Bowen for SOS

State Senator Debra Bowen is the clear choice to become California’s new secretary of state. She has shown a resolute and unsurpassed commitment, during her long years in both the Assembly and Senate, to open government and the cleaning up of our flawed political process.

A law co-authored by Bowen in 1993 unlocked the Legislature’s computer files and gave computer users worldwide Internet access to information about state bills, committee analyses, legislators’ voting records and much, much more. Bowen wrote the law that gave citizens electronic access to California’s public records. As secretary of state, she’ll clearly continue the fight for open government. Also, she has fought for campaign-finance reform throughout her career.

Bowen has a strong legislative record on consumer privacy issues. Among other things, she’s authored legislation that has made it hard for criminals to commit identity theft by banning companies (like banks) from using Social Security numbers as passwords and identifiers.

Finally, Bowen has been a voice of reason when it comes to our need to have voting systems we can trust. She opposed the recent certification of Diebold voting machines while her opponent in this race, current Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, said recertification was fine, even though security flaws were evident. What more needs to be said? Let’s elect Debra Bowen on November 7.

Brown again

OK, we admit it. There’s a bit of nostalgia in our desire to see Jerry Brown return to a place of prominence in state government. Like many Sacramentans, we have come, over the years, to look back fondly on the days when Brown fascinated and infuriated us with his quirky habits, frequent philosophizing and uncanny ability to shake up politics as usual.

But nostalgia alone is not why we want to see him elected attorney general. We’d like to see him take the post of California’s top cop for the clear and simple reason that he is by far the best, smartest and most experienced man for the job.

What does the attorney general of California do? He or she doesn’t actually make laws, as is sometimes thought. But this constitutional officer does set up priorities regarding enforcement and determines how to spend the office’s substantial resources, e.g. 1,100 lawyers, 700 cops and 3,200 state Department of Justice civil servants.

Brown has no “moonbeam” view of how to fight crime now that he’s been mayor of the city of Oakland. In that capacity, Brown was brought face to face with the mean streets, and that fact made him eschew some of the more open-minded ideas he’d held previously about criminal law and the sentencing of criminals.

As attorney general, Brown would excel when it comes to consumer protection. His record of defending the environment, supporting needed regulation on industry, and supporting gay and civil rights would serve him well. His opponent in the race, Republican Chuck Poochigian, R-Fresno, takes an ultra-conservative view on crime, the environment, gay rights, abortion and gun control. He would be an awful choice for attorney general.

Join us in supporting Jerry Brown in this race.