Here in San Francisco, the ballot is, shall we say, not all that interesting to many voters. As I was on the street last night passing out slate cards, I heard several "there's an election?" and flat out "I'm not planning on voting." But, in many ways, you can't blame them for the apathy, as three of the the four candidate elections are unopposed. But throughout the state, there are some interesting elections, including several important ballot measures.
In San Bernardino, voters will choose a new mayor to help the city recover from its current bankrupt state:
Despite the problems, 10 candidates are vying for votes Tuesday to replace two-term Mayor Patrick J. Morris.
Aside from Korner, the candidates are: developer and former two-time candidate Rick Avila; retired high school coach Richard Castro; city public works employee Draymond Crawford; accountant Carey Davis; City Councilman Rikke Van Johnson; City Councilwoman Wendy McCammack; rail analyst Henry Nickel; and real estate broker Karmel Roe. There's also a write-in candidate: Concepcion Powell, a business development consultant and founder of the San Bernardino-based U.S. Hispanic Women Grocers Assn. (LA Times)
And there are other problems in San Bernardino, as two of the candidates had to step out because of corruption issues. (And one apparently regularly speaks to her deity) But the big issues facing the city aren't going away. A runoff seems likely given the big pack of candidates, so there will be more time to consider the issues. Republican Councilwoman Wendy McCammack and Businessman Carey Davis seem to be slight favorites to be in that runoff.
Around 40% of registrations came online since September 17, 2012 kickoff of online registration
by Brian Leubitz
The elections carousel keeps on chugging around, as two more districts follow up from LA City Council elections. The two districts in play are AD-45, where a huge crowd of candidates seeks to replace Bob Blumenfield, and SD-26, where Holly Mitchell and Mervin Evans are looking to replace Curren Price.
In AD-45, the race will likely go to another round, as seven Democrats, three Republicans, and 1 NPP are vying for the race. The district is heavily Democratic, so the risk of having one of those strange upset races because of too many candidates in one party shouldn't be that high. I mentioned the race a while back, but with as many variables in play, who knows what will happen. However, it appears that Damian Carroll and Matt Dababneh are the two strongest progressive Democrats.
Meanwhile in SD-26 (soon to be SD-30), Asm. Holly Mitchell is looking to move down the hall to the Senate, and is the strong frontrunner.
It is appropriate that voters should be going to the polls as we approach the anniversary of the online voter registration. In the 12 months since Secretary of State Debra Bowen launched the online voter registration application on September 19, 2012, more than 911,145 Californians have registered for the first time or updated their voter record using this online system.
"The Internet replaced the mailbox for about 4 out of every 10 people who registered or updated their voter record since California began offering online voter registration last year," said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, California's chief elections official. "Registering to vote has never been easier and with the many options available, there are no excuses not to."
Cindy Chavez is running for Supervisor District 2 in Santa Clara County. In March, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors called a special election to fill the vacancy for Supervisor in District Two. The primary will be held June 4th. District 2 covers the downtown of San Jose, east side of San Jose, and southeast of downtown San Jose. It is one of the most ethnically diverse-and poorest-parts of Silicon Valley.
As a labor leader, Chavez considers helping working families to be among her core values. She received a meaningful education in public policy through her two terms on the San Jose City Council and as Vice Mayor. I sat down with Chavez to discuss her policy priorities and this race with the Calitics community.
Former LA Councilwoman Ruth Galanter filed a formal ethics complaint today against LA City Controller and Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, calling the candidate's reported use of city resources for her campaign "illegal" and an "insult to voters".
Citing revelations by the Los Cerritos Community News that they had obtained 130 pages of emails showing the Controller using her official city email address to repeatedly communicate with campaign operatives during normal business hours, Galanter filed a complaint with the LA City Ethics Commission saying the number and frequency of the emails showed a clear pattern of deliberate and illegal use of resources.
"Ms. Greuel's misuse of public resources is an insult to the voters and taxpayers of Los Angeles made even more egregious by the fact that we taxpayers are paying her approximately $200,000 a year, plus a free car and cellphone, to prevent just such misuse", Galanter said.
Yesterday, the Los Cerritos Community News released all 130 pages they obtained through a FOIA request. Greuel's office took 90 days to respond to the request, far longer than the 24 days dictated by law, and provided far fewer than the "tens of thousands of documents" Greuel's office initially claimed were covered in LCCN's request.
Eric Garcetti's campaign has yet to respond to the controversy. But Rick Jacobs, founder of a political action committee to support Garcetti, called on a special investigator to release alldocuments from Greuel's office pertaining to her mayoral campaign.
"Wendy Greuel wants the voter's trust to become Mayor of our city, but she's violated that trust repeatedly by spending taxpayer's dollars on her campaign," said Jacobs.
With 4 days to go until the March 5th election, silly season has officially arrived in the race to be Los Angeles' next mayor.
Although conventional wisdom says it'll be Garcetti and Greuel in the runoff, the candidate's behavior this week indicates they think the race may be more of a tossup than is being reported. So with independent expenditures reaching into the stratosphere and voter turnout descending into the basement, candidates are clawing for any advantage they can get.
So far, independent groups and SuperPACs have poured more than $3 million into the LA mayor's race, $2.5 million of that in support of Wendy Greuel - with the lion's share coming from Working Californians, a SuperPAC formed by IBEW local 18, the union which represents over 8,000 employees for the Department of Water and Power.
What has all that money bought? TV ads. Lots and lots of TV ads. Including this one, which shows footage of Garcetti singing an off-key version of "White Christmas" while a narrator hits the councilman for staying at "five-star hotels," having "seven city cars" and for taking "money from neighborhood streets for more personal staff."
Garden Crest is (Pay It Forward Volunteer Band founder) Gary Gamponia's modelnursing home. The staff cares. The schedule is varied and full. They welcome outsiders, and on this day, even L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti pays a visit to take a turn on the keyboards and sing.
Garcetti's grandparents were musicians, he says, and with his grandmother, "I just remember some of the last ways we ever connected were through music.".....
A few years back,Gamponia, who has mostly earned a living selling insurance, tried to create a cooperative that would help musicians out and then have them return the favor by performing at community events.
He lent equipment, negotiated deep discounts on instrument repair and drove people to gigs when their cars broke down. But the giving was one-way, he says. Then, around Christmas 2009, he had a simpler notion: Why not just form a band to bring music to the places that could use it most?
He called the office of his councilman, Garcetti, for ideas and got the names of several nursing homes. And he enlisted a ragtag band of old friends and new acquaintances made on Craigslist.
Here's an excerpt of that performance here, put up by Garden Crest:
So welcome to silly season in the LA Mayor's race. Where anything can and will be held against a candidate to be used in the court of public opinion - even singing to elderly Alzheimer's patients at Christmas.
There are two revenue-increasing propositions before the public. There is Proposition 30, the good one backed by Jerry Brown, and Proposition 38, the bad one. You should vote yes on Proposition 30 and no on Proposition 38. Unfortunately, that's probably going to confuse a lot of people.
On its most basic level, Proposition 37 has a fairly simple concept. It requires labels on genetically engineered food and prevents genetically engineered food or processed food from being advertised as "natural."
Unfortunately, in the real world things are rarely that simple.
After a day of headache-induced number-crunching I hoped I'd have better news to report today, but it appears Speaker Perez and Sacramento Democrats are still prioritizing the reelection of safe incumbents over achieving a two-thirds super majority in the California Assembly
Democrats currently enjoy a majority in both the Assembly and the State Senate, but would have to pick up at least two more seats in each chamber to achieve the super-majority needed to pass revenue increases over the objections of an obstructionist Republican minority.
Yet campaign finance reports reveal that Speaker Perez, Sacramento Democratic lawmakers and state and county Democratic campaign committees have spent nearly half a million dollars more defending two safe democratic seats this election cycle than they have in defending a Los Angeles coastal district against a possible Tea Party takeover.
After the June primary however, Sacramento finally began investing in Muratsuchi's campaign, donating $967K to help defeat opponent Craig Huey. Clearly, a huge improvement, but will it be enough? The most recent campaign finance reports show Muratsuchi and Huey are almost dead even in the amount of cash they have on hand.
Eric Bauman, Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party, says the AD66 race is the party's "number one" priority. And if you compare these three races in isolation, that statement is correct.
The bigger problem, however, is Perez and Sacramento Democrats aren't making a two-thirds majority their "number one" priority at all. Not when they're spending $500K more on two absolutely safe Democratic seats than they are to defend a competitive swing-district seat that could fall under Republican control.
Sacramento responds via Twitter. Steve Maviglio is a Democratic political consultant for John Perez, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Speakers Karen Bass and Fabian Nunez, and former press secretary to Gov. Gray Davis.
@venice4change U should really ask the Dem candidates in hot Assembly races if the speaker is "doing enuf". Your blog is dead wrong.
Sacramento Bee Ad Watch Says Prop 33 TV Ads "Mislead"
The insurance billionaire behind Prop 33 is asking California voters to believe that he wants to overturn laws that have protected consumers for 24 years to save consumers money. Consumer Watchdog Campaign today released the "Top Five Reasons You Can't Trust Mercury Insurance," outlining the company's troubling history as a renegade insurance company that routinely defies the law and abuses consumers, as reasons this insurance executive and his company can't be trusted.
Also today, a Sacramento Bee Ad Watch analysis found that a Prop 33 TV ad is "misleading," because it hides the fact that it will raise rates on good drivers who have a break in their insurance for almost any reason, and because it "features a testimonial from a motorist without disclosing she works for Proposition 33's campaign team."
If there's one thing that's been particularly consistent to campaigns of the far right in San Diego this fall, it's the unusually desperate attempts to hide the real agenda from voters. It's one that should be cause for optimism as long as voters pay attention, and betrays an almost impressive self-awareness from the top of the GOP that the party's agenda has drifted well outside the mainstream.
From the special exemptions of Prop 32 to Brian Bilbray's teetering re-election bid to Carl DeMaio's bizarre mayoral campaign, extreme conservatives are doing everything they can to hide their record and who they are.
For the backers of Proposition 32, the deception was part of the design from the very beginning. They surveyed the political landscape and found that, unsurprisingly, nobody wants millionaires and corporations to be able to buy off our political process. Rather than abandon a wildly unpopular idea, they came up with a different plan: fake it.
My last analysis of the California Congressional Districts was in May before the top two primary elections which will determine the two candidates who will face each other in the congressional elections in November 6th, 2012. The Republican turnout in these primaries was higher, mostly because it seemed that there were more competitive primaries on the Republican side, especially in Southern California. Also, the Los Angeles area Democrats did not turn out strongly because there were few competitive primaries in the heavily Democratic districts there such as CA-37 but Republicans had more competitive primaries in conservative districts such as CA-08. Another reason for the low Democratic turnout in Southern California is that many of the voters there are sporadic voters and tend to vote in high turnout elections such as the 2008 Presidential election or the 2010 Gubernatorial election. Democratic turnout though was high in Northern California where Marin County for example voted 76% Democratic while statewide the congressional races voted 51% Democratic and in 2008, Obama won 78% of the vote in Marin while winning 61% statewide. Low turnout for the Democrats caused problems such as CA-31 which is a swing districts but the top two vote getters were Republicans, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) lost by 2 points there but in 2014, this seat will be a prime pickup opportunity. The primary elections though did shed some light on other competitive races, such as CA-52 which usually leans Republican locally but the primary results suggest it may lean more Democratic.
Anyway, this analysis will only examine races that are competitive or potentially competitive. This analysis will not examine races such as CA-13 where Rep. Barbara Lee (D) is easily winning reelection or CA-37 where Rep. Karen Bass (D) is winning easily too in her 84% Obama district. The post will examine races pundits expect to be close such as CA-10, CA-26 and CA-52 for example.
Greg Sargent first observed six Republicans, including CA-26 (Ventura County) candidate Tony Strickland, running from the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan. Sure enough, here's Strickland claiming that he would have voted no on the Ryan budget because - and this is a true profile in courage, or something - the Ryan plan would give vouchers in lieu of Medicare for those 55 and younger, while Strickland's cutoff is age 50. In other words, while Ryan's plan is a huge, neon-orange, screaming
if you're under 55, FUCK OFF, YOU DON'T MATTER
Strickland's version is
if you're under 50, FUCK OFF, YOU DON'T MATTER
Oh. That's reassuring.
On Friday, August 17, Strickland held a press event on the grounds of a local seniors' center that followed the Republicans' Ryan budget pushback to the letter: "Inoculate by pledging to save and protect Medicare; use credible third party validators (mom or seniors)..."
Here's Strickland, inoculating and validating at a senior center with wheelchair-bound seniors on the sidelines, dramatically signing a pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security for anyone 50 and older as he repeats the lie, which is to say the pants on fire lie, that Obamacare steals $500 billion $700 billion from Medicare. At Crooks & Liars, here's the entire video of Strickland's lies, including the oft-repeated "death panels" lie. Of course, to Strickland and his advisors "protecting" Medicare and Social Security means turning Medicare into a voucher program and privatizing Social Security, all in order to continue to favor the very wealthy and the corporate special interests over the middle class and the seniors forming the chorus line of his photo opportunity.
How much does Strickland want to run from the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it? To get to the truth, a Ventura County voter could check his website... oops, issues "coming soon." Or a reporter could ask how much of the Ryan plan he's read... oops, turns out he's only read enough to articulate one small difference between him and Ryan, never mind the rest of the Path to Poverty. But Strickland can't run from radical Ryan. Ryan co-founded the Young Guns program, and immediately named Strickland as one of his Young Guns. Strickland chairs the Romney-Ryan election California team. No wonder he's wrong for California, and too extreme for Ventura County.
A Ventura County voter who wants to really preserve Medicare and Social Security, without Romney-Ryan-Strickland doubletalk, could vote for progressive champion Julia Brownley. And a voter anywhere who wants to give the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi - CA-26 is a nationally prominent toss-up race - could donate to Brownley.