cahwyguy’s Ballot Analysis: Part 2 – The Candidates

And now for Part 2, this time focusing on the people running on the ballot. Here we go….

  • President/Vice President: Barack Obama/Joe Biden. Does this really surprise you, given my posts. But I’ve read Obama’s position papers, and I’ve observed how he has conducted himself over the campaign. He has not behaved like a terrorist; he has not demonstrated outrageous views. He has been calm and reasoned on the electoral path, showing leadership abilities that seem to be what we need in these economic times. I like what I have heard about his economic plan. I have looked at the other major party candidates, and I do not agree with their positions, nor how they have conducted their campaign. But don’t just take my word. Listen to Opie, Andy and the Fonz.

  • United States Representative, 30th District: Henry Waxman. Now, I’m not voting for Rep. Waxman because he is the only candidate on our ballot in this office. I actually think he has done a great job over his years in office, especially in the areas of heathcare and consumer protection. That’s his specialty area, and he does a great job. I believe he has served this district well.

  • California State Senate, 17th District: Bruce David McFarland. Now, I don’t remember voting for the current officeholder, George Runner. I took a look at his current legislation: he was unable to get a lot passed, and a lot are in areas heavily crime related (not a surprise–he’s behind one of the crime propositions). I don’t see that much focus on the San Fernando Valley portion of his district — he’s more focused on the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita. Lastly, I’ve written him (electronically) about errors made by the state senate on highway bills, and have received no response. State senators should be responsive to district members; I don’t think Runner is responsive to the San Fernando Valley portion of his district. Now, McFarland is also based in Santa Clarita. But looking at his website, he seems more fiscally aligned with my thinking. He wants to break the budget gridlock that plagued Sacramento this year, and he supports education. Alas, the 17th District is an example of the legislative gerrymandering: it is strongly Republican, with a smattering of Valley Democrats, so McFarland has little chance. Still, I think he’s the better candidate.

  • California State Assembly, 38th District: Carole L. Lutness. As with Runner, I don’t remember voting for the incumbant, Cameron Smyth. So, I started by looking at both Smyth’s webpage and his “Vote for Me” page. There are some of his positions I support, such as breaking up LAUSD, highway improvements, and supporting Valley cityhood. But he’s “pro-life” and “Believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman”. Now, I don’t mind those as personal positions, but putting them on a candadacy website implies he wants them legislated, which I am against. He didn’t introduce that much legislation in the current session (which might not be a bad thing), and most of what he did introduce didn’t pass. Looking at his opponent, I’ve read her biography: she’s a strong supporter of equal rights. I’ve looked at her positions, and most I agree with — especially the notion that propositions must have a funding source in them. I don’t like her position on taxes for internet sales and services, however, said taxes are already on the books in the form of sales and use taxes. So all in all, I agree with her more.

  • Judicial, Superior Court: Determining who to vote for on the judges is hard. You get one page if you’re lucky in the ballot book, and you have to hunt down the websites. So to assess the candidates this year, I looked at the LA Times endorsements, and the LA County Bar Association, as well as looking at their websites if I could find them.

    Note: there is a website out there called “Judge Voter Guide” which is suspect in my eyes: there’s no information on who is behind the site. Worse, it has phrases like “Unfortunately, many judges sitting on California courts may be incompetent, corrupt or lazy or they are soft on crime.
    Even worse, many are political opportunists
    who have a political agenda. They are “judicial activists.””. The phrase “judicial activitists” is one that raises hackles for me, for the same charge has been made against judges that have tried to move society forward with equal rights legislation. The courts are often our last recourse against the tyranny of the majority (which don’t always understand the laws).

    So, for the judges:

    • Office 72: Hilleri Grossman Merritt. She is rated well qualified by the LA Bar; her opponent is only qualified. She’s also endorsed by the LA Times… and is not recommended by the Judge Voter Guide :-). Her website shows her with the bulk of endorsements. Her opponent, Steven Simons has many fewer endorsements.

    • Office 82: Cynthia Loo. Thomas Rubinson is rated well qualified by the LA Bar; his opponent (Cynthia Loo) is only qualified. The LA Times endorses his opponent. However, Rubinson is recommended by the Judge Voter Guide, and Loo is lowly rated. Her website indicates that other bar associations view her as well qualified. In the interest of supporting minorities into office, I’ll go with Loo.

    • Office 84: Pat ConnollyAll candidates are considered not qualified by the LA Bar. The Judge Voter Guide (which doesn’t like judicial activitists, remember) likes Pat Connolly (rating: 6) over Lori-Ann Jones (rating: 2). The LA Times also likes Pat Connolly. His website also shows a large number of endorsements, so I’ll go for him.

    • Office 94: Michael O’Gara. The LA County Bar rates O’Gara as well-qualified, but his opponent is only qualified. The Times endorses O’Gara, as does (alas) the Judge Voter Guide. O’Gara’s website shows some good endorsements, and he went to UCLA and Southwestern (my dad’s alma mater). His opponent, C. Edward Mack, doesn’t have a website showing endorsements.

      Office 154: Michael Jesic. Both candidates are well qualified according to the LA Bar. The LA Times endorsed Michael Jesic, as (alas) did the Judge Voter Guide. His website makes it appear as if he is a reasonable judge. His opponent, Rocky Crabb (parents, this is where your sense of humor can harm your children later in life), also looks qualified, so this may not be a case where there is a bad choice.

And that’s it. My ballot recommendations for the 2008 General Election. You’re welcome to chime in, especially on the non-presidential races (at this point, my mind is pretty made up on that one).