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GOOD Voter Guide to California: Treasurer

One of these people will be California's Treasurer, issuing bonds, managing investments, and trying to fix the state's financial crisis.

Over the course of the next two weeks, we will be publishing primers about the important items on the ballot in California as part of our GOOD Voter Guide.

One of these people will be California's Treasurer, issuing bonds, managing investments, and trying to fix the state's financial crisis.

Charles “Kit” Crittenden

Political Party: Green

Candidate Platform: Kit wants a just, environmentally sensitive, peaceful society. He doesn’t list a lot of his policy recommendations on his site; he simply urges us to look at his fellow Green Party candidates, namely Laura Wells, candidate for Governor, and Ross Frankel, candidate for State Controller, for more details.

Background and History: Crittenden is from Raleigh, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina, majoring in philosophy, and got a master's in it too. After a brief stint in the Naval Flight School in Florida, he went on to get his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cornell. That was 1964. He lived and taught in Florida and later California. In the 1990s, he joined the Green Party, and in the 2000s he served on the Los Angeles City Council. He is now a retired professor.

Environmental Responsibility: Crittenden supports “public policies and individual behaviors that will conserve our resources and protect our environment over the long term in order to preserve the quality of life of future generations.” He also supports "sustainable urban growth and agricultural practices that will conserve our planet’s resources and protect our environment."

Education: Crittenden writes “Education is [a] central component… and so the state’s once-splendid educational system must be restored. This will require adequate funding – which can be found in new sources of taxation (adopting an oil extraction tax, and increasing the marginal tax to its former rate of 11% as opposed to its present 9% level, to mention two further possibilities).”

Fun Facts: In his teens, Crittenden created the “Retrogressive Party” with some of his friends. It had the motto, “Give the country back to the Indians.” He has said that it was a “largely private gesture.”

Key Donors and Endorsements: The Green Party of California

Sources: Crittenden for Treasurer, League of Women Voters

Robert Lauten

Political Party: American Independent

Candidate Platform: This one is good. Lauten doesn’t really care about winning this election, he doesn’t even really want you to vote for him. The goal of his campaign is to have you call your congress member and ask him or her to support “Glass-Steagall” safeguards for America’s banking systems, which would limit bank size and systemic threats to the economy as a whole, which is actually probably a pretty good idea. There’s also a picture of him at the racetrack holding a sign: “I want a bailout.” That’s what his “official” campaign website is all about. That’s at

Fun Facts: His unofficial website is really, really crazy. It features an amazing collage, including images of a bust of Queen Elizabeth II with a ring of stars around her head, a decaying face, a decaying hand holding an iPod, and Obama leaping in a tuxedo. We suggest you check it out.

Bill Lockyer

Political Party: Democrat

Candidate Platform: Lockyer wants to keep that state from going belly up. Otherwise, he says, California may have to shut down school construction, road work, and other public-works projects and put as many as 10,000 private contractors out of work, none of which is good.

Background and History: Though he is from Oakland, California, Lockyer has been in Sacramento for a while. He was elected treasurer in 2006, and served as Attorney General from 1999 to 2006. There, as he likes to say, he had "one of the most impressive records of accomplishment in the office’s history." He says that he created and maintained the nation’s most effective and sophisticated DNA forensic crime laboratory, cracked down on Medi-Cal fraud and recovered billions of dollars for defrauded energy ratepayers, consumers, and taxpayers. Before all that, he served 25 years in the state legislature with a stint as Senate President Pro-Tem. (Some people, mostly opponents, describe him as a "career politician.") He went to the University of California, Berkeley, then earned a law degree in Sacramento while serving in the state senate. He's got a wife and two kids.

Civil Rights: Lockyer was attorney general back in 2003 and part of the lawsuit, Lockyer v. Andrade, which upheld California's three-strikes law—and resulted in a 25-years-to-life sentence for a dude who stole video tapes from two different K-Marts. He also established the Megan’s Law website to locate and identify registered sex offenders. In 1984, Bill sponsored the state's first "hate crimes" legislation, the most comprehensive of its kind at the time, and saw to it that it was enforced at the local level.

Economic Responsibility and Justice: Lockyer calls the California budget "a train wreck" and says "it's only going to get worse." So, here's his (short-term) plan: He's lining up a short-term loan of more than $5 billion from a group of Wall Street banks (Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and RBC Capital Markets) that will give the state enough cash to keep from going bankrupt. The loan would be repaid when the state sells an estimated $10 billion of cash-flow notes once a budget is enacted.

He has done this before: last year, when the state was issuing IOU's (remember when you got that in the mail for your tax return?), he borrowed $1.5 billion from JP Morgan and then repaid it after he sold one-year notes. He does believe that we need to solve this crisis in a "structurally long-term manner" and believes that begins with allowing the budget to be passed by majority, rather than the current two-thirds vote. (See Proposition 25). But what about long-term sustainable revenue generation? He's ambiguous on Prop 13 (which keeps property taxes super low), and really likes to sell bonds. (He set national records for selling bonds to individual investors which has helped to curtail taxpayers’ debt service costs.) On top of that, he promotes the creation of a Master Plan for Infrastructure Financing and Development. It would be a long-range plan to build and finance the schools, roads, hospitals, housing, water works, and other infrastructure California needs, now and in the future.

Environmental Responsibility: Lockyer is relatively serious about environmental legislation, as he believes that climate change is the single greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. He has restored (or as he likes to say, "reinvigorated") the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority within the treasurer’s office that provides financing for renewable energy. Back in 1974, he wrote the first legislation to provide state funding for emergency oil spill decontamination, and, later, the first state regulation of trucks hauling toxic substances through California. Lockyer might be best known for the "Bay Trail"—a 293 mile-long hiking and cycling path with park lands and protected natural habitats around San Francisco and San Pablo Bays.

Health Care: Lockyer has increased the availability of low-cost loans to build facilities and buy equipment for local clinics, launched an emergency financing program that helped hospitals preserve health care at the height of the credit market meltdown, and helped to provide bridge loans to hospitals and community clinics to keep their doors open when the state stopped funding them during the 2008 budget crisis.

Education: He wants to help kids and families pay for college. How? He launched a pilot project to provide $150,000 in college savings awards to 200 K-12 students in Sacramento County schools, and, in 2008, expanded ScholarShare, the state’s education savings plan, by 64 percent.

Fun Facts: Lockyer is not afraid to be candid. With regard to the main candidates for governor, he remarked, "Neither of them has a plan that I've read that makes any sense." And, when asked who he thought was going to win the race for attorney general he replied, "I think Cooley's going to win, even though he's a mean, gloomy bureaucrat."

He's got a history of this stuff. In 2001, during the Enron scandal, he publicly quipped, "I would love to personally escort Ken Lay to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, 'Hi, my name is Spike, honey.'"

Key Donors and Endorsements: The San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, AFL-CIo, The California Democratic Party, The California Department of Forestry, Equality California, the Latin Business Association, The Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the California Teachers Association, and the League of Conservation Voters.

Sources: Lockyer 2010, The San Francisco Chronicle, BNET, The California Treasurer's Office, San Francisco Bay Trail, Reporting Hate Crimes (PDF)

Debra Reiger

Political Party: Peace and Freedom

Candidate Platform: Develop a state bank, invest state money into socially responsible funds, provide reliable and safe public transportation throughout the state, and tax the income and assets of the rich to meet human needs.

Background and History: Here’s what we could find: Debra got her B.S. in Business Administration and Finance in 1981 at Cal State Sacramento. She worked for the state government in the department of finance and she has served on the board of Directors for the Sacramento County ACLU.

Economic Responsibility and Justice: Reiger pledges to invest money in “progressive” state funds. She wants to strengthen CalPERS and CalSTRS funds through sound investments and will oppose any moves to enrich fund managers. She would make sure all investments are in companies that do not provide military weapons or equipment. She believes we should provide jobs instead of cutting services, though, it should be noted, as treasurer she would not have control of the budget. She believes tax law favors the wealthy and supports balancing property taxes.

Environmental Responsibility: She would use her position on boards to make sure state money is invested only in environmentally sound projects.

Sources: NextGenPolitics, Reiger for Treasurer

Edward M. Teyssier

Political Party: Libertarian

Candidate Platform: Teyssier wants to get the United States out of Iraq, enact campaign finance and election reform, repeal the Patriot Act, and repeal income and estate taxes. He pretty much wants to dismantle the government. So that’s exciting.

Background and History: Edward is from California, got a Masters from Cal State Northridge, and has been President and CEO at Microwave Solutions, Inc, from 1984 until now. He has run for the U.S. House and the California State Assembly and he was Vice-Chair of the San Diego Libertarian Party in 1998.

Civil Rights: He wants to stop the federal war on drugs and reduce prison sentences for those who commit nonviolent crimes. He supports gay marriage and temporary worker programs for undocumented workers. He also supports the principal that illegal immigrants should have to return to their countries of origin before being considered for citizenship.

Economic Responsibility and Justice: He would like to eliminate federal funding for, um, most things: agriculture, the arts, education, environmental protection, FEMA, international aid, medical research, scientific research, space exploration programs, the United Nations, and welfare.

He would greatly decrease funding for defense, homeland security, federal law enforcement, and public health services. He would slightly increase taxes for those making under $40,000 per year, maintain rates for folks between $40,001 and $100,000, and give every one else a tax break. (We have to ask, What would he use tax revenue for anyway? He’s eliminated everything.)

Environmental Responsibility: He wants to completely eliminate federal funding for anything agriculture- or environment-related and decrease federal funding for our national parks slightly. Which is nice for the kids.

Health Care: Teyssier supports expanding eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts and allowing the importation of prescription drugs into the United States. He believes that providing health care is not a responsibility of the federal government.

Education: He supports school vouchers and federal tax incentives to help families save for college. He does not support federal funding for universal pre-kindergarten programs, increased funding for the Pell Grant program, and No Child Left Behind.

Reproductive Freedom: Teyssier says the “issue isn't whether the government should be making abortions legal or illegal, but rather whether the government is subsidizing irresponsible behavior.”

International: He wants to get the United States out of foreign wars, and focus military spending on national defense.

Sources: VoteSmart, California State Election Guide

Mimi Walters

Political Party: Republican

Candidate Platform: Mimi says: "California is in trouble. Decades of wasteful spending and fiscal mismanagement have left our state nearly bankrupt and we need to clean house in Sacramento before we can get our financial house in order." Her priorities, as she describes them, are protecting your tax dollars from bad investments, reducing wasteful government spending, lowering taxes on families and small businesses, and holding government accountable for every dollar it spends.

Background and History: Senator Mimi Walters represents the 33rd District in the state senate, where she is serving her second term. She has a background in business, finance, and local government. Her professional career, prior to public office, was serving as an investment executive for many years at some major investment banking firms.

Walters began her public service career at the local level, as a member of the Laguna Niguel City Council in 1996. She served as the city's mayor in 2000. Walters is a founder of the California Women’s Leadership Association and has served on the Boards of the National Association of Women Business Owners, the American Cancer Society, and the South Coast Medical Center Foundation.

She currently holds the title of Senate Assistant Republican Leader. She serves on the Senate Budget Conference Committee, is the chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, vice chair of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, and a member of the Senate Business and Professions Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles, Walters and her husband, David, live in Orange County with their four children.

Civil Rights: If civil rights were a class, we are afraid that Walters would have failed. She has repeatedly received an F grade by Equality California for her lack of support and leadership with regard to GLBT rights, and an F on the Applied Research Center's Legislative Report Card based on her lack of leadership or support for racial equity in the state.

Economic Responsibility and Justice: Interestingly, for someone running to manage the state’s finances, there is actually nothing on her campaign website about how she would do that. There’s a 31-second YouTube video blaming Bill Lockyer for California’s budget crisis, but all it says about Mimi is that she’s “the future.”

(Her platform as mentioned above was found on the California Statewide General Election Voter Information Guide. That’s all we got.)

Reproductive Freedom: She is anti-choice.

Key Donors and Endorsements: Her largest donors in 2008 included AT&T, the California Dental Association, the California Physical Therapy Association, and Ketel One Vodka/Nolet Spirits USA.

Endorsements Include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Small Business Association, and gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman.

Sources: The California Statewide General Election Voter Information Guide, Mimi Walters for Treasurer, Meg 2010, VoteSmart, Equality California, The Applied Research Center, Ballotpedia

Some disclaimers: This guide is a volunteer operation, not produced by GOOD. Due to research fatigue, lame candidate websites, and Murphy's Law, you may spot a mistake or two. Some candidates simply don’t provide a lot of info, and our researcher styles varied, so some profiles may differ or seem a bit incomplete.

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