2018 Primary (June) Election Guide

Date: 2018-05-11 · Word Count: 1210 · Reading Time: 6 minutes

Overview and Research

This guide is ordered from most general to most specific. I’ll start with Federal and work my way down to Santa Clara County so you can stop reading once it’s no longer relevant to you.

Yes, I’ve read most of the details of the propositions and would recommend that you do too as the summaries often hide the important aspects of any given proposition.

Here’s what I’m using to guide my opinions (in alphabetical order):

Obviously, I’m also looking at candidate websites (although Ballotpedia is generally much more useful).

Federal

Senate - Dianne Feinstein

No real choice here.

House District 17 - Ro Khanna

Only one term in, he’s doing a reasonable job so I have no reason to see him swapped out yet.

California

Governor - Antonio Villaraigosa

Begrudging vote, given the choices. I’d prefer someone whod didn’t want to devovolve everything down to the cities, but the Republican candidates are really not doing it form me so I’d prefer to see him as the second name on the ballot for the run off in November.

Lieutenant Governor - Eleni Kounalakis

Seems to have good endorsements, but I can’t really say much else. Lt Governor is a fairly dead race.

Secretary of State - Alex Padilla

Hasn’t done anything to justify kicking him out and I don’t see anything overly attractive from his opponents.

Controller - Betty T. Yee

No contest.

Treasurer - Fiona Ma

The only one with experience who bothered to answer voter questionnaires, so no contest.

Attorney General - Xavier Becerra

Incumbent via appointment and has been taking action, so worth seeing what a full term will bring.

Commissioner of Insurance - Asif Mahmood

A doctor who wants single payer and has a generally solid platform.

State Board of Equalization District 2 - Malia Cohen

Has a strong and coherent platform, unlike the others.

State Senator: District 10 - Bob Wieckowski

No contest.

State Assembly: District 25 - Kansen Chu

Hasn’t done anything I want to kick him out for.

Propositions

68 - No

California proposition 68, 2018

This is asking us to take on $4B in debt, mostly for things like addressing deferred maintenance and other such items, which could just as easily be paid for using our budget surplus. If the state used the surplus to fund this measure, we would not be incurring 40 years of interest payments and a non-bond measure has a chance to come with regular maintenance funding for any new infrastructure, which is missing from this bill.

69 - Yes

California proposition 69, 2018

California budgeting is a horrible nightmare where far too much of our revenue is tied to specific spending areas, which limits the flexibility for our politicians in difficult times.

The main redeeming feature I see in it is exempting this income from the Gann Limit, a truly horrible amendment that should be repealed. Having said that, there’s a push by anti-tax people to get rid of the fuel tax and this will reduce their support (which is largely made up of people who are afraid of the money being diverted as needed).

In short, yes due to technicalities.

70 - No

California proposition 70, 2018

Supermajority votes, especially for budget items, almost always end badly. Also, spending in California is horribly entangled already and this just adds more hurdles in a process that looks more like an obstical course than a race track.

71 - Yes

California proposition 71, 2018

Ensure that the vote is certified and give public servants a few days to get things in order before laws change. I can’t see any reason not to do this.

72 - Yes

California proposition 72, 2018

Watching how water conservation has been dealt with during the recent droughts has been rather horrifying. While home use is a small proportion of the total use, every bit helps. This is especially important given that water rights and the limitations on water rates due to proposition 218. I would actually prefer to vote no on this, but proposition 13 has backed us into a corner, due to the massive increases that come with reassessment.

Bay Area

SF Bay Area specific ballots.

Propositions

Propositions for the SF Bay Area.

Regional Measure 3 - Yes

SF Bay Area Regional Measure 3

This measure adds $1 to the non-Golden Gate bridges across the SF Bay in 2019, 2022 and 2025. The money gained from these increases would go to a significant number of regional improvements as can be seen in the linked Ballotpedia page.

I was originally conflicted on this measure as it is obviously a fairly regressive fee, given that the penninsula is significantly more wealthy than the east bay and this would mostly impact east bay residents (and will possibly increase property values on the penninsula).

However, due to proposition 13 and proposition 218, any taxation (as opposed to a user fee) requires a 23 majority vote in order to pass. This means that while there are far more progressive approaches to collecting the money needed to improve public transit in the SF Bay Area (such as imposing a payroll tax on large companies, like Portland did), it is incredibly unlikely that we will get the 23 majority required to implement them. Given the realities of taxation voting in California, the only way we’ll be able to collect this money at a reginoal level is via a usage fee of some sort and the bridges seem to be the best candidate.

While I’d prefer to see richer people (or businesses) paying for these improvements via some other form, voting against this measure looks less like perfect getting in the way of better and more like never going to happen getting in the way of better.

Santa Clara County

Recall Perskey - Yes

Yes, he’s now a lame duck. No matter what you think of the recall, having a judge who can’t fulfill their duties is a problem.

Succeed Persky - Angela F. Storey

Storey strikes me as more thoughtful and less likely to take the high cost “tough on crime” approach. I want someone who’s trying to drive down recidivism, rather than taking an eye for an eye.

Superintendent of Public Instruction - Tony K. Thurmond

A combination of political and educational administration experience.

Board of Supervisors: District 4 - Jason Baker

History of solid fiscal practices and public transit support.

Sheriff - Martin J. Monica

Smith has been badly mis-managing the system and needs to go.

Monica is pushing for education reform in jails to lower recidivism. He’s also willing to arrest his staff if they’re breaking the law, which is a huge deal.

Propositions

A - Yes, yes, oh my goodness, yes!

If you’re not sure why this is better, I highly recommend this series by CGP Grey (at least watch alternative vote, which is another name for this system, but I strongly suggest watching the whole series).

Given there are 3 positions being voted on, I would prefer to see single transferrable vote, or some similarly advanced system. Having said that, let’s not let perfect get in the way of better.

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