YOU’VE GOTTA SEE THIS VIDEO! (Oct. 02, 2014)

Take a quick view of the enclosed video – but warning:  it’s not politics as usual!  It’s a bit fresh, certainly entertaining, and even better…it gets the point across on an extremely important subject.

Marshall Tuck Ad

(click the video player to view or click here)

The choice for California’s Superintendent of Public Schools is a crucial one.  It’s shameful that our great state ranks 45th in the nation.  Our schools badly need change, and our children deserve so much better.

That’s why we need proven and effective education leader Marshall Tuck as our next Superintendent of Public Schools, an office which holds tremendous power over the performance of our education system.

Please forward this video to your friends and share it on every social media account you have! We need to get the word out that there is hope to turn around California’s schools, and Marshall Tuck is the candidate who can do it.  I hope you agree.

A Science Fiction Story that¹s Really Science Fact (Aug. 25, 2014)

It’s been almost 13 years, and the horror of 9/11 is receding as a memory for many of us. But the latest news from Ukraine and the Middle East is a sobering reminder that we live in a dangerous, and sometimes even barbaric, world.

America must be both vigilant and visionary in anticipating and preventing attacks from those who seek to harm us. One of the greatest threats is posed by an EMP, or ElectroMagnetic Pulse, which could destroy our electric grid.

An EMP can be created by the explosion of a nuclear device in orbit, high above the U.S.  All of our food and water supplies, banking, hospitals, communications, law enforcement, etc., which depend on the electric grid, would collapse.  Such an attack is a very threat to civilization itself.

The Congressional EMP Commission reported that disease, starvation and societal breakdown could lead to the death of up to 90% of the American population within 12 months from an EMP nuclear attack!  Former Clinton Administration CIA Director James Woolsey recently co-authored an article which revealed that Russia, China and North Korea have explored building and testing EMP-attack capabilities.

But we face not just the threat of an attack by a foreign government or terrorist organization.  Nearly as menacing, an  EMP attack can also occur “naturally”….like the solar flare of 1859, called the “Carrington event.”  If a similar one occurred today, it would cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions, to recover — assuming we could recover at all.

But there are solutions.  According to Woolsey, “Surge arrestors, faraday cages and other devices that prevent EMP from damaging electronics, as well micro-grids that are inherently less susceptible to EMP, have been used by the Defense Department for more than 50 years to protect crucial military installations and strategic forces. These can be adapted to protect civilian infrastructure as well. The cost of protecting the national electric grid, according to a 2008 EMP Commission estimate, would be about $2 billion—roughly what the U.S. gives each year in foreign aid to Pakistan.”

While the topic has been talked about in D.C., little to nothing has been done to protect America from either a natural or man-made EMP attack.  It’s past time our leaders protected – and better prepared – our nation for such a serious threat.   I hope you agree … and remind Congressional candidates Ted Lieu and Elan Carr that one of the crucial priorities as a Congressman will be to protect our homeland.

Not In My Backyard (July 15, 2014)

Inevitably, you’ve heard news reports showing the violent bloodshed occurring in Gaza & Israel, the brutality of the Syrian civil war, the violent ISIS takeover of Iraqi cities, the conflict in Ukraine and the very real threat of North Korean and Iranian nuclear arsenals.  Many Americans take a (false) sense of security that these things are all occurring thousands of miles away from our children’s schools and playgrounds, far from our own backyards.

So far away, it’s almost surreal.  Perhaps most Americans actively think that all of these things are a horrible tragedy, but also may passively skip over that section of the newspaper, looking for the news that “affects them.”

So…did you hear the news story about the North Korean ship, which set sail from North Korea, stopped for fuel in Russia, made its way through the Panama Canal and into the Caribbean? Once in Caribbean waters the ship’s on-board transponder was shut off.  It was later found by Panamanian authorities to be carrying 240 tons of arms — including disassembled MiG-21 jet fighters, surface-to-air missile system components, and ammunition — all hidden under Cuban sugar.

Just this past week, another North Korean ship in the Caribbean disappeared off of the shipping grid (transponder turned off to avoid being tracked) for 9 days after stopping in Cuba.  Yesterday it turned up at the Mexican Port of Tuxpan – 300 miles from the Texas border.

This is our backyard.

Yes, we have a humanitarian crisis at our border.  But we also have more to worry about.  It’s understandable that after the Iraq War many Americans have no interest in what are perceived as costly foreign entanglements. But we must remind ourselves that what happened in Afghanistan led to 9/11 and the deaths of thousands of Americans on our own soil. Now we are being warned of the potential of Syria and Iraq becoming training grounds and launching points for new attacks on America’s homeland.  Yet some politicians advocate for the fantasy of American isolationism.  They would have us withdraw from the world.

We do not know what is on this latest North Korean ship.  But if we are not vigilant and fail to engage with our global community, it is our own country that ultimately will be put at risk. We cannot withdraw from the world because we cannot hide from it. What happens in nations as remote as North Korea or as exotic as Syria can and does affect the American people, whether we like it or not. I hope you agree that it’s necessary for our country to remain a strong global partner and stay fully engaged in international affairs.

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Azusa school district demonstrates new math program at Paramount Elementary (July 2, 2014)

We were honored through our family foundation to be able to introduce the ST Math program, a spatial-temporal program that helps students improve their achievement in mathematics, to all of the elementary students in the Azusa school district this past year. An article in the local newspaper interviewed school officials about it and observed students engrossed in the program and reported, “Dozens of elementary school students sat attentively, practicing their fractions, decimals and even basic addition on Monday, completely ignoring the adults walking around the room.”

Paramount_Bloomfield

According to Principal Robert Allard, they’ve noticed that “…the kids are moving at their own pace, and it’s a way of differentiating their learning…we’re seeing a nice benefit from it.”

These kinds of innovative programs should be available to all kids. I believe every child, regardless of income, race or location, deserves the opportunity to develop the strongest possible math and science skills.

You can follow this link to read the entire article.

—Bill

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Why Did We Get So Involved? (June 19, 2014)

For some, politics is a hobby.  For others, it is a career.  For us, it’s much more important than either of those two things.  As we have just finished the “primary election season,” we wanted to share with you why we got so involved in some of our local and statewide races.

We believe that it is our responsibility, if possible, to try to leave this world better than how we found it.  It’s why philanthropic giving has been such a priority for our family over the years.  But charities can’t do it alone, and often times, they treat the symptom, not the underlying disease.  If we want to make a sustainable difference in our communities, getting involved in politics is essential.

There was a piece written in the San Francisco Chronicle by David Crane last month that does a good job of explaining this philosophy.  It was entitled, “Tithing to democracy – donate to well-meaning candidates,” and we’d like to share some excerpts that make the point:

  • States’ governments spend $3.2 trillion per year on education, welfare, infrastructure, environment, etc. $600 billion is spent on K-12 education alone.
  • In contrast, charities raise and spend only 1% of that total ($6 billion) for education and have no voice in setting education policy and regulations.
  • The Robin Hood Foundation raises $75 million per year for social services, which sounds like a lot…but for perspective, California’s government has reduced social services spending by -$2 billion per year.
  • The California state government will spend $240 billion dollars this year, educate 9 million students, write laws affecting 18.7 million workers and job seekers, incarcerate 187,000 prisoners, build & maintain roads, railways, parks & levees, and determine outlays for health, universities, courts, parks, the environment and welfare.
  • While the expansive role of our state government is impressive, their track record is not:  Since 2007, they’ve increased spending on salaries, pensions, debt & health care by +38 percent, cut spending on universities, courts, welfare and parks more than -20 percent, raised taxes and fees +30 percent, and allowed retirement debt to rise by +149 percent. Despite economic activity in some parts of the state that is the envy of the world, 25 percent of Californians live in poverty, the highest rate in the country.

Systemic and sustainable changes that will affect our poverty levels, economy, and education are dependent upon our government.  And the effectiveness of our government is wholly dependent upon those we send to Sacramento to represent us.  It’s crucially important.  That’s why we’ve gotten so involved in politics. We hope you will too.

Entire article at this link:  http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Tithe-to-democracy-donate-to-well-meaning-5484784.php

 

 

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A HUGE win for California’s children (June 10, 2014)

In January I wrote about the ground breaking civil rights lawsuit, Vergara VS. California, that challenged several statutes as violating students’ constitutional rights to an equal quality education. https://www.billbloomfield.com/a-crucial-civil-rights-case-for-californias-children-jan-22-2014

This morning, the judge ruled in favor of the children on all counts!

What this means is simple: Our students not only deserve a quality education, but it is their constitutional right. California will no longer accept mediocrity or unfair disparity that punishes some students simply due to their circumstances or zip code.

The ruling is posted at: https://studentsmatter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Tenative-Decision.pdf

I hope you agree.

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Why are the Government Unions spending millions to destroy a good man? (May 21, 2014)


Why are the Government Unions spending millions to destroy a good man?

Because they know Marshall Tuck will stand up to the Sacramento status quo and put kids ahead of their special interests.  Marshall Tuck has a proven track record as an educator and school executive who turned around some of the most troubled public schools in the state.  He cut bureaucracy and improved student achievement.

In fact, every major California Newspaper has endorsed Marshall over the lackluster incumbent, Tom Torlakson, who is a career politician widely seen as unwilling to challenge the unions (who fund his campaigns.)

In contrast, Marshall Tuck is an independent voice with widespread support:

“Marshall Tuck, is the clear choice…(he) has a history of being an aggressive, high-energy education innovator.”  —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“(Tuck) has the experience and track record in some of the state’s toughest schools to convincingly plot a turnaround of California’s schools.”  —The Sacramento Bee

“Tuck, with his ‘kids first’ mantra, would be a refreshingly independent voice to challenge the status quo.”  —The San Francisco Chronicle

“Tuck would be a force for overdue change at a time when the legislature has been too resistant to reforms that might upset union campaign contributors.”  —The Los Angeles Times

I am voting for Marshall Tuck because he is a force for positive change in improving education.

I hope you agree.

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Who deserves special treatment in California? (Apr. 25, 2014)


The LA Times recently wrote an editorial calling for special tax treatment for the film industry, as the majority of movies are now shot out of state — certainly disappointing for a state famous for being the birthplace and nexus of the film industry. But are we to lament only the loss of this industry when California ranks dead last (#50) in the 2013 list of the Best and Worst states in which to do business? (source: Chief Executive Magazine)

What follows is my letter to the LA Times, which will be in tomorrow’s(Saturday) paper. There is a lot Sacramento can do to create quality jobs in California. Limiting those efforts to one industry – the film industry in this case – for special treatment won’t materially impact our jobs problem. We should expand our lens to all businesses that are creating high quality jobs.

 

Re “To not nix pix, state must use tax trix,” Editorial, April 21

You fail to explain why you are singling out the film industry for special tax treatment when there are countless other businesses providing equally good jobs in need of incentives for staying in, or returning to, California. The state should determine what constitutes a “favored” business and set its tax policy accordingly.

In fact, all nonpolluting businesses that pay a living wage and provide health and retirement benefits to their employees should pay lower taxes than those that don’t. And, by the way, businesses with employment cycles lasting a bit longer than the time it takes to make a movie, perhaps, should pay even less.

Bill Bloomfield
Manhattan Beach

 

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Marshall Tuck: Your most important vote (Apr. 10, 2014)

There’s no spinning the sad facts about California’s schools. Our students are ranked 45th in the nation in reading and math proficiency. 2.5 million children – one out of every three students in California – aren’t able to read or write at grade level.

We’re failing our children, but there is hope. His name is Marshall Tuck.

Marshall is running for California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. This non-partisan post is essentially California’s schools chief who oversees the Department of Education. Deciding who runs this office is one of the most important votes you’ll cast in the June primary.

The son of a school teacher, Marshall Tuck is a true education advocate with an impressive record. He’s increased graduation rates, improved student achievement, and turned around failing schools in some of the roughest and poorest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Some say it can’t be done, but Marshall’s already done it.

Marshall most recently served as the founding CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, former Mayor Villaraigosa’s collaboration with LA Unified to operate 17 troubled schools.

Under Marshall’s leadership, four-year graduation rates increased by over 60%, student attendance improved markedly, and a program which became a national model for increasing parental involvement in education was created. The Partnership schools rank #1 in academic improvement among school systems with more than 10,000 students over the past five years.

Marshall has a detailed and thoughtful plan for improving California’s schools for all our children. Please visit his webpage to read it for yourself:http://www.marshalltuck.com/Plan  After you do, I hope you’ll consider joining me in supporting Marshall Tuck for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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Secret Surveys & Private Pledges (Mar. 27, 2014)


The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an editorial that revealed that the California Teachers Association, one of our state’s most powerful special interest groups, compels candidates to answer yes or no to 39 questions on education before the organization will consider an endorsement.

As the paper states, the preferred answers to these questions are obvious in order to gain support. The questionnaire asks the candidate whether he or she would contact the union before endorsing any candidate for local school board races, if they would oppose merit pay/pay for performance for teachers, and if they would oppose the current Parent Trigger law, for example.

Many of these special interest groups tell the candidates that their answers will be kept secret from the public. At the same time, the special interests hold the same campaign pledges made in these questionnaires over the heads of those candidates who are ultimately elected to public office. As the Chronicle declares, “It’s little wonder that even the most modest education reforms are so difficult to achieve in Sacramento. Our elected officials are essentially making secret pledges to protect the status quo before they are even sworn into office.”

That’s simply not right. It’s one of the ways our elected officials have become tools of the special interest groups and not the people they are supposed to serve.

A Democratic candidate for the State Assembly in Walnut Creek, Steve Glazer, has publicly said he opposes these special interests’ surveys because “They’re not made public – and the existence of private promises between special interests and elected officials is a disservice to voters and the legislative process.” According to the article, Glazer is going a step further by “challenging editorial boards to insist that candidates disclose the contents of their questionnaire responses and the pledges they have made.”

The Chronicle says going forward it will not endorse any candidate that refuses to do so. Hopefully, the editorial boards of other newspapers will follow its lead.

If a candidate fills out an issue questionnaire from a special interest group, both the questions as well as the candidates’ answers should be publicly available and posted online on the candidate’s website so the voters have full knowledge of his or her positions and pledges before going to the polls. 

I hope you agree.

P.S. You can read the Chronicle editorial for yourself here:http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/diaz/article/Elected-officials-should-reveal-pledges-to-5298328.php

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