Our picks for the 2014 midterm elections

The midterm election is around the corner and the CN&R’s editorial board members have done a lot of homework, especially on the local races. We announced our endorsements last week, but are reprinting them here for voters’ convenience.

We struggled with this year’s endorsements for local races, especially for Chico City Council, because each of the candidates has something to offer, whether that be a vision for a healthy community or expertise in a specific area. But after attending every candidates forum and asking further questions of the seven Chicoans vying for a seat, we’ve narrowed the field to three.

As always, we urge readers to do their own research. The League of Women Voters website, www.smartvoter.org, is an excellent resource.

Local offices

Chico City Council: Scott Gruendl, Lupe Arim-Law and Mark Sorensen. We believe Gruendl and Sorensen have the fortitude to stand up to the employee unions, especially the police and firefighter bargaining groups, whose unsustainable benefits packages are breaking the bank, leading to a reduction in city services, not the least of which is sufficient public safety. Arim-Law has an accounting background, so she knows her way around a spreadsheet. Moreover, her familiarity with the Bay Area tech industry is an asset in the realm of economic development.

Butte County assessor: Diane Brown. No question here. Brown is the clear choice. She’s worked in the Butte County Assessor’s Office for decades and has the support of her colleagues. Her opponent, Bill Connelly, simply lacks the necessary expertise to effectively manage the office.

Measures A and B: No and No. We’re recommending a no vote on both the medical marijuana measures—the referendum that seeks stricter rules for pot-growing and the looser initiative, almost identical to the current law, that seeks voter approval before any changes are made. We think the current ordinance—a compromise between both factions—should remain in place. We also believe it should not be set in stone.

U.S. Congress

Representative, District 1: Heidi Hall. This one is a no-brainer. Hall is smart and has the North State’s interests at heart. Incumbent Doug LaMalfa is a career politician who’s been feeding at the public trough for too long.

State Legislature

State Senator, District 4: CJ Jawahar

State Assembly, District 3: Jim Reed

State executive

Governor: Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown

State initiatives

Proposition 1: No. We’re in the minority here among media outlets, and we think that has something to do with proximity. As residents of the area of origin of the state’s water supply, we see that the $7.5 billion water bond protects the interests of corporate ag interests down south, and doesn’t go far enough in funding conservation efforts. Plus, it saddles taxpayers with more than $14 billion in debt over the life of the bond. We can do better.

Proposition 2: Yes. This measure would replace the state’s current, ineffective rainy-day fund. But this one, as opposed to what was instituted by voters in 2004, would be protected from grabs by the governor and state lawmakers. Plus, it’s designed to draw down debts.

Proposition 45: Yes. It grants the insurance commissioner the responsibility to approve or deny rate changes proposed by insurance companies. Opponents claim Prop. 45 is a power grab by the insurance commissioner, but it simply brings the procedure for health insurance rate changes in line with those for other insurance rates.

Proposition 46: No. This measure has a number of laudable goals, including protecting patients from physicians who abuse drugs. However, it also raises a cap on “pain and suffering” damages in medical malpractice cases from the current $250,000, which was set in the ’70s, to more than $1.1 million. While the million-dollar figure is commensurate to today’s dollars, that steep an increase would overburden physicians in the form of insurance costs.

Proposition 47: Yes. Aims to further staunch the flood of nonviolent criminals into prison. Among other things, those convicted of petty crimes will face reduced sentences—and savings will fund programs that reduce recidivism.

Proposition 48: Yes. Asks voters whether a tribe should be able to build a casino on lands outside of its reservation. A wealthy California tribe with gaming interests funded the effort to put this on the ballot, and to seek a “no”—to squash out competitors. In the interest of fairness, we say yes.