Our picks for the 2016 primary election

This year’s primary election gave the members of CN&R’s editorial board fits. In some cases, it’s because we’re not happy with the incumbents in certain races, yet we don’t feel comfortable with their challengers being able to do the job competently—at least from the get-go—because they lack substantive experience.

In other cases, our frustration stems from having to weigh the intricacies of what comes down to philosophical differences of opinion, especially on marijuana. For the record, we believe the herb should be treated like cigarettes—legalized for recreational use and taxed.

After several rounds of deliberations, we’ve come to consensus. 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 and measures

SupervisorsDistrict 1: Bill Connelly; District 5: Doug Teeter; District 4: Steve Lambert. Butte County faces financial challenges, including figuring out a way to pay for fire protection. Given that the incumbents have kept the coffers solvent, and that their challengers have little to no public-service experience, we are endorsing them despite reservations based on their actions at the dais—namely, not having the guts to ban fracking.

Measure E: Yes. Whether or not the local geography is conducive to hydraulic fracturing, the latest research concludes that fracking can, indeed, contaminate groundwater. Let’s also remember that there’s a fracked well in Glenn County. We cannot allow the Tuscan Aquifer—the source of our drinking and ag water—to be jeopardized now or ever by fracking.

Measure G: No. Medical marijuana is already not covered under the Right to Farm Act because it’s not federally legal. Adding this verbiage serves only to keep Butte County behind the times if and when growing pot becomes legal in the U.S. Don’t buy the pro-G signs saying it “supports public safety.” It has absolutely nothing to do with public safety.

Measure H: No. The voters approved Measure A, the medical marijuana cultivation ordinance, after years of haggling. If it still doesn’t work (and it does have problems), the county should consider the suggestions of all interested parties, not just the one dropping the hammer.

State initiative

Prop. 50: No. The intention of this constitutional amendment sounds great at first blush. A politician has been suspended, accused of a crime, but is still drawing a paycheck? Not cool. What Prop. 50 would do is halt pay for suspended members of the Legislature on a two-thirds vote. But what about due process? Everyone deserves it, even pols. Furthermore, lawmakers can already hand down sanctions, including expulsion.

State Legislature

State Assembly, District 3: Edward Ritchie

U.S. Senate

Steve Stokes. The life-long Los Angeleno wants to reinstate Glass-Steagall, opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and wants to end Citizens United. Sounds similar to the views of a Vermont senator we like.

U.S. Congress

Jim Reed. Reed is solid on progressive issues. We respect Chico Republican Joe Montes’ local work, including his efforts establishing a youth court, but his support of Trump and his vow to defund Planned Parenthood mean he’s cut from the same cloth as incumbent Doug LaMalfa, who did both of those things recently.

U.S. President

Democrat: Bernie Sanders. This one was an easy consensus. Sanders is authentic. He opposes a U.S. plutocracy. He has been consistent throughout his career on core issues, and has the will to take on corporate interests. We don’t trust Hillary Clinton. She’s tied to Wall Street. She came late to the party on supporting LGBT rights. Even President Obama has regrets over what happened in Libya during Secretary Clinton’s tenure.

Republican: No endorsement. A Donald Trump presidency spells disaster for our nation. Period.