You better f@%#ing vote!
SN&R offers its targeted endorsements for the 2018 general election
You’ve run out of excuses. Thanks to the Voters Choice Act, Sacramento County’s pilot partnership with the state, it’s easier to register and vote than ever. And unless you’ve been blissfully living under a rock the last two years, you know the stakes have rarely been higher. With an insanely crowded midterm ballot, SN&R has decided to target the races and initiatives that could affect our readers the most. By all means, do your own due diligence. Research. Verify. Vote your interests. But please do vote. We live in interesting times. Your participation could help make them a little less interesting.
Look, we can all agree that it’s hard to get excited about stability, especially when offered in the form of a nakedly ambitious Bay Area politician who occasionally reminds us of Patrick Bateman. (We think it’s the slicked-back hair.) But stability is what Gavin Newsom portends as the next governor of California, as well as a reliably progressive foil to the mean-spirited tyranny of President Donald Trump. And those are two things this unlucky world desperately needs right now. Just because Newsom feels inevitable doesn’t mean he isn’t the best choice—by far—over Republican challenger John Cox. Where our current lieutenant governor and the former mayor of San Francisco has sketched out proposals to address housing affordability, homelessness and the environment, Cox is a one-issue pony, preying on populist ambivalence about the gas tax. And no wonder. Cox has nothing else to offer. After Brexit and Trump, Western civilization has had enough of hate-voting. Do the responsible thing. Elect Newsom.
United States Senate, California
Kevin de Leon
Notice a lot of Kevin de Leon signs as you’re driving around downtown Sacramento? The same streets that have hosted protests against ICE and Trump appear to have more and more people voting “no confidence” in Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She’s been entrenched in the culture of Washington, D.C., for 26 years and seems increasingly out of touch with her constituents. Bottom line, in a political knife fight, we need a real combatant.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Two Democrats are battling to be the top education official in California, but only one of them, Tony Thurmond, has the support of labor. His opponent, Marshall Tuck, is a charter school champion and currently enjoying millions of dollars in campaign support from that industry. Prior to working in education, Thurmond helmed a number of nonprofit organizations that worked with low-income foster children, at-risk students and families broken up by incarceration. Not surprisingly, perhaps, before Tuck got into school administration he worked in the financial world. Vote for Thurmond. The last thing California needs is a schools superintendent with one ounce of Betsy DeVos’ sensibilities.
United States Congress, District 4
In this race between incumbent Tom McClintock and newcomer Jessica Morse, the latter has proven herself to be green—flip-flopping on issues, for one example, misrepresenting her accomplishments, for another. Still we’ll take unpolished and naive over McClintock any day. Morse, a Carmichael native who previously worked for the State and Defense departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development, supports, among other issues, compassionate immigration reform, accessible and affordable health care, and sensible gun regulation. All that and she’s simply not McClintock, a proud do-nothing who, at this point in his career, is perhaps most infamous for fleeing a Roseville town hall just weeks after Trump’s inauguration.
United States Congress, District 7
Your choice is between a three-term Democratic incumbent who’s spent his political career not making waves, or a former Marine whose big selling point is that he’s not Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, the last Republican to run for this seat. We agree with Rep. Ami Bera’s politics, but wish he’d actually express them through actual, you know, legislation. And we respect Andrew Grant’s even-keeled temperament, but these midterms feel too important to toss a protest vote toward a Folsom businessman who would ease climate change regulations and inch health-care toward privatization. We’ll probably reluctantly side with Bera again, but damn Dems, enough with the empty suits already.
California State Senate, District 6
California State Assembly, District 6
Jacalyn “Jackie” Smith
California State Assembly, District 7
California State Assembly, District 8
California Assembly Member, District 9
No, political neophyte He doesn’t stand a chance against incumbent Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a fellow Democrat. And frankly, we probably wouldn’t endorse He if this race was close. Cooper, a business-friendly moderate, is a steady establishment Dem, which we know sounds like faint praise—because it often is: He voted against increasing renewable energy targets and sat out a historic #MeToo vote to open up sexual assault settlements. But he’s also stood up against landlords who bully undocumented immigrants and opposed sexual orientation conversion therapy. He, on the other hand, is a question mark with a more progressive platform when it comes to the environment and criminal justice reform. This isn’t an endorsement for He—a Galt-raised, Sacramento-residing IT manager—so much as it is a recommendation to remind Cooper that constituents notice when he gets too cozy with big campaign donors like the bail bond industry.
California State Assembly, District 11
Propositions 1 & 2
While the special interest groups decrying rent control often cite debatable data regarding its economic impacts, their talking point about California’s low housing inventory being a key factor in the current crisis is a salient one. There’s almost universal agreement from builders and housing experts alike that the state needs more market-rate, low-income and extremely low-income units, both for combating homelessness and stabilizing rents. These two measures make modest steps in that direction. Proposition 1 authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing programs and housing loans for veterans. Proposition 2 allows the state to set aside 10 percent of funds attached to the Mental Health Services Act to build homes for people living on the streets with mental illness. Only the most hardline tax contrarians wouldn’t vote for these measures.
Look, no one’s against children being healthy here. This is a case of these hospitals coming once too often (and frequently) to the bond well. There’s a reason some progressive groups have come out against this one.
Redirecting school funding to older property owners is bizarro-land hooey.
We get it, no one likes taxes. And these regressive ones always hurt the poor more than they do people who can afford the new 530e BMW hybrid. (You know who you are.) But we’ve been putting off critical infrastructure improvements forever, and construction apparently costs money. Twelve cents a gallon more vs. falling into the water with a crumbling bridge? Yeah, we’ll fork over the extra geldt and grumble about it. Alive.
When in doubt, follow John Oliver. The British comedian and host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight already savaged private dialysis corporations that gouge desperate patients and then hook them up to unsanitary kidney-filtration machines. Now’s your chance to help stop them.
Contrary to what critics are saying, this measure does not enact any form of rent control, at all, anywhere. What it does is give the authority over rent stabilization back to local governments. That power was greatly curtailed in 1995 when major developers and special interest groups convinced the legislature to pass the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Since then, cities and counties that engage in rent control protections can only legally apply those regulations to units built before 1995. Rental homes, duplexes and newer developments are also exempt. Proposition 10 repeals Costa-Hawkins, allowing local communities to chart their own way on rent control. Whether you’re a small government libertarian or a worried tenant, this measure is a no-brainer.
The animals who provide us our meat and eggs deserve some walking-around space. Supporting our furry and feathery friends will make your next meal taste better.
A qualified yes
Some don’t think the Sacramento City Council deserves this endorsement for renewing and doubling its temporary sales tax. The old half-cent version of Measure U was passed at the height of the great recession when cops and firefighters were being laid off and community programs were shutting down. It was sold as a stop-gap to restore basic services. Now, its heftier version is being sold as a kitchen-sink answer to everything from the needs of underprivileged communities to keeping basic city services online. But there’s a credible fear that city’s escalating pension debt (now basically a chasm) will eat up most of these dollars. We understand the political calculus that prompted city leaders to make Measure U 2.0 a simple majority ballot measure that feeds straight into the general fund, rather than setting a two-thirds voter threshold with more spending restrictions. But the bottom line is City Hall was warned for years not to build the temporary money into its long-term budget, and that’s exactly what it did. Now, to not pass Measure U would blow a $50 million hole into frontline services, which is the last thing Sacramento needs as it makes efforts to combat homelessness and the housing crisis. So we’re giving Mayor Darrell Steinberg the benefit of the doubt and believing that he will steer this money toward the people who are affected most by a regressive tax, as he has promised. And we’ll be watching closely to make sure that happens.
Sacramento City Unified Board of Education Trustee Area 2
This three-way race pits incumbent Ellen Cochrane against Leticia Garcia and Cecile Nunley. By most accounts Cochrane has done a fine job. But with the district facing a projected $24 million deficit this coming school year, Nunley may make for a much-needed new direction. A retired certified public accountant, she’s worked as a business director or chief business officer for various school districts, including the Dixon Unified School District. Her platform includes fiscal responsibility, school board transparency and fostering so-called “safe” classrooms.
“Too many of our students do not feel safe in the early grades as they are excluded from the educational environment by some who view them in a negative light,” Nunley writes in her political platform. “We must change this view and celebrate our diversity rather than divisiveness.” In a time when reports show the Sacramento City Unified School District suspends more black boys than any other district in the state, Nunley’s presence on the school board could provide crucial input and insight.
Mayor, city of Elk Grove
Mayor Steve Ly is facing stiff competition from Vice Mayor Darren Suen. The challenger has picked up key endorsements from three council members and former Elk Grove Mayor Sophia Scherman. Depending on your view, that might sound like a clear consensus, or it might sound like a networky Brown Act violation. Ly has only been in office for two years, which isn’t long enough to fairly judge if he can accomplish his ambitious agenda. That agenda includes luring new jobs to the city, increasing police staffing and school resource officers, fostering a local biotech industry that would work with Elk Grove’s pharmacy school, and finding a way to get the city its own hospital and emergency room. Ly deserves enough time to prove he can lead. He’s already proving it on the social front, using his refugee story to represent immigrants and new arrivals seeking the American dream.
Mayor, city of West Sacramento
Ooh, intrigue. Cabaldon, the seven-term incumbent, is facing his first credible political threat in a dog’s age from Joe DeAnda, a CalPERS spokesman (whose agency, incidentally, is taxing a lot of local governments these days due to ballooning pension bills). DeAnda has the money and union endorsements to go toe-to-toe with Cabaldon, a savvy deal-maker and big ideas guy. And DeAnda has at least one long-overdue idea: shifting City Council elections from at-large to by-district, which should improve the political representation of ignored communities. We’re all for that idea—but still support Cabaldon, a reliable public steward with a progressive conscience.
Correction: The guide incorrectly endorsed Measure L, a ballot measure that was voted on and passed in 2016. SN&R regrets the error.