Generally, I see this election as a great chance to set California and the nation in a new direction, and get some traction here and there to pursue real change in the future. The stakes, as I wrote below, are quite high, both in terms of really bad things to avoid, and really exciting possibilities for positive change.
my picks over the flip:
Senator - left blank.
Six years ago, I swallowed my objections to Senator Feinstein's illiberal support for the internecine madness of a drug war waged upon our own population, her relentless corporate and "free" trade leanings, and her general hawkishness. Tom Campbell was to the left of Feinstein on several key issues, but I punched a hole for Feinstein anyways because partisan control of the senate was so essential to blocking disasterous conservative legislation and extremist right wing judges. Six years later, in light of her votes for the Iraq war (in spite of the prevailing sentiment - since proven painfully prescient - of her constituents), the credit card corporate givaway bankruptcy bill, her public criticism of Gavin Newsom standing up for equal rights in marriage in her very hometown, her support twice for the Constitution-shredding Patriot Act, her support of the nomination of Condoleeza Rice for Secretary of State after she botched her job as National Security Advisor by ignoring a PDB entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside America" in August of 2001, and so on, I cannot bring myself to do so a second time. There are lines which I will not cross. She'll have to pound Mountjoy into pulp without my vote.
Governor - (D) Phil Angelides
As I wrote below, I really think that Phil Angelides represents a real chance for California to get off the failed bipartisan consensus of borrow and spend Republican-lite governance, and jolt us forward into building a California that doesn't shy from dreaming big and planning for the future. I have never been fooled by Schwarzeneggar's moderate shtick, having been on the recieving end of tuition hjike after tuition hike. The Governor is corrupt and bad for California; Angelides would be a real step forward.
Lt. Governor - (D) John Garamendi
Garamendi has done a good job as Insurance Commissioner, and supports stem cell research, unlike his incredibly right wing opponent Tom McClintock. The last thing California needs is an ideologue like McClintock pushing his pro-life, anti-tax, anti-science SoCal agenda from the Sacramento #2 bully pulpit for four years.
Secretary of State - (D) Debra Bowen
Bowen is far and away the best candidate for this critical job to come around in a long time, and I really hope she wins. As I wrote earlier, Bowen understands the problems with electronic voting better than any politician statewide or nationally, and will be a solid advocate for the right of California voters to have their vote counted on a machine or ballot that is trustworthy without having to wait in lines for hours because of broken voting machines. This is one of the most important races this election, and polling pretty close, so please GOTV for Debra and our democracy!
Attorney General - (D) Jerry Brown
While I'm less than thrilled with Brown's recent tilt towards the "tough on crime" side of the policing spectrum as Oakland mayor, and would far rather see an AG willing to encourage more community policing and restitutive justice, Brown looks to be aiming to really use the Attorney General's officeas an activist platform to finally put some teeth in the state's consumer protection, anti-corruption and environmental laws, and go after the powerful for a change. Additionally, Fresno Republican Chuck Poochigian is exactly the sort of anti-regulation, pro-life, lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key social conservative that really ought to be kept far away from positions of power.
Treasurer - (D) Bill Lockyer
I'm not a huge fan of Lockyer after his sucking up to Schwarzeneggar following the recall, but his opponent (R) Claude Parrish is a Howard Jarvis anti-tax, anti-bond conservative, and the state has suffered enough from that failed political philosophy. Advantage Lockyer.
Controller - (D) John Chiang
Controller's a pretty wonky sort of technical job, and Chiang seems pretty qualified to pull it off, with degrees in both law and finance, and seems to have a genuine desire to make taxes transparent to regular people. Accordingly, tax software company Intuit and other special interests have backed his opponent, conservative SoCal Republican Tony Strickland. God forbid people can figure out their taxes without software.
Insurance Commissioner - left blank
I'm sorry Cruz, but when your campaign consists of taking money from the companies that you're planning on regulating, and talking about your attempts at weight loss, you clearly have no business in politics. Poizner claims he's a moderate, but I've had my fill of "pro-business candidate" being a euphamism for "corrupt and pro-corporate." meh.
Ballot Measures, always the fun part of California Politics
1A - NO. While I'm very sympathetic to funding transportation infrastructure, tying our budget further in knots with yet another well-meaning proposition is not the solution.
1B-1E - YES. It's a crying shame California isn't rational enough to fund this stuff through honest, up-front taxation, but when the choice is third-world decay or floating yet another bond, I'm all for the bond. Roads, housing and abuse shelters, schools, and above all (for us Central Valley denizens) flood protection are all sorely needed infrastructure.
83 - NO. Yet another tough-sounding but dumb anti-crime initiative, this time using the rhetorical stance of fighting sexual abuse, that fails to actually effectively solve the problem it purports to attack, and causing all manner of new unanticipated problems to boot. By banning sex offenders (not just felony convictions either, but minor stuff like flashers and streakers as well) from residence within 2000 feet from schools or parks, it effectively forces sex offenders out of most cities and towns and into rural areas where police resources are spread thinly, and making it more likely that they'll just end up homeless and thus harder to track. Oops. The lifelong GPS tracking aspect is creepy as well, and an unsettling Orwellian step that won't really tell you much of anything about potentil recidivism. The same money spent in treatment and abuse awareness programs would serve our communities a lot better. Iowa passed a similar a while back, and is now trying to repeal it, because it didn't work.
84 - YES. Easy choice for anyone living in the Central Valley, or who gets their drinking or irrigation water from the aquaduct, or who would rather pay for an ounce of prevention rather than paying a ton of cure after a levee bursts and makes Sacramento look like New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward.
85 - NO!!! A trojan horse attack on choice, playing to parents' anxieties about their inability to control teenaged daughters. People have got to think outside the bubble of their own experience, and realize that the last thing a teenage girl in an abusive situation needs is a law ordering her to inform her parents who might well kick her out of the house for her 'sin,' beat her, or worse. This is the real world, and our laws have got to reflect that.
86 - still undecided, leaning NO.
I understand the appeal of taxing cigarettes to fund the social and health costs of nicoteine, but I'm not convinced that a regressive consumption tax on addicts is really all that just a solution. There are better ways to go about this.
87 - YES! Texas and Alaska get paid for their oil, why the heck don't we? Diverting those profits towards research into alternative energy is a stroke of genius. Oil isn't going to last forever, and our national addiction to it has trapped us into a disasterous foreign policy in the Middle East and anywhere else with oil. Time to kick the habit, and take a bite out of the oil corporations who gouge us at the pump for a change.
88 - YES. Anyone with a house in this insanely inflated housing market can afford the $50 a year to pay for school supplies. Since bonds have to be used for infrastructure only, school supplies get neglected. They needn't be.
89 - YES! YES! YES! Public financing of elections will allow primary challengers to make serious runs agaionst well-funded incumbants or millionaire self-funders without first sucking up to superwealthy corporate donors (and losing their souls in the process). The corporations will still finance the system, same as they do now through the process of legalized bribery that passes as our campaign finance system, but if prop. 89 passes, they won't be able to buy our democracy. It should go a long way towards making races far more contested, and candidates more connected to voters than they are to well-heeled donors. Similar laws have been passed in Maine and Arizona, and the voters there tend to like the results. For an über-expensive media market state like California, public financing could help clean up our democracy.
90 - NO! NO! NO!
As I wrote yesterday, prop. 90 is a horrible trojan horse of a bill that would gut our zoning laws and environmental regulations, encourage unlimited sprawl development, bankrupt our state government, and generally mess us Calfornia as badly as Measure 37 did Oregon. It's so bad, even the Howard Jarvis death-before-taxes crowd has joined the rest of us sane people in rejecting it. The langauge about eminent domain is a con; the real goal is crippling government and giving developers carte blanche.
Measures H&I - YES
Don't let PG&E's $10 million in advertising and October rebate buy your vote. Vote Yes for SMUD's cheaper energy and local control, and stick it to the folks who jacked up your rates after the 2001 energy crisis.
Yolo County Supervisor, district 3 - (D) Frank Sieferman
Don't let Republican operative Matt Rexroad get a toehold in Yolo County. Any friend of the swift boaters is no friend of mine, and bad news for Yolo County.
Measure K - NO
The proposed Target is just too big, with union-busting wages that are too low, and threatens to put a lot of nice local stores under if it comes to town. The big box stores in Woodland, Dixon, West Sacramento, Sacramento and Vacaville are enough, there's no need to add another one to the supersaturated mix. Besides, we pass zoning laws for a reason. 136,000 square feet is gargantuan.
Measure L - YES
I'm not convinced that this will really improve the functioning of city politics much, if at all, but at least the people on the city council will have the support of 50% of the town instead of the crazy 8-way races with 12% winners. I'd be far happier about electing councilmembers by district, but apparently there isn't a snowball's chance in hell of that one coming to pass anyway.
From what I was able to find, the people up for CA supreme court and the Central Valley appeals court seem pretty reasonable. If you're in the bay Area, vote NO on McGuiness, the justice who wrote the decision that separate but equal is still OK in California, as long as you're gay or lesbian.
(originally posted at surf putah)