OK, yawn—then vote

Are you planning to vote next Tuesday (June 3)? If you’re like many adult Californians, the answer is no. That’s unfortunate. As Monday’s Memorial Day observance reminded us, people have given their lives to protect our right to vote. But it’s also understandable why few people are eager to vote. Absent a presidential primary, and lacking significant choices in the statewide races, the ballot does little to inspire and energize voters.

Little is more than nothing, however, and there are some local races that have real meaning.

Take the Democratic primary to select the candidate who will run against longtime Republican incumbent Wally Herger for the District 2 seat in Congress. It’s a Republican district, but John Jacobson, a successful businessman from Weed, and Jeff Morris, a Trinity County supervisor, are both smart and articulate men, and either would give Herger a run for his money—or at least force him to explain his lock-step obeisance to the Bush administration’s disastrous policies. And both men are superior as candidates to Yuba City physician A.J. Sekhon, whom Herger beat handily in 2006.

The race to replace the retiring Rep. John Doolittle in District 4, which includes Oroville, is also lively—on the Republican side. It pits a seasoned former congressman, Doug Ose, a moderate, against a firebrand of the far right, termed-out Southern California state Sen. Tom McClintock. The winner will face Democrat Charlie Brown, who in 2006 nearly beat Doolittle in this heavily Republican district. As elections go, this one is lively and important.

And if that’s not enough to pique your interest, consider Proposition 98. If passed, it would change California law in significant ways. As an eminent-domain measure, it would make it impossible for local governments to claim property in order to redevelop a blighted area, a possibility that has city governments very worried. Just as important, it would end all local rent-control laws, including controls on the costs of mobile-home-park spaces, potentially affecting more than a million low-income Californians.

Whether you believe rents should be left up to the open market or local governments should be given the option of controlling them to keep housing affordable, this is a significant issue that merits your vote.

For the CN&R’s endorsements, see page 14. Then, whether you agree with us or not, please exercise your democratic right and cast your ballot.