Op-Ed: 22-year-old governor candidate Shubham Goel on what must be changed in California

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Courtesy of Phil-Foto

Writer: Shubham Goel

Email: shubhamgoelvernor@gmail.com

My name is Shubham Goel, and I am a 22-year-old running for governor of California as an Independent (no party preference)! I am running for governor because I want to show people that you don’t need to be rich, good looking, charismatic, upper class, corrupt, a D-list celebrity or politically well-connected (via nepotism, etc.) to make a difference. All you need is courage, hopefulness and a will to stand up for what you believe in. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in economics and film and I have gained practical experience working with software, entertainment and virtual reality companies. I am an everyday person, born and raised Californian, who passionately wants to fix the state’s problems for all Californians that our ineffective and corrupt state government will not.

I believe it is tragic to the everyday California taxpayer that the five leading candidates for governor (Gavin Newsom, John Chiang, Antonio Villaraigosa, Travis Allen and Delaine Eastin) have all taken large donations (thousands to millions of dollars) from bankers, corporations and powerful people who will then control them like puppets once one of them wins. We might as well open a puppet show instead of an election. It’s just so messed up how the frontrunner, Newsom, started his campaign almost three years ago instead of doing his job, which means he will have run for governor for just as long as he would be governor. I believe that the winner of this election will start his presidential campaign during the first 10 days of his newly elected position. People always talk about how you need political experience for office, but you really don’t. I promise you, these guys in office are far from rocket scientists and I promise to always fight for what’s right for all Californians.

Some of the platforms I am passionate about implementing as governor include:

1. Board of Regret (Regents): The governor of California should no longer have the power to appoint the 18 regents for the nine  UC campuses. The members of the Board of Regents will be elected by the students of the UCs. This will make the Board more accountable, transparent and representative of the UC students and campuses they reside over. This will fix disturbing issues like Janet Napolitano, the president of the UC system, hiding $175 million last April from students, the board mishandling funds and regents being financially corrupt.

2. GovBook: All office holders in California will have a transparent digital profile on the governor’s website. This will show their economic interactions for the past 10 years with regard to money and donations they have received from any sources, including the people who control them and investments they currently have. It will also include the platforms they advocated for during their election cycle and will comment on their progress toward completing them. This will keep all of them accountable with their decisions, corruption and ineffectiveness and give the people of California a much better idea of whom they are being represented by.

3. Ax the tax and let’s relax: We are in a budget surplus of about $6 billion and now it is the time to reward the grieving Californian taxpayers. We don’t need more tax revenue but much better allocation of our budget. I will help enact huge tax cuts for California and lower regulations on small businesses to encourage economic growth. Sales tax will go from 7.25 percent to 5 percent. Top marginal income tax rate will go from 13.3 percent to 4.9 percent. Property tax rate will go from 0.75 percent to 0.5 percent.

4. Social Medusa (Media): We must dramatically improve the mental health of Californians. Social media companies have used the variable rewards effect to hook us to use their platforms (the same psychological tricks that casinos use to create addicted gamblers). As a result, everywhere you go, people are on social media sites for hours and hours. This has made people generally unhappy, and our mental health has suffered. I will ban social media usage for kids in K-12 schools across California and encourage workplaces, schools and our government to advocate for less time on these sites and more time outdoors. We will measure happiness with quarterly happiness surveys to California residents and learn from the data what we can do to improve happiness. As governor, I will also encourage and incentivize people to spend more time outside.

5. The Great High Speed Railway Trainwreck: We must defund the high speed railway. The high speed railway train is the most inefficient project in California. I will defund and cut the project completely for California. The budget and timeline dramatically changes every couple of years. The budget was $40 billion in 2004 and now it’s reported that the budget is over $77 billion. We were assured that private investors will pay a significant part of this train, but not many private investors have stepped up, which means the burden will continue to fall on the taxpayer. I will take a fraction of that budget and build new freeways, add lanes and expand the BART line, which will actually help with the extremely long commute time for workers and with traffic mobility.

6. Venture California: We will create a venture capital fund of $100 million that will invest in California companies that help fix the water shortage problem, housing crisis and healthcare epidemic. Water has become an extremely scarce commodity that California is in desperate need of for droughts, fires and farms. We must use innovative strategies with these funded companies, such as desalination. An increased demand for housing and outdated regulations has destroyed the housing market and made affordable housing nonexistent for Californians. We must pursue efficient building strategies with companies to effectively increase the supply of housing in California. Lastly, we must invest in companies that will develop and create the next generation of health and medical devices. This will improve health and cut health care costs.

7. Hollygood (Hollywood): Hollywood is one of the biggest and most successful industries in this world and contributes so many jobs and growth to our economy. Many film productions in Hollywood are leaving to Louisiana and Georgia and to other countries to film because of our unfriendly tax laws. The California Film Commission (CFC) has successfully granted $330 million in tax incentives per year to different film productions in California. In the first year, the CFC saw $1.5 billion of direct-in-state spending as a result of those tax incentives. The commission is obviously working at keeping productions in-state, so I would like to increase this fund to $600 million a year to double down on something that is working well for such an important state industry.

I can no longer watch from the sidelines as the people of California suffer at the hands of the few in power. California means so much to me and I promise to use strength, endurance and grit to fix the state for all people.

Update (3/13/2018): This article was updated with another email to contact the author.

Update (3/15/2018): Due to technical issues, this article had to be re-uploaded.

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