We recommend NO votes on all incumbents, beginning with Jerry Brown who, after all his years in government, is an incumbent of the ultimate officeholding type, much like Wes Chesbro and Mike Thompson here on the Northcoast, the people who have gotten us where we are. The only difference between Brown and Whitman is that Whitman would accelerate the ongoing collapse. Ditto for Boxer and Fiorina.
5TH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR: It wasn't quite a decade after the first long-haired hedonists arrived in Mendocino County that the newcomers had elected Norman deVall 5th District supervisor. The libs have held the 5th District seat ever since to zero political end, a seat presently synonymous with gross opportunism and incompetence, dependably served up with an overweening piety that its occupant is somehow fighting the good fight or, as the more deluded like to say, "speaking truth to power," as true power, on the rare occasions it even notices, laughs and thanks the libs for the comic relief. Save for the legalization of their own hippie shacks via Class K and the de facto in-County legalization of their preferred intoxicant, marijuana, the libs have since managed only to get their own pay doubled, indeed a major accomplishment if you happen to be a supervisor. Since they dominate the public employment that comprise a third of all the jobs in the County, local libs can justly be accused of inflating the cost of local government beyond all fiscal reason as they stuffed the public bureaucracies with their friends and relatives and fellow corporate Democrats. Off to the side, the libs have also managed to destroy local public radio as a democratic public forum, preferring to jabber anonymously on their dumpster-like list serves. Organized by the Northcoast's tightly held Democratic Party apparatus masterminded by mini-minded Val Muchowski and Joe Wildman, the lib-libs are solidly behind Dan Hamburg, who is registered Green. Wendy Roberts actually is a Democrat, and she's supported by a few lib-labs (a lib-lab is a liberal suspicious of Hamburg) plus the bigwig and perpetually apoplectic Ukiah attorney Jared Carter and the blustery inland fat boys and Tea Party types clustered around the Employer's Council. These people have a visceral, wholly irrational hatred for Hamburg. They support Roberts simply because she isn't Hamburg, not because they see her as supporting the Fox News agenda. The lib-libs say Roberts would be a rubber stamp for development. What development? There isn't any, and there isn't any anywhere in sight. Objectively, either Hamburg or Roberts would be a radical improvement over the grasping Colfax and, yes, here at the AVA we regret not having supported Els Cooperrider when she ran against Colfax, and we can also declare without cringing that Gentleman George Hollister of Comptche would certainly have been a better supervisor than any of the libs who've since occupied the seat. Between Hamburg and Roberts, Roberts would probably be the more generally prudent in a Carre Brown sort of way. If Hamburg can stay interested, he'll be a capable supervisor, as he was when he first functioned as one. Whichever of the warring political impulses is elected he or she will have to do major fence repair because this election has been characterized by much gratuitous nastiness from both sides, as both side's anonymous dumpster divers claim that Dan is a cult nut and major pot outlaw and that Wendy is a Tea Party-ing pawn committed to paving over the Mendocino Coast. Whoever wins will be a major step up after Colfax.
3RD DISTRICT SUPERVISOR: PINCHES. Holly Madrigal hasn't made it clear why she would be an improvement over Cowboy John, the only incumbent on the ballot that we think has consistently gone about elective office in conscientious manner. PINCHES.
MEASURE C. Countywide half-cent sales tax increase. Another regressive tax on everyday people, all of whom are suffering in an imploding economy, few of whom can afford to pay more for groceries. County government is badly managed. Does that even need saying? Has been for a long time now. Voters see the venal cynicism of supervisors Colfax and Smith and say to themselves, "Give these people more money? No way." If by some miracle C passes, most of the money would, of necessity, have to go to the broke County pension fund, and it still wouldn't be enough to make up that ever larger deficit. But even with a fiscally responsible board majority, good money after bad is unwise at this time, and unacceptable anyway until that glorious day that the rich finally tote their fair share of the social burden.
PROP 19: Legalization of marijuana. NO. Until pot is legalized at the federal level, state initiatives like this one merely add to the enforcement confusion already prevalent at the local level. Here in Mendocino County, ground zero Pot Country, federal narcs, whose own employment depends on the failed War On Drugs, continue to raid whomever they want to raid regardless of local attempts at local rules. Anyway, this proposition is the work of large-scale interests positioning themselves to further dominate the marijuana business. These people are already prospering mightily by buying low from outback farmers, indoor and out, and selling high (sic) at their so-called clinics in urban areas. Furthermore, and like it or not, pot farming is crucial to the economic well-being of thousands of Northcoast families more dependent on marijuana than ever in a collapsed rural economy unlikely to recover, ever. Legalization would further harm the local economy by driving pot prices farther down and, of course, further confuse young people who already view pot as harmless when it isn't. Some kind of basic regulation will always be necessary to protect people, especially young people, from themselves. NO on 19.
PROP 20: NO. It's true that California is gerrymandered in a way that protects incumbents, but a re-districting committee selected by chambers of commerce and other corporate front groups is not the way to improve anything, let alone representation. NO.
PROP 21: Annual vehicle tax surcharge of $18 to fund state parks, mostly, with some of the money going for wildlife protection programs. Everyone who pays the tax gets into parks free. YES. Double YES for Mendo residents who along with thousands of annual visitors enjoy our state parks. YES.
PROP 22: NO. This thing would take money from firefighting and schools and route it, basically, to developers. It's complicated but when you see the Republicans and the California Chamber of Commerce for a proposition, either take our word for it that it's not in the public interest, or spend three days analyzing the fine print your own self. NO.
PROP 23: NO. As it stands, major polluters, many of them anyway, are required to report gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The major polluters, of course, don't like to report and dislike even more investing in the technology to reduce greenhouse gases. The bad guys, Big Oil and friends, came up with Prop 23 to elude responsibility for the damage they do to all of us. NO.
PROP 24: YES. Undoes certain tax breaks for big biz. Opposed only by them. YES.
PROP 25: YES, ABSOLUTELY YES! Requires a simple majority vote to pass the state budget rather than the two thirds vote required now. All the way back to James Madison and the rest of the founding fathers, it has been recognized by all but the self-interested that without simple majority votes special interests can hamstring legislation beneficial to the rest of us. We've needed majority legislative rule in California since the 1920s when Hiram Johnson Progressives, for all the right reasons at that time, enacted California's two thirds vote requirement. It's past time to return to a simple majority vote, as annual budgetary events in Sacramento make obvious. YES.
PROP 26: NO. The same forces who hamstring the budget and legislation via the two thirds requirement are attempting to counter-act Prop 25, which they know will pass. Prop 26 would put the two thirds requirement on taxes and call a vote on them, too. NO.
PROP 27: NO. This one would return responsibility for redistricting to the state legislature, the same people who enjoy uncontested re-election year after dreary election year. We've voted for a citizen's committee to consider re-districting. Leave it alone. NO.