The California Primary takes place Tuesday, June 6th. Polls are open from 7am to 8pm. To verify your polling place, call 1-800-815-2666
and select Option 1.
The information below concerns only those races which will be voted on by all Californians. For guidance on races peculiar to your district, I suggest a visit to Kim Alexander's wonderful site calvoter.org. My only intention here is to shed some light on the most critical statewide races for those voters who haven't had the time to do their own due diligence.
I was one of those voters until this weekend.
In order of importance:
SECRETARY OF STATE: Unless you happen to live in the state's 50th Congressional District and have a chance to vote for Francine Busby, the most important race in California is the race for Secretary of State. The sanctity of voting in California depends on it.
As many of you know, former CA Sec. of State, Kevin Shelley, once took a courageous stand against the Diebold touchscreen voting machines that have since been called under intense scrutiny nationwide. In exchange for his courage and for the $2.6 million settlement his actions managed to squeeze out of Diebold on behalf of his state, Schwarzenegger rewarded Shelley with a cloud of conveniently-timed scandal and a one-way ticket out of Sacramento.
Amazingly, one of the first actions of Shelley's replacement, Bruce McPherson - hand-picked by the Governator, was to quietly re-certify Diebold's TSx machine without even waiting to hear what the Independent Testing Authority had to say about Diebold's anti-hacking modifications.
Throughout the Diebold scandal, State Senator DEBRA BOWEN, chair of the CA Senate Elections Committee, has fought valiantly on behalf of the state's voters. She was among the first to challenge McPherson's trickery and is now running to replace McPherson as Secretary of State.
Bowen has won the endorsements of EMILY's List, CA Nurses Association, Women's Politcal Committee, the Nat'l Women's Political Caucus, The Sacramento Bee, The San Francisco Chronicle and the CA Democratic Party. Her track record on progressive issues is impeccable and, unlike her opponent, Deborah Ortiz, Bowen has everything it will take to unseat McPherson in November. A landslide primary victory will be critical to that goal.
Debra Bowen, I believe, is the single most important reason to vote in Tuesday's CA Primary.
GOVERNOR: The progressive's choice for governor is PHIL ANGELIDES. While he and his primary opponent, Steve Westly, agree on a number of issues, Angelides is the unapologetic liberal and Westly is the pro-business Democrat. The two are separated most on the issue of taxes, with Angelides openly advocating increased taxes on CA couples making more than $500,000 a year and big corporations, while Westly says he'll raise taxes only as a last resort.
Angelides is clearly winning the endorsement battle, having snagged the nods of Barbara Boxer, most of the major unions (Teachers, Firefighters, SEIU, Film Workers, Steel Workers), the CA League of Conservation Voters and a sizeable chunk of Silicon Valley's business leaders. Angelides and Westly share an endorsement from The Sierra Club.
Check out this LA Times piece on the subtle differences between Angelides and Westly. Also, an excellent list of 10 Reasons to Vote for Angelides at MyDD.
As for Westly's attack ads painting Angelides as a destructive real-estate developer, they were found in such poor taste that Westly has removed them from his website.
U.S. SENATE: Dianne Feinstein will win, of course. But I'd like to see progressives send her a message by logging a surprising number of votes for COLLEEN FERNALD. Fernald's listing in the CA Voter Guide lists her as a "mother/Artist/Entrepreneur" but, most importantly, she is a messenger. Fernald's stances on the Iraq war, impeachment and sustainable development are at direct odds with Feinstein's shocking level of cordiality with the Bush Administration. The Sentor must understand that her coddling of Condoleeza Rice and her war vote did not go unnoticed by the Democrats she serves.
I hope CA Kossacks will consider Fernald as a means of protesting Feinstein.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: As the CA State Insurance Commissioner, JOHN GARAMENDI fought so valiantly on the side of consumers that the insurance industry has tried to blackmail him. Watch your televisions for about $2 million worth of attack ads against Garamendi between now and November. Apparently, an insurance-industry rep called him at home and offered to withdraw the ads if he backed off of legislation that would hurt their business. We'll have to see if Garamendi's calls for an FBI investigation are heeded.
Regardless, Garamendi deserves a big primary win, and he deserves our support in the General Election, no matter what the insurance industry says about him on television.
PROPOSITION 81 - I'm voting no. As much as I love libraries and the people who keep them running, I can't abide any more non-emergency borrowing by my state. I certainly can't abide it while I'm bitching about "Credit Card Republicans."
PROPOSITION 82 - I'm voting yes, of course. Universal preschool paid for by taxing rich people??? WHERE DO I SIGN UP???
Secretary of State: DEBRA BOWEN
Governor: PHIL ANGELIDES
U.S. Senate: COLLEEN FERNALD
Lieutenant Governor: JOHN GARAMENDI
PROP 81: NO
PROP 82: YES
Since I'm not going to get into local races or into statewide offices for which I didn't have strong feelings one way or another, I hereby declare the comments section a CALIFORNIA PRIMARY OPEN THREAD in which you may discuss the races you feel strongly about (Harman/Winograd, 3 Dems vs. Doolittle, CA-11, etc) and, in doing so, further educate us CA VOTERS.