Voter Guide – November 4 (for my L.A. peeps)
Sure, I may be too lazy to re-register in my proper neighborhood, and I worry that I might even get disenfranchised because of it. But that doesn’t mean I’m too lazy to do the hard research on today’s election! Actually, I got quite a bit of help from some friends at a “prop party” where everybody researched one prop and came with their information. I picked the judges! Fun! Here are my picks.
And by the way, a small reminder that people DIED so you could fucking vote. Even if you are an anarchist, at least go vote and try to fuck shit up with weird votes. You should vote. Vote vote vote.
Governor: Jerry Brown
Reason: He seems to be doing good, gives me hope about comebacks, and he’s not a Republican. Bonus: he was the subject of that whole Dead Kennedy’s song.
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
Reason: He tried to pass really good campaign finance reform. Bonus: He’s not a Republican.
State Controller: Betty Yee
Reason: She’s not a Republican
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson
Reason: His opponent, Marshall Tuck, is one of those charter school funding asshats.
L.A. County Sheriff: Jim McDonnell
Reason: I’m not as up on this contest as I’d like to be, but his opponent, Paul Tanaka, seems to be a crook.
L.A. County Assessor: Jeffrey Prang
Reason: His opponent is a Republican.
L.A. County Supervisor District 3: Sheila Kuehl
Reason: She and her opponent, Maria Shriver’s brother Bobby, are both liberal Democrats. But her endorsements come from “women’s and environmentalist groups” whereas he is loved by the business community. When in doubt, go girl.
Prop 1 Water Bond: NO.
Reason: It purports to be a public good, but it’s dodgily written. So say “No,” toss it out, and let’s rewrite a new prop with specific detail about where the money goes. It seems like this one MIGHT spend taxpayer money on giving something to private firms that they’ll just charge us for, so why foot their bills?
Prop 2, Rainy Day Fund: NO.
Reason: We decided the provision preventing schools from keeping their own rainy day funds was weird. If a school saves their own money, why prevent them from using it towards potential budget problems next year? Big N-O.
Prop 45, Insurance Rates: YES.
Reason: My group researched this, and at the end of the day, the Health Insurance companies HATE it, which gives us the resolve to trust in our convictions on this: it’ll help keep insurance rates saner for Californians.
Prop 46, Drug Test Doctors, Put Patients in a DB, More Pain/Suffering Money: NO.
Reason: This is really three separate ideas, and right off the bat, you should be wary of voting “yes” on only a part of a prop. The first two parts of the bill, forcing all doctors to get drug-tested themselves, and making a database for patients that doctors will be forced to research each time they prescribe you something, are unconscionable civil rights violations that address no actual need—there is NOT any evidence that doctors are going into surgery high, and this is one more step on the path to make every “important” job, from medicine to firefighting to forklift driving, one where your personal freedom is at risk of violation. Plus, do you really think your dentist is going to be as liberal prescribing the Vicodin you need after having a tooth pulled, when he sees (possibly) your marijuana card and (almost certainly) your Adderal prescription in a database? These things make doctors even more squeamish and timid about what they prescribe, and that hurts you.
The part about increasing the pain and suffering monies is good, but not crucial—currently there is a cap of $250,000 you can get out of a malpractice suit for the pain and suffering caused by an injury from what Bon Jovi once called “Bad Medicine,” and this would increase it to slightly saner levels. But that money is on top of the unlimited funds you can sue for for actual physical damages, so that cap is not the end-all-be-all recourse for malpractice, it’s just an increase to one part of the money.
Prop 47 – Reducing Nonviolent Crimes from felony to misdemeanor: YES
This is a no-brainer, and an attempt to rectify some of the horrors of the three strikes law. We researched this, and it helps out a lot of folks who don’t deserve hard prison (and retroactively, too), while still having safeguards against the kinds of criminals you might want to stay as felons.
Prop 48 – New Indian Casinos: YES
This one was tough, but in the end the idea is that this casino will have a relatively neutral environmental impact, and it prevents another casino from being built in a different part of California that would have a very harmful impact. That makes me feel good about voting “Yes.” The problem with casinos is that they are not helpful to the Native American populations as a whole… it’s a disproportionate number of Native Americans, often from very small tribes, that often benefit. But hey, these are supposed to be sovereign nations, right? Who am I to deny any Native American anything they want to do on THEIR land, even if, in this case, I think they purchased the land in the eighties rather than having it promised to them via treaty? If they won’t hurt the groundwater, then fuck it, bring on the keno.
Measure P – small tax on property for funding parks and stuff: NO
This one sounds good on the surface if you read the description in your sample ballot, but it has no accountability and is a flat tax. As much as I feel like everyone who can even own a house is super wealthy, really, that’s not the case–some homeowners are poor, some are very poor, some are rich, some WERE rich but are not now, some are wealthy, some are VERY wealthy. Why would everyone be charged the same $23 per year rather than, I dunno, at least $24 for the super mansion folks? And where does the money really go? The measure doesn’t say… There’s no accountability and they need a more progressive tax. Bring this idea back in the near future, and better, and with more detail, and then I’ll sign it.
Office #61: Vote for Jacqueline Lewis
Her opponent isn’t terrible, but he’s a former prosecutor, whereas she has volunteered for a host of judicial duties over the years, including some really hard stuff that doesn’t involve trying to put people away for years and years.
Office #87: Vote for Andrew Stein
This is a progressive that even the conservative folks are saying to vote for, because his opponent, Tom Griego, is just so horrible. Both got shitty reviews from the people who judge potential judges, but in Stein’s case, it seems to be because he was a defense attorney who frequently advocated too loud and without the proper courtroom decorum. I could give a shit about decorum as long as he doesn’t send children to the death chamber.
These guys are in their chairs already, and you can vote to oust them if you want. The Democratic Party and other establishment leaders just say to vote “Yes” on all of them, but that’s boring: and remember, anyone ousted will be replaced by the governor, who will be Jerry Brown. I looked at some conservative websites and learned who they think is a good conservative and who is a lousy liberal. I REVERSED their ideas and based on that plus some research as to who was appointed by a Republican, who has voted as a so-called “strict constructionist,” who is wishy-washy on gay marriage, etc, here are my picks. (To be clear, don’t reverse MY picks: if I say “no” then I mean for YOU to vote “no.”) I have highlighted ONLY the NO votes, and everyone else is a yes.
GOODWIN LIU – YES
MARIANO-FLORENTINO CUELLAR – YES
KATHRYN MICKLE WERDEGAR – NO
(Note, I originally marked Werdegar as a “YES” but changed my mind due to her participation in removing Prop 49 from the ballot, an initiative to overturn Citizens United. Note, this article about it says to oust both Werdegar AND Liu, but my research tells me that this is a slip-up from Liu in an otherwise long string of awesome, brave, spirit-of-the-law kind of gestures that culminated in a nomination by Obama that the conservatives went batshit over. Hence, he’s still my boy.)
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 1
Frances Rothschild – YES
Jeffrey W. Johnson – NO
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 2
Brian M. Hoffstadt – YES
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 3
Lee Anne Edmon – YES
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 4
Nora M. Manella – NO
Audrey B. Collins – YES
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 5
Paul A. Turner – NO
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 6
Kenneth R. Yegan – NO
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 7
Dennis M. Perluss – YES
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 8
Madeleine I. Flier – YES
Laurence D. Rubin – YES