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Rick -> Rick's Election Analyses -> June 5, 2018

Tuesday, 2018-06-05 statewide direct primary election

Notes by Rick Moen

(Last updated 2018-07-07)

This election rundown will cover offices and issues votable at our precinct 3402 in West Menlo Park, California. Unless you live close by, your ballot will differ to some degree.

As always, definitive outcomes are not possible for several weeks, partly because some categories of ballots aren't counted until after Election Day (vote-by-mail/absentee, early-voting, provisional, and damaged).

Also as always, this page includes separate "RM partisan analysis" sections for each issue/candidate, just in case you're curious what I personally think. No, I'm not lobbying to persuade, in part because that doesn't work.



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How to Check Your Voter Registration

California's registration deadline is 15 calendar days before each election; in this case, Monday, May 21, 2018. Some counties permit checking and correcting registration online, and California also has a statewide voter registration Web site. I would recommend checking your county information first. If you see signs of trouble or have doubts or find no information, contact your county registrar of voters immediately. Or, just visit that office in person, bringing state photo ID or passport.



Candidate Information

I've had a small epiphany: We have better ways of getting information than the Official Voter Information Guide and County Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet.

As 2016 U.S. Senate candidate Jason Hanania pointed out, the state charges candidates $25 per word to include a Candidate Statement in the statewide Guide — thus over $6,000 for a full-paragraph statement, plus a $3,480 Filing Fee, thus difficulty staying under the Federal Elections Commission cap of $5,000 in campaign expenditures, exceeding which brings many expensive other requirements and a host of other ills.

All of that is unnecessary: We have the Web, and nobody need pay by the word. Therefore, for each candidate, I have hyperlinked the candidate Web site or best other Web resource. The Web can give you much deeper and better information than the Official Voter Information Pamphlet and County Pamphlet. Use it.



Provisional Ballots: Warning

If obliged to use a provisional ballot at your polling place or anywhere else, be extremely careful how you do so, or part or all of your vote may be discarded. In particular, at this date, certain counties were requiring that NPP (No Party Preference) voters use a special "crossover" ballot in primary elections, and there may be other similar problems. Here's a horror story about that: [CityWatchLA], [WriteIndependent Blog]



Federal Offices

USA Senator

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

SFGate coverage
Washington Post coverage
San Diego Union-Tribune coverage
Sacramento Bee coverage
LA Times endorsement
SJ Mercury-News endorsement

RM partisan analysis: This being a top-two primary with Feinstein certain to get the top slot, the key question is who will get the other one. I consider Kevin de León a perfectly fine candidate, and so will throw my vote his way. Polls suggest that Republican unknown James Bradley, a crank, xenophobic, anti-women's-rights, far-right candidate, has support close to his. I'm voting for de León.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:

Others under 1%.



U.S. 18th Congressional District

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

RM partisan analysis: For all the reasons I've voted for her before, I'm voting for Eshoo.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Statewide Offices

State Assembly Member, 24th District

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

RM partisan analysis: As he's been an excellent public servant in my view, I'm voting for Berman.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Governor

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

SFGate coverage
SFGate coverage (charter school businesses are funding Villaraigosa)
LA Times endorsement

RM partisan analysis: Polls show that Newsom has a commanding lead, with two candidates vying for the critical second slot afforded by the "top two" primary system: Trump-and-AIP endorsed Republican John H. Cox and Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, whose sagging electoral fortunes in the primary have been somewhat bolstered by massive financial donations in the last couple of months before the primary from the charter school industry. If present patterns persist, then no other candidates, beyond those three, have a reasonable chance of winning the governorship -- including one of my favourite clean-government public servants, longtime California Controller John Chiang.

Even though I really hate the notion of a California governor ascending to office owing a huge favour to charter school companies, I'm betting Villaraigosa has no real chance against Newsom in November. Newsom may have made the same calculation, leading him to recently run ads highlighting the fact of John Cox having Donald J. Trump's endorsement: While ostensibly a criticism, the ad text also functions as a summoning of Trump-friendly GOP voters to show up and get behind Cox, whom Newsom considers more easily beatable in November than Villaraigosa.

I thus think my vote is dictated by who other than Newsom is better of the two strongest alternatives. I'm voting for Villaraigosa.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:

Others below 1%.



Lt. Governor

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

SFGate coverage
SF Chronicle endorsement
Sacramento Bee endorsement
SJ Mercury-News endorsement

RM partisan analysis: As SFGate points out, given the candidates' lack of name recognition, fundraising will probably be decisive. Based largely on endorsements by newspaper editors whose judgement I have faith in, I'm voting for Bleich.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Secretary of State

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

RM partisan analysis: As he's been an excellent public servant, I'm voting for Padilla.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:

Others below 1%



Controller

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

RM partisan analysis: As she's been an excellent public servant, I'm voting for Yee.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Treasurer

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

SF Chronicle endorsement

RM partisan analysis: As the SF Chronicle mentions, Fiona Ma did an admirable job of cleaning up a mess at the Board of Equalization, which makes me like her for the same reason I admire John Chiang. I'm voting for Ma.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Attorney General

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

Sacramento Bee analysis and endorsement,

RM partisan analysis: The Sacramento Bee article describes why Becerra and Jones are both good, but Becerra has broader experience and we know he can do the job well because he's already doing so. I'm voting for Becerra.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Insurance Commissioner

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

Note: Republican candidate Peter Kuo, Santa Clara insurance agent and 17th Congressional District candidate in 2016, ran but then was not certified as a candidate for this ballot.

Sacramento Bee coverage and endorsement.

RM partisan analysis: The Sacramento Bee article captures my admiration and reservations about Steve Poizner perfectly (which please see). I was happy to vote for him in 2006 in his capacity as the clean-government, high-competence candidate for Insurance Commissioner, then, He ran as a Republican at that time, won the office, and did a truly excellent job.

But then his 2010 unsuccessful run for governor had him pose as an anti-immigrant xenophobe to try to tap that demographic, confusing me and also Sacramento insiders, too, who thought it out of character. Anyway, presumably his 2010 act of posing as a far-right loon is why the totally insane AIP endorses him in this race. Fortunately, even if it wasn't a pose, California's Insurance Commissioner has no discernible connection to immigration policy and similar matters, so I think it reasonable to want him for what he's provably good at. I'm voting for Poizner.

Lara would also be a good choice, in my view.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Member, State Board of Equalization, 2nd District

(voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election)
(vote for one)

Bay City Beacon coverage
SJ Mercury-News endorsement

RM partisan analysis: Based on the SJ Mercury-News endorsement, I'm voting for Cohen.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Superintendent of Public Instruction

(nonpartisan voter-nominated office - top two vote-winners will advance to 2018-11-06 general election, unless one candidate reaches a 50% + 1 or more vote share)
(vote for one)

SFGate coverage (charter school businesses fund Tuck)
EdSource analysis
LA Times endorsement

RM partisan analysis: Both Tuck and Thurmond seem well-respected options, but Tuck in my view is compromised by taking large amounts of donation money from charter school business interests. I'm voting for Thurmond.

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



County Offices

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors

3rd District (coastside, Redwood Shores, SC, West Menlo)

(vote for one)

Almanac News coverage
SM Daily Journal endorsement

RM partisan analysis: I'm going with the SM Daily Journal's recommendation. I'm voting for Horsley.

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:



Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk

(vote for one)

SM Daily Journal endorsement.

RM partisan analysis: As I see nothing wrong with him, I'm voting for Church.

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:



Controller

(vote for one)

SM Daily Journal endorsement

RM partisan analysis: As I see nothing wrong with him, I'm voting for Raigoza.

Outcome, officiaal a/o 2018-07-03:



Coroner

(vote for one)

SM Daily Journal coverage.

RM partisan analysis: As I see nothing wrong with him, I'm voting for Foucrault.

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:



Sheriff

(vote for one)

Almanac News coverage of write-in candidate Heinz Puschendorf (and S.M. County Deputy) claiming to know "all the secrets" about misdeeds in the Sheriff's Office.
Almanac News coverage
SM Daily Journal endorsement

RM partisan analysis: I'm going with SM Daily Journal's recommendation. I'm voting for Bolanos.

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:



Superintendent of Schools

(vote for one)

PA Daily Post coverage
SM Daily Journal endorsement

RM partisan analysis: I'm going with SM Daily Journal's recommendation. I'm voting for Magee.

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:



Treasurer - Tax Collector

(vote for one)

RM partisan analysis: As I see nothing wrong with her, I'm voting for Arnott.

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:



District Attorney

(vote for one)

RM partisan analysis: As I see nothing wrong with him, I'm voting for Wagstaffe.

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:



Judge of the Superior Court - Office No. 2

(vote for one)

RM partisan analysis: As I see nothing wrong with him, I'm voting for Buchwald.

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:

Statewide Measures

(vote yes or no for each)

Proposition 68
California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018.

SB 5 (Chapter 852, Statutes of 2017), De León.

Information:
Bill text

LA Times endorses "yes"
Pete Stahl endorses "yes"
San Diego Union Tribune endorses "no".
LA Times endorses "yes".
Sacramento Bee endorses "yes".

RM partisan analysis: See my analysis of 2016's Prop. 51 for background. In a nutshell, in the 2000s in the Schwarzenegger era, California general-obligation bonded indebtedness went out of control, causing the critical debt-service ratio (DSR) to skyrocket from a normal, healthy 1-2% to 6% and higher, giving California by 2016 the third-worst credit rating of any state. A state's bad credit rating causes additional bond placements to be even more expensive, a vicious cycle that can become catastrophically bad if there's an economic downturn (as happened to California recently). The only way out of this trap is to stop issuing more bonds for a while and pay the outstanding indebtedness down to sane levels.

The legislative analyst says that without Prop. 68, DSR will remain somewhat below 5% for the next several years and trail off thereafter. With it, DSR would rise a small amount and trail off much more slowly, That's not good enough. To quote War Games, the only way to win is not to play, and we need to reach that recommended 1-2% DSR -- that California historically enjoyed -- before taking on more state indebtedness. I am voting "no".

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Proposition 69
Motor vehicle fees and taxes: restriction on expenditures: appropriations limit.

ACA 5 (Resolution Chapter 30, statutes of 2017), Frazier.

Information:
Bill text

LA Times endorses "yes".
Sacramento Bee endorses "yes".
Pete Stahl endorses "yes".

RM partisan analysis: Bill requires that the state spend the new Transportation Improvement Fee (assessed on vehicle registrations) and the new sales tax on diesel fuel only on transportation. Seems like only common sense. I'm voting "yes".

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Proposition 70
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Reserve Fund

ACA 1 (Resolution Chapter 105, statutes of 2017), Mayes.

Information:
Bill text

LA Times endorses "no"
Sacramento Bee endorses "no".
Pete Stahl endorses "no"

RM partisan analysis: This is a fairly transparent attempt to sandbag state measures to address global warming by requiring a 2/3 supermajority vote of both Legislature houses to continue the state's Cap-and-Trade policy. Hell no. I'm voting "no".

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Proposition 71
Ballot measures: effective date

ACA 17 (Resolution Chapter 190, Statutes of 2017), Mullin.

Information:
Bill text

LA Times endorses "yes"
Sacramento Bee endorses "yes".
Pete Stahl endorses "yes".

RM partisan analysis: This is an uncontroversial technical adjustment to make passed propositions take effect five days after the election has been certified, instead of the day after the election. The latter has obvious problems in close elections. I'm voting "yes".

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Proposition 72

SCA 9. Permits legislature to exclude newly constructed rain-capture systems from property-tax reassessment requirement. Legislative constitutional amendment.

LA Times coverage
Pete Stahl endorses "no".
Santa Rosa Press Democrat endorses "yes"
SM Daily Journal endorses "yes"

RM partisan analysis: Another tiny tweak to Proposition 13, but in my opinion all of these tiny tweaks just make a terrible tax regime a tiny bit less painful to particular taxpayers, but what's actually needed is a real top-to-bottom revision to make the real problem -- Prop. 13 -- go away. I'm voting "no".

Outcome, prelim. a/o 2018-07-06:



Regional Measures

(vote yes or no for each)

Regional Measure 3
Originated by MTC: Bridge Toll Hike

(requires majority approval across the sum of the nine Bay Area counties, to pass)

This is a major funding proposal for Bay Area transit based on a proposed toll hike for the seven state-owned Bay Area bridges. It came about as follows:

In Oct. 2017, Senate Bill 595 passed both Legislature houses and was signed by Gov. Brown. It authorised Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC's) Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) subsidiary to draft and place on the June ballot a toll increase of up to $3 (and also authorised inflation adjustments).

BATA thus is proposing via Regional Measure 3 (RM3) hike tolls on the seven state-owned bridges in Bay Are counties: $1 on Jan. 1 2019, $1 on Jan. 1 2022, and $1 on Jan. 1, 2025. BATA would thereafter subsequently adjust the RM3 toll surcharges as necessary to account for inflation. All cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles would face the same toll surcharge, but carpools would continue to get the current 50% discount during carpool hours. (Commuters crossing multiple BATA-run bridges would get a 50% discount on the second crossing's Regional Measure 3 surcharge, provided they use FasTrak.)

If the measure passes, funds raised will be applied to finance Bay Area transportation improvements such as new BART cars, extension of BART to Silicon Valley, new HOV lanes on US-101 in Marin/Sonoma Counties, CA-37 improvements, expanded ferry service, a rebuild of the I-80/I-680/CA-12 Cordelia interchange, and the CalTrain extension in San Francisco.

(The ballot text of RM3 seems as yet unavailable, at this writing on January 27, 2018. Regional Measures 1 & 2 were toll hikes approved by seven of the nine Bay Area counties — omitting Napa and Sonoma Counties — in 1988 and 2004, respectively. Golden Gate Bridge is unaffected by all such regional measures because it's operated by Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District, an independent district not overseen by BATA,)

Information:
MTA FAQ
Palo Alto Daily Post endorsed "no"

RM partisan analysis: This is a really difficult one, because obviously the Bay Area needs a far-reaching plan to improve transportation. I see two particularly rotten parts of it that in my view render it unacceptable -- and I'm fully aware that these are parts of the plan that meet with at least shrugging indifference if not approval.

One is the measure's great expansion of the "Express Lane" scheme to many more congested freeways around the greater Bay Area. Remember carpool aka HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes? This is what they were originally, a way to reward people sharing cars during high-congestion hours by reserving a lane for them. But this preserved the principle that we're all in this together, that public works are for the benefit of everyone equally. For a while, some zero-emission vehicles were granted HOV use because they lessened everyone's pollution problem; I seem to recall that was ended.

But where this scheme went off the rails is where state officials realised that with creative use of FasTrak equipment, HOV lanes could do double duty and raise state revenues: Suddenly, anyone with a FasTrak could, congestion permitting, buy access to faster lanes. Suddenly, instead of one road system for all, there is a fast road for the well-heeled and a slow one for the rest of us. In my opinion, this situation is already unacceptable, and Regional Measure 3 would make it an order of magnitude worse. I would say it also is nothing like what the voters had in mind when they approved HOA lanes -- "pay to play" rather than the same roads for everyone.

My other objection also involves the we're all in this together principle. All through my youth in the late 1950s and 1960s, the state of California built public infrastructure that was the envy of the world: the University of California and CSU systems, the State Water Project, excellent (at the time) public schools, and much more. All of these were funded on a statewide basis, because we're all in this together. The Bay Area's traffic problem should be handled as a state task from state funding mechanisms, along with other priorities.

I'm aware that successive measures to handicap state funding have made rational funding and setting priorities difficult. In my opinion, the electorate should grasp the nettle and reform tax revenue law once and for all.

I'm voting "no".

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:




County/Local Measures

(vote yes or no — 55% approval required)

Las Lomitas Elementary School District Measure R
ad-valorum 3 cents / $100 assessed value real estate bond measure

"To repair/improve aging schools to protect quality academic instruction in math, science / reading with funding that cannot be taken by the state, upgrade leaking roofs, outdated fire alarms, electrical / heating, classrooms / facilities, meet health, safety / seismic codes, acquire, repair, construct, equipment, sites/facilities: Shall this Las Lomitas Elementary School District measure be adopted to issue $70,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, levy on average 3 cents / $100 assessed value ($4,900,000 annually), while bonds are outstanding, with citizen oversight?"

RM partisan analysis: This is the right way to fund the public schools, ad-valorum taxes on property, not 'parcel taxes' and other regressive taxes. It's needed, too. I'm voting "yes".

Outcome, official a/o 2018-07-03:



Additional Resources

Lifehacker article: "How to Quickly Research All Your Local Elections"


Any footnotes will go here.

And this is a placeholder for disturbing news items (1, 2, 3) about S.M. County Harbor District commissioner Sabrina Brennan. (There are no elections this time for the San Mateo County Harbor District, but I believe there will be in November.)