Hey, Did You Know There’s An Election Coming Up? – Part One

by on May 13, 2010 · 17 comments

in Civil Rights, Election, Organizing


California’s June Primary Is Rushing Towards Us

(Editor: The opinions expressed in this posting are not necessarily those of the OB Rag or its advertisers. Please feel free to add your two cents in the comments section, provided that you remain somewhat civil.)

No matter how insignificant the ballot measures, how swarmy the candidates are, I feel obliged to do my bit to keep democracy alive when the opportunity presents itself.

It hasn’t always been easy—I remember getting together with friends for cocktails prior to running the gauntlet of “poll workers” outside our voting place so we could “VWI” (vote while intoxicated)—the choices usually stink (tweedle-dee vs tweedle-dum) and the atmosphere at the polling place was usually just a step up from a hospital emergency room or a bail bond hearing. Having just watched TV coverage of the British election, I was envious of the possibility of being able to vote at the local watering hole.

calif primary sheep eyesWhen I was much younger I resided in Spain, back in the day when that fossilized fascist Francisco Franco ruled with an iron fist. Perhaps seeing firsthand the possibility of being denied the right to vote made an impression on my young mind. Maybe it was living in Washington DC for better than a decade where taxation without representation is the law of the land. So, despite my cynicism, I’ve usually gotten my ass off the couch and made the trek.

Fortunately, here in California, they’ve made it painless. My ballot for the June Primary arrived in my mailbox this week, and all I have to do is correctly darken the ovals next to issues/candidates of my choosing and mail it back in. It’s a lot easier now. All I have to do is make some choices, so I open my ballot and…

Wha….? What the hell is all this stuff? We vote for judges here in San Diego? And who ARE all these people running for Governor, a job that’s gotta suck so bad I’m surprised any sane person wants it?

So, keeping in mind that these are NOT editorial endorsements, I’m going to walk you through the ballot as present a few observations of the candidates and issues that we’re supposed to be voting on this June. This essay will be broken into several parts in the hope that you’ll actually read it all. In the event that a candidate is running unopposed, I’m going to skip them, unless there is some compelling reason to comment.

Governor- Democratic Candidates

calif primary Jerry BrownOn the democratic side, we’ve got no less than seven choices. Former Gov. Jerry Brown has the name recognition, the financial backing and the experience that unquestionably make him the leader of the pack. On the other hand, if you’re spooked by that massive resume, here are the six other guys:

Vibert Greene: A mechanical engineer from northern California, he’s run for elective office (Mayor, City Council, etc,) a half dozen times and lost. If you’d like to read his essay “There is a solution to the oil spill desaster (sic) in the gulf of Mexico–but no one listen”, visit his blog at vibertgreene.blogspot.com. Dude needs a spell checker, me thinks.

Lowell Darling: A conceptual artist who ran, many moons ago, against Jerry Brown for Governor and lost. Last time out he ran on a platform supporting “urban acupuncture” to fight drought pollution and calling for replacing parking meters with slot machines to discourage driving. This time out it’s all about abolishing the two-thirds majority required to pass the state’s budget. Learn more at: www.lowelldarling.com

Joe Symmon: A Kenyan by birth, Symmon is President of a non-profit “Christian Charity” called Child of Destiny that is running programs for children in Africa. His campaign literature is very vague, tending more towards platitudes than programs. His website is cutely named www.symmonsays.com .

Peter Schurman: One of the founders of MoveOn.Org, Schurman represents a pleasantly progressive alternative to the right-wing muck that is sure to dominate the conversation once we get past primary season. If you’re unable to bring yourself to vote for the front runner, he could be a good choice. peterschurman.org

Charles Pineda, Jr: A parole board judge who’s been running for Governor every cycle since 1986. Money quote: “…after eighty or more years of corporate rule, let’s have one administration of the people and for the people. Vote June the 8th Charles “Chuck” Pineda, Jr., Parole Board Judge” www.pineda4governor.com

calif primary aguirreRichard Aguirre: Did you know that we have an OBcean running for Governor? We do. (See our post here.) And his platform lynchpin, “New California Prosperity Plan”: Free Power, Free Water, Elimination of Taxes in California, does raise as many questions as it answers. His latest twitter posting asks voters: What do you think about putting rows of Fruit Trees (Apple & Orange) around all California school campuses? Mmmmm… www.aguirreforgovernor.com

Governor—Republican Candidates

calilf primary megYou’d think, with all the negative TV advertising we’ve seen lately, that there were only two GOP candidates for Governor. But, nooo, the Republicans are not about to let themselves be outdone by the Democrats. They, too, have seven candidates running for the Big Office.

Nobody knows how to do politics nastier than Republicans, and gillionaires Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner are doing their level best to smear each other via a television campaign so expensive that, by itself, it could probably solve the Golden State’s budget woes. Thus far nobody stands accused of child abuse or violent crimes in this race, but there still several weeks left before Election Day and anything’s possible.

Without going into any detail about Whitman & Poizner’s actual positions, let me suggest an alternative route to the front of pack, one that could save each candidate millions of dollars and allow us to enjoy the Jerome’s Furniture TV ads during the six o’clock news without those beastly interruptions…

calif primary steveHere’s the deal: Meg and Steve will each be stripped down to jeans, sandals and a Mexican flag tee shirt. Neither will be allowed wallets, money, cell phones, vehicles or ID’s. We’ll drop them off in Central Mexico with a gallon of water, a Nascar baseball hat and a map. This first one to make it back over border can have the nomination, if they make it by primary day.

For more vile, you can visit: www.stevepoizner.com or www.megwhitman.com .

Here are the rest of the candidates:

Bill Chambers: First ran for Governor in 2003. Liked it so much he ran again in 2006. Is running again, but hasn’t bothered to update his website from 2006. A rarity in GOP circles, he’s a union member, which presumably means he’s not on board with current party efforts to destroy collective bargaining organizations.

Douglas R. Hughes: Lists himself as a retired business owner. Seems to have made getting pedophiles locked up the centerpiece of his campaign. He’s a true unknown. Only has six friends on his facebook page. HUGHES4GOVERNOR.COM

Ken Miller, Jr: A “Christian Conservative”, he has boosted his visibility by attending and speaking at Tea Party events throughout California. Here’s the money quote: “As Governor, no longer will I allow the socialist Federal Government to interfere when we have the ability to make our own decisions for the good of all Californians.” www.kenmiller2010.com

Larry Naritelli: If you believe his website, this is the dark horse candidate to bet on in the 2010 Gubernatorial Primary. He’s got a “Facebook” poll up showing 77% of likely voters supporting him. Has several Tea Party organization endorsements. He’s from Carlsbad. larrynaritelli.vpweb.com

Robert C. Newman II: Wow, another Tea Party leaning candidate . But he’s got a twist: along with quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he cites Cesar Chavez, MoveOn.Org and Eldridge Cleaver in a speech on his web site. And he’s got the Big Guy on his side, to boot, calling his campaign a: “grass roots movement to bring change to California by God’s movement in people.” www.newman4governor.org

David Tully-Smith: This Sonoma Physician is running a Republican campaign without venom or pandering to the far right. He is doomed. www.davetullysmith.org

Next Up: The Other Party Candidates for Governor & The Lt. Governor Candidates

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

mr fresh May 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm

check out these imaginary ads btw Meg & Steve. My fav:
May 14 – Poizner launches a tough new weekend attack on immigration:
There are five million, border busting illegal immigrants in California.
Over half work at Meg Whitman’s house.
eMeg counter-punches hard:
Like goat meat in your tacos?
Then you’ll love Steve Poizner as governor.


lane tobias May 13, 2010 at 1:16 pm

as you mentioned earlier Doug, I can’t believe this many people WANT to be governor. Thanks for the breakdown dude.


Jon May 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Power is a helluva drug.

Thanks for writing this Doug, although now I can’t stop saying, “fossilized fascist Francisco Franco.” It has a really nice ring to it.


Molly May 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm

All Doug did was add “fossilized” – the rest was a given.


Molly May 13, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Doug, will you be covering other races as well? For instance, the San Diego County race for sheriff. Only Gore – who I really can’t stand – only Gore is against Arizona’s new immigration law, the other two like it, so Gore has my vote.


OB Joe May 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Hey – all you who think voting is a waste of time – something that is declared by cynics every freakin election – I’m ready for you guys this time. I’ve seen first and second and third hand how the corporations and the right-wing work to prevent the poor and minorities and liberals from voting. They used to say something like this: “If voting really was effective, they would have outlawed it long ago.” This self-righteous, ‘head in the sand’ attitude does not take into account our modern American conditions where the right-wing works overtime to prevent people from voting.


annagrace May 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Excellent beginning Doug. Looking forward to much much more. Can it possibly get better than demon sheep ads? I have always wanted to know how to assess a judge on the ballot. Why do we even vote for them when their record, and how they are viewed by both prosecutors and defenders is almost impossible to gauge unless you are an “insider?” This has always been a civic joke to me. So OK OBRag, break it down for us.


doug porter May 13, 2010 at 6:00 pm

oh, yes I’m working on much, much more. when you think about it, nobody locally is doing this kind of coverage. thanks for all the great feedback, I’ll keep plugging away.


annagrace May 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

You are quite right- nobody locally is doing this kind of thing. Small groups of us get together to discuss the ballot, but a non-U-T take on things is truly welcome. It’s a wasteland out there for citizens.


psd May 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Awesome, thanks Doug! And it’s true, I’m not seeing a lot of public discussion on the candidates, aside from the UT editorial page telling us who to vote for.

One question – I’m a permanent mail voter, Christina got a ballot a couple days ago and I didn’t. She thinks it’s because she’s a Democrat and I’m a ‘decline to state,’ but I’m not sure that’s right – there’s more being voted on than partisan primaries, right?


Goatskull May 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm

“A job that’s gotta suck so bad I’m surprised any sane person wants it?”

A job that sucks so bad there almost has to be something WRONG with anyone who want’s it. That’s what makes the decision so hard as to whether or not I should vote. Any one willing to do this job is someone not to trust.

Pretty much a given that it’s to vote for the lesser evil.


doug porter May 13, 2010 at 8:53 pm

yes, you’ll be getting a ballot. i’ll be reporting on the various propositions soon


Sunshine May 15, 2010 at 9:02 am

I’m sooooooooo very glad you posted this Doug. Good timing I’d say as I was just going over my mail-in ballot yesterday. You came to mind and I made a mental note to ask you about the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Community College District Member, and Unified School District Member seats on the ballot. Any thoughts on these seats? You’re the Education Guru.


david May 17, 2010 at 12:59 am

consumers should have votes on how commodities are presented and on who distributes those commodities.
workers should vote on production policies and market issues. workers should vote on workplace conditions and on any person who has authority over others.

thats my idea of meaningful voting that actually empowers people rather than the repugnant and criminal political class that runs the dog and pony show that is american politics


david May 17, 2010 at 1:20 am

most of my comment above did not get sent. so what you see their lacks context.

here is what i started with :

i was going to make my usual pessimistic remarks about voting and sink once more into that tedious argument that we have been having for so long. but this year i am taking a more upbeat tone on issues that have been fodder for distractions.

i am starting with the premise that the value in voting and the end of any democratic society is to each citizen to have a meaningful voice on the issues that effect their lives and just as importantly to check the power any institution that affects their lives. that said, i propose the following

communities should vote on the police officials and officers who seek the responsibility of wielding such potentially abusive power. communities should also vote on police procedures

soldiers should vote on their officers. and more importantly, they should vote on any military operation that they may be asked to risk their lives in.

the rest of my proposal is in the comment above


mr fresh May 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Breaking News. Darth Vader endorses Whitman:
From deep in his lair private residence, former Vice President Dick Cheney has surfaced to endorse Meg Whitman for California Governor. And he did it in the OC Register, giving the typical endorsement pablum:
Meg is a leader who will not shy away from confronting the public employee unions. She has put pension reform at the center of her agenda. She is a firm believer in the power of tax cuts to strengthen small businesses and create jobs. She knows that welfare must be a temporary hand-up and not a way of life. She is committed to local control of education, and she has a strong and practical approach to securing the border and addressing the problems associated with illegal immigration.


clubstyle_dj May 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Will there be a story on the local race? Because…
Patrick Finucane is running against the “District 2” incumbent. (Kaptain Killjoy, Mr. Flip Flop, Professor “beer & wine ” on his OB x-mas parade float) who’s idea of a practicable solution is: Let’s use this Sledge Hammer to kill houseflys, put that little fly swatter away. Responsible adults? To hell with them. We must apply the most extreeme measure that I can think of, hell there was a sort of RIOT on a little 25 yard stretch of our 20 mile coast line, that’s practically armegeddon! Seriously “Change” should trickle right on down to “District 2”.

I can’t wait to vote against the incumbent


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