BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Here’s the last installment of my election recommendations, and they are all in California. Please remember that those races I’ve discussed earlier articles are listed below of this piece. For ease, the elections discussed in this piece appear in the order they appear in the “Official Sample Ballot” you received about three weeks ago.
Choosing a Lieutenant Governor was a bit tough. While I am prone to select the Democratic candidate (at least when it comes to choosing between the two halves of the political duopoly), this time there was a nagging concern. Abel Maldonado is the Republican candidate. He was one of the few Republicans willing to put the state’s interests ahead of Republicans’ budget intransigence in 2009. It’s worth rewarding such behaviors. On the other hand, the Democratic candidate, Gavin Newsom, is easily as competent, and closer to my views on the issues. Ultimately, I’m saying, “Vote Newsom”.
One of the easiest choices to be made on this ballot is the vote for Secretary of State. Debra Bowen, coming off a legislative career, has done a very good job of standing up for the people’s interests in her capacity as the chief elections officer of the state at a time of transition. She held up the approval of electronic voting machines until she was satisfied with their security and integrity. After the strange happenings in Ohio in 2004, this is crucially important.
John Chiang for Controller is another fairly easy choice. In just four years, he’s recovered 50% more outstanding debts for the state than the previous record holder had in eight years. He’s also stood up and fought for the little guy—the state’s employees—when they were being buffeted by the winds of power in California’s interminable budget mess.
Vote Lockyer for Treasurer. He’s served one term, has lots of government experience, and is worthy of a second term. Having said this, I must also give to credit to a friend who’s running on the Green Party ticket, Kit Crittenden. If you don’t want to vote for a major party candidate (Lockyer’s a Dem), then I’d ask you opt for Kit.
Attorney General is an easy choice, if nothing else, in the negative. Vote for San Francisco’s current District Attorney, Kamala Harris, who’s built a reputation of pursuing environmental lawbreakers, in addition to the usual caseload. So if you like to breathe clean air, you know where to turn. Now couple this with her main opponent’s, Steve Cooley, deplorable history with Armenian concerns (for a recent example, see Appo Jabarian’s pieces, in Armenian Life Magazine, about what can only be described as Cooley’s office’s harassment of an Armenian with an unblemished record of citizenship) .
California’s Insurance Commissioner is supposed to oversee insurance companies’ doings. We all know how unsavory some of these huge outfits are. So when they’re gunning for someone, I know that’s the guy to vote for, Dave Jones.
Jerome Horton is currently a member of the State Board of Equalization, for District 4. This is the agency that oversees the collection of various taxes and hears appeals regarding some of them. He is the only major party candidate, and will likely win, might as well support him. The other option might have been the Peace and Freedom candidate, but I don’t imagine a jewelry maker would be optimal for this job. Then there’s a Libertarian candidate, which is something of an oxymoron since that party would like to see government whittled down to nothing. Lastly, there’s a candidate from the “American Independent” party, which is so far right wing that it’s not even worth discussing them.
For the U.S. House of Representatives, I’ll refer everyone to the ANCA’s endorsements. Of course, in my district and adjacent ones, representing different Armenian ghettos and standing strong for our issues are Schiff, Berman, and Sherman.
For the California State Senate and State Assembly, I’ll again refer everyone to the ANCA endorsement. One race, for a seat that represents the heart of the LA-area’s Armenian community, the 43rd Assembly District has been a tough one. After tumultuous interactions and independently evolving electoral realities, Mike Gatto’s gotten the ANC’s endorsement.
On the judicial front there are three sets of judges to vote for. The first two have no competitors, it’s just a yes-no choice. These, justices of California’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, are appointed positions. But we the people get to say whether they can stay or not. I’m not aware of any reasons to dump any of them, so just vote yes, or leave it blank if the “yes” makes you uncomfortable. For the Superior Court (this is at the county level so I’m only addressing Los Angeles) there are three “Offices” up. These are always the toughest, because information is so scarce. For Office 28, I had the opportunity to see both candidates, and they both seem reasonable. I’m going to recommend voting Ameli, since he’s an immigrant who done well and as such can serve as a role model. I can’t help you on Office 117, and Office 136 is uncontested.
Superintendent of Schools is a very important position these days. And this choice is a tough one. Aceves comes from a school administration background while Torlakson is a legislator and a former teacher. I’m going with Torlakson because this is the elective political arena, and I think his experience in that area will serve him well.
Vote John Noguez for County Assessor. Again, this is for Los Angeles only. I’ve met him. He’s got experience in the field, currently a deputy assessor. He’s mayor of Huntington Park. He’s worked with ANC.
Be sure to vote. Election Day is November 2. If you’re voting by mail, remember that having a November 2 postmark on your ballot envelope is insufficient. It must be RECEIVED by November 2. If you have any questions, contact your local ANC or the regional office (818/500-1918). See you at the polls!
- U.S. Senator- Barbara Boxer, in “Preparing for November”
- Governor- Jerry Brown, in “Preparing for November”
- Prop 19- yes, in “Mostly Props”
- Prop 20- no, in “Mostly Props”
- Prop 21- yes, in “Go to the Beach Free”
- Prop 22- no, in “Mostly Props”
- Prop 23- no, in “Go to the Beach Free”
- Prop 24- yes, in “Mostly Props”
- Prop 25- yes, in “Preparing for November”
- Prop 26- no, in “Preparing for November”
- Prop 27- no, in “Mostly Props”
- U.S. Senator- Harry Reid