For the 50 percent of you who haven't yet voted by mail -- saving that special privilege for Election Day Tuesday at the polling place -- many of us will be patiently joining you in lines that could be extraordinarily long. It pays to carry along your Sample Ballot to read once again before marking your ballot. As we saw with Hurricane Sandy and the devastation along the eastern seaboard, much can change almost overnight in politics, too.
For California, a state with a large Democratic Party majority, we won't be the state that decides the presidential race and some of us may be voting long after the polls in those key states have closed. But we will be the decision-makers in voting for Town Council, for Congress and on a multitude of propositions and measures awaiting our decision. Several of these races could be very close. Let's make sure we vote.
For Congress, in the newly aligned 15th District that now serves San Ramon south to Pleasanton, we recommend Eric Swalwell, a Dublin Councilman and Alameda County prosecutor. Still a Democrat like the man he's challenging -- Pete Stark, a 20-term Congressman who has served a part of Pleasanton and a larger part of the East Bay longer than many of us have lived here -- Swalwell is the political moderate we prefer. At age 31, Stark promises to bring new energy and younger ideas to Congress.
As for the newly aligned 7th State Senate District, Mark DeSaulnier has our endorsement over Republican Mark Meuser. We also favor the re-election of Joan Buchanan in the state's new 16th Assembly District (which covers the San Ramon Valley and Walnut Creek) over her Republican opponent Al Phillips.
With regard to the propositions and measures, the Express favors Propositions 32, 34, 35, 36 and 40. We're recommending No votes on all the others, most notably on Propositions 30 and 38, two competing measures that will raise sales tax and personal income rates "temporarily." The Express recommends voting yes on Measure D, the $260 million school bond that will dedicate funds specifically to schools in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.
By voting yes, residents will keep their tax dollars locally controlled instead of waiting for state funds from 30 or 38 to trickle down. Similarly, we recommend voting yes on Measure A, the parcel tax to provide funds to local community colleges at $11 per parcel for six years with citizen oversight.
Others we oppose are Propositions 31, 33, 37, 38 and 39.