THE BLOG

Reclaiming the California Dream by Strengthening the Middle Class

04/23/2014 02:31 pm ET | Updated Jun 23, 2014
  • Patric Verrone Father, Labor Leader, Writer and Candidate for CA State Senate, District 26

What did you expect from a professional writer?

When I launched a campaign to protect and expand the middle class, I didn't start with a bumper sticker. I started with a book outlining more than 40 ways we can achieve our most important goal -- creating more high-wage jobs so we can start closing the dangerous gap between rich and poor.

The e-book, Reclaiming the California Dream: Strengthening California's Middle Class, is now available for download here.

I know. You don't have to tell me, because most of the political experts have already weighed in, voters don't read books -- even relatively short and snappy ones.

But this issue is so much bigger than a slogan -- and it certainly won't be solved or explained by one. We need to dig deeper to figure out how to reverse nearly three decades of economic and social policies that are shrinking the middle class.

I am lucky to live in the west Los Angeles district that virtually scripted the California Dream. From aircraft factories to movie studios, we produced the middle-class jobs that bought homes, sent kids to college and provided families with a secure retirement.

When I was head of the Writers Guild of America, West, we took on some of the most powerful corporations in the world to win fairness for middle-class workers. It was part of our leadership mission to make sure that people who create the media content that generates billions of dollars in Internet revenue could afford to remain in the middle class.

People here in Southern California know "The Industry" is so much more than the stars we see in movies and on the red carpet. It is hundreds of thousands of middle-class people -- carpenters, electricians, truck drivers and yes, even writers -- working hard to make a living.

When we stood together as writers, lots of folks said it just couldn't be done. But we stayed focused. We were creative. And most of all, we recognized that we were all in this struggle together. We didn't win on every single issue, but we won on the most important point--people who do the work that creates so much profit should at least be paid enough to retire with dignity, send their children to college without crushing debt and afford a decent home. In other words--to stay in the middle class.

There are lots of ideas in this short e-book -- some big, some not so big. From raising the minimum wage to closing corporate tax loopholes, I am proposing priorities to make work pay. From making college more affordable to working to address childhood hunger and truancy so more kids can succeed, I am proposing priorities to prepare our workforce for the high-skill jobs of the future. From fighting harder to protect consumers to teaching financial literacy, I am focusing on ways to keep families in the middle class. From getting kids the right start with universal kindergarten to improving home care so seniors can retire with dignity, I am proposing ways to do what a strong middle-class community should do first -- protect children, seniors and families.

I believe that the most important challenge of our day is to create and preserve the middle-class jobs that helped create the California Dream. And that's what this e-book is all about -- the steps we can take right now to maintain high-wage jobs and attract new ones.

Let me know what you think. Seriously -- I know the secret to success is rewrite, rewrite and rewrite. So if you have an idea that didn't make the working script, let me know at patric@patricverrone.com. I'll make sure you get a credit.