You endorsed who?!

Why the author is hiding out this week

I know what I’m going to be doing Thursday: taking phone calls. Whenever our Election Issue comes out, I get calls. Lots of them, mostly from people wanting to tell the editor how fervently they disagree with his endorsements.

Usually I can anticipate which contests have folks fired up. City Council races are always exciting, of course, and this year’s is no exception. And this year’s school board race, with its guys-versus-gals dynamic, is generating real buzz. Then there’s Proposition 19, the pot legalization measure, which has almost everyone dazed and confused.

Deciding on the governor and U.S. Senate races was easy. We’ve supported Barbara Boxer all along, and the more we read about Jerry Brown, the more we think he’s the right person for the job at this time. (For a sharp essay endorsing him and dissing her, go to the San Jose Mercury News:

City Council was harder. A lot of loyal CN&R readers lobbied us hard on behalf of Mark Herrera to replace Tom Nickell. During our endorsement interview with Mark, we were impressed by his idealism and earnestness. We hope he continues to be involved in local politics. But, as we’ve said in the past, we also believe that a balanced, diverse council—that is, one with at least some conservative, business-oriented members to offset its liberal majority—is a better council.

Proposition 19 was hardest. Our editorial board—News Editor Melissa Daugherty, Managing Editor Meredith J. Cooper, and yours truly—spent several long hours trying to suss out what impacts the measure would have.

We still don’t know. For me, our endorsement ultimately came down to staying true to beliefs I’ve had for decades: that prison is more dangerous than pot, and that prohibition creates the profitability that drives the illicit-drug industry.

The council and school board races are going to be close. The candidates are all running good campaigns. Ultimately, as Scott Gruendl told the CN&R, it will come down to turnout. The candidates who mobilize their constituencies best will win.

Endorsements online: You know how some newspapers collect movie-review ratings from several sources and package them so you can see who liked or didn’t like which films? Well, the same is now being done with endorsements.

Go to and you’ll find a compilation of endorsements—pro and con—of the nine ballot initiatives from 50 major nonprofits, unions, newspapers and political parties, everything from the AARP and the Council of Churches to the Libertarian Party.

The results are organized in a matrix, with No votes in red, Yes votes in green. Propositions 23 and 26 are the least popular, and Proposition 27, which would return redistricting to the Legislature, is most … well, anomalous. Almost all newspapers, including this one, oppose it because it’s fundamentally anti-democratic, but groups allied with the Democratic Party—unions in particular—support it, because Democrats are in the majority and want to protect their status.

The site reminds us that politics are never as black and white or predictable as people like to think.