Archive for the ‘Election 2012 (June)’ Category

Primary election 2012 coverage for the deaf

May 19, 2012

Actually, it will be for everyone because I don’t anticipate doing videos for the individual topics this time around. The numbers just aren’t there, and the way YouTube does embedding keeps changing so if you look on my site for my old election-related episodes, you just get a bunch of empty posts. That’s really annoying, so I might as well do it this way so at least it doesn’t go away.

It’s funny, because narcissism rules us all, but I especially think it messes with how I view things. (I see what I did there. Twice!) I bring this up because I don’t have time to watch YouTube anymore. It takes a long road trip or being sick and home from work for me to have the time to sit with ye olde iPad and watch Stupid Mario Bros. or Heathcliff reruns or whatever. So therefore because I don’t have time to watch YouTube anymore no one else does?

Thankfully, like sellers on eBay, for every YouTube uploader that disappears, three come along to take its place. And I’ll watch Richard Michael Alvarez & Co.’s videos when I can. At least I don’t have to worry about running out as long as I am two years behind.

Luckily for me, the primary election doesn’t have a lot going on. How I’ll have the time this fall for the general election to write this up is a mystery to me, but it will still be faster than videos. So it’s going to take a lot of you to get me to make videos. That’s what that means.

President of the United States

I’ve been waiting for this moment, for all my life. Yep. I’m finally 35. And when I look at the primary ballot for the Peace and Freedom Party, I see three names I don’t recognize and nothing about any of them. It just makes it that much easier for me. Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson? When your nickname is “Rocky,” the best you can ever hope to be is Vice President. Stewart Alexander? Your brother Doyle was a good pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Stephen Durham? Have you ever considered changing your last name to “Auto Mall”?

Nope. I’m voting me as a write-in. I get one whole vote, just like the rest of you assholes. A vote for me is a vote for me. Sign me up.

Party Central Committee

I have no idea what this is. I guess the Peace and Freedom Party has a committee. They probably are the ones who pick these people no one has heard of and then wonders why they get fewer votes than the candidates have Facebook friends. To give you an idea of the effect today’s Peace and Freedom Party has on American politics, the committee holds 12 people, and there are four candidates. At least my homeowner’s association was able to get two candidates for its three slots.

But we get to see who these people are, not that it matters, although can you imagine running unopposed (I don’t know what the right word is when there are more openings than there are candidates — unopposed I imagine is just one person running for one seat — but what other party has these types of problems anyway?) it doesn’t make a difference who these people are anyway.

Steven Patt is a software developer. He probably hates that Durham is running for president because it makes everyone spell his name wrong. Dave Kadlecek is an appointed incumbent, but in the Peace and Freedom Party, they don’t say “throw the bums out.” Instead the party argues whether they should recycle or compost said bums. Susan Muysenberg is a retired preschool teacher. Whether she became one after retiring or is retired from it I don’t know. And Jon Britton is a retired technical writer. I won’t make a pedantic joke about a writer.

So I guess I vote for all four, write myself in, and write seven people I’ve always wanted to meet in. Why? Because they’ll have to go to the committee meetings, doy. And then I can finally meet them. Then at the next election we can vote them out and bring in seven more people I’ll still want to meet.

U.S. Senator

I’ve already complained about the top two rule, so I’ll spare you the details here. In short, everyone votes on the same ticket for statewide offices, and then the top two vote-getters face off in November. This is the opposite of ranked choice voting. Maybe we can start calling it limited choice voting. At any rate, I guess it means I will finally have to vote for Dianne Feinstein in the general. It’s always nice to get one right. My ballot every November looks like my Academy Awards ballot every February, except I don’t win a price for getting the least correct on my ballot.

But for the primary, I will be loyal to my party, and I won’t detail the 24 candidates because this piece is already going to be too long as it is. Besides, if I really wanted to vote for Gail K. Lightfoot, I would have registered for the Libertarian Party a long time ago. Love that platform, by the way: Vote for us so we can do nothing! Oh well, at least they’re honest.

So perennial Peace and Freedom Party candidate and retired teacher Marsha Feinland is trying for the Senate this year, and she’s got a chance to pick up a few Pat Buchanan-style votes. The candidate order is random (which is about as smart as a drop-down menu with 24 choices, by the way), and Feinland is right above Feinstein. That is a huge break and may result in her getting 10,000 votes. This is a tremendous opportunity.

However, that wasn’t enough for my team. Apparently we’re trotting out a second candidate to help split the vote. Kabiruddin Karim Ali, a businessman, is also running. How a businessman can run on the Peace and Freedom platform is beyond me. Good luck with that.

My vote will go to Feinland. At least there is some name recognition there, and honestly, that’s how people vote whether you like it or not.

U.S. Representative, California District 19

Actually, this is one I always get right. Zoe Lofgren, congresswoman, doesn’t usually get any competition I care about, so she is generally the one who prevents my being shut out. So I owe her a lot, although not, say, a campaign contribution. She needs to buy me coffee first.

There are three others this time around, and remember, this is a top two race, so it will be interesting to see who makes it. Robert Murray is a businessman/lawyer/entrepreneur and a Republican, which is what we call a redundancy. Jay Blas Jacob Carrera is a social entrepreneur, but he can’t be that good at it if he can’t namedrop very well, and clearly with four names he hasn’t been. He’s also running as an independent, which is refreshing. Phat Nguyen is a software engineer and running as a Republican. Asians are the one minority that loves to run as Republicans. I guess once all the white conservatives die the Republican party will be the party of Asians. The best part about that statement is it remains a prediction until it happens, and only then will it be racist.

So Lofgren and Carrera were the only candidates to submit statements. Lofgren basically says “vote for me because then you’re voting for a winner.” Carrera is playing the 1% card and also using more numbers by pointing out Congress’s 11% approval rating. The thing is, everyone thinks everyone ELSE’S congressmen suck. People generally don’t have 11% approval toward their own representative. It would be interesting to see Carrera make it to the general because he would attack Lofgren from the left, but that isn’t going to happen. There is too much of the Republican vote to split to enable Carrera to pull ahead.

So I’ll end up voting for Lofgren in the general because her opponent will suck, but for now I’ll vote for the 32-year-old Carrera, if for nothing else to see how they handle fitting his name on all those signs people put in their yards.

California State Senator, District 15

I have no idea what will happen in this race. Joe Coto is a local legend, having served on my high school district’s board when I was attending. Officially he is a “small businessman/educator.” Jim Beall is a termed-out assemblyman doing what termed-out assemblymen do: run for the state senate. I won’t bore you with how this is exactly why term limits are fucking retarded. Instead, I’ll tell you what I can about the candidates. Imagine that.

Beall submitted a prepared statement, and that is always nice. The 61-year-old does a good job with it, although telling me about work he does with the UC system when the nearest one is an hour away makes no sense to me. How about what you’ve done with godawful San Jose State? Or maybe that’s why. Still, Coto falls even shorter and makes this an easy decision for me.

I got a knock on my door a few months ago from someone canvassing for Coto. He looked like he sleeps at the homeless encampment under Communications Hill. Now, I’m not saying the downtrodden should hide from me so I can pretend they don’t exist. That’s silly. I know they exist because I’ve been there, and I’ll be there again. I spend way too much money at Target not to go broke again. It’s just a matter of time. But when you represent a candidate and can’t answer simple questions, such as “what’s Joe doing right now?” it doesn’t represent your candidate well. In addition, telling me how Coto is going to get us jobs and then using your new job as a canvasser as evidence of that is not going to work.

Coto is a nice guy. I’m familiar with his work. He just made a bad hiring decision is all. But I’ll give Beall the edge here, because his yard signs show the El Camino Real bell, a subtle reminder of how to pronounce his name.

California State Assembly, District 28

Chad Walsh is 45 and an entrepreneur/college trustee. He is running as an independent but admits to being “a moderate Republican.” Actually, I believe him. And to win in this district you have to be as blue as you can. Paul Fong is a legislator/business owner. Actually, I think he is the incumbent based on his statement, but I don’t recognize him. Perhaps redistricting has moved me into his district. He is amazingly liberal and a shoo-in for re-election. He admits to adding LGBT content to state textbooks, which a lot of people are against. He apparently is famous for getting rid of shark fin soup, which I wonder whether it’s cultural, because I know the Chinese are big on that. I really like how off-the-cuff his statement is, compared with the boilerplate we usually get. I admire Walsh’s forthright nature, but the 59-year-old Fong definitely reflects my beliefs much more closely.

For both of the last two, I wonder whether they will run against each other again if there aren’t any big write-in candidates. I should know these things, but I was so mad when top two passed that I decided the American thing to do would be to remain ignorant. I guess I was right.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 5

Can you imagine if Judge Judy had her name because she was judgmental but not really a judge? Would it make a difference?

Here are three candidates whose last names all start with the letter C. Paul Colin is a deputy district attorney. He is 57 and seems to have all the key endorsements, including the current judge, who is retiring. Sometimes that’s all you need. Chris Corey is a workplace rights attorney. He wrote a good statement in that it begins with a quote that refers to him as “him.” This is important when your name doesn’t give a clue. However, he also doesn’t disclose his age.

Alexis Cerul is the only woman and the only candidate with a last name that isn’t a first name. She’s also probably the youngest candidate at 46, which is intriguing because you want your judges to be behind the gavel for a long time. She is a judicial staff attorney, but unfortunately her statement is boring and doesn’t say anything. Endorsements don’t mean squat for statewide and national elections, but for things like judge, there must be a reason why everyone likes Colin, and I doubt it’s so they can sing along with him. For once I’m not blindly voting for the woman.

C is for Colin — that’s good enough for me.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 7

This one is pretty clear cut for me. Cynthia Sevely is a deputy district attorney of unknown age. Steven Pogue is 57 and a self-employed attorney. Steven went to freakin’ Andrew Hill so you know he’s tough, and he has lived in Berryessa for 34 years, so he’s not doing it for the money. Sevely? Well, she has a horrible typo in her prepared statement, and I’m already voting for someone else Laurie Smith endorsed.

I don’t see how Pogue wins without the endorsements, but he gets my vote. He was born here, and he’s seen it all. He might have been told “sal si puede” but he clearly didn’t listen.

San Jose City Council, District 6

Man, this is a complete waste of time. Pierluigi Oliverio is the incumbent and probably a future mayor. He says and does all the right things. Never mind the redundancy in his statement (“$1,000,000 dollars”) because people just don’t care about that stuff. He’s also a big backer of Measure B. The only way he will get my vote is if he gets the A’s to San Jose. But until then, I will look for anything else.

Enter Steve Kline. The attorney at law is the not-Oliverio candidate, and admittedly I do see a lot of his signs. He is from the non-Willow Glen part of the district so I probably am not supposed to want to vote for him. He is also a big parks/libraries/police guy. He won’t say he’ll raise your taxes, but he understands that that is what it takes.

There is also Bill Chew, a television producer/host. He didn’t submit a statement, and I don’t know what to make of him. So I will easily vote for Steve Kline and then get pissed off when he loses.

California Proposition 28

Right now you can do 8 years in the state senate and 6 in the assembly. If 28 passes, new lawmakers can do up to 12 in either or both. So overall they get fewer years, but they could do more terms doing the same thing.

I hate term limits. Whatever it was that we thought we would get 22 years ago when we passed term limits has not happened, but people still like them! That’s just the way it is. Even if the player created the game, I still have to hate the game and not the player. Fine. But no matter what happens here, I’m going to be voting for term limits. It is what it is.

In times likes this, I see who supports the measure. Sometimes it makes the decision easier, and in this case it surely does. All the pro-term limits people are against 28. Well, then I guess I am voting yes on it. I know usually I write a lot more about the props, but this one really is as simple as the first paragraph. And if you like term limits, you should vote no.

California Proposition 29

This one adds $1 to the cost of a pack of cigarettes, although really it is roughly $1.09 because that $1 goes into the base price, and cigarettes are taxable. The money is on a one-way ticket to fund tobacco-related disease research, including cancer. Millions of dollars that could be spent on smoking prevention are being spent on ads, but I’m not that idealistic. I know that that is how it works.

The no on 29 people use the tired excuses I always hear: “bureaucracy” and “flawed.” Also, the music in the ads is very ominous. And when you look at who sponsors the ads, it’s a no-brainer: Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds are behind them. Gee, do you think what they want is a good thing?

The yes on 29 people are the typical lot: American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, etc. California is something like 4-for-18 when it comes to passing smoking tax initiatives. We suck at it. And not that it should matter, but our per-pack cigarette tax is one of the lowest in the nation, yet our smoking rate is also one of the lowest in the nation. (Here’s to you, Utah.)

The reason you vote no on 29 is because it’s another thing for California. Maybe “bureaucracy” is a loaded term, but why should we have a new thing when we can’t take care of our existing things? There’s not a convincing answer to this, and by that I mean that those who vote no can’t be convinced that this isn’t a big deal. This is the group that keeps these initiatives from passing in the first place. They would like it to go to the general fund, and I forget why it’s not written that way. It could be because then some other, larger subgroup wouldn’t vote for it.

Conservatives tend to hate these things, and why they didn’t wait till the general election when more liberals vote is beyond me. If 29 fails, it will fail because it was part of an election whose turnout was disproportionally Republican.

The yes side is getting smarter after running previous campaigns like the GM of the Washington Generals. The ends of their ads have Eve Bukowski saying “beat cancer.” Never mind that she actually had colon cancer, not lung cancer, and it appears that it had nothing to do with smoking. If Big Tobacco can play hardball, so can the other side. They also use my favorite line: Who do you trust?

As for me, I am voting yes because I always vote yes on these things. It’s not about the money and where it goes. They could pile up the $735 million it raises and light it on fire for all I care. It’s making cigarettes more expensive, which makes it less likely that kids will start smoking. If I have a choice of a world with and without this initiative — and in fact that’s exactly what I have! — I would rather live in the world in which 29 passes.

Santa Clara County Measure A

The no side didn’t even submit a rebuttal to the yes side, let alone an argument of their own. To hell with them. For those who want to know, Measure A lets the Board of Supervisors determine whether the sheriff, department of correction, or any other department or agency can operate the county jails. Also, they could assign joint responsibility. I mean, you have to vote yes because no one is saying to vote no. There are more important concerns out there. Speaking of segues… .

Santa Clara County Measure B

This is the most important thing on the ballot, although there’s no way it will fail. “Pension reform” is one of the leading political keywords of 2012, followed closely by “austerity.” And generally I find them to be a load of crap.

Is it fair that people retire at the same age but live much longer and therefore receive more money in pension? Not really, no. But the point of a pension vs. a 401(k) is that it doesn’t matter how long you live. You will be OK. Your reward for living to 110? You could run out of money if you didn’t save enough. But at least with a pension you know you’ll be hitting the Extra Bucks at CVS hard for as long as your crazy legs will let you.

So I can agree that something needs to be done, but Measure B is just lazy. Just one example: Firefighters that get injured on the job and go on disability will lose their pension. Who is going to want to be a fireman in San Jose if they know that that is what is in store for them? Don’t fuck with my police and fire. I will pay out the ass to have the best emergency services.

Measure B doesn’t address the root cause: It’s the length of benefits received, not the amount that is sent annually. I really wish you would vote no.

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