Here's how I'm going to vote (UPDATED WITH THE FEW RACES I MISSED LAST NIGHT):
Yes on 19.
I know some stoners and activists are against it. I think some of their critiques are legitimate. But a lot of it's just crazy paranoid fantasies about what will totally happen if there's, like, legal weed, man. The market will get involved!
In terms of what it'll mean for most recreational stoners, and because I love an underdog, I'm voting yes. This is one area where experimental democracy can have real dividends, and give other states a model for how to start the march toward full decriminalization.
Yes on 20.
California voted for the redistricting committee in 2008, but it hasn't meant anything because there's been no redistricting — the Census comes every ten years. Given that the Prop 11 in 2008 that authorized this also removed the prior law keeping legislators from gerrymandering districts to favor parties, incumbents or candidates, voting no on 20 is remarkably stupid. Carl Pope of the Sierra Club out to be ashamed, having his name next to the crazed invective from the voter guide, especially since it sounds like he doesn't know what the prop says. Yes on 20, no on 27.
Yes on 21.
Would you pay $18 a year to have free access to all state parks? Hell yes. Conservation, education, whatever, don't care. Free trips to state parks whenever I want to go? I realize I'm betraying hints of my class here, but goddamn, I love me some free parks and will go all the time. It already costs about six bucks a visit, depending on which ones and how long you park. So figure that you just have to go three times a year to break even, or four times to come out ahead? The argument against is just that it's some sort of car tax or something, and really just comes across as Rob Stutzman hates parks.
No on 22.
Really, trying to put up structural barriers to stop cash flow treasury abuses only works when we're running a surplus. Right now, 22 is just a measure from folks who don't believe government ever works wanting to prove themselves right by making it harder for government to work.
No on 23.
Part of the problem with global warming is that it really is a problem that we have to deal with even when it's not politically or economically convenient. It is happening, deniers are flat earthers, and the economic effects are going to be devastating, so letting them cascade earlier is dumb. Combine that with the loss of green jobs just so that current businesses can keep polluting? Ugh.
Yes on 24.
This one, I could go either way on. I do think that the business tax exemptions as passed were a terrible compromise to an elite group of national and multinational chain businesses that should never have even been necessary. I understand the LA Times position that it's not the voters' place to hash out tax code, especially not through the initiative process, but given that they're bad policy and that the voters are the last chance to catch them before they go into effect, it's hard not to see this as a good opportunity. Especially because the remedy proposed by the Times is to vote out the representatives, but that's easier said than done and only really speaks of single-issue voting anyway. I don't like the initiative system, but when given the choice between voting for 24 and voting against it? I'm voting for it grudgingly.
Yes on 25.
As you hear on every single campaign ad, "Sacramento is broken." A lot of that is because of the two-thirds majority required to get a budget through the legislature. We waste millions, hundreds of millions, every year, and during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, no less. The two-thirds requirement entrenches partisanship and destroys compromise, just like it does in the US Senate. It may mean higher taxes. It will also mean better budgets sooner, with fewer cuts to services. If you like good government, vote yes.
No on 26.
Everything I just said about 25? Reverse it for 26, which would require a two-thirds vote on any fees raised by the government. Now, fees were supposed to be the libertarian approach to taxes, where people pay based on how much they use and can decide how much they use. Sure, it seems a little naive to tell some kid up in Tehachapi that he's choosing to drive his car to work, and so he can ration his other trips to stay within budget, but revenue's gotta come from somewhere. Sorry, you just don't get a good government for free. You get a Somali government for free. Anyway, I'm rambling. Twenty-six would be bad for California. Don't vote for it.
No on 27.
Why would we want to get rid of that redistricting board? Twenty-seven gets rid of it, in concert with Prop 20. It doesn't "save us money," it's sponsored by lunatics and incumbents (with some overlap between the two).
Barbara Boxer for US Senate.
Fiorina was terrible for HP and got fired. Now she's running a cynical campaign, the only real advantage of which is that she brought out a mean, petty Boxer. On some level, it was fun to see Dems fight nasty. On the other hand, it gets old real fast. I'll probably vote early, but if it looks like a blowout, I gotta admire Duane Roberts from the Greens running on a Vote for Duane platform. You know, if you just gotta vote for someone you could have a beer with.
Jerry Brown for Governor.
"I am Governor Jerry Brown. My aura smiles and never frowns." As a big fan of punk rock, I always hoped I'd get to vote for California Uber Alles.
Karen Bass for US Rep.
She got elected two years ago, and I haven't heard boo from her since. Still, when in doubt, this year I'm going Dem.
Curren Price for State Senate.
Endorsed by EQCA, so at least there's that.
Mike Gatto for State Assembly.
Also endorsed by EQCA, Gatto looks a bit sleazy and I couldn't tell from his ads if he was Dem or GOP, but he's a Dem and is apparently for marriage equality. Why not?
Gavin Newsom for Lieutenant Governor.
His cousin's Joanna the screechy harpist. I once worked with a guy named Ted Newsome, which'll make it hard to remember how to spell Gavin's last name. He might get to be governor if Brown dies. Why not?
Debra Bowen for Secretary of State.
She's done a pretty good job for the last four years, so might as well keep her going. I went to a DMV a couple years ago, it was pretty nice, but I'm not sure she's responsible for that. Pretty fast. I'm not sure if she's responsible for that, but in Michigan she would be and she's on a down-ticket race. She's running against a bootstrapping NFL player who sounds like a total dumbass. I'm not going to lie, I think focusing on voter fraud is kinda silly, but that's what she's gotta do, and he's just kinda saying that he'll provide hope for kids and give companies exit interviews when they leave the state (WTF?).
John Chiang for Controller.
I keep wanting to find out that Controller is some sort of super comic book villian position that, through a fluke of California's initiative process, is put up for election every four years. "As the Controller, I will use implanted brain chips to reduce techno-waste by thirty percent! Mind-erase collars and tele-helmets are costing us millions per year!" Chiang's been a pretty good controller, and I voted for him before, so I'd like to keep the streak alive.
Bill Lockyer for Treasurer.
I honestly had no idea what party Lockyer was from, given his ads about being independent and chastising both major parties. He's done well holding California together as much as it has been, and if the sucker wants another term, he should get it. He's up against someone endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who fill the voter guides with so much nonsense that it must be a front group for guys who drink the blue fluid at barbershops.
Kamala Harris for Attorney General.
The LA Times endorse Steven Cooley as a bit better than Harris, though they concede that both of the candidates are strong ones (for a change). But what doesn't bother them about Cooley, that he's stridently pro-death penalty, anti-gay rights and that he said he'd join in the bullshit lawsuit against "Obamacare," does bother me. These aren't little things, and that he's from LA and is a "good manager" isn't enough for me to get over my reluctance to put the defense of rights that I cherish in his hands.
Dave Jones for Insurance Commissioner.
Dave Jones has been so good as Insurance Commissioner that I won't even make a Monkees joke.
Larry Aceves for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
He's actually been a superintendent, seems to not have dogmatic positions one way or another, and is up against a guy touting his endorsement from the California Professional Firefighters. Has Torlakson (a mysteriously Swedish name) promised to require fire safety classes as graduation requirements? Don't vote for big fire!
Mike Gatto for
No endorsements on Board of Equalization.
Frankly, I just don't know enough. As the people who split up the public excise revenues in California, it's a position just absolutely ripe for a noir novel to be written about it, the dirty unsupervised moneys that go through the vaguely named bureaucracy. I'm pretty much just gonna vote straight Democrat, because what the hell. In all but one of the districts, that's who's already the incumbent; in the last, the Dem gives "Former Honorary Mayor of Pacific Beach" as a qualification, so why not?
John Nuguez for County Assessor.
He's endorsed by the Dems, at least. Scant info on the lower races.
Randy Hammock and Alan Schneider for Superior Court Judges. Rrrrrandy. Rrrrrrandy Hammock.
LA Times says "Yes" on all the judges. After that, the punditocracy thins out quickly. The only real No that I've seen going around is on Ming W. Chin, because he voted that Prop 8 was constitutional under the California state constitution. I'm as against Prop 8 as anybody — hell, I worked against it for a year — but I can understand that in his legal opinion, it was allowed under California law, even if I disagree with that. It was always going to be a federal thing, anyway. So, I'm voting for all of 'em; you can leave out Chin if you like.
Whew. I think that's all from my ballot.