GOVERNOR: At this point the office boils down to who you think is likely to be best at sifting the rubble. Jerry — Talk Left Act Right — Brown is probably slightly more humane than Meg — Let's Run The State Like A Business Even Though It's A Giant Bankrupt Non-Profit — Whitman.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: You've got the ultimate empty suit, Gavin Newsom, versus Janice Hahn, an LA cliche machine, and you've got Eric Korevaar, who describes himself as a “scientist, father, businessman,” an arrangement of priorities suggesting that Eric made his kid in a test tube. The AVA is not enthusiastic about the choices here.
SECRETARY OF STATE: Debra Bowen, career hackette versus the usual maniacs put up by the Republicans. Debbie can probably do Sacramento better than they can.
CONTROLLER: John Chiang. He has consistently brought the bad fiscal news right down to the penny. No reason to toss him.
TREASURER: Bill Lockyer. There's no money in the vault so even a career officeholder like this guy ought to be able to guard it.
ATTORNEY GENERAL: Kamala Harris. I met her once, and could have met her twice but I went to the ball game instead. She's very smart, very pretty, and very charming. Chauvinist assessments aside, she's also a pretty tough cookie. My cousin, Jim Rowland, is head of Ms. Harris's domestic violence unit in San Francisco. Jim once worked in Mendocino County with the Public Defender's Office. He finally got a divorce, but as I said to Ms. Harris when I met her, our family suspects that Jim himself was an ongoing victim of domestic violence, thus well qualified to run her domestic vi unit. In other words, this lady knows how to select qualified staff. Kamala gave me a funny look and scurried away when I relayed the family news to her, which is all public figures can do when they're sandbagged by pests who somehow got past security. Kamala will be fair and reasonable in the job. The other side will do a lot of macho posturing about how tough on crime they are, but look at them! See any real tough in any of those big white pasty-faced Fox News puff balls?
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Hector De La Torre is probably less in the corporate bag than the other candidates, but the insurance combines own us all, right down to the commissioner.
BOARD OF EQUALIZATION: Betty T. Yee. We really haven't had a people's rep sitting in the 1st District seat since Bill Bennett, but Betty isn't bad.
US SENATOR: Mickey Kaus, a reform Democrat. It's past time to send Boxer permanently home to write more bad novels.
CONGRESS: It's either incumbent Mike Thompson or, or, or.... Tim Lincecum, the charismatic Giant's pitcher. Thompson is a walking example of everything gone terribly wrong in American politics.
STATE SENATOR: Tom Lynch, heckuva good Guerneville guy who for years has fought the ongoing degradation of the Russian River by upstream Santa Rosa.
ASSEMBLY, 1ST DISTRICT: It pains me, pains me deeply to even write his name but Wes Chesbro, a man who has never held a job outside public office, a man utterly without principle beyond his own comfort and welfare, a man who, if you vote for him, I promise to send someone to your house to chop off your voting hand, Chesbro and Chesbro-ism simply have to be stopped.
JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT: Caren Callahan. Ms. Callahan studied nights to become a lawyer after her exhausting day job as a beat cop. Old fashioned boot strap ambition deserves reward, and this modest, unassuming, hardworking woman is much more deserving of the position than Ms. Moorman who prattles on about how she wants to be judge because it's good for her. Pure narcissism is characteristic of Mendolib, of course, so the candidate's apparent fascination with herself is widely regarded as, “Hey, she's just like me!” But whenever you have Mendolib united behind a candidate, as they are behind Ms. Moorman, yearning to anoint the candidate rather than elect her, you know in your bones the candidate is a menace in the making.
STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION: The worst public school system in America is, by all standards, California's. It deserves the very worst person to be in charge of it. Mendocino County's superintendents all being employed, pick any old one of the dozen aspirants listed on the June ballot and hunker down for The End Times.
MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: The choice here is between incumbent Paul Tichinin and Benji Molina, the Giants catcher. “But doesn't Benji have to play baseball in San Francisco every day? How could he do a job in Ukiah?” Yes, Benji does have to play baseball every day, but he could phone in his free lunches. Tichinin, a consensus incompetent even by the dubious standards of Mendocino County, has no identifiable skills and even fewer responsibilities. Benji's bi-lingual. Tichinin's un-lingual.
SUPERVISOR, 5TH DISTRICT: We remain undecided. And some of the candidates haven't paid for their ads yet, but Dan Hamburg and Wendy Roberts are running strongest, it seems, running a lot stronger than nostalgia for Norman de Vall, a pleasant fellow increasingly lost in the thickets of his thought processes. And Norm was a late entry, very late after his three opponents got off to a fast and early start. Jim Mastin's support is hard to gage but it's there. Each in their separate ways would be capable supervisors, especially after years of The Disappearing Colfax. Apologies for being so nambo-pambo on this one but we're still arguing about it here at Argument Central, the dispute being: “Historically, the libs have not been good supervisors. The more conservative supes have been fiscally better and they've tended to be more open to all their constituents, not just the candy asses (sic) who elected them.” On the other hand, “You've got the Farm Bureau and The Beasts From The East, Jared Carter et al, behind Wendy. The Farm Bureau is wrong about everything, including farming, and the County's right-wing could care less about the people local government ought to do a few things for, not that libs have done anything beyond blah-blah into their echo chamber at KZYX.” We could live with any of these people.
ASSESSOR-COUNTY CLERK-RECORDER: Susan Ranochak is running unopposed. She has her critics, and there was a huge glitch just now on the absentee ballots which, not so incidentally, were entirely the fault of the printer who has assumed full responsibility. I think she does a good job satisfying three separate responsibilities in a time of plummeting worker morale and staff shortages.
AUDITOR-CONTROLLER: Meredith Ford, also unopposed. She understands County finances and is good at explaining them. But she works for people with, ah, imperfect understandings of these matters, and these people, the supervisors, make the final fiscal decisions based on what? Moon cycles?
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Incumbent Meredith Lintott is a nice lady who appears to be way in over her head. Or so weighed down by her personal financial difficulties — she's declared bankruptcy — she neglects her duties. We think David Eyster is a perfect match for the position. He's very smart and personable, the kind of guy you can disagree with without him going sideways on you. Matt Finnegan is impressively passionate about putting the truly bad people away and would also make a good DA. So maybe Eyster can re-install him as the office pitbull.
SHERIFF: Tom Allman is running unopposed. Fortunately. This position should be an appointed one because when the office is contested the department is left divided, the losers embittered, and you've got angry men in uniform driving around in the dark with guns. But so far so good with Allman. He's available to the citizen-body and, you could say, even omni-present, out there every day somewhere in vast Mendocino County taking the pulse of the people, and slapping the cuffs on if you're running a 200 sitting in your recliner.
TREASURER-TAX COLLECTOR: Unopposed Shari Schapmire should continue in this most thankless position where she's good at collecting what's left to collect.
PROP 13: VOTE YES. Another seismic safety hustle in the context of Nobody Really Knows What The Hell's Going To Happen In The Next Big One But Retrofit Anyway. Especially if the average homeowner (and the always undeserving big property owners) get a slight tax break.
PROP 14: VOTE NO. A sinister measure that would reduce our choices to the duopoly of Democrats riding around in the big black limos or Republicans riding around in the big black limos. The minority parties like Peace and Freedom and the Greens would disappear. Very bad for what's left of our democracy.
PROP 15: VOTE YES. Even the tiniest step towards public funding of elections is a step away from the domination of the process by the rich and the rich organized as corporations.
PROP 16: VOTE NO. PG&E has spent millions on this thing to prevent counties and towns from selling power as entities apart from the giant monopoly.
PROP 17: VOTE NO. The Mercury Insurance Company wants to repeal the 1988 desire of California voters that more or less compels competition among insurers. This thing would make it a lot easier for insurance companies, who already get damn near everything they want, to really put the screws to the people of this state.
MEASURE A: VOTE YES. Anderson Valley's school buildings are old, so old they're literally falling apart. Of course a $15 million-plus bond is a lot of money, and management of the district, historically considered, inspires little confidence. We're faced with a choice between crumbling structures and funny money financing. Funny money financing is our only option. The oversight committee is made up of honest, objective citizens who include, even, The Major, a numbers man from way back. He's already stomping around the office vowing that “the goddam bond money will be spent locally on local working people or I'll know the reason why and tell you about it, too!” In anticipation of his new responsibilities, The Major has bought a new shirt as his meeting jacket walked to Ukiah and checked itself into the dry cleaners. The Major is ready!