Archive for the ‘Election 2018 (June)’ Category

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.

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