Governor: Jerry Brown (Democrat). I more often vote third-party for high offices like governor and president. In fact, the only time I ever voted for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who actually won - it was Gray Davis - I saw a quote from him on the morning after Election Day that made me immediately wish I hadn't voted for him after all. (I no longer remember what he said, but whatever it was, it made me furious at him.) You'd think I'd have learned from that. Honestly, I fully expect to end up regretting voting for Jerry Brown, but I haven't found a good enough reason not to vote for him, especially considering that the Prop 8 case in the U.S. Court of Appeals may hinge substantially on whether the next California governor and attorney general support or oppose Prop 8. Jerry Brown and the Democratic candidate for attorney general, Kamala Harris, have both said they will do everything they can to oppose Prop 8, while the Republican candidates for both offices have said they will do everything they can to support Prop 8.
Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom (Democrat). Although I am registered as a Peace and Freedom Party member, I default to voting Democrat and only switch to the Peace and Freedom Party candidate when the Democratic candidate makes me furious. Remarkably, that hasn't happened with any of the Democratic candidates on the ballot this time around.
Secretary of State: Debra Bowen (Democrat). I'm glad that in her statement in the official voter information guide, she says she wants to "make certain voters are confident that every ballot is counted exactly as it was cast."
Controller: John Chiang (Democrat).
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer (Democrat). I'm impressed that his statement in the official voter information guide says, "Many states lost millions when financial markets collapsed, we didn't lose a penny" due to his management (although I would have been more impressed if he hadn't used a comma splice).
Attorney General: Kamala Harris (Democrat). See above remarks regarding her importance to the Prop 8 case in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones (Democrat). I like his statement in the official voter information guide that he "refuses to accept contributions from insurance companies" - a statement not matched by the other candidates.
Member, State Board of Equalization, 2nd District: Chris Parker (Democrat).
U.S. Senator: Barbara Boxer (Democrat). This is the most important box on the ballot for me this time around. Barbara Boxer is by far the highest-ranking Democratic politician that I vote for not just reluctantly or indecisively but enthusiastically. I never vote for California's other Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein, anymore, because I will never forgive Feinstein for voting to authorize Bush's invasion of Iraq. Barbara Boxer, however, was one of the rare few Democrats who voted against authorizing Bush's invasion of Iraq. Barbara Boxer is an excellent senator who is smart enough to see through Republican lies and brave enough to speak out against them. We desperately need more senators like Barbara Boxer, and we desperately need Barbara Boxer herself to stay in office.
Member, U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District: Jim Reed (Democrat). He has exactly zero hope of beating icky Republican incumbent Wally Herger, but you have no idea how intensely and fervently and desperately I wish he had any hope of it, despite knowing exactly nothing about Jim Reed other than that he's the Democratic candidate and he isn't Wally Herger.
Member, State Assembly, 3rd District: Mickey Harrington (Democrat). Very similar to the above situation; just substitute "icky Republican incumbent Dan Logue" for "icky Republican incumbent Wally Herger."
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California Supreme Court: YES. The bad things about her are that she was appointed to judicial positions by Republican Governors George Deukmejian and Arnold Schwarzenegger and has apparently issued at least one ruling in favor of a law dismantling affirmative action. The good things about her are that she performed a same-sex marriage during the time it was legal and that she has been criticized by extreme right-wingers for her feminist views in regard to family law, domestic violence, and sexual assault. More details here and here (note: the latter is an extreme right-wing site).
Justice Ming Chin, California Supreme Court: NO. In both the 2008 and 2009 court decisions (before and after Prop 8 was passed by voters), he voted against legalizing same-sex marriage. He was appointed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson.
Justice Carlos Moreno, California Supreme Court: YES. In both the 2008 and 2009 court decisions (before and after Prop 8 was passed by voters), he voted for legalizing same-sex marriage or keeping it legal. He was appointed by Democratic Governor Gray Davis.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson.
[Lower-level local races omitted due to the unlikelihood that anyone reading this would be voting on the same local races as me.]
Proposition 19. Legalizes marijuana under California but not federal law: UNDECIDED. The Courage Campaign, Peace & Freedom Party, and Green Party all recommend a YES vote. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.
I've changed my mind on this one so many times that I'm currently leaning toward skipping this ballot question entirely. Don't get me wrong: although I think marijuana and mind-altering recreational drug use in general (including, especially, alcohol use) are icky, I do not think they should be illegal. I would be very happy if alcohol and marijuana and so on could be un-invented, but since they do irrevocably exist, I do not think people should be punished for using them. This would seem to suggest that I should support Proposition 19. I am bothered, however, by the fact that no test has yet been invented to measure the amount of marijuana in someone's system, which could make it very difficult to prosecute anyone for driving under the influence of marijuana if marijuana is not inherently illegal. I do suspect that such a test would be more likely to get invented, however, if Proposition 19 passes, which makes me hesitate to vote against Proposition 19 due to the lack of such a test. I am also bothered by the threat that federal laws could withhold billions of dollars from the California government if Proposition 19 passes, but I am not happy about giving in to federal government bullying, either. So I am undecided. If you would like to try to sway me toward one side or the other, it may be helpful to bear in mind that I live in Yuba County, which is where the events described in this article take place. There is a large volume of marijuana being grown probably within a few miles of here, and a large number of scary people with guns who are guarding it, and also (because we are in the most "urban" part of Yuba County, where the rural growing areas merge with residential selling areas, and most residents of our neighborhood are distinctly below the poverty line) a large volume of it being sold and consumed in virtually every house and apartment on all sides of where we live.
Proposition 20: Redistricting of congressional districts: NO. The Courage Campaign, Peace & Freedom Party, Green Party, and all these other groups recommend a NO vote. The 14-member voting commission that would draw the U.S. Congressional District boundaries for California if this passes is required to contain 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans, which is not representative of California's primarily Democratic population. The legislators who would draw the district boundaries if this is defeated will likely be more inclined to favor Democratic interests than the commission would be. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.
Proposition 21: Establishes $18 annual vehicle License surcharge to help fund state parks and wildlife programs: YES. The Courage Campaign, Peace & Freedom Party, Green Party, and all these other groups recommend a YES vote. State parks are a resource that deserves everyone's support, no matter whether the people visit the state parks or not - especially in California, because the California Floristic Province is one of the world's major biodiversity hotspots</a>, and our state's unusually high number of rare, endemic, and endangered species are more likely to become extinct if the state parks are not preserved and cared for. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.
Proposition 22: Prohibits the state from borrowing or taking funds used for transportation, redevelopment, or local government projects and services: NO. The Courage Campaign, Peace & Freedom Party, Green Party, and all these other groups recommend a NO vote. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.
Proposition 23: Suspends implementation of air pollution control law (AB 32) requiring major sources of emissions to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or less for full year: NO. The Courage Campaign, Peace & Freedom Party, Green Party, and all these other groups recommend a NO vote. Not only might the anti-global warming law create more jobs than it ends, but a 5.5 percent unemployment rate is so low that by many measures, the law might have gone into effect less than half the time during the past twenty years. Now, after Bush's Great Depression II, who knows when the unemployment rate will ever be anywhere near that low again? Global warming needs urgent attention, not a vague "someday, maybe, when we run out of excuses" form of attention. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.
Proposition 24: Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability: YES. The Courage Campaign, Peace & Freedom Party, Green Party, and all these other groups recommend a YES vote. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.
Proposition 25: Changes legislative vote requirement to pass budget-related legislation (not including taxes) from two-thirds to a simple majority: YES. The Courage Campaign, Peace & Freedom Party, Green Party, and all these other groups recommend a YES vote. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.
Proposition 26: Requires that certain state and local fees (including those that address adverse impacts on society or the environment caused by the fee-payer's business) be approved by two-thirds vote: NO. The Courage Campaign, Peace & Freedom Party, Green Party, and all these other groups recommend a NO vote. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.
Proposition 27: Eliminates state commission on redistricting: YES. The Courage Campaign and the Green Party make no recommendations. The Peace & Freedom Party recommends NO, but most of those other groups recommend YES. The 14-member voting commission that will draw the district boundaries if this is defeated is required to contain 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans, which is not representative of California's primarily Democratic population. The legislators who would draw district boundaries if this passes would likely be more inclined to favor Democratic interests than the commission would be. See the Ballotpedia entry for more information.