This Democratic Primary hast to be the worst yet, because we have a lot of no-names running for office, super low turnout projected, some truly goofy candidates, and a lot of other things to vote on because people with a lot of money put ’em on the ballot. Meanwhile our state is literally falling apart. THIS is the best we can do?
It’s all a big mess, so I’ve put together a list of things I voted for which you can use or not use, your choice. In many cases I’m leaving my ballot blank or writing in candidates. This is especially true for “unopposed” candidates – hey, unopposed incumbents, you’re all wonderful people, but what’s the point of voting in a race with only one candidate?
So, here goes:
Governor: If AG Brown’s challenger had started up their efforts last year, instead of last month, this might have been an interesting race, especially after Gavin Newsom went down in flames like the Hindenburg on crack. But he didn’t, so former Governor, Mayor, Secretary of State, Community College Trustee and Attorney General Jerry Brown gets the vote. Still, it would have been nice to have a real race, to help strengthen the eventual nominee.
Lt. Governor: F*ck this Peter Principle crap. “Mayor” Gavin Newsom has been about as useful as a football bat and as honest as a BP oil executive. The last thing we need is to give him a promotion so he can act like more of an insufferable bigshot. Vote for Janice Hahn – she seems like a nice person (So nice she hasn’t really used the treasure trove of info against Newsom that much) and her dad was a cool Mayor in the 60s. More importantly, in a general election, you can bet the Republicans will use his record to engage in a political beating that in all likelihood will result in violations of the Geneva Convention. No one wins with that.
Attorney General: This has to be one of the worst primaries I’ve ever seen. You’d think that the California Democratic Party would have some top notch people running for this. Instead we have a DA that has an aversion to prosecuting crime (Kamala Harris), an Internet executive who’s well meaning, but never served in law enforcement (Chris Kelly), and a trio of term limited legislators (Nava, Torrico, and Lieu who I am sure are all good people). I don’t know that any of them are qualified in an era of high tech crime, violent crime, and so on to be our top cop in California. Given that only Harris and Kelly even have a shot, I’m voting for Kelly and hoping to GOD that if he wins, he hires some good people to ensure that the problems of crime are taken seriously in the next 4 years. Besides if Harris wins, her record is a killer outside the boundaries of Liberal San Francisco.
Insurance Commissioner: Having once worked for an Insurance Commissioner (in Washington State) I can safely say that this job seems like a yawner, but it can be often the most important job in the state. A good Insurance Commissioner can make sure that insurance companies are held accountable and fight them when they try to pull shenanigans like Prop. 17. The fact that our current one is a joke doesn’t negate that. Vote for Dave Jones, as he’s endorsed by all the Good People.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson’s record on education in the Legislature was actually pretty good, and he used to be a science teacher so there’s that. I’ve met him a few times and he was always willing to listen to people worried about education, when others wouldn’t so I voted for him. Also, the ruler in my desk drawer somehow has his campaign logo on it – I think I got it at a convention or something, and it’s a good ruler.
All of the rest of the state offices are uncontested, so I’m not bothering with them. Congrats in advance, people.
There’s more, click on through for the rest!
San Francisco Democratic Central Committee (where I talk a lot, feel free to skip): Once a job that they had to go begging for people to run and serve in this unpaid, partisan party office, in the last 2 years these races have become bastions of well funded antagonism. As I said in a separate article, this is only important because most voters just vote however the official party mailer tells them to, so since that’s the case, whoever runs this has a big bat to swing in local elections.
Many supervisors and recent supervisors are running – I’m not so sure I like the idea of elected officials serving both as party clerics charged with raising money for a party AND serving at the same time in office locally, but there’s nothing illegal about it.
The City is split into 2 Assembly Districts, AD’s 12 and 13, and you vote for up to 12 people for whichever district you live in. Many people are paying to put their names on phony baloney slate cards that are just paid advertising with glossy names like “Citizens for All Things Wonderful” and whatnot, so relying on the mail isn’t helpful.
I voted in AD 12 for people like Dan Dunnigan, Alex Volberding (who is working hard at the Fix Muni Now campaign), and a few others that I know, some “moderate”, some “progressive”, then wrote in myself for one of the slots for fun. That’s not because I’m mocking the people who take this seriously – but I am concerned that something that rank-and-file party members could do is being taken away by big money and by elected officials. Plus, I question why we’re forcing the government to pay for elections that only members of one party can even participate in.
Last but not least: Local and State Ballot measures
YES on 13 – A minor change to the tax code so people aren’t penalized for choosing to upgrade their homes to withstand an earthquake. Why are we voting on this? I don’t know but vote YES.
NO on 14 – Some phony “reform” that people claim will make the legislature work better. It won’t and it will take away your right to choose candidates in the fall election. A stupid waste of time put on the ballot because Some Legislator threw a temper tantrum. (Thanks for nothing, Sen. Maldonado!)
NO on 15 – Another loopy, “sounds good” makes you “feel good” thing on public financing that’s so limited, it’s useless. Go all the way or not at all.
NO on 16 – I’ve already written about this in detail, although it kills me that I’m on the same side with a lot of people who were real jerks to me.
NO on 17 – Mercury Insurance’s ads have been some of the most misleading I’ve seen. Basically they want to gut consumer protections to make more money. They don’t care about helping you at all.
And finally, those (many) San Francisco Ballot Measures:
First this note: San Francisco, we really need to start limiting these things to Things that Matter, and eliminate these advisory things. They have no force of law, and I’m tired of hearing about them.
Prop. A – YES – I don’t like voting for parcel taxes, but after talking to my friend Rachel Norton, who is a voice of reason on the School Board, she explained that this is a necessary step to ensure schools don’t all turn to dust when the Big One hits. Vote YES, and hope that the next Big Quake doesn’t sink us in to the Bay.
Prop. B – YES – Our Fire Department is one of the few things that works in this city, and anything to ensure the delivery of services during the Big One, I’ll vote for because I don’t want us to become another New Orleans, post-Katrina. Besides only Chris Daly is against it, and everyone else on all sides is for it.
Prop. C – NO – I wasn’t sure how to vote on this until a former employer of mine who’s a member of the Director’s Guild of America, and is now here in SF, pointed out some problems with this. I’m all for brining more film production to SF – this is a pet project of mine, but there’s nothing in the arguments here that convince me anything better will come of C’s passage.
Prop. D – YES – This is one of those things I defer to the Financial Geniuses of Public Finance, and they all tell me this is one of those things you have to vote YES on so that down the line we’re not cutting fire services or help to those who needs it.
Prop. E – YES – Normally I’m not for fueling the petty political fighting between our Current Mayor and our Current Board, but I don’t understand why it is I can find out how much money they spend on President Obama’s security and not the Mayor’s. Of course THIS Mayor spent a lot of tax dollars running for other offices, and future mayors probably won’t so in the end this becomes a “who cares” things that I’m voting YES on because it upsets the people that hate my guts.
Prop. F – NO – I’d love to think this would help me or anyone I know, or anyone that actually needs it, but I doubt it will. I’ve never seen rent control help me out, as someone who’s working for a living but not making a million bucks. I’d love to see something better to help people in need who could use a break in tough times, but I doubt that this will really help.
Prop. G – YES, but WTF – Vote yes to affirm what’s going to happen anyway. The Transbay Terminal is going to have the HSR there. We know that, and now the world knows it. Yeah I know , I know.