The One About the California Election.

I mailed my ballot in today for the June 8th election.

I’ve been voting by mail, or as we say in the politics biz, “absentee,” for years now, as I never really know where I’ll be on election day.

Everyone knows how they are voting for the big races – in fact Democrats in California don’t really have much in the way of interesting choices at the top of the ticket.  My Congressman (Henry Waxman) and my Assemblyman (Mike Feuer) and my friend, State Controller John Chiang, are unopposed in their bids to win re-nomination as the Democratic party candidate for their respective seats.

But it’s that bottom of the ballot that gets people talking, so I’ll share a few of the choices I’ve made and tell you why I’ve made them.

I voted for Ted Lieu for Attorney General. The AG race has gotten hot and heavy recently, and while Ted has been in my mailbox a lot the past few weeks, he’s not one of the candidates generating all of the media hype.  There’s a DA from San Fran, and a Facebook exec, and LA’s former City Attorney, and they are all over my television.  But I’ve known Ted for years and trust that he is an excellent choice for this post.

For the judicial seats, here’s how I voted:

#28:  C. Edward Mack.  He’s a public defender and has run at least two other times that I know.  I have met him many times and am impressed with his integrity.  I believe he would make an excellent judge.

#35: Douglas Weitzman.  I voted against an incumbent woman judge.  I have a friend who has practiced before her who has told me that the incumbent is not a good judge.  Additionally, I can’t stand it when people want to add things to their name on the ballot.  Just tell me your name.  Her name is Soussan.  She felt the need to put “Suzanne” in parentheses next to her name.  Her husband ran several years ago for judge and despite the fact that his name is Paul, he felt the need to refer to himself additionally as “Pablo” on the ballot.  So he seemed to be trying to take advantage of the fact that California has a large Latino voting population two years ago, and this year, she seems to be trying to de-ethnicize her name.  Makes me doubt both of them.

#73: Laura Matz.  Also an incumbent and I have heard great things about her.

#107:  Valerie Salkin.  I have known Valerie for many years and she will be an excellent judge.  It’s unfortunate that the LA Times did not endorse Valerie.  She has worked very hard in her time as a Deputy District Attorney and she is exactly the kind of smart and measured person we need on the bench.

#117:  Alan Schneider.  I don’t know any of the candidates in this race, so I rely on the LA Times endorsement for this one.

#131:  Maren Elizabeth Nelson.  Another incumbent about whom I have heard good things.

The Props.  California is famous for legislating by initiative.  Here we go again.

Prop 13 – yes.  This says that if you have to retrofit a building for seismic/earthquake reasons, these upgrades will not trigger a reassessment of your property value for tax purposes.

Prop 14 – yes.  This measure would change our party elections to a top-two runoff system.  The way we do it now, the top candidate from each (qualifying) party in a primary gets to run in the general.  Even if the district is overwhelmingly one party (which most of our districts are because that’s the way they were created).  This new system would allow the top two vote getters, REGARDLESS OF PARTY, to be in the general election.  This makes so much sense.  What a waste of time for someone, anyone to run as a Republican against Rep. Waxman.  It’s meaningless.  This way, if a Democrat wanted to run against him in the primary, and received more votes than the Republican candidate, Waxman would runoff against the other Democrat in November.  Rep. Waxman may not like this idea, but it’s a better system than the one we have now.

Prop 15:  YES! This is a pilot project for public financing of the Secretary of State election in 2014.  Candidates running for that position would have to raise a specific amount of FIVE DOLLAR CONTRIBUTIONS, and then they would be eligible for complete public funding of their campaign.  They would be released from the shackles of fundraising and could actually go out and talk to voters about issues.  What a concept.

Prop 16: yes.  Seems like voters should be able to vote before their municipalities spend millions going into the utility business.  Seems like our municipalities have enough to worry about at this point.

Prop 17:  no.  I think this doesn’t impact me but if people decide that they don’t need a car for whatever reason for a period of time, if they cancel their insurance coverage, they shouldn’t be penalized for this break in coverage when they need insurance again.

Measure E (LA Unified School District):  NO.  Stop asking me for money.  It seems to go down a black hole and I want to see you get your house in order before you ask me again.

There you have it – decisions made, ballot mailed!

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