Yes, there is an election this Tuesday. Yes, I know many of you are finding out about this right now. But please, please, use this quick primer and show up at your polling place on Tuesday. Because far fewer people participate in primaries, a lot of extremist stuff gets credence and support.
Come on, you can do this. You’ll find no lines at all at your local polling booth and in just 15 minutes you’ll get a glow of having done your civic duty that will last till at least the midterms in November. Plus, you can start every conversation till November with the words “Did you vote on June 3” knowing that at least 70-80% of the time you be rewarded with a blank look on the listener’s face and a really superior feeling inside you.
I’m making it easy for you, so what’s your excuse?
Proposition 41 – Vote YES. Prop. 41, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act of 2014, redirects $600 million of previously approved, un-issued bond funds to construct and rehabilitate housing for California’s large population of homeless veterans. Basically the permission to hold a bond issue had already been approved for a different program known as CAlVet Home and Farm Loan program that provides low cost loans to vets. Turns out there’s not much demand for that, so the State wants to redirect the approval to provide actual housing. I’m all for it, both for ethical and economic reasons. Getting homeless vets off the streets is a good thing, any way you look at it.
Proposition 42 – Vote YES. This one is tricky. So far local governments have been reimbursed by the California State government for the costs of making public records accessible and transparent. In a rather sneaky move, the State government decided to cut the funds for public information access, thus making local compliance “optional.” (Local governments could always argue that they didn’t have the funds because the state cut off the supply.)
This proposition moves the burden of funding access for to public records from State governments to local governments. Now the Fremont city government will have to pay for any costs associated with giving the public access to Fremont records, which makes logical sense. Also, the wording in this proposition makes it harder for local governments not to give the public access to information, which is an even better thing.
Measure E (Fremont)- Vote YES. This measure approves of a $650 million bond measure to build and improve schools in Fremont. If you are a Fremont resident , this is a no-brainer. Fremont schools are running at capacity (bulging at the seams, really) and they are all in pretty bad condition. I should know since, between my two kids, I’ve been a school parent for 12 years. With the new construction popping up in the Patterson Ranch area and the proposed development of the hub (and the BART expansion) Fremont is a very desirable destination for young professionals with little kids who are going to need a quality education. So go and vote for your interests here.
There are a few important positions also being contested in these primaries. I will not be voting for the Board of Equalization positions because, frankly, I have no idea what a Board of Equalization does. I suppose that makes me a bad citizen but I’ve tried to learn, I really have. Put it down to early-onset memory loss. But there are some other interesting races.
Governor – Jerry Brown. Jerry Brown’s main opponent is Neil Kashkari, and Indian American Republican who was the architect of the TARP program that bailed out banks at the peak of the financial crisis of 2008. He hews to the party platform, asking for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, reducing government regulations, and reducing labor influence in business. He also opposes Obamacare, the Affordable Health care Act. ‘Nuff said.
Representative for District 17 – Ro Khanna. (Hard to think of the word “District” without conjuring up images from the Hunger Games!) I have to admit I am a wee bit biased towards Khanna because I happened to meet him while writing a review of his book “Entrepreneurial Nation.” The book is upbeat and offers some solutions to America’s big problem of losing manufacturing to cheaper countries like China. Khanna’s experience as Deputy undersecretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration gives him some insight into the way Washington works, though it is hard to beat the experience of his main opponent Mike Honda, who has served 7 terms in office. Honda has been a reliable party vote. What makes me tilt towards Khanna is the lack of initiative on Honda’s part; he did not get any bills passed despite building an incredible amount of goodwill in office.
Representative for District 15 – Eric Swalwell. Turns out, after the recent round of redistricting, my house falls under this district. (Go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ to see where your address belongs.) Swalwell is a relative newcomer who has the Philippines Charitable Giving Act to his credit so far. He is a reliable Democrat, supporting additional funds for education and less for defense, and stimulus for renewable energy jobs. In the two years he has been around (yes, two…isn’t it ridiculous that Congress Reps have to fight an election every two years? When do they have the time to do their job?) he has been good about reaching out to his constituents and giving the public every opportunity to engage with him through phone conferences and town halls. His main opponent is Ellen Corbett, a very respected State Senator taking the plunge into national politics, but since this is an open primary, the two are likely to fight it out in November again.
So there you go. If you live in a different district you will have to do your homework or just vote for the party of your choice, but do make the effort.
See you at the polls.