Archive for February 2020

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.