In case anyone was waiting for my thoughts…
It is a pretty dull election when by far the contest that excites you most is a referendum on which there was no opposition argument submitted for the ballot pamphlet: Whether to ban write-in candidates in nonpartisan runoffs in San Diego County (County Proposition B). A bad idea, I say.
Had I only known in time, I would have submitted such an opposition argument myself! Instead, I wrote an op-ed for the main county paper, posted here on Friday. Elections in this county tend to be minimally competitive already without decreeing that–even if a critical issue arose only in the long period after the first round and the runoff–we were stuck with just the two candidates with the most votes in the first round.
As if to underscore my point about elections not being very competitive, we have a Board of Supervisors race with only two candidates in this first round. It is a shame they can’t both lose. The incumbent, “Bulldozer” Bill Horn (so-nicknamed for his noted coziness with developers), is a good argument for term limits. Well, no, there is no such thing as a good argument for term limits to non-executive posts. (Much better to open up competition with electoral reform–the very opposite of the “reform” proposed by the Board itself in Prop. B.) But if there were, Bulldozer Bill would be it. After 12 years, it’s time for Bill to go. The only thing is, his opponent is another Republican Ultra. But then this is northern San Diego, after all, and we have winner-take all elections, so tough luck for us non-ultras.
Oh, how I wish just for one day I still lived in the 50th congressional district.* I have to root from the sidelines. Go Francine!
The Democratic primary for gubernatorial nominee features eight candidates, but only two with any chance: Steve Westly and Phil Angelides. It has been an ugly campaign. Too bad they can’t both lose. Well, probably they both will, as I don’t expect either to defeat Arnold in November, despite the Governator’s less-than-stellar poll ratings.
Angelides is more likely to win the nomination, on recent polling. And he is also more likely to lose to Arnold, according to the same polls. (Apparently, voters know a party hack when they see one.) Neither runs as strong in the trial heats for the fall as one would expect in a soldly Democratic state if the Republican incumbent were likely to lose.
About a quarter of likely Democratic voters is undecided. Too bad they can’t coordinate on one of the unknowns! Looks like I’ll be casting an undervote in June and a Green vote in November.
Then there is the Democratic race for Attorney General nominee. Jerry Brown! For old times sake. I like the subtle advertisements his opponent, Rocky Delgadillo (great name) is running. He says to vote Rocky–for the future. It took me a while to realize what he was getting at: Brown is the past. But I liked 1970s California politics, and I admire Brown for having been a resonably effective mayor of a very troubled city after his service as Governor and his failed Presidential and Senatorial bids. The guy deserves respect. Brown has my vote; one of the few votes I’ll feel good about this year or probably for many years (aside from that Prop. B vote, that is).
Perhaps the most refreshing thing about this ballot is what has to be a record (in my lifetime) low number of statewide ballot measures. Just two! One would sell bonds to upgrade libraries. Good cause. More debt. Snore. The other would tax the rich to pay for preschool education. Good cause. Bad tax and revenue-allocation policy. (I did see on some blog months ago a suggestion of why this sort of earmarking was a good idea, given California’s deadlocked policy-making process. I wish I could remember where I saw it, as I am not convinced, but could be persuaded.)
Then we have judges and a sheriff to vote for. Snore.
If it were not for Prop B (the write-in ban), I am not sure I would even bother to turn out. But if I were in the 50th, I’d sure be motivated. Neighbors: Fire a shot to be heard ’round the country!
*The last time I lived anywhere with a competitive congressional race was when I was in central Orange County in 1984 and incumbent Democrat Jerry Patterson was defeated by Bob Dornan.