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Proposition 19 – Yes.
I know it’s not written well, and it’ll probably be overturned by federal supremacy. But if it doesn’t pass, it will be interpreted as a mandate against legalization and set the movement back five years minimum.
Proposition 20 – No
This would establish a 14-member non-elected California Citizens Redistricting Commission to take the partisanship out of the Congressional redistricting process and in theory prevent gerrymandering. There would be an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. The problem is that Democratic Party majority states such as Illinois keep passing these reforms while sleazoids like Tom Delay continue to gerrymander to ridiculous proportions in places like Texas and Oklahoma. California has the biggest delegation and this will have an enormous impact benefiting Republicans at the national level. I wouldn’t object so much if similar measures were being simultaneously passed in the red states.
Proposition 21 – Yes
This would restore the vehicle licensing fee amounts to the benefit of the park system by $18.00 per year. As an incentive, the measure also offers free entrance to the state parks. I consider fees of this nature to be regressive taxes, so I tend to oppose them, but this will save the park system.
Proposition 22 – No
The measure would keep municipal redevelopment funds local, which sounds good, but it would deprive the state of the ability to reallocate all of its resources in times of fiscal emergency, and that will be a detriment to everything from state highways to education.
A side note, this measure applies only to cities, not counties. That means if the cities don’t cough up their cash, they’ll take even more from those living in unincorporated areas.
Proposition 23 – Big No!
This is about oil companies freaking out about Assembly Bill 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, which imposes enforceable limits on greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. Basically it prevents the act from materializing until the state’s unemployment rate has been under 5.5 percent for a year.
Proponents say that the new regs will kill jobs. Opponents say that California’s infrastructure is at the point where a green boost could actually increase jobs, which runs counter to the prevailing economics narrative of the past 30 years. The argument has taken prominence in the Governor’s race. Is it a job killer, or stimulative? In any case, the oil companies picked a perfect time to push this as everyone is jittery about jobs. But there’s no consensus among economists. Ironically, there are a number of business interests outside of the oil industry which oppose this thing, because investors have been working towards the transition for some time now.
Proposition 24 – Yes
In order to pass a recent budget Democrats had to concede some “reforms” of taxes which allow companies to share tax credits with subsidiaries and related businesses and greatly expanded the ability of businesses to spread credits for losses over many years even those which are profitable. This measure would essentially repeal those provisions and re-establish firm criteria for determining the income of multistate businesses. The estimate is that it will restore 1.7 billion in revenue. The opposition consists of the usual whining that businesses will leave California, but they’ve sung that song for decades now and being on the Pacific Rim, California is going to be a desired business location regardless. Besides, can you attract the best employees if you relocate to Nevada? Who wants to live there?
Proposition 25 – Big yes!
Would put an end to the gridlock which has cost the state billions by reducing the vote threshold to pass a budget and budget related matters from two thirds to a simple majority. Long, long overdue!
As an added perk legislators would lose their salaries on a daily basis until it passes. The losses would not be made up.
It does not, by the way, reduce the two-thirds majority to pass taxes – which would be fine with me.
Proposition 26 – No
This would require a two thirds majority for any local increases in fees, levies, charges, and any revenue not currently defined as taxes. As I’ve said, fees tend to be regressive, but it would make it impossible for local governments to raise money. Think Measure L. It would have failed under Prop. 26.
Proposition 27 – Yes
This would basically dissolve the Redistricting Commission created by proposition in 2008 and restore the responsibility to the legislature – it was the state district version of this year’s Prop 20. I’m not in favor of non-elected panels anyway, and I especially want accountability in something so important. All the same reasons I oppose Prop 20.
Over the weekend I’ll post my candidate endorsements. I may have a surprise or two.
Thanks to John Rogers for this link. It’s a chart of various political organizations from left to right with their ballot prop endorsements.
District Attorney – Paul Hagen. I’m not going to be overly long-winded about this. I know I’m in the minority in Sohum, and I understand the loyalty. I am not voting against Paul Gallegos, whom I consider a friend and whom I’ll support in a run-off against Jackson if that’s how it falls. I’m simply voting for the candidate I believe has the best leadership qualities to run the District Attorney office in a manner which will mitigate the deep political/cultural divide in the county and the impact of that divide on the office’s function. Hagen has shown just as much courage in taking on the big boys as Gallegos, and he’s landed a few of them in jail and obtained fines against many more. The whole “he hasn’t tried felonies” meme is a canard – the standard of proof is the same for felonies and misdemeanors. I do sympathize with Gallegos in that many in what we term the “Old Guard” have undermined Gallegos from the start – pushing a recall before his office seat was warmed. He’s made some mistakes and he’s had some good successes, and maybe he’ll find his groove. But I think Hagen, every bit as progressive politically as Gallegos, is better suited for the office. I would like to see Gallegos run for Supervisor, or maybe even a higher office. He’s got the machine in place, and a legislative office is more suited for his vision.
Assessor – Jon Brooks for all the reasons I’ve stated on this blog and in my letter to the TS.
Auditory/Controller – Joseph Mellett
Sheriff – Mike
Senator – Barbara Boxer (though I love Mickey Kaus’ writing and I was tempted to vote for him on that basis, Boxer is actually a pretty good Senator)
Congress – Mike Thompson
Governor – Jerry Brown
Lt. Governor – it’s a springboard position, to preserve and groom candidates for a real office. Besides, Brown could die in office. In any case, for all his faults, Gavin Newsom is an excellent candidate who may be needed to take down some mad dog Republican for office some day. He’s got my vote.
Attorney General – Kamala Harris
Insurance Commissioner – David Jones. It’s time to get someone with consumer advocacy experience into the office. For some reason Californians keep insisting on electing foxes to watch the hen house.
Secretary of State – Debra Bowen – she’s actually done an excellent job, with one minor lapse of intelligence regarding her reading of the run-off election process. I forgive her.
Controller – John Chiang
Treasurer – Bill Lockyer
State School Superintendent – Gloria Romero
Board of Equalization – Betty Yee
State Senate – Noreen Evans
Did I forget anything?
I’m a little late looking at the ballot initiatives this year. I’ll post something soon, but I can tell you that I agree with Jared no votes on the initiatives being pushed by PG&E and Mercury Insurance. I probably agree with him on the other initiatives as well.
As to the candidates for various offices, I agree with most of what I see for what I’ve looked at. I’ll comment on the local races later, and I lean towards Gavin Newsom from Lt. Governor, although I don’t know Janice Hahn.
Jared Rossman Recommends:
Governor – Jerry Brown
Lt. Governor – Janice Hahn
Attorney General – Kamilla Harris (I’m still mad at her for taking Terrence Hallinan out of office, but I’ll probably vote for her)
Insurance Commissioner – Dave Jones (did he ever find his locker?)
Board of Equalization – Betty Yee
U.S. Senate – Barbara Boxer
State Senate – Noreen Evans
State School Superintendent – Tom Torlakson
Assessor – Jon Brooks
Auditor – Joseph Mellett
District Attorney – Paul Gallegos
Sheriff – Mike Downey
Prop 13 – Yes
Prop 14 – No
Prop 15 – Yes
Prop 16 – No
Prop 17 – No
Measure L – Yes
You can compare his recommendations with the SF Bay Guardian’s. They agree re Hahn. Guess I’ll have to read up on her.
Addendum: Hmm. The Bay Guardian’s “endorsement” of her is uninspiring to say the least. From their piece:
Hahn in not overly impressive as a candidate. When we met her, she seemed confused about some issues and scrambled to duck others. She told us she’s not sure she’s in favor of legalizing pot, but she isn’t sure why she’s not sure since she has no arguments against it. She won’t take a position on a new peripheral canal, although she can’t defend building one and says that protecting San Francisco Bay has to be a priority. She won’t rule out offshore oil drilling, although she said she has yet to see a proposal she can support. Her main economic development proposal was to bring more film industry work to California, even if that means cutting taxes for the studios or locating the shoots on Indian land where there are fewer regulations.
Second Addendum: You can also compare with Fred’s picks.
And there are the ever-colorful endorsements of the AVA’s Bruce Anderson.
It’s Mike Wilson in the third and Richard Marks in the Fourth – my picks exactly, but I guess in local politics terms a split ticket.
Obviously I don’t disagree with the endorsements, but it dawns on me that I can’t recall an election where the TS didn’t seem to be deliberately splitting its endorsements among slates. It’s like they’re determined to sit on the fence.
Over at the Arcata Eye, Kevin Hoover posted a very good discussion of the Third District race. Does anybody besides me really miss Kevin’s Nohum Reports on KMUD Monday mornings?
Kevin is endorsing Wilson by the way, and the trail – but not some of his progressive support (including Heraldo).
I supported Carlos Quilez. I support Mike Wilson. So why am I supporting in the 4th District a candidate with support from the same coalition I’m opposing everywhere else? The same reason I endorsed Marks a couple of years ago for Supervisor – we need more working class progressives in office. We don’t often have an opportunity to put one there. And while I don’t want entrenched local and extra-county interests dictating local development policies, we need jobs. We need unions. We need union jobs. And I believe Marks will make an excellent swing vote; at least I have great hope he will.
Let me start with a little bit of history. As you know, much of my politics is conditioned by Bay Area experiences. I lived in San Francisco from 1989 to 1995. This was a major transition period from the “old San Francisco” of racial and economic diversity to a more affluent young white liberalism producing a new SF culture of what Harold Solomon called “homogenized arrogance” and what the SF Bay Guardian referred to as “the world’s first economically cleansed city.” I watched unbridled gentrification strip SF and the surrounding areas of their character, forcing the working classes into long commutes from the burgeoning sprawls in the Valley.
This was precipitated by a number of factors, some of them arguably inevitable. San Francisco is already the second most compact city in the country, and everybody and her grandmother wants to live there. Property values were bound to skyrocket, as the bohemians unwittingly aided in the gentrification by moving into the ethnic minority heavy neighborhoods thus diluting the yuppie fears of the swarthy masses. Even Hunter’s Point and the Tenderloin are out of range for the people who have lived there for decades.
And then there are the factors which weren’t inevitable – the short-sight of progressives who boldly took on and sometimes defeated the “downtown interests” but who paved the way for gentrification. (more under the fold) Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following message from the Marks campaign. You won’t find a local coalition more broad than this one.
California 1st District Assemblyman Wes Chesbro has endorsed Richard Marks for Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Commissioner, Fourth Division.
“Richard recognizes the importance of connecting job creation with environmental stewardship,” Chesbro said. “I applaud his commitment to developing sustainable industries that strengthen our local economy while preserving the natural beauty of our bay. He’s definitely the right choice for Harbor Commissioner.”
Marks replied, “I am honored to have the endorsement of Assemblyman Chesbro, and will work hard to create living wage job opportunities along our bay.”
Richard Marks has also been endorsed by the following elected officials:
Virginia Bass — Eureka Mayor
Mark Wheatley – Arcata Mayor
Frank Jager — Eureka City Councilmember
Shane Brinton — Arcata City Councilman
Ronnie Pellegrini — Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioner, Division 1
John Woolley – former Humboldt County Supervisor, Third District
Peter La Vallee – former Eureka Mayor
Along with most of the working unions in the North Coast that want to see more jobs in our community.
Matthew Owen, Campaign Chair
I also endorse Marks, for reasons I’ll make explain in a future post. I endorse Mike Wilson in the other race.
As per your comment in the thread below, I voted for 1B. On the off chance that 1A passes, it will mitigate things a little bit for the schools, and maybe if it does better than the other props it’ll send a small message about voter priorities. Mostly, I can’t think of any way it actually hurts to vote, except that a straight up “no” down the line would send a message to the legislature to do it’s job, stop wasting time and money with special elections, and show some leadership in addressing the structural problems which allow the minority party to hold the process hostage to their narrow agenda.
I’ll be out of town on the 19th, so I submitted my ballot about 20 minutes ago. Too late to change my mind again.
I’m voting against all of them. Basically, these measures are half-assed alternatives to the necessary step of raising taxes – right now the only means the legislature has of maintaining fiscal responsibility and maintaining basic necessary programs. Unfortunately, because of the goofiness of the tax revolts of the late 70s and early 80s which require among other things a two-thirds majority for any tax increases. The legislature is hand-cuffed, and nobody wants to even make the effort to raise the revenues. So we’re getting a piecemeal proposal which cannibalizes essential programs to meet short term budget balancing needs. The hard right rejects the proposals because the moderates of their party tried to sweeten the deal for liberals by throwing in a few bones in the form of taxes, while placing even more restrictions on the discretion of the legislature to adapt to the needs of a particular year. If you don’t trust the legislature with your money, then vote in a different legislature, but don’t try to micromanage the budget process by ballot.
1A - proposes to put a larger chunk of money into a “rainy day” fund, and requires that it be done every year regardless of the economic conditions. It’s essentially a spending cap, and quite frankly if we have extra money I’d much rather it be used to pay off bonded debt. Having a rainy day fund is like putting money in the bank with a 1 percent interest when you have an outstanding balance on a loan for 7 percent.
Basically, the proposition locks us into a formula that does not allow flexibility to expand social services as the retirement population increases dramatically. And from what some of the experts are saying, the formulas for usage during “rainy days” are somewhat obscure.
Also, the proposition extends the time period for the emergency sales tax to 2012, instead of the current expiration of 2010. The sales tax is a regressive tax. Whether it’s necessary to get through this lien time, it shouldn’t be encouraged as a long term option.
1B – Guarantees that some of the 1A money would go to education, a bone thrown to get CTA support for 1A. Without the 1A funds, it’s pointless.
1C – Looks to allow flexibility to sell more lottery tickets. The Lottery is essentially a regressive tax which prays on mathematical ignorance and the hope of lower income people. I don’t support it as it is, and I certainly don’t support its expansion. And I don’t support messing with the flow of the money to encourage the use of the lottery for purposes beyond education.
1D – Seeks to pull money out of the special fund from tobacco taxes (Proposition 10) for certain children’s programs in order to be put into the general fund. Why are they picking on childrens’ programs? If they were willing to dip into the designated funds for prison construction and road construction as well, I might consider it as I would prefer the legislature have the flexibility to determine the needs and priorities of the moment, but until then leave the kids alone.
1E – Does what 1D does, only messes with the mental health care recipients instead, albeit temporarily. Again, don’t let essential services be deprived because moderate Republicans don’t want to increase taxes.
1F – A moronic proposal to prohibit legislative pay increases when there’s a budget deficit. First of all, contrary to popular belief legislators are not overpaid in terms of the market value of their services. Despite the popular bashing of politicians, they are actually underpaid. And to a certain extent they should be. But this is just a feel-good measure which plays on pettiness and adds nothing to the solution. The problem is not that the legislators are sitting on their asses. The problem is that they’re structurally paralyzed by the 2/3 vote requirement.
Hopefully, in 2010 there will be a ballot measure to eliminate the 2/3 vote requirement for tax increases. That’s what’s necessary, unless you want to slash even further the bare-bones services we currently receive. The lack of services is actually starting to take an economic toll.
Personally, I’d also like to see the elimination of constitutional changes by ballot box, or at least the instituting of 2/3 majority for that purpose.
In summary, my recommendations: no, no, no, no, no, no.
Get em while they’re hot. The “only truly progressive paper in the country” as deemed by Alex Cockburn so ironically named “the Advertiser,” offers up a healthy plate of rustic radical hyperbole in endorsements for your pleasure.
Nader for president. Wolman for Congress. Anybody but “lazy” old Chesbro for Assembly.
Bruce and I agree on all but two of the propositions (many lefties are balking over Prop 3 because it gives money to private hospitals, and he also supports Prop 7 but says we are free to vote the way we want on that one – don’t say he isn’t gracious!), but our reasoning on some of them is vastly different. His prose is worth the read even if you’ve made up your mind.
In local stuff he’s backing the other Estelle, Brown, and the nurse over the doctor in the north coasts’ only other contested hospital board race.
And as a bonus, he tears into the Mendo D.A. This first paragraph brings back memories of my first AVA reading back in the 1980s, several years before his obsessive pursuit of certain local personalities distracted him from his calling.
In recent months, the Mendocino County District Attorney has prosecuted a Fort Bragg man for saving a mountain lion cub, put a Little River man in jail for tidying up a State Parks trail, ruined a Potter Valley teacher with false charges of molestation, let a couple of confirmed wife beaters go, confiscated the property of several alleged drug traffickers before they’d even gone to trial, refused to prosecute two politically friendly County supervisors for their obvious thefts of public funds and, now, has done everything short of apologizing to an animal torturer whose prosecution her office botched from start to pathetic finish.
I don’t remember the name of the person who said that the job of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, but he lives up to it as well as the Pulititzer admonition on his masthead: “a newspaper should have no friends.“
Proposition 1 – High Speed Rail Bonds – Yes
As I’ve said in past endorsements, I’m not particularly enthralled with the bond debt system of funding projects in California. But this is the type of endeavor the bond system was created for. The law would authorize the selling of 9 billion dollars in bonds in order to finance a high speed rail system connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles. It’s way overdue, and absolutely essential to the future of the California economy. It would mitigate dependence on oil. It would create almost half a million permanent jobs, not including about 300 thousand jobs to construct the system.
The system would be completed around 2030 and it would take 2 hours and 40 minutes from one end to the other.
As structural issues and the flight of industry from the US create profound economic difficulties, and finance crisis threaten the immediate economic future, money spent on rebuilding the infrastructure to address 21st century realities is essential.
The opposition consists of the usual tax posse and I’m afraid that in rough economic times voters are less likely to approve costly measures such as this one. Then again, 9 billion doesn’t sound like so much in light of the week’s top news, especially since this money would result in something of tangible public benefit. In any case, this is an investment that is potentially good for the economy, the environment, energy issues, and long term fiscal concerns (we are told that the new system would serve in lieu of 3000 miles of additional highway and several more airports, probably not much cheaper than 9 billion).
The drawback for me is that it might result in development sprawl along the tracks, depending on the number of stops. I would hope that the stops get locked in and the system resistant to developer pressure to create more stops for new subdivisions in the middle of what is now nowhere. But the benefits fare outweigh these risks.
Proposition 2 – Farm Animal Confinement Standards – Yes
This measure attempts to reform “factory farm” practices by requiring that confinement of certain animals (calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens, and pregnant pigs) be confined only in ways which allow them to lie down, stand up, extend their limbs, and turn around freely.
It will place a burden on some farmers and it will increase the cost of the food, at least in the short term. As a consumer who buys “free range” when I can afford it, I find the proposal compelling. It is a question of values, and the livestock under current practices, particularly (though not exclusively contrary to popular view) those of corporate farming, are quite brutal by any reasonable sensibilities. One side benefit will be to benefit family farms which already practice ethical treatment of livestock and while the price of eggs will increase generally, they will decrease for those of us who are already purchasing “free range” eggs.
The opposition is trotting out some compelling arguments of their own, and some ridiculous arguments. The impact on low income consumers cannot be denied. The arguments that it will increase health risks of the food and contribute to global warming are less persuasive. Either way, I hope the proponents to not overly-demonize the opposition. Few people enjoy the suffering of animals, but some simply weigh the potential suffering of human beings heavier. For me it’s a question of degree, and by the way there are plenty of health risks under current polices as well. The issue won’t be decided on that debate, but on the question of values. As passe as it sounds, the mass suffering of other species to feed ours is not something human beings should practice and tolerate – not when we have options.
Proposition 3 – Bonds for Children’s Hospitals – Yes
980 million in bonds for capital improvements to five children’s hospitals. It won’t happen without the funds. On the budget scale it’s not a lot of money. We need them, and we need them functional. Seems like a no-brainer, even in this budget challenged moment.
I’ll prep up my endorsements for the remaining propositions and post them later.