24 October 2010

Election 2010 Ballot Recommendations (Part 2)

I'm back from the bike ride: Beautiful late Fall So Calif weather - not too hot, not too cold, moderate cloud cover. Now for the propositions:

19 - Legalizes marijuana under CA law. - Yes
20 - Redistricting of Congressional districts. - Yes (probably)

This initiative had me sitting on the fence for a while. I voted NO on the measure a few election cycles ago that created the commission to redraw the state districts not because I'm enamored of the current, legislation-dominated system but because I don't trust Schwarzenegger (who sponsored it). This prop expands that commission's duties to include federal districts. In for a penny, in for a pound, however. I could be pleasantly surprised by the commission's results and we might as well try to make all our legislative districts, state and national, more balanced and competitive.

I'm troubled, however, by a concurrent proposition passed last cycle that mandates open primaries where the top two vote getters will be the only candidates on future ballots. This is the kind of measure that gives ammo to the modern-day Burke who sees only gloom and doom in the extension of the franchise to the hoi polloi. What's the point of competitive districts if the primary campaign sticks two Republicans (or two Democrats or, one could hope, two Greens) in the top slots?

One can hope that a disastrous election cycle will prompt an initiative repealing it.

21 - $18 surcharge on vehicle licensing to fund state parks/wildlife programs - Yes
22 - Prohibits state from borrowing or taxing funds used for transportation projects, etc. - No

Yet another bar to any hope (however faint) of rationally allocating state/local funds.

23 - Suspends implementation of air pollution control law - No

I'll repeat myself - NO. This is a God-awful, short-sighted, oil-industry-sponsored menace not just to the California economy but to the entire frakking world.

24 - Repeals legislation allowing businesses to lower tax liabilities - Yes

We're $50 billion in debt, it's not like we need an incentive to dig the hole any deeper.

25 - Changes voting requirement to pass budget to a simple majority - Yes
26 - Requires certain state/local fees be approved by 2/3rd majority vote - No
27 - Eliminates state commission on redistricting - No

Election 2010 Ballot Recommendations

This is, of course, exclusive to California, though if anyone outside of the Golden State is reading this, I'd say - in general - avoid the Tea Party candidate and anything supported by the Chamber of Commerce.

State Races:
Governor - Laura Wells (Green).

The mainstream options are between Meg Whitman (R), a millionaire whose prescription for California's woes is to turn it into a corporation-friendly, regulation-hostile free-for-all zone, and Jerry Brown (D), who was governor 30 years ago. Of the two, a second Brown administration would be better than a first Whitman but I think it's symptomatic of the state's sclerotic Democratic Party that the only viable candidate they can find is a pol from the '70s.

It's heartening that despite spending over $100 million (reportedly) of her own money on this campaign, Whitman still trails Brown, who's been outspent 86 to 1 (as of August, I doubt the ratio has changed all that much). There may be hope for the electorate after all.

Lieutenant Governor - Gavin Newsom (D).

I was sorely disappointed when Newsom withdrew from the gubernatorial race but the Lt. Gov is a fairly powerful position under CA's constitution so I'm happy there's a potential he can bring his populist, progressive agenda to a statewide venue.

Secretary of State - Debra Bowen (D).

I still think Bowen is doing a good job.

Controller - John Chiang (D).

The same goes for Chiang, if only because he's fighting Schwarzenegger and the Republicans at every turn.

Treasurer - Charles Crittenden (Green).

The odds of Mr. Crittenden becoming our Treasurer say the least but the Republican, Libertarian and American Independent candidates would be disasters and the Democratic nod, Bill Lockyer, is another long-time insider who is (in my mind) too tainted with corporate and development-industry ties.

Attorney General - Kamala Harris (D).

I've heard/read good things about Ms. Harris and if my vote can help keep Steve Cooley (R) out of the office, then she has it.

Insurance Commissioner - William Balderston (Green).

Not much to say about this position. I'm sure the Democratic candidate, Dave Jones, would do fine but I want to help keep a third-party option alive in the state so I'm going with the Green candidate. (Besides, he looks too much like the office manager of the company - which shall remain as nameless as Voldemort - that I work for.)

Senator (US) - Duane Roberts (Green).

Carly Fiorina (R) - the woman who ran HP into the ground and had to be bribed into leaving the company. Yes, this is just what California needs. Barbara Boxer (D) is a decent enough senator and I won't be disappointed if (when, finger's crossed) she wins but she's too tied up with corporate/business interests to be really effective at changing the way things are done. At most she's holding the line but won't fundamentally reorient the system.

Superintendent of Public Instruction - Tom Torlakson (nonpartisan).

I like the cut of his jib.

The other state offices are district specific and unless you live near me would be of even less interest. But here they are:

State Board of Equalization - Jerome Horton (D).
US Representative (32nd) - Judy Chu (D). (I'd go Green but they didn't put up a candidate.)
State Senator (24th) - Ed Hernandez (D). (I have no choice - unless I wanted to leave it blank - he's running unopposed.)
State Assembly (57th) - Roger Hernandez (D). (No relation to Ed, I think.) (Again, I'd go Green but his only opponent is a Republican.)
County Assessor (LA) - John Wong (nonpartisan). (His opponent still thinks 1978's Prop 13 was a good idea.)

Regarding the judicial elections (which are nonpartisan, yes-or-no votes for a name unfamiliar to anyone who hasn't been before their bench or are family members), I direct you to this website: Judge Voter Guide, which is put together by a conservative, Republican-leaning industrious blogger with a lot of time on his hands. NB - VOTE OPPOSITE TO WHAT HE RECOMMENDS. If he's against a judge, then I'm for them.

I'm going to save the ballot measures for a second post later today. Right now (Sunday, Oct 24, 10:32 am), I have to give my cat his thyroid medicine and get my daily bike ride in.