From a Progressive point of view.
The pundits would have it that this election’s outcome will depend on massive enthusiasm from the TeaParty fools and a scarcity of Liberal voters because they are depressed after finding out that Barack Obama is merely human. Good to know.
But here in California that is certainly not the case. The TeaPartiers have made a lot of noise, that’s what they do best, and the MSM hyperactive talking heads have made the most of it, but the truth is that the state’s voters shifted significantly to the Left in 2008 and that trend has continued through this election. We will elect a Democratic Governor, replacing the utter failure of another Republican administration, and return one of the most Liberal Senators to another six year term. Across the state on a local level we will apparently retain nearly all Democratic House representatives, and keep the Democratic majorities in our state legislature intact as well.
Graham Firchlis recommends:
US Senator: Barbara Boxer
US Representatives: All Democratic candidates
Governor: Jerry Brown
Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom
Secretary of State: Debra Bowen
Controller: John Chang
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer
Attorney General: Kamala Harris
Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones
State Assembly: All Democratic candidates
State Senate: All Democratic candidates
Down-ticket are several interesting and important initiative propositions, many of which are distinctly misleading. In the following recommendations I include explanation:
Proposition 19; Marijuana legalization: No. [There are better ways. This approach will benefit large commercial grow operations while undermining small-scale growers, while neither price nor quality will likely improve in significant ways. A better approach would be to expand medical indications to include every ailment where the sufferer can benefit by an improved sense of well-being, appetite increase and/or relief of chronic pain.]
Proposition 20; Assigns redistricting of congressional representatives to an appointed commission: No. [Empowers the Republican Party. *See redistricting summary below.]
Proposition 21; Vehicle tax surcharge to fund state parks: Yes. [Permanently funds state parks for $1.50 a month per vehicle, taking them out of the political arena and making them available to citizens with no admission fee.]
Proposition 22; Prohibits state from seizing taxpayer funds from local government: Yes. Local agencies were promised a share of state revenue. Now the state under Ahnold is reneging on that promise, taking the funds to to balance the state budget while leaving local agencies in the lurch, in many cases for project funding that has been years in the planning process. The result is lost jobs and usurpation of local authority to meet local needs.
Proposition 23; Suspends California’s landmark air pollution control law: No. Funded by big oil. We need to move forward with pollution control and sustainable energy, not backwards.
Proposition 24; Repeals billions of dollars in unnecessary sweet-heart tax breaks for selected businesses: Yes. This bit of nonsense was the price a Republican legislator demanded to get last year’s budget passed, handing out tax breaks to companies that electorally back Republicans. The effect was to provide campaign funds to Republicans, using taxpayer money.
Proposition 25; Lowers legislative budget approval requirement from two-thirds to simple majority: Yes. [*See redistricting summary below.]
Proposition 26; Imposes two-thirds vote requirement for new fees by local agencies: No. The 2/3 vote requirement on new taxes has crippled California’s ability to fund projects required for the general welfare of our citizens. Adding that restriction to fees will do more of the same. Voters who dislike fees can respond by voting out the elected officials who imposed them.
Proposition 27; Eliminates appointed state commission on redistricting, returning authority to the legislature: Yes. [*See redistricting summary below.]
Sticking my nose into other states’ business:
I think states should be free to handle their internal electoral processes free of outside interference, so long as constitutional requirements are respected. I certainly did not appreciate Utah’s LDS “Church” massive interference in our struggle to define equal rights for our citizens. But sometimes issues deserve limited discussion from beyond a state’s boundaries:
In Nevada, for Senator: Harry Reid
In Wisconsin, for Senator: Russ Feingold
In Florida, for Senator: Charlie Crist (Potential Dem caucus pickup. The Democratic candidate cannot win)
In Alaska, for Senator: Lisa Murkowski (Less likely Dem caucus pickup, but there have been back-channel discussions and she’s seriously displeased with the Republican Party both in Alaska and nationally. The Democratic candidate cannot win.)
In Pennsylvania, for Senator: Joe Sestak
In Missouri, for Senator: Robin Carnahan
In Texas, for Governor: Bill White
In Rhode Island, for Governor: Lincoln Chaffee (Chaffee, formerly a Republican running as n Independent, is a Progressive while the Democratic candidate is a Reactionary.)
In New York, for Governor: Andrew Cuomo (Keep an eye on this young man. He wins this election and things go as I expect, he’ll make a run for President in 2016.)
[* Redistricting issue summary. Redistricting in California rested with the state legislature for many years. Under Democrat Willie Brown, a deal was cut to bring stability to electoral districts based on either Republican or Democratic majorities. Both parties accepted the arrangement. But Brown foresaw what Republicans did not, that the tide of voter sympathies would eventually shift towards a pattern that would allow the Democratic Party to assume legislative control and keep it. Republicans have been trying to thwart majority rule in California ever since that reality dawned on them.
The infamous Republican-backed Prop 13 initiative bribed voters with enormous real estate tax breaks in return for establishing a 2/3 requirement to pass state taxes and the state budget, handing Republicans a powerful lever with which they could control state affairs from the minority. In the last election another Republican initiative, foolishly backed by a number of Progressive groups, took the redistricting authority away from the Democratic-controlled legislature just as the Democrats were on the verge of obtaining the two-thirds majorities they need to finally govern as a majority of the state’s voters desire.
That redistricting power would be vested in a new commission comprised of five members from each major party and five from the governor. The effect would be to hand the Republican Party, an abject minority in the legislature, an equal voice with the dominant Democratic Party when it comes to redistricting. After decades of avoiding the consequences of voter preference and defying the democratic principle of majority rule, the Republicans have found yet another tool to keep their slender unjustified hold on power.
Proposition 20 in this election would extend that minority dictatorship to congressional redistricting, and should be defeated. Proposition 27 reverses the misguided establishment of an “independent” commission, thwarts the attempted coup by the minority Republican Party, and returns the serious responsibility of redistricting to the representatives elected by the people – where it belongs.]