Clip 'n' Go: Metro Santa Cruz's Recommendations for the Nov. 7 Elections
As always, and especially in this case, consult your conscience: Arnold Schwarzennegger is a strong-arm Republican bully currently posing in moderate's clothing. If you think Phil Angelides has a chance against him, or if you still blame the Greens for Nader's perceived role in the Bush selection, then go for Phil. If not, Camejo is your best "send a message to Sacramento" option.
John Garamendi is progressive, forward-looking, and should be poised for the gubernatorial bid in 2010. Plus, he's definitely not Tom McClintock.
Recommendation: John Garamendi
Secretary of State
It's hard not to like Bruce McPherson, a fourth-generation Santa Cruzan and champion of coastal protection who represented this community well in Sacramento. As appointed secretary of state, he put the office back on track after a scandalous period and helped bring campaign filings into the Internet age. Where McPherson fell short was in certifying Diebold's flawed paperless electronic voting systems. Until bulletproof electronic balloting is deployed, a cloud will remain over American democracy. "I'm running for two reasons: Florida and Ohio," Debra Bowen has been quoted as saying. Nothing personal, Bruce, but given the Bush era's voting "irregularities," this is a position best given to the loyal opposition.
Recommendation: Debra Bowen
Endorsed by outgoing controller Steve Westly, John Chiang has fought for fair property-tax assessment for domestic partners, helped organize the janitors union for those workers who clean the Board of Equalization's offices and is a former board member of Planned Parenthood.
Recommendation: John Chiang
Bill Lockyer has been an effective attorney general with a bipartisan popularity. He's shown courage and tenacity, whether it's fighting for $5 billion in refunds for consumers victimized by energy companies in the artificial energy "crisis" or doubling the size of the elder-abuse prosecution program.
Recommendation: Bill Lockyer
Get over the "Moonbeam" thing, already. Jerry Brown is a thinker with progressive values who wants to innovate within the office; for instance, using its powers not only to protect Californians from violent crime, but also from environmental crime and corporate crime, legacies begun by outgoing Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Plus, he's the only candidate to be featured in a Dead Kennedys song.
Recommendation: Jerry Brown
Cruz Bustamante is filthy with insurance money. Steve Poizner has cast himself in the mold of the outgoing John Garamendi--a protector of consumers' rights and a staunch defender of hard-won state regulations.
Recommendation: Steve Poizner
Because if it's not broke, don't fix it.
Recommendation: John Laird
Rowland Baker may be the insider, but alternative education czar Michael Watkins has an admirable record when it comes to creating the kind of inclusive, forward-thinking programs that can make Santa Cruz schools a model for the nation.
Recommendation: Michael Watkins
Cynthia Matthews and Mike Rotkin may be too centrist for some progressives, but we're convinced that they're earnest, hard-working and effective. At the same time, we feel it would be good to have someone shake things up a bit, and of the four "new" candidates, Simba Kenyatta strikes us as the most likely to go out on a limb and put forward new ideas.
Recommendations: Simba Kenyatta, Cynthia Matthews and Mike Rotkin
Measure G (Minimum Wage)
This measure was predicated upon the fact that the California minimum wage hadn't been raised in five years. Now that the state has approved the increase from $6.75 to $8, it seems unwise to rush to the polls and enact a measure that, like Proposition 13, could have unintended long term effects.
Measure H (sales tax)
Because no matter how much some people may want to shrink government to the point where it can be drowned in a bathtub, private enterprise isn't going to provide us with police, fire and road repair services.
Measures I & J (UCSC services)
It would be great if UCSC and the city could just come together and amicably work everything out. But academics can get so preoccupied with all the intricacies of higher education that it never hurts to have a nice bargaining chip to bring them to the negotiating table in earnest.
Measure K (marijuana enforcement)
Should local police make marijuana enforcement a low priority? Hell, yeah. Because if we ever reach the point where pot is one of our worst problems, no one will need to smoke it. That said, Santa Cruz is already liberal in this area, so you have to ask yourself: Is it worth the cost of a likely legal challenge to codify something that's already being practices?
Transportation funding protection. Legislative constitutional amendment. Enforces Proposition 42, approved by voters in 2002.
Highway safety, traffic reduction, air quality and port security. We support no bond issues this year other than 1A.
Housing and emergency.
Public education facilities.
Disaster preparedness and flood prevention.
Sex offenders, sexually violent predators' punishment, residence restrictions and monitoring. Impossible to enforce and will push offenders into the North Bay.
Water quality, safety and supply. We support no bond measures other than 1A this year.
Waiting period and parental notification before termination of minor's pregnancy. Defeated under another guise last year. Abortion must remain a right for all.
Tax on cigarettes. Would raise per pack price $2.60 to pay for health care. We don't like it but do support it.
Alternative-energy research, production, incentives. Would impose a severance tax on oil-producers in California. Is green and progressive.
Education funding, real property parcel tax. Would impose $50 parcel tax on all residents except elderly and disabled. Horrible shades of Proposition 13.
Political campaigns, public financing, corporate tax increase, campaign contribution and expenditure limits. Create a public fund to pay for election campaigns by taxing corporations and financial institutions. Good idea, poorly executed.
Government acquisition, regulation of private property. Eminent domain measure is horribly written and destined for lawsuits.
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