East LA Progressive Voter Guide – November 2012

Hello again! Say, did you know there’s an election coming up? Not just any election; very probably the most important election any of us will ever participate in. Until the next election, and the one after that, and every election until we die. Wanna know why? Because the world is stupid and the human race is only going to continue getting more and more fragmented and narcissistic until we all just end up writing ourselves in for every position.

Thankfully, we’re not quite there yet, so let us examine the ballot and see where we smart, forward-thinking humans land. Please note: as always, this guide only works for a very small slice of the electorate —- my friends and family around the 90039 zip code. However, the major races and the ballot measures should be the same across Los Angeles.

President and Vice President
Wait, what? Really? Are you fucking kidding me? Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan are actually on the ballot in Los Angeles?!?

Did we know this? That is maybe the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. Also: how old was Roseanne when she was doing her housewife stand-up shtick? She looked like she was in her forties. Which would make her in her 70s today. Is Roseanne in her 70s? If so, that’s maybe a little too old to be president. So let’s not vote for her.

Who should we vote for? If we were being honest with ourselves, we would vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party. She’s the only real progressive on the ballot. And also, she was thrown in jail for protesting the debates a few weeks ago, which I think we can all agree is utter, complete, horrid, anti-American bullshit, and any real presidential contender worth his salt would have come out and made a statement against a culture that allowed such a thing to happen.

Having said that, this is a terrible world in which we rational people must make devil’s bargains every day to stop the forces of extreme ignorance and hatred who would like nothing more than to eat our children limb by limb. And for this reason and this reason alone—well, ok, there’s something about healthcare and the Supreme Court thrown in there—we must give our votes to Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

(If we want to be very very honest, though, we really don’t need to worry about California. So if you feel in your bones that you want to vote for a third party, please do so. Just don’t vote for Romney. Even my daughter thinks he’s a creep.)

Pick: Barack Obama and Joe Biden

U.S. Senator
Dianne Feinstein vs. Elizabeth Emken. Eh. I don’t agree with all of Feinstein’s positions, but she’s a big proponent of healthcare reform. And that’s a pretty important thing. Plus Elizabeth Emken sounds as if her entire existence has been written by Karl Rove.
Pick: Dianne Feinstein

U.S. Representative
Ugh, this guy, Phil Jennerjahn. He’s got a blog. One post in, and he’s talking smack about how his opponent has earned the endorsement of the Council on American Islamic Relations. “No surprises there,” he says, “as I have been very public about my rather dim view of Islam and its followers.”

Well, guess what, Jennerjahn? I am very public about my view that you’re a fucking idiot.

Also, Adam Schiff seems like a pretty good guy. Pro-Obamacare, anti-DOMA, into restoring the LA River. Vote: earned.
Pick: Adam Schiff

Member of the State Assembly
A little story. About a year ago, Sarah and I got a bill in the mail saying we owed $250 to the DMV. About $100 of that was for registration renewal. The other $150 was a fine for not renewing our registration on time.

Now, if you live in California, you know that they always send out registration renewal notices about 3 months before they’re due—and another reminder about two months after that. And if you live in my brain, you know I’m a stickler for never getting late fees. So when I saw this 150% fine, I said to myself, “something has gone terribly wrong here.”

To the Internet! A quick search revealed that an internal snafu caused by California’s lack of budgetary funds resulted in no DMV renewal reminders being sent out over the entire summer. Meaning that drivers all over California were being stuck with gigantic, totally arbitrary fines through no fault of their own. I paid the fine—because, after all, I needed the registration for our car—and set about trying to figure out how to get my money back.

I called the DMV. The first two people I spoke with said they were transferring me and then hung up. The third person said—literally, I am not making this up—”it’s not my fucking problem,” and hung up the phone.

My goat was officially got. I poked around the Internet until I found the name of our local representative. I sent him an email detailing all of this malfeasance, expecting nothing but feeling happy that I’d at least done everything I could do.

A week later, I got a call from the representative’s assistant. He asked me a few questions about what happened, I emailed him my bank’s routing number, and a few weeks later, I was refunded the entire $150.

That representative was Mike Gatto. If you’ve ever wondered why we even have local government, it is for situations like this. He didn’t know me from Adam, but he saw that an injustice had occurred and took the time to give me a helping hand. And he would do the same for you, because that’s the kind of guy he is. Please take a few moments to shed some tears of joy over this wonderful story and then go into the voting booth on Tuesday and cast a confident vote for my main man, Mike Gatto.
Pick: Mike “Good Guy” Gatto, all the way

LA County District Attorney
Jackie Lacey supports Prop 36, which makes it more difficult for criminals to be given life sentences or the death penalty simply for being caught three times. Any attorney worth his or her salt knows that three strikes laws are some racist and classist bullshit. Lacey FTW.
Pick: Jackie Lacey


I know, these suck. I’ll try to be quick.

Prop 30
Raises income taxes on people earning over $250,000 by 2% to pay for schools. Schools are great. Let’s force our rich uncles to pay for them.

Prop 31
I don’t know … something about making government more complicated? I’m going with the League of Women Voters and the CA Federation of Teachers on this one.

Prop 32
Ohhh, this motherfucker. If you vote against one proposition, make it this one. This is the one funded by corporations under the pretense that it will prevent political contributions from corporations, but really it will prevent political contributions by unions. Seriously, fuck these people. Disgusting.

Prop 33
Sponsored by the car insurance lobby to raise the cost of car insurance for basically everyone who has car insurance. The same basic thing was defeated two years ago. Sounds shite.

Prop 34
Repeals the death penalty. You know where you stand on this one. You’re either a human or a monster. THE DEATH PENALTY DOESN’T WORK, IT HAS NEVER WORKED, AND IT WILL NEVER WORK.

Prop 35
Increases penalties for human trafficking, requires human traffickers to register as sex offenders, and requires registered sex offenders to disclose Internet activities and identities. This one is supported by the CA Democratic party, the CA Federation of Teachers, and Planned Parenthood.

I’m honestly not sure on this one. Okay, I know, that sounds terrible. Fuck human traffickers, right? But it’s that last part that bothers me. I think our way of dealing with sex offenders in this country is pretty medieval. They need serious treatment, not to be further marginalized. I don’t believe drug users should be prevented from voting once they’re out of jail and I don’t believe sentencing sex offenders to a lifetime of public shame is the best way to rehabilitate them.

Update: Friend Colin points out that if this passes, prostitutes will have to register as sex offenders. C’mon, now. Prostitutes have a hard enough life as is. Let’s go with a definite no on this one.
No if you’re like me. Yes if you’re like most other people. Definitely no.

Prop 36
Revises the three strikes law so that it does not automatically result in life in prison. Allows criminals who are currently sentenced to life in prison to have their cases revisited. Saves $70 million annually in state correctional budgets. If you’re really a liberal, this one is a no-brainer. Three strikes laws should be unconstitutional. All crimes are not equal, and the punishment should not be either.

Prop 37
Labeling of genetically modified foods. I’ve seen a lot of ads against this proposition by groups with names like “Citizens United Against Knowing What’s In Our Food.” Like, the most obvious astroturfing campaign since the Swift Boaters. If it were up to me, we’d burn down all the corporate farms and get all our food from local farmers. There is no reason that we shouldn’t know if our food has been genetically modified. Anyway, the grocery producers who are against this are grossly overestimating how much the American public gives a shit about what they put in their bodies. Have you looked at the label on a bag of Doritos lately?

Update: Our friend Kalee pointed out this article from the LA Times that makes some good points. Basically, that proposition 37 will only tackle a small part of the problem, and that “genetically modified” does not necessarily mean “bad.” Also, it sounds like the primary funder for the proposition is a kook. I think the general rule of thumb with propositions is if you’re in doubt, vote no. Still, the amount of money Monsanto has put into defeating this proposition and spreading misinformation about it gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m still going with my original yes vote, but I think you should go with your gut on this one.

Prop 38
Basically the same thing as Prop. 30, only it increases taxes on people making over $7,316/year. Which is pretty much everyone who is not homeless. If this wins, Prop. 30 is out, and if Prop. 30 wins, this one is out. Given my druthers, I’m still going to stick it to the rich uncle. Sorry, Uncle John, but I’ve still got dibs on your car.

Prop 39
Makes multistate corporations pay income taxes based on a percentage of their sales in California, then gives that money to clean energy projects. This is practically a liberal’s wet dream.

Prop 40
Approves the redistricting created by the citizen’s committee that was created in the 2008 election. I voted Yes in 2008, so I guess I’ve gotta assume these dudes did their job. If you vote no, we have to spend $1 million more. If you vote yes, we don’t have to spend any more money. California’s broke.


Prop A
Make the LA County Assessor an appointed position instead of an elected position. Eh. Seems to be working fine as is.

Prop B
Requires porn stars to use condoms. Now we’re talking, Los Angeles! This is the kind of thing I want to vote on when I live in Los Angeles. We should strictly be voting on issues like this and whether or not surfers can hunt sharks and stuff.

I don’t know on this one! I mean, it sounds reasonable. But if this passes, will all the porn shoots just move to Nevada? And the Valley will fall apart? And I will have to watch porn stars do it with condoms on?
Vote your conscience.

Prop J
Accelerates light rail & subway construction, funds road improvements, fixes potholes, etc. Sounds good to me. Unless any of my public planning friends can tell me why this is nonsense, I’m voting yes.
Why not?

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