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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.

another test

May 21, 2012

test

Test

May 21, 2012

test

Imelda May “Mayhem”

September 18, 2011

Beat-wise, this has the party atmosphere that Bow Wow Wow has. The voice is much sultrier, however. “Pulling the Rug” tugs at your heart as she flirts her way through it.
The best slower track is “Kentish Town Waltz.” There’s nothing ish about it — this is a bona fide waltz. “Eternity” and “Proud and Humble” are for alt-country fans.
If you liked “Goodbye” by Save Ferris, you’ll appreciate “Bury My Troubles.” One would never confuse Imelda May as a ska vocalist, but regardless, many appropriate comparisons can be drawn here.
“I’m Alive” is a happy sort of iced-tea-on-the-balcony good time. The vocals are mixed slightly higher, and there is a bit of a tropical beach theme. Better make that iced tea a Corona.

Natalie Walker “Spark”

September 18, 2011

So the music has a beat, but it’s for soccer moms who never actually go to the club, instead only speaking with their little sister about it while living vicariously through her. She thinks this is what they play, right after a Colbie Caillat mix. Who are we to argue with her delusions?
All the cool kids like “Cool Kids.” It’s not the most original melody out there, but it is easily accessible to Annie Lennox fans. Galliano fans should appreciate “Against the Wall.” It’s more of the same inoffensive reserved dance pop. If you came of age with Book of Love, maybe this is your speed, but how do you not admit that you’re old when you listen to stuff like this? It’s just too embarrassing to admit you like Natalie Walker.
“Experimental Love” is the other notable song on here, but they’re all more similar than I care to admit. It’s that Southern California pay-to-play syncopated rhythm, headed for a rom-com near you, soul not included.

Eleanor Friedberger “Last Summer”

September 11, 2011

Eleanor Friedberger sounds like the lead singer for The Fiery Furnaces. “My Mistakes” sounds like a power pop version of that band, anyway.
So I just did some research online. She was the lead singer for The Fiery Furnaces. Go, me. No, I don’t ever go back and rewrite my reviews as I listen to the record.
The rest of this review will talk about other songs I liked, but the first paragraph sums it up. “Heaven” has good backing harmonies that stand out in an otherwise simply composed track. In my own little world this was the first song she did on her own, so that’s why it is so basic. Still very good, though.
“Roosevelt Island” sounds more like a The Fiery Furnaces track. There’s a bit of keyboard action here that makes everything fit perfectly. A slower track can be found with “One-Month Marathon.” It reminds me of “Some Senseless Day” by The Reputation because it’s slower than what you usually get, but it still sounds natural.
More The Fiery Furnaces-sounding stuff can be found with “Owl’s Head Park.” It’s a story-telling song, like “My Dog Was Lost But Now He’s Found” was.
So the whole record is good. It’s exactly what you would expect it to be. Have at it.

Medals “Dancing in Ceremony”

July 17, 2011

I took this one because the band has someone Japanese in it, and my grandma is Japanese. As far as the music goes, it’s a little trippy and a little noisy. “Lonestars” is the first track and is synth-heavy and sounds better with headphones.
I’d like Modern Mark to play “The Modern.” I think it would work on his show. Although slightly repetitive, it has a good melody. “Dickens” has synths similar to You Say Party We Say Die’s “Laura Palmer’s Prom.” The vocals make me think of the Cult. It’s a pretty good combination.
The aptly titled “Bossanueva” is slightly off-key but still a good show of Medals’ versatility. The last track is “Puzzle,” and it is good for fans of progressive rock and newer Yeah Yeah Yeahs (although with a dude singing). All in all, it’s a vaguely modern alternative rock band.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? “Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You”

May 8, 2011

I’ve heard a lot about this band, and I’m only hip enough to recognize the name. “John Hurt” samples Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two.” They must also like the Whopper. “Wrong Time Wrong Planet” was a little psychedelic but not too much to make you uncomfortable.
Fans of Apollo 440 should like “Wondering.” I don’t know what to do with this type of music, but it is fun if nothing else.
By the time I get to the end of this record, I am expecting to hear something quirky disguised as normal, and so the quirkiness is what keeps me going. Well, when I hear “Broken Arms,” it never gets weird. So the song is fine, sure, but I wasn’t expecting a straight-ahead shoegaze type of song. Flaming Lips does this to me as well sometimes. How dare they do one song normally! And I most certainly was not warned!

Liam Finn + Eliza Jane “Champagne in Seashells”

May 8, 2011

It’s an EP. I don’t know enough about music to know whether “Plane Crash” is in C, but Rilo Kiley fans would like this one nonetheless. “Long Way to Go” is catchier and has jangly guitar as well as some synths. This is one to dance to. In fact, I think I’ve heard this before. I have. The chorus has the same melody as “Do You Wanna Hold Me?” by Bow Wow Wow.
“Won’t Change My Mind” is slower and has the same music as “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins. How is that even possible? It’s subtle, but it’s there. “Honest Face” has a peppy rhythm and a mid-90s power pop sound. Picking up the rear is “On Your Side.” It’s a fun amalgamation of sound.
This isn’t the first record of theirs that I’ve listened to, and I hope it won’t be the last. These guys are a lot of fun.

Eux Autres “Broken Bow”

March 13, 2011

Here’s a band our beloved traffic director can really get into. It’s pronounced “ooh oh-TRAY.” I saw these guys in San Francisco last year when they were touring. The easiest analogy is Nous Non Plus, because they both have female vocals and a French name. It’s not entirely off base, but the music is less eccentric and has more of an ’80s sound. Musically, I like them much better than Nous Non Plus.
“Queen Turner” has a bit of a twee sound, and the accompaniment is perfect. It reminds me of Sweetheart. “Under Rays” has tremendous power pop sensibilities to it. This could be one of the best songs of the year.
If you want something a little more male-dominated, “A Band Undone” does quite nicely. “You’re Alight” goes back to those lovely female vocals again. The piano in the background is good stuff, and reminds me of another band that makes me think of French, Of Montreal.
Muffs, Neko Case and Fastbacks fans may think “Go Dancing” is one of their own, only on Prozac. “Cover Rights” is the cherry on top of a fantastic item. If this is the future of music, then we’re in good hands.