[Note: I live in East Palo Alto, California, and therefore large sections of this post may be of limited interest to people who live elsewhere.]
President: Hillary Clinton
I removed myself from social media for a month, which meant that I was sheltered from the hordes of people informing me that if I consider voting third party then I am a whiny entitled misogynistic bernie bro who needs to grow up and stop wanting “candidates” who “reflect my viewpoints” and who is single-handedly responsible for the rise of fascism in the United States. This significantly improved my willingness to vote for Hillary Clinton. I think that Hillary will probably be Obama But More Hawkish and thus successfully manage to avoid destroying anything important. Given the Clinton Foundation I am cautiously optimistic about her stance on foreign aid; I am also cautiously optimistic about her on free trade and immigration.
I continue to like and respect Gary Johnson, and in the event he ever wins the Republican nomination I would be happy to cast my vote for him.
(Important Note For Hillary Supporters: if you are planning to leave a condescending and patronizing comment about my previous desire to vote third party, please consider that this will only make me less likely to vote for your preferred candidate.)
United States Senator: Loretta Sanchez
Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez are indistinguishable on the issues. However, Kamala Harris recently orchestrated the arrest of the CEO of Backpage.com on pimping charges. This ridiculous arrest will only make life harder for sex workers. Spite-voting for Loretta Sanchez is a great comfort to me given my previous vote for Hillary Clinton.
United States Representative: Jackie Speier
My husband looked into Speier’s record and characterized her as “mostly alright” and I’m relying on him here.
State Senator: Jerry Hill
Rick Ciardella is opposed to early release of prisoners and wants to build more prisons instead, so fuck him.
Member of the State Assembly: Marc Berman
Marc Berman has a moderate but solid position on the housing crisis. While I’d support a stronger pro-housing candidate, I think “mostly votes with the pro-growth people” is the best we’re going to get.
Judge of the Superior Court, Office No.7: Write-In
Judicial elections are often absurdly uncompetitive, particularly those– like this one– in which the candidate is running unopposed. So it doesn’t really matter whom you vote for, but I’m doing my part to make the election a little bit more competitive by not voting for the only guy running. I wrote in Ken White of Popehat.
City of East Palo Alto City Council Members: Everyone except Duane Goff
You get three votes for the City of East Palo Alto City Council, and there are four people running. Duane Goff feels that the tech industry has been “counterproductive to the [East Palo Alto] community” and that the solution for affordable housing is better eviction protection and rent control instead of, you know, building more housing. I suggest not voting for the guy who thinks you’re counterproductive.
San Mateo County Harbor District: The people that the Democrats endorsed.
You can get the endorsement list here. I have no strong opinions about harbors. I appreciate that the candidates for the harbor district in their voters’ guide essays included actual positions on actual issues instead of just applause lights about East Palo Alto, but I really have no strong opinions about harbors. Ed Larenas is a biologist? I am broadly in favor of biologists doing things about harbors.
[Note: I highly recommend ballot.fyi for researching California ballot propositions]
Prop 51: No.
Governor Brown’s alternative proposals seem to make sense to me: he wants to give more local control to school districts and keep the state’s role in school construction to helping out the neediest schools. I’m broadly in favor of local control of school districts and against giveaways to rich people.
Prop 52: Yes.
The lopsidedness in the support of Prop 52, a bill which uses some complicated accounting to get more money from the federal government for MediCal patients, is absurd. Both the Republican and Democratic parties endorse it, and its primary opponent recently decided it was now neutral on it. The primary problem that Prop 52 has with passing is that people don’t understand it. Far be it from me to go against bipartisan agreement.
Prop 53: No.
Requires statewide voter approval of revenue bonds. I understand that this measure would lead to the existence of fewer trains. Thing of Things is a pro-train blog and therefore is against this proposition.
Prop 54: No.
The legislature will only pass bills published on the Internet for 72 hours before the vote. On one hand, more accountability, yay! On the other hand, more time for lobbying, boo! I’m honestly torn on this one but voted ‘no’ because I generally vote ‘no’ on things if I’m confused about them.
Prop 55: No.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to reserve tax money for schools; all that does is give the legislature less wiggle room when it’s deciding what services to cut and what to keep. The California tax system is wildly fucked up and adding another layer of ridiculousness to it will not improve the situation. This made sense as an emergency measure when we feared school closings, but right now is not the time to extend it.
Prop 56: No.
Cigarette taxes are a great idea, but Prop 56 also taxes ecigs, which are significantly less dangerous than cigarettes. This offers no incentive for smokers to reduce harm by switching to less-dangerous ecigs and places an unfair burden on poor people who are addicted to nicotine. Given how complicated the proposition process is, it’s not very likely that we’d be able to improve the law any time soon. Hopefully a better proposition will come along soon.
Prop 57: No.
It seems really unclear to me what this proposition does, and given how hard propositions are to repeal I am generally against unclear propositions.
Prop 58: Yes.
Mostly repeals Prop 227, a previous bad proposition which mandates English-only classrooms, and instead allows communities to decide the best way to teach native Spanish speakers. IMO, you should vote ‘yes’ on this one even if you’re generally nervous about propositions, since what it does primarily is repeal a previous bad proposition.
Prop 59: No.
I agree with the ACLU that Citizens United was decided correctly and “should people be able to advertise their documentary about a presidential candidate before a presidential election?” is not actually a remotely difficult free-speech question.
Prop 60: No.
Prop 60, which requires condom use in porn, condescendingly assumes that porn stars can’t make their own cost/benefit analyses about their own sexual safety. Even if a married, monogamous couple films and distributes porn from their own home, they would be punished for not using condoms. HIV testing of porn stars is a very successful method of controlling HIV transmission: CAL/OSHA has not confirmed a single case of on-set HIV transmission in California in more than a decade. This ridiculous law– opposed by the vast majority of porn stars– is a clear no.
Prop 61: No.
Prop 61, requiring state agencies to pay no more than what the Veterans’ Administration pays for drugs, is a complicated law which might lower drug prices? Or raise them? No one knows? This is exactly the sort of complicated bill that shouldn’t be done through the hard-to-repeal proposition system. Also, the same guy who’s the big force behind Prop 60, Michael Weinstein, is a major supporter of Prop 61, and to be honest I don’t trust him.
Prop 62: Yes.
Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.
Prop 63: No.
We don’t know a lot about gun policy in the United States (mostly because the NRA has pushed to prevent the CDC from researching gun deaths). For this reason, I am inclined to be against this proposition, both because I don’t want to vote for propositions I’m not certain of, and because in the absence of clear evidence I want to err on the side of protecting people’s constitutional right to gun ownership.
Prop 64: Yes.
Marijuana causes relatively little harm to oneself and others, while alcohol is the single most dangerous drug consumed. To the extent that marijuana legalization causes people to smoke pot instead of getting drunk, it will cause a tremendous improvement in the quality of life of both users and non-users. Plus, the drug war has failed and legalization/decriminalization are the best way to end it.
Prop 65: No.
Prop 65 is apparently a product of Shenanigans by an industry group representing plastic bag manufacturers, in the hopes they will confuse the public (which supports plastic bag bans) into accidentally not having a plastic bag ban. I don’t approve of people creating measures for the purpose of confusing voters, and so I am voting ‘no’ on this as a fuck you.
Prop 66: No.
This law will speed up executions, which is exactly the opposite of what I want; I want to make them expensive enough and time-consuming enough that eventually the legislature gives up and ends the death penalty.
Prop 67: No.
Plastic bags are not necessarily worse than paper. I rarely support banning things to begin with, and never when the thing you’re trying to ban isn’t necessarily that bad.
Measure K: Yes.
“We’re going to prevent human trafficking!” is one of those sentences that makes me worry it actually means “we’re going to harass sex workers who are just trying to do their jobs!” Nevertheless, we need to lower housing prices, and Measure K will also go to fund groups like HIP Housing which reduce the harm of housing crises.
Measure J: No.
Economists everywhere say “no” to rent control.
Measure O: No.
If you tax something, you will generally get less of it. Therefore, if we tax landlords that have more than five tenants, we will get… that’s right… fewer landlords with more than five tenants. I don’t know why, given the housing crisis, anyone thought this was a good idea.
Measure P: Yes.
I approve of better drinking water and storm drains. I’m leery about increased police patrols, but not 100% against it– it all depends on how it’s implemented– so that doesn’t outweigh the benefit of better drinking water.