My Thoughts on the June 5, 2018 Ballot
The June 5, 2018 ballot is important for two reasons: first, the top two finishers will be on the November ballot; second, the Propositions will be decided by those who vote in June. Please vote on June 5 or before if by mail.
Governor’s race: I like three candidates: Antonio Villaraigosa, Gavin Newsom and John Chiang in that order. I’m voting for Antonio because I think he’s very good on education, health and the budget; he is gutsy and a real leader. Gavin is I think very good on health and gay rights. John Chiang is very good on the budget.
Antonio supports improving the quality and outcomes of children’s education, closing the achievement gaps, and improving accountability in both the district public schools and in the charter public schools. As mayor of LA, he played a key role in upgrading some of the worst performing district schools by developing the Partnership schools; that took a lot of guts and stamina and a willingness to stand up for kid’s education. He understands the need and priority to improve the Affordable Care Act and played a key role as Assembly Speaker in developing the Healthy Families program for moderate-income working families. As Mayor, he helped LA weather the Great Recession when our city revenues were way down and the needs for city services were way up.
Gavin did a great job in developing Healthy San Francisco to cover all San Francisco residents. He led the charge for gay marriage in San Francisco and the nation. While I appreciate his push for single payer health care, he quite simply does not yet have a workable plan to pay for it. He has not to my knowledge been a leader on educational reforms, which are very important to me.
John seems to me to have the best handle on the state budget. He is very thoughtful, well informed on the state’s finances. He is a man of great integrity and intellectual curiosity.
Lieutenant Governor: I really like California State Senator Ed Hernandez for this position. He has a lot of experience and has been a terrifically effective leader on virtually every aspect of health care reform.
Secretary of State: I like Alex Padilla; he’s been a steady leader in pushing for every Californian to vote and making it easier for them to do so. Registration has gone up by 2 million to 19 million on his watch.
“Padilla was elected on promises to modernize the state’s antiquated voting and campaign finance systems, as well as increase voter registration and turnout. He has kept his promises.”
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article210651329.html#storylink=cpy
State Treasurer: I like Fiona Ma. She’s a CPA and has been a strong leader in state finance and tax reforms. https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Chronicle-Recommends-Fiona-Ma-for-state-treasurer-12870656.php
Attorney General: I like Dave Jones and Xavier Becerra a lot. They are both excellent choices. I’m voting for Becerra because of his experience in Congress, and we need his on the ground knowledge about how to best combat the Trump Administration’s attacks on all the fundamentals of California: the environment, economic growth, immigration, population diversity, trade, taxes, tariffs, agriculture, and relations with Mexico and Asia.
State Insurance Commissioner: This is a very interesting face-off between Senator Ricardo Lara and Steve Poizner. I’m voting for Senator Lara. Lara has been pushing to cover all Californians regardless of immigration status and has already been successful in getting 180,000 undocumented children covered. Poizner who is running as an independent was a past Insurance Commissioner and a very good one. He ran a pretty odious, immigrant-bashing campaign for Governor as a Republican in 2010. The Bee, SF Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News are endorsing Poizner, based on his past performance as Insurance Commissioner and his apologies for his past campaign rhetoric. http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article209943754.html
State Controller: I’m voting for Betty Yee; she has done a first rate job and merits re-election to a second and final term as Controller. https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/18/editorial-betty-yee-the-only-qualified-option-for-state-controller/
US Senator: This is an interesting race between Senator Dianne Feinstein and California Senate President Kevin DeLeon. They are both great. I’m voting for Feinstein. She has the experience and respect that we urgently need in confronting some of the worst challenges to our nation in my lifetime.
US Representative: I think Ted Lieu is doing a terrific job so I’m voting for him.
State Senator: Ben Allen is excellent; I’m voting for him.
State Assembly: Richard Bloom is unopposed; I’m voting for him.
State Superintendent of Schools: I strongly support Marshall Tuck. Katie and I know him well, and he has done an extraordinary job running the Partnership and the Green Dot schools in Los Angeles and dramatically improved educational outcomes. He really knows education policy and has incredible integrity and commitment. School kids and parents in California urgently need an education leader like Marshall in this position because our state’s performance on education reform has been remarkably poor in comparison to our peers in other states. The poor outcomes of our state’s public education system is badly damaging our children’s ability to succeed in the new economy. See
http://www.luciensblog.com/blog/2018/5/8/marshall-tuck-california-public-k-12-education-what-do-we-need-to-do https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-Marshall-Tuck-for-state-schools-chief-12795145.php http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/editorials/sd-marshall-tuck-for-school-superintendent-20180523-story.html
Prop 68 would authorize a $4 billion bond measure for California’s state parks. I’m voting yes. The supporters point to the need to repair and maintain the parks after years of drought and underfunding due to the Great Recession. The opponents say “don’t use bonds, use the budget surplus.” I’m voting yes.
Proposition 69 would put the new gas tax revenues in a “lock box” so they can only be spent on transportation improvements and exempts them from the Gann limit – a provision of the state constitution dating back to 1980 which limits the state’s spending growth to population plus the CPI (Consumer Price Index). Opponents say it’s not necessary while supporters point to the need to assure the new revenues are only used for their designated purposes. I’m voting yes. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_69,_Transportation_Taxes_and_Fees_Lockbox_and_Appropriations_Limit_Exemption_Amendment_(June_2018)
Proposition 70 would require a 2/3rds vote on the allocation of “cap and trade” revenues in 2024. These are funds designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Typically, budgets are now approved in both houses on a 50% plus one vote. This Proposition would implement an agreement between Governor Brown and the Assembly Republican leader to require a 2/3rds vote on the allocation of those revenues in 2024. Virtually every major California newspaper urges a “no” vote. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_70,_Vote_Requirement_to_Use_Cap-and-Trade_Revenue_Amendment_(June_2018)
Proposition 71 would change the effective date of a ballot initiative from the day after the election to five days after the Secretary of State certifies the election results. Everyone urges a “yes” vote. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_71,_Effective_Date_of_Ballot_Measures_Amendment_(June_2018)
Proposition 72 would exempt rainwater capture systems from the property tax. Everyone urges a “yes”. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_72,_Rainwater_Capture_Systems_Excluded_from_Property_Tax_Assessments_Amendment_(June_2018)
Here are my recommendations:
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin