Area. Ditto the freeways. The MTC plans to convert parts of our freeways to toll lanes, or as they are called, Lexus Lanes. The tolls give rich people the privilege to drive through where we live as fast as possible.
Politicians in the Bay Area are scared of the unelected Metropolitican Transportation Commission. The MTC makes jobs for construction workers, who vote for politicians. If asked about Regional Measure 3, politicians clear their throats and hem and haw about not being sure. (Even the board of the Bay Area League of Women Voters supported the Measure without asking members for comment, and now the board faces a revolt from local Leagues of the East Bay.) I support constructing infrastructure, but I take issue with who decides. Why should Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco decide how to spend fees from our freeways and bridges?
I will change state law to give all toll money from bridges and Lexus Lanes (after paying for construction, maintenance, and operation) to the municipalities and school districts which the bridges and freeways pass through. Again the cities and school districts can either pay down property taxes for their residents and businesses, or use the money to cope with the nuisance of major freeways and bridges. Every city and school district with bridges or freeways in their back yards will support this change. Their Assemblymen and Senators of either party are my natural allies in passing this change into law.
As I have said, more people live between the three, major cities of the Bay Area than inside them. Probably no area is hurt more by our dysfunctional regional government than Southern Alameda County. I have written about the harmful effects in an article, Southern Alameda County is a Region Too. Our South County is discriminated against by gerrymandered disctricts for county supervisors, which effectively give three of the five seats to Oakland. Population entitles Oakland to two seats because the city has only 0.4 million residents out of 1.6 million in the county.
State law already contains optional provisions to have impartial, non-partisan panels draw county supervisory districts without gerrymandering. I will work to see these state laws are implemented in Alameda County.
I was born in Minnesota the year before General Eisenhower was elected. There I met both Hubert Humphrey (the man who invented Medicare), and Walter Mondale, before they became Vice Presidents. Minnesota is a strange place because Democrats there were populists not progressives, and the Party is still called the Farmer-Labor Party, a mixture that does not work anywhere else. I went to school in Minneapolis and in Urbana at land-grant universities enabled by one of the first laws that President Lincoln signed. The dream of every midwesterner is to go someplace else, so, after receiving our doctorates, my wife and I went to California, which in many respects is the end of the American dream. It was pretty tough making ends meet in such an expensive place, which it was even back then and probably always has been, until President Reagen cut taxes, twice. I was a scientist at the government laboratories in both Livermore and in Berkeley, where I acquired some amazing stories and a healthy skepticism for the wisdom of trying to solve problems by throwing money at them. In retirement I have continued to write scientific papers and also articles about the history of mathematics.