By Roz Rogoff
My endorsements for June 5thUploaded: May 13, 2012
The June 5th Primary is coming up in three weeks and I wanted to get my two cents in now about local candidates and state-wide propositions. So my planned commentary on TV30 can wait another week while I dig into our local political turf.
There are two Propositions on the ballot, Proposition 28 and 29. Proposition 29 adds a dollar to the cost of a pack of cigarettes for cancer research, which hopefully would reduce the overall cost of treating people who ruin their health from smoking.
OK I'm a little smug about smoking because I'm not a smoker. Phillip Morris and other tobacco companies are mounting an expensive campaign to defeat the measure. The American Cancer Society, which I'm not crazy about either because of animal testing, is supporting the measure. In the scheme of things, raising money for cancer research is probably a better choice than keeping the price of a pack of cigarettes down. So I'm endorsing Yes on Proposition 29.
Proposition 28 would change legislators' term limits from 14 years, split two ways, to 12 years that could be all served in one house. Current term limits set a maximum of six years in the Assembly and eight years in the State Senate. Prop 28 would provide future Assembly members and State Senators more time to learn the ropes and serve their Districts instead of bouncing from one office to the next.
Our current legislators, Mark DeSaulnier and Joan Buchanan, are running for their final terms in their respective State Senate and Assembly seats, but Proposition 28 would not extend their terms in office. If passed it would apply only to legislators elected after its passage. I'm endorsing Yes on Prop 28.
The goal of the original term limits legislation was to discourage career politicians, but once bitten by the political bug, legislators found ways to bounce from one political office to the next to keep their political careers going. Of course if a legislator isn't doing a good job we can elect his/her opponent, but that doesn't happen very often.
For example our new 15th Congressional District Representative, Pete Stark, could be the poster boy for term limits. Stark, who is 80, has been in Congress for almost 40 years.
He's challenged by two newcomers, Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell and businessman Chris Pareja. Swalwell is running as a Democrat, as is Stark. Pareja claims to be non-partisan, but his positions on most issues are conservative Republican.
Swalwell knows the Tri-Valley, so he's a better choice for us than Stark. Stark doesn't pay much attention to his current constituents and there's less chance he'd bother with us. Swalwell has a better chance than Pareja of being in a run-off against Stark in the Fall, so I'm endorsing Eric Swalwell for the 15th Congressional District.
Redistricting put San Ramon not only into a new Congressional District but a wide-open race for Contra Costa County Supervisor. There are three new candidates running and no incumbent. This is a great opportunity for San Ramon to have real influence on the County Board of Supervisors.
I attended two Supervisor debates at the San Ramon Community Center. I wrote an earlier blog about Sean White potentially causing a run-off between Candace Andersen and Tomi Van De Brooke in November. I hope not.
I'm rooting for Andersen to be a clear winner in June. Then we will have a County Supervisor who understands the need for local control by Cities and not domination by the County. We are overloaded with too many regional requirements that are often ill thought out and unfunded.
Van De Brooke claims to be a fiscal conservative, so I was very surprised to see the Community College District with the highest Board Member compensation in the Contra Costa County Grand Jury Report 1204. That's why I posted a link to the report in the San Ramon and Danville Expresses.
One of Tomi's supporters replied to my posts and criticized the Contra Costa County Grand Jury. I won't defend the Grand Jury or their report, but I'll leave it up to each reader to make up your own mind about it. I made up my mind before seeing the report that Candace Andersen is the best candidate for Contra Costa County District 2 Supervisor and I'm endorsing her here and now.
Last but not least there's the Presidential Primary. Since we know who the candidates will be there's not much suspense in it. I would like to vote for Roseanne Barr for President, but I'm not a registered member of the Green Party. It's not that I support Barr's platform or believe she's the best candidate for President, but at least she's funny, which is more than I can say about the two main candidates. I need something to laugh about in this election.