Don't forget to check out the Direct Mail Disinfo Rehab Archive before you vote!
If you are like many people in this state, you asked for a mail ballot this year. And, if you're like most people in this state, you still haven't returned it yet.
Don't feel bad - just about everyone else is in the same boat you are. Return rates in key counties in California are abysmally low, owing to the fact that there are so many candidates, most of whom no one has heard of, running for so many offices. Every campaign I've worked on this cycle is seeing record rates of non return of ballots statewide.
So, beat those election blues, and print out a copy of my patented All-Star Guide to the California Primary. You can easily fill out your ballot, and you get a dose of snark just for laughs!
The Big Races
Note: If people are running unopposed, I'm not including them here since there's nothing to choose!
U.S. Senate: Whatever you think of Dianne Feinstein (some folks love her, some folks hate her, some folks don't know) know this: Dianne Feinstein is going to win the Democratic Primary in a landslide Vin Diesel would envy, and is going to be re-elected. Oh yeah, there's some token resistance but you might as well cast at least one vote for a winning candidate.
Since the balloting is so easy for California, may I suggest you send a 20 or a 50 dollar bill to the campaign of Jon Tester for US Senate instead?. Jon is the kind of Democrat we need in Washington DC, who can win in a place like Montana. He's a no-BS guy who represents the best the West has to offer - and he's going to have a chance to knock out Sen. Conrad Burns, who is so deep in scandal it isn't funny. Besides if he wins he can help DiFi be a committee chair, so it's a twofer.
California Governor: It does not take a genius to figure out that I am not a fan of Governor Doofinator, and his constant lying, "reinventing" of himself, and the tomfoolery that was the Credit Card Bond. So, who then, can send this guy back to his magic ticket and his restaurant in Santa Monica?
I'm telling folks to vote for Phil Angelides. Yeah, I know, I know. But the usual math doesn't apply here. Angelides has been consistently opposing Gov. Doofinator from Day One, he didn't monkey around in the recall or support the Credit Card Bond, and he's straight with voters on what he'll do if elected. Republicans who chortle at the follies of the primary take note: Democrats chortled at your follies when they had Congress and the Presidency in 1994 - and look at what happened to them.
Lt. Governor:Tough one for me, as I met John Garamendi (albeit over the phone) while working for the Insurance Commissioner for the State of Washington. Nice guy. But I've always been a supporter of Sen. Jackie Speier throughout her career. What to do? Flip a coin? Waffle? I can't vote for both!
I'm gonna vote for Speier, since I think she would do more with the office. Garamendi is a great guy, but I wish he'd run for something else so I wouldn't have to make this kind of choice. Besides, she's the hometown hero!
Secretary of State:This one is easy - Easy choice : State Sen. Deborah Bowen. Not only was she one of the few candidates to get an endorsement at the Democratic Convention, she is also the only candidate who actually worked on any of the issues a Secretary of State faces (i.e. voting machines, political reform, etc.) and she was my State Senator when I lived in Venice.
Attorney General: Another difficult choice. I've been supporting Jerry Brown for years. Back in Santa Cruz I organized a rally with him during his Presidential bid that got on CNN and CSPAN, and later when I worked at a tech company, ended up explaining our RealAudio technology to him when he had the radio show. It's hard not to support him, but Rocky Delgadillo isn't such a bad guy either. So vote for Jerry Brown but let's hope we see Delgadillo run for something else someday.
State Controller: Don't you just love that title? Sounds like one is running for Cylon Overlord for California or something. Here's a chance for you to give someone a promotion who actually deserves it: vote for Sen. Joe Dunn. This guy really did stand up to Enron and their BS during the power crisis, and beyond, and he'll bring that integrity to the Controller's office. Unlike people like Sen. Sheila Kuehl, who voted for giving away the state to greedy speculators, Joe Dunn was the guy who remembered job 1 for him is serving the citizens. Go Joe!
State Senate, District 8: This is a tough one for me - Lou Papan was a real hero in supporting the special ed program at my old high school, where my mom works. But Mike Nevin's wife also worked at my old high school and knew my mom too. Oh yeah, there's current Assemblyman Leland Yee running a strong campaign too. So who do I vote for? Calgon, take me away!
In the end I voted for Lou Papan, but not as part of some plot to deny Nevin votes but more due to a coin toss between two guys from San Mateo County, and because he was such a good guy in the Assembly when it came to special education. But the battle seems to be between Yee and Nevin so if you want to vote for someone who's more likely to win, then go ahead and vote for Mike Nevin.
State Assembly, District 12 - SF: Ok, like you had to ask. I'm telling everyone to vote for Janet Reilly. and regular readers know I've written about when she kicked off her campaign, when she campaigned with John Kerry, and about the only debate she had with Ms. Ma..
People ask me why and the answer is simple. There are people in the local and state Democratic Party who view the Party and those in it as part of an exclusive club, and that club likes things predictable, safe, and for the benefit of their club membership, since after all, they have the best interests of The People at heart. Anyone questioning that is cast out as a pariah.
Janet's campaign has never been one on the "inside" and as such is a lot more welcoming to citizen input, and isn't as beholden to the club mentality that really disdains volunteers, Internet activists, and anyone not Already In The Club. They really don't like you, and don't like the fact they have to ask you to vote for them because They're Just That Good. Plus, when you see the nonsense being tossed at Janet, you figure she can't be that bad. Vote for Janet and piss off the Man.
Proposition 81 - Library Bonds - vote NO: How can anyone be against library bonds? That means more money for libraries right? And I like libraries so I should support it, right? NO!
This is Yet Another Bond Issue that gets on the ballot because it "gives money" to good causes. But you see, it doesn't "give money" - it sells debt that we have to pay billions in interest on later. That blows out the budget in future years. So many bonds are passed by voters that it is killing our state's ability to make budget decisions. Vote no, and tell them to raise taxes or cut something first.
Proposition 82 - Preschool for All - Vote YES: This proposition isn't perfect, nor is it a cure all. But it doesn't use bonds, and it does take a step towards doing what we should be doing to at least not have as many screw ups in the public school system. Besides, Rob Reiner isn't that bad of a guy.
San Francisco Propositions A, B, C, D: Sometimes there's such a thing as too much democracy and voting, and the fact we're even voting on some of this stuff, which should either be passed by the Board of Supervisor and voted up or down by the Mayor, or perhaps addressed elsewhere, is a sign. But since we do have them, here's an easy way to vote:
If you like Mayor Gavin Newsom, and allied interests, and do not like the Board of Supervisors and their allied interests, go ahead and vote "no" on everything. Sure, there is that issue of violent homeless people being put in the old folks home at Laguna Honda, but so what? Gavin's got a tough re-election in 2007, possibly, and the last thing he needs some ballot measures to give him guff.
If you do not like Mayor Gavin Newsom and allied interest, and like the Board of SUpervisors, and their allied interests, go ahead and vote "yes" on everything. Sure, that whole Ellis Act notification thing probably won't stop a desperate home-buyer from running over Grandma to get that TIC, but so what? Gavin's got a tough re-election in 2007, possibly, and perhaps these ballot measures (some of which were put on the ballot by Supervisor Daly) might be able to give him some guff.
San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee: Ok, pop quiz: what is the one job people run for, spend money to get elected to, that most people have not even heard of much less know what they do?
That would be the Democratic Party Central Committee. Ya see, each county has a "Central Commitee" for each party. These are partisan positions within the parties themselves - they are not funded by the state or anything like that. These might seem like ceremonial posts, but how the people on this committee vote determine all sorts of party business at the local and state level. So in a way it matters, but not always in an immediately understandable way.
The problem is you have to vote for so many people out of a pack of like, a zillion, and (thank GOD) "Ranked Choice Voting" has no place in these races. I'm going to recommend the two people I actually have met and known: Boe Hayward in the 12th Assembly District and Tim Paulson in the 13th.
Both are good guys - I helped out Boe with his postcards this year, and Tim Paulson is the director of the San Francisco Labor Council and all around good guy. There's two endorsements - figure out the rest of the slots on the ballot after casting your ballot for these guys.
That's it! Enjoy the fireworks on June 6th!