Monday, October 30, 2006

Election 2006 -- Local Races

It's election time again. The election is just over a week away, and I have a lot of candidates and propositions to read up on and make some decisions. I've been using SmartVoter to start my research on some of the lesser known candidates and issues. Here's my take on a few of the things I've read so far...

State Board of Equalization, District 1

Reading through the list of candidates, first I came to the incumbent, Betty Yee, Democrat. She sounded OK. She is endorsed by teachers. That's a red flag to me. After all, teachers have a huge vested interest in a regulatory position such as this one. Next was David Neighbors, Republican. He looked interesting. He's from San Jose and is very much in favor of tax and government reduction. Finally, I came to Kennita Watson, Libertarian. Now here's somebody to get excited over. She's went to MIT. I liked her position on some of the propositions that are being voted on. She wants to use technology to make paying taxes/regulations easier and the tax-collecting bureaucracies more transparent. She does seem a little naive, but what the heck, she's getting my vote.

State Assembly, District 24

Jim Beall, Democrat is the incumbent. He's big on funding education, a big negative in my book. His ideas for universal health care don't sound nearly as terrible as most such proposals. Kind of a wash overall. His website has issues, and that makes me think he's a little sure he's going to get re-elected. If there's one place where a candidate's website matters, it's Silicon Valley. Lionel Silva, is the Libertarian candidate. Unlike Ms. Watson, he doesn't seem like a libertarian I can agree with as much. He's against the Kelo eminent domain abuse, which is good. He's also in favor of "neutral" redistricting. That's one of those classic red herrings to me. Finally, there's Lawrence Hileman, Republican. He's a programmer, and wants to lower taxes. Those are good. But he's too caught up in immigration reform for me to vote for him. I think I will go with Beall, mostly for lack of a better alternative.

Mayor of San Jose

Ah yes, Chuck Reed vs. Cindy Chavez. This has been a pretty nasty campaign here in San Jose. Basically Reed played the "you're a buddy of Ron Gonzales" with great effectiveness, until Chavez found records of Reed making very questionable expenses as a city councilman. Reed re-paid the questionable expenses, but he had lost the moral high ground. So it comes down to issues. Reed is pro-business and development to combat housing prices. Chavez is big on law-enforcement and education. Not all of her education ideas are terrible (corporate sponsored scholarships sounds ok), but they are not great. Reed definitely seems like the smarter candidate as well, so he gets my vote.

Measure A

This is a local measure to place extra restrictions on "rural" lands. Reading the for/against arguments still leave this as a confusing issue. For me, extra regulation on land use is generally bad. Plus, it tries to make a county regulation to override municipal ones. I'd rather leave things up to the municipalities. So I will vote against Measure A.

Next I will look at some of the state races.

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