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SN&R endorsements for Nov. 2 election

Endorsements for the Sacramento City School Board will appear in next week’s SN&R.


Jerry Brown

If ever there was a man meant for a second attempt at a difficult job, it is Jerry Brown. At 72, Brown has more energy and enthusiasm, experience and idealism than any candidate we’ve seen run for office in a long time. His generally progressive views—on everything from the environment to education to the safety net—make him our clear choice, especially considering his opponent in this race. Brown knows how to get things done at the Capitol and is exceedingly aware of the double minefields of politics and personality that so often stop progress in California. And as evidenced in the gubernatorial debates, Brown is candid, honest to a fault and has a brilliant mind. He was often downright prescient during his last tenure as governor, especially when it came to the “era of limits” philosophy (too bad we didn’t heed that one way back then before the era of deficits and budget meltdowns) and energy policies, e.g., he was way ahead of his time in pushing for the state to make renewable energy a priority.

Brown’s opponent, Meg Whitman, is not in his league as a leader or a problem solver; she pales next to him when it comes to experience and values. We enthusiastically support Jerry Brown for governor.

Lt. Governor

Gavin Newsom

We forgive Gavin Newsom for the fact that he entered the race for this rather strange office (does anybody know what a lieutenant governor actually does?) because he couldn’t compete for the state’s top job. He deserves a move on the chessboard of state politics; let’s vote him in for this post.

Secretary of State

Debra Bowen

When this bright lawyer and former assemblywoman took over the state office that runs elections (among other things), all was suddenly running like clockwork at what had been a tarnished statewide office. Returning her to office is a no-brainer.

State Controller

John Chiang

We like John Chiang and feel he’s done a good job as state controller … even took on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger when he refused to cut state employees pay to minimum wage during a past budget impasse. He deserves to continue to run this office.

State Treasurer

Bill Lockyer

Over the long years in state politics, Bill Lockyer has done a good job when it comes to supporting education, job creation and alternative energy. We support his re-election to this post.

Attorney General

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris earns our nod for her emphasis on a preventive approach to crime and her willingness to go after the perpetrators of financial crimes. She should get the nod.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson

We endorsed Gloria Romero for this office in last June’s primary election, but are now ready to put our vote behind Tom Torlakson. He’s a bit too close with the teachers unions for our liking, but his opponent, a Green Party candidate, is radical in the other direction and believes that teachers unions are 100 percent at fault for everything that’s wrong with our public schools. This black-and-white thinking doesn’t draw our support in a realm that is permeated with the color gray. Torlakson was independent enough while serving in the state Legislature, so we trust he’ll turn out this way as California’s education czar.

Insurance Commissioner

Dave Jones

Dave Jones served Sacramento admirably on the city council and in the Assembly. He’s a fighter and, in this post, will go to bat for consumers and the little guy. We endorse him wholeheartedly.

State Board of Equalization

District 2

Chris Parker

Chris Parker has significant experience as a tax attorney, and his commitment to a fairly shared tax burden makes him our choice for this post.

U.S. Senate

Barbara Boxer

Three-term incumbent Barbara Boxer is a leading voice for progressive politics in the U.S. Senate. She has fought hard on behalf of the environment, women, working people, and the poor and disenfranchised. She’s one of the few Democrats with the guts to oppose the Iraq war from its early days. Her opponent, Carly Fiorina, is scary, far too extreme, supports the Arizona anti-immigrant law, tax cuts for the rich and is anti-choice and opposes marriage equality. That’s just for starters. Vote for Boxer.

U.S. House of Representatives

District 3

Ami Bera

Not only has Dr. Ami Bera given lifelong politico and incumbent Dan Lungren a run for his money, he’s got a clear idea of what can and cannot be accomplished in Washington, D.C. And unlike Lungren, Bera’s positions on the environment, health care and Social Security are ones we can thrive on. We recommend a vote for Bera.

District 4

Clint Curtis

Incumbent Tom McClintock has been just another “no” vote in the partisan squabbling in Washington. On the other hand, challenger Clint Curtis has a history of demanding public accountability, particularly in his work for secure electronic voting. We recommend a vote for Curtis.

District 5

Doris Matsui

While it’s easy to admire Paul Smith’s tenacity in trying to win this majority Democratic district, and we appreciate the idealism—and presence—of Peace and Freedom candidate Gerald Allen Frink, there’s no doubt that incumbent Doris Matsui has earned another term. We recommend a vote for her.

State Senate

District 6

Darrell Steinberg

Here is a politician we would have loved to see govern in a state where bipartisan cooperation was more than a pipe dream, and where the budgeting process actually made sense. During his stint as leader, Steinberg has had neither. Still, we are lucky to have him and urge a return of Steinberg to the state Senate representing our region.

State Assembly

District 4

Dennis Campanale

This candidate, a retired fire chief, has a good track record on the environment, taxes and prisons. He deserves your vote.

District 5

Richard Pan

This choice is easy: Dr. Richard Pan, the Democratic candidate, who has demonstrated his ability to work with the entire community to solve problems, or Andrew Pugno, one of the major proponents of some of the most divisive politics in the history of the state. Since we’re not big on “us vs. them” politics, we recommend a vote for Richard Pan.

District 8

Mariko Yamada

We’re fans of Mariko Yamada and appreciate what she’s accomplished thus far as a member of the state Assembly. She has certainly earned a return visit.

District 9

Roger Dickinson

Roger Dickinson has the range, depth of experience and intellectual chops it takes to help come up with solutions to the significant problems we face in California. He understands the big picture but knows how to work for small victories. We heartily endorse him in this race.

District 10

Alyson Huber

Despite a well-funded (and rather disingenuous) advertising campaign by Republican Jack Sieglock that accuses incumbent Democrat Alyson Huber of raising taxes, she’s been a very moderate representative for a very moderate district. We recommend her re-election.

State Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal justices


In the endless cycle of talking heads, one of the most frequent mantras is against “activist judges.” We believe that mantra is the result of misinformation about basic civics. An independent judiciary is the bedrock of the balance of powers; having been appointed and confirmed, they ought to be beholden to nothing but the law. For that reason, we strongly recommend retention votes for all California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal justices.

State ballot propositions

Proposition 19


We at the SN&R have editorialized in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana for as long as the paper has existed, i.e., for more than two decades. We believed then and now that the use of marijuana should be regulated, controlled and taxed as is the use of alcohol.

We are fully cognizant that many members of the cannabis community oppose this measure, however. Some believe decriminalization should occur at the federal level or not at all. And many medical-cannabis dispensary owners and patients fear passage of Prop. 19 might trigger federal scrutiny of what has become, in recent years, a system that is finally working for some of them. But this is not enough to convince us. Needed change often comes accompanied by uncertainty. But fear of that which is unknown should not stop us from moving forward.

There are flaws in this bill, as some have noted, but none of them warrant a “no” vote; such things can be worked out in subsequent legislation. Laws prohibiting the adult use of marijuana are illogical and distract police from focusing on true crimes and violent offenders. Prohibition does not work; this plant should be legal.

Join us in voting “yes” on Proposition 19.

Proposition 20


In 2008, California voters took redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature and gave it to a nonpartisan group called the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The group’s members haven’t even been selected yet; we haven’t gotten a chance to see if they’re up to this important challenge of drawing fair, nongerrymandered boundary lines for legislative districts. It’s too early to pass a measure that would greatly expand their role and invite all kinds of new complications into their job.

Proposition 21


California state parks are a precious resource, and this measure would authorize a secure funding source for them in this time of budget uncertainty. (Remember, the parks were on the governor’s chopping block just earlier this year.) We don’t like ballot-box budgeting, but this one is an exception. We can’t allow our parks to close or degrade further. Vote “yes.”

Proposition 22


This one seems like something to support until you look at it properly. If passed, this measure—which prohibits the state from borrowing or taking funds from redevelopment or local government projects—would lock protections for redevelopment agencies into the state constitution. Our budget problems would become even worse. Vote “no.”

Proposition 23


Proponents of this measure (mostly oil companies and other fossil-fuel producers) have tried to muddy the waters by labeling this measure a “jobs bill.” It’s not. The claim ignores the huge potential for green job growth as a result of Assembly Bill 32, which the proposition seeks to gut. Californians should be proud of A.B. 32, the beginning of a long-term solution to the climate crisis. We strongly urge a “no” vote on Prop. 23.

Proposition 24


This measure would end tax loopholes that benefit the rich, the very ones the Legislature had to accept in order to get a budget deal passed. Passage of this proposition would restore about $1.7 billion in taxes from large corporations. Vote “yes.”

Proposition 25


SN&R has been editorializing for years about the need for California to return to a system where a simple majority of votes from the state Legislature can pass the budget and budget-related legislation. (That’s just one of a handful of basic reforms that must be put in place if we’re to get our state back to where it once belonged.) A two-thirds vote would still be needed to pass taxes, but at least this would bring an end to the annual impasse and the ability of a minority party to obstruct the budget process.

Proposition 26


In a duplicitous move to go after “hidden taxes” in California, this measure would basically relabel payments corporations pay for harming the environment or for public health as tax increases. It would become more difficult to impose “pollution fees” on a company when, for example, they were responsible for an oil spill off the California coast. No wonder it’s Big Oil and alcohol companies who are footing the bill for the “yes” campaign on this measure. Vote “no!”

Proposition 27


This measure seeks to dissolve the California Citizens Redistricting Commission before we get a chance to see if it’s going to work to help the gerrymandering of state legislative districts. Vote “no.”

Local offices

Sacramento County Sheriff

Scott Jones

Capt. Scott Jones’ election is the next step forward for a law-enforcement department whose damaged reputation has been steadily improving these last years under the tenure of Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness. Jones has gathered the endorsement of almost every law-enforcement leader in the region, including McGinness and Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel. He has the experience necessary and clearly operates independently from the all too powerful deputies union. In these times of county budget woes, Jones is the one who speaks most intelligently about options for consolidating to save money. Electing Jones’ opponent Jim Cooper would be a step backward. We urge a vote for Jones.

Sacramento City Council

District 5

Patrick Kennedy

Though we like Patrick Kennedy’s opponent in this race, we ultimately chose to endorse Patrick Kennedy for the city council seat from the 5th District. We like his suggestions for addressing the city’s fiscal problems, he’s got a realistic attitude toward the issue of marijuana dispensaries and he understands the need for “safe ground” for local homeless people, which demonstrates that he will mix compassion with pragmatism on the council. Just what we need.

District 7

Ryan Chin

This candidate has very clear ideas about reforming of the city’s government structure, a realistic view of the budget situation and a compassionate approach to providing both “safe ground” and permanent housing for Sacramento’s homeless population. He is the clear choice for this council seat.

SMUD Board of Directors

Ward 4

Genevieve Shiroma

An air-quality engineer, Genevieve Shiroma will be a voice toward keeping rates low and services high at SMUD.

West Sacramento Mayor

Christopher Cabaldon

Even though we’re not endorsing races in Yolo County, it’s worth pointing out that Christopher Cabaldon is the one of the best things to happen to West Sacramento since Whitey’s Jolly Kone started flipping burgers. We know he’s not doing it alone; he’s gotten a lot of community support. Still, we can’t help but be impressed with the way sound urban development has gotten prioritized (most of the time) over just more suburban sprawl. Cabaldon deserves re-election.

Sacramento City

Measure B


If passed, this measure would make it impossible to comply with federal and state water-quality standards without drastically cutting other city departments like police and fire. Sacramento simply can’t afford Measure B.

Measure D


We hope residents vote down this attempt to incorporate and form a new city—Arden Arcade—in this area that is already largely considered a part the city proper anyway, from both a geographical and cultural perspective. We should be coming together, consolidating services (especially in this time of recession) not duplicating them. Why create a new town and bureaucracy to match, especially during a recession, when sales and property taxes are in decline?

Measures C, H and O

Measure C is the Sacramento tax on the sale and production of marijuana, and measures H and O are taxes on marijuana businesses and cultivators in Rancho Cordova. The rates are not excessive, although we prefer the lower rates the city of Sacramento is seeking. In any case, it’s only reasonable to tax marijuana sales. Even if marijuana becomes legal for recreational use, it’s only fair to expect it to be taxed as other recreational substances (like beer, wine, liquor and soda pop) are taxed. We recommend a “yes” vote on these measures.

Los Rios Community College District Board of Trustees

Area 1

Dustin Johnson

Not only has Dustin Johnson served admirably on the board at the Los Rios Community College District, he’s also a former student trustee. We recommend his re-election.

Area 2

Robert Jones

Robert G. Jones is seeking another term; we see no reason he should not be re-elected.

Area 6

Deborah Ortiz

Deborah Ortiz has served our community well in a variety of capacities; there’s no doubt that her experience in local and state government will be a real asset to the leadership of our community-college system. We endorse Ortiz.