What follows are my recommendations for the key election issues of the day, focusing primarily on the races in which votes can actually have some kind of impact. First up, the state propositions; next, the race for Governor. Finally, a look at key races for seats in the California State Senate and Assembly. Then, at the end of my recommendations, I’ll provide a link to a couple of places you can turn for a fairly thorough analysis of key state initiatives and races county by county here in California.
The California Propositions:
Proposition 68: “The California Parks, Environment and Water Bond”
A “yes” vote authorizes the issuing of $4 billion in bonds to A “yes”vote supports this measure to authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for state and local parks, environmental protection projects, water infrastructure projects, and flood protection projects.
(A “no” vote keeps things as is.)
Senate President Kevin de Leon, who is running for US Senate as one of the most progressive Democrats on the ballot, was the lead author of this bond measure in the California State Legislature. Prop 1 (in 2014) generated $5 billion – none of which was used to build new reservoirs as promised. Prop 68 will add ANOTHER $4.1 billion to do more of the same.
The measure will add an additional $400 of taxes each year to your family’s debt load. And Governor Brown is of the opinion that this measure will automatically pass . . . as his proposed 2018/19 budget includes $1 Billion in allocations from this measure to offset a $500 million decrease in spending on the state’s Natural Resource Agency. Ineffective policy and bad math are just two of the reasons that I recommend a NO vote on Proposition 68.
Proposition 69: Transportation Fees and Lockbox and Appropriation Limit Exemption Amendment This is actually one of the more accurately-titled propositions. Fresh off of the “success” of their wildly unpopular SB1 (the so-called “Gas Tax”), Democrat legislators now want us to pass a bill which that isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The “Transportation Fees” in question here are those taxes and fees collected as a result of the wildly unpopular “Gas Tax” Bill (SB1) which was passed last Spring. The taxes and fees collected (a projected $5 billion this year) are required by law to cover “transportation issues.” But the passage of Prop 69 would give lawmakers the opportunity to create “exemptions” which would make it possible to siphon off a considerable amount of this revenue and redirect it into the State’s General Fund for no apparent reason. In other words, the “Gas Tax” that Governor Brown declared would give us “smooth, safe roads” turns out to be another Trojan Horse tax. No thanks! I recommend a “NO” vote on Proposition 69.
Proposition 70: Vote Requirement to Use Cap-and-Trade Revenue Amendment
A “yes” vote mandates that, beginning in 2024 and continuing thereafter, both the State Assembly as well as the State Senate must obtain a 2/3 majority vote before unlocking funding from the State’s “Cap-and-Trade” lockbox for spending.
On the surface, this proposition gives the appearance of fiscal responsibility. Putting aside the fact that the Cap-and-Trade program basically taxes all of the carbon dioxide emitted in the State (including us), Prop 70 was born out of a “bipartisan compromise” to at least give the impression that State legislators weren’t going to spend the money capriciously. However, this measure calls for the creation of a Greenhouse Gas Reduction RESERVE Fund (emphasis mine) that would need a 2/3 vote in both houses to unlock. HOWEVER, should legislators NOT arrive at a 2/3 majority, then the money would be transferred into a Greenhouse Gas REDUCTION Fund which only requires a simple majority vote for passage and authorization.
While giving the appearance of bipartisan cooperation, at present California Democrats already have a 2/3 majority in both the Senate as well as in the Assembly – so passage should be a moot point. Prop 70 also includes an increase in taxes on manufacturing equipment, with the “proceeds” also being deposited into this fund. Should the fund remain “locked,” the temptation to siphon this money off for “pet projects” will continue to grow.
The Greenhous Gas Cap-and-Trade program is tough enough on businesses and taxpayers. This measure makes it even worse. I recommend a “NO” vote on Proposition 70.
Proposition 71: Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment
A “yes” vote on Prop 71 would move the effective date when a passed amendment would become law. At present, amendments legally take effect the day after the election. If Prop 71 passes, amendments would become law 5 days after the Secretary of State certifies the results of the election. (A “no” vote would leave existing policy in place.)
When do election results become final – A) the day after the election; or B) once the Secretary of State certifies those results? The correct answer is B). But California law has been a bit out of sync in this area for quite some time. Prop 71 closes a loophole in our electoral process whereby a law could conceivably take effect BEFORE the election outcome could be tallied and certified (unless a specified effective date in the future was already established).
One of the key reasons for needing this measure today is the large number of “absentee” and vote-by-mail voters in California. In 2018, that number is expected to reach 51% of the electorate. (By the way – if you do vote by mail, your ballot most be post-marked on or before election day and then arrive no later than 3 days after the election ends. For this year’s primaries, your ballot must be post-marked by Tuesday 5 June and arrive no later than Friday 8 June.)
Prop 71 would ensure that all ballots are counted before an election is “called.” The measure sailed through both the Assembly and the Senate virtually unopposed. At last – finally at least ONE bill all Californians should be able to agree upon. 😊 I recommend a “YES” vote on Proposition 71.
Proposition 72: The Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessments Act
A “yes” vote supports this amendment to allow the state legislature to exclude rainwater capture systems installed after 1 January 2019 from property tax assessments. (A “no” vote makes such systems subject to state property tax assessments.)
When a property owner adds new construction to his or her property, the new construction is assessed for taxable value. This ballot measure would exclude rainwater capture systems from the category of “new” construction.
What’s interesting about this measure is that a number of California residents may be encouraged to install such units simply because state legislators have been remiss to add to the state’s inventory of water capturing and reservoir systems. There doesn’t appear to be enough reason for an individual to want or need such a system – but if they so choose, the state really has no business taxing for such an expense. I recommend a “YES” vote on Proposition 72.
The race to elect the next Governor of California is one of the most crucial and hotly-contested in recent memory. It is essential that people of faith understand the ramifications of their vote in this area for years to come. But, at the same time, there are other races that are also of significance. So, before listing my recommendations for Governor, I’m going to list my other suggestions for Lieutenant Governor, Senator, Attorney General and the like.
In elections past, this position has often been viewed as largely ceremonial. However, as Gavin Newsome has shown us, his rise from Mayor of San Francisco to the Lieutenant Governor’s chair has primed him to become the next Governor of California. (At present, he is currently the front-runner.) As a result, it is important that we choose his replacement carefully and prayerfully.
There are 11 different candidates on the ballot, none of whom appear to have any previous legislative experience. That being the case, it’s crucial for people of faith to vote for the candidate that best reflects their values – someone who has received recommendations from faith-based groups like Election Forum, as well as support from both pastors as well as business leaders alike. There is only one candidate I have found who fits this description. That is why I recommend a vote for DAVID R. HERNANDEZ for LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR.
Secretary of State
The office of Secretary of State doesn’t get a lot of fanfare – but it actually oversees 4 key divisions of state government: 1) Elections and Voter Information; 2) Campaign and Lobbying Information; 3) California Business Portal; 4) Archives and the California Museum. This position has historically been filled by a Democrat in this state, and in 2014 it was Democrat Alex Padilla who defeated Republican Pete Peterson by a margin of 53% to 46%. Mr. Padilla is up for re-election in 2018 but Republican Mark P. Meuser is an election law attorney who could give the incumbent a run for his money. I recommend a vote for MARK P. MEUSER for SECRETARY OF STATE.
The office of the State Controller is home to the State’s chief fiscal officer, who acts as the state’s accountant and the bookkeeper of all public funds. The Controller serves on the Board of Equalization, the Franchise Tax Board, the State Teacher’s Retirement System and the State’s Public Employee’s Retirement System as well. Needless to say, whomever we elect as Controller will have tremendous input on our fiscal responsibility. This person also handles any challenges to the State’s finances as well as any necessary audits.
In 2014, then-Controller John Chiang was termed out so he set his sights on the State Treasurer’s office (which he won). Democrat Betty Yee defeated Republican Ashley Swearingen by a margin of 53% to 46% to win the Controller’s race that year. I endorsed Ms Swearingen then, and I maintain that having a member of the GOP in this position will help the state steer clear of even more progressivism in the future. That is why I recommend a vote for KONSTANTINOS RODITIS for CALIFORNIA STATE CONTROLLER.
The treasurer is the state’s banker, directed to “receive and keep in the vaults of the State Treasury or deposit in banks or credit unions all moneys belonging to the state.” He disburses funds to cover state expenditures based on warrants from the controller’s office, approves state bond issuances and manages the state’s investments, including state employee pension funds.
Beyond his administrative duties, the treasurer chairs 13 state boards and commissions, from the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. He sits as a member on 45 additional committees. As with the State Controller’s position, it’s my opinion that having a more conservative candidate in this position will greatly benefit the state in the long run. That is why I recommend a vote for JACK M. GERRERO for TREASURER.
According to Article V, Section 13 of California’s State Constitution, the role of the Attorney General is to ensure that “the laws of the state are uniformly and adequately enforced.” Unfortunately in California, such has not been the case with each of the last 3 Attorneys General.
Consider the deceptive language used on the 2008 Ballot for Proposition 8 (which then-AG Jerry Brown crafted in an attempt to give voters the impression that same-sex “marriage” had always been the law of the land – and that passage of Prop 8 would strip away the long-held right from gay couples).
Or the actions of his successor, Kamala Harris, who refused to uphold the will of the people who voted to pass that measure once it was challenged in court. (Eventually Prop 8 was overturned by the US Supreme Court because Ms. Harris chose not to defend the people or that measure in court.) She then engaged in a battle against David Daleiden, the Founder of the Center for Medical Progress, ordering agents to storm his apartment and seize his computers and other records – simply for his role in the recording of the now infamous “Planned Parenthood videos” that blew the lid off of the illegal activities of the abortion industry.
After her election to the US Senate, her successor (and our current California AG Xavier Beccera) continued the illegal attacks on Mr. Daleiden even as the legality of his being fit for serving in this capacity has been questioned. (It appears his license to practice law may not be in force and may not have been for the past decade.)
California typically leans Democratic for this office – and I believe it’s time to change that. We have an opportunity to elect a candidate with judicial experience who scores a 100% “YES” rating with Election Forum’s Top 10 California Family Values rankings. That is why I recommend a vote for STEVEN C. BAILEY for ATTORNEY GENERAL.
If you’re tired of partisan politics, the position gives you the opportunity to vote for a candidate who claims no party affiliation, yet still received an 80% “YES” rating on California Family Values. I recommend a vote for STEVE POIZNER for INSURANCE COMMISSIONER.
United States Senator
Diane Feinstein has held this seat for decades – but that longevity does NOT guarantee she’ll sail through to re-election. Current California State Senate President Kevin DeLeon is currently giving her a challenge on the Democrat side, with Republican contenders Tom Palzer, Paul Taylor and Erin Cruz in hot pursuit.
Since California became a “Top 2” state in 2010, the two candidates who score the most votes in the primaries will be pitted against each other in the November General Election. As a result, there’s a strong possibility that Ms. Feinstein and Mr. DeLeon will finish 1-2 in June and then go head-to-head in the Fall. But there is still a chance that one of the more family-and-faith-friendly candidates will have a shot at earning a place on the November ballot. That is why I recommend a vote for Paul Taylor for UNITED STATES SENATOR.
The 2018 race to become Governor of California may wind up becoming one of the most divisive in state history. While there appears to be a clear-cut frontrunner, there is a formidable challenge from the opposing party, and neither side appears to be willing to claim their “favorite” – at least right now.
On the surface, the race appears to be Gavin Newsome’s to lose. The current Lieutenant Governor and former Mayor of San Francisco has been leading in every poll and holds a comfortable 2-to-1 margin over his nearest Democrat rival, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. But on the Republican side, current California Assemblyman Travis Allen has been engaged in a power struggle with newcomer John Cox. Mr. Cox consistently out-polls Mr. Allen – routinely placing in the Top 3 of nearly every poll. But he is seemingly a “man of mystery” to California voters, having only recently relocated to the Golden State from Illinois.
Much of what I have read and researched on this race has centered on the opinions of those classified as “likely voters” – people who, when asked, respond that it is “likely” that they’ll vote 5 June, and that it is “likely” they will vote for a particular candidate. But I am drawn to polls that survey registered voters instead – because they are actually qualified to vote. 😊 The most recent polling I’ve seen of these voters puts Newsom on top, Cox second, Villaraigosa third and Allen fourth. And here is where this competition turns a bit brutal.
There has been a considerable amount of passion expended but Conservatives on this part of the campaign. Mr. Allen is a 3-term Assemblyman who typically votes Pro-Family, while Mr. Cox has been endorsed by President Trump and supports many of the President’s policies (eg immigration, financial matters). But there have been several concerns raised by supporters on either side questioning whether “the other guy” is fit to represent the GOP. And, because California is a “Top 2” state, it is possible that the rift between Cox and Allen supports could split the Republican vote to the extent that Mr. Villaraigosa could slip into 2nd place, thus pitting to Democrat candidates against each other in November.
Here’s how I see it: it’s clear that if both sets of supporters of the 2 GOP candidates would come together, there would most certainly be a Conservative Republican squaring off with a Leftist Democrat this fall. Unfortunately, it appears that many Cox supporters and Allen supporters see little reason for “their side” to give up any ground to the other. That’s a shame. It pains me to see brothers and sisters in Christ arguing with one another over a political candidate. It’s disheartening to see the polarization and shaming that is taking place between both sides.
The “Vote for Allen because he’s an experienced legislator and actually voted for Trump” crowd has difficulty explaining why he has a tendency to vote to “Abstain” during election years on measures restricting abortion (while earning a solid “0” rating from Planned Parenthood during non-election years).
The “Vote for Cox because he’s ahead in the polls and was endorsed by President Trump” crowd has difficulty explaining why a man who has yet to win any election over nearly two decades only recently moved from Illinois to California in an attempt to win the Governor’s Mansion (which may qualify him as a modern-day “carpet-bagger”).
So whom do I recommend you vote for? Well, I suspect that my recommendation really won’t matter. Conservatives have a tendency to be far more altruistic than liberals and Leftists, and I’m not convinced that anything that will happen between now and Tuesday 5 June will bring the Conservative camps any closer together. If you trust the polls, vote for Mr. Cox. If you have a gut feeling about Mr. Allen, pull the lever for him. It appears that John Cox has the better chance of winning at this point but even if he does take the 2nd position, my hunch is that he’ll go down to defeat in November – unless, of course, Conservatives can get their collective act together and stop demonizing each other over whom they support. The fact that we have two contenders battling it out for Second Place – and have been unable to get a consensus in a state where Democrats have ruled the roost for decades – is a good indication that we all need to hone our “persuasive skills” and do a better job of attempting to persuade those who would disagree with our positions. (Persuasion in Scripture is a powerful and effective tool Romans 8:38)
As you campaign for “your” candidate and share those opinions with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, does it lead to contention? Strife? Frustration? If so, may I humbly suggest you ask yourself why a political debate is driving a wedge between you and a fellow member of your “forever family.” In John 13.34-35, Jesus gave His Disciples “a new command – love one another. As I have love you so you must love one another.” He then goes on to stress, “EVERYONE will know that You are MY Disciples if you LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” Christians blocking other Christians on social media because they’re “supporting the wrong candidate?” Fearful, gloom-and-doom posts and emails about the “dangers that await us” if you don’t change your mind and vote for “my guy?” Come on, family – we can do better. If politics is driving a wedge between you and a brother or sister in Christ, you’re doing politics wrong. 😊
Robin Nordell’s Conservative California Election Website (www.robynnordell.com)
Craig Huey’s Election Forum (GREAT resource for Judicial races, also local leglislative races, State Board of Equalization and the like) www.ElectionForum.org
Californians for Life (Statewide resource from the Pro Life perspective) www.californiansforlife.org