It’s that time again, Green Dragon patrons! Elections are coming up, and here are the house recommendations.
Please note that I don’t endorse in races where I don’t feel I have enough knowledge to make a call. I have been out of circulation from most municipal-level politics for awhile now. I encourage you to check out conservationaction.org, where you can find report cards on incumbent local officials and endorsements of candidates in races where I haven’t made one.
Federal and State Offices
GOVERNOR: JERRY BROWN. Though some are grumpy about it, I feel that Brown has been smart and sensible about not going overboard with new expenditures as the state’s budget has recovered from the Bush Recession. I’m not a big fan of his concepts of “realigning” incarceration and child care to local governments, nor some of his labor votes, but overall, he’s done a great job.
STATEWIDE OFFICES: vote for Democrats. The California Republican party has gone far out on the loony-tune Tea Party limb, and none can be trusted to serve the public interest. Of those running, I particularly recommend KAMALA HARRIS, who has been a terrific Attorney General.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2nd District: JARED HUFFMAN. Huffman has been simply stellar. Not only is his voting record superlative, he has proven capable—as he was in the state legislature under Schwarzenegger—of moving legislation even when he needs opposition support to do so. His bill protecting a large swathe of the North Coast as wilderness was the only such bill to pass the House this year.
STATE SENATE, District 2: MIKE McGUIRE. This is Noreen Evans’ seat, and those are big shoes to fill. McGuire, let’s be clear, will not fill them. McGuire was an adequate Supervisor, especially given the historically conservative district he represents. I’d hardly give him rave reviews, but the fact is that in the Senate he will be more beholden to progressive voices than he is now, and McGuire is young—perhaps he will learn. This is a safe Democratic seat.
ASSEMBLY, District 2: JIM WOOD. If his very cautious, don’t-make-waves tenure on the Healdsburg City Council is any indicator, Wood will not be much of a leader, nor a progressive, and he lacks the political savvy of Wes Chesbro, who is terming out. That said, if he wants to get anything done in Sacramento he, like McGuire, will have to partner with progressive Democrats who are the majority there. This is a safe Democratic seat and Wood will be the next Assemblymember.
1: NO. Although this measure improved considerably in the final days before the Legislature put it on the ballot, it is still a wrongheaded approach to solving the state’s water woes.
2: YES. Prop. 2 would ensure that the State manages its finances more wisely instead of every budget surplus being the cause of a free-for-all over who will get the money. While opponents claim to be speaking for schools, even the President of the California State Board of Education supports it.
45: :YES YES YES!! This measure gives the California State Insurance Commissioner real authority to force insurance companies to PROVE that they need to raise rates before they can do it. It’s that simple.
46: NO. The state cap on medical malpractice awards is grossly out of step with the actual harm it causes, and that is the heart of this measure. The prescription database, also, is a good idea. The drug testing, however, is a poison pill. California is already short on doctors and many will simply retire or move out of state before they will be subjected to drug testing. It’s a dumb idea and makes this measure unworthy of support.
47: YES YES YES!! “Three Strikes” and other draconian sentencing policy have been a social, budgetary and judicial DISASTER for California. Limiting such harsh sentencing to violent and serious offenders will save money and prevent the wholesale injustice that is happening now.
48: NO. Tribal gaming is out of control in California. Any opportunity to prevent yet another casino from being built is a good idea.
Supervisor, 2nd District: Shirlee Zane. Zane has done a good job, and has been particularly strong on health and mental health issues. She deserves another term.
Supervisor, 4th District: DEB FUDGE. Deb has been an exemplary leader on the Windsor Town Council and was my pick four years ago. She’s fantastic on the environment, urban planning and transportation, and a real listener who cares about her constituents. You couldn’t do better.
Ballot Measure M: YES. Our libraries have been crushed by budget cuts. This measure will allow us to have a public information-access system and library we can all rely on and be proud of.
Measure N: Yes. For complicated reasons, this modernization of the city’s Utility Tax will actually increase revenue while also cutting the tax paid by current ratepayers, as it expands the tax to VOIP and mobile phone customers who should be taxed at the same rate as everyone else. It’s a reasonable idea and should be approved.
City Council: CHRIS COURSEY. Coursey was certainly a mixed bag as a Press Democrat columnist—fair disclosure, he did a hatchet job on me as I left Conservation Action, and I haven’t forgotten it—but I think odds are better than 50/50 he will be a neighborhood-oriented vote rather than a Chamber of Commerce rubber stamp. Because of his name recognition, he has more latitude than many others in voting as he believes rather than as a given political camp wishes.
Many progressives are also supporting Curtis Byrd and Lee Pierce along with Coursey. I don’t know anything about Byrd, but Pierce was unimpressive when interviewed for an endorsement many years ago. Since, he has served a term and been burned by the Chamber of Commerce crowd who expected him to be One Of Theirs—he may therefore have a new perspective on politics.
Mayor: DAVID GLASS. Glass has been an exemplary Mayor; his opponent, Mike Harris, who has been a lackluster city council member who has appeared primarily to be driven by personal ambition rather than any set of values or vision for the city.
City Council: JANICE CADER-THOMPSON and THERESA BARRETT
Local Measure Q (forever sales tax increase): ABSOLUTELY NOT. A slush fund without accountability for how it will be spent.
UNA GLASS is a friend, and was appointed to replace her husband, the former mayor, who died suddenly this past spring. I think she deserves a full term to develop her ideas for the direction of the city.
SAM SALMON has been a terrific vote on the Town Council for many years, and deserves a return to office.