By Mark Wachtler
November 1, 2014. Compton, CA. (ONN) The voting system known as Top Two is being pushed to replace America’s current voting system. But one need only look at California, which uses Top Two, to see the devastating ramifications. Top Two excludes independents and opposition parties from the General Election. Of hundreds of races in the state Tuesday, only three include a candidate other than a Republican or Democrat. One of those is the Peace & Freedom Party’s Adam Shbeita running for the US House in CA CD 44.
Adam Shbeita, Peace & Freedom candidate for US Rep from CA. Image courtesy of PeaceAndFreedom2014.org.
In Top Two voting, all the Primary candidates from all the Parties are put together on one list, sometimes listing dozens of names, and voters from all Parties get to choose from among all the Parties’ nominees. Only the top two vote-getters advance to the General Election. The problem is, the result is always the same - only Democrats and Republicans ever get to move on to the final round.
Back in March, Opposition News shined a light on the California Peace & Freedom Party’s efforts to end Top Two in the state. We revealed how under Top Two, independents and opposition Parties went from having an average of 133 candidates on each General Election ballot to having only 21 in 2012 and a heart-breaking 3 this Election. Another result of Top Two is that thanks to the two Establishment Parties’ gerrymandering, the top two vote-getters are often from the same Party, giving voters no choice in the General Election. Read ‘Peace & Freedom Party fights Top Two voting in CA’ for more information.
Adam Shbeita for US House
One of California’s only three opposition Party candidates on the ballot Tuesday is Adam Shbeita from the Peace & Freedom Party. He ran as a write-in in a race where the incumbent was running unopposed. Readers may remember Adam from the Opposition News article, ‘CA Peace & Freedom gets Candidate into General Election’. The other two opposition candidates include a Libertarian and an American Independent, each running for State Rep in different districts. But Peace & Freedom’s Adam Shbeita is trying to go to Washington. And he’s in a race against controversial Democrat Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-CA).
Adam Shbeita is a father of two and an information technology consultant who embodies the American dream. The Palestinian-American is a naturalized US citizen who first graduated from Long Beach City College and then from California State University. The Congressional candidate moved to California from Jordan nearly 30 years ago and he says, “I found that I loved California…I love this place and I want to make it better.”
The candidate gives a glimpse of some of his most passionate issues when he explains on his campaign website Adam4USA.com, “I have two children, and I am very concerned about their future and the future of all our children. I want all our children to be able to get a good advanced education without being forced into debt for life. I want them to be able to find rewarding work, to be able to pursue interesting careers, instead of being forced to work at low wages that cannot support a family.”
On the issues - in his own words
Wages and employment: “Wages for most workers are far too low,” Adam Shbeita says, “If you adjust for inflation, the minimum wage is at about half of the level of 1969. We need to double the federal minimum wage to about $15 an hour to give workers a realistic living wage, allow them to catch up with inflation, and index the minimum wage to the cost of living so that low-wage workers cannot fall behind again.”
Healthcare: “We need high-quality healthcare for all,” the Peace & Freedom candidate insists, “Fair taxation of those best able to pay can supply any deficit in financing. Such a system, much more comprehensive than the Affordable Care Act, would drive down medical costs, particularly by eliminating the private insurance profiteers from their parasitic role in medical care.”
Education & Banks: “Free, high-quality public education for all should be provided from preschool through the university level,” the product of California’s public higher education system says, “California actually had free higher education half a century ago, but tax cuts for the most prosperous and fee increases for students have led to public higher education being too expensive for many working class students to advance, unless they ruin their lives with huge debts to bankers.”
Taxes: “Our tax system needs to be overhauled so that it is more progressive, and so that special influence cannot give big breaks to some of the most prosperous among us,” Shbeita suggests, “Those who are best able to pay, who benefit the most from our economic system, should pay more than others, and the tax burden needs to be shifted from ordinary workers to the most prosperous Americans.”
Environment & Wall St: “We need to save our planet,” he says, “This will take firm measures to stop polluting and warming our atmosphere. But this can only be done by restraining and limiting corporate power.”
Campaign Finance: “We need to take the big money out of politics,” Adam Shbeita insists, echoing the sentiment of most Americans, “Our representatives should represent the people, not the wealthy corporations that have overwhelming influence in Washington today.”
Opponent Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA)
Speaking of wealthy corporations that have overwhelming influence in Washington today, Tuesday’s opponent of Peace & Freedom’s Adam Shbeita is Rep. Janice Hahn. According to OpenSecrets.org, the watchdog website that tracks campaign contributions, a full 96% of Rep. Hahn’s contributions come from PAC’s and large donors. Only 4% of her financial support comes from regular Americans.
The Congresswoman has proven herself quite adept at turning her Committee assignments into cold hard cash. She sits on the House Transportation Committee and on the Coast Guard and Maritime Subcommittee, the Highway and Transit Subcommittee, Railroads Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, and the Water Resources Subcommittee. Now, compare those Committee assignments to Rep. Janice Hahn’s five largest financial donors.
As detailed by OpenSecrets.org, Hahn’s top donors are from transportation unions and Wall Street’s transportation corporations, like airlines, railroads and sea transport companies. Joining those four in the top five are America’s trial lawyers. Janice Hahn’s top five individual donors include three transportation unions, one banking association and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, who coincidentally happens to be America’s biggest owner of railroad companies.
Hahn is also well known for her connections to Los Angeles street gangs, specifically various sections of the Compton Crips. Some of the gang’s members, including those arrested for rape and murder after their work with Hahn, were paid by third parties for their work with gang intervention groups championed by the Congresswoman. A number of them even met with Hahn personally at her offices. Hahn’s critics accuse her of using taxpayer and non-profit funds to financially compensate the gangs that live and vote in her district.
Another independent organization that tracks elected officials and their positions and performance is VoteSmart.org. According to their review of Rep Hahn, her support of government secrecy seemingly extends to her own campaign positions. The site writes, ‘Janice Hahn has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2014 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests.’
For more information on the Peace & Freedom Party’s nominee for US Representative from California’s 44th District, Adam Shbeita, visit Adam4USA.com. Catch all the California Peace & Freedom Party's news and announcements streaming live 24/7 on the California page of the Opposition News States section.
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