Catch-alls, observations and things

Whether it’s still the shakedown from the end of the Endless Election or me still being woozed from the stuffed nose etc., I’m in a fairly undiscursive mood lately — then again it might also be due to all the writing work I’ve done lately and me just wanting to take a break from it (new OC Weekly article in a couple of days, among other things). So here’s some quick ‘hey check this out’ bits:

  • The new Fennesz album, Black Sea, is making the promotional rounds and I was lucky enough to get a copy. Possibly his subtlest work in a while, definitely moving from simply being elegant artistic shoegaze electronic avant garde to something even further out, like an afterecho of that earlier work. Over on ILX similar sentiments were expressed this way:

    …it’s power really lies in it’s subtlety. Like in ‘Glide’ for instance, in the back you can hear a beautiful melody evolving achingly slow. It’s quite a huge departure from the Venice ‘pop’-style Fennesz, and not as rough as Endless Summer.

    Will still be digesting it over these next few days.

  • Have not seen Quantum of Solace yet but give me a little time here, hopefully this weekend in a matinee, taking advantage of the fact that everyone else will be seeing Twilight instead. (I am increasingly fascinated by the Twilight deal if only because I’m intrigued to see how easily and naturally it took Anne Rice’s reinvention of the vampire template to move from ‘outsider’ sensation towards new template for religious/moralistic conservatism for the likes of Stephenie Meyer. It’s not the only factor but there it is anyway, and the whole success of the books also appears to be a stellar triumph of design — those covers are truly eyecatching.)
  • Foodwise, the wisdom of creating and storing soups for future use was easily demonstrated last night. Feeling ill, I just wanted to thaw and reheat, which allowed me to have a last patch of the delicious pear zucchini soup I made a while back. With it was something I learned from friend Hans — slice up a small baguette and top each slice with some gorgonzola and honey, then toast in the oven. Very delicious.
  • And as for politics, am I the only one not breathless over Obama cabinet moves and Senate censures and all that? Wait a couple of days here, we’ll get some results.

Thoughts on attending the anti-Prop 8 protest in Costa Mesa today

I believe I’d already been clear on the point:

…as I tried to note in my comment on women’s suffrage, we have been down this road before, where something seemingly inconceivable became standard. Legalizing gay marriage improves the general lot by further extending the principle of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ to all — as the complexity of society is more and more recognized, then that means that extension must be further applied to the full.

No on 8

I believe in the essential truth originally posted here:

“We did not want to go to Massachusetts or Canada or Spain to get married . . . because we wanted to be legal in our home state,” said Jean, who has no worries about the high rate of divorce in the United States.

“Shouldn’t I have the right to get married and screw it up, just like straight people?”

No on 8

I believe there is something crucial in this statement I made a while back:

..if there is one constant I have noticed among the anti(-gay marraige) campaigners, it’s that the very idea of same-sex love and marriage, that there are in fact people, fellow citizens, involved, doesn’t register with them, that it remains strictly abstract, or rather they aim to keep it as abstract as possible, which I find very telling

No on 8

I believe that the sight of four corners of a busy intersection full of people from all walks of life, old and young, gay and straight, gathered in protest but never giving into pointless anger, is encouraging beyond words.

No on 8

I believe the fact that the initial police presence quietly dialed down over time, as the vast majority of passing cars honked in support while the sole moment of protest was a near incoherent shout from one passing vehicle, is not only a striking thing in general but a profoundly deep thing for Orange County in general, given the huge amount of cars passing by at any one time.

No on 8

I believe that the fact that the organization of everything for this particular protest, not even the only one today in Orange County, started on Facebook by two friends but never kept too controlling, that encouraged people to bring what resources they had (and they did — water, food, signs and more) and to bring their own humor to bear as well, was crucial.

Don't tell your stylist...

I believe that the fine folks starting up a new 527 action group, Straight Against H8, are the type of folks who have their heads screwed on right, which is why I’d encourage you to go to either this site or this e-mail address:

http://www.myspace.com/straightagainsth8

straightagainsth8@gmail.com

Straight Against H8

I believe in what I said earlier, as a sign clearly showed today:

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

And that’s what I believe.

ADDENDUM — Andrew Sullivan‘s collected photos and thoughts on many protests worldwide today. Along with my own photos, I sent an e-mail, quoting a part of it here:

…the language from Yes on 8 supporters out here, ever since Election Day but even more so now, is not that of the triumphant victor. It’s bewilderment, denial, anger, confusion. The amount of “I’m not a bigot!” statements from people who doth protest too much is telling. One gets a clear sense that they find themselves on the defensive, the initiative ripped from their hands. They’re hunkering down, hiding, finding themselves ostracized — deservedly so. I don’t think they realized how much they’ve done yet by winning the battle to lose the war but they’re sensing it, and are already on the run.

I was downbeat on Election Day despite Obama’s victory due to the passing of 8. Now I think that while it clearly should not have passed, making lemons into lemonade has rarely seemed so evident.

ADDENDUM 2: Tara, one of the coorganizers of this protest, sent out a note to all attendees and encouraged sharing it, so I will do so here:

Hello friends,

I couldn’t let another day pass without wholeheartedly thanking everyone for coming out to South Coast Plaza, and for spreading the word. We had an amazing turnout yesterday – at least 400 at our largest – which meant that there might have been several hundred more if you counted everyone from throughout the day. Chelsea and I were extremely pleased with the location, and hope everyone was pleased as well. I loved to see the diversity of people passing by. And I loved to see that we were still going strong after nightfall!!! I think we hit a big, expansive part of Orange County!

Thank you to everyone who helped bring extra water, ice, food, sunblock, etc. Thank you to everyone who hosted poster-making parties with their friends, and who helped notify the press. Thank you to everyone who took the high road no matter what was being said to them, and who kept our protest safe by being respectful of traffic regulations and the needs of our handicapable peers.

Thank you to everyone who came later in the day, undoubtedly exhausted from other protests. Thank you to everyone who represented O.C.’s huge Hispanic and Asian populations, helping other Hispanics and Asians to see the magnitude of hurt that Prop 8 caused. Thank you for braving the ridiculous heat, wind, congestion, and for the inspiring positivity you brought to this cause. To those who brought their families and children – thank you for challenging peoples’ notions about what “family values” should be. We have family values, too. And yesterday, it felt like WE were family.

Special thanks to Max, Harvey, Joe, Ned, Tamara, and Cindy & Lindy (?). SPECIAL SPECIAL thanks to my little sister who stumbled upon our protest while shopping – and who, in spite of her temptations, did not get into a ghetto smackdown with the religious guy walking around.

Love,

Tara

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The election happened. Past tense.

I am not going to claim some deep thought in this brief post, but even so…

My point in my post is not to address either those races still up in the air — the three Senatorial races in particular — nor the sometimes striking follow-on that’s resulted with the passage of Prop 8. If anything, the sharp condemnation and protests against its passage, perversely heartening as they are since it would have been better to see it gain greater attention and energy while it was still up in the air, shows even more clearly to my mind that far from being a success for the Yes on 8 folks, they are now shown to have bitten off more than they can chew.

Instead, I refer to the bizarre mirror-world we’ve entered into where presidential races for 2012 are already being talked about seriously, where Sarah Palin’s media recuperation campaign is a sign among her true believers that she’ll win in a walk next time through, where every breath uttered by anyone close to Obama is a sign that the Republic is going to collapse.

And it’s only been a WEEK. George Bush is still the president, folks! The current Congress is still meeting! Hell, both Obama and McCain will have some last votes to cast together here before the year’s out.

On the one hand the sheer intensity of what’s been swirling around is enjoyably comical — especially among those foolish voices on the right who somehow mistook last week’s crushing loss for a sign that the American people are with them and that they’ll have great influence in the upcoming government (uh, no you won’t). On the other hand, well, it’s reflective of a deeper truth — people just don’t want to let go.

The campaign took what seemed like forever. Months upon months, passing day by day. It became a standard, something to mainline and obsess over, something where it was the locus point of everyone’s day, the thing lurking in the background no matter what. I won’t pretend I was different otherwise.

But now? Well, you know, the world at large is out there — continuing economic problems, foreign policy concerns, more besides. They’ll weigh on all of us. But everyday life is there too — upcoming holidays, new music to listen to, people to meet and catch up with, all the things that make life worth it in general.

The campaign is OVER. There’s plenty of specifically political stuff to talk about, think about, that’s going to be worth that level of discussion and intensity brought to bear beforehand. But autumn’s continuing on, the weather’s getting crisper, I’m plotting more soups to experiment on cooking with — I’m trying not to lose my bearings here. I think that’s the case with a lot of people.

Don’t lose sight of the day to day, is all.

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On the 44th president

Last night, as the results came in for the electoral votes, as the possibilities grew slimmer for McCain, as it became clear that Obama would not simply win but win convincingly, it all began, seemingly worldwide. The texts came in, the phone calls. The election day thread on ILE exploded. Washington DC partied, Chicago went nuts. The photos and clips and audio rocketed across the networks, across the Net. The rhetoricians went into overdrive.

I relaxed in my apartment — no sound of wild celebrations in my neighborhood that I could hear — and my primary feeling was contentedness.

A conditional contentedness, of course — one confirmed by the Prop 8 results out here, and which led me to feel a touch snippish earlier today towards expressions of unfettered glee. But the point was that in a whirlwind of something undeniable — that something major had happened, that the expectations of something as simple as a person’s identity, their name and background, for the Presidency were now radically changed forever — I merely felt content. Settled.

So I had to wonder why that was.

Partially it was because of the knotted feeling I’d felt throughout much of October, which I perhaps hinted at here, but no further. This goes into very deep waters, but I’d seen enough in the intersections of political tensions and economic shock to sense that emotions were starting to shift to something and somewhere I did not recognize. It was only an observational, surface shift from my perspective, but it was enough to keep me up for a few nights at a stretch. I honestly didn’t feel reassured until Colin Powell’s level-headed smackdown via the Obama endorsement — if only because it was a sign that somebody with a voice in the national arena felt self-assured enough to speak crisp, clear sense on the route that the McCain campaign in particular was willing to lead itself and others down, thanks to the fires they foolishly stoked. I don’t believe at all that Powell somehow changed the election, say, but he signposted an alternate path for its discourse, and in providing cover for others on the right in line with his thoughts allowed them to speak out more clearly on the point.

Complete reassurance was not available until the election itself, of course, and thus my being able to shed those waves of tension was a relief, though the seeds sown will linger now for far too long among the willfully ignorant and the gullible, grasping at the straws of supposed questions on birth certificates and the like, cranks who mistakes their mutual reassurances for clear proof of Obama’s falsity and their own supposedly pure and crusading natures. But having locked themselves in their mental prisons, they can only be pitied if they choose not to come out. If they don’t, their tensions will unnecessarily keep them up at night for now on, and they can have their paranoid dreams — and indeed, their bitter ones.

But this looks at my contentedness merely through the realm of amelioration, a restoring of an equilibrium. Why then no celebratory uplift on my part beyond that, even as I heard — and agreed with — all the surprise and amazement and joy?

It took me a while to pin it down but I think it came back to two incidents, one foggy, the other crystal clear. The crystal clear one came first — it occurred with Obama’s announcement of his candidacy. I remember reading about it while skimming through news sites while at the library, reading the report and seeing photos of Obama and his family with the crowd of onlookers, smiles on their faces.

What exactly I thought to myself I don’t know, not in terms of wording or anything. But I remember this much — the potential impact on voters at large of his background, or his name, or anything like that wasn’t at conscious issue with me (I stress conscious — self-analysis can only go so far). It was simply an idle wondering if it was too soon for him given only a couple of years on the full national scene to establish a clear political profile, nothing more. Perhaps naively, perhaps too idealistically — perhaps too unconsciously, or maybe self-consciously — I had already assumed a certain baseline, that whatever his particular gifts as a speaker or thinker, ultimately he would also be in the end just another candidate and be seen as just another candidate. Just another American.

But surely that was the point.

The foggy incident must have happened sometime in the primary season. Probably wasn’t even just one incident. But at a certain point it started to click with me that he was firing on all fours and kept going, that there was a sense that he had a good organization around him, that he knew what he was doing as did his team, and that he knew how to play the game of politics with the best of them.

At that point, the penny must have dropped with me, since my essential conclusion was “Oh right, he can carry it the rest of the way, then. No problem. He has the ability to do it.” It was the response to my earlier wondering about his possibilities, now firmly answered. All he had to do from there was to take it forward.

We know the rest. And we’ll know more as we learn even more about the campaigns.

Now, don’t take any of this for me thinking that he definitely had it fully in the bag when I made that second conclusion — I merely concluded he could. And I saw it from my own, limited, cynical/hopeful, individual perspective, imperfect, flawed, shaped by circumstances and personality and upbringing.

So his success didn’t surprise me. The celebratory intensity of the reaction to it almost did, though. Had I already internalized the idea of him winning so completely? Was I right to do so? Was I looking through things through rose-colored glasses the whole time? Do I always do so? Was I too easily accepting of something so seismic — did I miss a feeling of awe and the sense of great events? People are already talking about how they will always remember where they were when they heard he’d won.

Perhaps in the end it is just personality. Perhaps I was so content because I was so tired and exhausted, and I was just happy to have an answer. Perhaps something else.

But in happy contrast to that, this:

One of the people texting me last night is a friend, an African-American woman with a son in middle school, whose father was white. When she wrote, she talked about how she cried when she saw the numbers, how amazed she was. I texted back a smile and said, “Now you can tell your boy he can grow up to be president too. And he can!”

She responded with a laugh, “I’ve always told him and now he sees it.”

It isn’t sentimentality to note that. Anything but.

Two further things to quote — first, a post from ILE from someone who had worked on the campaign:

guyz i was downtown in grant park for the speech and it was amaaaaazing

i think the thing that tripped me up the most was how really subdued and calmly happy everyone was – i mean, people were really excited but it was this really serene scene walking with thousands and thousands of other people back from grant park. coming over the hill right before reaching michigan ave and passing by all the bootleg obama t-shirt sellers (there were TONS) you could see how far the mass of people walking west through the streets stretched out, it was really really powerful and crazy – ive never seen chicago (ESPECIALLY a city as historically racially charged as chicago) so CONGENIAL.

ahhhhhhh i am so happyyyyyyyyyyyyy

i think one of the other great things about this campaign is how it encouraged people to feel like they owned a piece of it – because of the money i sent and the time i invested, woke up early the last two days to canvass in indiana and prior to that was phone banking in ohio …. the stories i have meeting people … it makes me really PROUD to have been a part of it

Second, friend Alfred’s own reflections on the election, on the opposite coast but with no less bittersweet a kick as we had out here in California. A selection:

Now it’s time for full disclosure: I did not vote for a president of the United States…if yesterday I couldn’t mark the ballot in his favor, I put the blame entirely on his party of chickenshits, of which he is now its leader. When a right wing asshole on AM radio laments the “loony left Reid/Pelosi wing’ of the Democratic Party that will push Obama around as it did President Bush, I want to buy them reading glasses and a Russian bouncer to make sure they read the legislation. Whether it was war authorization or the support of illegal wiretapping, the Democrats in Congress, led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, kowtowed to President Bush. When the country, fed up with six years of chicanery and law breaking, gave them the mandate to change in 2006, implicit in their vote was the order to get more liberal, not less.

So what does the junior senator from Illinois, poised to claim an even bigger mandate for change than his legislative branch colleagues, do when it’s time to vote on a craven “compromise” on illegal wiretapping and telecom immunity? He says “aye.”

….

At the time I was told to “grow up,” to “understand that Obama is a politician,” that politics “is all about compromise”; but if you didn’t think in June that the next president of the United States was being chosen in part to correct the illegalities and clean the incalculable mess that eight years of George W. Bush have bequeathed to generations, then you had no business lecturing anyone. The truth is, Obama caved. Then he chose as his running mate the senior senator from Delaware, the Honorable Joseph “MBNA” Biden, a public servant who can always rely on huge contributions from credit card companies but, goddamn, can he smile like a motherfucker. Maybe Biden did help him win Pennsylvania; maybe Biden will show him “how Washington works” (as if he needed the advice from Biden). We’ll see.

But I still teared up last night, especially after I saw the reaction shot of Jesse Jackson listening to Obama’s victory speech. I kept mouthing, “President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama” to my friends. It’s still somewhat unreal. I like Obama a lot, and wish him all the luck in the world (so does the world). If his deeds match his rhetoric and the hopes of his followers, then I’ll be proud to vote for him in 2012.

It is noteworthy to watch so many on the right assume that they think those who voted for Obama did so assuming he would fix everything with a wave of the hand, when so many on the left speak clearly about how they assume nothing of the sort. It is noteworthy too that in his acceptance speech Obama stressed challenges and not only the possibilities of mistakes but the inevitability of them. I’ll take that level-headedness and awareness, thanks, and here’s to it being put in place to the full.

Perfection I do not expect. A striving for it is something else. He seems more than up to it and I’m quite happy to see him there, in a job which divides the eras of American sociohistorical times by the names of its leaders.

The American experiment continues.

Forward.

Obama against the flag

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A tideover for now re: Obama, though

A link dump here, but hopefully one of interest.

To say that there are thousands of eloquent voices from the left supporting Obama is a truism — as always, I was always more interested in sensing the discourse on the right, separating the thoughtful wheat from the ranting chaff. Of the many conservative voices speaking against McCain and for Obama, personal favorites included the Cunning Realist’s wry bite and Andrew Sullivan’s nuanced outrage. But none was quite so angry and perfectly timed as Belgravia Dispatch’s pre-Election Day return to active blogging after a more than two month break with ‘The Obama Imperative.’ A must read, especially in the light of what might have been. To quote the conclusion:

We are passing through hugely difficult times where a global financial crisis lurches ahead demanding newfangled regulatory regimes of real complexity, where energy and environmental challenges will become ever more insistent, where we need to de-escalate from two wars and hit a strategic ‘reset’ button in our overall foreign policy posture, during which it will prove imperative we re-build our moral high-ground. These are the challenges the future presents us, and only Mr. Obama can convincingly tackle them head on with a combination of deliberateness, ingenuity, quiet resilience and confidence, in my view. So, for me, not only is this election not even a close call, but also I hope too that Obama wins by a huge landslide, by visiting a stinging, terrible rebuke to the Republicans. The defeat needs to be so crushing and total as to serve as a massive wake-up call that the Republican Party needs to be retaken by sentient, thinking adults, the better so it is led towards a necessary and massive course correction. Ultimately this is important because it is healthy for our country to have two great political parties, and a resounding defeat tomorrow seems our best bet to slowly have the Republican Party regain its sanity after the wreckage of the Bush 43 years. In the meantime, yes we can, yes we must, yes we will! Change is in the air, and it has never been more welcome than today.

To say that the impact of Obama’s election has caught the world’s interest is also to radically understate. A wide variety of links can be found in various entries at the Moderate Voice, while this NY Times piece collects some snapshots.

Finally, there’s always room for full-on fandom, after all. I give you this collection of photos and videos from a LiveJournal user who celebrates ‘the Love’ — it’s the type of thing that plenty of McCain voters would dismiss as hysterical overreaction, all the while mooning over pictures of Sarah Palin. I’ll take these Obama photos instead, thanks.

(And can I just say — I don’t see the appeal of Ms. Palin on that charismatic level at all, not one bit. I can see why others might, but frankly, having seen enough people like her around Orange County all these years, all I can sense is cheap plastic. Not my thing.)

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Reflections on results (minus the big one)

I’ll get to that in a separate post.

I am, still, tired, worn out, zonked. A lot went down. And, frankly, not all of it happily. But having gone through all my choices for the ballot, I figure a catchall post noting what the results were can’t hurt.

First and foremost — Prop 8 passed, narrowly but not razor-thin. I am outraged if not surprised, but also convinced this was a rear-guard action at best, as the tide of history changes. A friend put it best in a private note, with his version of my ‘you couldn’t even have imagined something like this being an issue in the recent past’ take:

Yet there’s a part of me which is still pleased and amazed the issue has even limited viability that it does. Less than ten years ago it was nothing more than a few gayocons and a few rebels with lawyers being reasonable and demanding the impossible. It’s not revolutionary speed but it’s not baby steps, either–that’s fucking fast.

True indeed. We will see what happens next — as I said elsewhere, gains are often conditional and asynchronous.

Regarding the rest of the propositions — the results are here, and it’s a reasonable grab-bag. 2 passing was good, 3 I think unneeded in the end but still passed. 4, thankfully, went down, as did 5 and 6. 7 and 10 both bit the dust as well — I did vote for 10 but I can’t say I’m all worried about that. 9 passed, which is overkill on the matter but oh well. 11 is passing by a hair, which I think will be very problematic when implemented in two years time. 12 is coasting, unsurprisingly.

That leaves 1A, and while my support for it was conditional given it was a bond issue, the passage of it as well as Measure R up in LA, which required a 2/3 vote that just made it over that limit, shows what I hope will be a new and conscious engagement on what will prove to be important steps in mass transit in the 21st century. Essentially these moves are green lights to take things further, but they needed to be done in some form or another, and I look forward to the next developments.

Turning to the results as posted via the OCvote.com site — on the federal and state representative front, no surprises, regrettably — Rohrbacher held off Cook in CA-46 for Congress quite easily in the end, while Harman and Tran will return to Sacramento (though Tran’s margin was honestly much closer than I would have expected, which might be a sign for a future candidate). Essentially, a reconfirmation of the status quo.

On the county level, Measure J passed overwhelmingly, unfortunate but again no surprise, while Carrillo happily trounced Marsh for the Superior Court spot. In the Coast Community College District races, Patterson and Prinsky won handily — very good to hear especially in Prinsky’s case — while Hornbuckle beat Pirch in the one seat I was essentially neutral about.

That leaves the Costa Mesa races — in the Sanitation District contests, Ferryman got the top votes while Perry just beat Worthington. Would have been nice if Ferryman and Worthington’s places were swapped, but oh well. As for the City Council, Foley held on but regrettably, if all too unsurprisingly, Monahan and Bever are back. More thoughts about many of these races over at A Bubbling Cauldron.

So that just leaves, as mentioned, the big one. More on that tonight — if I’m not totally wiped out.

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Into the final local votes — a county measure and Costa Mesa offices

Okay, the longer I procrastinate on this thing the more likely it is I’ll be posting about my choices after I actually voted. Er.

First off, the one countywide measure on the ballot this time around — Measure J. It requires voter approval of increases in pension funding for county employees, and this article discusses the pretty salient fact that there’s been no campaign against it. The employee unions aren’t thrilled by it — I don’t blame them at all, frankly — but they’ve concluded there was no way they could beat it, so they didn’t bother. Defeatist perhaps but hey, you have to pick your battles, and this is Orange County, after all. So there ya go — I think I’d have to vote NO on this one but it’ll cruise to victory.

Meantime, turning finally to my own city of residence, Costa Mesa (I’ve been here for over a decade now, much to my surprise). First, there’s four candidates up for two director positions for the Costa Mesa Sanitary District — hey, you want the benefits of city services, that means you look at everything, and Costa Mesa’s own program is part of the plan. At the same time, based on some initial searching beyond the candidate statements, there’s little here for me to go on right now, except that a lot of people are annoyed at James Ferryman for voting for a pay increase for himself and fellow sanitation board members in the county. Still thinking about this one but I’ll probably vote for current member Art Perry as well as challenger Dan Worthington.

Finally, Costa Mesa City Council. I actually spoke at a City Council meeting once many years back, when Dave from my favorite record store Noise Noise Noise protested a city ordinance that was being haphazardly enforced regarding stickers and posters on business windows. Speaking against it was Dave, myself and a member of the local Libertarian Party — a lineup that might not happen again. Meantime out of all the years I’ve been here only one City Council member ever canvassed directly for my vote as part of a series of neighborhood visits — and I admit I remembered that so well that I ended up voting for her. Can’t go wrong with the personal touch, after all — as Obama’s campaign has made clear this year, for instance.

But otherwise the City Council generally trundles along without me — little surprise as to why, since I’m not a property holder here, I don’t have kids going to local schools, I’m not a businessman here…otherwise I might have a greater stake in things. However, one thing I had noticed over the years was a pretty nasty bit of anti-Latino nativism that hasn’t been pretty, something the question of illegal immigration further exacerbated.

Meantime, the other week I was introduced to A Bubbling Cauldron, a local blog recommended by the OC Weekly a few weeks back as being the best political blog in the county, with a focus on Costa Mesa city politics in particular. But before I got around to reviewing it in detail the other day, I sat down and reviewed the candidates via their statements and other associations. I recognized a few names in particular in the endorsements for some that were immediate red flags due to the issues I’d noted, and I wasn’t pleased to see them back again. So after some thought, I settled on a slate of three candidates — Katrina Foley, William Sneen and Jim Righeimer. This wasn’t a case of perfection in all instances, I should note, but they seemed like the most sensible candidates of the bunch, allowing for where we were at.

Then a few days later I finally dug into A Bubbling Cauldron more thoroughly — and yesterday he linked to a lengthy letter he had had published in the local paper explaining who he was endorsing and why. As it turns out: Foley, Sneen, Righeimer. Still, after reviewing his letter and finding out a bit more about another candidate, Christopher Bunyan, who hadn’t provided an initial statement in the sample ballot, I decided he might be better in comparison to Righeimer, so I’ll probably vote him as well as Sneen and Foley.

I definitely know I’m *not* voting for Gary Monahan or Eric Bever, though.

And with that, my trundle through the ballot’s done.

Roll on tomorrow!

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Into the final local votes — looking at judges and school districts

Okay…I don’t know about you but I’m tired.

WAY tired. I suspect we all are, and would like nothing better than to sleep. In lieu of that, though, there’s a batch of local races I’m looking at, and I admit I feel a bit down because of waiting for so long.

As they say, all politics is local, but it’s also true that I tend to look at the broader picture — international, national, state — rather than truly local. Costa Mesa is kind of a good city for that, for better or worse — affluent enough in enough spots to make you feel like everything’s going reasonably well. It’s easy to cocoon oneself away as a result, which isn’t always a good thing, however good the impulse might be. Similarly with larger county issues and positions as well, even though the problems are more overt and noticeable there just because of the size of the place.

So with that in mind, these final thoughts and decisions are driven by general judgments rather than in-depth reflections. (This will be the first of two or three collective posts.) Maybe next time I’ll work from the bottom of the ballot up!

First, there’s two main candidates for the Judge of the Superior Court here in OC, Office. 12 — Debra Carrillo, a deputy DA, and Kermit Marsh, a Westminster city council member. Unsurprisingly, what we’ve essentially got here is a battle between a generally libertarian candidate, Carrillo, versus an old-school GOP type in the form of Marsh. Over at the Orange Juice Blog, Art Pedroza comments on some of the bizarre infighting at work, noting that the Libertarian Party has endorsed Marsh, for no very good reason from the sound of it. In looking that over, I note that apparently Marsh supports Prop 8 while Carrillo, in line with the Libertarian Party, opposes it. If that’s the kind of thing to expect from both of them then no question of it on my end — CARRILLO gets my vote.

Meanwhile I also get to vote on three different positions for the Coast Community College District, which covers three local community colleges. For Trustee Area 2, the choice is between Jerry Patterson, whose brief statement in the voter guide I got struck me as a reasonable series of accomplishments to tout, and one Joseph Dovinh, who has his own list of activities but also says things like “We should all be very, very wary of influence from communist countries– especially as it pertains to the field of education.” Uh? I’m with this blog entry I found on that front, but I think I’ll vote PATTERSON here.

For Trustee Area 3, the choices are Armando R. Ruiz, Don “Coach Doc” Apodaca and Lorraine Prinsky. Ruiz, to put it mildly, is not exactly doing himself any favors lately (for more, read here, here and here), while Apodaca has decided to throw his support behind Prinsky. And Prinsky herself? Well, based on this back and forth (read through the comments as well), she’s pretty easily got my vote. PRINSKY.

That leaves Trustee Area 4, with Mary L. Hornbuckle, Charlotte Pirch and David L. Boyd in the mix. Frankly I can’t make heads or tails of this one — there’s some rumblings about Hornbuckle accidentally (?) being linked to Ruiz due to the mailer talked about in the Prinsky link just above, while Pirch supposedly got questioned over where she got her degree, and from what I can tell Boyd’s a bit of a cipher. I think I’ll err on the side of caution and go NO VOTE here.

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Looking at the 2008 California State Assembly 68th District race

In comparison to Tom Harman’s State Senate district, the 68th State Assembly district is, unsurprisingly, smaller, but also pretty interesting for a variety of reasons — as you can see in this map, it reaches from Costa Mesa up through Fountain Valley, Westminster and Garden Grove, along with areas of other cities. If you know the area, you know that those last three cities named are ground zero for the Vietnamese American community that settled in OC following the Vietnam War — and that, politically, said folks are extremely politically conservative, given the repercussions and divisions of the war. As the years have passed and roots have been put down further there’s been increasing political participation as a result, so it should be little surprise to learn that the incumbent is Republican, Vietnamese and, indeed, quite conservative:

Assemblyman Van Tran (R) (this is his official site rather than his campaign site, for reference)

Ken Arnold (D)

Perhaps as befits what is, after all, meant to be the scrappier side of the legislature, this race is one of those ones where local politics looms large — partially due to what I’ve noted, but partially due to other things. There’s been a major, major political feud at the OC County Supervisor level that stretched out for a long while where Tran had input — more here if you’d like some background, along with a brief follow-up here. That said, this election isn’t about that position but Tran’s current job, and there’s little to add here that I didn’t already say in regard to Harman for his positions, a fairly standard conservative take on things for California.

Arnold’s site, meanwhile, is truly scrappy — classic rough-hewn design that now inevitably screams 1995 or so — and it’s not entirely encouraging to read on his issues page this statement:

I am sorry that I do not yet have a comprehensive set of issue statements on this website.

My top areas of concern besides the state economy and budget are education, environment, energy and health care.

But what I am really about is bringing real representation to the district.
Being someone that will listen and care.

He provides links and discussion to issues elsewhere but there’s something to be said for centralization, frankly. Especially with two days to go to the election! (Then there’s his biography, which is…well, expansive. Not that I mind, I can be expansive too, I admit.)

Honestly, this is a race I don’t feel passionate about. Tran’s a political pro, full stop, and he’ll easily cruise to reelection. Running against him is an enthusiastic candidate but that only gets you so far, and I can’t say the enthusiasm’s rubbed off on me. Maybe next time.

My vote…I don’t know, I think I’ll write in someone.

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Looking at the 2008 California State Senate 35th District race

Okay, besides all the propositions there are two other state level things I’ll be voting on — first, the race in my State Senate district, with a map available here. As you can see it’s a pretty affluent stretch of OC featured here — Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, the southern tip of Irvine and so forth — while the north part of the district is much more of a mix. Still, nearly all of this covers what a lot of people think of as ‘Orange County’ in the stereotypical sense — think of the TV series set in this district, for a start — and given the political reputation of the county it should come as no surprise that the incumbent in this race is Republican:

State Senator Tom Harman (R)

Ginny Mayer (D)

Speaking honestly, Harman’s one of those guys I just simply don’t notice all that much. My Assembly representative, Van Tran, has always been far more visible in comparison. As Harman proudly has “Conservative for State Senate” as his motto on his site, that really says all that needs be said, and his basic positions are about what I would expect of the area — lots of talk about how taxes are bad, illegal immigration is really bad, how he’s fighting for ‘business-friendly’ regulations (always a bad sign, especially these days, I’d figure), etc.

Mayer in comparison is an academic and analyst who hasn’t served in elective office from what I can tell — at least, I don’t notice it in her biography — but her basic positions are, unsurprisingly, more in general line with mine than Harman’s. It’s standard enough high end Democratic talk for the general area, no surprises, but with a gentle emphasis on certain points I’m pleased to see (noting that the question of illegal immigration needs a solution that avoids “racism and xenophobia” — which puts it mildly around here sometimes).

I described in the CA-46 Congressional race about how my past votes against Rohrabacher were essentially ‘protest votes’ against him in the knowledge that the overall vote almost certainly wasn’t going to break against him. Honestly, I figure that’ll be the case here, but that’s no reason not to vote for Mayer, and I wish her and the campaign well in these final couple of days. You never know!

So I’ll vote for MAYER — and I’ll further direct you to her comic strip on her site. Because why not?

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