If you're even marginally politically active, you may have noticed that we have an election coming up. Remember to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 2nd, or at any Early Voting centre throughout the county.
With that in mind, here are my endorsements for the upcoming election:
For statewide issues, I can't do better than the endorsements from the excellent progressive blog Calitics. They recommend voting a straight Democratic ticket- normally I'm not so loyal a Democrat (I'm a registered Green), but in this election the alternative is conservative domination. That'd be bad, so I'm joining the Calitics gang in this one.
For local races:
Congress, 44th District: Bill Hedrick
Bill is a real progressive, the kind of person we need in Washington. His policies on transportation and land use are currently unknown; but we do know that, while he's opposed to wasteful spending, he's not going to vote to turn the tap off entirely while so many constituents are hurting (like our current representative did, repeatedly). Also, getting a Democrat elected in this seat reduces the likelihood of Speaker Boehner presiding over the next federal transportation bill.
(County of Riverside)
Auditor: No endorsement.
Both candidates for county auditor, Mr. Chand and Mr. Angulo, are beating the fiscal responsibility drums as loudly and as often as possible. That's the last thing we need right now. If you're in the mood for it, write me in. That's Alethea J. Nelson. That's what I did.
Measure L: YES
Measure M: NO
Measure L would require voters to approve any changes in public safety pension benefits. While I'm normally opposed to ballot-box budgeting, local governments are looking for nearly any way to cut spending without raising taxes these days, including raiding the pension benefits of our police and firefighters. The people who risk their lives to protect society every day should be entitled to the pensions they've been promised. Measure M would require voter approval to raise pensions, but allow the County to unilaterally lower them. Its passage would be a disgrace, and a breach of contract with those who have spent their lives protecting us.
Measure K: YES
Measure K will allow RCTC to borrow more money in order to take advantage of current low construction costs for road and rail projects throughout the county. This vote is a sort of Faustian bargain, because it will mean accelerated freeway widening for CA-91 and other roads, but it will also ensure the timely completion of the long-suffering Perris Valley Line Metrolink extension. Furthermore, the only way we get out of this budget crisis is by putting people back to work, and even road-building does that.
(City of Riverside)
Measure V: YES
I reported some time ago that Riverside was enjoying a surplus thanks to sensible spending and reasonable taxation and borrowing. (A lot of it went to build more parking. Yay.) Well, to continue the prosperity that the City has been enjoying, voters have been asked to raise taxes on hotel guests by 2%, from 11% to 13%. The funds will be spent on City services and possibly the new Convention Centre downtown, which promises to be sensibly integrated into a mixed-use environment. (Anything is better than the current structure surrounded by acres of surface parking.)
Above all though, it's critical that you get out and vote on Tuesday, November 2nd or at any early voting centre. You might also want to consider, in future elections, becoming a "permanent absentee" voter- your ballot comes by mail, and you return it either by mail, at several drop-off points around the county, or at any precinct on Election Day. It's quick, convenient, and helps ensure that your voice is hear. I vote by mail every year, and spend my Election Day volunteering for causes I care about.