If you are a California voter and a progressive liberal, you might be interested in the recommendations of a friend of mine who works in Mark Leno's office. He's been doing these election cheat sheets for years, and I always find them useful.
Don't forget to vote next Tuesday!
Bart's Unsolicited Election Advice
As every election approaches, my friends ask me to seek out my recommendations. Well, here they are for the upcoming November 8th special election called by Governor Schwarzenegger. This election will cost the state tens of millions of dollars, and Republican strategists are counting on two things:
1. Turnout is low in special elections
2. Right wing Republicans will turn out in large numbers to vote for Prop 73, the abortion restriction.
Even if you are going to vote NO on everything, you must vote or see the Democratic Party severely weakened by this Republican power grab.
I have included my recommendations for the San Francisco ballot. If you live elsewhere in California, you will find only the State Proposition relevant to you. If you live outside of California, well... I must have my reasons for sending this you.
Thanks for your attention.
SAN FRANCISCO OFFICES
Phil Ting - 1st Choice (Phil is a professional assessor and a really nice man.) (He also spoke at the Castro protest rally in support of the gay marriage bill last month, and impressed me with his energy and attitude. - sotm
Gerardo Sandoval - 2nd Choice
Ronald Chun - 3rd Choice
Jose Cisneros - 1st Choice (Gay man currently in office and doing a good job.)
Manuel B. Valle - 2nd Choice
Calvin Louie - 3rd Choice
Dennis Herrera - 1st Choice (He da bomb!)
73 - No - Waiting Period and Parental Notification for Teen Abortions. (The overwhelming majority of teen girls already tell their parents. Those who don't tell usually have a compelling reason. Don't put this in our State Constitution.)
74 - No - Teacher Probation. (We have a hard enough time hiring teachers. This measure doesn't improve public education. It makes it easier for suburban and rural districts to fire gay teachers for no reason.)
75 - No - Public Employee Union Dues. (Public employees can already opt out of political giving. I'm all for getting affirmative permission from members of large groups before contributing money. But this measure limits only Democratic supporters while leaving Republican funders untouched. Shareholders in corporations should also be able to vote NO to political contributions.)
76 – No – State Funding and School Funding Limits. (California ranks 43rd in education spending. This measure would take us even lower. Still worse, it would give Governor Schwarzenegger, who already has the line-item veto, power to lower spending without Legislative approval. Let's see what would Republican governors cut? …Education, AIDS Drug Assistance Program, health care for poor families, and the Governor could do it without a single public hearing. This is a power grab.)
77 - No - Schwarzenegger's Republican Redistricting. (OK gerrymandering has existed since the beginning of this nation and if proposition 77 becomes law, district lines will be gerrymandered by 3 old white guy retired judges instead of the 120 people elected to the Legislature. Even worst, the provisions of prop 77 are functionally impossible because it requires that the people approve district lines and the people elected from those new districts all in the same election. What happens if the people reject the lines drawn by 3 old white guys? Political crisis that's what. The state would have no elected legislature and no elected congressional representatives. Idiots drafted this measure because they simply assume the people will approve of the lines drawn.)
78 - No - Drug Company Effort to Confuse Voters (The drug industry is afraid that if they don't stop Prop 79 from raiding their obscene profits, other states will follow. So they cooked up an initiative to confuse voters. They want voters to say, “I don't know which one to vote for so I'm just going to vote no on both drug initiatives.” Don't be fooled by the best commercials money can buy. Prop 79 will work.)
79 - Yes - Forces Drug Companies to Discount Drugs for Low Income People (I have personally worked on 3 bills in the Legislature to set up programs similar to Prop 79. They all failed because drug companies make huge political contributions and because they scare advocates for the poor with threats that they will pull their drugs out of California rather than sell them at a fair price. Canada has 10 million less people than California and they have successfully reduced their drug prices without losing access to pharmaceuticals. Drug companies are bluffing. They will never walk away from the massive sales the State of California provides them. Don't forget, the drug industry is 5 times more profitable than the next most profitable industry in America which is banking. They are offering a product that people must buy in order to stay alive and the United States does not regulate their price. Other products that people must have such as water and electricity have been price regulated for nearly a century. Yes on 79 because it is not possible to do in the Legislature.)
80 - No - Energy Re-regulation. (I really like what this proposition does, but I can't endorse doing it at the ballot box. In order to change or tweak this complex new law, the Legislature would have to get a 2/3 vote. That is virtually impossible on any issue and gives huge power to the minority party which is currently the Republicans. I have lots of respect for the organizations supporting this measure, but energy policy needs to be changeable as demand, customers, and modes of generation change.)
SAN FRANCISCO LOCAL PROPOSTIONS
A - Yes - Community College District Bonds. (Build it and people will learn.)
B - Yes - Street and Sidewalk Improvement Bonds. (This is a tax increase. Property taxes will be increased by an estimated $9.49 per $100,000 of assessed value. It is true that the Board of Supervisors has repeatedly chosen to under fund our street and sidewalk infrastructure. However, with decreasing funds coming from the state and federal governments, maintaining local services has become extremely difficult. I support this measure because it will leave more funds available for programs I really care about like health care, police and fire protection, homeless programs, and street cleaning.)
C - Yes - Ethics Commission Budget and Outside Counsel
D - No - Municipal Transportation Agency Board Appointments
E - Yes - Election Date for Assessor and Public Defender
F - Yes - Neighborhood Firehouses - Decrease Response Time
G - Yes - Two Lanes, Not Four, on MLK in GG Park
H - Yes - Ban Possession and Sales of Handguns in SF (Believe it or not, I had a tough time deciding this one. Banning handguns is a good idea, but it should be done on a state or national level. However, it takes local action first on controversial issues. If other Bay Area counties follow our lead, it could become very difficult to get a handgun in our region. That will not stop everyone who wants a handgun, but it will stop some of them. Remember, you are more likely to be killed with your own gun than someone else's.)
I - Yes - Ban Military Recruiting In SF Public Schools. (Kids get enough exposure to their option to join the military though TV, Radio, Print, and Online advertising. The U.S. military even has free online video games that simulate war for teenagers looking for a cheap thrill. Why make them endure high pressure tactics in school?)