Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Solano PFP supports Mohammad "O" Arif's election campaign in Southern California

Mohammad "O" Arif
Candidate for California State Senate, District 16
Donate to his Campaign [gofundme.com/2mhlto]
[661-549-0786] [senate16@mohammadarif.com] [mohammadarif.com]
Founder, United Moderate Muslims of America for Peace [umma4peace.org]

* Double the minimum wage, and index it to the cost of living.
* Guarantee the right of all workers to organize and to strike; forbid striker replacement.
* Socially useful jobs for all at union pay levels.
* Equal pay for equal work, and for work of comparable worth.
* A 30-hour workweek with no cut in weekly pay; longer paid vacations.
* Guaranteed dignified income for those who cannot work.
* A Universal Basic Income to alleviate poverty and homelessness.
* Tax the income and assets of the rich to meet human needs.
* International trade agreements must guarantee the protection of workers and the environment in all participating countries; abolish NAFTA, GATT and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
* End homelessness; abolish vagrancy laws; provide decent affordable housing for all.
* Social ownership and democratic control of industry, financial institutions, and natural resources.
* The United States should take the initiative toward global disarmament by eliminating nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
* Withdraw U. S. troops and weapons from other countries, and reallocate the resulting "peace dividend" for social benefit.
* Abolish the CIA, NSA, AID and other agencies for interference in other countries' internal affairs.
* Convert from a military to a peace-oriented economy, with jobs for displaced workers.
* Self-determination for all nations and peoples of the world, including Puerto Rico and all U. S. territories.
* Defend and extend liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

2013-05-22 message from the Peace and Freedom Party Chair person:
The initial results are in from the special election for State Senate in the "old 16th" district.  It is not yet clear how many votes remain to be counted, but provisional ballots and late absentees (those turned in on election day) are probably not yet included.  The results so far show the Republican, Vidak, leading with a little under 52% of the vote, which would mean no runoff if his lead continues through the final count.  Unfortunately, Mohammad Arif of the Peace and Freedom Party is currently in fifth and last position, with around 0.7%, with two Democrats ahead of him but well behind Leticia Perez, the leading Democrat, who right now appears headed for complete defeat at 41.7%.  If Vidak cannot maintain his majority in the full count, Perez would be the one to go into a runoff with him.
In Kern and Fresno Counties, Mohammad Arif has almost one full percent of the vote, and Perez leads Vidak.  However, in Kings and Tulare Counties, Vidak is strongly ahead, with Arif at only 0.6% (Kings) and 0.3% (Tulare).
An enormous amount of money was spent on this race for Vidak and Perez, certainly well over a million dollars, though the final reports may show much more.  Perez appears to have been seriously hurt by her association with  Democratic former Senator Michael Rubio, who resigned when his close financial associations with Chevron Corporation were about to come out.
Mohammad Arif has pulled a much higher percentage of the vote than the PFP's percentage of registration, particularly in Kings, Kern and Fresno Counties.  His campaign, and the publicity for the party, may help lead to a higher registration in the area in the future.
As Peace and Freedom Party candidates usually do better among those casting late or provisional ballots, the total for Mohammad Arif may rise as the last votes are counted.  We shall see.  It may be possible tomorrow (or rather, later today) to get a realistic idea of how many votes remain to be counted. 

Mohammad Arif is a victim

2013-05-22 message from Mohammad "O" Arif:
Why? CA Secretary of State office like to misspell my name; if people google my name and it is misspelled, I get negative because Mohamm-A-d!
And Mohamm-E-d has a big difference. All bad And crazy Negative got spelled with "E" and I am with "A"!
In 2010 same mistake was done by SOS, ten million copies were distributed. This time only 5 candidates were on the ballot instead of 23 in 2010. Why? I'm the only one SOS like to play with my name.
See the link and audit the spell of my first name yourself: [http://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/state-senate/district/16/]
See the misspelled complaint to media: [http://www.turnto23.com/news/governor-candidate-upset-over-misspelled-name]
With Best regards,
[signed] Mohammad "O" Arif

2010-05-19 "Governor Candidate Upset Over Misspelled Name;  State Voter Guide Misspells Peace and Freedom Candidate's Name"
There are 23 candidates for governor on the June 8th ballot, including one Kern County resident. The local Peace & Freedom party chairman is concerned his campaign for his party's nomination could be lost because of a typo.
Mohammad Arif is a local businessman who is making his second run to be the governor of California, the first coming during the 2003 recall election when he lived in Los Angeles. But there's just one problem this time around, his name.
"One of my friend told me that, 'your name is misspelled,'" Arif said on Wednesday.
Instead of an "a" the official voter guide spells Mohammad with an "e."
"I know this is not a deliberate mistake, this is an innocent mistake, but i'm frustrated," Arif said. "Of course I am angry. Because this matter is going to give me negative marks."
It's a negative, says Arif, because you can't find any information on him when searching the misspelled name online.
"And these people have got nothing to do with me," Arif says of the links and videos found when searching the misspelled name.
The misspelling, according to the Secretary of State's Office, is only in the the voter information guide, not on any ballots which have already gone out to absentee voters. A spokesperson for the department also says there was plenty of time for the candidate to catch this mistake.
"The Secretary of State's Office proof reads the guide many times, but from time to time there is an error or something a candidate objects to," spokeswoman Shannan Velayas said. "Which is why the law provides three weeks for any Californian to take issue with anything in the guide."
The misspelling has been fixed online, but nothing can be done about the 10 million mailers sent to voters' homes.
"This is unfortunate," Arif said. "I would expect them to send out some kind of correction letter along with this (the voter guide)."
The Secretary of State's Office says that won't happen because that's what the public review period was for.
No matter the resolution, it's a typo Arif believes will only hurt his chances at winning the Peace & Freedom Party's nomination.
"This thing is directly hurting me, it is going to cost my election," Arif said.

2013-05-08 "TBC: Editorial Board #1: California 16th Senate Race - Mohammad Arif"
from "Bakotube" [youtube.com/user/bakotube] [youtube.com/watch?v=0RRQBbwWqB4]:
The Bakersfield Californian's Robert Price interviews California 16th Senate Race candidate Mohammad Arif from the Dignity Health Studios of The Bakersfield Californian. NOTE: Due to audio glitch, there is NO SOUND for the first minute or two. Good audio from that point on. We're sorry for the inconvenience.

2013-04-30 "Man on a Mission: Peace & Freedom Hopeful Stumps Vigorously in California Special Election"
by Darcy G. Richardson [uncoveredpolitics.com/2013/04/30/man-on-a-mission-peace-freedom-hopeful-stumps-vigorously-in-california-special-election]
While Democrat Leticia Perez and Republican Andy Vidak are receiving the lion’s share of media attention in California’s 16th State Senate District special election, at least one of three long-shot candidates in the race is running like a man on a mission, one who doesn’t believe that defeat at the ballot box on May 21 is necessarily a foregone conclusion.
Meet Mohammad Arif, a 43-year-old immigrant rights advocate from Bakersfield who hopes to become the first Peace & Freedom Party member of the California legislature in history.
An immigrant himself — he has was born and raised in the Punjab region of Pakistan before emigrating to the U.S. in 1991 — Mohammad Arif is no stranger to politics. At the age of sixteen, he joined the Peoples Students Federation (PSF) and later became actively involved in the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), a center-left, democratic socialist party founded in 1967. Long led by members of the prominent Bhutto-Zardari family, the Pakistan People’s Party is currently affiliated with the Socialist International.
Arif’s lifelong interest in politics continued after relocating to the United States and gaining his citizenship more than a dozen years ago. In fact, he was one of 135 candidates who ran for governor of California in 2003 in the circus-like recall election that replaced incumbent Democratic Gov. Gray Davis with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The good-natured Arif vied for the state’s highest office again in 2010, finishing third in the Peace & Freedom Party primary with 14.5 percent of the vote. He was understandably disappointed by the outcome and believes that his candidacy that year might have been damaged by the inadvertent misspelling of his name as “Mohammed” — with an “e” instead of an “a” — in the ten million voter pamphlets mailed out by the Secretary of State.
“If you Google ‘Mohammed Arif,’” he said wistfully, “you won’t find me. You’ll find the bad ones,” including, it just so happened, an individual by that very name who had been recently convicted of waging jihadist attacks in western India under that country’s Prevention Of Terrorism Act.
It was one of the first names that popped up in a Google search.
Arif is hoping he’ll have better luck in this election. At least the Secretary of State’s office spelled his name right this time.
The affable Arif, who earned a Master’s Degree in Economics from Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan, and later studied law in the United States, refrains from publicly criticizing his opponents, focusing instead on his own background and attributes, stressing that he has much more in common with the district’s struggling residents than either Perez — a protégé of disgraced former State Sen. Michael Rubio — or Vidak, the lone Republican in the race, both of whom are considered ahead of the pack in the five-candidate field.
He even refuses to criticize Perez, the presumed frontrunner, for running for the seat only three months after being sworn in to her first term as a Kern County Supervisor. He also preferred not to comment on the fact that Perez had to change her residency just to qualify for the race.
“Both major parties are only interested in obtaining power,” he said. “They’ll do whatever it takes to achieve it.”
The Peace & Freedom candidate and founder of United Moderate Muslims of America for Peace — a national organization he helped to launch this past year — is more concerned with the substantive issues facing the district.
“I want to represent the working class, not the tiny wealthy minority who fund campaigns,” said Arif, who’s fluent in several languages and conversant in several others. “I am an immigrant, like many residents of this district. I have known hard times, like most of the people in the San Joaquin Valley. And I want to help bring peace to our people, equality and respect for people of all religions and backgrounds, and unite people rather than divide them.”
In a recent interview, the Peace & Freedom aspirant told Uncovered Politics that he wants to be “the voice for the downtrodden and the impoverished in Sacramento. I want to fight for them. I’ll be a one-man lobby for poor and working people in the legislature.”
Reminiscent of muckraking author Upton Sinclair’s EPIC (End Poverty in California) movement during the Great Depression — a crusade that nearly carried the plucky, lifelong Socialist into the governor’s mansion — one of Arif’s four campaign cards includes Sinclair’s famous slogan.
If elected, he said that he’ll use 75 percent of his legislative salary to create a non-profit foundation to help poverty-stricken residents of his district, providing legal assistance, temporary shelter, and drug treatment for the chronically unemployed, the homeless, victims of domestic violence and others who are simply down on their luck.
“Everything I do,” he said modestly, “comes from my heart.”
The lawmakers in Sacramento — Republicans and so-called “business-friendly” Democrats alike — have it completely wrong, he says. “They’re beholden to the rich and powerful who fund their campaigns. Everybody knows it. The role of government should be to protect those who need protection, to be a power for the powerless, to restrain those who, when they are not restrained, prey upon the weak.”
In addition to calling for higher taxes on the wealthy while trimming taxes and “user fees” that hit poor and working-class people the hardest, Arif’s platform — mirroring that of his time-honored party — calls for higher wages, including a sharp increase in the minimum wage, which, contrary to what conservative economists at the Heritage Foundation or the libertarian Cato Institute and those employed by major corporations claim, would actually help create jobs.
Arif believes the state’s current $8.00 minimum wage should be closer to $16 per hour.
The Peace & Freedom candidate also maintains that infrastructure improvements are the quickest and most effective way to create jobs and stimulate California’s sagging economy. As of March, California’s official jobless rate stood at 9.4 percent — the fourth-highest in the nation and well above the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.
“We have thousands of bridges, water lines, and other basic units of our infrastructure that need immediate replacement or repair, and we need to build much more advanced city and rural communications and transportation systems as soon as possible,” he said, citing the recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimating that the U.S. needs at least $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investment by 2020 to maintain a passing grade.
According to the ASCE’s 2013 Report Card, which gave the U.S. a less-than-stellar D+ grade, California alone has a staggering 2,978 (12%) structurally deficient bridges and another 4,178 (16.8%) that are considered “functionally obsolete,” while 68% of the state’s roads and highways are in “poor or mediocre condition.” Moreover, the ASCE estimates that the state will need to spend $39 billion in drinking water infrastructure improvements over the next twenty years and projects an additional $29 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs.
There’s a lot of work to be done, said Arif, arguably the most pro-labor candidate in the race — the recent endorsement of Perez by the powerful SEIU (Service Employees International Union) of California notwithstanding.
“Both nationally and at the state level, we need to develop full-employment policies that should lead to a shorter workweek with no cut in pay, and more vacation time for all workers,” he added.
Peace & Freedom Party leaders are encouraged by the progress of Arif’s long-shot candidacy.
“As Arif gathered his signatures as a Peace and Freedom Party candidate, the official Democratic Party apparatus decided to support a candidate whose mentor was the disgraced former senator. Arif found himself suddenly popular, and a local paper covering the first debate called Mohammad Arif the ‘crowd favorite,’” said Kevin Akin, the party’s state chair.
“With support from many immigrants, and a good reaction to his campaign from working people in general, Mohammad Arif is getting the Peace and Freedom Party message across to tens of thousands of voters from Fresno to Bakersfield.”
Despite being vastly outspent by his two leading opponents — as of two weeks ago, Perez had raised $429,900, including $320,000 from the California Democratic Central Committee, while Vidak reported receiving a not-too-skimpy $323,407 — Arif insists that his bare-bones campaign, relying exclusively on small contributions, will make up the difference in shoe leather and sweat equity.
“I’ve been campaigning 70 hours a week, visiting every neighborhood in the district,” he said, adding that he has probably met and spoken with more residents of the sprawling district than all of the other candidates combined. “I’m campaigning seven days a week, morning ‘til night,” he said with a hint of pride in his voice.
“It’s been exhausting,” he continued, “but I will work just as diligently as a State Senator. I plan to be the hardest working and most accessible public servant possible.”
That would be a nice change for the underrepresented and ill-served residents of the district.
“This district was cheated of real representation in the past by a state senator who actually represented Chevron,” said Arif in a reference to ex-State Senator Michael Rubio of Shafter, who abruptly resigned from office in February to accept a government affairs job with Chevron Corp., thereby leaving the district unrepresented in Sacramento and temporarily denying the Democrats a super-majority in the State Senate.
Rubio, once seen as a rising star in California politics, was chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee at the time of his resignation.
Unfailingly polite and courteous and armed with a dry, self-deprecating sense of humor and the determination of a man committed heart and soul to a greater cause — the cause of “humanity,” as he says repeatedly, meaning a better life for impoverished and working-class Californians — the hefty Peace & Freedom candidate continues to pound the pavement in search of votes as the campaign enters the homestretch.
“I’m running to lose my weight,” he jokes, “and I’m running to win my race.”
Echoing a similar remark by comedienne Roseanne Barr, the party’s 2012 presidential candidate, Arif also said that he plans to “keep running until I win,” whether it’s this year, next year — or in 2018.
The May 21 special election is being conducted in the old 16th Senate District, using the same boundaries that were in place when Rubio was elected in 2010, before the most recent redistricting of the state legislative boundaries. The district includes all of Kings County, about half of Fresno County, the western portion of Tulare County, and a western portion of Kern County, including part of Bakersfield where Arif resides.

2013-04-15 "'First Look': 16th District candidate Arif pitches candidacy"
by Louis Amestoy from "The Bakersfield Californian" [bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x1891154015/First-Look-16th-District-candidate-Arif-pitches-candidacy]:
Mohammad Arif, a Peace and Freedom candidate for the 16th District Senate seat, appeared on "First Look with Scott Cox" on Monday. (Video originally posted at [youtube.com/watch?v=8Rw3rOOdEMs])

Saying "in my eyes, people are power, money is not power," 16th Senate District candidate Mohammad Arif pitched his candidacy Monday during an appearance on "First Look with Scott Cox."
 Arif, a Bakersfield businessman in the social services field and Kern County chairman of the Peace and Freedom party, said he believes local representatives will solve people's problems, not corporate America.
"I want to run for the people. I don't want to run with the help of money," Arif said. He said he believes both Republicans and Democrats should support him.
 Arif said that, if elected, he plans to spend most of his time in the 16th District, saying that sitting in the Senate isn't good enough. He'd have complaint boxes on street corners to help him hear from local people. Issues that need to be combatted, he said, include "kids going in the wrong direction," dropouts and joblessness.
 "You have to mingle with the people. You have to listen to their issues. You have to listen to them," Arif said.
 Show host Scott Cox asked Arif if he had a "game plan" going into a Tuesday debate featuring all five candidates. Arif said he's not making a game plan for the event, but rather trusting in God.
 American General Media's 1180 KERN is hosting a debate with all five 16th Senate District candidates Tuesday in the ballroom of the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center.
 Cox and KERN's Jeff Lemucchi will host a live show on the race from 6 to 7 p.m. The debate follows from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
 In addition to Arif, the candidates seeking to fill the spot left vacant by the resignation of Michael Rubio are Democrats Leticia Perez, Paulina Miranda and Francisco Ramirez and Republican Andy Vidak.

2010-05-25 "Make peace, not jihad, says local candidate for gov" 
by Robert Price from "The Bakersfield Californian" [bakersfieldcalifornian.com/columnists/robert-price/x1008889488/Make-peace-not-jihad-says-local-candidate-for-gov]:
 Mohammad Arif can't catch a break. Seven years ago, his quest for the governorship was derailed by an action-movie hero and 133 other characters on that colorful, circusy ballot, all supposedly trying to replace about-to-be-recalled Gov. Gray Davis.
Now Arif, a Bakersfield entrepreneur, is up against two billionaires and a former governor -- as well as 19 others. At least his odds are improving.
As if the size of the field weren't enough of a challenge, however, Arif just realized that his name has been misspelled on the official voter Information guide that the Secretary of State's office mails out to millions of California households. The pamphlet has him listed as Mohammed, not Mohammad. "If you Google 'Mohammed Arif,'" complained Arif, "you won't find me. You'll find the bad ones."
 By "the bad ones," Arif means "the wrong ones," but unfortunately there are at least a couple of "bad" Mohammed Arifs out there. One was convicted last week of jihadist attacks in western India in violation of that nation's Prevention Of Terrorism Act.
 That would be an unfortunate coincidence in any setting, but Bakersfield's Arif is a Peace & Freedom Party candidate. He didn't choose that party because of the melodic name. He chose it because it means something to him.
 "War is a waste of America's resources," said Arif, who is 41. "I am kind of a modern Muslim. The teaching of Islam is that you belong to where you are. The people who are doing all this violence (in the name of Islam) are sick."
 It's partly because of the threat of terrorism that Arif holds fast to this pillar: America must develop a coherent immigration strategy. "Secure the borders," he said. "Secure the loopholes."
 Thing is, that position doesn't jibe with what the League of Women Voters listed as his position in its Easy Voter Guide pamphlet: "Free immigration."
 "It was supposed to say 'fear-free immigration,' not 'free immigration,'" Arif said. "I would not suggest we remove all barriers."
 So, what is this, then? Some kind of plot? "They are just innocent mistakes, but it's frustrating," said Arif, who was born in Lahore, Pakistan, immigrated to Los Angeles in 1991, and then moved from Culver City to Bakersfield last year.
 For the record, the misspelled name appears only in the the voter information guide, according to the Secretary of State's Office. It's spelled correctly on ballots, including those that have already gone out to absentee voters, and it's been fixed in the online voter guide. Spokeswoman Shannan Velayas said Arif had plenty of time to flag the error but missed his three-week window of opportunity.
 As for the League of Women Voters pamphlet, Linda Davis, the state LWV's vice president for voter service, provided a copy of the electronic document Arif e-mailed on or about March 15, and it reads "free immigration." So, let's settle it this way: If you've got a copy of the Easy Voter Guide, grab it and scribble "fear" in the appropriate spot on page 7. And no, I don't mean next to Barbara Boxer's photo.
 Arif, who makes a living selling imported merchandise on eBay (hold the Meg Whitman jokes, please), admits that friends and acquaintances have asked him why he didn't launch his political career with less lofty goals.
 "People laugh and say, 'Why don't you run for mayor?'" he said. "'Why don't you run for Assembly?' I say, 'Because this is America. Before, I was nothing. If I were living in Pakistan or India, I would not be able to run for (city) councilor. Here I run for governor -- twice."
 Back in October 2003, running as an independent in the special election, Arif got 1,709 votes statewide, including 21 in Kern, for 46th place. (For those keeping score at home, David Laughing Horse Robinson of Bakersfield finished with 6,496 votes for 15th. They both trailed porn model Mary Carey, who placed 10th in that memorably silly campaign.)
 Arif (find him at calgov2010.com) isn't the only Central Valley political candidate aiming higher than prudence might recommend. I won't name names, but you'll find over-their-head folks in races all across the valley. Some might even win, "because this is America."
For now, Arif need only outpoll his rivals for the P&F nomination: Stewart A. Alexander, who was the Socialist Party USA's 2008 vice-presidential nominee, and Carlos Alvarez, a 23-year-old grocery worker and antiwar activist. Here's hoping he advances to the next level and writes another chapter in his uniquely American story. Hopefully, his name will be spelled correctly.