On November 7, SN&R recommends …
We hope voters will stump the pundits on November 7 and make Phil Angelides the next governor of California. As state treasurer, Angelides has been a vigorous advocate for a progressive state. He was never afraid to stand up to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when the action hero went against the interests of regular citizens. Angelides is for closing corporate tax loopholes and increasing taxes on the rich to balance the budget. He’s for universal health-care coverage, environmental protection, campaign-finance reform and a reasonable and humane immigration policy. California could be a model for the nation. Vote for Angelides.
You have to give props to this 61-year-old cattle rancher for his never-say-die status (more than three decades!) in state politics. Though a law-and-order type centrist, we appreciate Garamendi’s leadership on certain issues, like consumer protection. His Republican opponent in this race, Tom McClintock, has made this a tight race, but Garamendi is the far-better choice.
He used to work in the controller’s office—now he wants to return and run the show. During his two terms on the Board of Equalization, John Chaing has proven himself to be smart and committed to public service. He says he’ll use the Controller’s office to close corporate tax loopholes and insist that oil and insurance companies pay their fair share. Vote for Chiang.
Secretary of State
During her tenure in the state Assembly and Senate, Debra Bowen has demonstrated an absolute resolve to open up government and to clean up our flawed political process. In 1993, Bowen co-authored a law that gave computer users everywhere Internet access to information about state bills, committee analyses and voting records. Bowen also wrote laws that gave citizens electronic access to California’s public records and made it hard for criminals to commit identity theft. Crucially, Bowen knows we need voting systems we can trust. She opposed the recent certification of flawed Diebold voting machines while her opponent in this race, current Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, said re-certification was fine. If elected, Debra Bowen will be the reason California never becomes a Florida or an Ohio.
This candidate is the only one capable of following in the sizeable footsteps of current State Treasurer Phil Angelides, especially when it comes to establishing oversight and accountability mechanisms for some of the new, multibillion-dollar infrastructure bonds that are sure to pass in this election. Bill Lockyer has spent more than three decades in state politics and always has worked to protect average citizens’ personal, civil and economic rights, and is the best choice for treasurer.
Former two-term California governor and outgoing mayor of Oakland Jerry Brown would excel at the job of attorney general. He has a long record of defending the environment, protecting consumers and supporting needed regulation on industry. He supports gay and civil rights. He has no “moonbeam” view on how to fight crime now that he’s been mayor of a large urban city. 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, and would be an awful choice for this post.
California politics seems to be teeming these days with politicians looking to fill one of few rotating openings in higher office. Obviously, that’s the case with Cruz Bustamante. As others have noted, Bustamante is no stranger to insurance companies and has accepted campaign contributions from them over the years. With all that said, we still think he’d be a better watchdog over this industry than his opponent in this close race, billionaire Steve Poizner. Vote Bustamante.
State Board of Equalization, District 1
An incumbent in this office and former deputy director at the Department of Finance, Betty Yee has built a solid record of honesty and integrity in this post. She opposes special tax breaks for the rich and has shown a commitment to educating underserved Californians about the state’s tax laws.
State Board of Equalization, District 2
Currently a “supervising investigator” for the Board of Equalization, Raboy—a city councilman in Galt—is the clear choice in this race. He’s been with the agency for 14 years, so can bring valuable insider’s knowledge to the post.
United States Senator
Dianne Feinstein always has been a bipartisan, independent sort of politician, and SN&R has disagreed with her on many occasions. But if the Democrats take back Congress on November 7, it’s centrists like Feinstein who will become essential in blocking the Bush administration’s failed foreign and domestic agenda. Vote Feinstein.
United States representatives
District 1: Mike Thompson
District 3: Bill Durston
Vietnam veteran Bill Durston is a standout choice in the race for Congress in California’s 3rd Congressional District. A Marine-turned-emergency-room physician, Durston is appalled at the unraveling of conditions in Iraq—the innocent troops and civilians who are being killed there every day. He would work to bring our troops safely home from Iraq. Durston believes the Bush administration intentionally misled the country into war and that Congress has done almost nothing to put a check on this outright abuse of power. His opponent in this race, incumbent Dan Lungren, is a career politician in lock step with Bush. Vote for Durston.
District 4: Charlie Brown
We urge voters in the 4th District to support John Doolittle’s Democratic challenger, Charlie Brown. A career Air Force officer and a veteran of the Vietnam and the Gulf wars, Brown embraces a moderate conservatism that well-suits this district. Meanwhile, Doolittle must be defeated for many reasons: 1), his ties to the congressional corruption scandal surrounding Jack Abramoff; 2), his unquestioning support of the Bush administration and its misguided foreign and domestic policies; 3), his reactionary views on the environment; and 4), his shamelessness as a congressman in using public office to line his own pockets via his wife’s “consulting” business. We strongly recommend the election of Charlie Brown.
District 5: Jeff Kravitz
Doris Matsui is sure to be returned to the Congressional seat she inherited from her late husband, Robert Matsui. Too bad, because—for the most part—she’s been part of the timid, Democratic middle we’ve become so tired of these last years. If you want to cast an anti-war, protest vote in this race, there’s a good Green Party candidate—civil-rights attorney and progressive advocate Jeff Kravitz—who deserves a nod.
District 6: Darrell Steinberg
District 9: Dave Jones
District 8: Lois Wolk
Our right to reject a judge at the ballot box should be reserved only for cases where true ineptness is present. In this field we recommend a yes on all Supreme Court and courts-of-appeal judges.
Measure J and K
Measures J and K would establish “trustee” areas so that board members of the Sacramento City Unified School District would have to live in a given “trustee” area, i.e., no longer be elected on an at-large basis. This would democratize the process and improve schools, since individuals representing them would have to live in communities where their area schools actually are located.
Measure L: SMUD annexation to Yolo County
SMUD’s electric rates are among the lowest in California and PG&E’s rates are among the highest. So it’s no wonder that Yolo residents have asked SMUD to provide their electric power into the future. Adding Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento customers will mean lower rates for everyone and shared development of more solar, wind and renewable power for the Sacramento region. Vote yes.
Measures Q and R
Yes, we dearly want the Kings to stay in Sacramento. But the downtown arena “deal” turned out to be no good for any of us. First, it became clear that the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, was not going to kick in as much money as initially was reported. Next, it was revealed that the Maloofs had a very different vision for the railway property than we had. They saw vast parking lots circling an arena, with all food dollars spent inside the structure. We saw an urban center surrounding the arena with public transit aplenty, restaurants near river trails, etc. The Maloofs left the negotiating table, then returned. But they offered too little, too late. Vote no on Q and R.
Ward 4: Genevieve Shiroma
The incumbent representing Ward 4 on the SMUD board (serving Curtis Park, Land Park, the Pocket) deserves to be re-elected. Genevieve Shiroma has a long track record of helping SMUD make good choices on behalf of its ratepayers. She supports SMUD annexation of Yolo and her opponent does not. Vote Shiroma.
Ward 6: Patrick Kennedy
We appreciate Ward 6 incumbent Larry Carr for his years of service to SMUD, representing the areas of Meadowview, Fruitridge and Florin. But we think this municipal utility rep—who opposes SMUD’s expansion into current PG&E territory in Yolo County—erred seriously when he accepted campaign contributions from PG&E in his run to become a county supervisor. What was he thinking? His opponent in the current SMUD contest, Patrick Kennedy, is a local attorney who believes in public power and supports annexation. He deserves a seat on the SMUD board.
West Sacramento mayor
An effective and articulate leader, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon deserves to be re-elected. He’s brought smart growth, riverfront development and an environmental consciousness to this part of our region. Vote Cabaldon.
In Yolo County
Measures H and I: SMUD annexation
It’s no secret to PG&E customers in Yolo County that they now pay an average of 30-percent more for their power than people who live in SMUD territory. Meanwhile, PG&E rates are among the highest in the state. Yolo customers also want fairness and accountability from their utility—where SMUD must favor its ratepayers above all else, the private corporate structure of PG&E makes it favor its execs and stockholders instead. Vote yes to bring municipal power to West Sacramento, Davis and Woodland.
Allows Target to come to Davis
People who don’t live in Davis find it hard to understand why anyone would make a big deal about opening a Target superstore within city limits. But longtime residents of this greenbelt-lined berg know the reason. For the past 20 years, each Davis City Council in its turn rejected big-box retail in town because it didn’t fit with the smart, progressive, university infused zeitgeist that is Davis. We agree with these councils of old. Also, approval of this store, regardless of its “green” veneer, would force many existing local shops out of business. Vote no on Target.
Davis voters have the chance to improve local elections. Under the current system, as more candidates run for office, they can win with less and less voter support. This causes many voters to “bullet” vote to have their voice heard. Choice voting would allow voters to rank the candidates “1, 2, 3” so as to win representation in proportion to numbers.
The Legislature and the governor must be able to make budget choices without having their hands tied behind their backs. If passed, Proposition 1A would tie them by reducing the state’s authority to use state sales tax on motor-vehicle fuels for anything other than transportation. This means during lean budget years, California would be building freeways and roads instead of funding crucial social and emergency services.
Passage of this measure would raise about $20 billion for California transportation systems, but less than one-fourth of that would go to public transit and other “smart” transportation systems that we need in the 21st century. The state should get its transportation priorities straight before spending this kind of money. Just say no.
This $2.85 billion proposition would provide needed emergency shelters for battered women, affordable homes for seniors, and housing for former foster kids and homeless families.
A yes vote for this $10.4 billion bond would help in the crucial effort to reduce overcrowding in classrooms. It also would update schools with new technology and aid the community-college system. Vote yes.
Disaster-preparedness and flood-prevention bond
It’s news to no one that the Delta levees of Northern California are likely, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, to fail during a major storm, just like they did in New Orleans during Katrina. This $4.1 billion bond would repair levees, increase flood protection and help improve the state’s drinking water in the bargain.
Penalties for sex offenders
This cynical proposition is on the ballot for one reason only: to embarrass Democrats in contested November races by making them appear soft on crime. If passed, this poorly conceived proposition would ban registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a park or school, thereby forcing them to move —en masse —out of the state’s urban cities. Can you say counterproductive? Also, Proposition 83 would cost taxpayers about $500 million.
Clean waters, parks and coastal improvements
California’s population is growing fast. We need to do all we can now to prevent development on some of what remains of the state’s natural environment—it’s beaches, forests, rivers and streams. For our children and their children’s children, let’s pass Proposition 84, a $5.4 billion parks and water bond. Vote yes.
Parental notification for abortions
This proposition would change our state’s constitution to require doctors to notify the parents of young women before they perform an abortion. In an ideal world, a pregnant teen immediately would turn to her parents if confronted with this situation. But that’s sadly not the way the world works. If passed, Proposition 85 would mean thousands of pregnant California teens would seek illegal, unsafe abortions. Vote no.
This tax—which amounts to a new $2.60 tax on every pack of cigarettes distributed in the state—would put an estimated $2 billion per year into the state’s coffers by the end of the decade. It’s a steep one, but should be supported. The money would go to help fund some of the state’s critical health-care needs, including emergency care and health insurance for children. It would set up community clinics and help young doctors pay off school loans if they agree to serve in low-income neighborhoods. Most importantly, its passage is estimated to stop hundreds of thousands of young people from picking up the smoking habit. Yes on 86.
As it stands now, California is the only oil-producing state that doesn’t collect a drilling tax on oil companies. Proposition 87 would change that by levying a severance tax on oil pumped from California turf to raise $10 billion to fund alternative energy, with a goal of cutting the use of petroleum by 25 percent by 2017. At a time when the oil industry is posting record profits—about $78 billion in 2005—it makes sense to direct a small stream of that windfall to promote alternatives. The oil companies have spent tons of money in TV ads saying this measure is anti-consumer and would raise gas prices. Don’t buy it! Vote yes on Proposition 87.
This measure would create a $50 annual tax on most parcels of land in California to fund school improvements. It’s another attempt—along with Proposition 1D above—to attack the fact that California has become one of the stingiest states in the nation when it comes to public-school funding. Our schools are our future. Support this measure.
Public financing of campaigns
Proposition 89 offers California voters the opportunity to change the way our elections get funded, eliminating the debt our politicians wind up owing to special interests. With a small tax on corporations (which would amount to less than they are already spending in earmarked political donations), our political process could be transformed.
Proposition 90 is draconian measure with the potential to wipe out crucial government regulations—from environmental laws to workplace-safety ones—in the name of fixing eminent domain. It would go way beyond its stated purpose of protecting citizens’ possessions from state seizure and would make enforcement of routine government regulation far more difficult and expensive due to potential lawsuits. The measure is an assault on local government. It’s dangerous and severe. Vote no.