Mark Your Ballot (Prove You Are Human)

It’s time for the traditional offer; it’s Election Day. I know you want to vote, and I know you really intended to do all your research and make solid decisions. But time has run out and you still don’t have all the homework done. So here is the absolutely open offer – you can copy my homework.

The ballot is, of course, the thing that people in democracies do to prove that we are people. We get to vote. It’s been a slippery slope, with corporations being legally disguised as people, but we need to keep at it. Democracy has the ability to change the world like nothing else. The world needs changing; get busy.

So, black ink please – make that Sample Ballot easy to read. Or you can take your phone into the voting booth with you.

Isaac G. Bryan – You will want to establish a habit of voting for him, because he will be on many ballots in many future elections. Bryan is the youngest person every elected as Majority Leader of the California State Assembly. Ask me, I’ll give a dozen reasons – but this is a timed test, so keep going.

Sydney Kamlager – Yes, every single time. Kamlager has moved up the political ladder faster than could even be imagined seven years ago. She in now in the seat that was formerly held by Karen Bass, and we want Sydney to stay.

Holly J. Mitchell – Yes, every time. She’s been a fantastic voice on the Board of Supervisors, and it would be great if gets another term. Fairly easy bet, but don’t sleep on it. Vote for her.

Measure E – Yes. There has been an enormous, and completely unwarranted controversy over raising money to repair schools. The schools are old, and they need to be repaired – THAT’S THE WHOLE THING. While the district has some financial issues that need to be addressed, the vitriol over this bond seems to be connected to the fact that the current board has prioritized spending money on supporting diversity, and on creating more equity for students. Meanwhile, the physical buildings are in need of repair – and that’s not just the fault of this school board, that’s every school board for the last two decades. Now, prove that you are a human with a beating heart, and that educating children is more important than reinforcing the status quo. Vote yes.

District Attorney George Gascón – Former LAPD Officer, the man is committed to a few vital policy changes that the police unions don’t like – hence, the pushback. Gascón is committed to having no children in adult prisons, no death penalty, and holding police accountable. Again, former police officer feels we need to hold police accountable. Like Governor Newsom, he has beaten multiple attempts at recall. AND – no matter what you read on Next Door or FB, crime is down. The only two crimes that have increased are hate crimes and car theft. You are statistically safer in LA County than you ever have been – but you won’t feel safer if you are consuming social media. (fun fact – if someone tells you that you are turning purple seven times a day for a month, you are going to start looking in the mirror for a tinge of lavender. That’s how human brains work. Crime is down. In reality. Where we all live.)

Judges of the Superior Court – Typically everyone’s most under-researched column. We used to have three sources on this; we now have two, making it a bit more challenging if they don’t agree.  Feel free to check the boxes.

Office 12 – Lynn Diana Olsen

Office 39 –  George Turner

Office 48 – Ericka Wiley 

Office 93 – Victor Avila (running unopposed, but vote yes anyway)

Office 97 – La Shae Henderson

Office 115 – Christmas Brookens

Office 124 – Kimberly Repecka 

Office 130 – Leslie Guiterrez

Office 135 – Steven Mac 

Office 137- Tracy Blount

Senator – Katie Porter.  Porter is smart and she knows how to make a point. She does not bow to corporate interests, and she’s committed to a clean campaign. Like Bryan, I could give you a lot of examples, but you need to get through this ballot right now. I like Lee, but I don’t think she can get the altitude. I like how Schiff governs, but I really hate how he campaigns.

State Measure 1 – Yes. Mental Health is a lot like climate change; if you don’t prioritize fixing it, nothing else you try to fix is going to matter very much. Read “The Soloist” by Steve Lopez for an LA story of a genius suffering from mental illness. Or “An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jameson. I’ll give you a long reading list, but first vote yes. Money spent on mental health care is money that saves our society in so many ways.

County Central Committee – 55th Assembly District – Truly, everyone’s most under-researched column; the instruction say vote for no more than seven, so you can vote for up to seven, or you can vote for fewer. I’ve got six, so pick a wild card.

Jimmie Woods- Gray

Jasmyne Cannick

Freddy Puza 

Jeff Schwartz

Aaron Ordower

Leah Pressman

Joe Biden – of course you are voting for Joe Biden. Any other choice is the equivalent of asking the waiter for the check, because your meal is over. If you don’t find democracy to be delicious, just don’t vote. You are a human who enjoys democracy? Then you are voting for Joe Biden. (fun fact – Bob Dylan is older than Joe Biden. It’s really not an issue.)

Out of Town Bonus – If you are in Congressional District 36, vote for Ted Lieu. If you are in the City of Los Angeles, vote yes on Measure HLA. The number of times I have almost been crunched while using a bicycle for tranportation is not at all amusing. We need safe streets.

And congratulations on voting, you amazing human being! Go get a coffee, make a pot of tea – It’ll be quite a night waiting for the returns.

Judith Martin-Straw




The Actors' Gang