Mark Belden

My Turn: Rate your public services

If you are like me, you are inundated with surveys and questionnaires from service providers or product manufacturers. The inevitable question and the one they most value is: “Will you recommend us to your friends?” I was even sent a two-page questionnaire after a recent colonoscopy. I checked the box “recommending our services to your […]

My turn: Why I dislike/like the ACA

The Affordable Care Act, the ACA, known to just about everybody as Obamacare, is about half-implemented. I always refer to it as the Affordable Care Act, and I wish others would also. Each state may administer their form of the ACA, and incorporate health care for low-income folks (an extension of Medicaid) not eligible for […]

My turn: Let’s have a party!

Why don’t all of you come to my party? It will be efficient, fair and one that everyone can join. This party will be different than the parties you are used to. Our party goers don’t harbor special interests; base most of their beliefs on their political party ideology, religious beliefs, feel entitled or join […]

My turn: Voters guide for dummies

I have been on both sides of an election: a candidate for supervisor in my county of residence, Calaveras (1992), and Assembly member of the 5th California district (2012). I have voted in almost every election since the age of 18 here in California, Maryland and New York. Whether you’re a candidate or a constituent, […]

My turn: Thinking about tossing your hat into the ring?

Being a candidate for any elective office can be overwhelming, confusing and many times not worth the effort. From your locally elective offices to our state and federal offices, the process can be daunting and unthinkable to the faint of heart. Candidates, especially at the state and federal level requires nerves of steel, the patience […]

My Turn: Privatization of public services

One of my concerns is the inefficacy in the way our public services are delivered to taxpayers. Let’s call them customers. There should be a California law that allows private companies to compete for delivery of public services to its customers. Whether it’s maintenance services, education, correctional institutions, revenue collection, emergency services and anything the […]

My turn: Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

About 60 percent of all developed water sources come from the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the form of snowmelt and rain runoff. The world’s largest fresh water reservoir (in the form of snow pack) is right here in California. Snow melt finds its way through mountain streams, tributaries and large river systems eventually making […]

My turn: A fair California flat income tax

Since 1935 California individuals and corporations have been paying a state income tax. The individual California income tax is considered progressive, meaning the more one earns the greater the “rate” imposed. California corporations pay a flat tax depending upon the industry classification. The personal California rates are divided into nine tax rate brackets from 1 […]

My turn: The economy and jobs in rural California

Although I am passionate about getting voters involved, especially the silent majority and many of you have read my past op-eds, my true passion is small business promotion (where the bulk of private sector jobs are created) and reducing the size of our government by improving its efficiency. These beliefs are shared by many rural […]

My turn: Minority rules!

One of the best things about living in a democracy is that everyone legally allowed to cast a vote has a voice. While campaigning for the 5th Assembly District last year, I heard too many people too often say that one vote — their vote — does not matter. Every election from the local school […]

My Turn: What is your political compass heading?

I have met thousands of people in my course of campaigning and they would ask me about my political ideology. Am I conservative or liberal? I told them I am in the middle. I would question them about their ideology. Some would state that I am very conservative. Then I would ask them, “Do you […]

My turn: The missing middle in California politics

The political arena in California and elsewhere is packed with who can shout the loudest and spend the most from the far sides of the political ideology spectrum. The rest of us, the majority, sit quietly on the sidelines. Call us moderates, centralists, even independents. We are the largest voting bloc, political or otherwise. It […]

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