Although it has been somewhat lost in the shuffle of the Democratic primary contest we are having a number of primaries and contests in California. Somewhat ironically, we used to have our Presidential voting in June but the powers that be decided to move things to February so we would have more of an impact. Had we kept things the way it used to be, California would be deciding the Democratic nominee today. Ah well, best laid plans and such.
However, for the political junkies in the audience, I will give a brief look at some of the contests going on today.
The only two statewide races are Propositions 98 and 99. Both claim to be taking care of the issue of eminent domain and the problem with government agencies seizing private property for public purposes. Unfortunately, it does not look like either proposal really does anything.
Proposition 98 is backed by what you might term the ‘right’ or pro business interests. It does actually seem to resolve the issue of eminent domain, saying that government cannot take homes, businesses or religious property and then transfer that property to another private owner.
However it also gets rid of rent control in a fairly sneaky way. Whether rent control is good or bad, you should not try to sneak things into a proposal.
Proposition 99 is even worse, it contains language which basically says ‘the government can ignore the law if they feel like it’. So it doesn’t even solve the problem. It is sponsored by what might be termed the ‘left’ including various unions and governmental organizations.
I have not seen a lot of polling, so it is possible that one or both will pass. Prop 99 also has a poison pill clause which says that if it passes it invalidates Prop 98.
We also have some interesting local races going on. In Sacramento there is a close race for Mayor between incumbent Heather Fargo and challenger Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player. Both candidates are basically Democrats and the contest is likely to go to a runoff in November as there are a number of also rans in the contest.
In Northern California we have a couple of House contests to keep an eye on. In the 4th CD, currently held by John Doolittle (a less than ethical Republican) there is a very nasty primary battle between State Senator Tom McClintock and former Congressman Doug Ose. If the race leaves enough scars, it could open the door for Democrat Charlie Brown to win a normally GOP district.
The same result seems likely in the 11th CD which was held by the GOP for almost 30 yrs before incumbent Richard Pombo lost to Jerry McNerney. The GOP has cleared the field for former Assemblyman Dean Andal, but Andal is not popular with the voters and has some ethical issues that will likely sink his campaign.
In Southern California we have a couple of hard fought contests for the state legislature, but they are in heavily Democratic districts, so the wounds won’t alter the outcome in November.
The basic trend in California seems to match the national one, good for the Democrats and bad for the GOP (largely as a result of self inflicted wounds)