Well, I got my boleta oficial in the mail. Let’s see what’s on tap for June 7—or June 6 if you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger.
President of the United States: Gloria la Riva
Have I mentioned I’m registered Peace and Freedom? I’m registered Peace and Freedom. I take great joy in knowing my vote counts for 1/100,000th of the outcome instead of 1/9,000,000th of it.
Anyway, I voted for La Riva when she ran for governor in 1994 and 1998 (but not for president in 2008, because she wasn’t on the ballot in California). Happy that Gray Davis won, but that’s not why you vote anyway. That’s what sports are for.
Lynn Kahn is also running. She was the first candidate to file, as it turns out. I don’t know much about her.
Finally Monica Moorehead is running. All the jokes have been made, and with a Clinton running it’s easy to make those jokes again. Go ahead. In any case, Moorehead had always run for president with La Riva as her running mate, but this year it appears that it would be Lamont Lilly.
As far as the races in the other parties go, I’ll just say that Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton was much closer at this point of the race eight years ago than Clinton/Bernie Sanders is now. It’s not going to matter. Clinton will win it all.
Sanders supporters ought to vote anyway because the more delegates he has, the more influence he can have on the platform, and that’s really what you want out of a candidate such as himself.
United States Senator: John Thompson Parker
So this one is funny because California has a dumbass jungle primary, so the two candidates in November will probably be Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez. That’s something to be proud of anyway.
Something like 34 people are running for this seat, and many bought the right to have a statement in the voter guide. Some of these candidates, who again paid real money to provide a statement, provided blank statements. Some just gave a URL. This is your one chance to make an impression on people who have no idea who you are, and this is what you do? Whatever. Here are some highlights.
Ling Ling Shi didn’t submit a photo and is probably using a Senate run to drive traffic to her designed-in-1997 website. She indicates no party preference and is from one of my favorite cities, Rancho Cucamonga.
Massie Munroe is a Democrat and wants you to join her in the fight against “‘mind control slavery’ by satellite energy technology weapons and social engineering programs that have been in continual development for the past 50 years.” She has 664 likes on Facebook, so if you’ll like her, I’ll like her, too.
President Cristina Grappo is also a Democrat and clearly running for the wrong office. In her own words, “I am mainstream Facebook in social media! My core values drive America!” Well, if that’s the case, then she doesn’t need my help. Moving on.
Don Grundmann simply shares that he has the much coveted fight-the-power.org domain. But if you go there (some things I just can’t link to) you can see he’s probably going to support Donald Trump in the general election unless the Constitution Party tells him to do otherwise. My favorite piece of his is the one in which he calls black people “chumps.” San Leandro has the weirdest white people I know.
Herbert Peters is a Democrat but refers to himself as an “Andrew Jackson Democrat.” Some easy jokes there if you want to do the legwork. I can tell he is old because he uses lowercase L’s instead of ones in his numerals (example: ll8 instead of 118). Unfortunately for him, the voter information guide uses a sans serif font.
Karen Roseberry is a Republican. Her website uses the WordPress Twenty Ten theme, which makes me think she ran for the Senate six years ago and is recycling the website.
Jason Hanania, in his statement, simply puts the binary number for 101: 01100101. It’s also another way to write the letter E, but I can’t explain why.
I saved the best for last.
Mike Beitiks really deserves your vote. His website has a cute domain, and he refers to his platform as “narrow. It’s more of a single board, really.” Beitiks is your climate change candidate. That’s all he cares about because, if we don’t solve that, nothing else matters. Pretty legit. He should run for governor in 2018 where he can actually make a difference.
That’s enough. Let’s move on.
United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren
I’ve said this before, but I hate jungle primaries with only two candidates, because it literally doesn’t matter who you vote for. You have to make the same decision again in November with the same candidates. It’s as meaningless as a preseason NFL game, only your head hurts without getting a concussion. I guess that’s more efficient?
State Senator, District 15: Jim Beall
There are four candidates, two each from the two major parties. As an aside, it’s really hard to spell out the numbers because at work we always use numerals, but I think it calls too much attention to the numbers in this context.
Beall is the incumbent. In his statement, he talks about things he had done before he became a state senator. Who, exactly, are you going to convert with such a declaration? Do you really think you came up with highways 85 and 87 all by yourself, all during your last term?
Having said that, he does support universal
preschool pre-K. (What was wrong with “preschool”?) He also supports raising the minimum wage, although now that it’s indexed to inflation in San Jose I don’t care so much anymore. (But I should. Rent increases higher than inflation does.)
Nora Campos was termed out of the Assembly so now she is trying to primary Beall. (I’m not going to get into why term limits suck again. The Internet is doing a fine job managing that without me.) I get it. She needs something to do. But maybe wait until Beall’s done with his current term?
It’s just not appropriate to play the victim card (“special interests … will be opposing me”) when you’re the one coming in from the outside. Wait your turn.
Chuck Page is from Saratoga. He’s not going to represent my interests. Will he represent yours? He has standard fiscal conservative viewpoints, so he’s got a shot if that’s what you’re into. When he talks about the environment he means the job environment.
Anthony Macias didn’t submit a statement.
In what is essentially a three-way race, Page should be putting money into Campos’s campaign to guarantee himself a second place finish. Then anything can happen.
Member of the State Assembly, District 28: Evan Low
Another race with just two candidates. The voter information pamphlet (not to be confused with the aforementioned voter information guide) has a typo, calling Nicholas Sclavos a family “buisness” manager. As my manager says, typos bite.
City of San Jose, Member, City Council, District 6: Chris Roth
This is a somewhat wide open race, and I’ve gotten a ton of mailers. There are at least 2 PACs sending me negative stuff, too. Anyway, it’s probably the most important thing on the ballot because the electorate is smaller, and it’s essentially guaranteeing someone a job for 8 years, after which BART will finally be here, and the A’s still won’t.
Myron Von Raesfeld has the most interestingly designed yard signs, but I see so few of them. It uses a very wide font, and the letters all run together. I don’t know that this is such a good design decision, but it’s clearly memorable.
Anyway, Von Raesfeld moved here in the ’90s and is playing the “we used to be the safest big city in America” card. It’s a little tired, but I wish him well. He is also a former firefighter but doesn’t appear to have an endorsement from them, which is odd. Realtors like him.
In what will be a recurring theme, he’s a good candidate, but he isn’t the best one for me. Recommended if you like outsiders with good intentions.
Erik Fong has been sending me a lot of stuff in the mail, but in a crowded field, it’s just not working on me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. His yard signs have his name in giant letters, which you can do when your name is short.
Fong is the Kartma guy. Kartma is amazing. I maintain Kartma is so good that it is why the neighboring Peet’s closed. I am also a conspiracist.
Recommended if you like pragmatic philanthropists who care about the community.
Ruben Navarro I think has an outside chance of making it to the runoff. He’s the only candidate against the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet, a touchy issue for many people. I think he’s subtly going after the conservatives, because his signs are very red, white, and blue, and they use a ’90s Helvetica-inspired font. He’s also active on Nextdoor, which I think most of the other candidates could do a better job with.
His parents are both union, so he’s a uniquely San Jose candidate to me. I fear he doesn’t have the flexibility to empathize with people who disagree with him, but he’s a great candidate for a large swath of District 6. If he doesn’t advance to the general, it’s only because his campaign has been too grassroots.
Recommended if you don’t like the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet and big money candidates.
Dev Davis is the early favorite among the candidates. She has the Chamber of Commerce endorsement as well as a great name. (“Dev” is short for “Devora,” a great name in its own right.) I think she peels off a few votes from developers, both web and land, who giggle because they self-identify as devs.
Davis discloses her age (38) and refers to herself as a fiscal conservative, a popular phrase to get votes in San Jose. She is also Chuck Reed’s preferred candidate. She’s about to earn her dual master’s degree and has two adopted children. Her signs are kind of bland.
I’m sure she’s a lovely person. Not having been a fan of the past two mayors, I’m not inclined to support her.
Recommended if you’re a long-time San Josean.
Helen Chapman has run a great campaign and I think could be the third choice when all is said and done, and that’s a shame. Her statement is a little too filled with rhetoric, but she has signs everywhere. I’d like to see her continue to pursue public service because she clearly cares.
Recommended if you like “high energy” candidates.
Norm Kline is probably the other candidate that makes the general. I liked his mailer with the picture of him from when he was in high school. He’s the same age as my own father (58), so the resemblance is striking.
The former Apple product manager is a hustler in the best sense of the word, having worked many jobs to get to where he is today. He fits the mold of someone who made it and now wants to give back. I will probably have to vote for him in November. His lawn signs must be boring, because I cannot remember what they look like. I know I haven’t seen too many of them.
The Mercury News endorses him, as does the current major, Sam Liccardo. He’s also a former mayor of Saratoga.
Recommended if you like self-made people with a great work ethic.
Peter Allen is also 38, and he was the last candidate I had heard of among them. He’s a third-generation San Josean, which is increasingly difficult to find these days.
I’ve seen a fair amount of lawn signs from this guy as well. They remind me of Davis’s, but I’m not implying one stole the idea from the other. There are only so many colors and typefaces out there, and there are eight candidates. I do like the vertical rule in his. It shows a steadiness one would expect from a leader.
I see this run as a stepping stone to running again or for some other public service soon. He’s got time. He’s also chair of the San Jose Arts Commission.
Recommended if you like city culture.
Roth drew the short straw in terms of being listed at the end of the ballot. Having said that, if you’re in a long list, you want to be first or last in order to stand out.
Speaking of standing out, Roth lists his occupation on the ballot as “father,” but in Spanish it says “padre de familia.” For those who watch TV with SAP turned on, you know that that is also what the show “Family Guy” is called. Does this make Roth the voice of Latino millennials? Doubtful, but it could be enough to grab a few extra votes.
Anyway, I like Roth because I like libraries. That was what initially attracted me to his candidacy, and my neighbors have all seen my yard sign of his. (It’s a yard sign, incidentally, with the best design and use of color.)
Roth is the chair of the San Jose Library and Early Education Commission. He’s also only 35, which means a deep run in this race sets him up for additional public service, and I want someone such as this guy representing me wherever possible. He also has endorsements from Gavin Newsom and Madison Nguyen.
Recommended if you like libraries.
Proposition 50: Yes
We don’t always get to vote on the sexiest things. Here we get to decide how suspending legislators works. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we could change how those rules work.
Today it just takes a majority vote to suspend a lawmaker, and when you consider the partisan atmosphere we have, it isn’t hard to railroad a lawmaker when it’s not necessarily appropriate.
Proposition 50 will require a two-thirds majority to suspend someone. In addition, the legislator would no longer receive salary or benefits while suspended.
What did it for me was seeing who was for and against it. The president of the League of Women Voters helped author the argument in favor, while term limit supporters provided the rebuttal. In addition, the argument against uses conservative outlet Breitbart as a source. That’s a dog whistle if I’ve ever seen one.
So generically if you’re conservative or support term limits you want to vote No on 50. More objectively, if you think trying to get to a two-thirds majority is asking too much then that’s another reason to vote No. It’s much ado about nothing because legislators hardly ever get suspended anyway.
Measure AA: Yes
This is a fun one. Measures tend to be county by county, but this is one for the entire nine-county Bay Area. It’s a 20-year, $12 parcel tax to clean up the bay. If you pay property taxes twice a year, you will pay $6 more for the next 24 times you pay it.
Because of Proposition 13, this requires a two-third majority, and it will probably be close because those assholes in Contra Costa County are not likely to accept such things. We need to get as many votes from San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties as possible.
The libertarians and taxpayer societies are against it, while the League of Conservation Voters is for it. That sounds about right.
The reason you vote No is because you believe the argument about how if it doesn’t pass we will just get the money some other way. I would believe that more if Jerry Brown weren’t leaving in 2 years.
Another reason to vote No is because you don’t want the government to be in charge of cleanup and would rather leave it to free enterprise.
Measure A: Yes
This is the park measure that tends to show up on the ballot every now and then. Right now a certain amount of the taxes property owners pay goes to parks, and the current setup expires in 2021. Measure A will extend this requirement 11 years to 2032. It’s kind of how Proposition 98 requires a certain percentage of taxes to go to education.
This is not a tax but rather a requirement of how taxes get divvied up. Voters may get confused and not vote yes for both AA and A, but we’ll see.
The only argument against A was provided by a resident of Milpitas, who gives a boilerplate fiscal conservative response about the national debt, inflated bureaucracy, etc. Sometimes an argument can hurt your cause.
The real reason to vote No would be because you don’t like limiting control over how funds get spent. If you think our parks are fine and don’t need so much money spent on them, then it wouldn’t make sense to allocate a minimum amount of money toward them.
Measure B: Yes
I’m confused why this is on the ballot now instead of in November, but whatever. Measure B increases the sales tax rate in San Jose from 8.75% to 9%. The quarter point increase is supposed to help restore police services, although it’s going to depend on a committee to achieve such a thing. The tax increase is what’s referred to as a “general” tax.
Sales taxes are regressive. But police is important. This is a common yet tricky dilemma.
I can’t be convinced that we’ll find some other way (parcel tax is my preference) to increase funding for police. The No argument states that the city will prioritize police funding if it has to, and that it doesn’t need more money for it to find a way. I disagree.
This is a 15-year increase, although it could always be repealed by ballot measure later. I’m just not going to let this go and then wait for another opportunity to find funding for police.
Measure C: Yes
This measure has generated a lot of controversy on social media. It’s enough to make you not vote. But you should, if nothing else because it allows you to be self-righteous later. It’s important to have opportunities to be self-righteous!
Anyway, today most of the marijuana dispensaries (collectives, if you will) are located in one area. Besides the potential to increase crime, it also is a logistical nightmare to get people from all over to head to one neighborhood to get their weed. Measure C would relax (ha) the zoning requirements, which would allow dispensaries to be in more parts of the city, making it easier for people to get to them, especially if they don’t drive.
The Yes side is funny because the author of the measure has publicly come out and said to vote No, that he’s achieved what he needed by getting it on the ballot so never mind. Pretty discouraging.
But then my mailbox is flooded with ridiculous No flyers, all using fear to try to get me to vote No. Apparently there will be dispensaries on every corner if Measure C passes! The children! Won’t someone please think of the children?
It will probably work. But it won’t work on me. The reason you vote No is because you think things are fine the way they are. I’m more concerned with less traffic (and the worst kind—I don’t want people driving when they shouldn’t, just to get their prescription).