Our picks in key races in the June 6 election
As our state’s treasurer, Angelides has been a smart and vigorous advocate for a progressive California. He closed corporate tax loopholes and increased taxes on the rich to balance the budget. Despite his developer background, he has been a strong advocate for environmental protection. He had the guts to take on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger long before any other politician was willing. Steve Westly has his positives, but at the end of the day, Angelides is the stronger candidate.
Of the three veteran politicos in the race for this seat, we like Speier the most by far. She’s smart and bold, and her track record in the Legislature is strong. Among other things, Speier was one of the first California politicians to stand up to the state’s once omnipotent prison-guards union.
Superintendent of public instruction
Overseeing California’s schools system is a giant and complicated job. Though SN&R is not a fan of all of his education policies, O’Connell has generally been a smart, hard-working advocate for the state’s 6 million schoolchildren.
“The man who cracked Enron.” Need we say more? Sure, Dunn is probably using this office as a stepping stone. But his credentials as a consumer advocate and his willingness to go after corporations will serve him well as the state’s chief financial officer.
In spite of the fact that he promises to enforce the death penalty, we’re joining Dianne Feinstein, Al Gore and the San Francisco Chronicle in endorsing the magnetic, progressive, humanitarian mayor of Oakland for the state’s top cop spot.
Secretary of state
During a debate at the Democratic Convention, Debra Bowen defined the top nerve-rattling nightmare for Democrats: elections decided by vulnerable electronic voting systems developed by right-wing capitalists and driven by secret proprietary software. Then she promised to protect us. She won 80 percent of the delegates’ votes, and she won our endorsement.
Demand for library services is on the upswing in California (especially with increasing numbers of students looking for quiet, safe places to study after school), while many of our libraries are aging and crumbling. Proposition 81 would provide matching construction and equipment for libraries selected through a rigorous competitive process. Let’s fund the libraries.
There is no lack of studies that demonstrate that children who attend quality preschool read earlier, learn faster and succeed at a far higher rate than those who don’t get the opportunity. Proposition 82 would provide free, voluntary, quality preschool to all 4-year-olds in California. (Today, only 20 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds have this opportunity.) Those who oppose this measure for various reasons are just making excuses because they don’t like that Proposition 82 is written so that the very wealthy will be made to foot the bill.
U.S Congress District 4
Republican: Mike Holmes
Democrat: Charles Brown
Make no mistake: The 4th Congressional District race—on June 6 and in the November general election—is all about whether we send incumbent John Doolittle of Roseville back to Congress. Doolittle represents the worst of the arrogance and corruption we’ve seen exhibited these past years in Washington, D.C.—as has been reported in our pages and elsewhere—and is a key player in the ultraconservative agenda the current administration has for America. In the GOP race, we support Mike Holmes, a conservationist and John McCain-style Republican.
In the 4th’s Democratic primary, Charles Brown is the right choice for the district. Not only does Brown’s insistence on constitutional law and civil liberties hearken to the most basic of traditional values, but also his stands on fiscal responsibility and national defense make him the best choice for a district that can only be described as conservative.
U.S Congress District 11
This race is a little far afield for us. But the Republican primary is of national importance. The incumbent Richard Pombo has strong ties to the Jack Abramoff gang, and as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee is hell-bent on gutting the Endangered Species Act and selling off national parks to private businesses.
McCloskey is more of a traditional Republican: He is fiscally conservative and pro-environment and—as a bona fide war hero—knows just how big a disaster Bush’s adventure in Iraq has been.
If you’re voting in this district, or know somebody who is, Pombo has to go.
Yolo County district attorney
Lenzi prosecutes child molesters and other sexual predators and has the endorsement of victims’-rights advocates like Marc Klaas. Her opponent Jeff Reisig is the architect of the draconian West Sacramento gang injunction. That’s reason enough to reject him as Yolo district attorney.
The law unfairly labels many young Latinos as gang members, even when they have no history of gang crime. It imposes curfews and prohibits so-called gang members from associating with one another without giving them their day in court. It’s a flagrant violation of these individuals’ due-process rights under the Fifth Amendment.
The worst part is that Reisig seems to have concocted this misguided scheme just so that he could appear tough on crime and become district attorney. We think the Constitution is more important than Jeff Reisig’s career. Vote for Pat Lenzi.
Sacramento County sheriff
It’s not just the outbreak of jail suicides. It’s not just the illegal strip searches and the millions paid out in settlements. It’s not just the brutal footage of inmates getting their heads cracked open inside the jail.
It’s all that and the fact that Lou Blanas and his right-hand man, John McGinness, have shown nothing but contempt for anyone who dared question their policies and mounting failures.
McGinness will only continue the troubling era that started with Sheriff Glenn Craig (remember the Prostraint chair?) and got worse under Blanas.
Challenger Bret Daniels has his own problems. He’s got little money and few endorsements. He’s also the only alternative to what has been an extraordinarily arrogant and unaccountable sheriff’s administration.
Don’t be fooled; the “coalition” that put this stinker on the ballot is nothing more than a wholly owned subsidiary of PG&E. Measure H is intended to sow confusion and doubt leading up to the November votes on letting ratepayers in Yolo County join SMUD—one of the best-run public utilities in the country.
We understand PG&E’s concern—it has its shareholders’ profits to consider. But do you want PG&E making up the rules for our local utility? We don’t. Vote No on Measure H.
Sacramento County supervisor
SMUD board member Larry Carr can handle the major challenges of District 2. And it starts with stopping the sprawl, people. Carr’s signature slogan does the job: Build up, not out.
Sacramento city council
There’s no one more knowledgeable and committed to District 5 than Lauren Hammond. Let her keep putting up new streetlights and helping businesses move into Oak Park and filling empty lots and talking up flood control for South Sacramento. Her heart belongs to her district.
Sacramento County bond measures: B, C, D, E and G
Depending on where you live, you might see a number of school-improvement measures on your ballot. The majority are bond measures designed to upgrade aging school sites and stock libraries, which makes it easy to offer one single recommendation that works for them all: Vote Yes.
Sacramento County Board of Education, Area 2
Rivas says all students deserve the attention and the resources needed to succeed. So, he goes out and creates new programs to serve under-performing schools, and he mentors individual students. We really admire that in a student advocate.