The California June Primary is in a little under three weeks, which means it’s probably time to crack open that sample ballot and start doing some analyzing. Some ground rules going in:
- I’m a registered Democrat, which means less than it did before this election year, with the change in California balloting, but it also means I’ve only got one candidate for president on my ballot;
- I’m a Humphrey Democrat, meaning I feel one of the functions of government is to do good for people–this is probably a bit different from where the Democratic party is these days, but the Republicans of these days aren’t the Republicans of 1968 either;
- I believe that government should not be intruding in people’s personal lives–so if a candidate believes that they must impose a particular religion’s mores on me, they won’t get my vote;
- I believe that it is the job of the legislatures to do what is best for the country, and not necessarily their party. This means they must be willing to compromise and find a middle ground. This means, apriori, I will not support any candidate who will never consider a tax increase or supports Grover Nordquist’s pledge. A responsible household looks to both increasing income and reducing expenses.
- I tend to support what is referred to derogatorily as “Obamacare”. It is far from perfect, but it is probably the best we can get as long as the large insurance players are in the picture and we have employer-provided health care.
So, with that said, let’s go through the ballot, ignoring the Presidential primary (because I only have one candidate, who I support anyway), and the party central committee, because I have no idea who any of those people are anyway. Also note that this is the first test of the “open primary”, meaning we have tons and tons of candidates, and the top two in terms of total vote go on to the general election.
- United States Senator. Here we have 24, yes, 24, candidates: 6 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 2 Peace and Freedom, 1 Libertarian, and 1 American Independent. Let’s start with the Dems: Dianne Feinstein is the current senator. She’s done a reasonable job, but has been pretty partisan. Running against her are Colleen Shea Fernald, the “candidate for peace”–reasonable positions but no experience to speak of; David Alex Levitt, whose main emphasis is the end of the prohibition on medical marijuana; Mike Strimling, whose main emphasis is taxing the rich; Diane Stewart, whose focus appears to be rebuilding communities and legalizing marijuana; and Nak Shah, who doesn’t appear to have his own website. Turning to the Republicans: Some we can eliminate right away, such as Orly Taitz, who lives in a world where Barak Obama was born in Kenya. Looking at the others: Elizabeth Emken, who is out based on #3; Rick Williams, who claims to be a radical conservative like Ron Paul and says there will never been new taxes (out based on #4); Rogelio T. Gloria, who doesn’t give a lot of detail on his positions other than to support the military and call to abolish the Dept. of Energy; Robert Lauten, who wants to restore Glass-Steagal (good) and reestablish a Hamiltonian National Bank (bad)… with no other positions; Al Ramirez, who is out based on #3 (“protect traditional marriage and the life of the unborn”); Dirk Allen Konopik, who puts “Christian” on the front page of his website and wants to promote American’s Christian heritage (this guy is scary); Donald Krampe, who doesn’t have a lot of positions on his website, but what he has seems reasonable; Nachum Shifren, apparently Orthodox Jewish, but doesn’t put any positions on his website; Dennis Jackson, who does not believe in multinational treaties; Dan Hughes, who is for the 9-9-9 plan and traditional marrage (out on #3); Greg Conlon, who tends to have reasonable positions as well, although doesn’t cover everything on his site; John Boruff, who among other things, is antiabortion; and Oscar Alejandro Braun, whose sole focus is water issues. As for the rest: Marsha Feinland (P&F), who wants to cut all aid to Israel; Kabiruddin Karim Ali (P&F), who is pretty much anti-Defense; Don J. Grundmann (AI), who is anti-gay, anti-IRS, and anti-Fed; and Gail K. Lightfoot, who is a basic libertarian (and thus anti-tax). That’s a lot of candidates to sift through. So I’m cutting out the 3rd parties as they all have positions I don’t like in one way, shape or form; and the lesser Democratic candidates, because they won’t beat Dianne Feinstein. Most Republicans are out as well — the only reasonable ones are Krampe and Conlon. So it boils down to Feinstein, Krampe, and Conlon.
Conclusion: Right now, I’m leaning towards Feinstein, but I need to research the other two more.
- United States Representative (30th District). This is the big battle: Howard Berman (D) vs. Brad Sherman (D) vs. a number of other people. I say this because both Berman and Sherman are incumbants, well-liked, well-respected, in a strongly democratic district. This is the case of “I’d vote the bum out… but I don’t have a bum to vote out”. The other candidates really don’t have a chance, but let’s look at them: Vince Gilmore (D), who calls himself a “constitutional democrat” and who wants no federal tax on any citizen; Susan Shelley (R), a moderate Republican who is liberal on social issues; Mark Reed (R), who believes climate change is a hoax; Navraj Singh (R), who characterizes the Affordable Care Act as Socialistic (demonstrating he doesn’t understand what socialism is); and Michael W. Powelson (G), who doesn’t have his own webpage. Of these, the battle is really between Berman, Sherman, and Shelley, although Singh has the market on street corner signs. Given their positions, you wouldn’t go wrong with Berman, Sherman, or Shelley, although Shelley would have no influence or seniority. The edge on that goes to Berman. Berman also didn’t photoshop his mom out of pictures sent to non-Jews.
Conclusion: Howard Berman
- State Senator (27th District). This is easier: one Democrat (Fran Pavley, a CSUN graduate who wants to lower CS and UC tuition), and one Republican (Todd Zink, whose positions also seem reasonable). Both have reasonable positions; I’m giving the edge to Pavley simply because I’m tired of having a Repulican as my state senator (which is what I’ve had for years).
Conclusion: Fran Pavley
- State Assembly (45th District). Again, only two candidates: Bob Blumenfield (D) vs. Chris Kolski (R). Kolski, although he’s an EE (+) and a UCLA grad (+), is campaigning on an anti-Waxman platform (I like Waxman) and is for returning to the gold standard (bad idea).
Conclusion: Bob Blumenfield
- Superior Court Judges. Six different offices. I always find it difficult to sort these out. Looking at the Times endorsements, they like Sean Coen for Office 3, Andrea C. Thompson for Office 65, and Eric Harmon for Office 114. I can’t see any flaws in their logic. For the other offices, I see no reason to vote out the incumbants.
Conclusion: #3-Coen, #10-Kumar, #38-Olson, #65-Thompson, #78-Otto, and #114-Harmon.
- LA County District Attorney. Six candidates: Bobby Grace, Jackie Lacey, Carmen Trutanich, Alan Jackson, Danette E. Meyers, and John L. Breeault III. Of these, the two leaders are Lacey and Trutanich. Lacey is endorsed by local papers, Berman, Steve Cooley. Trutanich is endorsed by Jerry Brown, Brad Sherman, loads of politicians, and law enforcement. I’d rather leave Trutanich at the LA City level, as he indicated originally he didn’t plan to run for higher office.
Conclusion: Jackie Lacey
- Proposition #28: Changing Term Limits. In general, I think what we’ve done in the past for term limits didn’t work. We created folks who were just running for office. This appears to fix the problem.
Conclusion: Yes on 28
- Proposition #29: Additional Tax on Cigarettes for Cancer Research. Much as I’m in favor of additional taxes, I don’t like this one. This creates an additional bureaucracy to administer things, and does more tying of specific income to specific purposes. I’m not sure we need this.
Conclusion: No on 29.
- LA County Measure H: Continue Hotel Occupancy Tax. This is a major source of revenue that is already in place. I see no reason not to continue it.
Conclusion: Yes on H
- LA County Measure L: Landfill Tax Continuation Measure. Again, continuation of an existing tax on landfill operators to fund general fund services. No reason not to continue it.
Conclusion: Yes on L
So there you have it. Pretty clear positions on most offices, except senator. There I like Feinstein, but might be convinced to go for Krampe or Conlon. As always, feel free to convince me why your position is better.
Music: Stan Freberg Presents The United States Of America, Volume II, The Middle Years (Stan Freberg): Madison, Jefferson, Franklin & Osbourne (Part 2)