Mark Your Ballot – Today’s the Day

Since we began in 2009, on every election, local and national, Culver City Crossroads has published “Mark Your Ballot.” In the past, this column has gone out on election day, but with so many people voting early this year, we opted to publish sooner,  so voters can get their ballots in right away. The perspective here has also been that people who vote early have usually done their homework, and know what they want.

There are many voters – possibly many thousands of voters – who are new to local elections, and don’t have any long held loyalties. For those, we aim to advise. 

Keep in my mind that this election likely will not be called by the morning of Nov. 4, 2020; the sooner you vote, the faster it can be counted. 

There is a limit to the language. We can say every election is unique, but it’s not possible to over-emphasize how unique this is – because unique is word that excludes qualifiers. Totally unique? Redundant. Extra unique? Illogical. We will have to resort to boldface and italic. Amazing? Crucial? We have all been drowning in an ocean of hyperbole for so long, who can ever recall what dry land looks like? 

Since this is the first time the city elections have been in November, it’s good that the City Council race is the first thing on your ballot. We are endorsing Darrel Menthe, Khin Khin Gyi and Ysamine-Imani McMorrin. It was a tough call, and many candidates on the ballot did a good job of presenting their ideas. We are endorsing Menthe because of his ability to think creatively during a crisis, his work with the Downtown Business Association, and undaunted hopes for the future of the city. Gyi’s history with the Sierra Club will be an excellent addition to the city’s work on shutting down oil drilling, and her expertise on health issues may be an essential asset for the council as we continue to roll with the virus. McMorrin will be a fresh voice with a deep background on equity, and could help the city shape essential policies on reform.

For School Board we are endorsing Anne Allaire and Tiffany Spellman. Allaire has done a great job in the years she has already served, and her day-gig with LAUSD is one of those important extras that helps the board in multiple areas; cross-pollination works in mysterious ways. Spellman is a dark horse in this race, but her expertise (and obvious pleasure) in the details of grant writing and financial management with an eye towards creating and expanding student and family services is a highly desirable talent for the board to be able to call on.

Coronavirus – We are in the midst of the biggest challenges in the history of the school district, and as a parent, I am continually heartened by the efforts the administration has made to help students through this crisis. There are candidates on either end of the spectrum, calling for major policy changes (ok, but not now,) or more attention to be paid to the bottom line (ok, but not now.) In my daily interactions with the district and it’s programs, I find the district’s current efforts to be heroic, and they deserve to have the strongest possible support from the board. Electing candidates who are looking to throw a wrench into equity efforts or hijack the expansion of support programs with their own version of priorities are only going to hurt the students. If you have children in the schools, you know we need to surf this crisis into shore. And then see what the next wave looks like. 

Los Angeles Community College District –

Andra Hoffman –  As above, this is not the moment to be changing horses in mid-stream. 
David Vela – same thing
Nichelle M. Henderson – She’s new, but she’s good news. Svonkin needs to be replaced, and she is the best one to do it. 
Mike Fong – Keeping at it. 

Member of the State Assembly – Sydney Kamlager. It seems to me we have to vote to keep Sydney in her seat every single year, but if I had to vote for her every week, I’d do it. She’s an amazing asset, for our district, and for the whole state. 

United State Representative – Karen Bass. Absolutely. She will win, and remember she was on Biden’s list for possible Vice President. Look for her to be a cabinet pick, probably HHS or HUD. This will mean a special election to replace her later this coming Spring, and that could be a great next move for Kamlager.

Measure B – No Way. We’ve already written about this ( but simply – bad organizations do not write good laws. Crippling local government isn’t about rent control, it’s about crippling local government. Measure B is some bogus bullstuff brought to you by bigots, brought out by big biz.

Measure RE – Heck, Yes. This is about getting the huge corporate real estate interests to pony up for city services when they make a deal. If you want the long form info on this, but really, it’s a one time tax per sales transaction on deals over $1.5 million. People sending postcards to try and scare you on this have far more pocket change than that. 

County – Supervisor 2nd District – Holly J. Mitchell. She’s a political champion and your State Senator who has done more good for working families, women’s equity, and the right to natural hair than Sacramento ever even dreamed could happen. She kept hospitals open, and got PPE where it was needed. Putting her in the 2nd Supervisor’s seat will mean finally getting some long term problems resolved. Mark Ridley-Thomas spent your money getting his home remodeled and his office redecorated, in addition to evicting Culver City’s beloved Mayme Clayton Library, and he’s FINALLY termed out. Mitchell spends public money on – surprise! – the public good. Elect her. 

District Attorney  – George Gascon – We did endorse Lacey in the primary, but we matters have shifted considerably since then, and Gascon is a stronger choice.

Judges – Morgan, Berger, Yang – We have sources that we trust on these recommendations. Judges are often left blank on the ballot, because people have no info – no need to pass on voting. Just vote yes. 

County Measure J – Big Yes. If you didn’t know the US has more people behind bars than Stalin at the height of the gulag era, you know now.  This is a mere 10% budget shift in a better direction. It needs to move in that direction, and you need to support it. 

State Measures – Lightning Round

#14 – Yes. Stem Cell research is so important, and bonds are going to be great for investors fleeing from the stock market right now. This offers $1.5 Billion in bonds for brain disease. No one is against brain research. 

#15  – Yes – Corporations lose the Prop.13 loopholes that save homeowners and punish school districts. Pocket change for the mega businesses that have to pay; life blood for the school districts and community programs that will benefit. 

#16 – Yes  – Permits government to allow for affirmative action. We do not live in a color blind world, and pretending we do doesn’t work for anyone. 

#17 – Yes – Restores the right to vote for people who have completed a prison term. We need more voters, not less. 

#18 – Yes – Allows 17 year olds to vote in the primary if they turn 18 before the general election. We need more voters, not less. 

#19 – Yes – Mercifully offers disaster victims, disabled, and seniors changes to tax policy to hold onto family property tax status, and establishes a fire protection services fund.  We need that fund last week. Vote to start it now. 

#20 – NO, no, no – restricts access to parole for non-violent offenders. Why keep non-violent offenders in prison? Prisons would like to make more money. Say no. 

#21 – Yes – Allows local governments to enact rent control. If the brown shirts behind local Measure B aren’t routed, then this will be the next stage of legislation. 

#22- Hell, No – If the folks at Uber, Lyft and DoorDash can spend almost $200,000,000 trying to persuade you that their workers are not employees and should have no access to health insurance or unemployment, they can bloody well afford to spend $200,000,000 giving their employees those rights. I do know people who have voted yes, thinking that these services will evaporate. They won’t. If Uber or Lyft has to go out of business, believe me, there will be another company set up to take the already available customers in less than half an hour. Most likely with health benefits and unemployment. 

#23 – No position – This has been on every ballot for about a decade, and will continue to be on every ballot until we have a national health care system. Purgatory, but it’s not going to change no matter how you vote. I can imagine the lawyers working this one have already drawn up the next draft for the next election. 

#24 – Yes. Some approach to consumer privacy, and will create an agency to address that issue. If someone is selling your data after you have told them not to, they need to be punished and fined. Ww ill all be needing this agency when facial recognition is required by Amazon to get a loaf of sourdough. 

#25 –  Oh, Yes, Big Yes, Absolutely Yes. When Holly J. Mitchell ( who you are voting for County Seat #2) passed a law getting bail money out and replacing it with flight risk, the bail money people were mighty unhappy. Hence, they created this ballot measure. How about we use some common sense here, and let people live in their own place while waiting trial? We save major bucks by not having to feed them and house them while our clogged courts get to trial date. They get to live their lives while waiting trail for a crime they may not have committed – remember the concept of “innocent until proven guilty?” Extra bonus – let’s get rid of the routine bilking of folks who can’t afford it, and get rid of the vultures in the bail bonds business. 

Just one more thing on this ballot, and that is the Presidential Election. If you vote for the Democrats, you are voting to continue the American system of Democracy. Voting for anyone else is a vote for unending coronavirus, economic collapse, continued loss of civil rights and the political degradation of both women and people of color. 

We are not going to wake up in a new book on November 4, but we could wake up to the beginning of a great new chapter. 

Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang

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