If you watch the cable news channels you may have gotten the impression that the only place where voters matter is in the swing-states. At times it seems the two presidential candidates are running for President of Virginwiscoflohiowa. While that election is getting all the attention, there are some important votes in California that could swing the balance of political power away from middle-class Californians for years to come.
On the top of the list is Proposition 32—an attempt by billionaires and corporate special interests to kick employee unions permanently out of politics, forever. The proponents of Prop 32 have cleverly crafted an initiative that looks on the surface like campaign finance reform that stops special interests from participating in elections. Scratch through the thin veneer of reform and you find that the only impact of the initiative is to prevent employee unions from collecting voluntary political contributions from employees paychecks, and prohibiting the expenditure of union dues on political advocacy.
Employee unions are responsible for the institution of safe workplace regulations, fair pay, minimum wage, and a host of other laws that strengthen the middle class. In strangling the life out of union advocacy for rights and benefits of middle class Californians, Prop 32 sets the stage for the rolling back of laws covering everything from minimum wage to simple workplace safety.
If you vote on nothing else on Tuesday; Vote NO on 32.
Also on the ballot is Proposition 30, a temporary increase in the sales tax and income taxes for the wealthiest of Californians. The passage of this initiative will temporarily bridge the state funding gap until the economy recovers from the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Failure of this initiative to pass will result in drastic cuts to education and public safety funding. If you want to see California recover and our children have the education available to compete in the global arena, you must vote YES on Prop 30.
In Costa Mesa there is a proposal to convert the city from a general law governing structure, to a Charter City structure. The initiative was placed on the ballot by the current city council majority for one reason—To circumvent state law and give them unlimited power to shape the City State of Costa Mesa into a model for union busting and privatization of all city services. If you live in Costa Mesa and want to protect the quality of life and government services in your city, You must Vote NO on Measure V. If you want to stop further attempts by Jim Righeimer, the anti-government zealot leading the council majority that has spent close to $2 million pursuing his radical agenda, you need to vote for the reform candidates for city council. Vote Genis, Stephens, and Weitzberg for Costa Mesa City Council.
In Santa Ana, Mayor Miguel Pulido has served 25 years on the city council, 18 years as mayor. For the first time, Pulido has a well funded opponent, David Benavides, who has pulled together a broad base of community support, including support from the majority of current members of the city council. Santa Ana has operated for almost two decades as a banana republic controlled by Don-Papi Pulido. It is time for a change in the leadership culture of side-deals and success fees. That change needs to start at the top. Vote David Benavides for Santa Ana Mayor.
The largest city in Orange County is Anaheim. It has been described as a pay-to-play town where developers and resort area interests, led by Disney, run the show. earlier this year, that resulted a $158 million tax giveaway to wealthy hotel developers who funded the campaigns of the council members who voted for the giveaway. This same majority successfully blocked any attempt to place the tax giveaway up for a city-wide vote. This same majority also blocked a reasonable effort to expand democratic rule in the city by breaking up city council representation into districts which would vote on their local representation. Currently 4 of the 5 council members live in the wealthy eastern city enclave of Anaheim Hills. The battle-lines in Anaheim have been drawn, with the Disney/Developers slate of Brandman and Chavez-Lodge, and Mayor Tom Tait’s slate of Leos and Kring. With combined expenditures of about $1 million, this will prove to be on e of the most watched contests in Orange County.
Control of the Great Park City could be up for grabs this year. The Democratic slate of Councilman Larry Agran is facing a substantial challenge from the Republican slate in Irvine. Current Mayor Sukhee Kang chose to run for congress against John Campbell rather than seek reelection to the council. This left a vacancy on Agran’s Great Park Team which has been filled by newcomer P.K. Wong. Agran is running for Mayor again and Beth Krom is running for another term on the council. On the Republican side former councilwoman Christina Shea is seeking another term along with Lynn Schott, and Steven Choi is running for Mayor. Mixing things up in Irvine are the three additional candidates for council, Evan Chemers, Katherine Daigle, and School Board member Gavin Huntley-Fenner. Republicans are hoping to upset the control that Larry Agran’s slate has had on Irvine government.
Quirk-Silva vs. Norby
Redistricting in California left the northern Orange County 72nd Assembly seat, held by Republican Chris Norby, vulnerable to attack by a popular democratic challenger. The Republican/Democrat voter registration is virtually even. Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva has has raised significant money, and is driving a strong challenge to Norby. This election is a must-watch for election night.
Chen vs. Royce
Redistricting left Ed Royce in a district outside his usual comfort-zone of north-central Orange County with the newly drawn 39th Congressional district including parts of Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. Facing Royce is Jay Chen, a small business owner and officer in the U. S. Navy Reserves. The district has a 20,000 Republican voter registration advantage.
The newness of the district to Royce, makes it possible for a well funded Democrat to have a chance. The race has been in the news recently because of racist attacks launched against Jay Chen. On Friday, Chen held a press conference address the racist, anti-Asian emails and threatening calls that his campaign has received in the last few weeks.
Racist attacks against the campaign increased significantly after incumbent Tea Party member Ed Royce began running negative and false ads claiming that Chen’s financial support came from Communist China, and that Chen “could not be trusted.”
Chen said, “There is no place in Congress or in our community for a representative who campaigns by instigating racism and hate. The way Royce seeks to win votes by stirring fears of China speak to his true views about the diverse district he seeks to represent.”
After the anti-China mailers were sent last week, the campaign received hate-filled voice-mails from Royce supporters, including one who called Chen a “Chinese f—er” and threatened to physically attack Chen the next time he saw him.
These are just some of the votes where the outcome has nothing to do with Swing-State voters. Remember, to Vote on November 6th. Your Vote Does Matter!