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Opinion, Election, Santa Monica, Government

More Motivation Than Usual To Vote On November 6

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Posted Oct. 27, 2012, 1:54 am

Tom Elias / Mirror Columnist

There are occasional elections where voters are not asked to decide very much – as in last June’s primary, where the presidential candidates had been determined beforehand and the propositions aroused few emotions.

Things are completely different Nov. 6. California has rarely seen a ballot with as much vitally important content, as many significant decisions as this one.

So if you’re registered to vote, there’s plenty of reason to follow through.

From death (Prop. 34 would repeal the death penalty for even the most heinous crimes) to taxes (Props. 32 and 38 compete to raise taxes – mostly on people in high income brackets – for schools and possibly other uses). There’s a car insurance issue, a decision on whether most genetically modified food should be labeled, a re-run of the 1996 and 2005 “paycheck protection” propositions aiming to politically emasculate labor unions and even a measure to make life harder for modern-day slave traders.

And that’s only the propositions.

They come near the end of the ballot. Higher up are some of the most interesting and unpredictable contests for Congress and the state Legislature California has seen in the last 50 years.

Not to mention the presidential race itself. Democrats have such a large voter registration edge statewide (43-30 percent over Republicans among registered voters, with more than 20 percent now declaring no party preference) that neither President Obama nor GOP challenger Mitt Romney has campaigned here this fall, except in fundraising mode.

Similarly, incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein had such an overwhelming margin over Republican Elizabeth Emken in all polls of the last few months and in fundraising that this one appears to be no contest.

But there are at least 20 congressional and legislative races that offer very interesting contests. These are almost purely the results of a combination of electoral changes voted in via initiative over the last four years. With new districts not gerrymandered to protect incumbents – for a welcome change – several incumbent members of Congress were forced into earlier-than-planned retirement rather than run against party mates or in new areas where they are relatively unknown or face big voter registration deficits.

That happened to Central Valley Democrat Dennis Cardoza, who didn’t want to run against longtime incumbent Jim Costa and to Republicans Elton Gallegly of Ventura County and David Dreier of San Dimas, neither of whom liked the looks of their new districts.

The fierce contest between conservative Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland and liberal Democratic Assemblywoman Julia Brownley for what is basically Gallegly’s longtime seat should attract a large voter turnout, if only because of their deep differences.

The all-Democrat contest between longtime incumbents Howard Berman and Brad Sherman in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles is another that would pull a big turnout even without the physical encounter Sherman initiated in one of their debates. Republicans have taken a role in this race, as both candidates know they’ll need votes from across the aisle to win. Several GOP U.S. senators endorse Berman, while some local Republican officials back Sherman, as that party tries try to choose what they consider the lesser of two evils.

Also assured a big turnout is the all-Democrat Assembly race between incumbent Betsy Butler and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom. This is a contest to see who can be the more liberal.

Altogether, there are more than two dozen intra-party races on ballots around the state, the product of the new top-two primary election system that no longer assures any party a place on the general election ballot. Candidates now must win those slots by being one of the top two primary vote-getters.

This leaves some minor party advocates griping about being left out. The answer for them is to get candidates or ideas that appeal more to mainstream voters. Then they’ll once again make some runoff ballots.

Meanwhile, the prime focus of most voters might well be on the propositions. Interests from state universities to caretakers for the elderly infirm vocally support Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, with its proposed tax increase, while some public school unions are fervently pushing Proposition 38, financially backed by Pasadena civil rights attorney Molly Munger, whose father is the partner of billionaire Warren Buffett.

If both pass, it’s likely the one with the most votes will prevail, as did the 1978 Proposition 13 over another tax-cutting measure known as Proposition 8. That’s what happens when two initiatives cover much of the same turf. But there’s the possibility of a field day for lawyers here, as some wrinkles make it unclear whether all of the less-popular proposition would be cancelled out.

All in all, California hasn’t seen such a fascinating ballot in many years, which means there’s almost no excuse for not voting this time.

Post a comment


Oct. 27, 2012, 10:11:07 am

Dave Francis said...

California is a Sanctuary State for illegal aliens, shielded by a Liberal Governor Jerry Brown, and a near Socialist Sacramento assembly, that have an outrageous nerve to ask for more money for education. The school system is drowned in illegal alien children, which are forced on the taxpayers by the courts in uncompensated financial requirements. A state measure 30, a so called temporary tax to fund schools and 38 which is another measure for even extra funding for schools to employ thousands of more teachers is a ridiculous burden. This is the never ending cycle when California voters are being scammed to empty their pocket books. This is just another travesty of an educational system broken, as more of the taxpayers money is just be absorbed to pay for the overcrowded schools, but not just in California, but across the 50 states to pay for the education of illegal alien children. Just go into the schools in Los Angeles, and half the staff in the office is bilingual and the classrooms are overloaded with kids who can hardly comprehend English. It surprised me before I left California that the school my son was in, that an American flag was even flying? Californians or come to that, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico in the Southwest need more tax money, but the issue is it just attracts illegal migrant and immigrant females in smuggling a large majority of unborn babies across borders or on international flights. The American federation of Immigration Reform (FAIR) in a report estimates that over 400.000 babies are smuggled into America annually through this method. All those children receive free delivery and as they are credited with immediate citizenship, the parent or parents are able to settle here for good. This is a carefully orchestrated situation that the politicians say little about, as they have already been coerced by the migrant organizations as the radical La Raza, Communist founded groups as the ACLU. The smuggling of the unborn is the origination of the children of the Dream Act. Hundreds of billions of dollars are needed every year, because the parents recognize the more children they conceive, the more difficult it is to deport them. Then even should the parents leave the child is still a holder of a U.S. passport and can return at a later date. At the age of 18 they can their sponsor the parents, as then they are supposedly are able to financially support them. In most cases this is seldom happens in perpetuity, for then the parents are then catered to by the U.S. government after the sponsors no longer keeps them financially stable. Now enter--“THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ACT, which will eliminate these entries, so at least one parent must have valid citizenship, for the child to gain citizenship. This would be very financially beneficial to U.S. taxpayers that would halt this activity, and would save over 100 billion dollars a year. This law will bring to halt illegal aliens bringing their children here to take advantage of our health services, educational system and many more free programs with cash benefits. Our borders still remain wide open in many places, including Canada for the illegal importation of drugs and people. For the record an estimate of a million legal immigrants are admitted to this nation each year, but we should recognize in this global market we should allow a steady stream of the paramount top list of Scientists, Technology, Engineering and mathematicians (STEM WORKERS) who would be highly beneficial to Americas future. What we don’t need are more people with no qualification, no education and adding to our own people who live in poverty. Under another Obama 4 year administration is a promise to the 20 million plus illegal aliens a Path to Citizenship. So not only illegal aliens will be tempted to vote for the man, but many will and Democrats will intentionally stay oblivious. The cost according to the Heritage Foundation is well over TWO TRILLION DOLLARS to complete the process, which includes Social Security, Supplementary Social Security, retirement, pensions, health care, education and other different financial programs; much of it paid for by taxpayers. At a working age, American citizens begin paying for their retirement, having paid into these systems, but illegal migrants and immigrants in the majority have not? In fact they are even fraudulently using their children to collect 4.6 Billion dollars in child credits, which this government and probably the previous ones don't think its worth prosecuting? Adding further to restrictions THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT (E-Verify) should also be implemented, so businesses and the agricultural industry can no longer just hire illegal workers without penal implications and harsh fines. As we need temporary workers, then a fully regulated system should be installed as it was with the 1940’s “Bracero” Program. This worked well, but greedy politicians in collusion with the business community closed it down. Now we have a corrupt system that has been highlighted by many companies being raided by ICE and the owners punished. So getting back to the California state voting measures and probably in other states, illegal immigration is a very expensive situation, which needs a solution? But its not being continually taxed to pay for the illegal entry of illegal aliens and their children. Honest immigrants wait years to get an entry visa, while the other types get rewarded by Washington and individual states with a cornucopia of free welfare programs. The Legal Workforce bill could drive illegal aliens home, as if they cannot be hired, then they will leave. Instead of listening to my personal suggestions, go to TEA PARTY.ORG, NumbersUSA and and you can judge the absolute financial negative effects of illegal immigration. Remember--this November it’s illegal and a felony for non citizens to vote, but then the Democrats have proven time and time again they don’t care who votes. Illegal or not? Regarding third party candidates—the two party systems are in collusion to keep further interference in their political games. That’s why the TEA PARTY (THE PEOPLES PARTY) the moderate Conservatives have had to slip through the obstacles, by infiltrating the Republican Party to claim a place in Congress.

Oct. 27, 2012, 5:54:25 pm

AK said...

Troll, GTFO out of here, you ignorant prude.

Nov. 2, 2012, 3:01:45 am

CA said...

I'm in agreement with Dave Francis. I'm sick of being taxed to death so politicians can waste more and more of my money on programs I find useless, objectionable and offensive. The schools always waste the money as can be seen from the lottery to past tax increases that have yielded no improvement of our schools. The politicians and school admins are like the broke bum cousin who repeatedly winds up on your doorstep begging for more money which he'll never pay back, but always seems to have money for booze, cigarettes and drugs.

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