Peter Miguel Camejo

Peter Miguel Camejo
Green Party
PO Box 32102
Oakland, CA 94604
Phone: (510) 595-4619
E-mail: info@votecamejo.org
Website: www.votecamejo.org

Biography

Peter Miguel Camejo is a financial investment advisor. He is chair and co-founder of Progressive Asset Management Inc., a nationwide company that promotes socially responsible investments. He also ran against Gov. Davis as the Green Party candidate in last year's election, and won 5.3% of the vote.

He says he is a strong supporter of renewable energy sources; guaranteed 'universal health coverage' for all Californians; and labor rights. He says he 'will call for an independent, nonpartisan audit' to find out how the state became so far in debt.

He says he has campaigned for the rights of Latino workers in the US and has been a long-time supporter of the women's movement and gay and lesbian rights. He also ran for president as a socialist in 1976, gaining ballot status in several states.

Sixty-three year old Camejo is a first generation Venezuelan-American and grandfather of two. He lives with his wife Morella in Walnut Creek, California.

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Background

Name: Peter Miguel Camejo

Party: Green

Age: 63

Birthplace: New York City

Residence: Folsom, Sacramento County

Occupation: Financial Investment Advisor

Political Experience:

Appointed by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors as a Trustee of the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association; 2002 Green Party candidate for Governor (received 5.3% of the vote).

Career Highlights:

I was the founder and CEO of Progressive Asset Management from 1987 to 2000, a socially responsible Broker/Dealer founded in 1987. In the 1980s I worked for Merrill Lynch and Prudential Securities before launching Progressive Asset Management Inc. In 1991, I helped Merrill Lynch create the first Wall Street pro-environmental fund, the Eco-Logical Trust, which was the second best performing fund in the Merrill Lynch Unit Trust Department until its expiration in 1996. I am currently Board President of Progressive Asset Management and owner of, and investment advisor with, the Camejo Group.

Education:

Attended MIT and UC Berkeley; majored in Math and History.

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California needs independent and visionary leadership. The Green Party is part of a growing global movement based on environmental values and social justice. Only with grassroots, deeply democratic programs can California meet the challenges of the future. As a candidate not tied to big-money interests, I can provide that leadership.

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  1. Reversing the state budget cutbacks by implementing a "fair tax" (whereby the rich would no longer pay a lower percentage of their income in total state and local taxes than do the poor or middle class)
  2. Creating more jobs (for example, by expanding renewable energy programs)
  3. Implementing a living wage

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While waste and inefficiency need to be eliminated, the main issue in this electoral campaign and in the budget discussion is the question of taxes.

I am determined to inform voters of the truth of California's tax structure. That is this: The poor pay a higher tax rate than the rich. The budget deficit can be eliminated with a FAIR TAX, one in which the wealthiest people would pay at least what the average person is paying. This is the only reasonable, intelligent and beneficial solution for the present crisis. This FAIR TAX concept is the centerpiece of our campaign.

The income of the richest 5% in California has risen 113% since 1993 while their tax rate has declined. The average person in California has only made a small income gain adjusted for inflation. Latinos have actually had their income decline slightly (3%), while their tax rates increased. If the richest 5% paid the same tax rate that the poorest 20% pay in California there would be a substantial surplus in our budget allowing for innovative programs to help stimulate the economy.

Corporations 20 years ago paid 14% of our state tax income but today they pay only 7%.

California is 20th in the nation in state taxes per person. Republican-run states such as Utah, Wyoming and Arizona have higher tax rates!

California is 36th in property taxes. Proposition 13th has created a drop in taxes for corporations and has led to all kinds of unexpected consequences. It creates higher taxes for first-time homebuyers. It prevents many long-term residents from moving, lest they suffer a sharp property tax increase. It results in billionaires like Warren Buffet paying a one tenth of one percent tax rate on multi million dollar homes while many working people pay more than 10 times this rate.

On June 30th 2003 I called for a nonpartisan comprehensive audit of the last five years in order to better understand how this budget disaster occurred and to help identify waste and corruption. The goal of the audit would be to develop comprehensive ideas for preventing a future crisis. The audit may suggest the establishment of a permanent non-partisan investigative body to make recommendations to the Governor and legislature. This body could make unannounced audits of state departments.

There are some indications that money was wasted as favors for political contributors, such as the Oracle deal in which over $90 million in purchases were made of apparently unneeded software. More recently, my campaign exposed a giveaway by Davis of $6.4 million in taxpayers money to a corporation. The money was disguised as funds for "re-training of workers" when no re-training exists.

See Chart for Budget Plan.

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Green Party members have a diversity of opinions about the recall of Gov. Davis on the October 7 ballot. My personal belief, however, is that there are very good reasons to why Davis should be recalled. The Governor's incompetence in allowing a massive surplus to turn into a deficit is unacceptable. Davis lost California 32 billion dollars by signing long-term energy contracts without "hedging", buying insurance against a loss. He is surrounded by an aura of corruption, with numerous examples of his 'pay-to-play" actions being reported in the media. The recall is the people's right to remove a Governor who can no longer function effectively.

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My first goal would be to conduct a nonpartisan comprehensive audit of the state budget for the past five years in order to understand how the current budget disaster occurred, and to help identify waste and corruption. As I mentioned in question # 11, the goal of this audit would be to develop comprehensive ideas for preventing a future crisis, and to possibly establish a permanent non-partisan investigative body to make recommendations to the Governor and legislature.

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As a "third party" candidate, I would actually have an advantage, since I wouldn't have to deal with all of the partisan influences that come with being a candidate of one of the two parties currently in the legislature. I would be able to listen to and be open to all points of view, including "independent" perspectives.

For example, although the Green Party is usually thought of as being closer to the Democratic Party, Robert A. G. Monks, who wrote the introduction to my book, "The SRI Advantage", is a Republican who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as a trustee of the Federal Employees' Retirement System. My administration would be free of the usual partisan influences and "horse trading" which accompany membership in one of the two existing parties in Sacramento. Therefore, it should actually be easier for legislators to focus on the actual policy issues that need to be taken care of - my administration will be dealing directly with the urgent priorities facing California and not with the typical "partisan politics".

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Education

Guarantee a quality education to everyone, including equal access to resources such as books, school facilities that work, and great teachers who are paid enough to stay in the profession. California now ranks near the bottom in the USA in our support for education. I will work to raise our commitment to at least the national average. I will work to protect and enhance public education, and I oppose the privatization of our schools.

This is one of the most vexing and important issues facing our state today. We cannot continue to let our children's education slide. We need to support our teachers. They are the foot-soldiers in the fight to have quality education for California's children. We need more teachers and fewer administrators.

We need to think small in education: smaller classes, smaller schools, smaller districts. We need to make the schools places of education, and free them up from the many administrative burdens which take away from classroom time.

We need to support our community colleges. These are the people's colleges, and they are being shamefully neglected. Bloated pay and severance packages for politically-connected board members should not take precedence over money for basic classroom education.

  • Restore the education cutbacks in the budget, including K-12 funds ($288 million), the UC/CSU cuts, plus rescinding the 30% student fee increases ($497 million), and rescind the Junior College fee increase and restore $86 million in apportionments and categorical programs (total: $168 million).
  • Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
  • Increase state funds for hiring additional teachers.
  • Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
  • Increase state funding for Head Start programs.
  • Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
  • Support age-appropriate sexual education programs that teach about abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods.
  • Fund smaller class size through 5th Grade.

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Health Care

Guarantee Universal Health Care to every Californian. Use a not-for-profit system and avoid waste, so that every Californian can have high-quality health care, including preventative care and easy access to local providers, for less money than we spend now for our inadequate system. Retain good health care workers by improving working conditions, nurse-to-patient ratios, and living wage guarantees. Protect public health by enforcing our air and water quality laws, cutting the use of toxic pesticides and other hazardous chemicals, and require labeling and regulation of genetically modified foods.

A single-payer health care system would eliminate so much in the way of administrative costs that it would pay for itself and have money left over! Remember that we are already publicly insuring the most expensive elements of our population the elderly and the very poor.

We support transparency in our markets, and therefore think it right that the buying public have the information available so as to make informed decisions. In short, we support requiring food products to disclose the level of genetically modified foods they contain.

  • Support state senator Sheila Kuehl' s bill for universal health care, SB 921.
  • Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state funded care where necessary.
  • Support patients' right to sue their HMOs.
  • Support patients' right to appeal to an administrative board of specialists when services are denied.

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Abortion

All women must have the inalienable right of control over their own bodies. All women must have the option of obtaining a safe and legal abortion. When abortion is illegal, it condemns young and poor women to unsafe and sometimes fatal abortion practices.

The U.S. has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the western world, along with a lower availability of contraceptives. These facts are not unconnected. Our goal should be an open and tolerant attitude towards sexuality that will lead to greater awareness and knowledge. We should work to create a society in which abortion becomes less necessary.

The abortion-inducing drug RU 486 has been approved in the U.S. Prescribing of RU 486 has been limited to those doctors who have been qualified to perform surgical abortions. With the number of abortion clinics in this country shrinking due to terrorist attacks against the clinics and their doctors, this RU 486 restriction is effectively denying its availability in most parts of the country.

  • Make safe and legal abortions available to all women. Government funding (such as MediCal) should be available to women who are unable to afford abortions.
  • Oppose laws that require women of any age to notify or obtain anyone's consent before obtaining an abortion.
  • Increase research and availability of contraceptives.
  • Remove conditions which limit the availability and use of RU486.
  • Set national standards to make adoption easier and more affordable.
  • Federally fund sex education, public health programs and family planning services.
  • Promote personal responsibility on the part of both men and women in their reproductive capacities, including voluntary sterilization.
  • End the forced sterilization of women and the mandatory use of contraceptives, such as Norplant and Depro-Provera. We should provide free removal of these contraceptives from women who have already been coerced to use them.

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Public Safety

Many of our public safety problems are related to our drug policies. I will treat drug addiction as a disease, saving our state billions of dollars by avoiding the need to imprison thousands of non-violent people. These additional funds could then be used to further prevent violent crime, and for other needed programs. Tobacco kills over 1,000 people a day in the USA, and should not receive government subsidies. I will work to de-criminalize marijuana, and to improve the availability of drug treatment programs. I will work to end addiction by focusing on demand.

The war on drugs is a failure. How much more good could be done with all that wasted money if it were applied to treatment, if it were applied to creating opportunities which could mitigate the feeling of hopelessness that often leads to addiction! If marijuana were legal and regulated for safety, we could tax it. We could collect income tax on the profits of the growers and excise taxes on the sales of it, just as we do on the sales of two other, more addictive, drugs - cigarettes and alcohol. We need a rational drug policy, not one built on emotion.

  • Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
  • Support funding for alternative sentencing programs for juvenile offenders.
  • Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, or disability be prosecuted as hate crimes.
  • Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
  • Increase state funding for additional security of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks.
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Gun Control

The Green Party ultimately advocates the elimination of all personal weapons. However, weapons do exist, and while I currently support the 2nd Amendment, I favor carefully regulating guns. I would work for the following:

  • Ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.
  • Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
  • Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
  • Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
  • Require a license for gun possession.
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Energy

Stop paying for bad decisions and corruption in the utility industry. End the bailouts that have destroyed our budget surplus. Support the municipal utility districts and renewable energy sources like wind and solar. During the so-called energy crisis, Governor Gray Davis bought $43 billion worth of long-term energy contracts, a purchase that is now worth approximately $11 billion. Instead of standing up to the rapacious corporations who manipulated the market to cause phony shortages, he panicked and made the worst investment ever in the history of this planet. An investment manager would have been fired for making a long-term purchase in response to a short-term shortage. We, and our children will be paying for his poor judgment for decades to come.

Instead of paying for past mistakes, we should be initiating a massive program to develop renewable energy: solar, wind, and (for the long-term) fuel cells. It would put us ahead of the curve for the future, and make California once again the state of vision. In so doing, we would also establish our economy as an enduring powerhouse.

Specifically, regarding how Governor Davis handled the energy crisis, what he did was utter incompetence. He went and wrote a $43 billion check to a whole bunch of energy companies. It's unbelievable. In six months, the package of contracts was worth about $11 billion. That's a world record. That's the worst investment ever made in the history of humanity. I would never have done that without hedging. Now hedging means you buy insurance on it. That would be very easy to do. ... Something I have been saying that I would have done, which neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have said anything about, would be to call a meeting of the owners of these companies, which is the pension funds. And I would have proposed to the pension funds that every one of these companies, the four or five key ones that were creating the problems, that we simply vote out their boards, replace their management and put law-abiding citizens in charge. That would have solved the problem immediately. And we wouldn't be now negotiating contracts with them. In fact, we could do that today. We don't have to just look to the past. If I become governor, we will do that. We will kick out the board of El Paso and of Reliant and of Calpine, and we will put law-abiding citizens in there, and we will rip up those contracts.

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Environment

California only has 4% of our original ancient trees remaining. I support all efforts to protect the last remaining old-growth trees, so that they will still be alive for our descendents. We Greens look to the future. We see a day when our children and grandchildren scorn us for our shortsightedness as we destroy the last of an ancient heritage, which cannot be recreated when it is gone. We are all part of a system, the earth's system for managing itself, and no one knows what will happen to us if we push the system too far out of whack. Every major ecosystem on earth is in decline. We have global warming. There is an impending water shortage/crisis. Let's change course now, before it is too late.

  • Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
  • Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.
  • Support a bond for clean air, parks, and water conservation programs.
  • State funding for open space preservation.
  • State environmental regulations should be stricter than federal law.

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Transportation

Traffic congestion and smog are getting worse, and must be addressed. Those who do not or cannot drive become more isolated as development sprawls out, and farms and open space are destroyed. I support "smart growth" to develop housing (including affordable housing), schools, jobs and services in pedestrian-friendly styles that are accessible by transit and bicycle.

People would use transit if it were more reliable and convenient. But as long as our transportation funds are skewed toward automobiles, we are forced into our cars.

It is time to re-adjust the balance between public and private transit. It is also time to have car drivers pay the true cost of driving, including the cost of building roads and mitigating pollution, so that Californians may make a more accurate comparison between alternate modes of transportation.

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Promise

"In spite of a national recession, our economy has grown from the 7th largest to the 5th largest in the world."
"But there's more to do - on our schools, our environment, our economy, and on energy."

Highlights

Since he was re-elected, Governor Davis has…

  • Announced an estimated $35 billion budget deficit in December, and a $38 billion deficit in May.
  • Said in his State of the State Address that his 'most immediate priority' is jobs.
  • Tripled the vehicle license fee in June.
  • Signed a 'compromise budget' on Aug. 2nd
  • Appointed President Clinton's budget chief to lead the effort to fix the budget.
  • Signed legislation reforming the state's workers' comp system.

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Promise

"I will do everything humanly possible not to cut one penny from public safety. If we can increase it, we will."

Highlights

Since he was re-elected, Governor Davis has…

  • Proposed an overall increase in prison funding in his budget plans.
  • Vetoed an early-release prison bill.
  • Proposed to preserve funding for local law enforcement programs in his May budget plan.
  • Signed a 'compromise budget' with some cuts to prisons and local law enforcement programs.
  • Signed gun safety legislation in September.

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Promise

"My fellow Californians, together we've increased education funding by 30% -- and student achievements scores are up three years in a row. But there's so much more to do."

Highlights

Since he was re-elected, Governor Davis has…

  • Proposed significant cuts to education in his January budget plan.
  • Approved nearly $2.6 billion in mid-year (2002-2003) cuts to education.
  • Reduced proposed January cuts and protected class-size reduction and accountability programs in his new May budget plan.
  • Signed a 'compromise budget' with cuts to education similar to those proposed in his May budget plan.
  • Announced in September $1.7 billion in bonds to upgrade overcrowded schools.

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Promise

"I believe we must continue protecting our coastline, our air, water."

Highlights

Since he was re-elected, Governor Davis has…

  • Signed a "polluter pays" bill increasing fees for air and water polluters.
  • Announced funding for coastal conservation and parkland improvement.
  • Proposed some reductions to environmental programs in his budget plans.
  • Signed a 'compromise budget' with additional cuts to environmental programs.
  • Signed coastal protection and air pollution bills.
  • Signed the electronic waste recycling bill.

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Promise

“I won’t be completely satisfied until every child in the state of California has access to quality, affordable health care.”

Highlights

Since he was re-elected, Governor Davis has…

  • Proposed to protect children's health care coverage in both budget plans.
  • Requested federal aid to insure more children statewide.
  • Approved cuts to the Healthy Families outreach program.
  • Proposed and approved cuts to Medi-Cal programs.
  • Signed a 'compromise budget': children's health care coverage was protected and proposed cuts to Medi-Cal were reduced.
  • Signed a landmark bill (SB2) that will require many businesses to provide health insurance to their employers.

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Promise

"...No governor ever spent as much money as we spent this year in real dollars, accounting for inflation, on transportation improvements. We will continue to do that for the next two to three years."

Highlights

Since he was re-elected, Governor Davis has…

  • Said in his State of the State Address that he "will direct his agencies to accelerate freeway and public transit projects by one year."
  • Proposed an estimated $1.5 billion in cuts to transportation.
  • Signed a 'compromise budget' with cuts to transportation.

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