Ralph Nader's California Accomplishments
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marc Abizeid, 202-471-5833, email@example.com
Ralph Nader’s Tremendous List of Accomplishments for California:
What Every Californian Should Consider Before Stepping into the Booth on Tuesday
The October 17 SurveyUSA poll has Obama 24 points ahead of McCain in California. So Obama takes the state for granted and sees no reason to campaign here, while McCain has written off the state and is also missing in action.
On November, Nader/Gonzalez encourages Californians of conscience to consider not only what the presidential candidates have done for California in the past, but what message their vote will carry into the future for important solutions such as publicly insured health care care for all with private delivery, a living wage, and a humanitarian based foreign policy.
California Voters: What have Obama and McCain done for you? Check out below to see what Ralph Nader has done for Californians.
Over his 40-year career as a citizen advocate, presidential candidate Ralph Nader has vigorously fought excessive corporate power and influence in California, and has worked to empower and educate an active citizen population. The Nader/Gonzalez campaign challenges the two corporate candidates, McCain and Obama, to compare their own efforts to support and protect California citizens with Mr. Nader’s record in the "Golden State."
The foremost impact Mr. Nader has had on the budgets of individual California citizens’ is his advocacy work promoting the 1988 ballot measure, Proposition 103. The progressive initiative was written by FTCR founder and protege of Ralph Nader, Harvey Rosenfield and called for comprehensive regulation of the unscrupulous insurance companies that were charging California consumers exorbitant rates, and heavily lobbying the California legislature to block reform. By a narrow margin, the voters of California passed proposition 103, refunding $1.2 billion to California consumers, and saving $23 billion in rate increases since 1988. The measure passed largely through Mr. Nader’s effort in the "Voter Revolt" campaign supporting 103 which only spent $2.9 million despite California’s insurance companies spending a record $80 million to defeat the bill.
The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) is a non-profit advocacy group which protects the citizens of California from corporate abuses, works for safe and affordable medicine, access to health care, and consumer privacy. This essential public resource owes its beginnings to Ralph Nader’s late 60s law office in Washington, DC that worked not for business interests, but for the public interest. Now, three decades later, California has a group of full-time researchers, advocates, students and organizers whose long list of accomplishments include recent work to pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, implementation and enforcement of laws that require banks to ask for permission to release customer information in 2003 and 2008, and advocacy for mass transit systems. CALPIRG has been a major force for consumer and environmental reforms in California.
Mr. Nader was also instrumental in helping set up UCAN, the Utility Consumers’ Action Network, in San Diego in 1983. The consumer rights group works to protect consumers from utility and corporate abuse in the energy, land line and wireless phone, internet and gasoline industries, and has saved San Diego consumers billions of dollars over the past 30 years. In addition, Ralph Nader helped to establish the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a consumer advocacy group that has been fighting on behalf of the consumer against corporate influence for 23 years. The FTCR has ensured that taxpayers receive royalties on taxpayer-funded research developments, has capped insurance rate challenges-saving CA residents over $850 million dollars, has successfully fought auto insurance discrimination, and has helped finalize rules prohibiting insurance agencies from excessive profits, among other accomplishments.
No to Nuclear!
Mr. Nader has long opposed the poorly-planned, expensive and dangerous use of nuclear power in California. California has operating nuclear power plants in Diablo Canyon and San Onofre as well as several now decommissioned plants that are responsible for energy costs 50 percent above the country average, unmanageable nuclear waste and needless danger to California residents. Unlike Mr. Nader, Obama/McCain refuse to take nuclear power off the table, instead virtually promising a lift on the wisely instated three-decade moratorium on new nuclear development. Ralph Nader opposes the giant atomic energy corporations that are now demanding government-backed loans to finance risk-free and foolish nuclear power investments. Mr. Nader instead endorses renewable solutions such as wind and solar.
Taxpayer Funded Stadiums
In 2003, Mr. Nader fought aggressively to prevent corporate welfarist, Al Davis, from making taxpayers subsidize expensive and superfluous stadium projects in Oakland. In Oakland, taxpayers paid 12.5 million dollars of service bonds to finance the Oakland stadium restoration project in 2003, approximately the amount of the annual library budget which was facing sharp budget cuts at the time. "Corporate draining of the defenseless can be very direct. Pressuring or buying local officials to give tax abatements and other giveaways, these companies don’t even care when the losers are public school children," Nader wrote in 2003. The Nader/Gonzalez ticket continues to support California’s small businesses and homeowners facing the brunt of these tax bills, and condemns the developers, factories, mall builders, sports teams and other corporate welfarists who are bleeding the local tax base dry.
Exposing Bank Redlining
In the most comprehensive computer study of mortgage lending practices of its time, Essential Information, Inc., a group started by Mr. Nader, exposed evidence of racial redlining among mortgage lenders in Los Angeles and Oakland in 1993. The report demonstrated that mortgage lenders in these areas excluded or substantially under-served minority neighborhoods in violation of federal Fair Lending laws. Such redlining "forces residents of minority neighborhoods to pay higher mortgage costs and receive less favorable mortgage terms," Mr. Nader said. Redlining can be implemented in ever more subtle ways by lenders and were it not for the investigation and vigilance of groups such as Mr. Nader’s aforementioned Essential Information, Inc, redlining would be devastating communities with abandoned buildings, urban decay and racial segregation far worse than it already has.
Mr. Nader also worked to support AB 1147, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, in 2003, which would have allowed California farmers to grow industrial hemp. The crop, which continues to be outlawed by the federal government, can be used to produce more durable paper, stronger construction products, and is tremendous to the environment, manufacturers and farmers. By legalizing the production of industrial hemp within US borders, California farmers could potentially supply US companies and small businesses the 7 million dollars worth of hemp they import annually, and by imposing regulation and tighter control over the crop, can ensure the US grown crops are not hindering the so called war on drugs, as do unregulated industrial hemp crops grown elsewhere.