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It's one thing for people who don't live in a city to have opinions about its political issues and to help with campaigns its residents have initiated. That's what Steve Chessin (and myself now, though I was an Oakland resident when I was active in the Measure O campaign) and Tony Santos (on the opposite side) are doing in respect to attempts to repeal IRV in Oakland. It's another thing for non-residents to start the campaigns for their own interests, as Tramutola seems to have done.
The proponents of Proposition 14 claim that dysfunction in Sacramento is due to too few "moderates" in the legislature, and consequently seek to rig California's elections so that more "moderates" will win. (It's not clear that the top-two system proposed by Prop 14 would actually do so, but that's a different issue.)
There is real dysfunction in Sacramento, but it's not due to too many "extremists" there, but that those there of whatever political stripe are posturing for the cameras rather than working together despite their differences. If too many legislators believe their best politics is to portray themselves as standing up for their side against the enemy on the other side, the result is gridlock. This is true no matter how narrow the political spectrum is in the legislature, as opposing sides that want an excuse to fight can always find something to fight over. Democrats and Republicans are actually much closer to each other in political philosophy than major parties in most of the rest of the world, yet in many other countries (though not all) opposing parties find ways to work together to keep society functioning.
The Express rightly rejects the major Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates, but in stopping there shows the same ignorance as it does in endorsing the dreadful Proposition 14.
If Proposition 14 were in effect, the only choices on the ballot in November for Governor would be two of the three the Express rejects, Brown, Poizner and Whitman, and if you write-in someone else your vote wouldn't be counted (that's part of the implementing legislation for Prop 14 that will automatically take effect if it passes).
This June, in addition to the 6 "minor" Democratic and 6 "minor" Republican gubernatorial candidates that the Express ignores, there are 2 American Independent Party, 2 Green Party, 1 Libertarian Party and 3 Peace and Freedom Party candidates for Governor. In November, one candidate from each "third party" will be on the ballot in addition to two of the three major party candidates you've already rejected and possibly one or more independent candidates (who wouldn't need to file until after the June primary). Why no endorsements in any of the third parties' contested gubernatorial primaries?
Proposition 14 doesn't call for an open primary, but for a blanket primary leading to a closed general election. It was put on the ballot as part of the February 2009 budget deal. Abel Maldonado's price for his vote was a middle of the night vote to put Prop 14 on the ballot with a biased title and summary and to enact its lengthy implementing legislation without hearings. The Express endorsed the May 2009 special election ballot measures from the deal, and now it endorses Proposition 14 and Maldonado for Lieutenant Governor.
Common wisdom says the press is in favor of open government and against backroom deals. But not the East Bay Express.
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