California gubernatorial recall election 2021 coverage for the deaf

August 21, 2021

Before I waste your time, I will give you the quick answer: Vote No and vote for Kevin Paffrath. That’s really the amount of energy you should put into this waste of time.

For the rest of you, I can provide some reasoning, but I am really annoyed about it because this is cutting in to my Nextdoor time. Did you know there are people that use Nextdoor that are wrong? It’s true! And I need to go on there and let them know about it!

We did this 18 years ago. More than 100 people were on the ballot, and I was almost one of them. I did not have $3,500 to throw around (I don’t exactly have that now either), but I thought it would have been cool to be on there. I don’t regret it, and I don’t regret not throwing my hat in the ring this time either.

Let’s cover my decision first and get that out of the way so I can focus on the shitposting I am really here to do.

For those of you who were not here in 2003, this is how recall elections work. There are 2 things to do. First, you have to figure out whether you want to remove Governor Gavin Newsom from office. Second, separately, if more ballots say Yes than No, who would you pick to replace him?

Not a lot of critical thinking is required here, but there is a little game theory to apply. It is OK to look at the list of 46 candidates and decide whether any of them would do a better job than Newsom. That’s probably the smartest way to look at it. Because it absolutely should color your decision.

But what should also color your decision is the likelihood of someone who would not do a better job than Newsom to receive a plurality of votes. And that is why I am voting No.

I have never been a Newsom fan. When he first ran for mayor, coincidentally in 2003, same as the Gray Davis recall, he held off a hard charging Matt Gonzalez. It felt closer than it actually was, which probably speaks to the company I kept at the time. But we were pretty upset all the same. From a class or identity politics perspective, it was an easy choice at the time, and admittedly the two candidates were distinctive enough no matter what your political stripes.

And Newsom did the job, worked his way up, and was elected governor with 62% of the vote 3 years ago. It would cause one to think this recall election was in the bag, that the “No” vote would blow away the Yeses.

I’m here to tell you, “Not so fast.”

Voters don’t vote to say “thank you.” They vote to say “fuck you.” And although they are not as mad as they were in 2003, that just means turnout will be lower, especially with no big name alternative on the ballot, like we had with Ahnold.

Truthfully many things can happen that will result in the president being recalled. Yes voters are more riled up. There is no obvious get-out-the-vote candidate. Newsom has been busy doing his job vs. campaigning, which I am sure is a setup for a lot of punchlines. At least be original if you’re going to do so, OK?

The rest of this screed is a collection of talking points, so I will understand if you move on to the candidate review. But this really is a waste of taxpayer money, because the next election is less than 14 months after the recall election. In Davis’s case, there were still 3 years left in his second term, and he only won reelection because his main opponent was so awful. The vibe is very different this time.

But it is also more apathetic. We can’t make people under 40 get vaccinated, and you think they’re going to vote in this election? There’s no Trump to vote against! So really anything can happen, and it will be harder for “anything” to happen if you vote. I don’t even care how anybody votes anymore. The more representative the results are, the less it matters to me what they are. At least the people have spoken.

There are easy jokes to be made about some of these candidates. Bill Maher has done it for me so I will not bother.

So why Paffrath? He would do the least amount of damage among the candidates for the 14 months or so he has to hold down the fort, and that is all this is. It’s like when a baseball team fires its manager in August and announces an interim replacement who used to just be the bullpen catcher. Nobody expects him to manage the following season, but someone needs to fill out the lineup card in the meantime and hold press conferences.

I am stealing this from Maher, but I am sure he stole it from someone else, because this is not news. A lot potentially is at stake. We have a senator, who like Newsom, used to be mayor of San Francisco and is also in her late ’80s. She is not stepping down.

Should something happen to Dianne Feinstein, the governor will announce her replacement. That is why we have Alex Padilla. If a Republican gets in, guess who will replace her? And now you have lost your Senate majority, small that it may be. The Senate is a whole other ball of wax. Most of the early vaccinators were Democrats, which means if the vaccines start to wear off, they will be the first to get COVID-19 of they cannot get a booster in time, which means it is more likely that they would die.

Besides the Senate majority being in danger, it also potentially means that if anyone in the Supreme Court dies, such as RBG Jr., Stephen Breyer, there is no way that a replacement justice will be brought to the floor. We already saw this with Merrick Garland in 2016. I don’t understand why that would not happen again.

Although it is slightly hyperbolic, not voting No in the recall and not picking a candidate who would make a good faith effort to govern in a fashion that reflects what a majority of Californians want could eventually result in a 7–2 Supreme Court majority for the conservatives. And hey, if you want that, then you know how to vote to get that to happen!

Anyway, that’s all the energy I am putting in to this. I will see you for the primary in 9 months.

General election 2020 coverage for the deaf

October 11, 2020

I thought this was going to be the election that I stopped writing about it, but several people independently asked to see it, so I said fine. But enough about me. Let’s see what career-limiting things I can write about this time.

President and Vice President of the United States: Gloria la Riva and Sunil Freeman

As usual, the least important thing to vote on, even in 2020. More people vote for the electors for their state than anything else they vote on, which means mathematically your vote matters the least here. And as I love to say, if someone loses a state by 1 vote, they weren’t going to win by placating me, because they would have lost 1,000 other votes in the process.

Are you wondering where Kanye is? Well, in California he is the vice presidential candidate on the American Independent ticket, paired with Rocky de la Fuente. But people may not see his name, because his middle name (Omari) is included. Newsweek decided this was worth documenting.

Breaking news, BTW: Animaniacs has all new episodes on Hulu starting November 20. It has nothing to do with the rest of what I’m writing, but the demographics are the same, so I figure you would want to know.

Howie Hawkins, founder of the Green Party, did not sabotage my Peace and Freedom ticket in the primary by winning, but he is still running on his own. Angela Walker is his veep.

Jo Jorgensen heads the Libertarian ticket and is not paired with a girl named Spike, but surely at least 500 people will vote for her and Jeremy Cohen them because of the name alone.

The odds-on favorite to no one’s surprise is the Democratic ticket Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. You surely did not come here to see what I think of their candidacy. Did you buy a fly swatter yet, though?

Donald Trump and Mike Pence go for reelection on the Republican ticket. We all know how wrong I was 4 years ago (note the lack of link—go find it yourself), so I’m not going to say they have no chance this year. And I did just get knocked out of a poker tournament Friday night on a 4-outer, so this shit does happen! We can’t run the election twice, so be sure to vote.

The last ticket on the ballot is the Peace and Freedom one. (It’s determined randomly. Kanye doesn’t have that kind of pull.) If Gloria La Riva wants to run again, fine. Every presidential election with them on it could be the last one. Sunil Freeman is her running mate.

United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren

Her opponent is Justin Aguilera, who I wrote about during the primary. The only real mystery is whether Lofgren will stay my representative after redistricting.

Aguilera is the kind of Republican that could win against a mortal opponent in this district. For example, he supports high speed rail. As a resident of San Martin, he understands what commuting is. I bet he supports Measure RR also, but more on that later.

State Senator, District 15: Dave Cortese

Jim Beall is termed out because people are stupid and voted for term limits decades ago. The carousel continues, and we have Dave Cortese and Ann Ravel.

Cortese is the more liberal candidate, although both are Democrats so don’t get too excited. He has the same backers (unions) that he had when he ran for mayor of San Jose and lost. His advantage is he’s been in the area and hasn’t left.

Ravel’s advantage is she has President Obama’s endorsement, and the few remaining Republicans in this district are more likely to vote for her than Cortese. I actually underestimated her in the primary and didn’t expect her to advance. I am out of touch with insider politics, so this tells me she is the establishment candidate. I guess we’ll see what happens.

I know Cortese has ambitions to do more in the public sector, and because of term limits this is the next stop for him. I have no idea what Ravel’s aspirations are.

Member of the State Assembly, District 28: Evan Low

Low is the incumbent and running against Carlos Cruz. Cruz has a mixed identity, generally supporting liberal causes and like most California Republicans would be considered a moderate Democrat in many red states. He does also retweet the President so it’s hard to pin him down.

Meanwhile Low is using Twitter to acknowledge National Coming Out Day. That’s about all you need to know to make your decision. Like a lot of these offices, the candidates are pretty different.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 24: Stuart Scott

In 2014 he was going for Office No. 4. Now it’s Office No. 24. There’s probably a Pittsburg joke from 1970 there somewhere, but I’m going to keep it cool as the other side of the pillow.

Santa Clara County Board of Education, Member, Trustee Area 4: Ketzal Gómez

Did you know not presenting a name as written is a microaggression? It is! And that’s fine. I don’t know why people are so afraid to learn new shit about how to communicate better with others.

Anyway, Joseph Di Salvo is the incumbent and should win handily. He’s been in this role for 12 years and is going for a fourth term. Like many of you in Trustee Area 4, I don’t know much about any of these candidates beyond the ads I get in the mail.

The other candidate is Lucia Garcia, who did not file a candidate statement.

I’m voting for Gómez because Di Salvo went to Bellarmine, and I want to vote for someone who only attended public schools. That reason is as good as any.

San Jose Unified School District Governing Board Member Trustee Area 3: Tomara Hall

Besides seeing where school board candidates attended, I also look at endorsements.

Kristen Brown is the establishment candidate and has endorsements from the usual suspects: our city councilperson, Dev Davis, the mayor, State Senate candidate Ravel and the aforementioned Joseph Di Salvo, which she presents as “DiSalvo.” Microaggression! Anyway, if you’re voting for Davis, Ravel, and Di Salvo, this is your complementary candidate.

Tomara Hall is not Tally’s sister, and she is a Warrior, having attended Stanislaus State. She has a mixed heritage like I do, although she has had to overcome a lot more than I had. She is the “progressive” candidate and a good complement to my ballot.

Carol Myers did not file a statement. She ran in 2004 for the same office and lost to Pam Foley by only 108 votes. I bet she had a statement that time.

Carla Collins is the appointed incumbent. The race is probably between her and Brown. Collins has the mainstream liberal endorsements (Cortese, Low, etc.) so for many of you that’s probably what you need to know. But I’m personally very excited to see someone like Hall in office, and that’s who I will fill the bubble for.

(That’s right, we’re no longer connecting arrows on the ballot. We’re back to standardized testing. #NoStrayMarks)

City of San Jose, Member, City Council, District 6: Jake Tonkel

I’ll tell ya: This district is amazingly full of drama for such an unimportant office. I know San Jose doesn’t have a strong mayor (not yet anyway—stay tuned), but this is the most overrated race on the ballot.

This is another race where you already know how you should vote. Davis is the establishment candidate and incumbent. She didn’t get a majority of votes during the primary, so technically this is a runoff. It’s kind of a bass-ackward way to do it, but I think it is because there are normally not 2 serious candidates.

Anyway, Davis is fine, even if she is a little too establishment for my taste. I wish she would work on her interpersonal skills and run a smarter campaign, but maybe it’s working for her. Anyway, I will give a few examples because I have a captive audience, and we all know the Raiders are going to blow this game against the Chiefs.

The previous officeholder, Pierluigi Oliverio, was not my cup of tea either. But he was very passionate for his work and would give straight answers. So even though I did not vote for him, I knew I didn’t need to freak out about him.

Davis, on the other hand, has minions to do a lot of her communicating, and she is rather outspoken about how she wants to be engaged with. For example, on Nextdoor Oliverio would close most of his posts, which is his right to do. Most local politicians follow this strategy for good reason. We’re an ornery bunch on Nextdoor, and the negativity can have a reverse halo effect. Every now and then the mayor’s social media person forgets and leaves a post open, and all hell breaks loose, every time. This is our city. These are our people. Let’s own our shit, can we? This is who we are.

Anyway, Davis ends all of her posts with this paragraph-long disclaimer that she cannot see posts on Nextdoor and cannot reply to them. What a load. Funny how no one else has the need to say such a thing. One time she posted a poll about which movie to show in a park to the community, and her minion didn’t lock the post! Good times.

But let’s not overlook the things she has done in her first term. Like right there she organized the weekly showing of movies to give the community something to do. I mean, not this year, because, you know why, but in previous years this was a thing.

She also supported Hope Village building tiny houses near Lelong and Willow, which completely blew my mind. Politically it was another strange move for someone who represents a lot of heartless people, to be fair. The news coverage got really out of control, and the city council vote failed, so she was vulnerable for nothing. You know this wasn’t a publicity stunt because it isn’t mentioned on any of the crap I’ve gotten in the mail for this race. Just a lot of unforced errors by this otherwise solid city councilperson.

Enough about her. Let’s talk about her opponent, Jake Tonkel.

Tonkel won the second most votes in the primary and is in the narrow progressive lane as a candidate, similar to the aforementioned Hall. The lane is narrow because there was a road diet, and so now there is a dedicated space for bicycles. The other two candidates were fringish but not crazy. (Well, one of the candidate’s mother was a little outdoor, but that’s more me being on Nextdoor too much than anything.)

From an identity politics perspective, it is clear who to vote for. Tonkel is running on Davis’s left, which is fairly easy to do, and I see this race as a plot point in the biopic on his life in 60 years. He’s got a big future ahead of him in politics, and this is just his getting his feet wet. Like most incumbents, Davis did not get any serious competition, but Tonkel turned on just enough people to keep her below 50%, so here we are.

I don’t know how much of a difference his winning would make in isolation, but other districts have similar candidates running this election as well, and if the electorate votes all of them in, it will be like having a Squad, only for city council.

The only other thing I will say is that the San José Police Officers Association is investing heavily on defeating Tonkel because he supports reallocating police funding for other public safety purposes. I’m not going to get into the “defund the police” movement here, other than to say it is a really stupid name if you want people to support the cause.

I mention this endorsement because of all the negative mail I’ve received about Tonkel that they have paid for. I support restoring pensions for our police and hiring new ones, but they really give me pause when they send out such inaccurate mailers about Davis’s opponent. And is this race really so close that it is even necessary? Davis should win this in a walk.

Anyway, this is a very easy decision for voters. It just depends on what priorities you hold personally. I’m not going to be upset when Davis wins.

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority Director, District 4: Dorsey Moore

I can’t believe I voted for someone who won last time! With literally zero info to work with, I will vote for Moore again. I want more Moore!

Both candidates live within a mile of me, which I find amusing. That’s life in Willow Glen for ya. His opponent Janis Hall has a Gmail email address, which I prefer to Moore’s Hotmail, but she also has a Washington DC area code. Can you imagine, if this were a multimillion dollar race, the kinds of ridiculous negative ads we would get about these things? We need fanfic is what we need.

Proposition 14: Yes

This is a bond issue for stem cell research. Before getting into that, let’s talk about bond issues.

Interest rates are at all time lows. And the way you determine whether to borrow money, whether you’re a government or an investor, is if your return on investment will be greater than the interest you pay. That’s why $24 trillion in public debt is not a problem for the nation. It’s money we mostly owe ourselves, because people are willing to buy bonds that pay very little interest. For the state of California, it works roughly the same way. The main difference is that California has to balance its budget, and the federal government does not.

Anyway, I mention that because $5.5 billion in bonds today that cost $7.8 billion to pay off over 30 years is pretty good. I wish my mortgage only required that much to pay in interest. Having said all that, if you don’t like bonds, then it doesn’t matter what else is involved.

If you voted for Proposition 71 last time, then you probably are voting for 14 this time. It’s just an issuance of more bonds for the same thing. The no argument before was one of morality, and that did not work, so this time they are going for one of fiscal discipline. I’ve already said what I think about that.

Or have I? One more thing: The bonds don’t have to start being paid back until 2026, so whatever financial disaster we may face in the short term because of COVID-19 are unlikely to matter then.

Proposition 15: Yes

In about 50 years, assuming California hasn’t fallen into the ocean because of an earthquake or climate change (or both), people will look back on Proposition 13 as a way to give Baby Boomers more of whatever they wanted, as had been done for their entire life. The writing is starting to appear on the wall, but if you squint just right, you can defend this property tax law, even today.

As millennials take over the world they are not going to stand for an entire generation’s screwing over of the system so they could have inflated housing values and commensurately lower property taxes.

But this is not yet another screed on Proposition 13. The Internet has done this one enough.

Proposition 15 continues the slow dismantling of Proposition 13, focusing on commercial property. The reason why Proposition 13, even today, has majority support is because people don’t want their property taxes to reflect the actual current value of their home, and if they thought about it, they would not want the value of their home to drop because of an increase in property taxes, which is what would happen to the housing market if Proposition 13 were repealed. But Proposition 15 does none of that.

Taking away the tax benefit for commercial property will stabilize funding for the state at a time it needs it most, because of the economy crippled by COVID-19. This was going to be on the ballot anyway, but the case for it now is stronger. Property tax revenue is the most consistent source of funding for a government. That’s why after Proposition 13, locally at least, have seen our sales tax increase more than 50%. Despite what Howard Jarvis thinks, the government will get theirs one way or another, and better to get it from something stable. Sales tax fluctuates with the economy and is extremely regressive. It should not be the primary source of income for anything unless there is no other choice. That’s the world we live in now. More on that later too.

The argument that increasing property tax on commercial property will raise leases is ridiculous. The market will bear whatever the market will bear. If commercial property owners decide to increase leases to counter this tax increase, they will see decreased demand for their office space, at a time when office space demand is already cratering because of COVID-19.

The other “no” argument is the oft-cited slippery slope argument, which is that they will come for your residential property tax benefits next. Maybe, but the passing of Proposition 15 has nothing to do with that reality. Yeah, I said it. Expect in 8 years or so a Proposition that fully repeals Proposition 13 and also cancels the state portion of the sales tax. Jarvis will rise from the dead, and I will be so thrilled to see it.

Proposition 16: Yes

This proposition effectively repeals Proposition 209, which passed when I was in college. It ended affirmative action programs in the public sector in California. Considering that public sector jobs are often a good first step for immigrants and people of color in California, this dealt a severe blow in our state’s efforts for equality.

Looking specifically at admissions standards for the University of California system, we can see relative increases in white and Asian admissions and decreases in Black and Latino admissions in the 24 years since 209’s passage. One can make the case that this is the result of systemic racism and the original reason for affirmative action in the first place.

Many people were not in California in 1996 or were not old enough to vote, and among those who were, there is still a basic misunderstanding (led by conservatives admittedly) of what affirmative action is. I will try to explain it briefly here: When considering whom to hire among qualified candidates, affirmative action allows you to consider other factors in their candidacy, such as their background.

That’s it. It’s not about hiring people who aren’t qualified or having quotas. It’s about giving qualified women and minorities a better chance. And as someone who is uninspired by and sick of working with a bunch of mediocre white guys, I’m all for it. I told you this was career-limiting.

I don’t see how it passes, though. Although many of the people who supported 209 are now dead, a whole generation of people no longer directly see the benefit of such a program.

Proposition 17: Yes

California doesn’t always lead the way. This map can show you where felons can vote and when they can. We are one of two states where you have to be released from prison and not be on parole before being able to vote again. Proposition 17 would put us in with 18 other states plus DC that allows convicted felons to vote once they are out of prison.

The argument against 17 is that parolees would still be in jail if it were not for being on parole. I guess. The larger question for me is why people are allowed to vote. I think of it as you need to interact with society to be an informed voter because that’s where empathy comes from. (And with the shelter-in-place because of COVID-19, I wish that we did not have to make a lot of the decisions we do collectively as an electorate.)

Kevin McCarty helped write the argument in favor of Propostion 17, and I can’t help but wonder whether it is because his name sounds a lot like Kevin McCarthy.

The only argument I would make in favor of Proposition 17 is that people who get their franchise back (that means they can vote) are less likely to commit crime again. So it is fair to say that Proposition 17 would lower crime.

Proposition 18: Yes

The law is pretty clear on whether you can vote. Will you be 18 on Election Day? If so, then the answer is yes. The coincidentally numbered Proposition 18 seeks to tweak that slightly: If you’ll be 18 for the general election, you can vote in the primary as a 17-year-old.

The main argument is that minors are too easily influenced and should not be given this option. My favorite is the all caps argument in the voter guide that “17-year-olds are captive audiences in school.” Yes, because all 17-year-olds listen to their parents and teachers.

I honestly don’t feel very strongly about this one. Most 17-year-olds won’t vote unless they get the day off from school, and if we move our primary back to June, it is less likely for that to happen anyway. The optics of telling someone they can’t vote is a greater concern, and that’s enough for me to vote yes.

Proposition 19: Yes

This one is kind of muddy too. It’s another amendment to Proposition 13, specifically removing the protection granted by Proposition 58. It does two things under the auspice of being a compromise.

Basically, if you’re old, disabled, or lost your home to a wildfire, you can transfer your current property’s Proposition 13-adjusted assessed value to a new home within the state. This means you would not have to pay more in property tax just because you moved. If you bought a more-expensive house, then you would pay normal property tax for the difference in cost.

So how is that revenue loss for the state made up? It removes some protections currently allowed for inherited property, mostly from Proposition 58, which was passed in 1986 before the effects of Proposition 13 were completely obvious.

Now, more money will come in because of the ending of Proposition 58 than from people moving into new homes with this new benefit, so a lot of it will go toward fire protection. The rest will go to the general fund, which by extension will increase school funding because of Proposition 98. Like I said, it’s muddy.

The commercials are pretty disingenuous. A lot of firefighters talking about the benefits if it passes, etc. But look how complicated this is. I get why the ads are the way they are.

This isn’t going to make a lot of difference one way or the other for most people, but the slight increase in property tax revenue, as well as the improved targeting toward inheritance and away from fire victims, the old, and the disabled, is enough for me to pull the lever.

Proposition 20: No

This is another one that is pretty easy for people to figure out. Proposition 20 limits the effectiveness of Propositions 47 and 57. If you voted yes on Proposition 57, you probably want to vote no on this one.

Proposition 20 reduces which crimes are eligible for prisoners to be released early. The argument in favor of it is that Propositions 47 and 57 have increased crime because, somehow, knowing that you won’t be in prison as long for certain crimes removes the deterrent that it provides. I mean, prison does not serve as a deterrent for most crimes in the first place, but that’s not what it is being debated here.

An argument against Proposition 20 is that we would have to build more prisons if it passes, because we would not be able to parole as many inmates. I think that will convince a lot of people, but the reason I am voting no is because Proposition 20 is not going to measurably reduce crime.

Proposition 21: No

This is the one where I lose all my friends, just like with Proposition 10 two years ago. Briefly, rent control does not work. It traps people in houses and wastes natural resources by increasing commutes when people change jobs, because they cannot afford to move closer to their work if they are in a rent-protected home. Brookings, hardly a hotbed of conservatism, agrees.

This is another one where disingenuous arguments, for and against, are simplified to make their point. And of course I know many people who benefit from rent control programs. But in a state with a severe housing shortage, I want the freest market possible to get as many new houses built as fast as possible. The government should be focusing on systemic equality and creating opportunity for everyone.

Having just written about this, I don’t have a lot of new things to say.

Proposition 22: No

It’s really weird to see tech companies and the political machine collide because they’re so different. Tech startups specifically are VC-backed and are focused on growth vs. profitability, whereas governments consume 80% of what they create. They could not be more different.

But that VC money does not last forever, and many logistics-based tech companies are staring down the barrel of a business model that has never made sense, and they are looking for a way out so they can exist for a few more years.

And that’s Proposition 22. After the Assembly passed AB5, these companies pitched a fit and swore they would leave the state. Honestly I would not care if they did. I could get around town before they were here. I could get food delivered to me before they were here. Life would go on, just like if Krusty the Clown were no longer on the air.

The whole thing is ridiculously disingenuous. The only reason they want this to pass is to keep going for a few more years, before autonomous vehicles take over all of the jobs that these companies swear they want to save.

Here is the thing about the economy in general, and I am including a lot of businesses that are going out of business this year as part of this: What people demand is what will thrive. It’s harsh, but true. If people can safely go to live music again someday, there will be demand for live music venues, and they will be created. It may not be the clubs you go to now, just like you may not be able to go to the restaurants you go to now, but people will still want to sit in public with crying babies and eat mozzarella sticks, even if it won’t be Applebee’s. This is the inherent risk anyone who goes into business takes. That’s why they get the profits when it works out. Don’t bully me into saving a donut shop or a karaoke bar. The friends I didn’t lose when writing about Proposition 21 are gone now.

Anyway, back to this proposition. You are not entitled to have someone else get your dry cleaning, or your burrito, or your kids from basket weaving practice. You have to pay them for it. Proposition 22 makes the logistics startups pay for it, and they know if they raise the price you pay, you will not want it anymore. And that’s fine. As a business model it does not make sense until robots are doing all the work! They want all the reward of that future without the expense of paying for it now. And that’s what I mean about the public and private sectors colliding, and I’m not going to vote for the government to take on this burden when they will not receive any of the benefit.

Proposition 23: Yes

This is another version of Proposition 8 in 2018, which failed. All the same ads from all the same backers, only with a new number.

A result of Proposition 23 would be fewer places where people could receive dialysis. Sounds terrible, right?

Well, the places that remain would be safer and be required to have a physician or nurse practitioner on site. That sounds better to me.

Not a lot of new info this time around. If you voted yes on Proposition 8 (not that one, the kidney one), then you want to vote yes on this one too.

Proposition 24: No

This is probably very important to a lot of people, but there’s not a lot of money in it, so you won’t see a lot of ads.

Short version: If you care about your personal data online, you should vote yes. I don’t care about this stuff. That’s why I am voting no. I know my personal information is worthless because it’s about me. But no judgment here! It’s really a decision only you can make about yourself, and Proposition 24 grants you that authority.

The arguments for and against are kind of annoying, but they’re trying to get whichever side they are on to emerge on top, so I get it.

Companies that would otherwise benefit from personal info are behind Proposition 24 because this law doesn’t go as far as it could. If it does not pass, the legislature could pass something stronger. Think about how people feel about GDPR. So that is another reason to vote “no.”

But if you subscribe to the “bird in the hand” argument and you care about your personal info, you’re happier with Proposition 24 than without it. So you have to ask yourself what you think will happen next. See? Pretty complicated.

Proposition 25: Yes

Bail is a funny thing. If you have money, you can use it to post bail, and you can live your life until it’s time to show up in court. If you don’t, then you sit in jail until your trial, and you can’t go to work or pay your bills. So even if you’re found not guilty, your life is forever changed, and the chance of your committing a crime of necessity has just gone up, because those bills need to get paid. This setup exacerbates systemic racism, whether you like it or not.

There is one more thing to think about: If you don’t want to wait for your Constitutionally guaranteed fair trial, you can plead guilty now and hurry up and serve your time. This results in thousands of people pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit, because their primary goal is getting back out so they can try to find work. Of course now they have a criminal record, but this is not the first thing on their mind. This also supports the argument that prison is not a deterrent to commit crime.

I attended a conference a couple years ago that made a strong case about how money bail does not cause so many systemic problems, but subsequent research has not caused me to stick with that opinion. If California gets rid of it, we will figure out pretty quick whether it was a good idea, although other research shows it is promising.

Like Proposition 20, it really depends on your views on crime.

Measure G: Yes

This is a collection of 3 separate things San Jose would like to do differently, and they decided to put them all on the ballot together because, honestly, they aren’t controversial, and it is cheaper to have 1 measure instead of 3.

First, the Independent Police Auditor would have more oversight, which in the current climate can only be a good thing. One negative for some people is it would give the city council more power to change how it works, vs. leaving it up to voters. I’m fine with taking direct power away from the voters on topics they don’t understand.

Next, it would increase the Planning Commission from 7 people to 11. I’m fine with that too. It is being sold as a way to increase diversity, which I don’t exactly buy, but a city of a million people should have more representation. By comparison, the House of Representatives has had 435 members since the country had one-third of the population. No wonder your Congressperson is unresponsive.

Finally, there is a surprisingly proactive clause for if the census is done late. The City Council districts will be redrawn next year, but it would be smarter to do it with the new census data. The law doesn’t allow for postponing this redrawing because why would the census ever be later? Why indeed.

Measure H: Yes

This increases the cardroom tax 10% and allows cardrooms to have more tables. It raises $15 million for the general fund. You’re either for this kind of thing or you aren’t.

Measure I: Yes

This is a 9-year $18 parcel tax for community college job training programs. The most interesting thing about the measure is that they do not capitalize “internet,” which makes it painfully clear to me that I am severely outnumbered when it comes to that argument.

Measure J: Yes

This is an $858 million bond measure for repairing community colleges. Unlike the parcel tax, people owning more expensive property will pay more for it, to the tune of $175 per $1 million in assessed value, amortized over the length of the bonds. Remember, interest rates are at all time lows.

Measure S: Yes

This renews an existing parcel tax for water supply and flood protection.

Measure T: Yes

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the person I voted for last time won, remember?) wants to renew a $24 parcel tax.

Measure RR: Yes

This is a one-eighth cent increase in the sales tax to pay for Caltrain.

Caltrain is a funny story. Unlike most of the eleventy billion transit agencies in the Bay Area, it does not have a dedicated funding source beyond farebox recovery (highest in the Bay Area by a lot incidentally), and it gets the scraps from San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara County budgets, such that they are.

There are not a lot of obvious options in the current climate to raise funding, with ridership (and car traffic for that matter) down across the board because of COVID-19.

The timing for this measure is especially poor because sales taxes are regressive, and most people support public transit for commuting, vs. because of the options it gives people who cannot drive.

People make an argument that someday traffic will be the way it was last year, once the shelter-in-place for COVID-19 is lifted, but I disagree. People commuting to work on average will never be going into the office 5 days a week again. Many in fact will take advantage of offers to work remotely and leave the Bay Area entirely. Personally, I look forward to the decreased demand for roads and housing, and I say this as a property owner. People buying houses as investments are furthering their own portfolio, not the public good, and this will put a stop to it. It’s also why Proposition 21 isn’t as big of a deal as it sounds, even if you support rent control. Rent control keeps rent low when there are outside forces causing it to otherwise increase. Rent is down 20% in San Francisco during the past year, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Anyway, I vote for transit initiatives that give people more options to get around, especially ones that benefit the environment. Remember: Caltrain is being electrified, so it will also be a greener solution than the diesel option presented to us today.

Primary election 2020 coverage for the deaf

February 17, 2020

I don’t normally read the past 14 years of these pieces on this site, let alone the ones I wrote in college back in the ’90s, but I did notice my observation of California moving its primary up to March this year, and how that would help one of the potential Californian presidential candidates.


Not that it matters for me. Some third parties let their voters vote in any primary they want, but not Peace and Freedom. Everything counts in large amounts with them. It is nice to only have 9 things to write about, though. Something tells me the November ballot will be the largest in state history. More on that later.

I never did receive my sample ballot or county-level guide in the mail, but my non-partisan wife did. Do I feel disenfranchised? No, my privilege covers for that. But I am curious if the other 14 Peace and Freedom voters in the county received their info. You think I’m joking, but in all seriousness there can’t be more than 100 of us.

President of the United States: Gloria la Riva

It’s either her or Howie Hawkins, cofounder of the Green Party. My energy for national politics has never been so low. I usually have paragraphs on paragraphs to write about this, but I will save it for the things that are more likely to be on your ballot.

La Riva is someone I’ve voted for before. I would rather see her run again this fall than have Hawkins, who is already going to be on the ballot as the Green Party candidate anyway, take the party off the ballot because you can’t be on the ballot twice.

Anyway, because I know the demographics of this site, I will touch on the candidates you’re more likely to be considering.

They’re all fine. Some more or less than others. It depends on what you’re into. But they’re all fine.

Joe Biden would be fun to watch debate with the president, and he clearly threatens the president the most, because of his poor attempts to get dirt on him. You don’t exactly see him denying aid to someone to get dirt on Amy Klobuchar.

Speaking of which, Klobuchar is the Goldilocks candidate. She probably has the best value in terms of betting on a candidate. Is she the most likely to get the nomination? If everything stays muddled after Super Tuesday and Michael Bloomberg has a poor debate (he is not a great public speaker), yes.

Bloomberg doesn’t want to be president, but neither did our current one. It doesn’t matter whether he wants it. He wants to be a kingmaker (queenmaker?) and will probably get his wish. Right now he is at the gym working on his ABBS. That’s “anybody but Bernie Sanders.”

Sanders is similar to the current president in terms of his potential to win a lot of states with 30% of the vote. The difference is, in 2016, the president lost head-to-head to every major candidate in his party. But nobody would drop out, so he ended up with the nomination. Sanders does beat every opponent head-to-head, at least for now. If enough candidates drop out, people may “sober up,” although it’s a poor metaphor. A lot of people remember 1972 (and 1984 I suppose), but Sanders’s charisma is quite different from George McGovern’s and Walter Mondale’s. In addition, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, respectively, were quite popular at the time. Anyway, Sanders is most likely to have a plurality of delegates headed into the convention, unless Klobuchar gets Pete Buttigieg out of the race.

Buttigieg may have peaked a smidge too early, and I hope we don’t learn the wrong lesson. If he doesn’t get the nomination, it isn’t because of his husband. It’s because someone had to take Biden’s disaffected followers, the first two primary states were unusually white, Bloomberg hadn’t started advertising heavily yet, and some of Elizabeth Warren’s early rise were tire kickers.

Warren was my early prediction to get the nominee. The Simpsons predicted the current administration, which was followed by a Lisa Simpson presidency. And nobody is more like Lisa Simpson than Warren.  I thought it was destiny. People may at some point make a false equivalency with Klobuchar, but you and I know the truth.

There are other candidates, but I’ve Gabbarded enough to force segues and will Steyer clear of doing any more.

United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren

Lofgren gives it another go. In her most recent term she was involved in her third presidential impeachment. No one else can say that, which perhaps is simply a damned observation of the past 50 years in politics.

Jason Mallory is an independent who ran for Congress in 2014. He’s an Andrew Yang-style candidate.

Ivan Torres is the other Democrat on the ballot. He’s the Sanders-style candidate.

Justin Aguilera was Lofgren’s opponent in 2018 and is back to try again. As the leading Republican he is probably going to be the second choice in our godforsaken blanket primary.

Ignacio Cruz is the last candidate and is the Trump Republican on the ballot. A Latino Jew who supports the president is an interesting way to stand out.

State Senator, District 15: Nora Campos

This was a toughie. In 2016 I said I would vote for Campos next time, and it’s next time. She will probably learn from her experience trying to primary Jim Beall, who is termed out, and make it to the general against Dave Cortese. More on him in a minute.

Campos was in the Assembly before and was the speaker pro tempore. Because of dogshit term limits she is riding the state legislature carousel and is now aiming for the State Senate. She probably doesn’t need my vote, but it is what it is.

Cortese is the second of three Democrats and my pick for mayor in 2014. He ended up on the Board of Supervisors doing god knows what. I don’t think we have too many public positions out there, but I do think a better job needs to be done with how the work gets split up among them all.

Anyway, I like Cortese as far as those things go, and if he ends up running against Johnny Khamis somehow I’ll definitely vote for him this fall.

Khamis is one of two independents running. He is currently my parents’ city councilperson. I also met him at a civic event last month. He’s definitely in the right line of work, strong handshake and all that. He’s termed out of the city council, so yet another victim of term limits I guess.

Ann Ravel is the last Democrat running. She resigned from the Federal Election Committee in February 2017. Something must have happened on January 20, 2017, but I can’t seem to recall what. I like her and didn’t realize she was local, but she is running into a buzzsaw of candidates. If she has a good network, she could surprise.

Robert Howell and Ken del Valle are the two Republican candidates, and neither has a website.

Tim Gildersleeve is the other independent candidate and a rare left-wing evangelical, although he may disagree. He cares about the environment but also the nuclear family. It’s a good example of how there are not only two types of people in this country.

Member of the State Assembly, District 28: Evan Low

There are only three candidates here. Which one will lose? Probably Sam Ross, so let’s start with him. Ross is trying to be a moderate in a sea of extremes and would make headlines because he’s clearly quite young. I wish him well.

It’s not a guarantee, though. The other opponent to the incumbent is Carlos Rafael Cruz, a Los Gatos realtor. He’s made no effort that I can find for his campaign, and I’ve looked at the ads on shopping carts at at least four different supermarkets. One of them has to lose.

The incumbent is formidable enough not to solicit serious competition perhaps? Low is finally in his 30s and will continue his trajectory to whatever it is he wants. Maybe governor in 2026? We’ll see.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 7: Luis Ramos

He’s running unopposed. I will take advantage of this break by brushing the cat.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 27: Christina Garcia-Sen

She is also running unopposed. That just leaves three more things to write about.

City of San Jose, Member, City Council, District 6: Jake Tonkel

Incumbent Dev Davis will cruise to reelection, and she hasn’t been terrible. I don’t miss much about Pierluigi Oliverio, but I did appreciate his ability to connect with people. Davis needs someone to do all of her writing so she can come across as more approachable. But as far as the actual work she does? It’s fine. And if Tonkel doesn’t get past the primary, I will vote for her in the fall. She makes an effort, and she hasn’t screwed anything up. That’s pretty good for city council.

Jake Tonkel excites me in a way the other candidates don’t. He has views on housing and traffic that align with my own. He does have an old photo of the 180 on his site that he should replace with one of the 500 or 523, but that’s OK.

To a certain extent, it’s the underwhelming nature of the other candidates that push me toward Tonkel, but even in a more competitive race I might still back him.

Ruben Navarro ran 4 years ago. He was the only candidate against the Lincoln road diet, so I’ve never given him much thought. I try not to be a single-issue voter, but for now there are better candidates for me.

That leaves Marshall Woodmansee. On paper, his candidacy is similar to Ross’s for Assembly. Unfortunately, his mother has used his candidacy to push her own agenda, which I know sounds ridiculous. As a user of Facebook and Nextdoor, I have seen more posts from his mother than just about any other, even more than my own. And unfortunately the eccentric tone and unique punctuation presented in her social media activity is polluting his candidacy. I am pretty green on most issues. One of my great regrets is that I had to buy a car and use it. There is a lot we need to do to address global warming. I also understand how the populace behaves and know that incremental change is the only way we’ll see any change at all. I think you can see where I’m going with that. Anyway, I wish Woodmansee well. I’m sure if we didn’t have such a housing crisis he would feel more incentivized to get his own place.

Proposition 13: Yes

If the NBA is going to retire Kobe Bryant’s number leaguewide, perhaps the state should retire 13, but at least in this case it might help.

This 13 is a bond measure to build and update public school facilities. I honestly don’t know why this is on the ballot now, when the electorate will be more conservative. It will make it harder for this to pass. Unless perhaps there is something better coming along in the fall, or this is a trial balloon or something else?

Anyway, interest rates continue to be low, one of the few benefits of the current administration. The jobs created and improved environment for students that will result make this an obvious positive return on investment.

Measure E: Yes

Another one where the reduced turnout may prevent passage. E wants to raise $70 million via a transfer tax on all properties that sell for $2 million or more. In other words, if a $2 million house sells, $15,000 will be earmarked for the general fund. If a $10 million office park sells, $150,000 would be paid.

A common question is why this money goes into the general fund. It requires a lower percentage to pass, because of the (old) Prop 13. The measure says it will go to affordable housing and helping the homeless. Detractors say it will actually go to cover pension costs. The truth is, we’ll never know. The general fund is a general fund. Money goes in. Money comes out. You can say it went to whatever you want, but there’s no way to know.

When I was a kid (long before Khamis would become my parents’ city councilperson), I would tell my mom there was room in the dessert portion of my stomach, but not the vegetable portion. She knew it didn’t work that way. Anyway, your stomach is like the general fund. Money goes in, shit comes out.

So why vote yes? The city is under too much scrutiny to screw this up too badly. If you want them to spend more money on housing and the homeless, I don’t see how they can do it without E. After all, if it were that easy, they would be doing it already.

General election 2018 coverage for the deaf

October 14, 2018

It’s either write this post or watch the Seahawks and Raiders play in London. That’s an easy decision to make.

Thanks to Californa’s nonpartisan blanket primary, I actually get to vote for candidates than can win, and it is actually easier to decide how to vote, compared with the primary last June. And a heads up: The next primary is scheduled for March 2020. With Eric Garcetti, Kamala Harris, and Gavin Newsom considering runs for the White House, having the primary earlier in the schedule seems like an obvious strategy for fans of that ilk.

Anyway, let’s get to work while the Raiders mismanage the clock yet again. All of the information shared here is from objective sources (voter guides, mostly) unless otherwise noted.

Governor: Gavin Newsom

No one will ever measure up to Jerry Brown. (I’m going to have to stop saying, “Jerry Brown: Governor when I was born; governor when I die!”) And thanks to our primary system, I have to select from the lesser of two evils.

John Cox actually submitted a candidate statement, which I can’t say for Newsom. Whether arrogance or because of how funding works I can’t say, but all that matters is that John Cox is not someone I can get behind, and that leaves Newsom.

Remember: You can’t write people in in California (except for president) because of our primary system, so you really do have to choose between the two candidates, as opposed to other states where people mistakenly think they “have” to choose between two candidates but can actually vote a third party or write someone in.

More on that: As a society we love to shit on those who can’t defend themselves for the purpose of feeling better about ourselves. It’s how we evolved, and you can accept that without agreeing that it’s the classy move.

Our ego tells us that we’re more important than we really are, and in a close race decided by hundreds of votes we still seem to think our one vote has an outsize influence. It doesn’t. But that is why most people vote, as opposed to a sense of civic duty. (I also don’t buy into the “license to complain” argument. People will complain regardless. We probably evolved to do that too.)

Anyway, vote the way you want. Thank you for voting.

So back to Cox. He refers to our water supply as “abundant,” and he says we’re “emptying (it) into the ocean.” I guess he means rivers. It takes a special kind of narcissism to take credit for nature.

In addition, he says our roads are a mess but then wants to repeal the gas tax (aka SB1/Proposition 6, which I’ll get to).

This idea that we have enough tax revenue already—if only we could spend it more thoughtfully is an outdated concept. When you take a position that has no opponent—meaning, nothing could ever happen that would change your mind—you’re just being lazy. I am sure there is a tax rate that is too high, but we haven’t found it yet. I would be willing to say one day that it is too high if it were.

See? That’s the difference. You can’t blindly believe anything. It’s important to think about what could change your mind and see whether any of it is happening.

I will give Cox credit for a statement that has a chance of being well received. It’s not just a Donald Trump copy and paste. Anyway, Lieutenant Governor is a more important race because if Newsom becomes president they are likely to take over, and if California finally enters a recession, Newsom is likely to be voted out, and the current Lieutenant Governor will be in the driver’s seat.

Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis

Could she be our next governor after Newsom? Maybe. Not since Al Checchi ran for governor have we had a candidate who could use their hard to pronounce name as a selling point.

Her opponent is Ed Hernandez, also a Democrat. Recognizing his best chance to win is to get votes from disillusioned Republicans, who may not understand why “one of their own” isn’t on the ballot, his statement focuses on healthcare and prescription drug costs. Yet if I’m a red Californian I may just leave it blank.

More than ever people vote straight tickets, regardless of party affiliation, because, face it, voting takes a lot of time. Sure, if the Seahawks and Raiders played in London every week people could make the time, but we’re not always so lucky. So we can expect the total vote counts in these Democrat vs. Democrat races to be lower than inter-party races. That’s not racist. That’s just the truth.

Kounalakis is the Northern California candidate, so I do have some affinity for her because of that. She also served in the Obama administration, has more liberal endorsements, and cares more about equal pay for women and the environment. They are definitely different types of candidates, even if their party affiliation is the same, so this should be an easy choice for you.

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

Padilla is the incumbent. He autographs the front of every voter information guide, or maybe it’s just a printout. I haven’t inspected it very closely because if I try to sell it on eBay, no one ever buys it.

Mark Meuser is his opponent. As is often the case with an underdog, he uses scare tactics to try to win skeptics. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Meuser insists voter fraud is rampant and refers to “144% voter registration” in Los Angeles County. Why does Meuser, a San Rafael resident, point out this county? Because that’s where Padilla is from, perhaps. Or maybe it is all just a coincidence.

Anyway, voter registration rates can be over 100% if you include inactive voters when comparing it with a county’s adult population. If you change your address, you have to register to vote again. So there is a problem to solve here, but referring to it as “100%+ voter registration rates” is a misnomer.

This is a tricky topic because you have to do something, but we have a lot of evidence that trimming voter rolls is a successful vote suppression technique, especially for minorities, who tend not to vote for Republicans. And the party that drives most purging of the rolls? Republican. Just a coincidence, I am sure.

Anyway, something does have to be done, but it needs to be more thoughtful than this.

Controller: Betty Yee

Yee is also an incumbent and uses her statement to list her accomplishments. It’s … dense, but admittedly she has done a lot so it makes sense. There is some boilerplate, but she does give specific examples as well.

Konstantinos Roditis sounds more like he is running for governor than controller, although that is probably fine because people don’t know what a controller does. Roditis is against high speed rail, so that should help you make your vote if you’re a single-issue voter.

I don’t enjoy the run-on sentence in Roditis’s statement or the hyperbole. I am pretty sure the controller’s doesn’t want to tax my haircut (although if it gave my stylist free healthcare that would be fine with me). Roditis also implies that he is the only controller who wants to make California affordable. Meh.

Treasurer: Fiona Ma

I’ve never been the biggest Ma fan. There’s nothing wrong with her, but she’s always been a bit of a robot to me. She talks about her accomplishments more than she talks about why they are important. That’s fine for someone such as me, but I don’t know how that excites voters. Well, it must have excited them enough for her to advance from the primary.

Greg Conlon is using pension reform as his key issue, so if that’s important to you, it should make for an easy decision. Conlon also ran the California Public Utilities Commission. When your utility bills go up, it is because the utilities asked the CPUC for permission to raise your bills first, and they said yes. Personally, that’s fine, because I would rather make sure my electricity works and my water is clean, but I know that many others feel differently.

Attorney General: Xavier Becerra

Becerra is another incumbent. One fun reason to vote for him is that Rush Limbaugh can’t pronounce his name. It’s pronounced the same way you normally pronounce “Javier,” as opposed to the Division I college of the same name.

I always think of Marco Rubio when I read Becerra’s statement because he repeats himself a lot. They both have a lot of anti-Trump things to say.

Meanwhile, Steven Bailey’s opponent is using what many consider to be racist dog whistles: references to Propositions 47 and 57. He is blaming them for violent crime, which is a switch because normally those two are blamed for property crime. If the shoe fits, report it stolen, I guess.

Anyway, if you voted “no” on those props and have a ’90s, three-strikes view of law and order in California, Bailey is your guy.

Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara

This is a tough one. Lara has a good story, but I think he is running for this office so he can be something else later, whether governor or whatever. I think he has the self-awareness to keep the seat warm.

Steve Poizner wants his old job back, and he is running as an independent. He’s seen the Republican Party brand change since he last held the job nearly 8 years ago, and he wants no part of it.

When Poizner was insurance commissioner before he was fine. California’s Republicans who win tend to be more moderate and less crazy. There’s really only one reason I won’t vote for him and that is because he supports term limits. The irony is that term limits may be the reason he is running for insurance commissioner in the first place. Have to run for something, after all.

Member, State Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen

I was actually just arguing with Cohen’s opponent (Mark Burns) on the Internet a few minutes ago. Of course Burns is against repealing Proposition 13, which is a safe thing to speak on, because most people agree with him. It is funny that he wants to serve on a board of equalization when he supports tax programs that reduce equality.

Cohen doesn’t seem to worry about appearing too liberal to the electorate. Her key planks include a $15 minimum wage and reproductive rights. She shows off her role in removing flavored tobacco products from San Francisco stores, an issue that admittedly may not move the needle much. It probably just affirms what you already think of her.

Anyway, these two candidates are so different that it should be easy for voters to make a choice they agree with.

United States Senator: Dianne Feinstein

This is one of the weirder races on the ballot. It’s another one between 2 Democrats, but neither candidate is trying to get Republican votes. This may receive the fewest votes of any statewide race.

The California Democratic Party endorsed Kevin de León, which seems like a wasted political move. Why take such a risk vs. an incumbent with Feinstein’s decades of service?

De León ran to the left of Feinstein, and he didn’t suddenly switch to her right to get more votes this fall, so this run is clearly planting the seeds for something else. If you’re into so-called protest votes, de León is a good choice.

As for Feinstein, it is possible that her opponent caused her to work a little harder at her day job, specifically her work on the Senate Judiciary Committee. And as far as Democrats go, she isn’t the most liberal, and being from California especially you can make the case that she is no longer a good fit for the state. But if she wants to keep running, she will keep winning. She has so much power, and it is a shame in some sense that the Senate won’t flip, because she could do much more in a majority.

I think this is her last term, and perhaps de León runs again in 2024 for this seat.

United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren

Lofgren is the incumbent, and I’ve even said before that there’s not much else to say this time around. It’s still true.

She represents her people accurately. We’re not Berkeley. We’re not the Central Valley. So as a local society we freak out about “unwarranted surveillance,” and she makes voting decisions that respect that. She’s a good fit for us.

The sacrificial lamb running against her is Justin James Aguilera. In the ’80s, Hispanics were reliably Republican because of the relative social conservatism that came with that culture. Aguilera (age 31) was born amid this, and he appears to have ignored everything the Republican Party has done to brown people ever since. He’s still young. He’ll figure it out.

Anyway, he probably would have a good chance to win office in Fresno, but not here. He grew up on the East Side, yet he supports Second Amendment rights. Where did he hang out after school? It doesn’t add up. And you can tell who he is targeting when he disdains the expression “Hope and Change” as “never coming to fruition.” You still have to go out and get it, dude.

Also his statement was one long paragraph, which, juxtaposed next to Lofgrens, makes him look amateurish. Give the city council a try. You’ve got a future in public service if you do a better job of representing the people.

Member of the State Assembly, District 28: Evan Low

Low is an incumbent with an incumbent-style statement. He mentions how he cofounded the Technology and Innovation Caucus, which makes sense, although it is buried toward the end. He should emphasize this more. In a candidate statement he is speaking directly to people who would care about that.

Michael Snyder is an elementary school teacher who falls into similar traps as other candidates. He wants to repair roads but repeal the gas tax. He makes thinly veiled references to his support of Propositions 47 and 57, but at least he gets it right and refers to property crime as opposed to violent crime. There’s something to be said for getting your story straight.

Anyway, this is another one where the candidates are different enough that it is easy for you to make a choice.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Carol Corrigan: Yes

I don’t usually put a lot of time into the judges. They always receive enough yeses, but here’s one that may give you pause. If same-sex marriage is important enough that it helps make your decisions in the voting booth, you should be voting “no.” In 2008 Corrigan was one of the dissenting voices in making same-sex marriage legal, and this, after 10 years, is your opportunity to do something about it.

So why do I vote “yes”? Because she has addressed other issues that also matter to me, in a fashion that I appreciate. She wrote an opinion that says texts and emails on personal devices of public officials are public record. (This comes in handy later on. You’ll see.) She wrote the majority opinion regarding a plastic bag ban in Manhattan Beach. Those decisions also happened more recently, which tells me she’s open to different ideas.

I respect single-issue voters. For me this isn’t as easy of a decision. I can always change my mind in 12 years if she doesn’t retire.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Leondra Kruger: Yes

Six weeks younger than me. What have I done with my life?

Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, Mary Greenwood: Yes

She’s an ex-public defender.

Associate Justice, Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, Allison Marston Danner: Yes

Did you notice all the judges on the ballot are women?

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond

Thurmond uses Betsy DeVos as a weapon and shows off a relatively liberal set of endorsers. He supports STEAM, which is important to me, vs. STEM, because the arts help you get more out of the other letters.

His opponent is Marshall Tuck, and honestly he’s fine. I generally avoid candidates who emphasize “cutting bureaucracy and waste” because it doesn’t mean anything, and it’s to get votes from people I generally disagree with. (Dog whistles work both ways.)

There have been a few TV ads for this race, which shocked me, but they were pretty run of the mill. Where did the campaign funding come from? Stuff like that.

Member, Board of Supervisors, District 4, Don Rocha

From an identity politics perspective, this is a pretty easy one. Rocha has support from unions and all the people I vote for who lose, including Cindy Chavez and Dave Cortese. His focus is on traffic and pedestrian safety and other neighborhood issues.

His opponent is Susan Ellenberg, a classic San Jose politician. We love socially liberal, fiscally conservative politicians. The mayor and the local daily newspaper support her. Her focus is on homelessness and education.

Oddly, both candidates claim endorsements from Supervisor Ken Yeager. No idea what that is about. You really can’t go wrong with either one. It just depends on what matters more to you. They also both have spam texted me, but that is just the way the world works these days.

Sheriff: Laurie Smith

The feather in Smith’s cap is that she was able to get Sierra LaMar’s killer sentenced, despite a not guilty plea. I love conspiracy theories, but even I am convinced they caught the right person.

It’s still weird to me that sheriff is an elected position, but in some cities, so is dogcatcher so whatever.

Smith has a lot of controversy around her. In her most recent term, several inmates escaped, and another was beaten to death by jail guards. You have to think about these things before making a decision.

But of course there is her opponent to think about too. John Hirokawa has been involved in a texting scandal, and one of his key endorsements was pulled. Even Ken Yeager doesn’t endorse him, and apparently he endorses everybody!

Proposition 1: Yes

This is a $4 billion bond for affordable housing. Bonds are generally a good idea if the return on investment is higher than the interest paid. This will become more challenging over time because interest rates are going up, but for now, they are still historically low.

Those against Proposition 1 were also against SB827, which had to do with how land near major transit centers is zoned. It makes sense to me that people’s opinions on these two topics should be quite similar.

Proposition 2: Yes

I really wish we could elect people to make decisions on stuff such as this. The idea here is to use money from Proposition 63 on housing for the mentally ill. 63 doesn’t allow for this, but if the money gets re appropriated as described, it will probably be a better use of the funding.

The reasoning is that getting the mentally ill off the street makes them easier to treat and reduces the chance that they will have problems in life.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness opposes the idea, whereas the National Institute of Mental Health approves it. See? I told you it’s confusing. Best to look at what it does instead of who endorses it.

And if you want to be petty, you could describe NAMI as out of touch because they cling to their acronym brand despite it not meaning anything. The National Institute of Mental Health? There’s no secret of NIMH.

Proposition 3: Yes

This is a standard water bond measure. The people for it want to make sure the water stays clean and existing. The people against it hate bond measures.

Proposition 3 helps get water where it needs to be and clean to boot. Remember the Oroville Dam and the potential for wiping out that entire town? That’s the kind of stuff water bonds take care of.

Proposition 4: Yes

This is a children’s hospital bond measure. Most of the money goes to private nonprofit children’s hospitals, with about 18% going to UC children’s hospitals (UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC San Diego, UCSF).

The California Health Facilities Financing Authority determines who gets how much money for what. Or you can decide they all get nothing.

Proposition 5: No

This is a rich-get-richer type of proposition. If you support Proposition 13, you probably support Proposition 5 as well.

The government will get its money one way or another. One of the reasons we have so much trouble funding it now is because many of its primary sources (such as sales and income taxes) have a lot of variance. We used to get a lot more money from property tax, which fluctuates less, but after Proposition 13 passed, the state had to find other ways to raise money.

Look, this isn’t about starving the beast. There are better ways to do that if that is your end goal. (Vote for true fiscal conservatives if that is what you want. The reason we don’t have politicians in office that believe in it is because that isn’t what the electorate votes for.) Changing how we collect taxes is passive-aggressive at best.

Anyway, if you’re over 55 and you move to a more expensive property (something only the rich would do), you won’t have to pay as much in property taxes if Proposition 5 passes. It lowers local revenue, which means state revenue will have to be increased to make up for it, or services will be cut, or both. All so the rich can save on property taxes.

The economy grows when money moves around. If you give rich people tax breaks, the money just sits there. That is not how an economy grows. (P.S. Don’t use “grow” as a transitive verb. You don’t “grow the economy.” You “help the economy grow.”)

Proposition 6: No

This is another one where not a lot of thought is required. You’ve seen those SB1 signs around town, anywhere where road work is being done. It all came from a gas tax passed last year, the first increase in decades because the last increase wasn’t tied to inflation. If Proposition 6 passes, the tax is repealed, and all the road work you’ve seen stops.

Proposition 6 doesn’t stop at repealing SB1. It also makes it so voters must approve any future gas tax. Granted this isn’t as big of a deal as it seems because our dependence on gas will only continue to drop over time, but there’s a reason no one talks about this extra provision.

You know how you feel about tax increases in general, so this is another easy decision for you. Just understand that the gas tax hasn’t kept up with inflation, we only have more roads to deal with, there are other transportation projects at risk, and if Proposition 6 passes we go back to where we were with a tougher path to being able to do anything about it. There’s some irony there somewhere.

Proposition 7: Yes

Proposition 7 would give state legislature the ability to control how daylight saving time works, should the federal government ever allow the states to do so. It could mean no more changing of the clocks twice a year.

Now, that isn’t what you’ve heard, is it? Many people, me included, were expecting California to have year-round daylight saving time (or standard time for that matter). And Proposition 7 could enable that, if Congress ever says we can.

So the cart is before the horse on this one. Because of a voter-approved initiative in 1949, the voters have to decide whether and how state legislature can set the clocks, the daylight saving time strategy if you will. But because of a Congressionally approved bill in 1966, it doesn’t matter what we think.

It’s similar to how states can have marijuana laws even though federally it’s still illegal. The difference is that you may not want to prioritize enforcement of these laws, even if you’re Jeff Sessions, but a state-level law stating what time it is? That’s too high profile to ignore.

So I still vote “yes” because it increases the chance we won’t have to change our clocks twice per year, but I know it’s going to be a while before anything actually happens.

Proposition 8: Yes

So many TV ads for this one. You remember TV, don’t you? You don’t? Well, then you probably don’t vote anyway.

There’s a general concept that if you allow people to cut corners that you can provide more services to more people. It is the argument against having or increasing the minimum wage. This should probably drive how you feel about Proposition 8.

There isn’t regulation today for how much outpatient kidney dialysis clinics charge for treatment. We can fix that with Proposition 8. It also removes the ability for clinics to deny treatment, ostensibly to less profitable patients.

Opponents to Proposition 8 threaten that, if passed, clinics could close because they couldn’t afford to stay open. I don’t see this as an excuse to let them charge whatever they want.

Proposition 8 is likely part of a larger solution to the problem of high dialysis costs. But we have to start somewhere.

Proposition 10: No

This one is probably tough for a lot of people. The purpose of Proposition 10 is to repeal parts of Costa-Hawkins. In other words, the idea is to remove the limits on rent control. If you want more rent control, you should vote “yes.”

Despite the benefits it provides many of my friends, I’m against rent control. It creates an us-vs.-them mentality, where people with rent control are not incentivized to help those who don’t have it or who would like to move into their neighborhood.

Rent control traps people in their rentals because of how much more expensive it will cost them to move. People with unpleasant living situations can’t escape them as easily if they can’t afford to live anywhere else.

For people living paycheck to paycheck, something renters disproportionately do, they aren’t prepared for any sudden shock to their budget (such as a massive increase in rent because they have to move).

Without rent control, all rental housing is potentially on the market, increasing liquidity because it makes it easier for people to move. This can result in more social mobility and lower rents overall because of the increased competition for units, which lowers rents.

Rent control is kind of like Proposition 13, in that it makes sense on a micro level, but when you look at the big picture you can see the damage that it causes. I understand why people vote yes for these types of initiatives, but I don’t see how it benefits society at large.

Proposition 11: Yes

When I was in college I worked at Burger King, among other places, and I always enjoyed it when it would get busy while I was on a break. “Screw them,” Teenage Joel would say. “I’m on a break.”

If you’re an EMT or any other private sector ambulance employee, perhaps you got into that line of work for different reasons than I did. And perhaps you would like to help out in an emergency, even if you were otherwise on your break. That’s what Proposition 11 will do.

No argument against Proposition 11 was submitted, so I guess that will do.

Proposition 12: Yes

I remember 10 years ago when we had Proposition 2, which mainly had to do with whether hens could be confined in small spaces. It passed and finally took effect 3 years ago.

Proposition 12 takes it further in terms of how much space hens get. Now instead of requiring a certain amount of space, they will instead need to be cage-free by 2022. There are more provisions for veal and pigs, but California doesn’t have that many of them. The greatest changes will come from how eggs come to be.

Oddly, the no side claims that Proposition 12 doesn’t go far enough. Maybe. But incremental change is the best we can do as a society. Even if you think the new standards are still inhumane, they are better than what we have now. And, we can finally stop hearing people say “cage free eggs” because it will be redundant.

Measure A: Yes

Measure A continues an eighth-cent sales tax that we pay today. The no side uses the standard fiscally conservative arguments, referring to pension reform (even using bold type—why?) and how often sales tax measures are on the ballot. Well, when a sales tax isn’t permanent, it’s going to have to keep being voted on duh.

This specific part of the sales tax goes toward health services and public safety for the most part. If it fails, technically it would mean that our sales tax would drop by an eighth of a percentage point.

Measure S: Yes

In an effort to be fiscally prudent, we have laws in San Jose that require the cheapest bid to be accepted for public works projects. Sometimes, cheapest isn’t best. Measure S allows the city to consider experience and work quality, in addition to price. It may mean some projects have a higher upfront cost, but in the long term this will save money and prevent a race to the bottom.

No argument against it was submitted, so that should tell you enough.

Measure T: Yes

This is a city bond measure for infrastructure and emergency services. Only the true libertarians are against this one. I wondered whether they copied and pasted their concerns every time, and then, when I read their rebuttal to the argument in favor, I recognized that lots of it was the same as their argument against it.

Even Chamber of Commerce types support Measure T. I rarely see so much bipartisan support, even in San Jose, for bond measures.

Measure U: Yes

This removes the city council’s ability to give themselves pay raises. Unsurprisingly, no one submitted an argument against it.

Measure V: Yes

This is a San Jose affordable housing bond, not to be confused with the statewide proposition. Similar to Measure T, it only has token opposition.

Although I will vote “yes,” I would like to point out that the cities in our county that are north of San Jose need to do more about building housing. Every day hundreds of thousands of people leave San Jose to go to work because it is cheaper to live here. Only South County costs less, and you can imagine what the traffic is like between there and here.


Primary election 2018 coverage for the deaf

May 28, 2018

Savannah just jumped on the couch and started licking her ass, which is the perfect metaphor for this election and what we need to do with it. Seems like the right time to press the words into this WordPress form.

Fortune favors the bold, and my piece on the 2016 general election was like the second cup of tea from a teabag. That a lot of its points ended up being wrong is just, well, unfortunate.

The lesson is that no one remembers when you’re right, especially when you predict what everyone thinks will happen. The other lesson, thanks to the current administration, is, if you get it wrong, just make up your own facts, even if people can easily disprove them.

If I swore up and down that I predicted Trump would win, at least some of you would have believed me, even if the piece immediately preceding this one says the opposite. (The piece immediately preceding this one says the opposite.) That’s because it’s easier to just believe me than it is to see whether I am right. It’s not about trust. It’s about laziness. God bless America.

So we’re all living in this giant case study right now, and we’re going to learn more about psychology as a result. It’s a high price to pay, but at least we’ll learn whatever it is that we’ll then forgot in 75 years when disbelief clouds our vision again.

People used to ask where you were when JFK was shot (or JR). Then it was 9/11. I think the new one will be where you were when you realized Hillary was going to lose. For me, it was when Indiana was decided minutes after the polls closed. She wasn’t going to win, but it should have been closer than that. Two hours later they declared Texas, another state that at one point was within the margin of error. That was when I knew.

So what happened? It’s fun to point the finger. Some say it was the poors, or the uneducateds, or even the third-party voters. No matter the scenario, it’s always fun to blame someone else and throw up your hands (while a finger on each is pointed of course).

None of it made sense to me. I’m a believer in Occam’s razor, but you can’t look for a reason for a problem of this magnitude that doesn’t at least stir a little provocation. And I finally found it: White people with something that they were afraid of losing.

California has been a so-called majority-minority state for nearly two decades. The world hasn’t ended yet. Cats still like people. Restaurants still have 99-cent menus. And the state still plows the roads (perhaps to get rid of that evil white snow—kidding).

Anyway, the rest of the nation isn’t necessarily like California, and the states that flipped in 2016 are especially not like California, largely for the reasons stated in that article. So it makes sense to me. This is my country. I get it. Thankfully I can still vote (although think of all the time I would save if I couldn’t).

Governor of California: Gloria Estela la Riva

There are 26 candidates on the ballot. Twenty-six! I’m just not going to talk about all of them. I’m sorry. I will say that it is a waste of a number because the alphabet isn’t represented evenly. But then this isn’t a Senate race, is it? Stupid Z being all Wyoming and shit. Not today!

I actually saw a la Riva sign in Santa Rosa yesterday. I wonder whether she reuses it every time she runs. Remember, kids: Reusing is better than recycling. Lyndon LaRouche would agree.

There’s no Socialist Party on the ballot this time around, which surprised me. In fact, only Green and Libertarian represent the third parties. La Riva might get 5,000 votes this time, so I’m excited about that. You need to get at least 1% of the votes to stay on the registration form if I remember correctly.

As a way to extend the non-GMO olive branch I guess, la Riva says in her statement to vote Socialist. I’ve always said that Peace and Freedom has a chance because the name uses words that people understand. The other party names all have an established brand. Too many people would never vote for a socialist. But if a third-party candidate can’t be idealistic, who can?

On to candidates of note. Gavin Newsom will win and win again in November. He’s already done the things that cause people to vote against him, and he still wins. He has the same type of Teflon our president has. And he won’t be horrible. But if you miss having scandals in Sacramento, you’re going to get your chance in 8 months.

Antonio Villaraigosa will probably be his opponent in the fall. Stupid California and its stupid jungle primary. This might be the year we get rid of it, because if we have several races with 2 Democrats running, plus some House races with 2 Republicans running, that might be enough to get people to repeal Proposition 14, which only won with 54% of the vote in the first place. Anyway, he is the ex-mayor of Los Angeles and checks a lot of boxes. He also supports high-speed rail because one terminus is scheduled to be in LA. If anyone is going to spend money on boring through the Grapevine, it’s him.

If the two leading Republican candidates get organized, one of them could be Newsom’s opponent instead. Travis Allen has a chance in November to get at least 40% of the vote if he can just get carpetbagger John Cox to drop out now. Instead they will likely split the vote.

John Chiang is the best qualified candidate, but he’s like Gray Davis. Too boring and too qualified. We need a certain type of charisma in our governors, apparently. And that’s a shame.

Delaine Eastin is the most progressive of the candidates but is up against too strong of a field. It’s a shame because, no matter what some may say, Jerry Brown is a bit of a moderate, and sometimes you can overcompensate with someone super-liberal, but no such luck. Newsom sucks all the air out of the room, and that’s pretty much the end of it.

Then there are the rest. Peter Liu is hoping to go viral with his campaign, but for whatever reason we only go crazy when we vote for president, not governor. But watch that video anyway. It’s great.

Johnny Wattenburg says, “Why not!” A great name for a bar. Not the best candidate statement I suppose.

Lieutenant Governor of California: Gayle McLaughlin

McLaughlin was Richmond’s mayor during their turnaround, which admittedly has more to do with gentrification than anything else. But the facts are still impressive. She used the windfall from demographic shifts to push through an increase in minimum wage, which some believe contributed toward the sharp reduction in the murder rate. The city itself will never come all the way back till they get rid of the brain-damaging refineries, but one step at a time, OK?

She is a standard Bay Area politician, wanting to fix Prop 13 and expand Medicare to everyone, the new way to have single-payer healthcare. I still prefer calling it a “National Healthcare Plan” like Maude did in the ’70s, but whatever.

Eleni Kounalakis is probably the frontrunner. She’s the only one sending me shit in the mail. And she has the Obama Administration experience plus a ton of endorsements to get her over the top. I don’t appreciate her use of the extra “L” in “travelled” in her statement, but I guess it is to show how worldly she is, like when people say “euro” as the plural of “euro.” (It’s not, but admittedly it is more commonly used in most of Europe.)

Jeff Bleich is a compelling candidate. He was the attorney that helped defeat Proposition 187. If you’re a single-issue voter, he’s your guy.

David Fennell and Tim Ferreira make false claims to scare you into getting their vote. You can’t keep saying that California is failing after the past 8 years we’ve had. There are plenty of people who are on the short end of the stick, but that is always the case.

Secretary of State of California: C.T. Weber

I have to say that I’m getting tired of voting for the same Peace and Freedom candidates every primary. Maybe I am supposed to run. But then there’d be nobody left to vote for these guys.

Alex Padilla is the incumbent. He’s fine. Who else is there?

Erik Rydberg was a Bernie delegate in 2016 so that should get some of you excited. Mark Meuser is misinterpreting statistics to declare vast amounts of voter fraud. Voter fraud is overstated. It takes so much work to cast one fraudulent ballot, let alone the thousands you may need to tip an election. That’s why there’s no voter fraud. And you just need one person to leak the story. It just doesn’t make sense. Anyway, Meuser is the only legitimate Republican candidate, so he will probably face off against Padilla in November.

Controller of California: Betty Yee

Good job, Peace and Freedom! The candidate is a name I don’t recognize. It’s too bad that a) Betty Yee is the incumbent, and b) there is only one other candidate (Konstantinos Roditis) who will get all the Republican votes because, well, he’s a Republican.

Also, Mary Lou Finley uses Hotmail, and I can’t vote for a candidate who uses Hotmail. Next time.

Treasurer of California:  Kevin Akin

Not Kevin Bacon. Not Todd “legitimate rape” Akin. (Can you believe it’s been 6 years since that happened? You’re all old.) Kevin Akin. Akin says the things I want to hear, such as supporting credit unions and coops. He also uses Hotmail, but I will look the other way because at least his statement says what he stands for.

Greg Conlon uses every conservative’s favorite dog whistle: “unfunded liabilities.” The Internet has already had the argument for and against pension reform. I’m not going to get into it here. That’s your candidate if you’re into it. He will probably face off with …

Fiona Ma. She’s ready for this role, and all her experience leads up to this moment. Why does her name sound familiar? Because she tried to pass anti-rave legislation (but Ma did attend a rave to see what the fuss was about) and change the carpool rules on 80 so she could use the lanes to get to work faster. You don’t get my vote when you mess with things that 22-year-old me really cared a lot about. But in November I bet I will end up forgetting all about these things and vote for her anyway.

Vivek Viswanathan is an intriguing candidate, and I hope he continues in politics. Like gubernatorial candidate Chiang, he seems to have the components to make a good public servant.

Attorney General of California: Xavier Becerra

Becerra is the incumbent and focused on immigration, and he’s been in the news because of the stuff our president does. That might be enough to keep him employed. Dave Jones is spending a ton of money to ensure an all-Democrat general election for this office, and I can’t figure out why.

Eric Early is running on the same “California needs to change” platform many Republicans do in this state. Steven Bailey is running on how tough on crime he was as a judge. He is also from South Lake Tahoe, which for me isn’t necessarily a good thing. I miss it there, but I don’t necessarily miss my fellow locals.

Insurance Commissioner of California: Asif Mahmood

At first glance, this ballot looks promising for Hrizi. No Republicans? Only four candidates? Hot diggity soy-based gluten-free dog!

Steve Poizner ran as a Republican in 2006 and won. He didn’t run in 2010 because he wanted to be governor. He lost in the Republican primary back when we had party-based primaries. Remember those? Oops.

Now Poizner is running as an independent, hoping for name recognition. He had done a good job as insurance commissioner so it makes sense. Who will he face off against?

Asif Mahmood is the Democrat who submitted a statement, so it will probably be him. And his backstory is fascinating. A doctor and a Pakistani immigrant, he would be the first Muslim to hold statewide office. He also never turned a patient away for lack of funds.

Hrizi wants to abolish health insurance companies, which I support, but I want an insurance commissioner who believes in insurance. This isn’t the U.S. cabinet. We don’t put people in power who don’t believe in the office’s purpose.

Member, State Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen

(Why is it we can’t vote in the primaries for other districts? Let’s truly have a jungle primary, dammit. Tom Hallinan in District 1 talks about “California big shots” who don’t “even know where Atwater (and) Ceres” are. I want to vote for him.

Cohen is your pro-cannabis, anti-tobacco candidate. She’s going to move on to November.

Cathleen Galgiani is the more economically focused of the Democratic candidates. She is using the “$15 minimum wage” keyword.

Mark Burns is the only Republican candidate and hates Proposition 13. Somehow that’s not redundant. Anyway, he will probably face Cohen unless Galgiani splits the vote badly with her.

United States Senator: John Thompson Parker

I don’t like how his statement is written in the third person, but it allows me to avoid a tough decision till November, under the guise of supporting my Peace and Freedom peeps.

The real battle here is between Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León. Feinstein wants one more term, and honestly she has a lot of power in the Senate. But, the Democratic Party has moved leftward without her, becoming more pacifist to steal those delicious Peace and Freedom votes from us. Put it all together, and is it time? No. But in November it might be.

As far as the other 29 (!) candidates go, if you ever wondered what a Dixiecrat was, we have one in Herbert Peters. If you like a lot of initial-capped words with your candidate statements, Lee Olson’s got you covered.

United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren

She’s running unopposed. If the Academy Awards were like this, I would at least get one right in my Oscar pool.

Member of the State Assembly, District 28: Evan Low

He’s running against one other candidate so it doesn’t matter who to vote for in the primary. Again, jungle primaries are dumb.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 4: Vincent Chiarello

Also running unopposed. Good thing the judges stuff is always boring on the ballot. Oh, wait.

Judge of the Superior Court: Recall Aaron Persky: Yes

The problem with writing this in the order the ballot is printed is that it isn’t an inverted pyramid. So thanks for making it all the way here.

For those of you living behind SLAC for the past two years, we had a judge sentence a rapist to six months in jail when he had an option to sentence him to 14 years. And then after three months he was released. His father said that even three months was “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life.”

He still has to register as a sex offender, and his life won’t turn out the way he was hoping. You also have to be responsible for your actions. That debate is what it is. The question here is whether to recall the judge who gave the sentence.

Like I do with many propositions and ballot measures, I compare our society based on the possible outcomes to see which way I want to vote. And I don’t want to live in a society where people see a disconnect between what they believe is right and the outcomes they experience.

This is a deceptively populist viewpoint, which is dangerous. Even before our current president won, populism has been derided as letting emotion win and not being in the best long-term interest of a functioning society.

But sometimes you have to sacrifice the benefit of some for the benefit of a larger group. And that’s why I’m voting for the recall.

I have no interest in defending support of Persky to a little girl, effectively sending the message that she can grow up to be raped and that her attacker will largely get away with it. (Being a registered sex offender is provocative, but it’s not going to end life as you know it. He will be fine. Persky will be too.)

I don’t want to have to make this decision at all. But I have to. And I know privilege makes it too hard for me to be objective. But I do know what is easier to mansplain to people.

Judge of the Superior Court: Cindy Seeley Hendrickson

I bet a lot of people will vote no on the recall and then write Persky’s name in. And that’s their right. You shouldn’t look at the new candidates to see whether you would want one of them in office instead, but I did exactly that.

Hendrickson’s background is quite the opposite of Persky’s, and I bet it gets her into the chair or whatever it is judges sit in. She has 12 siblings. She graduated from Stanford, which has got to sting a little.

Angela Storey is fine. Her candidate statement is just more boring than Hendrickson’s. I am sure both would do a fine job.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Marshall Tuck

He’s the frontrunner so you can pick someone else if you want. Tony Thurmond is a Panamanian immigrant who explicitly calls out Betsy DeVos in his statement. I expect him to be Tuck’s opponent this fall, and I might change my mind and vote for him then. I’m voting for Tuck now because his background is the best fit.

Lily Ploski is fine, but her statement is a bio. I don’t know anything about what she believes in.

Member, Board of Supervisors, District 4: Don Rocha

This is tough. You know Pierluigi Oliverio will make it to the general, based on the volume of mail received both for and against him. He was my city councilperson, and he’s not the type of politician I support. But, if you voted for him before, you will want to vote for him again. And if you’re one of the six remaining Republicans in District 4, you will probably want to vote for him too.

Dominic Caserta was probably the second favorite in this race before he resigned his city council seat for sexual harassment allegations. This is not the year for that, Dom.

These other candidates are pretty good, but none really say anything that stands out for me personally, except for Rocha. I want a true local for this position because I think one would be more likely to care. And of all the candidates, he seems to be the local-est.

Jason Baker calls himself progressive so I guess that’s your Bernie candidate. He’s also the ex-mayor of Campbell so if you live there, there you go.

Mike Alvarado is probably the real progressive candidate based on his statement. I always like to see keywords such as “mass transit” and “prison reform.” Maria Hernandez is a similar candidate but more polished.

I think Susan Ellenberg will end up supplanting Caserta and finishing second. I’ll vote for her then.

Assessor: Larry Stone

Unopposed again. People love that guy.

District Attorney: Jeff Rosen

Another unopposed incumbent.

Sheriff: Laurie Smith

Smith is the incumbent so this is really a battle for who she faces. If you want her to have an easier time of it, vote for a fringe candidate such as Martin Monica. Anyway, she’s done a good job as far as I can tell. It’s kind of stupid that we get to vote on something so important because I don’t know who any of these people are, and I actually try.

John Hirokawa is the outsider candidate and a Japanese American. As a hapa I’m almost racist enough to vote for him. He’s definitely qualified. It’s just hard for me to vote for outsiders. Says the third-party supporter. Go write your own election column.

Joe La Jeunesse has a better chance than he would have before, because search engines have improved to the point that no matter how people spell his last name they will get to what they’re looking for. He is probably the conservative choice. I’m not saying drugs and gangs aren’t an issue. I’m saying using them to scare people is a conservative tactic. So there’s your guy.

Mayor: Sam Liccardo

Thankfully San Jose doesn’t have a strong mayor government.

Quangminh Pham would be kind of cool because we’d have a 74-year-old Vietnamese guy running around as mayor. That would be fun to see. Tyrone Wade has an interesting statement, and he’s your Bernie candidate.

Liccardo of course is the incumbent, and he hasn’t been terrible. I really want to hate the guy, but he does just enough to keep me on board. And sometimes he forgets to lock his Nextdoor posts so then we can all comment on them for a while till someone tells him, and then they get locked. Very human.

Proposition 68: Yes

It’s a park bond. Like any other bond, you probably already know how you feel about them. Interest rates are starting to go up, so you could make the case that it is better to borrow money long term now than later.

Proposition 69: Yes

SB 1 raised the gas tax, which is not indexed to inflation, for the purpose of maintaining and building roads and mass transit. Proposition 69 would let this gas tax money be used for other things instead.

Some people want all the money in the general fund. Others want money raised for something to be used for that something. I generally want to give the state flexibility in how it spends its money (shut up it isn’t your money I can hear you from here it’s our money we are all on the same team except for those on the punctuation team), but I don’t feel that way about transportation related revenue. If anything, we borrow from the general fund to help pay for more transportation stuff as it is.

Proposition 70: No

I’m not sure about this one. California has a cap-and-trade program, and it’s working. I like the program. You can take your climate change debate somewhere else. We’re past that.

Proposition 70 requires a two-thirds vote to spend the money brought in via the program, and I hate two-thirds-vote requirements.

But, my boy Governor Brown recommends a Yes vote. I’m missing something.

None of this takes effect until 2024, and regardless of the outcome, there will be another proposition on the ballot in 2020 either trying again (if it fails) or reversing the decision (if it passes). Again, this is a stupid way to govern. Voters are too busy eating Chipotle to be trusted with these types of decisions.

Proposition 71: No

Today when a proposition passes it takes effect the very next day. If Proposition 71 passes, this changes to 5 days and also lets proposition writers make the “operative date” later than the “effective date.”

There are reasons why having a proposition take effect the next day makes no sense, but the key here is letting the operative and effective dates be different. That’s too confusing for people to understand, and it enables loopholes. No thanks. This will probably pass, though.

Proposition 72: Yes

If it passes, starting next year if you install a rain-capture system you won’t have to have your property tax reassessed. Of course the whole reason this is a problem is because of Proposition 13, but I’m not going to cut off my nose to spite my face. We need people to have rain-capture systems that aren’t giant garbage cans in the backyard with their lids off. Not requiring a reassessment removes this potential discouragement.

Regional Measure 3: Yes

Bridge tolls generally go to $6 next year, $7 in 2022, and $8 in 2025 if this passes. The money goes to all transportation types, just like Proposition 69, but at the Bay Area level.

Quoting the rebuttal to the argument against it, this problem isn’t going to go away. The reason we need to raise tolls is because there’s not another way to pay for the work. The state won’t do it, even if Newsom becomes governor. We have no leverage with that guy.

The reason you vote no is because this is a regressive tax. People that take bridges are more likely to make less money and live farther away from their jobs. This measure is part of a larger solution that may or may not happen.

The demographic breakdown will be fascinating. The anti-tax types will of course vote no, but so will the poor and progressives trying to help the poor. And with Democrats supposedly being more likely to vote this election than normal, it’s going to be close. For those wondering, this only needs a simple majority from the combined votes of all nine counties.

Measure B: No

Getting a ton of mail about this one, too. It’s really quite simple. Putting more housing on the edge of town makes traffic worse because you’re adding to the hundreds of thousands of people who leave San Jose for work every morning and drive back every evening. The county needs more housing, but it needs to be north and west of San Jose.

Voting yes as a knee-jerk reaction to how expensive housing is here is simply irresponsible.

Measure C: Yes

This is essentially an anti-sprawl measure for San Jose. I know, it’s 50 years too late. But you have to start somewhere. San Jose has to build up, not out, and doing so will also meet the needs of the next generation of home buyers. Kids these days. They don’t want yards the way the older folks do. They want to be able to walk around and do shit. They don’t want to have to look for parking all the time.

The people against Measure C are using the time-tested arguments of “poorly written” and “will result in lawsuits.” It means they have no argument of substance to present in opposition.

General election 2016 coverage for the deaf

October 22, 2016

I’m writing this in Beverly Hills, across the street from the Troubadour, where Letters to Cleo will be playing a show later tonight. The first time around we had a Clinton as president, but I couldn’t afford to see them live. I’m rectifying that.

Speaking of Beverly Hills I walked by a sweets shop blaring Weezer, but they were playing “Say It Ain’t So.” Kind of a missed opportunity, I guess.

Anyway, for a lot of people this is probably the most important election in their minds. For me it’s kind of boring. At this point the presidential election appears that it will be the largest blowout since 1984, and despite attempts by the media to make it a real horse race, potentially damaging our ability to interact with other people in the process, it was never close. Even when the national polls were tightening, the electoral college was never in doubt. In 2012 there was a day or two when Romney had 270 if you included certain pollsters. Not the case this year.

Having said all that, it’s my duty to remind you that voting for president is the least important thing you do when it comes to voting, because you’re competing with so many other voters. Your effect on the outcome is 100 times stronger when you’re 1 of a million people voting, vs. 1 of a 100 million.

Also, I encourage you to vote by mail or take advantage or early voting if you can. One of the biggest strategies around Election Day has a huge dependency on it being earlier in the month. When you go vote on the 2nd or 3rd of November, there’s a good chance your precinct will have a bowl of leftover Halloween candy.

This year, Election Day is the 8th. Now, I’m not saying there will be no candy, but all that’s going to be left are SweeTarts and that generic taffy that comes in the orange and black wrappers. What you can count on is that it will be in a dish only meant for candy, and it will cost $90.

Anyway, here we go. Just look for the stuff in bold if you want to know how I’m voting. Nobody’s constipated enough to go through this entire thing at once, and even if you are, nobody wants to hear about it.

President and Vice President of the United States: Gloria la Riva and Dennis Banks

In 2012 it was my first time to be eligible to become president. I figured every 4 years I would write myself in and select a pop culture-dependent running mate (Lance Armstrong in 2012). At a minimum it would provide nostalgia regarding who was popular at the time. And in 2012 it was an easy decision because Peace and Freedom had nominated Ralph Nader, and I was so over it. In addition, Armstrong was big in the news at the time.

This cycle, no one is really standing out the way Armstrong was. Plus, Peace and Freedom has a real candidate. Finally, I don’t really want to be president anymore, and I can’t take the risk of this piece going viral and getting me elected.

I’ve mentioned this before, but political parties need to get a certain number of votes for their party to appear on voter registration forms. Peace and Freedom is always at risk of not making it, and every election concerns me that this is their last chance, kind of like those Adam & Eve mail order catalogs that always say you’re going to stop receiving them in the mail if you don’t buy anything.

Anyway, I voted for la Riva in the primary, and I’m going to vote for her now. And when she ends up with 12,712 votes, I’ll know I was part of it.

Everyone else has already said everything there is to say about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We also have Gary Johnson and Jill Stein on our ballot. I don’t have a lot to say about the candidates themselves, and I’ve said enough about the parties already. The American Independent party also seem to have nominated Trump, because my ballot says “Republican, American Independent.” I’ve never seen that before. What a great way to recruit new members to your confusingly named party.

United States Senator: Kamala Harris

Speaking of things I’ve said enough about, I fucking hate jungle primaries. But that’s what we approved as voters, so that’s what we have. Brexit-style, many people will look at their ballot, see 2 Democratic candidates for Senate with no option to write someone in, and be annoyed. Well, you shouldn’t have voted yes on Prop 14.

Anyway, Loretta Sanchez recognized her best opportunity to win was to go after disenfranchised Republican voters. The biggest problem with this approach is her last name is Sanchez. The second biggest problem is that her first name is a woman’s name.

The LA ABC affiliate sponsored a debate between the candidates, and I watched it on C-SPAN. You thought Clinton looked more presidential than Trump, you should have seen which of these candidates looked more senatorial. Kamala Harris is a class act, and if anything I think she’s too good for the Senate. I’m curious what her aspirations are, but she has a long track record of success.

As an aside, can we please stop calling Harris black? She’s half Indian, half Jamaican, which is amazing and ought not be overlooked. It makes as much sense as calling Sanchez black because her first name is the same as Cleveland Brown’s first wife on Family Guy. Poor Loretta Swit will never occupy the same space in mind because of Seth MacFarlane. How can he live with himself?

United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren

It’s a safe blue district, Charlie Brown. G. Burt Lancaster is Zoe Lofgren’s opponent, and he didn’t even submit a written statement. I’ve used up all my “Zoe” jokes because she has to run for reelection for 2 years.

If this article were being rerun on ESPN Classic, this is the section that would be deleted and replaced with the voiceover that tells you we’re moving on to later in the broadcast.

State Senator, District 15: Jim Beall

Nora Campos is fine. She was termed out (again, don’t get me started) of the Assembly so now she’s running for the State Senate. She really should wait for Jim Beall to be termed out. It truly would be the Beall end all at that point. (Some jokes I recycle.)

I will vote for Nora Campos next time. There will be a next time. Beall is 64, so this might be it for him anyway. I can’t believe Chuck Page didn’t come in second in the primary, but no matter.

Member of the State Assembly, District 28: Evan Low

They fixed the typo in the voter guide! Nicholas Sclavos is a family business manager once again. He still didn’t provide a written statement, though.

San Jose Unified School District Governing Board Member Trustee Area 3: Olivia Navarro

There was no primary for this election. I’m sure it’s a very basic civics reason why, but I don’t know what it is. Maybe if I had had a more memorable government class in high school I wouldn’t be in this mess. Oh, if only there were someone running for school board who could help with that!

I think it could be Olivia Navarro. She has an uphill battle facing an incumbent, and she refers to “kindergarten” as “kinder,” something everyone under 40 is doing, and it drives me nuts. This is a rare opportunity for you to use a German word—correctly! And you’re going to talk about chocolate eggs that have small chokable toys inside instead? It’s your loss.

However, she’s actually attended our local public schools and uses one of my favorite dog-whistle expressions: Education is only successful when everyone participates.

She does capitalize a lot of words for no reason, and she uses a lot of spaces after periods, but so does her opponent, Pam Foley, so that’s a wash.

So what don’t I like about Foley? Well, it’s not that she’s bad, but she spends most of her prepared statement talking about what the board has down, rather than what she wants to do. She also talks about teacher evaluations. I don’t oppose them, but when you mention them to people, you’re silently endorsing merit pay, speaking of dog whistles.

Finally, Foley mentions Willow Glen five times in her statement. I know where I live. But is our trustee area really just in Willow Glen? It’s hard to say because the Internet sucks out loud at finding out, assuming the info is out there in the first place.

Anyway, I’m sure Foley will be reelected because of the power of incumbency, but I will say Navarro had a much better statement.

City of San Jose, Member, City Council, District 6: Helen Chapman

This has been quite the race, and I think for everyone the choice is clear, based on endorsements. One exception is my personal primary favorite, Chris Roth, is endorsing Devora Davis, but I think that has more to do with his ability to transcend identity politics. I still think he’s got a big future no matter what he decides to do.

When I think of what I want from a city council candidate, I want someone who will represent its constituents and set personal preferences aside. Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York Senator, is amazing at this. When she was in the House of Representatives, she was much more conservative. Now that she represents the entire state of New York, she has voted more liberally, because her constituents are more liberal. That’s true representation, folks.

Anyway, when I pull the level for Helen Chapman it’s because she represents what I think my neighborhood is. She also looks to lead from the bottom up.

Davis is what many would consider the establishment favorite. The past 2 mayors have endorsed her. The Chamber of Commerce endorses her. San Jose has a history of socially liberal, fiscally conservative politics. If that’s your bag, baby, by all means: It’s Davis time.

In other news, a political action committee sent out a mailer on her behalf trashing Chapman for her role as a volunteer, because the city mismanaged funds for a program she volunteered for. How is that her fault? Now, if the AFL-CIO sends out a hit piece on Davis, I’ll be equally upset about that.

That’s right: The unions support Chapman. So from an identity perspective it all falls into place: If you’re into the Chamber and fiscal conservatism and our mayor, it’s Davis. If you voted for Dave Cortese for mayor and are a union supporter, it’s Chapman.

One last thing, I’ll never understand why statements are written in the third person. It makes you so much more human when you use “I” statements. You can guess, based on my endorsement, which candidate followed this advice.

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority Director, District 4: Dorsey Moore

Speaking of the city council, our termed out representative (Pierluigi Oliverio) is running for this office now. His written statement talks about himself but doesn’t focus on the open space authority beyond a high-level reference. It feels like this is just something else to do after running for mayor in 2014 didn’t work out for him.

Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of his establishment (read: fiscally conservative) politics, but he does wear it better than the bigger names in town. He always responded to my emails. He practices what he preaches. I won’t be upset if he wins. And he gives out his phone number in his statement, which is gutsy.

Dorsey Moore has a lot of keyword density in his statement, but it’s believable. And his educational background is a better fit for this office. He might be a little more boring than Oliverio, but Al Gore is boring as fuck, and I would have loved for him to have been president.

Proposition 51: Yes

It’s hard for me to vote no on school bonds. I almost did it this time. The governor is against this bond measure because more affluent districts will benefit. I think it’s a fair criticism. But I still think there are enough benefits to justify the cost, especially with interest rates so low.

If you always do or don’t vote on school stuff, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. For those of you who only sometimes vote yes, this is probably one you’ll want to vote no on, unless you take delight in having winners and losers when it comes to schools and funding.

Proposition 52: Yes

I rarely vote against unions, so this makes me feel a little better about myself when it comes to being objective.

We get federal matching funds for the $3 billion in Medicaid fees we collect from hospitals every year. The fee is set to expire, and 52 would make it permanent.

If 52 doesn’t pass, the state legislature could still decide to extend the fee, so you don’t have to vote for it strictly because you don’t want the fee to go away. So why is it on the ballot in the first place? It would make it harder for the legislature to change the fee in the future. The legislature wouldn’t agree to that.

The matching funds argument is enough for me, because I don’t want to have to trust the state legislature to extend the fee itself. And the no argument is kind of stupid, because it talks about how the money could be spent on anything. So what? That’s going to happen anyway.

Proposition 53: No

There’s no way this is going to fail, but I will try. I’m not a fan of legislating from the ballot box, because voters aren’t informed enough to make sensible decisions. That’s why we elect people to make these decisions for us. It’s not a perfect system because corruption, but I don’t have time to deal with this because I’m busy trying to contribute to society.

Anyway, this is what I’m talking about: 53 will require voter approval for any issuance of bonds exceeding $2 billion. We’re too stupid to know whether every bond issuance of this size is important, not to mention all the extra shit that will appear on the ballot because of it. Look at how long the ballot is for this election already!

What 53 is doing on the ballot is another attempt to reduce spending on public services that fiscal conservatives aren’t interested in. The obvious example is high speed rail. If 53 passes, large sales of bonds will be much harder to push through. If we ask voters to provide another $5 billion in bonds for high speed rail, they’re going to vote no. I can’t believe they voted yes the first time!

It also means you’re going to see what technologists call an “agile methodology,” specifically breaking down projects into smaller chunks, each with—surprise—$1.9 billion price tags. So in an effort to get the state to spend less money, we’re going to actually spend more, because of the bureaucracy that will have to be repeated every time we issue almost but not quite $2 billion in bonds.

Having said that, you would vote yes because you want more control over large price tag bond issues, and you probably have some libertarian leanings to accompany them. Or, you just like being able to make decisions. I think those 2 groups add up to about 55% of the electorate. I guess we’ll see.

Proposition 54: No

Like 53, this is another “sounds good” proposition that ignores why we have our government set up the way it is. If 54 passes, any new bill or change to a new bill would start a 72-hour window, during which there would be no vote on it. The idea, proponents say, is it gives people time to read the law before it gets voted on, thus giving you a chance to speak to your state senator or assemblyperson about it before it’s too late.

What I don’t like about this is what happens during an emergency, such as an earthquake, or when Northern California finally secedes and tries to become Jefferson. I’m not exactly a small-government activist, but all 54 does is create another hoop to jump through to get anything done.

If all you can think of is the great Nancy Pelosi Obamacare line, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it,” then this is an obvious yes vote for you.

Proposition 55: Yes

When Governor Brown took office, he did several things to fix the budget. One was Prop 30, which was a temporary tax on the rich to pay for education. Well, it’s been 4 years, and now it’s set to expire. If you want the tax to be made permanent, well, 55 can do that for you. The governor is neutral on 55, which to me means he wants to say he is for it but knows better.

The no side is led by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, natch. “Temporary should mean temporary,” they say. Well, they use a lot of capital letters, but you get the idea. And they’re right that it’s important to have integrity, and it’s true that we all knew they would try to make this tax permanent once it was scheduled to expire. And here we are.

Here’s my response to that: Perhaps the tax should have been there all along. I’m more concerned with where we end up than how we get there. Making a temporary tax permanent doesn’t bother me.

If you’re going to get hung up on semantics, then 55 is a big no for you. For the rest of you, you’ll treat this like any other tax on the ballot.

Proposition 56: Yes

This one raises cigarettes by $2 per pack and also taxes other things, such as electronic cigarettes, for the first time. The money goes to different things, including health programs for poor people.

Sigh. We all know the tobacco companies will spend just enough money to make sure this fails with 51% of the vote, but let’s press on.

This is for people who actually think about cigarette taxes. (Most people will knee-jerk one way or the other.) This time around the money is being used on lots of different things, so if you want the tax to be earmarked for specific programs, it’s not for you.

My rebuttal is that cigarette taxes are designed to reduce smoking, not raise money. And of course if you don’t like fascism like I do, then it’s another reason to vote no. But numerous studies show the amount of healthcare costs in a pack of cigarettes far outweigh the taxes paid by the smoker. If you think auto insurance should be charged by the mile, it would make sense to vote yes.

It’s just not a good use of money to use all cigarette taxes on smoking related programs. You want to talk about pork? That is how it would work.

Finally, our 87-cent-per-pack tax is the lowest in the country. Yep, the one thing that’s cheaper in California than anywhere else is cigarettes.

Proposition 57: Yes

More identity politics here. If you remember Prop 47 in 2014, it freed a lot of people to reduce jail overcrowding. There’s mixed data whether it’s been successful, but it’s probably too early to tell for sure. But of course, any outlier is what we’re going to notice, so someone who gets released early because of Prop 47 and commits a crime is going to become a poster child about why we can’t release criminals early.

There are reasons that transcend the law about why these things happen. A recent Pet Shop Boys video of all things tells the story well. But I digress.

Another way to further reduce prison overcrowding comes in the form of 57. You could say it’s one of many … varieties? In any case it’s only for nonviolent felons, meaning drug-related and grand theft mostly. It makes it easier for them to get parole.

If you voted yes on 47 and don’t have buyer’s remorse, then you’ll vote yes here. And if you voted no on 47 and feel the same way today, you’ll vote no. I’ll remind libertarian types out there that this does save the government money by shrinking the prison population.

Proposition 58: Yes

This will probably pass because of how it’s worded, and that’s OK. The title says “English proficiency. Multilingual education.” I think a lot of conservatives will like the first two words and stop there. That’s fine.

What 58 actually does is make it easier for schools to set up dual immersion programs, which are amazing. They essentially let any kid learn in 2 languages, which when started in kindergarten (see, don’t you feel smarter reading German?) is showing improved critical thinking skills, and it makes sense because your brain is learning multiple ways to communicate the same thing.

I guess the no argument is “everything’s fine,” which is the standard no argument for anything. Ron Unz is behind the no side, and the governor is behind the yes side, if that helps.

Proposition 59: Yes

You don’t normally see advisory measures on the state ballot, but Citizens United got enough people upset to set down their Whole Foods Market cloth bag and sign a petition that will result in absolutely nothing.

Yes, 59 is to formally ask the state to approve a US Constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United. I have a feeling in the quest for 38 states to say yes that California was already going to be one of them.

But if 59 gets at least one person to vote on everything because of this one issue, I guess it’s worth it.

The no side says it’s a waste of money. Sure, but voting no doesn’t keep us from wasting the money. It’s already happened. And I would say voting yes doesn’t exactly encourage people to pull this shit again. When you want to put something on the ballot it comes from within. You don’t need to feel encouraged.

Proposition 60: No

Every family has its crazy. And when you see a family in public, such as in a restaurant or at the mall, they’re often too into themselves to notice what they’re arguing about. That’s passion right there.

Anyway, the state legislature couldn’t get the votes to require the use of condoms in porn filmed in California so they decided to put it on the ballot instead. When I wrote earlier about not letting voters decide everything, this is exactly what I was talking about. How the hell would we know?

I would say these regulations would make sense as part of the decriminalization of prostitution, but that’s not what this is. Here are a couple reasons to vote no.

What is porn? When consenting couples film themselves doing it, and then as an act of revenge one of the people puts it online, is that porn? Can someone be sued if there is no condom? Who knows?

Do we want to make the industry less safe? LA already has this requirement, and it has sent the porn industry underground. This isn’t about you and whether you support pornography. It’s about keeping people safe when they make life choices. You can’t tell me that porn actors will be safer if they have to go underground to work because of the requirement of condom use. It’s a supply-side solution.

Many, specifically social conservatives, will vote no because they will see the word “condoms.” It doesn’t matter what else is said. So that leaves the big government supporters and well meaning but mis-intentioned citizenry to get to 50%. I don’t think they’ll even make it to 30.

Proposition 61: Yes

This one has the most ads on TV up and down the state. You may have heard about the EpiPen and how the price got jacked up because it can be. (There’s your free market in action.) If 61 passes, it will require state agencies to pay the same rate the US Department of Veterans Affairs pays for drugs.

That’s not the same thing as requiring drug manufacturers to match the prices they charge the US Department of Veterans Affairs. But the general understanding is that that will happen. How do we know that? Well, Merck and other pharmaceutical companies are funding the no side, because if they charge less for drugs, they make less money. If they were going to just ignore the law, they wouldn’t care.

In Northern California, Bernie’s logo is on billboards supporting 61, whereas the no side is trotting out a bunch of veterans saying it will cause their medication to cost more.

If pharmaceutical companies could charge veterans more for medication, they would already be doing it. It wouldn’t take 61 passing for that to occur. It makes sense to me that the main reason veterans would get cheaper drugs is because of the economy-of-scale benefits the US Department of Veterans Affairs enjoys because of the number of patients it has.

As an aside, the 60 and 61 yes sides both supply additional information from the same mailing address, so it feels weird to me that I am only voting yes on one of them.

Proposition 62: Yes

This repeals the death penalty. It is also a prime example of idealism vs. pragmatism.

All I’m saying is it costs more to kill people than keep them in prison for life. We know the death penalty doesn’t reduce crime. You’re afraid to die. Criminals are not afraid to die.

Finally, we hardly kill anyone anymore anyway. It’s too fucking hard. And apparently it will save $150 million per year, because of how expensive execution is, etc.

Proposition 63: Yes

Here’s another idealism vs. pragmatism argument: gun control. I really have nothing new to add to this.

This doesn’t authorize Barack Obama (who will be looking for something to do) to come and get your guns, finally. Seriously, he has done such a shitty job of taking people’s guns away. In fact, gun manufacturing is at an all time high. What a terrible president.

Anyway, 63 focuses on stuff like prohibiting large-capacity ammunition magazines, which you definitely don’t read for the articles. And for the other kind of ammunition? It will require background checks and a Department of Justice authorization. It will be done through a new court process.

You already know whether you’re voting for this.

Proposition 64: Yes

Remember in 2000 and 2004 when states would put same-sex marriage stuff on the ballot to increase Republican voter turnout? These days, marijuana legalization initiatives are done to get Democrats out. Never mind that it’s still illegal federally.

Yes, 64 makes marijuana legal at the state level, similar to what’s happened in Washington and Colorado. This is probably another one where you already know how you’re voting.

I think 64 passing is key to nationwide decriminalization, so if that’s your goal, your mission is clear. I also think it will be one of the last executive orders Obama makes before he leaves office. It’s the cherry on top. You read it here first. (But you’ll probably forget that you did—ha!)

What surprises me is how little resistance there is to 64. All the money is on the yes side.

Proposition 65: Yes

This one is confusing. I still don’t know how I’m going to vote for it, and I’m writing about it right now! So much for inverted pyramid.

When plastic bags were banned locally, stores were allowed to use paper bags but only if they charged for them. To get them on board, the state let the store keep the money. Seemed kind of weird, but whatever.

What 65 actually does is say that the revenue would specifically be taken from the stores and used for specific environmental programs. That’s probably fine for most people. I guess it’s fine for me. But it doesn’t ban them from places that aren’t banned yet. That might be important to you.

What tipped me over was the no argument. When you do like Homer Simpson and play the out of state card, it tells me you’re all out of ideas.

Proposition 66: No

Sometimes the ballot has competing initiatives, and they confuse the fuck out of people. This time it’s happening with 64 and 66. If both pass, the one with more votes takes effect.

The short version is people saw that 64 was going to get rid of the death penalty, and they figured a watered down version might do better while preserving the option of the death penalty.

It’s a pretty good argument most of the time to say stuff like 66 is a nice compromise, and we can always abolish the death penalty later. Honestly, 66 would do nothing because it’s too hard to kill people now. It would never really get put to the test, meanwhile inspiring hope that someone on death row really would get executed someday.

No one gets executed anymore because lethal injection is how we do it, and we can’t find the right combination of drugs to make sure it’s done right. So executions are in a sort of purgatory right now, and while we’re sending all kinds of tech jobs to Austin, we can’t seem to outsource our executions there.

Proposition 67: Yes

Surprise! Another competing initiative. This time we have 65 and 67 facing off. This time 67 is the more extreme measure. It bans plastic bags in the entire state, rather than leaving it to local governments to decide.

The argument is that 150 cities have already banned plastic bags, and it’s working great. Sure, when you have my grandpa like I do, I can just visit him and get all the plastic bags I want.

Here’s the thing: There’s a giant island in the Pacific Ocean comprising plastic bags that have swept out to sea. Yes, I use all the plastic bags I acquire, but not everyone does. And if I had to give up talking on my phone while driving because other people couldn’t handle the same, I will have to give up plastic bags, too.

The no argument (the real one not the bullshit one in the voter guide—the no side isn’t even trying, honestly) is that you’re forcing people to buy plastic bags when they need them for garbage or dog poop or asphyxiation. Maybe, but at least we won’t have any wasted ones. Remember this island. It’s not just a Le Tigre major label album.

Measure A: Yes

The timing couldn’t be better for A advocates. After kicking everyone out of the Jungle, the homeless are more visible than they’ve ever been. What better time for a ballot measure to authorize bonds to give them a place to live, along with others who need less expensive housing.

The housing argument has been an interesting one. People complain when you build more places to live (“oh, the traffic!”). They complain that there’s nowhere to live (“oh, the expense!”). If you press people hard enough on this apparent hypocrisy, the common answer tends to be that we need to send these high paying jobs out of the region so no one can afford to pay these high rents. Thanks, Nextdoor.

The no argument focuses on the cost of interest, a common tactic. They even take it a step further, saying it could be as high as 12%. There’s just no way interest rates can get that high. We talked about this 4,000 words ago.

This requires a two-thirds majority thanks to Prop 13, so it really needs every vote it can get. I’m not holding my breath.

Measure B: Yes

This is the most important thing on the ballot as far as I’m concerned. It’s a half-cent sales tax for transportation. It’s one of the few regressive taxes that makes sense because it benefits people who lose a larger chunk of their income to taxes more than it does others.

This is a general transportation one, so it includes the usual suspects, such as connecting BART to Caltrain in the South Bay, freeway improvements, including 101/87 (be still my heart), and more bike and pedestrian trails. It even works on all the expressways, which will make Faco happy.

The no argument shows an appalling lack of critical thinking. It says that, despite the tax increase from Measure A in 2000, traffic is worse now. Well, no shit, Sherlock. There are more people working and living here than in 2000.

(The root cause of this traffic is twofold, by the way. First, we don’t use school buses for most children anymore, creating a lot of unnecessary car trips. Second, people change jobs so often that it is much harder to own a house and live near where you work. That’s how you solve traffic problems. But that type of cultural change isn’t going to happen. So at least we have Measure B.)

Measure E: Yes

I think this one just might make it. This would make San Jose the first city in the country to require employers to offer additional hours to existing employees before hiring new ones. Employers with fewer than 35 employees are exempt.

There are a shit ton of people working multiple part time jobs because they can’t get enough hours at one place. There is an interesting anti-Obamacare argument about why people aren’t getting enough hours at one job in the first place, and this is where the no voters will be coming from.

I can tell you as a former retail manager why I wouldn’t want E to pass. The more employees I have, the more options I have when someone is sick. Also, the more likely it is that my workers will want more hours because I’ve cut too many slices in the pie. Well, that’s great when you’re in charge. It sucks if you’re the worker, hoping for any extra hours.

E will reduce this type of exploitation. I’ve been on both sides of this.

The mayor is against it because it’s “too risky.” Yeah, he’s afraid of a lot. But this is going to make a lot of retail workers feel safer, and if they don’t need that extra part time job because of the extra hours they pick up, it’s one less commute, which helps make Measure B that much more effective.

Measure F: Yes

This will probably pass, and I guess that’s OK. A few years ago we passed pension reform overwhelmingly, above my objections for what it’s worth. Since then our best cops have left, and we’ve turned into a feeder system, the same way that new dealers start at break-in casinos before moving on to greener pastures.

We were supposed to be the new gold standard for pension reform, and other cities’ governments responded by saying, “Thanks for all your best workers, San Jose! We’ll leave our pensions alone so they’ll come work for us!” And it totally worked.

Believe me when I say I didn’t want to be right. Anyway, F rolls back some of Measure B, to the chagrin of taxpayers associations, who finally got something they wanted. But the gorilla in the room is that we have fewer than 1,000 cops. And with the Jungle getting blown up, it has created a perception that crime has increased, which can only help get F passed. Sometimes things work out in the end.

What’s done is done, but F can help us make San Jose a more attractive place for public workers such as police and fire.

Measure G: Yes

This raises the business tax in San Jose from $150 to $195. It hasn’t been increased in 30 years. I have to pay this sometimes because I sell things on eBay. But I’ll still vote for it.

There’s no no argument submitted, so there’s not much to say.

Measure X: Yes

This is a bond measure for junior colleges. Like most education initiatives you already know whether you’re interested. This requires a 55% majority to pass.

An interesting wrinkle here provides an awesome opportunity for me to digress. I’m at 6,000 words right now so allow me to indulge myself.

Every proposition and measure provides an opportunity to make an argument for and against, plus a rebuttal to the two arguments. The way it is supposed to work is that you read the argument from the other side and use it to write your rebuttal.

Well, similar to the RNC declaring Trump the winner before one of the debates, the no people used a nearly identical rebuttal to the argument in favor of X as they did in their argument against it.

In fact there are only 2 differences between them.

In the first one there is a typo: “The answer is clearly m NO!”

In the second version they added a paragraph, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” That, my friends, is the definition of irony. I wish that this wasn’t so far down the ballot because I want everyone to read this.

Measure Y: Yes

OK, so the community colleges are covered. So what about K-12? Well, Y is an 8-year $72 parcel tax for San Jose Unified School District.

My local schools are finally all 6 or 7 out of 10. One of them was a 3 when I moved here in 2007. Hopefully we can keep going in the same direction. Personally I love parcel taxes because homeowners are much more likely to be able to afford something than renters. We can be soaked. It’s OK.

Primary election 2016 coverage for the deaf

May 30, 2016

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 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).

General election 2014 coverage for the deaf

October 12, 2014

I shot a lot of my wad on the primary column last spring, so there’s not much left in the tank this time. But most importantly the social media preview for this piece will include the verb “shot” and the noun “wad,” so page views should be through the roof. Too bad turnout will be at a record low for a midterm election.

I wish you could make people care. You can’t, really. I mean it doesn’t mean you don’t try. But you can’t take it personally when people click Like or tap Favorite and then move on. Sometimes that’s the only currency you can get when it comes to receiving payment. So be it. Like I’m not writing any of this for someone else. I’m obviously doing it for me.

Before getting into Willow Glen’s ballot, I want to talk about the key issue on the minds of those who are actually paying attention to this election: control of the Senate. It just doesn’t matter.

On first blush, the reason seems obvious. Majority! Majority means majority! Well, you need 60 votes to get anything done in the Senate so who cares whether it’s 50 or 49 or 51? In addition, the House isn’t interested in passing anything the president will sign. For better or for worse, the president will still be issuing executive orders when shit needs to get done. And for the record, Obama is still at 183. His predecessor, George W. Bush, had 291. (Bill Clinton had 364. In roughly the first half of the 20th century, every president from Teddy Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower had at least 480. It really doesn’t matter how many executive orders presidents give. But it seems to be a big deal these days, so there you go.)

Another argument is that the ruling party gets to hand out committee assignments or some such. If the Senate as a whole isn’t going to pass anything for another 2 years, then who gives a shit? Just focus on your candidates if you have a race to vote on, and don’t nationalize a statewide election.

So what do I think will happen? I don’t know. And anyone who thinks they know is full of shit. There are too many polls within the margin of error, and we don’t know how accurate polling will be with this election because response rates are lower than ever, and one-third of households don’t own a landline. The polling industry hasn’t had this type of disruption to it ever. Will they normalize the data well? We’ll find out. I’ll give the Republican Party credit: They were ahead of the curve, in their attempts to “unskew” the polls in October 2012. It was a snow job to inspire false hope, but they were on to something, accidental or not.

The other issue is Louisiana and Georgia. No one is polling at 50%, and a majority vote is required in those two Senate races. That means runoffs. Louisiana’s is later in the year. Georgia’s isn’t until January 6, 2015. Throw in two races (South Dakota and Kansas) in which the indepedent is competitive, and there’s no way we’ll know anything for a long time. But again, the thing we will know will still be worthless. Enjoy the political theatre provided, but don’t see more to it than there actually is.

One more thing: I’ve never seen the administration get so little credit for the recent goings-on. Unemployment is under 6%, something Mitt Romney swore only he could do. Gas prices continue to drop. The deficit is under $500 billion, down 70% from 2009’s record $1.4 trillion. Second quarter GDP growth was 4.6% (although a lot has to do with it shrinking 2.1% in the first quarter, which mostly had to do with the weather). And somehow this is the worst president we’ve had? I know what will make it better: flipping the Senate and continuing not to pass any legislation! Got it.

Anyway. What do I get to connect the little arrows, using blue or black ink, for this time around? Stay tuned.

Governor: Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown

I already complained about the jungle primary. I’m not going to do it again. Like all the statewide offices, I get 2 choices. Thanks, Obama.

I actually streamed the debate while walking to pinball league. I like listening to old people talk, and I’m not going to pick up the phone just to talk to my grandparents. I don’t have a landline, and using my iPhone as a telephone? Can’t hear a damn thing.

Anyway, Brown was a lot funnier in the 2010 debate vs. Meg Whitman. And Neel Kashkari is a better opponent than, say, Bill Simon. But I have to ask myself: Who will do a better job governing the state for the next 4 years? For me, it’s an easy decision.

Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom

I want someone who isn’t going to wait for the governor to leave the state before enacting a bunch of legislation. Having a lieutenant governor of the same party as the governor seems to help keep that from happening. Neither candidate submitted statements, and I haven’t gotten any crap in the mail, so this is all I have to go on. Did you know Newsom is aixelsyd? He is!

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

I voted for him in the primary. You’re welcome, Alex. I know four Alexes already. I really don’t need another one in my life, Pete Peterson is running as an outsider, but how slick is that name? Come on. Also, he uses inflammatory words like “outrageous” when talking about taxes. If I need you to tell me how to feel about taxes, I have bigger issues than remembering to vote. He also complains about state politics being a “merry go round.” Well, that’s what you get for having term limits.

Controller: Betty T. Yee

We’re guaranteed a female controller. I voted for Yee in the primary for Archie-related reasons. Ashley Swearengin didn’t provide a statement. What am I supposed to do? (Also, Kashkari endorsed Swearengin during the debate, so I guess there is also that.)

Treasurer: John Chiang

I voted for him in the primary, too. His opponent, Greg Conlon, has a huge typo in his statement, saying “GDB,” instead of “GDP.” Yeah, I want someone that sloppy in charge of my money. It’s bad enough my complex’s HOA has someone that unqualified in the same role. (Hint: It’s me.)

Attorney General: Kamala D. Harris

It’s true: I have a rule about taking the candidate with a prepared statement, which Ron Gold has. But I also have a rule about sticking with the candidate I selected during the primary, barring egregious acts. Well, there is one thing. There are rumors that Harris could replace Eric Holder. And she says she doesn’t want the job which is the obvious response if she really does. But I believe her. And I can’t have Newsom up there without Harris balancing him out. (They both have San Francisco roots.)

Finally, Gold’s statement talks about price fixing and high gas prices. I guess it’s bad timing that prices have dropped so much the past 3 months. Well, he tried.

Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones

The power of incumbency. In Jones’s prepared statement, he lists all of his accomplishments. They’re pretty impressive. It also reduces Ted Gaines to talk about concepts. “Not creating jobs” and “I can do better” don’t work when the state is already creating jobs and doing better. There’s nothing tailored about this statement. He can use it again if he runs in 4 years. I bet I could find another candidate who wrote the same thing. You get the idea.

Member, State Board of Equalization, District 2: Fiona Ma

It’s kind of funny because there are at least 1,000 people in California who, on seeing that James E. Theis drives a pickup truck to work every day, will automatically vote for Ma for that reason alone. Hey, other people can make voting fun, too. It’s not just me. Like Jones, Ma has done a tone of stuff, so I don’t have a reason not to vote for her.

United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren

I voted for Lofgren in the primary. Robert Murray didn’t provide a statement. No wad left to shoot.

California Assembly, District 28: Evan Low

Well, I guess I will be able to vote for Low after all. I went with someone else in the primary but expressed regret in doing so. Redemption, sanctuary—call it what you want. I get my man. Chuck Page got the endorsement of my least favorite Chuck: Chuck Reed. Also, his prepared statement has a TinyURL for his Facebook page. Such terrible usability! Just put the Facebook URL in your statement or say “find me on Facebook.” Of course, having your Facebook page URL end in “cpageAD28” is too clever anyway. It makes the TinyURL seem less bad. Next time, use “chuckforassembly.” Anyway, I can’t have someone assemble on my behalf with that kind of social media strategy.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: Yes to all

Let’s do them all at once. Goodwin Liu was appointed by Governor Brown in 2011. He went to Stanford. Mariano-Florentino Cuellar was just appointed by Brown in July. He also attended Stanford and is a law professor there today. Kathryn Mickle Werdegar was admitted to the California Bar 50 years ago. Fifty! She went to Cal and has been on the court for 20 years.

Associate Justice, Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District: Yes to all

You don’t get any information about these guys. Here are the names for keyword density reasons: Eugene Milton Premo, Adrienne M. Grover, Patricia Bammatre-Manoukian, Miguel Marquez, and Franklin D. Elia. I would say Grover is my favorite because that’s a Sesame Street character.

You know what it is? Voting is fun. You get to make those little arrows on the ballot. But there just aren’t enough arrows to fill! Well, now you can fill a whole bunch more with these Appellate District candidates! How fun!

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 24: Diane Ritchie

Another one in which I picked a winner in the primary. I guess it’s not that hard to do because there are two winners, by that definition. Anyway, both candidates make a good, um, case, but I don’t have a reason not to vote for the incumbent.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson

Same story. Already picked him once. I don’t like that Marshall Tuck uses charter school success as a reason for voting for him. I appreciate the benefits of charter schools, but you don’t know which ones are working out until the students become part of society. Tell me something more tangible next time.

Mayor, City of San Jose: Dave Cortese

Well, my guy made it to the general election, and he’s facing off against Sam Liccardo. There are really only two differences between these candidates: age and their views on pension reform. I’ve already gotten into my issue with pension reform. In short, if it were that big of a deal, then why use so much fear about the unknown when stating a case for it? “Unfunded liabilities” is a dog-whistle phrase for me. It sets off my bullshit detector.

I am a little nervous. I see a lot of Liccardo signs in my neighborhood, although that does provide some affirmation, because Willow Glen has a ton of money. I really doubt the people with the most money have the best interest of the city as a whole. I also haven’t gotten any mail from Cortese. Hopefully he’s spending time on the East Side, where his name may play better because it sounds more locally ethnic than “Liccardo.” (Both men are actually Italian. They have a ton of things in common, actually.)

In their debate, Liccardo and Cortese disagree on what it meant that 300 cops resigned. Cortese says it is because of pension reform, but Liccardo points out that they left before pension reform passed. That’s true. It’s also true that pension reform felt inevitable at the time, and if you’re looking to move, you want to get out while the getting is good. The specter of pension reform alone is enough to scare cops and make recruiting more challenging as well.

We’ll see what happens. I haven’t found any polls on the race, so it’s really going to be a surprise once they start counting the votes. All I will add is that the murder rate has doubled during Reed’s time in office, and Reed endorses Liccardo. That is enough right there for me.

Proposition 1: Yes

Ahh, the propositions. The real opportunity for creative writing. Proposition 1 authorizes $7.5 billion in bonds for various water infrastructure projects. The timing is politically intelligent because of the drought. I don’t see how this fails. The reason you vote no is because you think we’re already doing enough to manage the state’s water supply.

Proposition 2: Yes

I don’t see how this one fails, either. It uses language like “rainy day fund” and “vote yes,” which can really sway voters.

Proposition 2 takes 1.5% of the general fund and sets it aside, as well as some revenue from capital gains taxes. It sits there until the budget runs a deficit, after which the funds can be unlocked to help balance the budget. This is important because of Proposition 13, which reduced the percentage of tax revenue that comes from stable sources, such as property taxes. Capital gains taxes and sales taxes show much more variance. That’s why we had some big budget deficits during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration. So if we can’t repeal Proposition 13, this is another way to address the issues that it cases.

Now, because this is being done at the state level, it becomes less important for local school districts to have a rainy day fund of their own. And like it or not, local government needs to be able to trust the state. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but it’s very expensive and inefficient for governments that don’t trust each other to get things done. In the context of Proposition 2, it means that the maximum size of local rainy day funds will be reduced. And that’s where the “No on 2” crowd comes in.

A group called “Educate Our State” has written the argument and rebuttal. Such a clever name. Perhaps a little too clever? I think Educate Our State is worried about something that’s not an issue. Yes, if we had a $26 billion deficit again then local districts would be helpless in reducing cutbacks because of a lack of a useful rainy day fund. But that’s not going to happen. We have a $10 billion surplus this year, and we can use upcoming surpluses to prepare for the future. The state is not setting up local schools so they can be hung out to dry. It’s not 2009 anymore. There’s nothing to be afraid of. I can’t support a side that uses fear to prove a point.

Proposition 45: Yes

I knew this one and Proposition 46 were going to be annoying because the TV ads started in the summer. Let’s take a look.

Auto insurance, health insurance. What do they have in common? They historically go up, and they’re run by insurance companies. Well, in California, that’s only half true. Auto insurance rates have dropped during the past 20 years. No other state can make that claim. Know why? A key reason could be Proposition 103. The same insurance protections that Proposition 45 will provide? Those are the ones that affected the auto and home insurance industries in 1988. It has saved Californians $102 billion.

Will the same concept work for health insurance? Why not? Maybe not the best argument, but it’s better than the fear, uncertainty, and doubt you get from the No on 45 TV ads. And having the president of the California Chamber of Commerce write the argument against Proposition 45 doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Since when has that organization cared about the general public? They were probably against Proposition 103 as well.

Proposition 46: Yes

To me, this one is even easier to understand than Proposition 45. First of all, the maximum damages for pain and suffering that someone can receive in California is $250,000. It hasn’t changed since 1975 and therefore isn’t indexed to inflation. Proposition 46 increases this to $1 million and also puts a cap on attorney fees.

Second of all, Proposition 46 will reduce the number of people who die because of prescriptions that don’t work with each other. Some drugs just shouldn’t be taken with others. But if you don’t get all your prescriptions from the same pharmacy or doctor, you may accidentally take two different medications that, when taken together, can provide an undesired effect. It happens a lot, up to 440,000 people every year. Imagine if there were a database that would alert doctors and pharmacies that a potentially dangerous medication was about to be administered to a patient. That’s what you get with 46.

Honestly, that’s enough for me. But the deceptive ads talking about hackable databases and trial lawyers takes the cake. Throw in the “No on 46” sign next to the Liccardo sign I saw in my neighborhood, and I know I am on the right side of this one.

Proposition 47: Yes

This one is a little closer and has a lot to do with how you feel about crime. Dealing with it is expensive, and there are arguments that say we overpunish some offenses and underpunish others.

Proposition 47 makes an effort to do this, reclassifying some misdemeanors and felonies for the purpose of saving money. The saved money would go toward mental health programs and other similar stuff like schools and crime victims.

I’m fine with this but am still thinking about it. I don’t think voters should be making these types of decisions because we don’t understand how the prison industry works. But are we better off with this proposition than without it? Yeah, probably.

Proposition 48: No

This one is the hardest one for me. On one hand, I give Native Americans whatever the fuck they want. I even let them call themselves Indians. I mean, I just don’t care.

On the other hand, new casinos aren’t expanding the pie anymore. This industry is now pretty self-sustaining and doesn’t necessarily need this type of expansion. Now, we can’t let the free market decide because the system isn’t set up that way. Voters always have to approve these things. We may have finally reached the point where we don’t need to keep adding more.

It’s hard, because Governor Brown supports Proposition 48, and many other Indian casinos in California are against it. Of course: They don’t want the competition. But the impartial analysis even says that most of the increased economic activity will be offset by decreases elsewhere. Such mental masturbation can be fun, but this isn’t the right setting for it. And it is kind of nice to know I don’t automatically agree with the governor on everything.

Measure G: Yes

Boring. Measure G has to do with retirement boards. Nothing is secretive today, nor would it be tomorrow. Measure G just lets San Jose’s governance be modified. The No side didn’t submit an argument or a rebuttal to the Yes side’s argument, so phooey on them.

Measure Q: Yes

Measure Q is a $24 15-year parcel tax for the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. It requires a two-thirds majority. Property owners have the means to pay for preservation like none other. I’m happy to pay an extra $2 every month to help out.

The No argument is quite predictable. It’s written by taxpayer organizations, who never seem to want to spend money on anything. They also use hyphenated phrases such as “bureaucratic-elite.” Makes it hard for me to take them seriously.

Target already has 11 locations in San Jose, so perhaps this can keep us from having more of those as well. I can’t afford to buy any more baseball cards.

Primary election 2014 coverage for the deaf

May 25, 2014

It’s been a busy time in my life, and I really thought these election columns, which now date back 18 years to when I wrote about Prop. 209, among others, would fall by the wayside. But then I realized I was going to do the same amount of research in any case, because I still have to vote. So I’ll find a way to make it work.

Speaking of which, we’ve got kids graduating high school now who will be off to college in the fall. The first group of kids to have never been alive in an age of affirmative action. I’m not sure what exactly Prop. 209 was going to solve, but it seems safe to say that its passage failed to do anything.

California has a jungle primary now, thanks to stupid California voters. The good thing, I guess, is I will finally vote for candidates who win with some regularity. But my Peace and Freedom-loving ass will no longer be getting any love in the fall.

WordPress sure looks different these days. I hope this publishes in the right place. It teaches me that we need to pay more attention to lapsed users at my day job. But enough of this opening monologue, which is just a sign that I need to do more, other, writing.

Governor: Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown

I haven’t received anything in the mail—nor have I seen any ads on TV for this race. But who can blame them? Brown has overcome a lot, such as being named “Edmund,” in his life and is ready for a fourth term as governor. I will take this as more proof that term limits are stupid. (I covered this four years ago, but the reason term limits don’t apply in this case is because the counter reset everyone to zero when voters passed term limits in 1990. Anyway, we have about 4 years to abolish Prop. 140, or California will regress once again.)

My candidate appears to be Cindy Sheehan, and I’m not interested. I get that times are tough for third parties, but such gimmickry can do more harm than good. How many people will really say, “Oh, Cindy Sheehan. I remember her! Yes, that is who I want as governor!”? Well, I hope it works out for them.

The play here may be to pick the second-best candidate, in case something happens to Brown. Otherwise you’re going to be stuck voting for only one candidate in the fall. (Again, jungle primaries are stupid.) I enjoy the cleverly named Rakesh Kumar Christian. He’ll get 1,000 votes from the last name alone. Akinyemi Agbede is probably doing this for a doctoral thesis, considering the ballot states the candidate is a doctoral student. There are 11 other candidates, and I’m not going to do bits on all of them. As bad as these were, imagine how much worse the others would be.

Lieutenant Governor: Amos Johnson

My party has nominated a security guard to be lieutenant governor. That’s perfect. I am happy to play along. In other news, there’s an Americans Elect candidate: Alan Reynolds. Good for them. It’s nice to see democracy at work, even if it amounts for nothing, because, that’s right, jungle primaries are stupid. I remember when I heard about instant runoff voting for the first time. I thought to myself, “Wow. That’s clever. What would be the opposite of that?” Well, we have an answer.

Anyway, Gavin Newsom is the incumbent. If you want to secure a Democrat in this role, I guess go for Eric Korevaar. I’ll be pleased with the rent-a-cop and hope you will be too.

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

Eight candidates. All dudes. The only name I recognize is Leland Yee, but I didn’t like him when he was a San Francisco Supervisor. I didn’t like him when he threw a fit about the Hot Coffee mod in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. And, I don’t like him now. Of course now no one likes him, but I don’t care about that.

I usually don’t have to guess so much for such an important role, but I do here. My party has no one nominated. There are no women nominated. So all I can do is pick the most ethnically sounding name I can and hope it works out. Ladies and gentlemen, Alex Padilla! When he becomes president in 2032, I’ll pretend I was being prescient. A shout out to Green Party candidate David Curtis, who under profession, put “Dad.”

Controller: Betty Yee

Six candidates, four women. There is probably a joke there. I’m just happy I can vote for a Yee, although I was going to have this whole thing about voting for the right one, and Leland done fucked it all up.

So John Perez is probably going to win. He is the Assembly Speaker, and people care a lot about that sort of stuff. Ashley Swearengin has an awesome name, but I’m not sure why “Mayor, City of Fresno” is something to be proud of.

That takes us to Betty Yee. She is on the Board of Equalization, so this is a logical next step for her. I have always loved the name “Betty,” and perhaps a victory here will help Archies around the world see the light. This is where you should be glad I only have one vote.

Treasurer: John Chiang

Chiang was the Controller for two terms and is now trying something new. It’s the term limits carousel. Everybody get on board.

I will always like Chiang because he stood up to Arnold Schwarzenegger when the governor wanted to pay state employees minimum wage while the budget wasn’t done. I don’t know anything about the other candidates, and I’m ready to just move on.

Attorney General: Kamala Harris

I’ll accept Orly Taitz because the campaign ads will be ridiculous. But with a jungle primary, which, yes, is stupid, you can’t risk a cupcake opponent in case the other candidate dies or wins the lottery. So maybe not. The Libertarians finally get on the board here, with Jonathan Jaech, so if you want an AG who says he doesn’t want to prosecute because government should not get involved, there’s your guy.

Ronald Gold is a prosecutor and stands out in a field of attorneys. Phil Wyman is not only an attorney but a rancher, so there is that. I will stick with Special K.

Insurance Commissioner: Nathalie Hrizi

Can you believe it? A Peace and Freedom candidate will finish third! That’s because there are only three candidates. Dave Jones is the incumbent. Ted Gaines is also getting involved. They should turn these lesser races into reality shows. We would get to know the candidates on a level not seen without the assistance of SuperPACs. Everybody wins.

Member, State Board of Equalization, District 2: Fiona Ma

This is the most pointless item on the ballot. There are only two candidates. But it’s a jungle primary! And in this case, it’s not the jungle primary that’s stupid. It’s that we’ll have to vote twice on the same race, once now, and once in the fall. It’s about as useful as a preseason NFL game.

For those of you out there who refuse to vote a straight Democratic ticket because then you can say you’re “objective,” here is your out. The Republican candidate, James Theis, is an organic foods manager. Keep an eye on this guy. I bet you he is going to lead the backlash against the anti-GMO crowd because he can act as a subject matter expert. And I might support him. But not here.

United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren

There are only two candidates here as well, and both are Democrats. It makes sense, considering where I live. Lofgren, who should do a photo with Alonzo Mourning, submitted a statement! It’s boilerplate, but she does mention bringing BART to San Jose.

As a Representative, it generally doesn’t matter who we have, because they will vote the same way on everything. However, Lofgren has seniority, which is a big deal in those circles. (Again, term limits are stupid but luckily only at the state level.) Robert Murray will have stories to tell at cocktail parties. I know if I ever met him I would want to know what it was like to run against Lofgren.

California Assembly, District 28: Barry Chang

I really struggled with this one. I’ve read a ton of press on Evan Low. I’m a fan! Which in modern Facebook lexicon means I like him. (Hey, when you only write a column every two years, some of the jokes will be stale. Deal with it.) There’s only one issue with Low. He’s not Barry Chang.

Chang sends me stuff in the mail. He takes risks, like putting his smiling family next to a high-speed rail train. I don’t mean he put his family near a moving one. But just that he would associate himself with high-speed rail! I am convinced I’m the only person left who supports this project, and that all these polls showing 40% support or whatever it is are all doctored.

Now, granted, he doesn’t approve of the Central Valley route, and he uses some polarizing language in his mailers, criticizing the love of my life, Jerry Brown. Like I said, he takes risks. Well, I respect that. And I don’t necessarily want all decision makers to agree on everything before they even debate a topic. This is my point: I trust Brown and Chang to work together to figure things out. I’m not going to let what goes on in other elected chambers sully my understanding of public service.

Chang also has a picture of his dog with his family on one of the mailers he sent, which I don’t appreciate it, but I’ll let it slide. If it turns out Low has 2 cats or something, I’ll reassess.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 4: Stuart Scott

I already got the SportsCenter jokes out of my system. Scott is running unopposed. I ain’t sayin’ nothin’, but that ain’t right.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 21: Julianne Sylva

I’ll give D. A. Lempert credit: He (the “D” stands for “Dennis”) writes a candidate statement with integrity. The issue is outgoing judge Kevin McKenney endorses Sylva. That’s got to mean something. She’s also bilingual, and her name starts with “J”! Something for everyone.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 24: Diane Ritchie

Did you know a lot of people glaze over the length of these pieces but read the shorter ones because they’re shorter? It’s really a shame because I’m just not that funny in these shorter vignettes. Anyway, Ritchie is the incumbent, and when I look at the other two candidates, I wonder why they don’t run for Office No. 4 and give Scott a run for his money. He needs someone to whom he can bust out the whoopin’ stick.

Matthew Harris has a lot of good endorsements, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he won. Annrae Angel is also a fine candidate. The problem with voting for judge is, by the time you know whether the judge is any good, it’s too late to do anything about it.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson

I really need something, anything, on these candidates. Voting for the incumbent because he is the incumbent is stupid. But I know nothing of Marshall Tuck and Lydia Gutierrez.

So here is something to think about. In terms of funding, the schools aren’t dealing with the crises they’d been dealing with for, what, the past 10 years? It takes a different mindset to be in charge when you’re prioritizing resources when you have enough of them. Having to cut back isn’t necessarily more difficult, but the conversations are different.

What does it all mean? There is definitely a better qualified candidate because of current budget situation, but I have no way of knowing who it is. And Super Nintendo of Public Instruction is a key office in these times. Do we really want people to vote on these things? Why not ask me to make a souffle while you’re at it?

Member, Board of Supervisors, District 4: Ken Yeager

He’s running unopposed, thus shelving the day-after headline of “Yeager bombs.” Did you know kids aren’t drinking Jägermeister anymore? It’s going to be the new rye. Anyway, I like the guy. His statement talks about his endorsement of the work on the 280/880/17 interchange. Sounds good to me.

Assessor: Larry Stone

Dude is 73 now. And we all know who he is because when that annual assessment of your property’s worth comes in the mail, it’s signed “Larry Stone.” What with the recent real estate history in the area, he was ripe for the picking, yet no one unseated him. This time around, he’s running unopposed. He should include a sticker with his annual love letter, but whatever. It does save taxpayer money not to.

District Attorney: Jeff Rosen

He is another incumbent running unopposed. Similar to judges, by the time you find out how good he is, it’s probably too late for it to matter.

Sheriff: Laurie Smith

Kevin Jensen retired and doesn’t like what he sees, so he’s running against incumbent Smith. I remember her name, so I must have had a strong opinion last time around. But checking my notes is cheating, especially considering the rationalization I use when selecting candidates in the first place.

Both candidates have good statements, although Jensen alleges favoritism without giving examples, which is worthless. Smith, as an incumbent, has a laundry list of endorsements and everyone’s favorite keyword, “bipartisan.”

Mayor, City of San Jose: Dave Cortese

The undercard is so boring this election, but we finally get to what is essentially the main event, even if there are still propositions and a ballot measure remaining. Rather than start off by going through the candidates one by one, I’ll first talk about the issues that are important to me. That way, it will explain why I react the way I do and give you the proper context. Like I usually say, it’s about informing you, not to get you to vote like me, although I do bold my picks for the lazy, and I do appreciate those votes.

So there are a few ways to parse these candidates. Of the eight, five submitted statements. These are the same five that appeared at a debate earlier this spring, which of course I only heard about on the news after it happened. Another way to separate these candidates is whether they publicize their stance on pension reform.

Now, I will go down that rabbit hole, just for a second. Previous readers will recall my disgust with Measure B. I said if it passed it would make recruiting police and fire more difficult. It would make our best leave for greener pastures. And it would make crime go up. That’s exactly what happened. But like Prop. 13, if you poll voters to see whether they would do it all over again, they would line up and vehemently say “yes.” It just feels so good.

At this point, what’s done is done. Now granted, only the specter of Measure B has had an effect. But it’s hard to see the momentum reversing course. Regardless, it doesn’t matter because we still get to pick a mayor, and this topic isn’t one with unanimous support yet. So in that light, let’s move on.

Everywhere I go, I see Madison Nguyen signs. She has a lot of money behind her. She is the current Vice Mayor. And she has other characteristics of my last favored candidate (Cindy Chavez) as well: a) minority, b) woman. But, unfortunately, I’ve lived here for most of my life. So I also know about Ly Tong’s 28-day hunger strike when a neighborhood was to be rechristened “Saigon Business District” instead of “Little Saigon.” I know she was almost recalled. So no thanks.

The guy I am probably supposed to vote for is Pierluigi Oliverio. He is my city councilman. Yet I see so many signs in my neighborhood for other candidates, and I often see Oliverio’s name attached to public events as a form of free advertising. (Or maybe he is sponsoring them, like his Shakespeare in the Park endeavor.) It’s not just semantics. Having it brought by Pierluigi Oliverio for Mayor is a paperwork issue, but that doesn’t make it look any less like cheesy advertising. I will vote for him if the runoff is between him and Nguyen. And then I will move to Colma.

Sam Liccardo went to private school (Bellarmine) and supports pension reform. He talks about spending “smarter” instead of spending “more.” I know what that means, and I don’t want a mayor that preys on telling people things that sound indisputable. Rose Herrera does a lot of things well, but she also supports pension reform. She did go to Overfelt, so I do give her some credit. If she became mayor I wouldn’t leave town.

Who does that leave? Dave Cortese. I keep calling him “Dan Cortese,” which at least now might get me some extra clicks because of search engine optimization. I generally don’t pick the candidate that singles out crime as a top priority, because it’s too easy to do that, and who doesn’t want to stop crime? However, with the recent spike in the murder rate, it does make sense, this time. And he’s an environment and public transit guy. Cortese has a shot, because he has name recognition and has a lot of unique positions. For example, several candidates will split the female vote, the pension reform vote, etc. Yeah, I guess he is splitting the hispanohablante vote with Herrera, but they are so different as candidates that it may not matter.

The other candidates are worth a mention. Bill Chew. Timothy Harrison. Mike Alvarado. There. I mentioned them.

This race will require reassessing after the primary. It’s really going to depend on who faces off for the most part. I think it’s going to be Cortese/Nguyen, but we’ll see. No matter what, the new mayor will be better than Chuck Reed.

Proposition 41: Yes

The VA Hospital scandal could not have happened at a better time for this one, even if it doesn’t directly help the situation. This is a $600 million bond measure for helping prevent veterans from becoming homeless when they get back.

The people against it are the typical “OMG bond measures mean more taxes later!!!1” If the return on investment is higher than the interest rate paid on the bonds, it’s worth it. But why have that argument again?

Even conservative groups favor this one (#supportourtroops), so I am sure this will pass handily.

Proposition 42: Yes

Forty-two is such a great number. It’s really a shame this go-round that it’s being wasted on such an inconsequential proposition.

Right now, public record totally exists, even if your name isn’t Keanu. But that shit costs money. So who should pay for it? Well, if it is a local meeting, then it is locally paid for, except for when it isn’t. Prop. 42 will shift this burden to the state level, which will ensure the records will stay public, accessible, and publicly accessible.

So that’s it. The reason you don’t like this is because you want people to pay for their own stuff instead of making a larger body of government take care of it. If that’s how you feel, you should definitely be voting “no.”

Measure B: Yes

“You’ve reached the end of your journey. Survival is everything.”

I’m getting too old for these columns. That’s probably why I’m using a 20+-year-old pinball reference to express this feeling.

Measure B renews an existing parcel tax on Santa Clara County libraries. So the pro side is using the age-old “your taxes won’t go up!” argument to support their cause. Whatever it takes, I guess. “That’s how we’ve always done it” is a terrible reason for anything, even if it’s the right thing to do.

Look, we know that parcel taxes for libraries raise property values enough such that the parcel owner gets a return on investment, if you will. There is nothing unique about the situation that can lead us to believe that it will be any different this time around. But if you want your libraries to be more self-sufficient or you just don’t think the libraries need whatever newfangled whatnot it is they have now, then you would have to vote no. As for me, I want fewer stupid citizens. If only our libraries were already so good that we didn’t need to have a parcel tax at all.

Perhaps we wouldn’t be voting in a jungle primary on June 3.

General election 2012 coverage for the deaf

October 19, 2012

I got all my work done, and rather than get caught up on, I decided it was time to tell people how this general election is going to go down. Probably, it will be via the elevator. Anyway, I don’t need to force wisecracks because they happen anyway, especially if a candidate has a phallic-sounding name.

President and Vice President: Joel Edelman and Lance Armstrong

It’s time for the least important thing on the ballot. Think about it: When 10 people vote on something, each of those votes is 10% of the electorate. With more than 200 million US citizens able to vote for this contest, well, you know where I’m going. So have some fucking fun with it.

Guess what? My entire life I had been looking forward to the 2012 general election. Do you know why? Because it’s the first one in which I would be at least 35 years old. That’s right. I can be the president. And that’s what I’m going to do. I am writing myself in as president.

But I need a vice president as well. Well, I might as well use the same strategy that I used for the primary. What better way to meet someone I have always wanted to meet than to have them be running mate? Pure genius, it is. But at the same time, it needs to be someone that nobody would want as president. That way, no one will ever assassinate me. See? I’m thinkin’.

And that’s why I will be writing Lance Armstrong in as my vice president. He has everything: Name recognition, access to money, and the contempt of our society. How perfect is that? So it’s an Edelman/Armstrong ticket in 2012.

United States Senator: Dianne Feinstein

Similar to my annual Oscars sheet, I usually get one candidacy right. This time it’s going to be Senator. Elizabeth Emken is everything I don’t want in a candidate. She lives in Danville. She doesn’t understand how the world works. And she has a chip on her shoulder because her son is autistic.

Just in general, don’t get me started on autism. What constitutes the condition has been widened over the years so more people can “have” it, and it’s become the Dallas Cowboys of conditions. “Don’t talk shit about the Dallas Cowboys,” people always say. Well I do. And Emken is Tony Romo and Leon Lett, rolled into one.

I got to vote for Feinstein in my first ever election, 18 years ago. She’s the Glass Joe of ballots. You’re always going to get that one right. This could be my last chance to practice my star punches, but I will still enjoy six more years of her success.

United States Representative, CA-19: Zoe Lofgren

The voter information pamphlet screwed up Robert Murray’s candidate statement by not putting the bullets in front of the bulleted statements, and it all goes downhill from there. His occupation is “businessman/lawyer/entrepreneur.” Sounds kind of redundant, or perhaps it was a tie between “businessman” and “lawyer,” so he decided to add “entrepreneur” as a tiebreaker. His statement is also very presumptuous. For example, I didn’t know I already knew what it took to raise a family and run a business.

Anyway, his whole tack is that he doesn’t like the national debt. Well, who owns the bonds that cover the national debt? Mostly, it’s Americans. And with interest rates so low, it’s clear there is a lot of demand for buying our debt. His statement is all talking points and platitudes (ugh, now I can’t use either of those phrases again).

Lofgren speaks in hyperbole as well, but more importantly her votes have reflected my values often enough that I will continue to vote for her. And it’s nice that I will at least get another one right on this ballot, because she’s got no chance to lose.

California State Senator, District 15: Jim Beall

California has a jungle primary now, because you’re all assholes and voted to have one. Like jungle volleyball, it sucks. Well, the top two vote-getters in the district during the primary were Joe Coto and Jim Beall. These were the two candidates that I had the hardest time choosing between in the first place. I went for Beall last time and have no reason to think otherwise this time. I don’t appreciate all the negative mailers that Beall has sent out to smear Coto, but whatever. That’s tiebreaker shit, and I already made a decision in June. See why jungle primaries are retarded?

California State Assembly, District 28: Paul Fong

Stupid WordPress. I accidentally activated a keyword shortcut, and then when I hit Undo, it deleted the entire paragraph on this race. I hate typing things twice. I hate typing things twice. Anyway, in June there were two candidates on the ballot: Paul Fong and Chad Walsh. Well, what a shock. Those two were the top finishers in the primary. And now I get to vote for the same person twice. I don’t like any kind of repetition. So anyway, I will continue to vote for Paul Fong. Lame-ass jungle primaries.

Santa Clara Valley Water District, District 2: David Ginsborg

The candidate I wanted to vote for didn’t submit a statement. His name is Drew Spitzer. Spitzer! For the water district! That’s perfect. Oh well. Maybe next time he will submit a statement. Barbara Keegan is well qualified, but she made a mistake: One of her flunkies came by with a card listing her endorsements (including Charlotte Powers, who I helped win a city council seat in 1992), and per usual, I ignored the knock on the door. However, what handwritten note was written on the card? “Sorry to miss you.” Miss me? You weren’t even here! None of that malarkey, Joe Biden or otherwise. That leaves David Ginsborg. An endorsement from Rod Diridon Jr. goes a long way with me. Also, under occupation he includes “father.” Fuck yeah.

Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, District 4: Garnetta Annable

Benjamin Cogan is an automotive technician. I wish he had put the rag down for a minute so he could have typed up a candidate statement. I would have liked to have seen what he would bring to the table. Dorsey Moore talks about solar, which is a big keyword for me, but he is also heavy into the jargon, using the phrase “user experience.” I am a user experience professional, as it were, and I’m sure that he and I have nothing in common in our careers. Nobody, not even me, should be using the word “experience” as a noun unless you’re talking about Dr. Frank. The incumbent is Garnetta Annable. I don’t recognize voting for this before, so maybe it’s some new thing that resulted from a measure passing. That’s probably it. But there is an incumbent already. So I really don’t know. My job is to connect the broken arrow next to my candidate with a pen. Garnetta is 66, so she will make sure old people will be able to use everything, so that’s great.

Proposition 30: Yes

I don’t hide the fact that I am a big fan of Governor Jerry Brown. And you have to admit: There have been a lot fewer controversies than during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s time in office. One of the things Brown said was “no new taxes, without voter approval.” Well, guess what 30 is? Yep.

The budget was on time as well. Requiring a 55% majority instead of 2/3 helped with that, of course, but one of the other tricks was to put a state-size version of the “fiscal cliff” you might have heard about with the federal government. In short, if 30 fails, there will be another $6 billion in public service cuts for the current budget year. The current, 2012-2013 budget year. Remember that for when we get to 38. Ninety percent of that is what’s referred to as K-14 schools, essentially everything except four-year colleges. The money comes from incomes higher than $250,000. Specifically, it changes the state income tax rate from 9.3% to as high as 12.3% for those making over $500,000 per year. Today, anyone making $48,029 per year or $40 million per year pays the same state income tax rate.

If you want to vote no it is because you vote no on everything. The standard no argument is being made by the standard no arguers: taxpayers associations and small business associations. They hate everything. They don’t understand the reason their business is still small is because they don’t know how to run a business. Instead they point fingers at regulations and other liberal bastions of hell. If only we had a supply-side economy.

Proposition 31: No

Some states have a two-year budget cycle instead of a one-year budget cycle. The idea is that this will somehow limit spending. However, it hasn’t. The “off-year” budgets tend to mimic the annual budget that it was designed to replace. The reason for this is, just because the state goes to a biennial budget, it doesn’t mean most businesses and public works departments don’t still work on an annual basis. Two years is too long to do the same thing, no matter what it is.

This would have been easier to sell when we had overdue budgets and $20 billion budget deficits. However, we’ve gotten the budget under control, relatively speaking. The economy is improving. Thankfully we didn’t have the opportunity to fall for this when it could have seemed like a sensible decision.

There are other individual aspects of 31 that are interesting, such as allowing governors to reduce spending as needed, but the bad outweighs the good. If you like to do the same thing for twice as long as we have been doing them, then you would like 31.

Proposition 32: No

Half of a solution, 32 prevents unions from using payroll deductions for political stuff. But that’s how they get their money. Still, getting money out of politics is fine.

But wait. What about everything else? Oh, maybe someday that will be addressed. But for now, 32 only deals with the union side of the money problem in politics.

Usually the ads that yell the most are the wrongest. And the ads are pretty lame. They spin this in an inaccurate fashion. And many of them use a made-up word: exempted. Perhaps you mean “excepted” or “exempt.” That’s normally grounds for dismissal, but I have to overlook this. Even if you assume there will be similar measures taken with other forms of campaign contributions, they haven’t happened yet, and until they do, there is an imbalance that will cause low-information voters to do more stupid shit.

The reason you vote yes on 32 is because you don’t like unions and would like to shut them up for good

Proposition 33: No

I remember this one. It was Proposition 17. Ah, I miss the shit show. Basically, people with gaps in their insurance coverage would then have to pay more for insurance, because those who don’t would get to pay less. That would make it more likely people wouldn’t get insurance at all because it would cost too much. So like a lot of things, it sounds like a good idea until you think about what will actually happen.

The reason you vote yes is because you’re having trouble budgeting your existing insurance coverage and could benefit from the discount. And in fact two years ago, I voted yes. The economy sucked. These short-term measures seemed important to maintain a quality of life that was more endangered than it is today. But now with the economy finally getting a little better, it’s easier to look at the big picture. Having uninsured motorists costs all of us more in the long run. I’ve changed my mind.

Proposition 34: Yes

There’s not much to say. You’re either for the death penalty or you aren’t, unless you’re John Kerry. Then you’re for it until you’re against it.

The main arguments for repealing the death penalty involve innocent people convicted and sentenced to death. Big deal. They still have to sit in jail for life. How is that better? No, the reason I am against the death penalty is because red tape makes it cost more than keeping them alive. Also, it does not deter crime. The only thing it does is provide closure for some victims’ families. I say “some” because they don’t all feel this way. And besides it doesn’t matter to me what they think anyway, because their bias is no better or worse than anyone else’s. I’m not going to grant them any extra affordance. If gang violence is such a problem in our society, then why do we allow this mentality among, say, the likes of Marc Klaas. Let’s devote resources to when the kids could still be alive. Amber Alerts are awesome. The death penalty is not.

Proposition 35: Yes

I like to be the one who zigs where people zag. But sometimes I can’t do it. Proposition 35 essentially makes it so human traffickers would now have to register as sex offenders. This is not going to be a deterrent. People traffic humans because it’s lucrative. Does anyone commit crime because they think they can get away with it? Not really. It’s because it’s an easy way to bring some scratch. In addition, this goes after the symptom and not the root cause, which I hate: It doesn’t reduce demand for sex workers. This is no different than the war on drugs. Demand-side economy, people. Affect demand, affect the supply, not the other way around.

The reason you vote no is because you like small government. All this does is create more rules and more bureaucracy. But of course social conservatives like government spending when it controls people’s private lives. So really only libertarians will be voting no. These types of props annoy me.

Proposition 36: Yes

It would be weird for people to vote one way on 34 but another way on 36, but it will happen. The death penalty is a very clear concept and something most people don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about. Three Strikes maybe isn’t so cut and dried.

We’ve all heard the stories about a criminal’s third strike being relatively less egregious than the first two. Well, 36 is addressing that. Only “serious” or “violent” felonies will count. Otherwise, I guess it’s just a foul ball. There are exceptions, but that’s the general idea.

On paper it still seems like a bad idea, but let’s take our heads out of the sand for a moment. We’ve built hella jails since Three Strikes passed in the ’90s. Crime hasn’t gone down as a result of Three Strikes. People commit crimes because they have to or because they’re bored. Life in prison? At least then you wouldn’t have to cook. And that’s just the half of it. Think of all the people that get let out of jail early so the Three Strikes people can stay in.

If you vote no, you better be ready to vote for some more prisons so we have somewhere to put them. That kind of sounds like government spending, though, doesn’t it?

Proposition 37: No

This one makes me have to take a shower every time I think about it. Let me explain it as clearly as I can. The point of 37 is to identify certain foods as having genetically modified ingredients. It also restricts the use of “natural,” which is a nice-to-have. This one is like 32 for me. It’s putting certain foods at a disadvantage for no reason. It’s part of a larger solution that hasn’t been laid out yet. There’s no reason it couldn’t have been laid out here, but it wasn’t.

Look, we’ve had genetically modified food for years. Think about how big a cauliflower was when you were a kid. Now think about how big they are now. Cauliflower has been the size of my head my entire life! How do you think it got that way?

Essentially, if 37 were enforced properly, just about every piece of produce, including organic produce, would have a GMO sticker on it. All this is going to do is scare consumers. We already have a societal problem when it comes to getting people to eat their fruits and vegetables. How does this help that? The few items that wouldn’t have the sticker will cost more because more people will foolishly want them.

I’ll be transparent. I love genetically modified food. We’re going to solve world hunger with this shit. We’re already on the way there. We can’t discourage this kind of technology. I don’t give a fuck that Monsanto and DuPont are behind the no campaign. I understand why they are against it, and I know those two companies are bastards. But I’m not going to support 37 out of spite. Just because Monsanto poisoned an entire town with polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) production doesn’t mean everything they do is wrong. Actually, to stubbornly frown upon every action they make, regardless of potential result, is quite the conservative viewpoint.

But all of that aside, if you want to mark food as being modified, fine. But there should be no exemptions. It can go right there, next to that pareve and Circle K stuff. Just don’t give me that “you have a right to know” BS. I will tell you. Your food is already genetically modified. And the crops that weren’t? They crosspolinated with crops that were. Blame the bees. Don’t blame me.

Proposition 38: Yes

I hate Molly Munger. There aren’t non-misogynistic words out there that I can use to describe how I feel about her. She can’t understand normal thinking. There.

Whenever we have two competing education propositions, they both fail. People don’t understand that only one can become law, so they vote no on both. And it’s already so hard to get a single one of these to pass. Ugh. Anyway, more on 30 and 38.

The one with more votes, if both pass, is the one that becomes law. And 30 is way better than 38, because 38 wouldn’t take effect until 2013. That means the cuts in the budget I talked about if 30 didn’t pass would still happen. In addition, the tax increase is spread across all who make $7,316 or more. Granted, the increase is small, but poor people don’t save money. (That’s why they’re poor!) You’re taking purchasing power away from them, and that’s bad for the economy. The reason you take money from rich people is because they were saving it, and idle money doesn’t grow the economy.

So why not vote no? Because 38 is getting its ass handed to it in the polls. Of course, Munger’s brother, who is behind 32 incidentally, has decided to drag the state down with him, so he has spent $8 million on killing 30. Just because these propositions are about youth doesn’t mean you need to act like a goddamn child. So 30, which was leading in the polls, will probably fail as well. Thanks for nothing.

The one piece that is missing from this is why Ms. Munger is doing this. She is spending $30 million of her own money to support 38. Whatever gains she would get from 30’s failure can’t be worth that much. Is it really just vanity?

You have several reasons to vote no. Spite is a big one. Also because you want to help 30 pass if they both pass. However, it’s really unlikely that 38 will get more votes than 30. Might as well go for both and be glad it will be decided by more than one vote.

Proposition 39: Yes

Three years ago, we were having another wondrous budget cycle, in which a 2/3 majority in the State Senate and Assembly were required to pass a budget for the governor to sign, and it just wasn’t happening. Similar to Ben Nelson during the healthcare reform discussions, a few choice Republicans brought out the sausage-maker to get some favors made, in exchange for their budget-approving votes. One of those was to let businesses that had income in California count that income as being earned in other states, if those other states had a more favorable tax plan for them. So what a shock that corporate income tax fell as companies reported all their in-state income in a different state.

Think it isn’t that simple. Well, taxpayer groups lead those who oppose 39. That tells me all I need to know.

The reason you vote no on 39 is because you think that requiring these corporations to pay more in taxes will cause them to have fewer jobs. So basically all you Austrian economic types should be all over the no.

Proposition 40: Yes

Remember 11 and 20? These paved the way for the redistricting that occurred in 2010. Every 10 years, districts are redrawn because people are born, people die, and people move. Generally, Republican-led redistricting efforts result in more gerrymandering than Democratic-led and non-partisan-led efforts. So because Brown won the governorship in 2010 and had large Democratic majorities in the State Senate and Assembly, it should have resulted in more-fair districting. It also meant more Democratic seats because in 2000 the districts were not drawn as fairly, and many hugely Democratic districts were created to make it easier for Republicans to capture other districts.

If that’s not enough, the no campaign suspended its opposition, so why support a side that has already given up. It didn’t work on A Different World when Jesse Jackson tried to help Dwayne Wayne run for office, so it’s not going to work here.

Measure A: Yes

I’ll give the county credit. They know how to get their sales tax increases. They do their homework to figure out how much they can get away with, and they pick an election cycle in which they will get more of the votes they want.

This pragmatism comes into play because the county is only asking for an eighth of a cent sales tax increase. I mean, why fucking bother? It’s kind of a general fund catchall sales tax increase to cover recent cuts to public services to police, hospitals, homeless stuff, etc. They must have figured out a quarter cent wasn’t going to pass, especially considering the economy was worse when it was written. Now, maybe a 1/4-cent increase might have paid off, but we’ll take what we can get.

The same anti-tax people that hate everything the way Grouchy Smurf does are those who are behind the no campaign here. I’ve said enough about these Howard Jarvis cocksuckers already.

Measure B: Yes

B was in danger of not being on the ballot, I believe, because the sample ballot content was two words too long. Well, they must have figured it out because here it is. In short, it is a 15-year extension of a parcel tax set to expire next year. It’s to cover water stuff. There’s always water, education, and road stuff on every ballot. Here’s the water one.

Opponents of B quibble about where the money actually goes, but like a fart, as long as the money goes in the general direction of water works, I’m happy to let the county have a monopoly on my parcel tax money. People that drink bottled water are like people who send their kids to private school. You can if you want, but I’m still going to use the free alternative.

Measure D: Yes

No fucking chance. Minimum wages are usually raised through legislation or other non-direct-voting methods. (There’s a finer way to describe this, but my vocabulary is failing me.) San Jose State students came up with D to raise the minimum wage from $8 to $10. Hell yeah. I will always support a minimum wage increase, especially in a time with falling union enrollment. Business owners who cry about raising prices and firing workers don’t know how to run a fucking business.

Let’s say you have a business where you pay your workers minimum wage. Your labor costs are about 25%, for the sake of argument. (Most service jobs in, say, the fast food industry, tend to result in about a 20% labor cost.) That means your labor costs go up to 31.25%. If your business model depends on these 6.25 percentage points in order to be profitable, then you have a shitty business model. Just because you can legally hire people to do things doesn’t mean it’s good for society. We could do without McDonald’s in any case. Use some creativity and figure out what we need in this demand-driven economy. Fill a void. Don’t just do what other businesses are you doing. “Turnkey business” means “lazy and can’t think for yourself.” There’s a reason why 95% of businesses fail, and it’s staring at you in the mirror.

Measure E: Yes

It’s another cardroom gaming initiative. Right now M8trix and Bay 101 have 49 tables each. If E passes, they can combine to have 128 tables, effective 2013. Effective 2014, each cardroom can have up to 79 tables.

In addition, should slot machines ever become legal in California (not Native American ones), they would now be legal as well in these cardrooms. In addition, voter approval would no longer be required should other types of gambling be decriminalized in California. So if dice games such as craps were decriminalized, they would automatically be permitted in these two cardrooms and not be subject to a vote first.

Previous measures that increased the number of tables also increased the percentage cut that the city got. This one doesn’t do that, although revenue would increase because of the sheer increase of available tables. This would be why you would vote no, if you wanted the cut to go up.

Measure H: Yes

Besides parcel taxes, sometimes school districts float bond measures to get funds to take care of stuff. In this case, San Jose Unified wants $290 million to update classroom technology, increase energy efficiency, and perform basic repairs to existing buildings. It can’t be used for teacher/administrative salaries of any kind. It can be used for the construction salaries that would result from these various changes.

Interest rates are superlow right now. It’s not a bad time for bonds. And of course the improved schools pay dividends in reduced crime and increase property value. You’ve heard this song and dance before. It’s the same shit. And of course the same jackasses are against it. So the anti-tax and libertarian crowds should be voting no. Remember we wouldn’t need any of this if Proposition 13 were repealed. This is just how it works today.