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November 6, 2018 — California General Election

California State SenateCandidate for District 16

Photo of Ruth Musser-Lopez

Ruth Musser-Lopez

Democratic
Archaeologist/Businesswoman
94,579 votes (35.8%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Institute State Bank with revenues supporting public disability and homeless housing/facilities, single payer-healthcare, MD school at CSUB, tuition free pre-school through college/workforce apprentice centers--careers, not just jobs.
  • End corporate privatization of our public water resources and shift to state control. Use funds to enforce Trump's abandoned water & air quality regulations; appropriate for the transition of the district to clean energy jobs.
  • Continue forward on developing a world-class public transportation system, protect the RT66 tourism industry, provide relief to our agricultural industry from Trump imposed tariffs and Mexican farmworker ban.

Experience

Education

California State University San Bernardino Working on a Master's Degree, Applied Archaeology (current)
University of California, Riverside Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology/Archaeology (1976)

Biography

Family—yours to love, ours to protect. 

 

Selflessly protecting is part of my heritage—my great-grandfather was wounded in the Civil War as a Union soldier.  My uncle served in WWII teletyping messages from the Navajo “code talkers.”  When my brother was drafted to Viet Nam (giving his life from complications of Agent Orange), I volunteered at a South Bronx mission—my paycheck for an entire year at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Home for Dependent and Neglected Children going toward sending kids to camp. 

 

I am one of 10 children,  the daughter of a dairy farmer in San Bernardino County who established a family dairy in Upland during the 1920s  I didn’t inherit the farm but I was accepted to Berkeley…I chose UCLA for convenience and (to avoid the diversion of nuclear activism which was drawing my attention); then entered the desert archaeology program at UCRiverside, graduating with honors.  

 

At 25  my pioneering study on the connection between prehistoric rock art and trails was published in a professional journal.  I was quickly hired by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  as East Mojave Archaeologist in 1978 and transferred to our new field office in Needles, California where I met the love of my life, Robert.  We married in 1983 and in 1984 Bobby was born.  Meanwhile,  I had developed an important volunteer program on federal land I named "Adopt-a-Historic Site"  with volunteers including the CAL-4-Wheel Drive Club monitoring our remote heritage sites along the Mojave Trail.  I was recognized for my work with employee performance and achievement awards.   The program is now nationwide and referred to as "Site Stewardship."

 

With the transition from the Carter Administration to the Reagan Administration, I found myself blowing the whistle on my new boss in 1986 for having the new BLM office built on a Mojave sacred site without following the rules and destroying the remains.  There was no family leave at that time, having stepped into an intermittent position, I found myself without the protection of my tenured position and then lost my job.  My son was just two years old.   I started a successful work-from-home property management and contract archaeologist business to supplement my husband's income as a welder working for Southern California Edison at the coal burning generating plant in Laughlin.  As a member of the AFL-CIO my husband experienced the hardship of being on strike as fair benefit packages were being negotiated with the company. 

 

As fate would have it, I was dropped kicked into politics and a battle against an international unlined nuclear dump (Ward Valley repository) near Needles and the lower Colorado River.  At the time, I was a mother of two, a Girl Scout leader, a Boy Scout leader, and a PTA officer when I ran for and was elected to the city council along with Charles Butler also fighting the dump.  It was hard ball Chicago style politics in a small town with the nuclear industry breathing down our throats.  

 

Meanwhile, Councilman Butler and I learned that PG&E had been dumping chromium 6 in our city landfill...this was before Erin Brochavich was ever heard of.   When I suggested that the bacterial killl stench at our sewer plant might possibly be caused by liquid waste haulers dumping in our manholes, the pro-nuclear dump forces took it upon themselves to run a recall against Butler and I and a kangaroo court and  strategic litigation against me for not disclosing "who told me" about the manhole dumping that I had suggested only as a "possibility."  Charles was hit in the stomach during a council meeting and soon died of pancreas rupture.      Finally a judge ordered in my favor and the whole thing was dropped but not before the Republicans who wanted the nuclear dump had wreaked havoc on my family's life and got me off the council.  On or about 1997, I  circumvented the city council by going straight to the countywide voters authoring a voter initiative prohibiting nuclear waste disposal in unlined trenches over pristine desert water aquifers.  At a time before the internet, over 20,000 registered voters, activists and the local Colorado River based Native American tribes stopped that “dump deal.”  

 

The Ward Valley nuclear dump and "Plutonium Pete" Wilson are now history but by 1998 the Cadiz Corporation was scheming to export the precious desert water that we had just saved from nuclear contamination.  Together with other activists, and later, with the assistance of Senator Dianne Feinstein, we have fought off various renditions of the "Cadiz Water Heist" for 20 years.  As I learned from working alongside range conservationists, biologists, hydrologists, botanists and geologists at the BLM and from the local residents, ranchers and miners in the East Mojave, the desert aquifer supports a unique fragile ecosystem with natural artesian springs.  Just one additional well will potentially exhaust the water reaching the surface.  In the Cadiz case, the proposal is to take an unsustainable amount of water 5 to 10 times that which can be a recharged from desert rainfall.  The lesson that we learned this legislative season is that if we want a bill to pass that is going to stop the Cadiz water heist then we well better elect a Senator who is going to fight for us.   That would be me.

 

During this pivotal time, I want to work for the people of Senate District 16 to make our tax dollars work for us. With a proven record, I stand on the platform of the California Democratic Party and will work to protect our water from corporate privatization and our personal rights and freedoms.  I care about clean and abundant water, careers and well-paying jobs,  protecting Medi-Cal and working toward guaranteed health care for all, protecting community-based, disability support services, affordable housing, quality education including the arts and music, tuition-free pre-school through college and apprenticeship, repairing our roads and bridges and increasing transportation services.  I will work to protect our agriculture industry from unfair tariffs and unfair immigration laws that prohibit seasonal farmworkers from crossing the border.  I will already be on the right side of the aisle in a supermajority California legislature to be able to bring funds to the valley and the rest of our district.   As a previous employer, I have the know-how to legislate streamlined hiring, create careers, not just jobs.  

 

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (5)

What do you think the State should do to encourage affordable housing for all Californians?
Answer from Ruth Musser-Lopez:

Authorize a public State bank with saving and loan capacity.  Low-interest long-term loans for affordable housing development in designated and urban redevelopment zones.  

Question 2

According to a "Civility In America” survey, 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem. If you are elected what will do to address this?

No answer provided.
Climate changes, and the shifting between very wet weather and drought, worry Californians. What strategies would allow your district to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific.
Answer from Ruth Musser-Lopez:

1.  Continue to transition from fossil fuel based energy reliance to renewables particularly home-based rooftop solar providing low cost electric to every California home.

2.  Appropriate funds for a tech school at Cal State Bakersfield to develop innovative  mechanism to energize cars and other vehicles and elminate carbon emissions.

3.  Transition production from big oil to big batteries.

4.  Require industrial emission credits and enforce limits on emissions.   

5.  Eliminate emission exemptions now provided to various federal departments engaged in "defense" programs. End open-air toxic bombing by the Department of Energy. 

6.  No more pollution exemptions for oil and gas fracking. Tighter regulatory control over effluent and emissions resulting from fracking and other oil and gas development.

 

What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of young, low-income Californians?
Answer from Ruth Musser-Lopez:

Get Democrats elected to the U. S. Congress and White House then shift funds from overfunded government contracts in the military industrial complex and Trump's "Space Force"  into California's education and other social  programs

Currently there isn't enough money in the state retirement system to pay for all the benefits promised to government workers. What would you do as Senator to address the state’s unfunded pension liability?
Answer from Ruth Musser-Lopez:

End the greed syndrome and implement fair pension limits.

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $15,877

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Ruth Musser-Lopez
$3,640
2
Lopez, AHORA Marketing
$1,484
3
Employees of River Archaeological Heritage Associates (RVR AHA)
$1,433
4
California Democratic Party
$1,072
5
Employees of Innis Paint'n Biz
$950

More information about contributions

By State:

California 100.00%
100.00%

By Size:

Large contributions (89.19%)
Small contributions (10.81%)
89.19%10.81%

By Type:

From organizations (27.64%)
From individuals (72.36%)
27.64%72.36%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

The lens of my political perspective is greatly influenced by my gender and the pecking order in which I was born--the youngest daughter of ten children.  A dairy farm can only be split so many times before itis impossible for any one person to make a living off it.  You either have to grow the pie or limit the number who are eating it. I didn't inherit the farm and our family operation was absorbed by corporations.  I found myself having to make my own way in a California that was much different than the California my grandfather settled into in the 1920s.

My personal struggle to make a living lead me into both the public and the private sectors and I have a deep appreciation for the inherently important roles of each.  Public sector jobs created by new environmental, education, transportation and social services regulations and programs buoyed me up early in my career and are critical to our economy, our health, our quality of life and our livelihoods.  They provide important services that should be kept public providing the public a voice in their operations.  Some natural resources and minerals are inherently public--water and air are obviously public and must not be privatized.   Whoever controls the water you drink or the air you breath controls you.  Corporate privatization of water and land and U.S. corporate policies are responsible for the problem of Banana Republics, gang activity and asylum seekers we see today coming out of Central America.

Further, there are certain public services including the regulatory function that the private sector would have a conflict with or simply would not profit from.  With the fourth largest economy in the world and a major portion of the nation's population living here, Californians need good, clean government and regulators that are not beholden to those who they regulate.  That is also why I am opposed to "dark" money influence on politics and I am for campaign finance reform. You don't see me taking money from the oil industry but they haven't offered it anyway--they know I am for transitioning off of our dependence on fossil fuels.  And I am for public assistance in making that transition so that our district is not left without an energy producing economy.

Meanwhile, rewarded by profits, the private industry is inspired by innovation and efficiency.  We definitely need a competitive market to keep consumer prices down and quality products on our shelves.  But often I see struggling artists, writers, actors and musicians who are barely making it or falling between the cracks.  They would like to make something of their talents and personal abilities but the "start-up" costs in finding a niche can be overwhelming and they may not immediately find a private or public sector position.  A base allowance, public food and housing alleviate the homeless and nutrition problem. 

I am strongly in favor of personal freedoms and privacy--but my perspective is that of a woman.  That is why I am for personal reproductive choice and no one should be able to impose their authority over a woman's decision with regard to her own determination not to reproduce. I am for personal freedoms and that is why  I want the schools my children and grandchildren to attend to be free from the threat of guns and weapons being carried by others.  And I am for the same animal rights as advocated by my grandfather who had a personal name for every milk cow he owned and treated them humanely--no overcrowding, clean water, healthy diet and habitable crips--just as humans expect for themselves.

California is an exceptional American state that represents the diversity of fifteen thousand years of human habitation and a plethora of natural species, but all of this can be undone by a few thoughtless plunderers in control as exemplified by the extinction of the California grizzly.  Our state flag represents the importance of good stewardship of our fragile earth and the need to be honest and true to ourselves about what has caused global warming and the fact that this hothouse environment is causing worldwide calamity.  In the 70s we had to close down outdoor sports programs because of smog but new regulations and technology reversed the tide of that health threat.  Anthropogenic climate change as a result of the release of carbon gasses into our atmosphere can be reversed too.   I will use the power of the California Senate position to find a path to gently transition Senate District 16 into renewable energy development with as little economic impact to our resident oil industry workers, as possible.

 

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