2018 Voter Guide

Compiled for District 2. Includes Sonoma County and Sebastopol voter information. Compiled for District 2. Includes Sonoma County and Sebastopol voter information.

2018 Voter Guide
Photo by Adam Tinworth / Unsplash

Compiled for California District 2 (includes state-wide elections and propositions and concentrates on Sonoma County and Sebastopol).

For United States Senate:
Vote for: Kevin de León

The choice between Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León isn’t an easy one. Feinstein has a long record of defending certain important institutions, such as Planned Parenthood, which are absolutely vital, now more than ever. However, I cannot in good conscience vote for someone who has so consistently voted against the important principles I stand for (her vote for the Iraq war, her consistent support of bills aimed at “border security,” and her semi-dismissal of Universal Healthcare all stand against her. In my mind, what we need right now is to tip the scales. Whenever compromise is mentioned, it means a compromise toward the Right, and that is something I cannot abide. With nothing against Senator Feinstein and her long role as a moderator between Left and Right, I believe that it’s my duty to choose the person who has outright declared himself for the farther-left principles I believe are needed to help this State, and this country, thrive. You can read more about Kevin de León on his Wiki.

2nd District Representative
Vote for: Jared Huffman

The race here is quite light. I don’t stand behind Huffman in all things, but he is left-leaning enough to gain my approval. His opponent, Dale Mensing, does not display the abilities or aims I wish to see in Congress.

For CA State Senate
Veronica “Roni” Jacobi

Jacobi stands for the sort of change that we need and the commitment to the sort of policies that can do some real good in the world. Her commitment to progressive ideals is concrete.

State Assembly District 2
Jim Wood

The only democrat running, Wood is the best choice for the Assembly.

California Governor
Vote for: Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom has consistently shown himself to be a forward-thinking and progressive political leader. You can learn more about him through some simple Googling, so I won’t add much, other than I believe he’s the only choice in this election.

Lieutenant Governor

I don’t list my preference between these two options because, frankly, this is something you’ll need to decide for yourself. The short of the long is as follows:

Eleni Kounalakis was a United States ambassador to Hungary appointed by President Obama. Her father donated $5 million dollars to her campaign and she comes from generally privileged roots. She’s outspoken in her support of defending the CA coastlines from Trump and the Republican administration. She has worked as property developer and has strong connections to that industry — this may be useful in getting the corporate interests sitting down and talking or it could be a display of where she might go when it comes to how development in California takes place.

Ed Hernandez is a State Senator and long-time politician. His concentration is on lowering the cost of schools and various elements of healthcare reform. He has sponsored a bill that required transparency for drug prices from major pharmaceutical companies. He has, however, also taken large sums of money from various pharmaceutical companies over the years and displays a voting record which sometimes aligns a little too much with such companies.

Neither Lt. Governor option is 100% clear in this case. the position, while largely ceremonial, does provide a stepping stone for whomever has it. It also affords the winner a position on several important state commissions. At the end of the day, you’ll need to make your own choice here about which of these two is better suited to the role.

Insurance commissioner
Vote for: Ricardo Lara

Ricardo Lara is everything the new, young, Blue Wave needs. He has a proven history of supporting progressive agendas such as Single Payer healthcare. Lara has also garnered endorsements from several of the best-known political actors in California, including U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. His opponent is a man from the upper-echelons of the wealthy establishment and most of his support seems to be from the old conservative (conservative Democrat as well as Republican) end of the spectrum. He is running as an Independent after running as a Republican most of his political career. Also, in the 2010 election he ran on a powerfully-right-wing platform, decrying sanctuary cities. He also openly opposes single-payer healthcare.

Fiona Ma

I would have preferred Vivek Viswanathan to Ma, since Vivek showed a far more powerful interest in defending against corporate interests. However, Ma has a long track record of working to improve the government. Given that she is running against a man who opposes everything I stand for, Ma has my declared vote.

State superintendent of public instruction
Tony Thurmond

Thurmond has a history of working to better the school system and has the support of teachers unions. Marshall Tuck is primarily a supporter of charter schools and his backing comes from large-money interests who support charter schools. While I’m not opposed to charter schools (and, indeed, find in them a potential to be far superior to our horrendous public school system, everything about which I abhor) it does seem that Thurmond is the better choice. Both men have the backing of monied special interests and neither are my ideal, but it’s also a question of how effectively they can work with whomever becomes Governor.

Board of Equalization
Malia Cohen

This board has been largely stripped of its power, but I’m voting blue here since the only other option is Republican.

Secretary of state
Alex Padilla

A no-contest vote between a principled Democrat and a Republican who touts all the usual conservatism that I so deeply disagree with. Padilla will get my vote.

Betty Yee

The Dem-vs-Rep argument continues. So-far I have seen nothing to recommend any Republican candidate.

Attorney general
Xavier Becerra

The Dem-vs-Rep argument continues. This is also one of the most important elections of the campaign. Read more here.

Statewide Ballot Propositions

Proposition 1
Vote: Yes

This proposition would issue $4 billion dollars in bonds to support various affordable housing initiatives. The SF Green Party opposes this due to the use of public emergency funds for private holdings (funding private homes for veterans, etc.). While this position is valid, I believe that simply breaking down the numbers and understanding the scope of the proposition is important. 1.5 billion would go directly infrastructure, 1 billion to helping veterans with affordable housing, and the remainder would be spread out among local governments to help with a variety of civil infrastructure projects.

Proposition 2
Vote: Yes

The SF Green Party says the following: “Greens note that bond-funded housing should be publicly owned, which Prop 2 does not guarantee. And we note that Prop 63 is only needed because we still do not have universal health care, which should include mental health services. But while we continue to fight for those priorities, we see Prop 2 as worthy of our support.” I, personally, see this as a simple choice. The State has a massive issue with homelessness and a rising problem with lack of support for the mentally ill (and lack of reasonable protections to keep people from falling into the sort of living situations where mental illness proliferates. In short: more money for affordable housing is a good thing, even if it’s not the ideal measures taken.

Proposition 3
Vote: No

A $9 billion dollar bond measure to build dams. Dams are horrible for the environment and are far from the effective measures we need to combat water shortage issues in California. We need to consider where the lobbying for this sort of infrastructure investment comes from as well.

Proposition 4
Vote: Yes

The SF Green party says of this: “Prop 4 perpetuates our unfair, privately dominated medical system, and we therefore oppose it.” Their argument is that of the $1.5 billion dollars of bond money directed within this proposition, much of the money could end up going to privately-owned hospitals and “non-profit” organizations which continue the practice of high CEO paychecks. My thoughts are this: the opposition is absolutely correct. The fact that we pour public money into private healthcare institutions is monstrous and needs to be corrected. We should be standing for Universal Healthcare — and such universal methods (healthcare and UBI) are the only way forward for our country. That said, in this case there is a very real investment in human life. These funds, even in the hands of private companies and “non-profit” entities, will provide the technology and support needed to help sick children. It’s not by any means ideal, but it is not a waste of our funds.

Proposition 5
Vote: No

This is a horrible bill supported by for-profit entities who wish to swing the legal mechanisms of the State in the wrong direction. Read the SF Chronicle article about it, here, for a fuller overview. This is a clear “no” from me.

Proposition 6
Vote: No

“Repeals a 12-cent-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax and an increase in the vehicle license fee, proceeds of which are earmarked for road, bridge and public transit improvements.” This bill is clearly nonsense from any point of view. I’ll be voting “No.”

Proposition 7
Vote: Yes

The benefits of a national standard are not worth the consequences. While this change would put California on a different timezone than the rest of the United States, I believe that the benefits are worth it. Here’s what the SF Green Party has to say:

“Prop 7 would allow the legislature to keep CA on the same time year round, instead of switching our clocks an hour forward or backwards twice each year when we go on or off Daylight Saving Time (DST). Such a legislative act would require a 2/3 vote, as well as federal approval.

Research has shown that the sudden 1-hour time change twice a year is hazardous to our health. Every time, the disruption in sleep patterns leads to a increase in heart attacks, strokes, and traffic accidents.
Proponents of keeping DST say they are worried about children having to go to school in the dark. However, this problem could easily be solved, if necessary, by starting school an hour later in the winter.

Prop 7 moves CA closer to the rest of the world, where 68% of countries do not change their clocks. Vote YES on 7.”

Proposition 8
Vote: Yes

“Prop 8 would limit profits and otherwise regulate companies that provide dialysis, thus lowering the costs of health care. It was put on the ballot by SEIU-UHW (Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West), as part of a campaign against several large, rabidly anti-union, medical corporations.” To my mind, this is a no-contest option. We cannot judge ourselves with any moral strength if we allow private entities to charge such incredible fees for lifesaving procedures. This proposition will ensure that private entities providing important healthcare for dialysis cannot gouge the people who need that care the most.

Proposition 9 (an attempt to break up the State into multiple smaller entities. This was removed from the ballot).

Proposition 10
Vote: Yes

This is a proposition about rent control, an issue that is especially hard to deal with because of the current housing crisis in the State. Personally, I believe an entirely new modality for how we arrange our civic structures, how we design and plan cities and urban environments, and how we approach the topic of market value is the necessary move. With this massive change in thinking unlikely, however, I support rent control that limits the ability of (especially large corporate rental agencies) to “price out” the people who live in certain areas. I believe that this will be the best step forward if we are also pressing for adoption of a Statewide UBI (Universal Basic Income). I also believe that remaining firm on this point may allow us to press in more important directions with regards as to fixing the housing crisis.

Proposition 11
Vote: No

An awful proposition that would force the employees of private ambulance services tobe on-call during paid breaks.

Proposition 12
Vote: Yes

A proposition primarily aimed at affording food animals better living conditions. This could create problems for small farmers and could also be difficult for the State to enforce. However, I believe that the future of the country must be one of greater localization of resources and production and this proposition would go a long way in helping to create that trend. While egg prices, for instance, might rise, that rise would only allow the smaller egg producers to be more competitive on the market and help edge out the monopoly of large farms which operate with indoor barn operations. Moves like this one help support the power of smaller local entities to contend with larger corporate enterprises in the long run.

Local Elections (County-Wide and Sebastopol-specific)

Sebastopol City Council

Una Glass , Sarah Glade Gurney, and Patrick Slayter

Local Propositions

YES on Measure M: Parks And Conservation Sales Tax.

YES on Measure N: Housing Recovery Bond
The contention here appears to be one brought by certain unions who want to see a stronger stance on ensuring union labor is used in the construction of the homes noted in Measure N. However, since 75% of funds will be used for affordable housing, I must vote yes.

YES on Measure O: Temporary Emergency Funding To Protect Vital Services

YES on Measure R: Transient Occupancy Tax Increase (Sebastopol)

YES on Measure Q: City of Sebastopol Extend Sales Tax

Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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