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Green Party Candidate Excluded from California Governor’s Debate

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While governor hopefuls Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman debated on Tuesday night in San Rafael, the Green Party candidate for governor was being arrested outside the hall. Police charged Laura Wells with trespassing after she tried to get into the debate that she was not allowed to participate in. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: While Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman debated Tuesday night at Dominican University in San Rafael, the Green Party candidate for governor was being arrested outside the hall. Police charged Laura Wells with trespassing after she tried to get into the debate that she was not allowed to participate in. In 2002, when Wells ran for state comptroller, she received more than 400,000 votes. Part of her platform this year is the establishment of a state-run bank.

Well, Laura Wells joins us here in San Francisco.

Laura, welcome to Democracy Now! So, what happened?

LAURA WELLS: Well, I was — someone who thought that democracy was important in this state had tickets and thought that I should be in the room, gave me those tickets, and —- a friend and I. And we were on the steps outside the room of the governor’s debate, to which I had an invitation letter, actually, as a candidate who had won the primary for the Green Party. And suddenly -—

AMY GOODMAN: Have you been able to participate in any debate?


AMY GOODMAN: What are the rules?

LAURA WELLS: The rules are, as the — the letter said, “Congratulations on your win. The debates will be happening. Every candidate who gets a ten percent result will be included.” And they don’t — in the surveys, LA Times, PPIC, the Public Policy Institute of California, or the field poll. And they don’t tell you what the question is. Now, if the question were, “Do you want a debate with just the Democrats and the Republicans?” which I’m beginning to call the Titanic parties, but the answer would be a resounding, “No, we don’t want that kind of debate here in California.” But they don’t tell you the question. A couple of friends of mine did tell me the question, because they were surveyed. The question was, “Who do you prefer? Meg Whitman or Jerry Brown?” They don’t even say “other.” And then, when they report the results, it’s something like “Meg Whitman, 41; Jerry Brown, 41; 18 percent undecided.” Not even “other.” And so, add that to the lack of coverage, which I would forego $140 million if I had the no-cost media coverage and put out our Green Party values, which the Green values are California values.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Laura Wells, why are you running for governor?

LAURA WELLS: I am running because California is worth it. California is now in a situation where they call it ungovernable. And the candidates, past and current, are not talking about what the real issues are. In 1978, the voters took matters into their own hands about taxes, because the governor at the time, Jerry Brown, was not taking care of business. And people were in danger of losing their homes because of rising property taxes. So they voted for Prop 13 in 1978, and it had the hidden zingers in the back, which is what a lot of propositions do. And that had the flattening of the property tax, which more people know about than the other part, which is the two-thirds majority required to raise income, to raise revenue, to raise taxes. And so, what happened, in combination with a simple majority, to lower taxes. So our legislature was very much encouraged to lower taxes in the boom years, because it comes back to feed their campaign in the form of what the Supreme Court called “free speech” and what I might call “corporate bribes” — corporate campaign contributions. So they lowered taxes in boom years. Now, when we need it, two-thirds is too high a jump.

AMY GOODMAN: What do mean by what you’re calling for, a state-run bank?

LAURA WELLS: A state-run bank — there’s a quote: “Give me control of your money supply, and I care not who makes the laws.” If we had control of our own credit — we do with the pension funds and so on. We have a lot of wealth in this state. If we used that wealth to invest in California, not in Wall Street, loosen ourselves from the grip of the Federal Reserve, and behave as one other state in this country, which is North Dakota, and as all the other countries — there are only seven countries that are larger than California — have their own central banks, and partnering with the local banks and the credit unions — those are the banks that made the good loans, those are the banks that want their communities to be strong, unlike the out-of-state banks — partner with the local banks and credit unions and invest in the infrastructure of California, invest — and the interests that would be paid would come back into California. Imagine, the students would have loans, not from, you know, CEO-run companies, where they have private golf courses on their land, but from the state of California, that wants the students to thrive and the universities to thrive. Imagine that. That’s what I’m proposing.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much, Laura Wells, for being here.

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