February 1, 2011
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undergoing changes and updates in the coming
|Dear Fellow American:
First, I'd like to thank the Journal Standard of Freeport, Illinois, for supporting my idea to change the political landscape of America by the daily posting of all government finances at all levels of government to the Internet.
In an editorial published recently, the Journal Standard endorsed post the finances, saying it is "time for a radical move toward openness." See below.
I have many fond memories of Illinois, where I worked for a major healthcare company and attended college part-time. I lived in Naperville and the surrounding area, near Chicago, in the early 1980's.
Truly, I have always had a special place in my heart for the Chicago area since I lived there, and I also have a special place in my stomach for Chicago's Deep Dish Pizza at Nancy's, and Chicago Dogs anywhere, not to mention Jay's Barbecue Potato
Chips---not Lay's, Jay's, a tasty treat, indeed.
In fact, just a year ago, I was on vacation in Chicago with my wife and daughter, visiting the
many of the tourist attractions, including city's Navy Pier with my wife's friend and her
family from Chicago.
It would give me a lot of pleasure if the Post the Finances bandwagon began in Illinois. Certainly, the time is ripe for the system to be implemented.
Right now, there is a big corruption scandal in Chicago's City Hall, so I hope, at least, Mayor Daley, who I supported in the early 80's for his initial run as Mayor of Chicago, which, of course, he won, will take note.
Additionally, I hope Chicago's politicians get the message and post daily the city's finances to the web.
The Journal Standard editorial points out that the system would require some financial outlay for the initial set up, but this would quickly be repaid many times over by the gains the system would produce.
The set-up costs for the Post the Finances system would be minimal.
All government accounting is already in electronic format at all levels of
the government. Additionally, there are websites for all governmental entities.
Truly, it just takes a couple of keystrokes on
the keyboard to upload the accounting information to the respective governmental websites.
The only ingredient in this fiscal recipe still needed is a software program to format the fiscal information on the website.
Relatively speaking, it would be pennies spent, for savings of millions, and at the federal level, billions.
Moreover, as American taxpayers, we would all have a feeling of security, knowing that every penny, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar spent was being accounted for with the Post the Finances system.
"Information can do what 'reform' can't
The issue: The stench of money in American politics
Our view: Put government finances and contributions online - daily.
Once in a while, a good idea comes out of left field or, in this particular case, the left coast. Given that much of what's wrong with government today is the corrupting influence of money and so-called 'pay to play' arrangements between politicians and those with money to be made from policy, it is perhaps time for a radical move toward openness.
Touted by a California activist and entrepreneur, Steve Mozena, the proposal calls for each state agency to post daily to the Internet all "relevant names, dates and amounts of every check, credit card or cash transaction or other agency expenditure; and revenue source, including but not limited to, taxes and fees, and the date and amount of revenue, and fund into which the revenue is deposited."
Such reporting - even if done only - weekly would go a long way to mitigate the enabling activities of government agencies and their accounting methods that too often serve to either obscure various expenses or needlessly delay reporting them to ensure individual lawmakers can't be connected to political favors, votes, appointments and other efforts to reward an outside benefactor.
Go a step further, and combine daily government expense reports with a cross-reference of campaign donors - already available online - and you have a new and powerful tactical weapon against the insipid influence of money and lobbyists on politicians.
According to a posting on Mozena's Web site at
www.postthefinances.com, Gov. Rod Blagojevich offered to look into the idea.
Let's hope the governor follows through on his alleged promise. After all, despite lots of talk about campaign finance reform, the stench of corruption has ebbed little in recent years, both at the state and local levels. (Tom
DeLay, after all, neutered the House Ethics Committee when he became the target of a pay-to-play probe.)
Perhaps that's the real beauty of Mozena's idea - it doesn't count on politicians to play by the rules.
Of course there will be those who come up with myriad excuses, including how difficult and expensive it would to open up the books and put them online. But our courts have no problem doing that - case information for 20 Illinois counties is updated daily online, sometimes within an hour or two of changes to a case disposition. Banks do it for their online clients everyday, and many private and some savvy government enterprises use so-called "hosted" financial reporting applications already. And as every database engineer or accountant knows, the up-front costs and long hours of setting up such a database often pays off in spades once it is up and running.
While the Internet has provided added convenience and new worlds of information, it has also opened the average American consumer up to new levels of scrutiny as credit reports, background checks and shopping habits can be obtained with a single click. Privacy, too, has been traded for convenience and efficiency.
So perhaps it is finally time to subject our politicians and bureaucrats to the same level of scrutiny and let sunshine - the disinfecting power of openness - do its work on a government that is increasingly selling out our democratic soul to the highest bidder."
Just like the June "Gloom of Fog" that descends on Southern California, or the San Francisco fog, our government at all levels seems to hide behind the mask of financial fog.
We are the victims of secrecy in government, and that is bad for America.
That's why I support Sunshine Week, March 13-19, www.sunshineweek.org, which attempts to shine a light on issues of transparency and accountability in government.
We need fully open government and open books, with public officials accountable for what they do.
The Freedom of Information Act of 1966, which allows all public documents to be disclosed, should be scrupulously honored.
But we need to go further than this. Financial chicanery in government should not be tolerated. We need to shine a light on all government finances.
I have a plan that calls for the daily posting of all government finances to the Internet to thwart waste, fraud and corruption. See
I have been campaigning hard for Post the Finances for many years.
But it's incredibly tough to persuade the politicians of city hall, and county, state and federal government, to do what is honest. They may give political lip service to the idea of honesty in government, but when someone comes up with a feasible plan to ensure fiscal honesty, they regard it as political dynamite and make sure they take no action. Many of the corrupt politicians know that to take any action on posting daily the finances would be like committing political suicide.
I have contacted all local Carson elected officials, City of Los Angeles Council, County Supervisors for the County of Los Angeles, State of
California State Senators and Assembly, all 50 Governors, the top 200 mayors of U.S. cities, and all U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives. I have also contacted President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Posting the Finances is timely and even relevant in California.
In the current run-off Los Angeles mayoral election, Mayor James Hahn's campaign has been dogged by allegations of financial improprieties. His challenger Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa says he is for fiscal transparency yet he says nothing of posting daily the finances to the Internet. I have informed both candidates of my plan, so they cannot have the excuse that they know nothing about it.
Post the Finances is easy to implement. All government accounting is in electronic format, and all government departments have websites. Information can easily be uploaded to the relevant websites. Post the Finances is like online banking: a daily open check book of the government's revenues and expenditures.
In spite of the soundness of the idea, so far I have had no success in getting it implemented, but I continue my mission.
Where is our political superhero who will open the government's financial books and do what is right for the citizens? It's time, during Sunshine Week, to spread some sun light into previously dark corners of the government. Let's put the heat of the sunshine on corrupt Politicians by posting daily the finances to the web.
But unless one Honest Politician has the courage to act, it seems that as far as financial honesty and accountability in government is concerned, we, the citizens, are inevitably and perpetually lost in a financial fog.
"Sunshine Week"! See
I have been trying
for years to create Sunshine here in
California and all across our country. Read
more about it here on my site
Together, we can make
our local, county, state and federal
governments create the sunshine necessary to
make our nation even greater.
|Today is the
Tuesday, March 8th, 2005 is Voting Day in the
City of Carson, California.
Will Carson voters
provide me a mandate by electing me to serve
on the Carson Council today, so, I can
implement the Post the Finances plan?
Then, Carson would be
known as the first city in the nation to post
daily its finances to the web for fiscal
honesty and accountability.
Time will tell.
for more information and watch for the
|Dear Mr. Hearl:
I love all Pizza. Thick. Thin. Pan. Deep. With all the toppings . . . even
anchovies. So naturally I'm a big fan of Pizza Hut.
I have a new idea for you. I recently submitted it as an entry to the Food TV
It's a low carb Pizza. You can sell it at your drive thru with your mini-Pizzas.
It could be called "Portobello Pizza."
Here's the recipe:
Get a 3- to 4-inch Portobello mushroom. Break the stem off. Scoop out the gills.
Clean it. Brush it with oil. Fill in the cavity of the mushroom with
Add a heap of mozzarella cheese.
Add any desired topping like sliced button mushrooms and pepperoni.
Bake or grill it until the cheese melts.
I think you'll like the results.
And hey, if you want to, use my Italian last name and call it "Mozena's
Portobello Pizza." That would be fine with me---and I'd be first
in line to taste it!
In the wake of the terrible South
Asia tsunami, in which many who have perished
may never be identified, I suggest the U.S. Congress
and state legislatures pass a new law requiring
that DNA samples should be taken from all newborns
delivered in hospitals in the United States.
The samples should be placed in a central data
bank for identification purposes.
This will be invaluable for identifying missing children, kidnapped children,
and, over time, anyone who is a victim of murder or fatal accident. It would
also help if in the future we are hit by a terrorist attack even worse than 9/11.
Eventually we will have a DNA data bank with samples from every U.S. citizen.
There will be no more unidentified bodies.
This simple measure will result in many families in the future being comforted
in the loss of their loved one.
We should do it now.
|Dear News Editor:
We all want good luck, love and prosperity
in the New Year, but what little rituals
do we go through to gain them?
How about reporting a story about all the New Year customs followed by the various
ethnic groups right here in California. We are the most culturally diverse state's
in the United States.
Here are a few customs I know of.
I'm of Irish descent. My mother was born in Dublin, Ireland. After midnight on
New Year's Eve in Ireland, the men must go find a piece of coal, bring it home
and toss it the fire for warmth and comfort in the coming year.
Filipinos place twelve different fruits in a bowl on their tables and burn three
candles for good luck for family and home in the coming year.
Black Americans put cabbage leaves in a brown bag and put it above their kitchen
cabinets for good finances in the coming year. The cabbage leaves are taken to
represent paper currency.
Italians toss pots and dishes out of windows to bring good luck.
Peruvians swallow twelve grapes whole while sitting underneath a table. They
also wear yellow underwear! Many other Latino groups eat twelve grapes, symbolizing
each month of the year.
Koreans eat ttokkuk, a bowl of rice cake soup, on New Year's Day. They believe
eating this soup will add an extra year to their life.
For happiness and good luck, Japanese people hang a rope of straw across the
front of their homes. They believe it keeps the evil spirits away.
Mexicans turn on the TV and wait to hear the bell ringing twelve times. Each
time the bell rings, they eat one grape and make a wish.
Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Cubans often spend New Year's Eve cleaning their
houses, yards and cars. After the floor is mopped, the dirty water is tossed
out of the house, thereby ridding it of any lingering negative energy.
I'm sure a story like this would be interesting for your readers.
I hope to read it. Please feel free to contact me if you need any help.
Is the City of
Carson stealing candidates' campaign signs
It appears that someone, or a group of individuals, in the city is removing
candidate signs all around the City of Carson.
They also appear to be manipulating the State of California's Caltrans into
removing candidates' signs as well.
Who is doing this, and why? It didn't happen like this last time. When I ran
for Mayor of Carson in March, my signs, placed in numerous locations, were
left up for the duration of the campaign. In many cities, counties and states
across this country, it is customary for political signs to be left up until
shortly after the election.
Now, only seven months later, when I'm running for the Council, my signs are
being taken down in droves. At first I thought this was maybe a personal attack
because whoever is doing this didn't like my innovative idea of showing me,
my wife and our baby on my political sign.
But it turns out that I'm not the only one being targeted. I have spoken to
several other candidates who are equally offended and angry by the removal
of their signs. These
signs cost money. Though it is not unusual for some signs to disappear during
the course of a campaign, in fact, to that end, I have stockpiled signs, this
outbreak of sign-stealing is far worse than normal: it's an all-out assault
on all candidates for Carson Council.
I told the other candidates that I had taken to placing gear grease and animal
repellant around my signs to stop oily and stinky politicians from taking them
down. In some
places, this has worked.
Is the removal of signs politically motivated? It seems so. The current Carson
Council couldn't agree on an appointment to the 4-month unexpired term of now-mayor
Dear, so they had to call this special election. Now are we witnessing an abuse
of power by city officials designed to affect the outcome of this Carson election?
Moreover, the timing of the removal is also questionable because it coincides
with the start of absentee voting, that is, voting by mail before the official
day of the election.
Is the city stooping this low, or authorizing someone else to do so? Why? Who
benefits? Are all the candidates being treated equally?
Has the City changed the rules in the middle of the game because they don't
like the way the election is shaping up?
Who or what are they scared of?
Perhaps they don't like my campaign because it is all about helping ordinary
folks rather than greasing the pockets of oily politicians. For example, if
elected, I'd help my fellow Carsonites by negotiating with local Carson oil
refineries for lower gas prices here in Carson. This might involve fueling
up right on the refinery grounds or making
special arrangements with local Carson gasoline stations. Another idea of mine
is for a citizen-owned NFL team from which Carson residents would receive annual
dividends, instead of one billionaire hogging all the profit for himself.
Perhaps they fear most my proposal to post all city finances to the Internet
every day, so all the citizens can see what is being done with taxpayers' money.
I call on anyone who has removed candidate signs to re-post them or return
them to the respective candidates.
There should be no dirty tricks in Carson politics.
This is why we need real reform in our city government.
This is an issue that should concern all Carsonites, not just those running
for office. Our country is supposed to be a democracy, and the posting of political
signs is a
long-established American tradition. People running for office have a right
to get their names out there for the voting public to see. They are exercising
their freedom of
Dictators always fear the people. Their power rests in keeping the citizenry
down. Are the leaders of our city government acting like petty dictators?
If so, it's time for the people to elect someone who will stand up for their
rights, and I am that man.
A vote for me is a vote for you. If I win, you win. See www.mozena.com
is a pleasure to report that finally, there is
a city in our nation that is preparing to Post
the Finances daily to its website. That city
is Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Mozena was informed of Albuquerque's plans in
a personal communication from Mayor Martin J.
Chavez. The letter was in response to Steve's
letter, sent to the mayors of many of the
largest cities in the nation, informing them
of the Post the Finances idea.
Here is the text of Mayor Chavez's letter in
"Dear Mr. Mozena:
The City wholeheartedly agrees that transparency
in government is an obligation to our taxpayers
and is currently posting its monthly financial
records on our website cabq.gov. In addition,
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR),
annual budget and performance plan are also
posted on the web.
No doubt daily disclosure of financial data
would be the most transparent disclosure
possible. In support of that objective, the City
has funded acquisition of enterprise resource
financial software that will enable daily
posting that can be accessed through the
Internet. The City has already started on this
If you have any further questions, please feel
free to call the Director of Finance and
Administrative Services, Sandra Doyle.
Very truly yours,
Martin J. Chavez
It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of this development in the ongoing Post the Finances campaign. Now we have something really tangible: one of the nation's largest cities committed to a daily system of posting the finances.
Steve is certain that this is the first of many cities, and counties, and states that will soon be adopting the same system.
Using Albuquerque as a model, he plans to redouble his efforts to convince the leaders of Carson to adopt Post the Finances, and to finally get a meeting with Governor Schwarzenegger to discuss the application of Post the Finances at
the statewide level...and who knows.. just
maybe U.S. Senator John Kerry and/or President
George W. Bush will make an appointment with
Mr. Mozena and discuss the system with him for
the Federal Government and then make the
"Post the Finances" system a plank
of their respective Presidential campaign
for Violent Crimes?
Governors and Mayors:
In the American legal and justice system, it
seems that criminals win and victims lose.
As you may recall, I recently informed you of
my revolutionary idea of Post the Finances,
designed to reduce waste and fraud in
government. See my site at
www.postthefinances.com I would now like
to share with you my ideas for curbing crime
and improving homeland security. Like you, I
have a desire to be a public servant, even
though I may not be in as powerful a position
as you are. Like many ordinary American
citizens, I am deeply concerned about the
dangers this country faces from enemies within
I hope the ideas I share in this letter may
make you think or re-think about solutions to
the problems facing our country regarding
crime and terrorism.
First, my heart cries and bleeds for the
victims of violent crimes in our country, and
I become angry when I see the criminal justice
system so often letting the guilty go free. We
must stop this. It is the criminals who should
lose, not the victims. I am fortunate in that
I have never had a close friend or relative be
a victim of a violent crime, but I have read
about it, seen it on the TV news, and heard
people who have been victims talk about it.
The nightmare experience remains with them
forever; they never get over it, unlike the
criminal who too often is a) never caught, b)
given too light a sentence c) paroled or
released too early.
These are my suggestions:
1. A DNA sample should be taken from all
convicted criminals from this point forward.
This will be an enormous step forward in
solving crime, since so many criminals are
repeat offenders. It will reduce the number of
serial killers on the loose, and will cut down
on the number of unsolved crimes. Twenty-four
states already take DNA samples from
criminals. Those that do not must be strongly
encouraged to do so.
2. Connect all law enforcement crime
computers, including FBI, state, county and
local police departments. How many criminals
find it too easy to escape detection by
crossing state lines and continuing to live
their lives as if nothing had happened? We
have seen in the report of the 9/11 commission
how dire can be the consequences of having
federal agencies that do not communicate with
each other. I believe that a similar situation
pertains to tracking and solving crimes such
as murder, rape and armed robbery within the
3. Encourage media entrepreneurs to create a 24-hour mainstream crime
channel to root out all criminals, from murderers to the local rapists and
sexual predators, to the armed robbers and even suspected terrorists.
Unfortunately, there's enough material for this proposed crime channel from
all the law enforcement agencies across the country. Given the success of
shows like "Missing" and "America's Most Wanted" and the success of the
Amber Alert road signs for abducted children, this Crime Channel would, I
believe, prove even more successful. Moreover, I'd like to see, throughout
the day, not only photographs of missing persons, but also, as in the old
Wild West, "Wanted" posters: photos of criminals still at large, preferably
with a bounty on their heads.
4. Although Social Security numbers and cards
were never intended to be used as part of a
national ID system, SS numbers are in fact
already used as one, from college ID numbers
to security information for your credit card.
It is time to accept this and make some
necessary adaptations. I propose that all
Social Security cards should carry a
photograph and fingerprints. This ID system
should be extended to everyone, including
babies and children. All children, from the
moment of birth, should have fingerprints,
thumbprints, and footprints taken and
identification cards issued. Think how this
would help find missing and abducted
If everyone in the nation has an ID card with
that information on it, it will make it that
much easier for police to do their work when
people go missing. For children, the photo
should be updated every year. This could be
done in the schools. For adults, the photo
should be renewed along with Drivers' license
at least every four years. All the
information should be entered into a computer
database with an easy search function.
Fingerprints will then be at your fingertips
via a computer database.
5. DMV in all states must require an updated
photo with all drivers' license renewals
because people color their hair, gain weight,
lose hair and so forth. Fingerprints should
also be required, and at some point eye prints
also. The patterns in the iris, the colored
area around the pupil, are individual and
impossible to duplicate, making them a
virtually foolproof way of checking identity.
6. All visitors to the United States should be
issued with a United States' Traveler's Card,
containing photograph and fingerprints, and at
some point an eye print, which they would be
required to carry with them at all times, just
as people are required to carry their driver's
license when behind the wheel. It is not
enough just to take fingerprints of visitors
at the port of entry. We will not tolerate
rogues and terrorists in our country moving
around underneath the law enforcement screen.
These measures will greatly increase homeland
security and make the work of law enforcement
and immigration officials much easier. We all
have enough to worry about in our daily lives
without also being burdened with the feeling
of insecurity in our homes and as we travel.
7. Make it a priority to eliminate
homelessness. Being homeless drives some
people to crime. Homelessness in this country
was not a large problem until the 1980s. The
fact that now, nearly 20 years later, it is
still a major problem is a national disgrace.
Unfortunately, criminals are able slip under
the radar screen and assimilate into this
crowd of unfortunates. We need to create
homeless housing that low-income people can
afford and encourage the building of clean,
safe shelters for the homeless. This does not
have to involve government money. We could
enlist Hollywood's help. There have been a
number of recent initiatives by movie stars to
help the homeless, and these should be
supported and extended. Also, law enforcement
should be empowered to take homeless people to
shelters if warranted. No one should have to
or choose to live on the streets.
I believe that the measures I have outlined
will help to reduce crime and terrorism, and
make every American citizen safer.
and Mayors respond to Post the Finances
recently sent out letters to all state Governors and many Mayors of cities in
the nation informing them of the Post the Finances proposal.
Now the replies are starting to come in, it is clear that the idea is beginning
to take root in fertile soil.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams of Washington D.C. pointed out that his city already
posts more financial information on the Internet than most other cities, and he
added, "Your suggestion of posting information on a daily basis is
intriguing, and I will ask the CFO to explore this option."
Mayor Bart Peterson of Indianapolis said he would consider the proposal, and M.
Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut, expressed his appreciation for Mozena's
taking the time to share his concerns.
From the State of Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich office wrote, "We
have reviewed your idea regarding posting all our finances online and we will
take this suggestion into consideration."
Another encouraging response came from State of Louisiana Governor Kathleen
Babineaux Blanco's office, the letter stated, "You have raised some
interesting points, and therefore I have taken the liberty of forwarding your
letter to our Policy & Planning Department."
Oscar B. Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas, also took action, writing that he had
"taken the liberty of forwarding your letter to our City Manager's
Office for review."
A telephone message from the office of South Carolina's Governor Sanford
saluted Mr. Mozena for "this trailblazing undertaking."
Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix, also responded in a positive fashion. He wrote,
"Your idea of posting all city financial transactions on the Internet to
increase accountability and fiscal integrity is very creative and interesting.
. . . I have taken the liberty of forwarding your letter to our Finances
Department for their review. I am sure that its applicability will be carefully
reviewed by our city staff."
Due to Mozena's consistent efforts extending back since 2000, the idea of Post
the Finances is beginning to bubble up in the national consciousness. It's
becoming part of the public discourse.
The day for a new kind of fiscal transparency and fiscal accountability is about to
dawn, just maybe Presidential Candidate
Senator John Kerry or President George W. Bush
will start speaking about fiscal honesty and transparency
on the campaign trail for the federal
Schwarzenegger follows Mozena
it is mere coincidence or if great minds really
do think alike, Governor Arnold appears to
be jumping on the Mozena bandwagon with his
proposal for a huge overhaul of the state.
Mozena has posted on his www.mozena.com,
www.ifiwereprez, about "Simplifying
California and America" by streamlining, consolidating
and even eliminating some departments, as
well as posting daily all the finances. Mozena
believes that although Schwarzeneggar has
not contacted him or acknowledged his ideas,
he has nonetheless made an important contribution
to the Governor's new proposals. Schwarzeneggar
and his senior staff are well aware of Mozena's
proposals. Mozena wonders why Schwarzeneggar
has failed to respond to his several requests
for a meeting, nevertheless, Mozena hopes
Governor Schwarzenegger will meet with him.
But personal recognition is not everything in life.
Mr. Mozena believes the Internet is a sharing community that exists for the betterment of the entire
system and world. Ideas are free. He puts his ideas out there for the betterment of all Californians and every other U.S. citizen.
He has a paper trail going back many years of his commitment to make things happen as well as several websites that have posted his ideas. He is happy that the future is looking brighter for all Californians, whether his contribution is acknowledged or not.
Vision for Education
to High School
is concerned about the lamentable state of
education in California and the nation today.
His response to the recent unveiling of the
California school summer reading program is
that something far more substantial is needed
to fix an educational system that is turning
out functional illiterates rather than young
people who have the knowledge and the skills
to successfully deal with lifešs many
solution to California's educational woes is
twofold. First, the school day must be
extended to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will not
only allow a more thorough learning schedule,
it will also reduce the stress on parents and
enable them both to hold down full-time jobs.
In today's economic environment, in which it
is common for both parents, or a single
parent, to work in order to support the
children, the longer day for kids would be
the school year must be extended. The 180 days
kids spend in school is not enough. Research
has shown that during the long summer break
they regress, which means they forget the
knowledge and skills that they learned.
Schooling should be year round.
introduction of mandatory all-year schooling
would address the problem of regression, as
well as cultivating life skills. It would also
reduce gang activity, some of which arises
from boredom, and other vacation mischief. We
need structure in our schools.
are the main lines of Mozena's proposal:
- participation in team sports, right through to the
senior year, should be mandatory. Team
sports build social skills and the ability
to be a team player in other contexts.
- participation in academic clubs like speech, chemistry
or drama would be a must, since these also
- a foreign language and culture class to begin in
primary school, that teaches Chinese and
another language that is new to the
student. In other words, if the family
speaks Spanish, the kids must learn a
language other than Spanish, in addition
- a business class in which students learn how to write
checks and manage their accounts,
including how to manage a credit card.
They should be taught financial
responsibility and financial honesty, and
why maintaining a positive credit rating
is necessary for purchasing a car and
eventually a home. In addition, the class
should include the skills learned in the
business program Junior Achievement.
- there should also be a life-skills program. This
should instruct boys and girls in the
fundamentals of good hygiene, good
manners, cooking, and home economics. This
would also teach the principles of sound
nutrition, which would be a step towards
combating the growing obesity among the
- since many students do not know how to study, there
would be a mandatory class in study
skills. Students need to learn the
self-discipline that leads to success in
- a mandatory outdoor environmental education course, in
which students learn about such topics as
animals, water, plants, and soil. This
would include many of the topics usually
covered at summer camps. Not all parents
can afford to send their children to camp,
but under Mozenašs proposal, all children
would have the same opportunities.
- starting as early as nursery school and continuing
through 12th grade, there should be
physical education courses, including
swimming classes from beginner to
lifesaver. This will reduce the number of
child deaths by drowning. Athletics,
gymnastics and other forms of exercise
should also be offered, to promote health
and reduce obesity.
- more emphasis on online learning, making sure there is
no digital divide. All children should
have computers, and the best and brightest
teachers in the state at all grade levels
should teach online courses. This would
create more equal educational opportunity,
enabling students in impoverished school
districts to have access to the best minds
in the state. It would also cultivate the
kidsš ability to work independently.
- mandatory civics or political science class in which
students would learn about our political
system as well as those of other nations.
It would emphasize the necessity of
participating in the processes of
democracy. This could be done by holding
mock elections that would mirror elections
taking place at state and federal level.
This would educate students in the vital
political issues of the day. For
California students, this class would
include instruction about the California
constitution, including knowledge about
how ballot initiatives are created and an
evaluation of the achievements of recent
- the state should maintain a 24-hour study help web
- there should be a yearly comprehensive exam before
students are allowed to pass to the next
- an overall review of the pay and benefits packages for
teachers, and regular reviews of teacher
performance. Teachers should not be
underpaid, but they should not be allowed
to continue in their jobs if they are
performing badly. Incompetent teachers are
harmful to the development of our
Like adults, children would be permitted to request a week
or two weeks off during the calendar year for
vacation, if a parent wished. Additionally,
the teachers could have their two-week
vacations or whatever they wished, and a
substitute who was competent in the field
would take their place.
Finally, the State's education website should
show all its daily expenditures and revenues,
broken down to each school and grade levels.
This would create fiscal transparency and
honesty in government spending on education.
Mozena would also like to see the California
Lottery, which allocates considerable funds to
education, post its finances to the Web. See www.postthefinances.com
Mozena hopes Californian educational leaders
will support this proposal, which will raise
educational standards in the state and produce
better citizens. It could also act as a model
for adoption by other states.
For college level education, Steve Mozena
believes that the era of brick and mortar
colleges is coming to an end. He argues that
we need to promote intellectually healthy and
independent adults rather than prolong
childhood by shackling students to a brick and
mortar college. In the future, a college education will
be largely conducted online. It is only a
matter of time before electronic books
entirely replace traditional books. The
traditional library, with thousands of shelves
of books taking up large amounts of space and
needing large funds to maintain, will be a
thing of the past. Traditional lecture
theaters will be replaced; all computers will
be equipped with cameras so professors and
students can directly interact no matter where
While this transition to the electronic
information age is going on, Mozena
would like to see the following specific ideas
incorporated in college education:
- It is essential that colleges should not have to offer
remedial courses to make up for an
inferior and inadequate education that
their students have received in grade
school and high school. All college
freshmen should be ready to tackle
- All college students should register to vote at the
same time as they enroll in classes in
their freshman year. Registration should
be strongly encouraged, as it will help to
reverse the steady decline in the
percentage of the electorate that bothers
- There should also be a mandatory class on the
fundamentals of democracy and the U.S.
political system. Students should be
educated about their civic
responsibilities in a democracy. If we
don't learn to perpetuate our way of life,
it will wither away and die. We must stay
In terms of administration, universities and colleges
should opt out of the student housing,
apparel, merchandise and food business. These
should be operated by private businesses in
university districts. Most university
districts have died, killing off small mom and
pop businesses, because the colleges have
relentlessly pursued a vertically integrated
monopoly of businesses catering to the
students on campus. In doing so, they have
lost, in Mr. Mozena's opinion, the sole
purpose and focus of the academic institution,
which is to teach our children. Again, he
believes strongly that the purpose of a
college education is to provide an education,
not the superfluous amenities many state
colleges now provide.
Mozena also believes that a centralized
collegiate online bookstore system should be
set up for states nationwide. In the case of
California, because of its size, Mozena would
set up two distribution centers for southern
and northern California which would distribute
books both electronically and/or by mailing
them directly to students statewide.
"Girlie men"? Arnold will probably be taking flak for quite a while for this jab at his Democratic opponents.
If people object to the term, how about "childish behavior" as a substitute?
This school yard politics hurts everyone in California.
Senate Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco) seems to be running for the title of school bully or child-in-charge. I couldn't help
but laugh when I saw the photo of Burton's sign on his Cappuccino machine stating "Closed until further notice" in the
local newspaper. Doesn't this reinforce the stereotype of "girlie men"? Do real men drink cappuccino? I don't think so. Real men drink
rock-gut black coffee.
The Democratic leaders are playing school yard politics: "I'm not going to let you play with my toys because you won't let me play with yours".
This flap over semantics is stupid. Remember the old adage, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?
Democratic leaders need to show that they are adults who can meet important deadlines, and who can show some discipline.
If not, it's time for the adults to step in. Come on, Senator Burton, live up to your representative responsibilities.
In adult life, we always have to compromise. No one gets everything they want.
So don't be a child. Pass the budget. It's already overdue.
Then the State of California can get on with its business and,
Senator Burton, you can share your cappuccino again with Arnold.
there any hope?
Mozena continues his quest to get all the
government's finances posted to the web.
Recently, he has written to every Governor,
and to the mayors of the fifty biggest cities in the nation, requesting that
they take the lead and become the first to
put post the finances into operation. He has
even contacted Presidential candidate Senator
Is there a visionary leader out there who
cares about the public?
Posting the finances is simple to do. Since
all government accounting is in
electronic format, and all government departments
have websites, all that
has to be done is upload the data to the respective
Just as a family needs to know their income
in order to make a budget, American citizens
need to know all the revenues and expenditures
of our government. We need to see how the
money is spent so that unnecessary costs can
Contacting the governors and mayors is only
the latest in an ongoing campaign for Post
the Finances that has been in action since
this time, Steve Mozena has contacted President
George W. Bush, every member of the U.S. Congress,
two California Governors, and all the California
state senators and assembly members. He has
made consistent efforts to enact Post the
Finances for his hometown of Carson, California,
and made it a main plank of his campaign for
Mayor of Carson earlier this year. He has
also contacted more the 50,000 college professors,
and nearly 500 California pastors. He has
approached political activists, and, for financing,
leading philanthropists and Hollywood celebrities.
So far no one has stepped up to the plate.
But Steve Mozena believes it is only a matter
of time before Post the Finances happens.
As the motivational speaker Dale Carnegie
put it, "Most of the important things
in the world have been accomplished by people
who have kept on trying when there seemed
to be no hope at all."
Steve keeps on trying.
What was Richard Riordan thinking of? Telling
a six-year-old girl that her name, Isis, means
"dirty little girl" was a disgrace. Riordan
should resign. He may have served the city
of Los Angeles well when he was mayor, but
he should step down as Secretary of Education.
Looking beyond Riordan's cruel and ridiculous
remark, it's clear that California's educational
system has gone badly wrong. It's like a ship
heading for the rocks, and it needs to drastically
Riordan's recent unveiling of the summer reading
program is mere window dressing. We need something
far more substantial to fix a broken educational
system that is turning out functional illiterates
rather than young people who have the knowledge
and the skills to successfully deal with life's
Recently, I asked a group of Californians,
old and young, and from different ethnicities,
who was the first President of the United
States. Many of them didn't know, even though
they had all spent many dollar bills with
Washington's face on it.
My solution to California's educational woes
is twofold. First, we need to extend the length
of the school day to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This
will not only allow a more thorough learning
schedule, it will also reduce the stress on
parents and enable them both to hold down
full-time jobs. In today's economic environment,
in which it is common for both parents, or
a single parent, to work in order to support
the children, the longer day for kids would
be extremely helpful.
Second, we must extend the school year. The
180 days kids spend in school is not enough.
Research has shown that during the long summer
break they regress, which means they forget
the knowledge and skills that they learned.
Schooling should be year round.
The introduction of mandatory all-year schooling
would address the problem of regression, as
well as cultivating life skills. It would
also reduce gang activity, some of which arises
from boredom, and other vacation mischief.
We need structure in our schools.
These are the main lines of my proposal:
participation in team sports, right through
to the senior year, should be mandatory. Team
sports build social skills and the ability
to be a team player in other contexts.
o participation in academic clubs like speech,
chemistry or drama would be a must, since
these also develop teamwork.
o a foreign language and culture class to
begin in primary school, that teaches Chinese
and another language that is new to the student.
In other words, if the family speaks Spanish,
the kids must learn a language other than
Spanish, in addition to English.
o a business class in which students learn
how to write checks and manage their accounts,
including how to manage a credit card. They
should be taught financial responsibility
and financial honesty, and why maintaining
a positive credit rating is necessary for
purchasing a car and eventually a home. In
addition, the class should include the skills
learned in the business program Junior Achievement.
o there should also be a life-skills program.
This should instruct boys and girls in the
fundamentals of good hygiene, good manners,
cooking, and home economics. This would also
teach the principles of sound nutrition, which
would be a step towards combating the growing
obesity among the young.
o since many students do not know how to study,
there would be a mandatory class in study
skills. Students need to learn the self-discipline
that leads to success in life.
o a mandatory outdoor environmental education
course, in which students learn about such
topics as animals, water, plants, and soil.
This would include many of the topics usually
covered at summer camps. Not all parents can
afford to send their children to camp, but
under my proposal, all children will have
the same opportunities.
o starting as early as nursery school and
continuing through 12th grade, there should
be physical education courses, including swimming
classes from beginner to lifesaver. This will
reduce the number of child deaths by drowning.
Athletics, gymnastics and other forms of exercise
should also be offered, to encourage health
and reduce obesity.
o more emphasis on online learning, making
sure there is no digital divide. All children
should have computers, and the best and brightest
teachers in the state at all grade levels
should teach online courses. This would create
more equal educational opportunity, enabling
students in impoverished school districts
to have access to the best minds in the state.
It would also cultivate the kids' ability
to work independently.
o additionally, the state should maintain
a 24-hour study help web site.
o a yearly comprehensive exam before students
are allowed to pass to the next grade level.
o an overall review of the pay and benefits
packages for teachers. No longer do I want
to hear that teachers are underpaid, and nor
do I want to hear from parents about teachers
who perform poorly.
Like adults, children would be permitted to
request a week or two weeks off during the
calendar year for vacation, if a parent wished.
Additionally, the teachers could have their
two-week vacations or whatever they wished,
and a substitute who was competent in the
field would take their place.
Finally, the State's education website should
show all its daily expenditures and revenues,
broken down to each school and grade levels.
This would create fiscal transparency and
honesty in government spending on education.
I would also like to see the California Lottery,
which allocates considerable funds to education,
post its finances to the Web. See www.postthefinances.com
I hope Californian educational leaders will
support this proposal, which will raise educational
standards in the state and produce better
It could also act as a model for adoption
by other states.
Cones and Shaved Ice at 7-Eleven and AM/PM from
Coke and Pepsi?
It's summertime, and I'm betting that many
of your customers, including me, would like
to be able to find in your store a Snow Cone
or Shaved Ice with their favorite topping.
Either of these would be a winner on hot days
like these, and year round as well, since
I'm told that ice cream sales are actually
higher in winter. I am certain it would increase
market share for your company.
Like a conventional refrigerator with a water
and ice dispenser, many of these dispensers
have the option of crushed ice as well.
It would be easy to convert a Coke or Pepsi
soda fountain machine to include the option
of ice crushed for a Snow Cone or Shaved Ice
consistency. The soda fountain could also
be adjusted to dispense a unique variety of
syrups for little cost.
Wouldn't it be great for customers to have
a Coke or Pepsi flavored Snow Cone or Shaved
Ice not to mention Hawaiian Punch or Pink
Lemonade available at their local convenience
store? Now, that's what I call convenience!
And I think it could make AM/PM Mini Markets
as well known for Snow Cones as it is for
I hope you'll give this idea a try, and you're
welcome to contact me about it at the above
contact numbers. I believe I'm a typical AM/PM
customer, and I like to think I know what
people want there.
both ways, especially in Crosswalks
Summertime is approaching and that means the
children of all ages will be on the streets
and sidewalks in droves.
As children, we were all taught to look both
ways before we crossed the street.
I don't see today's kids doing that, and many
adults don't do it either.
So for this summer I'd like to start a public
awareness campaign entitled "Look Both Ways
Before You Cross-Even at a Crosswalk."
We in Los Angeles County should be particularly
concerned about pedestrian safety because
30 percent of total traffic fatalities in
the County involve pedestrians.
Crosswalks can be hazardous for the old as
well as the young. A study published in 2002
in the Journal of the American Medical Association
showed that pedestrians 65 and older were
three times more likely to be hit while crossing
streets at intersections with painted crosswalks
than at unmarked crossings.
Many of these accidents are caused by the
false sense of security that crosswalks provide.
Because of this problem, there has been a
statewide trend in California towards the
removal of crosswalks.
However, schools need to do more for students
of all ages, even the adults, by educating
them to look both ways even at a crosswalk.
There should be more public funding for pedestrian
road safety education.
Children as well as adults must learn that
the lines of crosswalks are not like magical
brick walls that can stop cars from hitting
California Drivers can get blinded by the
sun, they can be drunk, they can be inattentive
by talking on the phone or distracted by eating
their hamburger and fries.
There is also a need for better designed crosswalks.
California should develop a new minimum design
standard that would includes "zebra" striping,
"bot dots" lights and overhead lighting or
flashing signals when a car is approaching
In addition to these measures, sidewalks need
to be wider in business and residential districts
so families can walk side-by-side and together
Especially, here in California where the weather
is beautiful year around, we need to create
intracounty bicycle and walking paths where
anyone can bike, roller blade or walk around
the entire city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles
County to get to work or enjoy our summertime
fun in the sun.
Remember, crosswalks are only safe when they
are used properly.
So everyone pay attention this summer when
you cross the street, look both ways, even
in a crosswalk.
we really the United States this 4th of
Californian and American:
As the fireworks explode this 4th of July
in celebration of the founding of our country,
what do those "bombs bursting in the air and
the rockets' red glare" really signify for
us this year?
I fear that underlying all the spectacular
displays, the United States is in danger of
Because we have become too polarized.
Democrats and Republicans are too concerned
with waging sectarian warfare and less concerned
about the public good.
There is too much extremism on both sides
and too little willingness to compromise.
What we need is unity. If the divisions between
different factions keep growing, it will spell
disaster for us.
We are better than this.
We need to eliminate the NIMBY, "Not
In My Back Yard", syndrome, through which
selfishness triumphs over the common good.
ˇ It is fine to celebrate our various
ethnic heritages, but not at the expense of
our common nationality.
ˇ It is fine to argue pro-war or anti-war
positions about Iraq, but not to the extent
that rhetoric drowns out constructive discussion
about where we go from here.
All this polarization attacks the delicate
social fabric of our country.
Remember, a house divided against itself will
not stand, quoted from the Bible, as Abraham
Lincoln warned the country in a speech a few
years before the Civil War.
We need to restore a constructive, thoughtful
political process which always holds the public
welfare as the highest goal. This is what
our government and our politicians should
be aiming for.
What is happening now is the opposite.
It is all knee-jerk reaction.
Everything the Democrats want the Republicans
want the opposite, and no one is willing to
Maybe it's time to get rid of party affiliations,
or at least re-think our attitude towards
There is nothing wrong with having political
parties that espouse different policies. That's
our system of government.
But there is a poisoned atmosphere in public
life today, one that has been growing for
well over a decade. The other side is designated
as "the enemy"; the attitude is "win at all
What we have forgotten is that we are all
American citizens. We are all individual members
of the most powerful and successful republic
this planet has ever seen. This nation was
built on values we all share: democracy, freedom,
On this Independence Day, we need to remember
this. We need to work together as one team
for the good of America.
We have enough enemies abroad without branding
as enemies our fellow Americans who may disagree
with us on some issues.
This is no time for putting faction over nation.
It is no time for those with big egos to promote
their own agendas.
The old adage seems appropriate here, "There
is no letter "I" in the word team," and a
team is what we as a nation should be.
So as the skies are sprayed with all those
amazing colored fireworks this July 4th, let's
remember what we are celebrating these
United States, the land of the free
and the home of the brave.
letter to all the U.S. Governors, except Arnold.
I am certain that your state, in common with
most other U.S. states today, is experiencing
a budget crunch. Because of cutbacks at the
federal level, difficult choices have to be
made that may negatively impact many residents
in your state.
I am writing to inform you of a revolutionary
idea that will, both in the short-term and
long-term, save the state a great deal of
It will also make a huge contribution to the
laudable goal of accountability and financial
This will help to restore citizens' eroding
faith in the honesty of their government.
The idea is a simple one, yet I believe it
would be extremely effective. I have been
promoting it in my home state of California
This is my proposal: Post all government finances
to the Internet on a daily basis. I believe
this would effectively root out waste, corruption
and fraud. It would bring all the State's
financial dealings into the clear light of
It would also, I believe, prove extremely
popular with the voters, who are sick of the
misuse of taxpayers' money at all levels of
government, and the secretive systems that
make such abuse possible.
In the Post the Finances system, each government
department or agency would be responsible
for posting its finances to its own Website.
My website www.postthefinances.com gives more
details of the system, and of my efforts in
So far, although I have approached all the
leaders of California, including Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger, no one has yet had
the courage to come out in public support
of this proposal, although I have received
many private words of encouragement from influential
It seems that everyone is waiting to see who
will jump first, but no one wants to be the
one who takes the plunge.
What Post the Finances needs is a visionary
leader who is prepared to break out of the
pack mentality and initiate a bold new system
that will take government accounting into
the twenty-first century.
I am certain this will happen at some point
in the future. The logic behind it is irrefutable:
government money is taxpayers' money, so every
taxpayer has a right to see, in detail, how
that money is used.
Up until recent years, such a goal has been
impractical, but with the coming of the Internet
and the almost unbelievable leaps in information
technology that have taken place in the last
few years, what was formerly impossible is
now easily possible. So why not enact Post
the Finances right now?
My suggestion to you is this: initially, implement
Post the Finances in just one state government
department. See how it works. Monitor it.
Get people used to the idea.
There is always resistance to change, but
people will adapt to new realities.
Then, after the initial sample, when the Post
the Finances system is recognized and accepted,
my suggestion is that you gradually convert
all government departments to the same system.
Governor, I have confidence that you will
be the person to take up this great challenge.
I know that as a leader, you are open to new
ideas, and I believe you have the welfare
of all your state's residents at heart.
With Post the Finances, I believe you can
give those residents a gift that will long
outlast your tenure of the governor's office.
History always lauds the pioneers, and your
work will be remembered.
I have thought long and hard about the Post
the Finances idea, and have campaigned for
it vigorously. I am confident it can stand
If you need any more information, or if I
can be of assistance to you in any way, please
do not hesitate to contact me.
request to TV Brass to create PSAs.
Is American democracy doomed? I hope not.
The U.S. Presidential election is just around
the corner, November 2nd.
In the last Presidential election, nearly
100 million eligible voters, just over half
the electorate, did not vote. This time we
should make sure those Americans cast their
This will need a large and persuasive public
awareness campaign supported by major television-network
industry leaders. The efforts made by limited,
viewer-paid cable companies' like MTV's "Rock
the Vote," are nowhere near sufficient.
We need the main networks and affiliates to
stand up and be counted on this issue. I am
sure you will agree that although television
is a commercial venture, it also has a responsibility
to serve the public interest.
It is uniquely able to provide the lead in
an important undertaking such as reminding
Americans of their responsibilities to their
nation and their democracy.
I propose that every day and throughout the
day from now through November 2nd, you present
a series of 15-second, 30-second and 60-second
public service announcements, PSAs, promoting
voter registration and participation, especially
for the upcoming Presidential election.
These spots could feature a wide variety of
Americans: Corporate CEOs, military personnel,
teachers, politicians, clergy members, movie
stars, sports stars, new immigrants who have
become citizens, as well as regular people
like me from all walks of life.
The slogan could be something like "Vote:
Itšs the Smart Thing To Do," or "Secure Freedom
and Opportunity for all Americans: Vote,"
or "Democracy is a Terrible Thing to Lose:
And democracy is a terrible
thing to lose.
If people do not vote, no one is held accountable
and the nation goes off course. If people
do not vote, the powerful exercise more power
with less care, and our freedoms are gradually
eroded. If people do not vote, the very idea
of democracy is doomed.
Former President Abraham Lincoln said that
this nation was the last, best hope on earth.
But if 100 million Americans donšt care enough
to vote, how can we hope to live up to our
heritage and our core values?
So, here I am to ask you to adopt this idea
if you care about the future of America, not
only for yourself and your family, but more
importantly, for all of your fellow Americans.
Please implement this innovative idea to reinvigorate
our political process. Please put this PSA,
calling on all eligible citizens to register
to vote and to vote, out across the T.V. airwaves
beginning today and every day, throughout
the day, from now until November 2nd.
I call on you and your company to carry out
your duty to America's public interest airwaves
by leading the way and airing Voter Awareness
PSAs to perpetuate American democracy.
FOR PUBLIC FILE
thank you note to Dad on Father's Day
My Fellow Californian and American:
It's nearly 25 years since my dad died, and
a tear falls from my eye every Father's Day.
He was only 58 years old.
My dad was an immigrant, and his story is
an American story.
He came from Italy with his family when he
was seven years old. In those days, in the
1920s and 1930s, there was a lot of prejudice
against people who were different. Once, a
gang of young thugs tied him to a tree and
threw sticks and stones at him because he
was a foreigner and didn't speak English.
That kind of thing didn't stop my father,
though. He was, after all, a member of the
"greatest generation." He was a determined
Dad was a straight "A" student through high
school, and when World War II came along he
enlisted in the Army Air Force and became
a Staff Sergeant. It was when he was stationed
in Coventry, England, that he met my mother,
an Irish girl, at a St. Patrick's Day dance.
They married and had eight children.
When I was young, we ate out a lot. I remember
that when the bill arrived, my Dad used to
race me to see who could add up the figures
quickest just to check the server's math.
I think I must owe my math skills to those
many trips we made to restaurants.
Dad worked hard to send all his children to
private Catholic schools, all the way through
high school. Then he would help us get through
college by giving us part-time jobs with his
He was a good businessman. He worked his way
up and eventually owned a medical and surgical
supply and equipment company in Portland and
Seattle, with about eighty employees. Once,
through no fault of his own, he lost the company.
But he rebuilt it. He was strong in adversity.
When I first reported for work there, he told
me that first I had to learn to serve. Only
after that could I think about becoming a
boss. He also told me I had to respect all
jobs. Then he pointed to the men's room and
told me to clean it.
My dad was a deeply religious man, who never
missed Mass on Sunday. He was also a man of
regular, hard-working habits. He would be
up at 5 a.m. to read the newspaper, and would
not return home from work until 8 p.m., when
my mom would always have a dinner plate of
food in the oven covered with aluminum foil
if we weren't going out to eat.
I have so much respect for my father who toiled
so hard for so many years. Although Italian
by birth, he was a true American dad. His
story was America's story: A new land, hard
work, self-help, love of family, service of
country, abiding religious faith.
Now I am trying to follow in his footsteps.
My own daughter is not yet two years old,
so on this Father's Day I'm just beginning
to learn how to be the kind of father to my
daughter that my dad was to me.
"You're a hard act to follow, Dad."
Just before he died in September 1979, my
Dad left a note for me that read, "Thank you
for always being there at a beck and call
for me and mother."
Typical Dad. He knew how to show appreciation.
But as I read the note, I knew it was really
the other way round. It was Dad who was to
be thanked, not me.
And thank him I do, on this Dad's Day, 2004,
and on all days.
The land flowing with Milk and Oil?
What do Mad Cow Disease and OPEC have in common?
They both send prices skyrocketing.
Milk and gas are rapidly becoming luxury items.
Politicians say they will do something about
it, but they never do. It is all political
Analysts tells us the economy is improving,
but how can that be when a staple like milk
costs nearly $5 a gallon at supermarkets and
gas is nearing $3 per gallon at the local
We can solve the problem of gas prices in
the near future by drilling in our own country.
We have untapped oil resources in Alaska that
need to be exploited. We can also cut our
dependence on crude oil from the Mideast by
doing more business with China, Russia and
Mexico for our oil needs.
OPEC is a monopoly that has been unchallenged
for too long. It is time we sent a message
to those men in the Mideast that we can and
will go elsewhere for our oil.
As for that staple, milk, the prices are climbing
partly, we are told, because of the ban on
importing cattle from Canada, due to fears
of Mad Cow Disease.
We are told there are now less cows in this
country to produce milk.
So there are several problems here: High milk
prices because of a shortage of cows, American
Dairy Farmers struggling to make a living,
and Mad Cow Disease.
Is it only a matter of time before there is
an epidemic of Mad Cow in this country infecting
our beef and milk? Might it already be here?
Should our children still be eating McDonald's
hamburgers? Should we still be buying that
jug of milk from 7-11 and feeding it to our
When Mad Cow Disease hit Britain several years
ago, the government never came clean about
the risk to the public.
We need to ensure that does not happen here,
and that the authorities give us full information
about the danger of Mad Cow in this country.
To solve the price problem, the U.S. Department
of Agriculture needs to step in and stabilize
milk prices so that American Dairy Farmers
are able to make a living, people who might
become farmers can be reassured that it remains
a viable occupation, and consumers can still
afford to buy milk that is safe.
In the Bible, Moses led his people to a land
flowing with milk and honey. Well, our promised
land, right here in these United States, is
flowing...or should be...with milk and oil...I
haven't yet heard of a honey shortage.
The Mad Men of the Greedy Oil Cartels and
Mad Cows shouldn't be allowed to interfere
should declare war?
I'd like to declare war on the three greatest
enemies to our political freedom and democracy.
No, that doesn't mean I'm going to march into
Iran, North Korea and Cuba.
The three enemies I'm taking aim at are apathy,
selfishness, and lack of patriotism. If they
are not attacked and defeated, America will
be destroyed not from without but from within.
Apathy is particularly disturbing in this
presidential election year. I'm referring
to the 100 million eligible voters who do
not bother to vote. Given freedom, they choose
not to exercise it. This amounts to nearly
half the electorate. In November 2000, the
turnout in the presidential election was a
mere 51.3 percent. Why don't people vote?
Is it laziness? Do people think they are too
busy? Just too many other important things
Wake up, people! There's no reason not to
vote. Don't take our democracy for granted.
It's not. We have to work at it like a marriage
or friendship. We have to participate if we
want to preserve it.
What do I mean by selfishness? I'm referring
to the selfishness of those who vote for their
own special interests, or who lobby our elected
officials for special interests, rather than
being concerned with the common good. It's
the NIMBY: "not in my backyard" syndrome:
thinking privately that something would be
good for, the city, the county, the state,
the country as a whole, but voting against
it because it might not have the greatest
positive impact on us personally.
If we are to preserve our nation so our children,
our children's children, and so forth, can
continue to enjoy the freedom and the opportunities
that are the hallmark of America, we need
to re-educate people about their civic responsibilities.
I'd like to see voter turnout boosted to at
least 95 percent of all eligible voters. After
all, what could be more important than deciding
who is to govern us, the people, and what
policies that government is to pursue?
If 95 percent seems too idealistic, let's
at least get back to the levels of voting
that prevailed in the 1960s, when the turnout
in presidential elections was always above
60 percent, with a high of 63.1 percent in
Voting is the patriotic thing to do, and I'd
like to see more than the fair-weather patriot.
We must think deeply about the values we stand
for, at home and abroad. We must remember
that although we have our differences of race
and creed, we share common values, including
our love of freedom, our entrepreneurial spirit,
and our compassion for the less fortunate.
Remembering that we are these UNITED States,
we must think in a unified way, as one people.
Let's once again be proud to be American.
Let's show our patriotism in every home, apartment
and office building even our cars by flying
or posting the American flag through the Presidential
election in early November.
If you don't have one gathering dust in the
closet, just buy one from Wal-Mart or Target.
If you can't afford one, the American Legion
is sure to provide one for free. It's the
least you can do.
Flying the flag will show your gratitude for
the sacrifice made by those whose flag-draped
coffins we are seeing in the news todaythose
brave young men and women who have fallen
in our fight for freedom in Iraq now and those
of the past wars.
So put away apathy and vote in every election,
local to federal. Make a resolution today
to go out and vote when Election Day comes
around. It only takes a few minutes. Stop
the selfishness and act for the common good.
In the meantime, fly the American flag. Honor
the fallen. Celebrate the American spirit.
Mr. H. Ross Perot, Sr.:
I am writing to inform you of an exciting
new development in California that will
dramatically change the political landscape of
this nation, and its name isn’t "Arnold
I also want to appeal to you for your support.
As a businessman and private citizen who
is deeply concerned about financial waste
and corruption in government, I am the proponent
of a ballot initiative in California called
Post the Finances.
The initiative calls for every government
agency in California to post its finances
to the Internet every day, in the form of
a simple checkbook register, showing all revenues
and all expenditures. It would also include
all requests for bids, awards of bids, and
aim is to create total honesty and transparency
in government. Posting the Finances will open
up California's government in ways that have
never been seen before, and shine a light on
many a murky financial corner.
a ballot initiative is far beyond my modest
means. Politics, asyou know, is all about money.
In my recent run for mayor of Carson, California,
my main opponent outspent me by $100,000 and
won the election.
have approached many influential people, Democrats
and Republicans, who are in a position to finance
this initiative. So far I have had no success,
although encouraging words have been plentiful.
the deadline for gathering signatures has expired,
I am converting this initiative into a California
Constitutional Amendment. Approximately 600,000
signatures are required to get the Amendment
on the ballot. Using professional signature-gatherers,
the cost works out at about $1.00-2.00 per signature.
I am sure you know, California’s finances are
in a crisis. Governor Schwarzenegger has taken
some short-term measures to address the
situation, but a more revolutionary, long-term
approach is needed, something that will
institutionalize a new standard of honesty and
transparency in government. I believe that Post
the Finances is such a measure, and that it is
only a matter of time before it becomes standard
practice at state and federal level. But it
needs a big initial push to get it moving.
am appealing to you for your public support
and for financial support. I am sure you will
appreciate the wider importance of what I am
trying to accomplish. It is not only California
that is facing huge budget deficits. The federal
government is now running a deficit that is
likely to be with us for a long time. I remember
that the issue of runaway budget deficits was
what inspired your own run for the presidency
in 1992 and again in 1996. It seems that this
issue will not go away, and the problems faced
by California today will be those of the nation
tomorrow, unless we take action.
the Finances will go a long way to alleviating
this pressing problem. I firmly believe it will
help to create a better, more stable future
for our children and grandchildren. When I look
into the eyes of my 1 1/2 year old daughter,
I am inspired to redouble my efforts to push
this proposal through, for the benefit of her
and all the other children of America.
Perot, I know you are a man who appreciates
tangible, structural reform, not the glib words
of politicians. That’s why I voted for you in
1992 and 1996, and I think I must have had you
in the back of my mind when I came up with the
slogan "The Real Reformer for Real
Change" for my recent mayoral bid. Will you
join with me in this great enterprise of
restoring fiscal sanity to California as well as
the nation? Time is of the essence if this
proposal is to make the November 2004 ballot.
would very much appreciate an appointment to
discuss this proposal with you, either by telephone
or in person. I will call your secretary in
a week to set this up.
am of course also available at any time to answer
any questions you may have or to supply more
information about Post the Finances. Please
feel free to contact me.
Crabito, Shrimpito and Churrito Chips from Frito
Dear Mr. Al Bru, Chairman of Frito-Lay:
Doritos, Tostitos, Cheetos! I love them all.
I also love the recent Frito-Lay innovations,
a range of products for the Latino market and
the ever-growing spicy Southwestern taste of
all Americans: Southwestern-style chips from
old Fritos and Doritos to the new Doritos Guacamole
and Doritos Salsa Chips, with the assortment
of chile spices, although I think my innovative
ideas would garner even more of a market share
and profit for Frito Lay.
have a suggestion that would enable you to make
big inroads into a largely untapped market. I’m
referring to the growing Asian population in
America, and Americans’ love of Chinese,
Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese
about some fish-flavored chips from Frito-Lay?
my knowledge, no fish-flavored chips are offered
nationally by Frito-Lay, and yet the market
is there for them. My wife is Asian and loves
seafood; I am Caucasian and love chips. The
marriage of chips and seafood would be irresistible
to both of us, and many thousands, indeed millions,
here are just a few of my suggestions on the
fish chips with an American twist. The names
of the products could all end with "ito,"
which would supply the Frito-Lay name recognition.
Crab-flavored chips with the Japanese spice,
Shrimp-flavored chips enhanced by the spiciness
of shrimp cocktail sauce.
I also have a suggestion that would appeal not
only to the Latino-American population but to
all the American market:
A triangular tortilla chip. After it has been
deep-fried, sprinkle it with lots of sugar
and cinnamon. This would be similar to the
Churros sold at theme parks, parades and other
sure these new products would help Frito-Lay's
bottomline and secure the lifetime loyalty of
many thousands of Asian-Americans, and other
Americans, as well as new immigrants, especially
from Asia, who are arriving in our country every
fact, I can’t wait to bite into them myself
just "for the fun of it".
see that Mayor Hahn, in his upcoming bid for
re-election as Mayor of Los Angeles, is talking
about fiscal transparency and finance reform.
will this go any further than talk?
my Post the Finances proposal, I have given
the keys of the car to any city, state or even
the federal government, but not one politician
has so far shown enough intestinal fortitude,
foresight and initiative to turn those keys.
most of today's politicians are Internet
neophytes. They are not savvy about computer
information technology, and nor are most senior
voters. This makes it difficult for them to
appreciate the extent to which today’s
technology can help to bring fiscal honesty to
as the younger portion of the electorate, who
are in general more computer savvy than their
elders, matures and votes, Web posting of the
finances will become a reality. People will
demand it of their representatives, and all
government finances will be posted daily so
that they are accessible to the public.
this web posting program is instituted, we will
not only be able to ensure honesty for the future,
we will be able to go back and dig out all the
corruption that has taken place in the past.
will be no more room for scare tactics by unscrupulous
politicians who claim that there is not enough
money for important social programs, or, for
will be able to look and see for ourselves what
the financial situation is.
will be able to manage our own government.
Carson’s Mayor Dear, L.A.’s Mayor Hahn,
Governor Schwarzenegger or even President Bush
or Senator Kerry support posting the finances to
the web for fiscal honesty and accountability?
think it’s unlikely, because the idea is still
too new for them, and they don’t have the
computer savvy to realize how important it is.
I'll take a wait and see approach.
one of them will surprise us all and become
a real political reformer.
are several "Letters to the Editor"
submitted to the local newspaper by Steve Mozena.
our soldiers die every day in Iraq, where is
the clear and decisive action that will protect
Japanese hostages were released because the
Japanese government said any harm inflicted
on them would be "unforgivable."
The terrorists listened. They knew the Japanese
meant what they said. Perhaps they knew their
World War II history. The Japanese had their
Kamikaze suicide bombers long before today's
Islamic terrorists were even born. They believed
it was an honorable thing to die for their country,
just as today's Islamic terrorists want to die
for their faith.
need to show the same kind of backbone and take
the ruthless action that is necessary to bring
order to Iraq. We need to impose our will on
those who are trying to disrupt our efforts
at rebuilding that country. We did this in Japan
after World War II. We hanged the war criminals,
we imposed a new Constitution on the country,
we occupied it for five years. And Japan was
the better for it.
must show a similar kind of resolution now.
By all means involve the UN in devising a transitional
government for Iraq, but remember that diplomacy
does not work when you are dealing with religious
fanatics. You have to be prepared to act decisively,
with whatever level of force that is required.
Only then, when the militants are cowed, will
we be able to demonstrate to the Iraqi people
that we are genuinely on their side. We want
them to live in freedom and we have to show
them we are serious about it.
we must be ruthless in destroying opposition,
and we must impose our will on the defeated
remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime. Over fifty
years ago, President Harry S. Truman showed
he had the guts to lead in the cause of freedom.
our present-day leaders match his example, or
will compromise and retreat be the order of
"Letter to the Editor"
day, April 15th, is over. But the threat of
the I.R.S. still hangs in the air.
need to audit the I.R.S.
current tax code, and the way the I.R.S. behaves,
do not encourage people to be honest. In fact,
the reverse is true.
know an African-American man who is scared to
get a job that pays him above the table because
he thinks most of his wages will be garnished
by the I.R.S. He fears he will never be able
to get ahead.
know Persian-Americans who felt they had no
option but to evade the attentions of the I.R.S.,
which was not only trying to enforce an antiquated
and unfair tax code but was employing illegal
bullying tactics to do so.
know Vietnamese-Americans who set up a restaurant
but called it a Christian Club until it could
be fully established. Because of the tax code,
this was the only way they could afford to get
their business off the ground.
of course, everyone knows about how large corporations
exploit every loophole they possibly can to
avoid, at times evade, paying their fair share
of taxes. Just last week, a report issued by
the government's General Accounting Office showed
that almost two-thirds of American companies
paid no taxes between 1996 and 2000, even as
corporate profits reached record levels.
put, I blame the convoluted and confusing tax
code even many CPAs and Tax Attorneys don't
understand that allows them to get away with
an amnesty for all Americans who are not in
good standing with the I.R.S.
throw away the entire tax code and set up a
flat tax and a national, round-numbered only
sales tax. Eliminate all loopholes.
it clear and simple.
audit the I.R.S. by posting all the government
finances to the Web on a daily basis. This will
enable all citizens to see where all government
money, OUR money, that is, comes from and where
this coming election season, we need a leader
who will take charge of these issues and ensure
fairness for all tax-paying Americans.
millions of other Americans, I enjoy eating
at McDonald's, and I applaud the company for
introducing the Happy Meal for Adults nationwide
next month. This is a positive step that shows
McDonald's is responding to public pressure
to create more healthful food.
I have been noting positive change at McDonald's
for some months. Bottled water is now available,
and my wife and I recently purchased at McDonald's
a fruit salad with sliced apples, grapes and
a container of yogurt. This is a refreshing
We need more of these types of fruit dishes,
please! Get creative with it.
There is no time to lose. Like many ordinary
Americans today, I am concerned about the steadily
rising obesity in this country, including my
own, much of which is due to unhealthy diet,
as well as lack of exercise.
According to the surgeon general, the social
cost of obesity is about $117 billion a year.
And the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
says that obesity could overtake smoking next
year as the leading cause of preventable death.
I know that many of the other big fast-food
chains, as well as McDonald's, are trying to
adapt to public concern over the nation's eating
habits. Smaller portions and low-fat alternatives
are positive steps, and if they taste good people
will buy them.
I have a suggestion for McDonald's that will
take this trend further.
Why not create "McFlowers," a combination of
warm or cold broccoli and cauliflower in a McNugget-size
box, available with a salt package, and a dipping
sauce, if desired, of ranch, dill or cheese
sauce. Or "McSticks," a combination
of celery and carrots with a ranch or dill dipping
sauce in a fry-size bag.
These items would be a big hit with consumers.
It would put McDonald's way ahead of the curve
as far as emerging trends are concerned. People
want to start eating better, but when one has
a busy schedule, or if one is on the road, it's
not easy to find healthful food.
I'm not suggesting that McDonald's, that great
American institution, turns itself into a health-food
restaurant frequented by vegetarians, but I
do believe there is an urgent social need that
McDonald's has a responsibility to address.
Addressing the issue in a bold way would also
be good for corporate profits, since it's always
better to be ahead of a trend than behind it.
Meanwhile, I'll look out for "McFlowers" and
"McSticks" at my local McDonald's. If McDonald's
doesn't do it, you can bet one of the other
major hamburger chains like Burger King, Wendy's,
or Jack in Box will.
Dear Mickey Mouse:
Summer's just around the corner and I'm taking
my family to Disneyland again-the Happiest Place
But is it?
Over the years, I have enjoyed going to Disneyland
in Anaheim. I love the show "Fantasmic,"
the aqua-screen, laser-light, pyro-technic show
about Mickey's Imagination. To me, this is the
best thing about Disney...next to Splash Mountain.
But I loathe the seating arrangements on the
pavement for the Fantasmic event. It's a pain
in my rear and I'm sure many Disney parents
and patrons would agree.
The portions for sitting on the pavement are
allocated on a first-come first-serve basis.
Over the years, every time I have attended this
event I have witnessed arguments among customers
over spaces even though there are two summer
Several years ago, I suggested to customer service
that they fix this problem by selling seat Cushions
and blankets with Disneyland and "Fanstasmic"
These items could not only mark the spaces,
and make watching the show more comfortable
for customers like me, it would also make additional
money for Disney Corporation. The seat cushions
could be like those used by the Anaheim Angels
for seats at the baseball stadium.
I would certainly buy these cushions for comfort,
and as a souvenir. Then rear end, mine, and
bottom line, yours, would both be equally comfortable.
Now, that's a recipe for the Happiest Place
March 22nd, 2004
Arnold Schwarzenegger really the People’s
Governor for California residents?
far, yes, he is. Moreover, it is a pleasant
surprise to see a politician do what he says
he is going to do. Governor Schwarzengger is
fulfilling his political promises.
Schwarzenegger said he would repeal the car
tax, and he did.
said he wanted to fix the deficit. He did this
by winning approval for the Economic Recovery
Bond Act, Proposition 57, and the California
Balanced Budget Act, Proposition 58, in the
March 2 ballot.
has also spoken about his desire to overhaul the
state Workers’ Compensation system to reduce
costs. He was in Torrance, a city adjacent to
Carson where I live and work, last week, and he
spoke about this issue again. It is well known
that Schwarzenegger has told the California
legislature in the past and now within ten days
that if it does not act to reduce Worker’s
Comp costs, he will take the issue to the people
via a ballot initiative.
far, so good. But we need total fiscal honesty
from our Governor as well.
particularly need to have total fiscal transparency.
can easily be accomplished by enacting my initiative
to post all government finances to the Internet
every day. See www.postthefinances.com
don't have the megamoney or the political clout
to make this initiative or even a constitutional
amendment most likely happen. Although I'll
keep trying, the idea needs support from the
have asked Governor Schwarzenegger’s staff
three times for an appointment to present this
idea to him. I have also tried to approach the
Governor by talking to Congressman David Dreier,
Schwarzenegger advisor Bob Smith, former L.A.
Mayor and CA Secretary of Education Richard
Riordan, and even Arnold’s good friend, actor
Tom Arnold. But I have had no success.
are all political insiders and have the political
power to help make our government honest. Are
they hiding fiscal improprieties?
my request for an appointment not getting
through, or is Governor Schwarzenegger not quite
the "People’s Governor" he
claims to be?
Governor, ask your staff to give me an appointment
to speak to you, and help me get this proposal
on the ballot, either as an initiative or as
a constitutional amendment.
the very least, issue an executive order to
set up one California department or agency as
a sample to show you how the post the finances
system would work. This seems to be a reasonable
extremely difficult for a "little guy"
like me to get this on the ballot without the
assistance of someone who has considerable money
or influence or both.
on, Governor Schwarzenegger, be a real hero for
the people of California, let’s make our
government honest and make this happen, for the
good of California and all its residents.
may remember that we have met a couple dozen
times at Hollywood premieres and parties as
well as St. Monica's Catholic Church. It's time
we met again. We have a common goal to make
California better for businesses and especially
the people of California.
the people a chance. It's a truly honest and
get all of the California finances out in the
open and be honest.
down in history, make this a historic moment.
This proposal is revolutionary and is worthy
of what the forefathers' envisioned for our
relative Senator Edward Kennedy has been talking
about a Constitutional Amendment that would
permit a U.S. resident of more than 20 years to
become President. I'd support that—if you
posted all the finances, because then I'd know
you are honest and are thinking of the welfare
of the people. And if you ever were to run for
President, I hope you would make posting the
finances to the Web a prominent part of your
February 19th, 2004
Mozena is in the process of converting
the Finances" statewide
initiative into a California Consitutional Amendment.
This will ensure that the State of California
will always post its finances daily to the Web
or to some future advancement in technology
yet undiscovered to keep pace with the ever-changing
world and its technology. In this way, Californians
will always be able to stop any waste and corruption
instantly. Mr. Mozena foreseeing
the future like the Founding Fathers of our
as Mr. Mozena spent more than
$5,000 of his own money to beautify Venice,
CA, his former place of residence, for the locals
and tourists, he has now spent his own money
the Finances" for the citizens
is not a rich man but he trying to help everyone.
now, Mr. Mozena is the sole
financer of his Carson mayoral campaign. He
wants to make the City of Carson a model city
for Posting the Finances.
election is on Tuesday March 2nd, 2004.
ask your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers,
and anyone you know in Carson, to vote for Steve
Mozena for Mayor of Carson.
is the Real Reformer for Real Change. He's a
man for all the people.
for more information about Steve Mozena's
Carson mayoral campaign.
Steve Mozena, Post the Finances, P.O. Box 92679, Long Beach, CA 90809,