Issues

Creating Jobs is Issue #1

           As a small business owner, I have worked in virtually all of our major regional industries and I know the important issues for our region because my firm serves these industries and I listen for what are the biggest obstacles to turning around the economy. More than most of California, we are attuned to the outdoors and natural resources as essential to our quality of life. As the center of the Gold Rush, we still have that pioneering, self-sufficient, drive that created California. We do not need the government to tell us how to steward our property, raise our children, help our neighbors, or lead our lives as much as legislators and regulators think we do. My number one priority will be bringing a businesswoman’s perspective to restoring our region’s economy so we can create more jobs. This means restoring a common sense approach to our local industries: less burdensome, duplicative, over-regulation and lower taxes to stimulate growth and investment. It also means government has to live within its means, like the rest of us.

           I learned firsthand that California State regulatory boards work against us more than for us. They no longer answer to We The People. Having served in and studied the board system I know that they are outside of the representative government the Constitution guarantees. They cross the boundaries of the three branches of government we learned about in civics classes acting as law-maker, law enforcer, and adjudicator. They have an incentive to keep cases open, levying fees and fines wherever they can, because the funding for many regulatory agencies comes directly from these fees and fines. The regulatory bodies operate independently from elected representatives in either the Legislative or the Executive Branches of State Government and are out of control. Many of them appear to be draining the economy and operating more to perpetuate their own existence instead of responsibly protecting the resources of the State of California.

Here is what we need to do in the different business sectors to improve our economy and create jobs:

•            Construction, Transportation and Building Industries: I will re-evaluate all regulatory burdens and help to streamline permitting. For example: I will re-evaluate the Construction Storm Water General Permit requirements. I am a qualified practitioner and have just taken the test to be a Qualified Stormwater Plan Developer. I can tell you that forcing the building and construction industry to hire people like me to do nothing but report to regulators upon threat of enormous penalties is UN-AMERICAN!! It robs the construction trades of jobs in an already hard-hit industry.

•            Mining and resources: Again, I will work on your behalf towards requiring all boards and commissions that propagate regulations answer to the electorate and truly evaluate the impact on jobs in the industries they regulate for a true cost-/benefit evaluation, which has never been realistically implemented. AB-32, for example, does not make economic sense in a State that is bleeding jobs. There must be more reasonable ways to protect air quality without putting the resource extraction, construction materials, and trucking industries out of business. With my background in all these fields, I can be your voice for jobs.

•            Tahoe area tourism: With more than 17 agencies with oversight authority, the regulatory burden and confusion is unconstitutional. At the State level, we often have one regulatory board requiring that we break the regulations of another regulatory board! One regulator’s erosion control is another regulator’s fire hazard. I served on a Tahoe time-share owners advisory board and have worked for years helping ski resorts comply with massive regulatory burdens. I will work to pass legislation requiring that conflicting regulations be resolved at the State level among regulators and not on the resident’s and resorts’ nickel depressing the area’s economy
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•            Agriculture and water resources: Similarly, with the new Delta water quality and supply requirements for upstream users, onerous, duplicative, and conflicting regulatory requirements will arise that will cost our farmers, and in turn all of us, resources. I have studied the Delta problems with specific research on the stakeholder. My legislation will require that State level regulations causing duplicative or conflicting oversight will be voided until the regulatory bodies sign agreements as to which regulations take precedence.

•            For licensed or certified professionals and practitioners, such as doctors, dentists, engineers, auto mechanics, and cosmetologists: I will provide for better due process using a panel of your peers for fact-finding in hearings instead of the frustrating administrative hearing process currently employed. I will also reduce costs of administering licensing exams by clearing the way to review qualifications only for those passing exams instead of for all applications, significantly reducing the bureaucracy.


Solving our state budget deficit.

           We should not follow the path of Illinois and raise taxes. Higher taxation simply means that more money is taken out of the private sector where it is needed to create jobs. We need to make hard priority choices in government programs.


I have a four-pronged approach to Closing the Budget Gap.

1) Root out waste, fraud and abuse

           In order to root out waste, fraud, and abuse, I propose a three-month amnesty program for the reporting of suspected misuse of state funds, fraud perpetrated upon or under color of the State of California, and abuse of State governmental authority, particularly by state employee perjury. Persons participating in or having duty of knowledge of such abuse will be able to report this abuse without repercussion if the practice is stopped and restitution made, where appropriate. After the amnesty period, all such actions will be swiftly adjudicated by the personnel board with repercussions of loss of wages, time in service for seniority or benefit calculations, and loss of position holding the public trust.

2) Implement Austerity Measures

           I would first consolidate and reorganize the Executive Branch, realigning what are now convoluted reporting chains, making fewer appointments and suspending some functions until we can afford their good services again.

           All Commissions will be required to state the year they were initiated, the original mission, what is the progress on accomplishing the original mission and how and when the mission changed over the years under what authority. They will also report the original budget, what the budget was 10 years ago and what the budget is today. This information will be used to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the commissions and committees to see if there is room to consolidate functions, pool support services, or otherwise reduce the burden or increase the service to the people of California.

3) Convert to Results-based Employee Evaluations

           A continuing not-so funny joke has been about state employees work ethic. We have many hard-working – or even over-worked state employees who should be rewarded. All the rest need to learn the same lessons of results-orientation that we in the Private Sector learned a long time ago. Results and not time on the clock should be the goal, enabling those not directly working with the public to work from home using technology to interface with their co-workers. Fears of workers exploiting the unsupervised status has been overcome to great effect by corporations in our area such as the telecommunications and computer industries They have lessons to teach the State about the benefits of telecommuting and efficiencies of results-oriented management.

4) Rein in over-taxation and Overspending

           I will first require all Legislators to be accountable for their spending priorities by going on record with ranking every item in the budget (in groupings) based on importance to State governance and taking into consideration whether the item receives federal funding. All funding from within the State will be considered equally, whether it comes from the General Fund or from special fees, taxes, or fines. Once everything in the Budget is ranked, the lower ranked items will receive particular scrutiny to review whether the budgeting levels are warranted.

           Governor Brown needs to use the line-item veto to eliminate unnecessary future spending proposals and not allow major taxation increases without the legislators overcoming vetoes.

Education

           As the mother of three children educated in public schools, I fully support improving our public schools. I will restore teaching – not social work - as the primary function of our teachers, protect classroom funding and separate social and health services from classroom teacher responsibilities. Not enough of our public school funding is going to the intended recipient, the classroom, to benefit the students. When the educational system is also required to provide meals, hygiene lessons and oversight, security, transportation, public health programs, social services, language training, etc., the education of our children suffers. In addition, I will push for greater curriculum integration at the grade-school level. Our teachers do not have enough time in the day to teach to all the requirements with fidelity. They should be given integrated curricula so that subject matter overlaps and simultaneously achieve goals.

Immigration

           If it were in my power, I would support a guest worker program for agriculture in California, but California has almost no control over illegal immigrants in the State. This is the responsibility of the Federal Government. Nevertheless, it is a financial burden and security risk to the State. The way it is right now is a broken system that must be fixed. It is unconscionable for it to persist the way it is now.

           The law allowing illegal aliens to get drivers licenses allows our government to bypass the immigration issue without facing it. It perpetuates a bad situation for everybody and increases the threat to Homeland Security. I will immediately charge the DMV to issue only paper driver licenses with a stamp in bold saying "This is not Identification" to those who do not volunteer legitimate documentation when applying for a driver's license. Those wishing to also obtain a California Identification Card as their license will have to present the document.

Natural Resource Management

Water

           Water management in the state does not place our needs as a main concern. We are threatened with water rationing, while we nurture the water from snowflakes, bear oppressive regulatory burden and risk to keep it as clean as humanly possible and control flooding, and then wave good-bye to it as we watch acre-feet of water travel past us for others to use.

           Though the solution to many of California’s water issues is increased storage, care must be taken that the benefits of water storage in our district be realized first and foremost by the residents of our district. District Four supports a large tourism economy revolving around our rivers and lakes, as well as the natural settings that they support. Additionally, building reservoirs in our district runs the risk of the power influences in the state causing even more water to be exported before the residents in our district realize the benefit from it.

           I will be the voice in the State Legislature to represent the water resource needs of the District. Having worked in the Seismic Engineering Branch of the Department of Water Resources monitoring earthquake activity around California’s dams, I know the real story about building dams on faults; and, having been a whitewater raft guide and kayak instructor on the South, Middle, and North Forks of the American River, I value our river resources. Conducting Stakeholder analysis for water and power supply infrastructure on a research grant through the UC Berkeley Collaborative For Catastrophic Risk Management, I am uniquely qualified to elevate a frank, sophisticated dialogue among polarized stakeholders removing posturing and obstructionism to resolve water resources issues for the greater good of all the people in our Assembly District.

Fire & Public Safety

           Property crimes are escalating into violent crimes, with more home invasion incidents, some of which are connected to escalating gang violence. I will work towards protecting local government funds devoted to acquiring integrated technology to more quickly link to homeland security, more easily track stolen vehicles, and investigate property crimes.

           Fire protection, fuel reduction, and fire suppression encompass technology and techniques that are very sophisticated and well-understood. We need to make firefighting the number one priority both for public safety and environmental quality. Fire has the potential not only of threatening public safety and public property but of devastating the livelihoods and the economy of the entire district. A concerted effort must be made to build up fire protection resources in all of the district’s communities.

           Wildfires pose the greatest threat to the environment in the fourth district. Not only do they affect air quality and produce particulate and greenhouse gases, but fires also create tremendous erosion hazards, which in turn pose a threat to water quality. In addition to destroying homes, wildfires destroy habitat and threaten our beautiful and bountiful state, displacing people and animals alike. I will offer legislation to place fire protection regulation paramount when environmental regulations conflict. In addition, the legislation will grant greater latitude to release funds for emergency preparedness and business continuity planning.

           In the event of a fire or other disaster, we need to have prequalified, and pre-secured contracts for recovery operations in place for immediate safety assessor response, debris removal, geotechnical, and re-building operations to bring evacuees back to their homes and businesses and the economy back as quickly as possible following a disaster. I have been a California Certified Disaster Safety Worker for years, am certified by Homeland Security to design disaster scenario exercises, have lead the Sacramento SAME disaster response readiness committee for over a decade, served with the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management since the first year it was launched, Served as the Chair of the State Geohazards Committee of the Mining and Geology Board, and served on the Governor’s Emergency Public/Private Partnership Working Group, and on the Governor’s Interagency Collaborative for Emergency Levee Repairs.

 

Cheryl Bly-Chester
1000 Sunrise Blvd. Suite 9B-122
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 721-8339