Voting

Tomorrow is the primary election in California. Go vote! Few enough people turn out in primaries that, particularly in your local elections, you can likely make a difference. And remember that when you have a long-ass, intimidating ballot like we do (my ballot is 5 pages!!) you can just vote on the stuff you care about and skip the rest, if that helps get you to vote at all.

For those who have not yet voted (I like going to the polls, and thus have not voted by mail), here are my thoughts:

==Propositions==
Ah, the joy/curse of California politics, the proposition. We have a fine crop this time.

Prop 13, Earthquake taxes: I have no idea. Nor do I care. I don’t want to lower property taxes. But there doesn’t seem to be any controversy about this one? I guess that’s a yes. Maybe a no. Maybe I’ll skip it.

Prop 14, everyone can vote in all primaries: Oh hell yes. There are two arguments to be made here: such an initiative is potentially disenfranchising to third-party candidates. On the other hand, it also means we might get fewer nutjobs running against the lead candidate, and it gives a chance to, say, the Democrats running against Jerry Brown. Of course, I am the person who once registered Republican just so I could vote for the least offensive candidate. This measure would save me the trouble, so personally I’m in favor. I won’t hold it against you if you’re not. Also, the wretched nutjobs in the Howard Jarvis Assn are against it, so you know it’s something worth voting for. Now, if we could just get IRV

Prop 15, allow Sec. of State candidates to accept public money, charge lobbyists more: yes, per Larry Lessig. Otherwise I have no particular opinion but in matters such as this I trust Lessig’s judgment implicitly, and it makes sense.

Prop 16, require 2/3 of the voters to approve moving to a new power utility: No, no, hell no. For one thing, this is the PG&E-sponsored initiative, and me & my $100 power bills would like to see them slapped down. For another thing, this would make it much much harder for local districts to generate some or all of their own power, which means in turn that small-scale renewable projects would be made much more difficult. No!

Prop 17, something about changing insurance rules: No. I don’t know if the arguments that this is a Mercury-funded initiative are true, but I read the text of the proposition, and it sounds to me like it would be bad for poor people and new drivers (in other words, the folks we all hope have insurance). Therefore, bad for everyone. No.

==Candidates for statewide office==
Gov(uhnator): I’ll vote for Jerry Brown in the general, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to do so right this minute. There’s a bunch of other candidates. Being registered Dem, I can’t vote for the green candidate (see Prop 14, above).

Senator: I kind of feel the same way about Barbara Boxer. Though, unlike many people I know, I like Boxer. I like her stands on the environment, and women’s issues, and I worry that she won’t have a strong successor who will pick up the liberal feminist torch whenever she gets tired of running for the Senate (or that people will get tired of her and we will get the unthinkable, a Republican).

Lt. Gov. is trickier. Do I vote for The Natty Newsom? Do I vote for Janice Hahn, whose name I know from the news but I can’t remember if I agree with or not? Advice welcomed on this point. edited to add: apparently NOW endorsed Hahn, so I guess I’ll vote for her. She is also a UC regent, so I can look at her record there…

Sec. of State: Though Debra Bowen is running unopposed on the Dem. ticket, I’ll vote for her anyway: I think she’s done a fantastic job. (Just look at how the PG&E initiative played out).

Treasurer, Controller, insurance commissioner: whatever

Attorney General: this is an important office and I don’t know who to vote for. Research is needed.

Sup. of Public Ed: these are the races that make me despair, on my five-page ballot. Any recommendations welcome. No one seems to be advocating OER, sadly. (But for a bunch of teachers, they all seem to love misusing italics, exclamation points and hyperbole.)

==Local stuff==
Davis city council: it will be hella entertaining if Daniel Watts gets seated. And, he’s interning at WMF! (but I don’t know him). Otherwise, I don’t really understand Davis politics.

Measure Q, continuing sales tax: I dislike it, because I try to shop locally, but we desperately need the money, so yes.

Measure R, extending measure J, aka we have to vote on new developments: even though it puts me in line with my yuppie, NIMBY, homeowning, pretentious neighbors (and by that I mean not my actual physical neighbors, who I like a lot, but rather most all of the long-time residents in Davis), I’m gonna throw down a yes for extension, because like all good pretentious yuppies in training, I am anti-development and Measure J/R is pretty cool that way.

Sigh.

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5 Responses to Voting

  1. james says:

    I’ve spent 6-8 hours researching this election, and this is what I recommend:

    Yes on 13: In general I support property taxes, but in California a disincentive to earthquake retrofitting for the most vulnerable buildings just doesn’t make sense.

    14: I’m torn, but in the booth tomorrow I’ll probably vote No. Not because I have any love for the party system, but rather because I don’t think it will hurt them that much in the long run. They’ll simply strong-arm all but their top candidates out of the race, and without spending caps AND a rational voting system (IRV at minimum, though I’d prefer Range) the only change will be that some GEs will be D v. D or R v. R, presumably with the more centrist candidate winning in both cases. Besides, as an unaffiliated voter, I can currently vote in whichever primary is more competitive – until a couple weeks ago, I was going to vote R to help nominate their weakest candidates.

    15: YES! Public financing has to start somewhere.

    Gov: Peter Schurman. Obviously Jerry will win, but if you want to send the message “I would have preferred someone more liberal,” Schurman’s your guy, though he’s informally dropped out and endorsed Brown.

    AG: Kamala Harris, if you oppose the death penalty. All other major candidates are for it – Schmier is against, I believe, but he has no chance. Kelly was Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook (oxymoron) and Delgadillo is an avowed enemy of the ACLU. Lieu is my Assemblyman; he’s a nice guy but a little too drug-warrior for my taste.

    Superintendent: Larry Aceves. I’d really rather not have a politician in that office if I can avoid it, and Aceves is the only non-politician who has a prayer of winning and isn’t pro-prayer-in-school. Romero and Torlakson are the front-runners.

    The races where I’m still undecided are LG and Insurance Commissioner. After all my reading I can’t find much daylight between the candidates, and I’ve reached the point where I may just decide on geography (Bowen, Hahn, and de la Torre are the ONLY major candidates from L.A., and I know you may disagree but I’d rather not have an all-NorCal ticket).

  2. phoebe says:

    cool, thanks. I realize that 14 is something that there are arguments both ways on; I know several progressive groups are recommending a “no” vote. I just really, really, really dislike the party system.

  3. phoebe says:

    p.s. i didn’t know you can register unaffiliated here. Has that always been true?

  4. james says:

    It’s always been true that you can register as unaffiliated (formally, you “Decline to State” a party preference) although you couldn’t take a partisan ballot in the primary until 1996, coincidentally the first year I could vote. The original open primary law was thrown out in a US Supreme Court case in 2000 (I was in a con law class at the time) but it was fixed quite promptly, I believe by requiring the parties’ consent to give their ballots to unaffiliated voters. To my knowledge, the D and R parties routinely give consent, while the smaller parties do not.

  5. Kara says:

    Hey, it’s probably too late for most people, but Tom Torlakson for Superintendent of Education!

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