Don’t Miss California’s ‘Official Voter Information Guide’—Part One

May 9, 2022 Updated: June 2, 2022

Commentary

Plopping in your mailbox around this time should be the “Official Voter Information Guide” for the June 7 primary election. If not, click here.

According to the guide, included are only those candidates who agree to abide by the state’s “voluntary spending limits” and buy space in it. That’s why Gov. Gavin Newsom isn’t included. The limit for his office is $9.7 million. Newsom will raise many multiples of that.

The Guide also is the last chance to see the Third Party candidates and their beliefs until the next primary in 2024. As I have pointed out in The Epoch Times, the Top Two system is anti-democratic because it essentially eliminates third parties. It was imposed in 2010 with Proposition 14, which was sold by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a gullible voting public like one of his worst movies.

The guide also helpfully explains why there are two elections for the same U.S. Senate office. The first is for the regular term beginning Jan. 3, 2023. The second “is a special vacancy election, since the current officeholder [Sen. Alex Padilla] is temporarily filling a vacancy” until Jan. 3.

The statements of the candidates also cannot include new paragraphs, making some of them look like the run-on sentences your high school teacher didn’t like. The candidates would be better off solving that problem with short statements. But nowadays everybody seems to want my job of writing too long about politics.

U.S. Senate Candidates

Alex Padilla, Democrat. The sitting senator was appointed to fill the seat vacated when voters promoted Sen. Kamala Harris to vice president. “With California facing multiple emergencies from wildfires, Covid and the dual homeless and housing crisis, I went to the U.S. Senate to fight for California,” he writes.

He then brags about backing President Biden’s $1.2 trillion COVID bailout bill that is a major cause of the inflation we’re now suffering. And the wildfires problem largely is a state, not a federal, problem. It is ignited by the state not undergrounding power lines, clearing underbrush and limiting building homes in fire-prone areas.

John Thompson Parker, Green Party. I like the Greens because their proposals give us a preview of what we later can expect from the Democratic Party. He writes, “Capitalism enables corporate masters to exacerbate crisis of health, poverty, oppression, climate change and war in allegiance to profit. Ownership of production and finance must be controlled by the people. This Senate campaign is about building that socialist systemic change. Vote the Left Unity Slate.”

The Left Unity Slate is something important to know about. The Greens and the Peace & Freedom Party have united in this campaign, partly because of the Top Two suppression of third parties I mentioned above. Also, they’re pretty close on many issues.

Notice something else: The guide contains no candidates from the Libertarian Party or the American Independent Party, the two limited-government parties, even though they’re still Qualified Political Parties according to the Secretary of State. Top Two again is Top Democracy Killer.

Governor Candidates

Brian Dahle, Republican. He has been endorsed by his party. Like most Republicans this year, he’s emphasizing law and order. He writes, “I’ll fight to reverse policies that foolishly released thousands of criminals from prison and put them back in our neighborhoods. Count on me to repeal laws that allow thugs to rob and steal without being held accountable. The state has spent billions on the homeless, but California’s problem is worse than ever. Count on me to clean up the mess.”

On taxes, he oddly has not taken the No New Taxes pledge that’s pro forma for almost all in his party. In the guide he writes, “Californians pay the highest rents and gas tax in the country. Electricity rates are among the highest in the nation. The high cost of living in California places a huge burden on working people and retirees. It is nearly impossible for young people to buy a home. I will fight to make California affordable for families.”

Reinette Senum is one of 12 candidates running for statewide office listed as No Party Preference. She makes some good points about why: “I am a 4th generation Californian and two-time mayor and city council member of Nevada City, California, and have been engaged in community building for nearly 20 years. I’m running for California governor with no party affiliation as it is impossible to serve the people and a party simultaneously. Since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United v. FEC, our elections have belonged to big donors and corporations.”

Actually, the real problem is the process has become so complex due to multitudinous election laws regular people can’t figure it out. Only the experts can. But this is an important point that ought to be debated.

Mariana B. Dawson also is No Party Preference. She actually writes three words: “F all politicians.” Give her points for brevity.

Lieutenant Governor

I’m tempted to write, “Who cares?” But there’s a chance Newsom could be elected president in 2024, moving the lieutenant governor into the governor’s chair.

Eleni Kounalakis, incumbent Democrat. She writes, “As Lieutenant Governor, I am a member of all three governing boards for California’s public colleges and universities. I have fought tuition increases and supported initiatives to increase access to college so future generations have a chance to achieve the California Dream” (emphasis in original, as elsewhere). It’s good to let voters know the duties of this office. “As Chair of the State Lands Commission, I oversaw closures of oil wells off the coast of California and helped ensure no new offshore oil development.

That means she’s partly responsible for high California gas prices. With Russian oil banned and President Biden shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline, I guess we’re all supposed to buy those new Teslas made in Texas.

David Fennell, Republican. He writes, “As a lifelong Californian who grew up Catholic in the fishing and farming community of Half Moon Bay, having made 5+ trips to all of California’s 58 counties, it pains me to see how much our fellow Californian has been suffering during this difficult period. Yet, I have also witnessed a new growing spark of optimism stretching from our inner cities to rural farmland with a yearning desire for a changing of the guard & new leadership to guide California to our next level of greatness which can only be achieved with a new Lieutenant Governor.

I like his Trump-like over-enthusiasm. He also lists the lieutenant governor’s responsibilities. But the problem is five decades of bad governance will take many decades to overcome.

Mohammad Arif, Peace and Freedom. He writes, “California’s economy and government should serve working people, not just the wealthy. Electing rich developers and their supporters brings profits for the wealthy, not housing for ordinary people. Peace, justice, human rights. I support the Left Unity Slate. People are power.” Again, kudos for brevity.

Coming Up: Part Two

In Part Two of this review of the Voter Guide, I’ll check the statements by the candidates for attorney general, controller, superintendent of public instruction, and Board of Equalization.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Seiler
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com