Published Nov 5, 2006

Somewhere along the line, somebody got it into their heads that I knew something about this politics thing, and that I should make endorsements so that others know how to vote. Hah! Yet another fast one put over on y’all. But I will turn the lens created by my massive brain, regular reading of the LA Times, and BA in Poli Sci towards the morass of sleazy ads that is our 2006 midterm elections, and tell you how to vote to create my perfect society of all-powerful supermen, bwa ha ha ha!

OK, so first we need to get down some ground rules for making decisions about how to vote:

  • Most, but not all, Republicans are evil
  • All constitutional amendments are evil, because they’re permanent and essentially impossible to change, even if they’re a disaster like Prop 13
  • The state has the ability to borrow, as testified by our acceptable bond rating on Wall Street
  • If people have a good history, re-elect or advance them; otherwise, kick the bums out!

So, taking all that into account, here’s the official slate.

Statewide Offices

  • Governor — Angelides. Schwarzenegger promised to bring us all together in a bipartisan love-in that took our state forward. Then he spent a few years fighting with the Democrats’ power base. For the last six months, he’s been what he promised, but is it an act to get re-elected? Who knows, but he hasn’t earned the vote. A pity Angelides will lose.
  • Lt. Governor — Garamendi. He’s been great as Insurance Commissioner, so there’s no reason to think he won’t do well here. A solid future Democrat candidate for Governor.
  • Secretary of State - Bowen. She’s also been strong elsewhere, and deserves the chance to succeed at a higher level. Also a solid future Democrat candidate for Governor.
  • Treasurer — Lockyer. He’s been a good Attorney General, and, again, let’s keep advancing the careers of people who have been effective in Sacramento.
  • Controller — Chiang. Westly did a good job in this position, and Chiang was one of his deputies. Keep up the success.
  • Attorney General — Brown. As odd as it is to say, Jerry Brown is no longer a nutcase; instead, he’s built a strong record in Oakland and can be effective in this new role.
  • Senator — Feinstein. Meh. But it’s not like there’s anyone else to vote for. Hopefully she’ll get a spine with the DMCA and national security in general, but she’s at least an effective advocate for the state.
  • Insurance Commissioner — Poizner. Here’s your non-evil Republican. Bustamante has been sleazy since he lost to Schwarzenegger, while this guy appears to be reasonably uncorrupted by the insurance companies. While I hate to say “vote GOP!”, in this case it would be nice to have an actual reasonable — free-market, small-government, personal responsibility, libertarian, successful businessman — Republican to draw that party away from the far right in this state.

LA County Offices

  • Assessor — Auerbach. When the alternative is John “I legally changed my middle name to” Lower Taxes Loew, well, this guy will do just fine.
  • Supervisor — Yaroslavsky. I’m not happy about supporting Zev, but that’s mostly because the system is so badly broken. Only five supervisors for the whole county? Nobody can represent their constituents in this system. Baltimore, with only 750,000 people, had 12 city councilpeople while I was growing up, and I think they just rearranged things so that there are actually more. Zev’s ineffective because the job’s too big, not because he’s incompetent.
  • State Assebly Dist. 42 — Mike Feuer. Feuer did a great job in the City Council, and has the political chops and the brains to be successful in Sacramento.


  • 1A — No. This effort to restrict gas sales tax to transportation only is an amendment, so I’m against it on principle. Also, it restricts the Legislature’s freedom to allocate tax money; if we won’t give our legislators the power to spend money, we might as well just not have legislators and do everything ourselves. Actually, this is kind of how things work in California now.
  • 1B — Yes on this big infrastructure bond. We can afford it, and having good infrastruture helps both business and people.
  • 1C — Yes on this bond as well. We can afford it, and battered women need shelters.
  • 1D — Yes on this school bond. We can afford it, and spending money on our deteriorating, overcrowded schools is a good thing.
  • 1E — Yes on this infractructure bond. After Katrina, we really need to update our deteriorating flood control systems, and, again, Wall Street seems to think we can afford it (they’re better at calculating these things than me).
  • 83 — No. This law will restrict sex offenders from living… well, basically anywhere in many cities. All this will do is force offenders to move away from places in which they’re likely to be able to get jobs and encounter support services, and into rural areas where law enforcement resources are fewer (this has happened in areas in which this approach has been tried already). Our ability to reduce the recidivism rate is some function of police presence to deter the offender + support services to help the offender not want to offend again + opportunity for the offender to re-integrate into society. Prop. 83 reduces all three factors — especially worryingly, it forces the offender into an area with fewer police resources, potentially providing more opportunity to re-offend. False sense of security indeed; if we can’t let sexual offenders in society, let’s not let them in society. (Ed. note: this paragraph was heavily edited both for factual correctness and to make a good point.)
  • 85 — No. Parental notification for minor abortions places an enormous burden on girls with negative relationships with their parents, including possibly threatening their safety; this is the group on which the effect of this law will primarily fall, and, if it’s a bad idea for the main group it will affect, then let’s not do it.
  • 86 — No. This is a constitutional amendment that will increase the taxes on cigarettes; a good idea, but not in amendment form.
  • 87 — No. Financing the development of new technologies to drive energy independence from oil is a great idea, but, again, not in amendment form. If this big idea doesn’t work, we’d be stuck with it anyway; let’s test in revocable, law form, not irrevocable, amendment form.
  • 88 — Yes. A small $50 flat per-parcel tax, financing education, won’t unduly harm any property-owners. Education was traditionally funded locally, until local access to property tax revenue was taken away by Proposition 13; this is a great way to get that money back.
  • 89 — Yes. This state badly needs campaign finance reform, and this offers a relatively inexpensive and simple way for candidates to choose between public and private funding, and get meaningful amounts of public funding if necessary.
  • 90 — No. This amendment would limit government’s ablity to utilize eminent domain and, perhaps, even to zone property. A property-owner who is deprived of their property, or some of its use, by government can already go to court to try to get more money for their property. But without zoning, you’d have factories in your neighborhood, and, without eminent domain, you’d have no freeways. No need to over-react to one scary court decision here, especially in essentially irrevocable amendment form.

So that’s my slate. And if you don’t vote it, you’re either a) evil or b) independent-minded. Don’t be evil!


hurrah for your recommendations, most of which i agree with. as an occasional smoker, i’d like to thank you for not taxing cigarettes! though i disagree on using public funds to further campaigns. in any case, voting is fun and fundamental. even exciting. i’m looking forward to it.

Looking forward to it, huh? Well, you’ve only got five hours left, so get to it! Better head on over after work!

Honestly: would you not buy smokes if a pack cost another dollar or dollar-fifty? Probably not, and, given the frequency with which you smoke, it wouldn’t even make a meaningful difference to your pocketbook. In the future, I look forward to taxing you, just not through an amendment.

Don’t even get me started on campaign finance reform; I can go for 3600 words on that easy. Someday, I just might. Let’s just say that I think we can all agree that the current system works poorly.

Also, in editing my endorsements earlier, I inadvertently deleted my Yes vote for Prop. 84, another water infrastructure bond.

And, if you haven’t voted yet, I neglected the County propositions; Prop. H, for affordable housing bonds, is a Yes in our city, which has a massive shortage of affordable housing; J is a technical measure that I can’t believe can’t be done with a law but, hey, sure, Yes let the Fire Department build stations where they think best; and ethics law reform R is not real reform, so vote No.

I think you were wrong on 87 (you can read about it at great length in the comments on my own endorsement sheet, and considering that that one was fairly close, I’m rather bitter about the fact that smart, progressive people like you would’ve opposed it. If you think we’ll get anything near as good from Arnie now that he’s secured his second term, dream on.

OTOH, while I didn’t vote for Poizner, I’m not a fan of Bustamante either, and I do have hopes that Poizner might turn out to be a real Anderson Republican. Not holding my breath though — the guy maxed out his donations to Dubya. That’s not a good indicator of sanity.

BTW, 87 had a built-in expiration date. So no, we wouldn’t have been stuck with it — it would’ve run its course over 5-10 years, then disappeared.