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Rick -> Rick's Election Analyses -> Jun. 5, 2012

Tuesday, 2012-06-05 general election

Notes by Rick Moen

(Last updated 2012-06-06)

Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2012 00:12:03 -0700
From: Rick Moen <>
To: Deirdre Saoirse Moen, Cheryl Morris
Subject: Election recommendations

You should: Fill out your ballots and take them to either of the two closest polling places on Tuesday, and drop it off with an election official, as I will be doing:

St. Denis Church Parish Center, 900 Monte Rosa Drive
La Entrada School Multi-Use Room, 2200 Sharon Road

Electoral College Members for USA President: Barack Obama
US Senate: Dianne Feinstein
US House of Representatives, 18th District: William Parks
State Senate, 13th District: Sally J. Lieber
State Assembly, 24th District: Richard S. Gordon
Member, Board of Supervisors, for 1st Supervisorial District: no vote
Member, Board of Supervisors, for 4th Supervisorial District: Kirsten Keith
Member, Board of Supervisors, for 5th Supervisorial District: no vote
State Prop. 28, initiative constitutional amendment: no
State Prop. 29, initiative statute: yes
County Measure T: no
County Measure U: no
County Measure X: no

Two big changes with Tuesday's election (not counting conducting it by mail):

1. Redistricting. Covered below for the three offices affected.
2. All partisan offices now have an 'open primary'. Your ballot includes all listed candidates regardless of party, and you can vote in any other party's election. Regardless of party, the two top candidates will proceed to the general election.

US Senate: Dianne Feinstein is the incumbent. There are no serious competitors, so I won't waste time.

US House of Representatives, 18th District, replacing former 14th District:

I recommend attorney William Parks over incumbent Anna Eshoo. He seems a sane progressive, i.e., sensible but not unelectably radical.
I have no data about how generally electable he is.
Other candidates:
Republican: Dave Chapman
Green: Carol Brouillet

State Senate, 13th District, replacing former 11th District: This is suddenly a free-for-all, because not only has there been redistricting, but also incumbent 11th District State Senator Joe Simitian is termed out, therefore not running. (FYI, Simitian is running for Santa Clara Board of Supervisors District 5.)

Democratic: Sally J. Lieber, former Assemblywoman from Mtn View
Democratic: Christopher Kent Chiang
Democratic: Jerry Hill, former Assemblyman from north S.M. County
Republican: John H. Webster

Jerry Hill has a lot of campaign money / organisation and good endorsements (e.g., Gavin Newsom). Article about the two lead candidates:

On the basis of the debate quotations in the Mercury News article, I like Lieber better.

State Assembly, 24th District, replacing former 21st District: Incumbent is Rich (Richard S.) Gordon, Democrat. Competitors:

Democratic: Geby E. Espinosa, co-owner of The Contenders Gym in Mountain View
Republican: Chengzhi 'George' Yang, 35-y-o software engineer, technocrat
Independent: Joseph Antonelli Rosas,22-y-o network-security adviser, Sunnyvale

SJ Mercury News sums up the race but doesn't endorse anyone:

I think Gordon's fine. He was a very competent S.M. County Supervisor for 13 years, then served (starting 2010) a very competent initial term as our Assemblyman for the 21st District.

Board of Supervisors for San Mateo County is electing three of its five seats. Our district, the 3rd, is not up for election, but we still get to vote to select officeholders for the other seats. How strange is that? Apparently, the only thing about a seat that ties it to its district is that candidates must be resident in the districts they run for.

Member, Board of Supervisors, for 1st Supervisorial District. The only candidate listed on the ballot is Dave Pine (incumbent). Personally, I am disinclined to vote, as I have no special reason to love Dave Pine and nothing against any write-in candidates.

Member, Board of Supervisors, for 4th Supervisorial District: Incumbent Rose Jacobs Gibson is termed out, so this is another free-for-all.

Ernesto 'Ernie' Schmidt
Shelly Masur
Memo Morantes
Andy Cohen
Carlos Romero, East Palo Alto City Council member
Kirsten Keith, Menlo Park mayor
Warren Slocum

The Daily News makes a good argument that Romero and Keith are the best qualified candidates, and they endorse Keith. See: June 2 issue, page A11. They both seem good (though they point out that Romero's been caught lying about his education). Lacking a strong preference, I go with Keith.

Member, Board of Supervisors, for 5th Supervisorial District: The only candidate listed on the ballot is Adrienne J. Tissier (incumbent). Personally, I am disinclined to vote, as I have no special reason to love Adrienne J. Tissier and nothing against any write-in candidates.

State Prop. 28, initiative constitutional amendment. This is the one that rejiggers term limits. The change it makes is not major but on balance appears to tighten term limits, so I oppose it. If I had an option to vote to repeal all term limits, I'd vote 'hell yes'


State Prop. 29, initative statute, tax on cigarettes for cancer research. Deirdre has done significant reading on this, and I'm convinced it's a good idea and not just another halfbaked sin tax.

There are three county tax-raising measures. I'm pretty sure at least two of the three have already been voted down by the voters in the prior election, but have been proposed again. I'm going to recommend against all three.

They would raise various business taxes in unincorporated areas of the county (which apparently includes some real estate near SFO). We are told this is a good idea because county tax revenues are down on account of a sucky economy, so more tax must be raised to keep county government programs fully staffed and funded. The thing is, I dispute the general wisdom of such actions. County governments deliberately have minimal levels of services compared to cities. Residents wanting more services can incorporate and tax themselves more. When a county enters a severe recession, and tax revenues drop 40% because the average citizen is poorer, it's IMO appropriate and reasonable for county staffing and funding to drop 40%, too. These three measures are founded on the opposite assumption, that it's vital to preserve current levels of county programs even in the middle of a severe recession.

In considering the three measures, bear in mind that there's a strong 'tax the visitors' theme among all three. To which I object as an American citizen -- not to mention someone who wants a functional local economy. These three new taxes also have nothing to do with county services supporting the businesses being taxed. It's pure vampirism.

Deirdre found this:

Short version: San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie is counting on the three ballot measures to reduce the 2012 budget deficit from $40M to $28M.

I want to say to Mr. Maltbie: Maybe during an major economic recession, you shouldn't have signed off on a new deal in 2011 to buy two new county buildings in San Carlos for $40M, let alone ones you now say need major seismic retrofit work. Maybe during an major economic recession, you shouldn't have signed off this year on a contract to build a new $155 million county jail. And maybe you shouldn't act all surprised and indignant if the voters don't approve new taxes to support your budgetary blunders.

County Measure T: Imposes a 2.5% excise tax on vehicle rentals in unincorporated San Mateo County. (Most of this would be areas near SFO.)

County Measure U: Increases excise tax on any lodging rental in unincorporated San Mateo County for 30 or fewer days from 10% to 12%.

County Measure X: Imposes an 8% tax on gross receipts from any commercial parking facility in unincorporated San Mateo County.

NO to all three.

Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2012 16:31:41 -0700
From: Rick Moen <>
To: Deirdre Saoirse Moen, Cheryl Morris
Subject: Prelim. election results

Prop. 29 and County Measure T too close to call. FYI, I noticed yesterday that Bethany Lutheran Church on Cloud was indeed a polling station, as Cheryl expected (and I hoped but had no prior confirmation of).

Very light turnout.
San Mateo County: 27.7%
Statewide: 24%

Clarification: The new open primary system applies to legislative and Congressional contests, but not candidates running for U.S. President, county central committee and local offices. One provision of the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act I wasn't aware of until now: write-ins will be disallowed in the general election, for offices covered by the Act. (That'll cause havoc if a front-runner dies between the primary and general election. Suspect the Act's authors forgot to plan for that scenario. No more late sympathy candidacy for X's widower or widow, eh?)


> Party delegates for USA President:

Democrats: 1,561,290 votes for Obama statewide, no other candidates or write-ins appear in the results. The party holds per-district elections for each of the 53 congressional districts to pick 6-10 delegates plus sometimes an alternate for each district. Wikipedia says: 547 pledged delegates, 64 superdelegates, 611 total. This is all academic, as Obama is unopposed, and there are no delegates from any state pledged to anyone but him.

Republicans: 159 delegates were awarded on the basis of which qualified candidate got a plurality in each of the 53 congressional districts, 3 delegates per district (53*3 = 159). It turns out that Romney got a plurality in every district. (Romney supplied a slate of 159 names, so they'll be the delegates.) There are also 10 at-large delegates, picked to represent whichever candidate wins statewide. (Romney supplied a slate of ten names.) Plus there are three unpledged superdelegates. Thus 172 delegates, total. The national GOP doesn't plan to enforce any state rules at the convention, so the only thing holding delegates to their pledges is consequences with Republicans back home.

Approx. nationwide Republican delegate tally:
Romney: 1398
Ron Paul: 137

Green Party: Physician Jill Stein got 6,563 votes statewide, Roseanne Barr got 5,396, Kent Mesplay got 1,534. Dr. Stein says she now has enough delegates to cinch her nomination.

Libertarian Party: Gary Johnson got 5,244 votes statewide. Lots of also rans.

Peace and Freedom Party: Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson got 1,208 votes statewide, beating two rivals.

'American Independent' Party (actually a brand of Constitution Party of Colorado): Edward C. Noonan got 13,557 idiots to vote for him statewide. There were two other candidates.

Americans Elect Party: Chose not to participate in California's primary, although they were qualified.

The California Democratic Party currently permits no-party-proference ('independent') voters, formerly called 'decline to state voters' in official language, to vote its ballot for remaining traditional partisan office elections (President, Congress, County party central committees). The California Republican Party and several others do not.

No-party-preference voters, FYI, must now request specifically a particular party's primary ballot if they want to participate in the remaining traditional partisan office elections. Otherwise, they get a ballot listing only open-primary and nonpartisan offices. (This tortuous workaround is because the USSC struck down California's earlier, fully open primary system in the 1996 and 2000 elections that let any voter elect any party's primary ballot, ruling that the parties' First Amendment right of free association had been violated.)

In the November general election, California's 55 electors will be selected pledged to vote for whoever gets the plurality vote in the California general election.

> US Senate: Dianne Feinstein

Feinstein will runoff against the biggest-name Republican. I won't bother to list all the candidates' shares for this one, because there were a couple of dozen official candidates, and only a few got more than 2%. The top two (to run off in November):

Dianne Feinstein (D): 1,801,422 (49.3%)
Elizabeth Emken (R): 454,937 (12.5%)

Emken is described as a 'Danville autism advocate'. My guess: sacrificial token candidate, no serious chances, but she was the candidate endorsed by California's Republican Party organisation and the largest Republican Latino organisation, based in LA. FYI, Orly Taitz got 113,563 votes, 3.1%. I wonder how many of those were for laughs as opposed to insanity? Colin B. says he did that.

> US House of Representatives, 18th District: William Parks

It'll be a traditional-style cross-party runoff between Anna Eshoo (D) and Dave Chapman (R). Parks came in last.

Anna Eshoo (D): 12,081 (66.82%)
Dave Chapman (R): 4,972 (27.50%)
Carol Brouillet (Green): 516 (2.85%)
William Parks (D): 510 (2.82%)

> State Senate, 13th District: Sally J. Lieber

Predictably, Jerry Hill's superior funding prevailed, but he'll have a runoff against Lieber (Democrat v. Democrat) in the general election.

Jerry Hill (D): 42,151 (52.22%)
Sally J. Lieber (D): 13,045 (18.02%)
John H. Webster (R): 10,710 (14.79%)
Christopher Kent Chiang: 6,488 (8.96%)

> State Assembly, 24th District: Richard S. Gordon

Gordon and the Republican will runoff.

Rich (Richard S.) Gordon (D): 8,868 (60.78%)
Chengzhi 'George' Yang (R): 3,976 (27.25%)
Geby E. Espinosa (D): 1,262 (8.65%)
Joseph Antonelli Rosas (I): 485 (3.32%)

> Member, Board of Supervisors, for 1st Supervisorial District: no vote

Unopposed incumbent Dave Pine got 65,559 votes. No write-ins currently reported.

> Member, Board of Supervisors, for 4th Supervisorial District: Kirsten Keith

Warren Slocum won.

At first, I thought this election's outcome would be a runoff of Warren Slocum against Shelly Masur, longtime Redwood City school board member. (Masur has been the champion fundraiser in this campaign, and has an endorsement from the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee.) However, this is not among what was previously called a 'partisan' race, so there'll be no two-candidate runoff.

Slocum has unmatched name recognition from decades as the county's Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-Clerk-Recorder. Both of the candidates I favoured, the Menlo Park mayor and the EPA politico, were eliminated along with Masur and others, coming in 3rd and 4th.

Warren Slocum: 29,297 (39.04%)
Shelly Masur: 15,863 (21.14%)
Kirsten Keith: 11,206 (14.93%)
Carlos Romero: 6,588 (8.78%)
Memo Morantes: 5,941 (7.92%)
Andy Cohen: 3,773 (5.03%)
Ernesto 'Ernie' Schmidt: 2,382 (3.17%)

> Member, Board of Supervisors, for 5th Supervisorial District: no vote

Unopposed incumbent Adrienne J. Tissier got 59,905 votes. No write-ins currently reported.

> State Prop. 28, initiative constitutional amendment: no

Rejiggering of term limits. Passed.

Yes: 2,319,918 (61.4%)
No: 1,456,749 (38.6%)

> State Prop. 29, initiative statute: yes

$1/pack extra excise tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research, smoking-reduction programs and tobacco law enforcement. It's failing, but only barely.

No: 1,958,047 (50.8%)
Yes: 1,894,871 (49.2%)

> County Measure T: no

The vehicle rental tax. Still might go either way. Latest county figures:

Yes: 43,422 (50.04%)
No: 43,360 (49.96%)

Majority required to pass.

> County Measure U: no

The lodging rental tax. It's pretty clearly lost.

No: 46,424 (53.53%)
Yes: 40,308 (46.47%)

> County Measure X: no

The tax on parking business gross receipts. Pretty clearly lost.

No: 46,142 (53.13%)
Yes: 40,702 (46.87%)