Elections Endorsements 1
U.S. and State
Thursday, May 25, 2006
House of Representatives-Democrat | SAM FARR
He’s running unopposed, but it will feel good to vote for him anyway.
Governor | STEVE WESTLY
Phil Angelides’ heart is in the right place, and he’s a sharp man with a solid record of accomplishment. But Steve Westly has the better plan for guiding California through a difficult period, and he has the wherewithal to pull it off.
As state Controller, Westly promised that he would raise millions of dollars by importing sound business practices to Sacramento. Instead he raised billions of dollars. He now lays out an ambitious yet sensible plan for streamlining state government, and making it more accountable and more efficient. It isn’t sexy stuff, but it’s smart—and this kind of reform is exactly what California needs.
Angelides’ tax-the-rich plan in truth appears to be fair, but Westly makes a convincing argument that it might not be necessary. And already Angelides’ proposal has drawn so much opposition, it’s difficult to imagine that it would play well in November, when the winner of this race faces off with the Governator.
Westly’s political passions—for education, environmental protection, and even-handed economic development—are practically identical to his opponent’s. He stands a better chance of making them happen.
Lieutenant Governor | LIZ FIGUEROA
A state senator from Fremont, Figueroa has fought for women, children and families throughout her career in the legislature. (She served in the Assembly for four years before being elected to the senate in 1999). She has also become one of Sacramento’s toughest heads on health care issues. If elected, she will be the first Latina to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor.
Secretary of State | DEBRA BOWEN
Sen. Bowen now serves as chair of the Senate Elections Committee, where she has been fighting for safeguards to ensure that votes are accurately recorded. She has also been waging a campaign against Diebold, the right-wing company that makes voting machines. The Secretary of State’s job is to protect the sanctity of the election process, and she’s well-suited to it.
Controller | JOE DUNN
This guy is a badass. He has spearheaded an inquiry in the Senate into Enron and its ilk, energy companies that took advantage of California during the electricity crisis. He says that he will work, if elected, to close corporate tax loopholes.
Treasurer | BILL LOCKYER
Lockyer was a tough Attorney General, going after polluters and corporate profiteers with enthusiasm. Before that, he had a 20-year career in the state legislature. He says he will use the Treasurer’s Office to “restore California’s financial credibility, reinvigorate our economy, and keep California producing good jobs.” He’s also using it as a placeholder while he waits for his turn to run for governor again—but he’ll probably get the job done in the mean time.
Attorney General | JERRY BROWN
The two-term governor, two-term Oakland mayor and three-time presidential candidate is one of the most fascinating and controversial politicians of modern times, and it would be a welcome event to get him back on the statewide stage.
Insurance Commissioner | CRUZ BUSTAMANTE
We’re a bit disturbed that almost 20 percent of Bustamante’s campaign money comes from insurance companies that he will regulate if he wins this job—it feels too much like the scandalous behavior of former insurance commissioner Chuck Quackenbush. However, we’re convinced there is no real malfeasance here—it’s just the same kind of tone-deaf mistake Bustamante made in taking millions from tribal gambling interests when he ran against Arnold in the recall. In November, Bustamante faces Steve Poizner, who’s main qualification for office is that he’s so rich he can bankroll his own candidacy.
Superintendent of Public Instruction | JACK O’CONNELL
Incumbent Jack O’Connell, a former classroom teacher, served in the statehouse for 20 years, where he championed smaller class sizes, more money for schools, and tougher accountability standards—principles he brought with him into his current job.
State Assembly, District 27 | JOHN LAIRD
Some of Laird’s recent bills, working their way through the state legislature, will allow the Monterey Airport to modernize its facilities, will reduce California community college fees by 23 percent, and will nearly double the number of Monterey County adults who have access to food stamps. It’s nice to have the Assembly Budget Committee chair looking out for us.
State Assembly, District 28 | ANA VENTURA PHARES
Whoever wins the Democratic primary will undoubtedly win the 28th District seat, being vacated by Simón Salinas, in November.
Watsonville Councilwoman Ana Ventura Phares or Salinas Mayor Anna Caballero are both well-qualified for the job. Both list education, the budget and health care as top priorities. The Weekly believes there are some key differences that make Phares the woman for the job.
Phares is remarkably accessible and open, and we don’t think a higher post in state government will change her. Her accomplishments in Watsonville—building a new high school in the Pajaro Valley, along with a new library, courthouse and civic center, and bringing city services to underserved neighborhoods, via city offices on wheels—are impressive. She’s also got some Sacramento experience. She currently represents Salinas and the inland valley on the State Board of the League of Cities. We like her supporters, too: The United Farm Workers and its co-founder, Dolores Huerta, National Organization of Women, Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, state Senators Elaine Alquist, Liz Figueroa and Deborah Ortiz, state Senator and former Speaker pro Tem Fred Keeley, to name a few.