The Malibu Times Endorsements

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From the Publisher/Arnold G. York

Last week I dealt with the statewide ballot propositions. This week on pages A14 and A15 Karen has done a detailed explanation of the statewide ballot propositions, so if you’re uncertain, I suggest you consult her chart (credit also goes to the League of Woman Voters for their information, which is included in the chart). Bottom line, we agree on most everything except Proposition 1A, on which I’m still undecided.

This week I’m dealing with local ballot propositions, school board elections, Santa Monica College Board elections, local county ballot propositions, judicial races, state Senate and Assembly races, and then the big ones.

Measure S

A definite Yes

This is the Community College $135 million bond. What’s most important is that $25 million of that bond money goes to Malibu and will assist us in buying the Chili Cook-Off site and turning it into a public park. It’s not the perfect bond, but if we’re serious about a Civic Center park instead of a commercial development, we’ve got to be prepared to pay for it and this is probably the least painful way to do it.

Santa Monica College District

Board of Trustees

Endorsements: Tonja McCoy

I’m recommending something I almost never do-that is, to bullet vote. What I’m going to do is cast a vote for the sole Malibu candidate, Tonja McCoy, and for no one else. That doesn’t mean several of the other candidates aren’t quite good, it’s just bullet voting is the best chance we’ll have a Malibu representative on the board. That’s particularly important with a $135 million bond issue on the table. We need to make sure there is someone looking after Malibu’s interests.

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School

District Board

Endorsement: Kathy Wisnicki

There is one Malibu person running for the school board. Kathy Wisnicki is eminently qualified by virtue of her education, background, talent and involvement with the schools for this spot. The problem is that Malibu comprises only 20 percent of the district, and that means it’s difficult for a Malibu candidate to win unless the Santa Monica Renters Rights endorses them. For reasons dealing with their own organizational internal politics, they did not endorse Wisnicki, so I’m recommending to all of you to, again, bullet vote. Cast a vote for Wisnicki and no one else running. Several others running are good people, but if you vote for several it’s almost a guarantee, there will be no Malibu representative on the school board.

County Measure A

A definite Yes

Adds a half-cent to the county sales tax with the money to go to law enforcement agencies and related justice services. Malibu stands to get about $1 million of those proceeds. Sounds like a reasonable deal to me.

Presidential and senatorial races

You certainly don’t need me for this one. My only hope is that we have a good clean win, either way, so there is no lingering feeling that anyone stole this election. I truly believe that this rift down the middle is tearing our country apart, and people are forgetting that we’re Americans first, and not Reds or Blues first.

Congressional Race

Henry Waxman by a mile

I must admit I’m prejudiced. I’ve known Waxman since law school and young Democrat politics. You always know where he stands and Waxman is knowledgeable, street savvy and fearless and has been a thorn in the side of countless administrations both Republican and Democrat. Which is exactly my idea of what a good congressman should be. He’s also one of the reigning experts on healthcare in the House.

Judicial races

I don’t personally know any of the candidates so I’ve turned to the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s recommendations to see whom they call “Well Qualified.” You can’t go too far wrong with its recommendations.

Office #52: Laura L. Priver, rated as “Well Qualified”

Office #53: Daniel Zeke Zeidler, rated as “Well Qualified”

Office #69: Both candidates Donna Groman and Judy Levey Meyer were rated “Well Qualified”

On a whole, this was an excellent field. All the other candidates were rated as “Qualified.”

State Senate and state Assembly

No recommendation

In the past I’ve supported Sheila Kuehl for the Senate and Fran Pavley for the Assembly, but I cannot bring myself to do it this time, which I believe requires some explanation. Both are very bright and very effective legislators. However, the problem, as I see it, is they simply don’t represent Malibu. For the last few years we have been in a running fight with the California Coastal Commission. It’s a fight that should have been settled years ago. The only reason we couldn’t work out a compromise is because we had no political muscle behind us. Both Kuehl and Pavley were not prepared to put any of their political muscle into the fray and demand that both Malibu and the Coastal Commission compromise.

This week we got a response from the Coastal Commission to our latest proposal to try and settle this battle. Basically it said, thanks but no thanks. Peter Douglas, the executive director of the Coastal Commission, would never send us a “go to hell” letter if he feared any political repercussions. He doesn’t fear repercussions because he knows there won’t be any. Keuhl and Pavley’s priority list, I believe, are much lower than the California Coastal Commission.

By the way, this is not unique to us. In most of the Assembly and Senate districts, the voters really don’t matter. There are 80 Assembly seats up this election and, at most, only five are competitive, which is 6.25 percent of both districts. In the other districts you could run Roger the Rabbit and if he was the right registration for the district, he would win. There are 20 seats up in the state Senate and only one could be called competitive, that equals 5 percent. You begin to understand why voters don’t really matter. This all didn’t happen by accident. At the beginning of the decade a deal was made-a totally bipartisan deal-which had to pass the Legislature by two-thirds and then be signed by the then Gov. Gray Davis. The agreement was that all the districts would be made safe, so they would all either be Democrat districts or Republican districts. So why would the Republicans go along with a deal that would practically make them a permanent minority party in the state Legislature? They went along with it because the White House and the congressional Republicans wanted it, because part of the deal was that there would be one congressional seat added in California, which would be Democrat. But the Democrats agreed they would not redraw the congressional district lines to try and gerrymander more seats for the Democrats in the House. A biproduct of this is that we’ve produced a group of legislators who are no longer afraid. The only way they can get knocked off is in their own party primary, so they all take care of their base and to hell with the rest of us.

Perhaps if we all vote for Proposition 62 (the open primary proposition) this could very well change. But without it, we stay low on their priority list.