(This is cross-posted at my new personal blog if you’d like to check it out there along with anything else I’ve got up. I wrote this up primarily to send around to friends asking for advice on this election, but it may be an interesting read for folks here. A lot of this is old news to Calitics readers, but I’ve focused a little bit on San Francisco.)
It’s that time of year again, my mailbox is filled with literature and my voicemail is getting stacked up with robocalls. Must be election season in California!
There’s certainly no shortage of recommendations from groups on how to vote. There are a few really solid resources out there you should know about though.
First, check out the Courage Campaign’s June 2010 Progressive Voter Guide. It’s a short PDF that lists their position on statewide initiatives as well as the position of several other groups. As the statewide propositions go I agree with Courage’s recommendations and would encourage everyone to follow them. You can read some more in-depth arguments for these at Calitics.
Discussions about statewide candidates, San Francisco measures, and the 12th District DCCC races below the fold.
There are also a few contested primaries in the state, some of them with more serious competition than others. These folks should cruise through their primaries fine, but they are deserving of your support.
Governor – Jerry Brown
Senate – Barbara Boxer
Board of Equalization – Betty Yee
Now as for the contested primaries:
Insurance Commissioner – I’m not sure there is much difference between the two candidates but personally I prefer Hector De La Torre here. I got a chance to hear both candidates speak at the convention this past April and I think De La Torre relishes the idea of taking on insurance companies a lot more than Jones does. That’s exactly what we’re going to need.
Lieutenant Governor – I’m pretty torn as to who to support for this race. Can they all lose? I don’t know much about Janice Hanh other than she didn’t have the smarts to stay away from one of the state’s worst slash and burn consultants with a terrible record, Garry South. He’s overpriced to boot. Of course Gavin Newsom hired him for his failed gubernatorial run and one could write pages about why he should leave politics and go back to running his wine business. The sad thing is this office gives a leg up to its holder to run for other statewide or federal offices, and I really don’t care to see either candidate as the future of the CA Democratic party.
Attorney General – To me this is by far the most interesting race in this primary cycle. I’ve been a Kamala Harris partisan from the start, and for good reason. Kamala has an incredible record and story. She is a transformational change type candidate and if she wants it she’ll have great potential for higher office beyond the Attorney General’s office. She’s the kind of person we need to elevate in California, the kind of person that’s going to take on the status quo and get things done. She’s also shown incredible fundraising prowess for an Attorney General’s race, proving she’s well placed to compete in the fall and beyond.
Now with respect and apologies to friends that are working on this campaign I have to specially call out Chris Kelly as the absolute worst candidate in the race. He’s exactly the kind of guy that we don’t need anywhere near elected office in this state. He’s self funded his race to the tune of $8 Million to $10 Million eclipsing all the other candidates. His announcement video literally had no compelling story as to why he was running other than people told him that it’d be swell if he ran. And to make matters worse he literally has no relevant experience for this office other than the fact he has a JD. When the race started he billed himself as the “Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook” to trade on that name. Now that Facebook’s privacy reputation has been seriously damaged, much of it under his direction and tenure, he’s downplayed that experience. But seriously, check out this chart describing how privacy has eroded over the years. That’s pretty much the opposite of privacy. You should also check out this video the Harris campaign made by simply correcting one of his ads. We do not need wealthy unqualified candidates buying an office because they feel entitled to it. So whoever you vote for here, say no to Chris Kelly.
San Francisco Measures
If you live in San Francisco then you’ve also got a number of local ballot measures to vote for as well. I don’t mind direct democracy, but I really don’t like all the minutiae SF takes to the voters. That’s why we elect supervisors and a mayor, and we should let them do their jobs and hold them accountable. Even as a pretty highly informed voter I don’t feel qualified to make some of these choices that basically come to you in a vacuum. There are a few good examples of that on this ballot.
Prop A: YES – Renew the tax. With the GOP shock doctrining the state, I’m glad we’re taking care of our own infrastructure.
Prop B: YES – The main reason the entire city was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake wasn’t the quake, it was the resulting fires and our inability to put them out. And Chris Daly is an idiot.
Prop C – YES – Some part of this is about board of supes vs. mayor politics. But more importantly it gives the commission more authority to promote filming in the city and requires the city to focus on it for future economic development.
Prop D – YES – No strong argument against this, if the bean counters say city employees need to contribute more I guess we should have them do so.
Prop E – NO – This is the board playing politics with the mayor’s office (and the police department) plain and simple. The board would inevitably use this information to club the current mayor for doing his or her job. Don’t give them more ammo.
Prop F – YES – Unless there is a good argument against it I’m pretty much always in favor of tougher rent control provisions.
Prop G – YES – It’s sort of silly we even have to vote on this.
DCCC, 12th District
My main advice here is look for up and coming activists on the ballot and vote for them. Paul Hogarth has a great piece on the problems with San Francisco’s DCCC and how they are unique to our city, check it out.
In my opinion the DCCC spot is best suited for those up and coming activists that might have a future as elected officials and/or will actually get out and work for the party. It is not the place for elected officials to go to a) have a home while they are between offices b) make life miserable for political foes or c) get around fundraising and endorsement regulations.
In many counties around the state if you get on the ballot and run a reasonably serious grassroots campaign, you’re in. In San Francisco you can raise 10’s of thousands of dollars and still get shut out. And that’s hurting the bench for our next generation of leaders.