Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Native Son Returns to Oppose Hayashi

The Citizen 
This is the Assembly's 18th District, not Philadelphia, but former Hollywood agent Nicholas Terry thinks he can be Rocky and unseat two-term assemblywoman Mary Hayashi on his own turf

Unseating Hayashi and her war chest of over $350,000 will prove daunting for the current member of the Alameda County Consumer Affairs Commission and Hayward Citizens' Advisory Committee, but Terry says he vows to run his campaign at the grassroots level.

Through Terry's initial campaign literature, he hopes to highlight his ties to both Castro Valley and Hayward as a main talking point for winning Hayashi's seat. A photo on his campaign web site even features a teenage Terry in a grip-and-grin with Bill Lockyer. "People often ask, who is she?" Terry said in a statement announcing his candidacy last week. "I've been here for 30 years, I know these people."

The statement alludes to a common critique of those who say Hayashi is a "carpetbagger" or someone who moved to the area for political gain. Hayashi, though, is also known for playing brass-knuckled politics--something Terry is well aware. He says he is willing to dish out his own rhetoric and believes there is no more gritty occupation than Hollywood. "Has she rallied and screamed from the top of her lungs for reform for a state that says goodbye to so many businesses and residents each year?" said Terry. "If the district is angry, shouldn’t their representatives?"

Terry spent the last five years in talent management working with such stars as Lawrence Fishburn, Andy Garcia, Dennis Franz, George Lopez, Stellan Skarsgard and Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. Terry, who calls Hollywood more ruthless than politics, also represented the ubiquitous Mr. T.

Running as an Independent, Terry's platform includes a mishmash of liberal (concern for the environment and increased funding for education) and conservatives causes (increased control of the border and smaller government). "It needs to be no longer about which party is wrong or right; the party's of changing, it's about character, sincerity and intentions."

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  1. Nicholas, welcome to the campaign for our 18th Assembly District. Will voters have a chance to vote for you in a June primary? If so, which Party?

    Do you approve of Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed 2010 budget? If not, what parts would you change and which would you keep?

  2. Hi Doug...thanks for the welcome!

    Until California changes the elections laws, if you're a D or R, you can't vote for me until the General (if we make it there).

    As for the proposed 2010 budget...no, I don't completly approve of it. It's a lot of reading, and like most of the legislature, I haven't finished reviewing it all (put down the pitch forks, don't attack me yet for using a safe political cliche)...I truly would love to give it a full once over before I open my mouth. Obviously there is some common sense in it, but there is also traditional party politics that I don't think is good for California. Stay tuned to our web site, as I plan on posting more ideas and concerns there.

    Thanks again, Doug!


  3. Nick,

    In my discussions with our District residents, their anger is most frequently attached to their view that State government has become unable to serve its citizens well. This is particularly true now, when massive failures in the public sector have created needs of such tremendous scope that they can only be met with the assistance of government agencies. Most citizens I speak with believe strongly that those agencies must be funded so that they may reasonably fill these needs.

    Underneath the false rhetoric that the 2009 budget votes created "shared sacrifice", in reality corporations recieved well over $1 billion in tax breaks. Meanwhile, programs intended to serve the most desperately vulnerable Californians were slashed to the point that they have left many in and out of our District without help, or not enough of the help they require to maintain a life of dignity.

    What are your views of the current budget?

  4. Doug...this is the stuff our ELECTED "leaders" need to hear, and I really appreciate your response. This is why I'm going to start a discussion like this on our web site, so thank you for the motivation to do so. There, we can discuss this in length (hopefully).

    Let me say this...look at the corporations that fund our elected representatives. They are the same folks that have failures in private sector...yet, they continue to donate heavily to the folks we assume are voting in OUR best interests. Long story short...I doubt few in Sacramento (yes, I'm aware that this statement will follow me), vote with you and I in mind. HOW CAN THEY? They have to answer to a higher calling...their list of donors.

    So in turn...when the private sector fails and the folks end up depending on the government (which we should do very cautiously), its the government that is supported by those corps that we expect to assist us. How can we think they'll do that properly, no matter if they have a D or R next to their name?

    As I mentioned before, I haven't reviewed the Governors entire budget, so I dont want to deliver lip service on it, but we will continue this discussion.

    But I do like to quote Mr. Lockyer..."just stop it!" There is good and bad spending and OUT OF CONTROL SPENDING.

    Again, thanks Doug for writing.

  5. Nick,

    Your engagement is appreciated.

    You advocate for increased funding for education and smaller government. To accomplish this, it appears that your positions would require slashing or elimination of many State programs. What programs should be eliminated to meet your priorities?

    We have an extremely large structural budget defcit. Do new taxes and other revenue increases need to be part of the equation to meet the State's required balanced budget?

  6. Hi Doug...writing from the road...real quick...I would give a lot of attention to what kind of money we're pumping into prisons, and their services like health & dental, as well as the salaries of state employees. We can't reform the pension system because Unions carry politicians into office...it wont change. i often wonder why the chief deputy superindent of public instruction needs to make $153,000 when our schools aren't the best in the union. But how about the Chief Executive Officer State Teachers Retirement System; according to the Sac Bee, his gross salary is $684k; ask a teacher how their retirement plan looks...hopefully its worth our investment. We have a dentist in the corrections system making $400k.

    im wondering if we curb the power on unions and special interest, and high paid state salaries, if we can save many public services? we MUST look at EVERY public service and do what is right.

    As for new taxes...it depends on what we create a tax for but I am not in favor of raising taxes for the middle class or small business. Last I checked, the poor do not create jobs for others; perhaps not even the middle class. We need to find a way to keep businesses in the state, give them better incentives. And...we need to eliminate the 2/3 majority vote.

  7. Nick,

    There is much support from 18th AD voters for changing the 2/3rd requirement. Would you advocate changing this destructive aspect of Proposition 13 and moving to rules which express principles more representative of democracy for both budget and new revenue approvals?

    Many of us are greatly troubled by the attack on public employees that is often used as a weapon in budget discussions. It is particularly troubling that singular examples of large compensations, such as the ones you cite above, are pulled out as if they are emblematic of the average State worker. In reality, State workers are almost universally members of the middle class. In many cases, the enforced furlough days and other cuts in the last year or two have reduced many of these workers to the lower half of our middle class. These large wage cuts have caused foreclosures, overwhelmed services, and created many other devastating outcomes.

    These effects certainly don't reflect a State budget where the Legislature kowtows to public sector unions; much the opposite. In the 2009 budget, unionized workers lost big-time; businesses and other, richer interests won.

    BTW, as an agent to talent, what are your views of the most recent SAG, AFTRA and Writers Guild negotiations and contracts?

    I'd strongly dispute your view that the poor and "perhaps" the middle class do not
    create jobs. A consumer-based economy depends on citizens having disposable income. Thanks to poor economic policies, we are exiting a "Lost Decade" of zero economic growth for the average working person. This has acted to retard economic and job growth; large-scale deregulation of financial and other business interests has caused those areas to retract greatly.

    Frankly, your view on this subject appears very Randian. With that adolescent philosophy having just failed our country spectacularly, it causes me to wonder about your judgement. I don't believe these are the views of AD 18.

  8. Nick,

    Public sector employee unions are often the only thing preventing the Governor and Republican caucus becoming successful in pushing through even greater slashes and wholesale eliminations of vital services.

    Their contracts require that reductions in staff and compensation must be negotiated, except for narrow areas where the Governor has managed to impose cuts, the worker furloughs being by far the largest imposed cut. These negotiations, which create the need for the State to open their books and discuss options, often saves services. In fact, recent negotiations which included workplace changes and compensation concessions by State workers have already served this purpose.

    Union contracts also help maintain an experienced, skilled workforce which increases productivity and quality of service. Your profession provides evidence that this is true.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman would not have gained much incentive to develop his talent to its extraordinary level if, in his early career, he had been making the WalMart-like compensation "given to" actors outside Actor's Equity, AFTRA, SAG and other Unions which may have represented him. This is also true of Union-represented workers at other levels of production who have helped Mr. Hoffman and his projects.

    At many levels, it comes down to an issue of fairness. You are a representative of Labor yourself. Does he fact that you have assisted Lawrence Fishburne gain superior compensation mean that this is an unsustainable model? Of course not. The people who employ Mr. Fishburne, the producers on down, are usually raking it in as well. With your help, Mr. Fishburne has merely gained fair compensation.

    The budget priorities you mention show an immediate interest in attacking public workers' middling compensation. They avoiding mentioning the possibility of taxing your most wealthy clients even an extra dime in order to close the State budget defcit.

    Your business is constantly seeking new forms of revenue. Your movie stars, their producers and all others down the line gain less and less of their compensation through theatre ticket sales. Videotape, DVD, BlueRay, video streaming; your business responds to changing conditions and finds ways to ensure that each participant gains their piece of the pie, as imperfect as that process might be.

    It is apparent in the budget discussions you provide here that you are not interested in seeking new and innovative revenue sources in order to fund State services. Given that those of the libertarian bent are often fond of talking of how Government should be subject to capitalist business models, I find this disappointing.

    Moviemaking provides art or, at a lesser level, entertainment. Effective government provides improved chances of survival or, at a lesser level, dignity. Both have great value; both should be supported. Now that you are entering the field of government, it would be reassuring to feel that you have this in mind.

  9. Doug:

    I appreciate your opinion and taking the time to try and alter how I may come accross to others. However, I am not going to let this online newspaper be the place to defend your view points, and mine, to me at least. I am not Mary Hayashi, nor do I pretend to act like I know what's best for the people that I know and have met on this journey. If you are a resident of the 18th A.D., I appreciate the time you take to write; but my main reason for running is because I don't think they are being best represented. I don't vote for someone because of the letter next to their name (R) or (D). I don't vote for someone because of the orginizations I belong to support them with heavy campaign contributions; I question the candidates motives for accepting such money, in fact. I look at their voting record, not their press releases.

    I'd like to point out, that I am not in the entertainment industry; I work for a small business (home improvement & solar) company, just trying to keep it afloat and sign paychecks every week. I appreciate your views on the SAG/WGA contract talks; obviously you're informed, and I like to think I was in the middle of it at the time; especially when I had to cut jobs and constantly tell my clients, "there's a light at the end of the tunnel, somewhere, don't worry." My company almmost went under...sort of like this state; pumping out money, while none was coming in. I found that they were prematture in timing, as did so many writers & actors. There is a wealth of money to be made in new technology. Both sides were greedy, simply put. The unions attacked for the studios/producers for holding off on the money and the studios/producers felt actors were compensated faily. Truth be told, both sides had points. If I put an actor on a 1 hour drama and he was paid Top of Show (almost $10,000) for six days of work and he only worked 1-2 days, his pay was fair...actors will agree. However, a named actor doing a guest spot wouldnt entertain that money; he/she would GET much, much more. A no-name however, would be on cloud nine making that kind of money. The SAG/WGA talks are not something I am going to further talk about; I was there, I have my view point, and am far away from that industry. The only interest I have is Jeff Bridges winning the gold and KEEPING productions in CALIFORNIA; something this Governor and legislature has not taken up.

    As for my interest in "attacking public" employees...not so quickly. I question the insane salaries of many at the top; including legislators per diem, and anyone making high six figures; when I engage folks in these numbers, they are no happy; continued proof that folks are growing more angry with their government. I have NO wealthy clients these days; all I have is fellow employees making an honest living doing hard, back breaking work. I wish I had more to give them.

    I wouldn't be running if I wasn't interested in talknig about new, proven ways of state revenue generating, while able to keep taxes at a fair level and especially not increasing them on folks like myself. If you have an illusion of me sitting on a nice pile of cash, you're mistaken. But if I was sitting on that pile of cash, I'd be more than happy to pay my fair share.

    Effective government, if we had it, provides it's citizens with the freedom to live the life they so choose, while providing vital services for those who may call upon it; something I've done in my life. I support the arts and I support (who wouldnt) smart, common sense responsibility in government and the people it passes "just laws" for.

    I think more people on both sides should appreciate what Bill Lockyer said about the Legislature, and just "stop it." It's hard to believe anyone is applying common sense these days in Sacramento and setting pride and party aside to work on "just laws."

  10. I must add one last comment before retiring this forum. I will send a message to Sacramento...


  11. Nick,

    Your clarifications are worthwhile; thank you for them. I am a voter in the 18th, living in San Leandro. I share your views about the raiding of local jurisdictions. These are a poorly thought out solution to our budget difficulties.

    Assemblymember Hayashi is certainly required to defend her views and votes; as a person who seeks to take her place, I should think you would relish the opportunity to promote and defend your views.

    At this moment, I'm uncertain what you have in mind in your representation of our District. Rather than broad bromides that the District is not best represented by Mary, despite her landslide re-election victories in the 2008 Primary and General elections, it's necessary to gain more specific views of what your "independence" means. So:

    - Your wish to create smaller government is a bit mushy without more definition. You're not going to gain much budget savings just by cutting the few higher compensations. Which State-funded programs would you slash or eliminate? What would happen to the people who lost those services? How would abandoning these people affect our State, financially and socially?

    - Are taxes at a fair level for folks making much more than us? If not, what ways and levels would you adjust taxes and other revenues for the wealthy and other large, profitable interests?

    - Name the first "just law" you would carry in the Legislature. If Hayashi has supported a bill which causes you to believe she is deserving of Treasurer Lockyer's critique, name it and explain your views.

    - Do you believe that "both sides" are equally culpable in the governance problems of recent years?

    Thanks for your consideration on this forum. Being in the arena, as you are, is admirable.