I oppose the recall because the installation of especially a Trump-supporting Republican threatens so many good things about our state. But by ensuring that no even arguably qualified Democratic candidate would run to replace him, Governor Newsom has recklessly endangered Californians.
I am running for Governor, in case people do vote for the recall, because I am the progressive candidate most able to win, to govern effectively, and to pursue a strong reform agenda.
One thing that I can do, that perhaps no other viable candidate can do, is to thumb my nose at big-money special interests. I don’t need them to get elected. This means that, at the Cabinet level and below, I can bring in smart people with great values that have no pressure to respond to anything but the public good. We may hear innovative proposals of a kind that we haven’t heard since the “Office of Appropriate Technology in Gov. Jerry’s Brown’s first term – which, because we play such a special role in the leading the world in science, technology, and ethical governance – may have ripple effects well beyond our state and national borders. We should provide leadership.
I know that many “unbought” people are in government, but I look forward to seeing what a completely “unbought” government looks like – and I hope that voters do as well!
How many leading major party candidates can say this? I’m an animal rights attorney who has successfully represented pro bono (without cost) many of my fellow animal rights activists accused of crimes related to their activism. Our mistreatment of animals is among our most pressing ethical issues today. During law school, I worked for the Animal Protection Unit of the Los Angeles City Attorney and was president of UCLA Law School’s Animal Law Society.
I support the Green Party’s platform regarding the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which you’ll find at https://www.gp.org/ecological_sustainability/#esEthical, but believe it could go even further. We need to end factory farming. We need to end cruel animal experimentation. I also believe in legal personhood – protection of animals’ legitimate interests by advocates (which, no, does not include their own right to vote, but does include protections against torture). A corporation is considered a “person” with some constitutional rights; shouldn’t living animals, capable of suffering and joy, be as well?
Criminal Justice Reform
As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen many aspects of the criminal justice system that need drastic reform. We must end mass incarceration. We need to abolish the death penalty (except for certain incorrigible corporations who are legally deemed “persons”). We must reform the bail system so that innocent people are not coerced to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit just to get out of jail with a time-served sentence – which happens often, every working day, in our criminal courts. We need to end racist gang enhancements. End Three Strikes laws. Stop trying children as adults. Make the jails and prisons safer. Focus on restorative justice and, where possible, rehabilitation.
Covid-19 and Public Health
I truly understand why many people distrust the government – and that it’s largely due to our government’s lack of openness, independence from special interests, and accountability. I value the principles of privacy and bodily autonomy spelled out in Roe vs. Wade and Casey. But those rights are not absolute, and unlike a IUD, a refusal to either receive a vaccination or engage in masking and social distancing endangers many people around us – including rural residents, tweens, the immunocompromised, and those without housing. We need to encourage those who have the trust of voters who don’t want immunizations to tell them about the actual nature of Covid: that the SARS-2 virus causes it, that the physically fit and pure of heart are not immune, that the vaccines have now been tested and in use for a long enough time that they are not to be feared, and that no corporate special interest is going to tell me what to do. But when science-based public health interests dictate measures that we dislike but need, then it will be my responsibility to at least mitigate the effects of another hybrid, or of the eventual failure of vaccines. We may need to do more to build communities to provide for more and better mental health protection, and will surely need to do more to protect teachers and medical and child care workers.
Former President Trump kept blaming the Forest Service for California’s wildfires, because they weren’t “raking the forest” or something. This was screwy (most of the wildfires occur outside of the Forest Service’s jurisdiction, and have increasingly been started by lightning or power lines – and I highly support the program to bury them), but there’s the burned out ember of a serious idea here: we need to make our land harder to burn. One way or another, this means we need to reduce the amount of dry brush on our hillsides and elsewhere, without leading to massive erosion from loss of roots. (Who would gather the dried grasses and such, what would be done with it – anything productive? – I’d look forward from learning from scientific and labor advisors.) We should also be attentive to alternative fire control techniques; Native Americans have been arguing that they’d known how to manage grasslands with controlled burns that take into consideration environmental aspects that we currently overlook. I look forward to arranging public discussions of such possibilities to inform our policies.
• Climate change/Green New Deal • Green Public Power
• Justice – social, environmental and economic
• Fair Taxation
• Health care and housing as human rights
• Support Medicare For All/Single Payer: As governor, I Dan would sign such a bill. When there is a Republican Governor, the Democrats in the legislature pass single payer bill, but when there is a Democratic Governor, the Democrats in the legislature don’t.
• Stop criminalizing homelessness
• Universal basic income
• Workers rights and living wages
• Free lifelong public education
• Criminal Justice Reform – End Mass Incarceration – End the Death Penalty
• Shift resources used to fund the police. See https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/15909630/2020/06/MPD-Charter-Amendment_VII-062420-Final.pdf.
• Civil Liberties
Dan Kapelovitz has devoted his law practice to representing people caught up in the criminal justice system and helping animals. Now it’s time for Dan to represent all Californian creatures, great and small, as California’s next governor.