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Steve Poizner: Poizon for California's future? (updated)

UPDATE: 07-01-09  Fuel tax could be replaced with by-the-mile road tax

Kansas is reporting ...

"The year is 2020 and the gasoline tax is history. In its place you get a monthly tax bill based on each mile you drove — tracked by a Global Positioning System device in your car and uploaded to a billing center."

"What once was science fiction is being field-tested by the University of Iowa to iron out the wrinkles should a by-the-mile road tax ever be enacted."

"Besides the technological advances making such a tax possible, the idea is getting a hard push from a growing number of transportation experts and officials. That is because the traditional by-the-gallon fuel tax, struggling to keep up with road building and maintenance demands, could fall even farther behind as vehicles’ gas mileage rises and more alternative-fuel vehicles come on line."

"The idea of shifting to a by-the-mile tax has been discussed for years, but it now appears to be getting more serious attention. A federal commission, after a two-year study, concluded earlier this year that the road tax was the “best path forward” to keep revenues flowing to highway and transportation projects, and could be an important new tool to help manage traffic and relieve congestion."

Fuel tax by the mile, insurance by the mile, surcharges for parking, driving non-energy efficient cars, congestion traffic pricing on freeways and city streets -- money transfered directly to the government from your checking account or credit card ???

Original blog entry ...

Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who seems to “connect the dots” to find a plausible conspiracy theory embedded in ordinary events? Or even cares?

Today’s conspiracy involves a billionaire businessman turned politician and the encroachment of a political “big brother” on our Constitutional freedoms.

Let’s give it a whirl and see what you think …

Dot 1:   We have Steve Poizner, a well-educated, high-technology entrepreneur that has seemingly purchased himself a political position as the California State Insurance Commissioner. A man with political aspirations to become California’s governor in 2010.

Dot 2:   This particular entrepreneur is said to have earned his fortune by managing and selling high-technology companies.

“In 1983, Poizner founded and served as chief executive officer of Strategic Mapping Inc., a software company that developed a program to display geographic data on digital maps, assisting police departments, utilities, transportation companies, banks and retailers with selecting new locations and plotting distribution logistics.”

“In 1995, Poizner founded SnapTrack, Inc., which pioneered technology that put GPS receivers into cell phones. Poizner served as its chief executive officer until he sold the privately held company to Qualcomm in 2000 for a reported $1.0 billion.” <Source>

Dot 3:   As Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner is promoting an insurance scheme which would allow insurance companies to “charge by the mile.”

According to the Los Angeles Times … 

“Under regulations proposed Friday by state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, insurers could offer so-called pay-as-you-drive policies for drivers, who could cut their insurance bills by spending less time behind the wheel.”Pay-as-you-drive' auto policies could become option by year's end”

Dot 4:  The “pay as you drive” scheme requires GPS and tracking technologies to allow the insurance companies to calculate the proper insurance premiums.

“Poizner did not say how much the average motorist could save under such a plan. Similar products, which have been tried on a limited basis in 34 states as well as in Canada, Japan and Europe, have saved policyholders money. Premiums dropped by 13% to 54% for GMAC Insurance policyholders, whose mileage was monitored by parent General Motors Corp.'s OnStar satellite tracking system.”

Dot 5:  The “pay as you drive” technology could also be used for (pause for drum roll), the government to implement its “fair use energy tax” on gasoline, possibly surcharging the use of larger, less energy-efficient vehicles. Possibly using the very same OnStar satellite tracking system that is now owned by General Motors (also now known as Government Motors).

Dot 6:   Not to be left in the dust, all law enforcement authorities would also have access to your whereabouts on a 24/7 basis as well as access to conversations that occur inside your vehicle – whether or not the OnStar system is being used.

Even though OnStar vehemently denied being able to listen to in-vehicle conversations (and not just telephone calls), their denial was rendered moot in a dramatic court case in which it was found that surreptitious listening by government agencies would disable the emergency functions of the OnStar system to the detriment of the vehicle’s occupants. It is also a well-known fact that CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) mandates all providers of telecommunications networks to provide the government with an easy-to-access  “monitoring” interface.

So  what am I to make of the progression of events when I connect the dots?

First, I suspect that Steve Poizner is just another in a long line of self-serving liberals who portray themselves as Republicans to cut in front of the political line when it comes to party politics. That is, they can achieve faster results from being a Republican than they could if they were forced to go through the same steps as a democrat. Same political philosophy, just a different more expedient route.

When Poizner speaks of the benefits of a “pay as you drive” system, I see another liberal asking you to surrender another portion of your freedom, telling you how to live your life as a socialist and making a profit from their legislation.

“Proponents of the 'pay-as-you-drive' proposal contend that it could create a variety of other benefits aside from lower premiums for motorists. Fewer vehicles probably would be on the road, which could curb traffic congestion as well as curtail global warming through the reduced greenhouse gas emissions spewed out of car tailpipes.”

While I do believe in curtailing pollution, I do believe that our current global climate is a function of the natural variability of our weather and that man’s ability to affect the mean global temperature is miniscule. I also believe that science is being perverted for a political agenda that is antithetical to the freedoms we now enjoy in America and is a program sponsored by our enemies, both foreign and domestic – and being pushed by complacent and corrupt politicians.

“Reporting from Sacramento -- By year's end California drivers could start buying automobile insurance by the mile, much as some cellphone users purchase talk time by the minute.”

Perhaps the cellphone analogy is apt. Imagine the proliferation of mileage plans, almost incomprehensible to the average consumer and definitely not easily comparable between companies? What might the consequences be of exceeding your monthly mileage: a penalty that goes directly to the bottom line of the company as incremental profits?

Do you really want insurance plans based on the cellphone business model where everybody is offering the same thing and competing on chaos and confusion in the marketplace?

But drivers who have long work commutes or live in remote or rural areas might find it more economical to stick with conventional rates not based on exact miles driven.”

No one would be forced to buy a pay-as-you-drive policy and no insurance company would be required to offer such a program, Poizner said.”

Yeah, right!

Insurance offerings are not made in a vacuum. When one insurance company seeks a competitive advantage, others are sure to follow; dropping alternative insurance plans to push consumers into their “preferred” programs. Perhaps ceding control over the process to another “czar” -- like those found in socialist central planning programs.

The kiss of death …

Major insurance companies, which over the last year have participated in hearings and workshops that developed the proposed regulations, said they were at least conceptually on board with setting rates by the mile.’

" ‘The proposal has a lot of merit and is definitely something we might want to explore,’ said Brian Dwyer, senior vice president for automobile products at Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance Group, a unit of Zurich Financial Services Group of Switzerland. (On Friday, Farmers finalized its acquisition of Woodland Hills-based 21st Century Insurance, a leading low-cost carrier.)”

I guess there is one less major insurance carrier to provide that “choice” they are so fond of mentioning.

“Motorists who opt for a pay-as-you-drive policy would have several ways to have their mileage measured under the regulations. Those options include odometer readings taken by insurance companies, auto-repair shops or smog-check stations.”

Another additional charge and more profit for the smog-check stations?

Owners could also agree to install in their vehicles electronic transmitters that automatically report mileage to insurers. Insurers, however, would be prohibited from using such devices to monitor where a customer drives.”

Here it is folks – voluntarily being asked to cede your privacy and freedom for a few saved pennies. Notice that nothing is being said about the other diagnostic information available from the very same system. Perhaps surcharging you for driving above the speed limit? Perhaps electronically fining you for driving in a speed zone? The government can, and will, access this data – with or without a court order as it has done in the past. In fact, your car may contain a black box that will indicate who is “at fault” in an accident (violation of your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination?) or if you were wearing a seatbelt. Remember, insurance companies can deny your claims and coverage if you knowingly participate in a crime – such as not wearing a seatbelt.

Why is it that I am extremely suspicious of another liberal Republican as the Governor of California?

There is no doubt that our present governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a liberal – almost to the point of being a far-left liberal democrat. His lack of leadership skills and negotiating ability has helped drive California further into debt; while at the same time, his business, tax and environmental policies have almost insured that California is the worst state in the United States for an entrepreneurial business that involves energy use – including manufacturing and construction. 

So what’s up with Poizner’s plan to cripple those of us who must commute long distances to work – and to restrict the driving habits of California’s population?

Considering that Poizner’s has a mathematical background and understands the insurance business, why is he hell-bent on promoting an automobile insurance scheme that will punish productive Californian’s who drive farther distances and reward those, like illegal aliens, who drive comparitively short distances – but whose drinking and driving habits make them a significantly greater risk?

Can anyone disagree?

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that insurance companies have become extraordinarily intrusive in the lives of the average Californian. Some control whether or not you will live or die by regulating the parameters and costs of your health insurance. Some control whether or not you will survive the burden of an automobile accident. And some will control your physical and financial destiny after a natural disaster.

The insurance companies also play “power politics,” to insure that they, rather than the consumer, continue to have the upper hand in all areas affecting your life. They are the prime employer of lobbyists and lawyers to influence legislation that can only be described as self=serving.

And when politicians cozy up to the industry they are sworn to regulate and then start speaking of reducing traffic, global warming and reducing the cost of insurance – watch out!

“Pay as you drive” puts the government in the driver’s seat …

Not only does it sound like a liberal pipe dream, but considering the malevolence of insurance companies, bound to raise the profit margins on productive Californians and enlarge the marketplace as illegal aliens are offered cheaper insurance. Possibly for the purpose of getting Steve Poizner elected governor in 2010.

“The proposal by state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, which is open for comment until July 9, could help motorists cut their bills by spending less time behind the wheel.”

If there was any way I could spend less time behind the wheel in my daily commute, I certainly would have done it by now. But doesn’t this sound like your typical socialist liberal who wants to further curtail personal transit and force people on to union-controlled transit.

“The proposed rules are open for comment from drivers, consumer advocates, environmentalists and insurance companies until July 9. Under California law, the insurance commissioner must approve all changes in how rates are set. Poizner said the new regulations could be in effect by mid-November.”

This is another way to circumvent the California State Constitution and impose laws by Administrative fiat rather than the vote of “we the people.” 

Enter the Liberal mantra …

“Proponents contend that the plan could create a variety of other benefits. Fewer vehicles probably would be on the road, which could curb traffic congestion as well as curtail global warming through the reduced greenhouse gas emissions spewed out of car tailpipes.”

“Rather, California's extremely competitive auto-insurance market should create ‘the right kind of financial incentives for insurance companies and consumers to begin to take some bold steps to reduce the number of miles driven,’ he said.”

For many of us, the miles actually driven are a function of our employment, not based on some random whim. Even if we do drive on a whim, is Poizner trying to restrict our freedom to take an out-of-state vacati0n? Driving up costs by penalizing those drivers who choose freedom over socialistic conformity.

The far-left liberal mantra …

" ‘Research shows that with greater customer participation, the benefits to the environment, accidents and savings that can be offered all increase dramatically,’ said Lauren Navarro, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund. ‘Most households would save money with widespread adoption of pay as you drive, and even more will see no increased costs but benefit from cleaner air.’”

“Doug Heller, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica advocacy group, complained that Poizner's proposal would give insurance companies too much leeway to decide whether or not to offer a pay-as-you-drive option to potential customers.
He said he feared that the regulations would allow companies to offer smaller discounts than they should for people who cut their driving by only modest amounts.
’It may be unrealistic to ask people to stop driving three days a week when maybe they could only carpool twice a month,’ Heller said. ‘These are flawed rules that could be made better.’"

Far-left lawyers, lobbyists and activists are promoting an ideology, insurers are piggybacking for commercial advantage and profit – and the politicians are doing what they are paid (by them, not us) to do. And “we the people” get screwed.

Bottom line …

There is no doubt that we are facing the loss of our freedoms to a government that has become increasingly self-serving, corrupt and out of control. There is also no doubt that the financial institutions, including the insurance companies, have decimated our economy with little or no consequences to the executives with political clout.

There is no doubt that Poizner is extremely rich, well-educated and has a record of achievement in both the private and public sector. Unfortunately, these are also the characteristics of many liberals who are isolated by money, position and privilege from the effects of the idealistic or ideological goals that they try to impose on the general public.

So, how is it that a Republican that is said to be running for Governorship of California in 2010 comes out looking like a liberal socialist pandering to those moneyed interests that are hell-bent on ruining California’s economy?

 What can YOU do?

Respond to Steve Poizner’s request for comments regarding this “pay as you drive plan” by July 9th, 2009.

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner
Sacramento Office
300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1700
Sacramento, CA  95814
916-445-5280 (fax)

San Francisco Office
45 Fremont Street, 23rd Floor
San Francisco, CA  94105

Los Angeles Office
300 South Spring Street, South Tower
Los Angeles, CA  90013
213-897-9051 (fax)

Do not re-elect or support any incumbent.

Beware of ceding your liberties in exchange for a few pennies or some unrealizable goal. Never give more power to the very politicians who have misused and abused your trust over the past years.

You must decide whether or not you want or need the  “political elite” to tell you what to do. Personally, I believe Steve Poizner is Poison for California and there is no way I would vote for this liberal to become California’s Governor in 2010.

-- steve


OneCitizenSpeaking: Saying out loud what you may be thinking …

 Capture6-27-2009-8.38.51 PM


OneCitizenSpeaking: Saying out loud what you may be thinking …

Reference Links …

'Pay-as-you-drive' auto policies could become option by year's end - Los Angeles Times

Insurance Commissioner Poizner Sets Framework For Environmentally–Friendly Automobile Insurance, Increased Options For Consumers|State Insurance Department

The Actual Regulation|State Insurance Department


AP Interview: Transportation secretary says taxing how much we drive may replace gasoline tax --

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