California Streetsblog Voter Guide

Polls show that Brown is walking towards a second stint as governor.  Photo:##http://cnn.com##CNN##
Polls show that Brown is walking towards a second stint as governor. Photo:##http://cnn.com##CNN##

At long last, Tuesday is election day. Voters throughout California, and the rest of the country, will head to the polls to vote on Congressional, Senate, Governor and Statehouse races. California voters have a lot of big decisions to make, including several statewide races and ballot propositions.

Streetsblog has covered the races throughout the last several months. Here is a summary of our coverage of the Governor’s Race, U.S. Senate Race, and Ballot Propositions 19, 21 and 23.  When you’re done reading, vote in our StreetPoll and see how Streetsbloggers are planning to vote this year.

Governor’s Race:  Democrat Jerry Brown v Republican Meg Whitman

Back in June we looked at the transportation positions that candidates had taken during the primaries and their record on transportation issues.   Earlier this week, Tanya Snyder took a fresh look at Capitol Hill Streetsblog.

Because of his career in politics, Brown had a lengthy record to analyze.  When he was governor in the 1970’s, Brown was ahead of the national curve.  He de-emphasized highway projects and put the money towards transit.  It seems that record would continue as he is a proponent of High Speed Rail.

Whitman hasn’t addresses a lot of transportation issues head on, but we do know that she’s opposed to the “wasteful spending” of High Speed Rail and favors a suspension of the state’s landmark Greenhouse Gas Law, AB32.

U.S. Senate Race: Senator Barbara Boxer v Carly Fiorina

Streetsblog hasn’t taken a hard look at both candidates’ transportation positions, but there are still a few things we can say with certainty.

Whitman, Fiorina, confetti.  Photo: OC Register
Whitman, Fiorina, confetti. Photo: OC Register

Fiorina is an outspoken supporter of indefinitely delaying the implementation of the state’s Greenhouse Gas reduction legislation, supports the state’s High Speed Rail plans and favors more off-shore drilling for oil.  Other than that, there isn’t a lot known about Fiorina’s position on transportation projects.

But Fiorina has made a lot of her campaign about the fact that she is not Barbara Boxer.  And Boxer we know plenty about.

On one hand, Boxer has been a dynamo in promoting Los Angeles’ 30/10 Initiative that would allow the county to leverage its 2008 sales tax to build 30 years of transit projects in the next decade.  Just last week, she helped to bring a $545 million loan for the first 30/10 project.

The larger issue for Boxer has been her lack of energy in passing a new transportation funding bill in the Senate Energy and Transportation Committee which she chairs.   While she has promised a robust effort to pass legislation in 2011, there’s two problems with that pledge.  First, even if she wins her election there’s a chance that “her” committee will be chaired by someone else if the Republicans take control of the Senate.  Second, there’s also a large chance that the House of Representatives, which would need to agree with anything passed by the Senate, is quite a bit more conservative.

Proposition 19: Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

Streetsblog had no plans on covering this Proposition, until Los Angeles Times Columnist Steve Lopez smoked something called “Trainwreck” and flunked a driving test.  This led to a short Streetsblog article discussing the mixed science on the issue of whether or not smoking a moderate amount of marijuana makes a driver more dangerous.  The science is somewhat mixed, as was the opinions of Streetsblog commenters.  Amusingly, commenters from both sides of the debate accused Streetsblog of taking the other side.

Proposition 22: The Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act

Proposition 22 would prohibit the state from raiding funds generated by taxes for a specific purpose, such as transportation.  The act is popular with transit groups who are tired of seeing the state take hundreds of millions from transit operating funds to close a gap in the general fund.  Often, one’s views on the proposition tend to depend on how they feel about the issues that would receive more funds than the current status quo and those that would see their budgets cut as funds return to their original purpose.

Dana Gabbard, of the Southern California Transit Advocates, explained why most transit advocates favor Prop. 22.

Proposition 23:  The California Jobs Initiative

Have you heard that Proposition 23 is sponsored by “Two Texas Oil Companies?”  You have?  The advertising was so subtle.

Chevron did stay out of the Prop. 23 debate, focuing instead on Prop. 26
Chevron did stay out of the Prop. 23 debate, focuing instead on Prop. 26

Proposition 23 would suspend California’s global warming plan created under A.B. 32 until the state unemployment level reaches 5.5%  Surprisingly, the “no” campaign has actually out fundraised the “Two Texas Oil Companies” and have swamped the airwaves with commercials promoting state law, clean energy and even the national defense implications of kicking our oil addiction.

One reason that Proposition 23 appears to be floundering is that some oil companies are focusing their efforts on passing Proposition 26, which would make it more difficult for governments to create new fines, fees and penalties.

Now that you’ve had a chance to review some of the issues, you’re ready to vote on Tuesday.  But, why wait?  Los Angeles Streetsblog wants to know your votes now.  Visit our Friday StreetPoll at this address.

  • Voting started a while ago… you may want to consider moving up the timing of your election endorsement/analysis for the next election.

  • These aren’t endorsements, just a summary of what we’ve already written…

  • Spokker

    I guess I’m voting how you would expect a Streetsblog reader to vote. Democrat for every contest except for lieutenant governor and board of equalization.

    I focus most on the transportation issues of whatever candidate is running. Here in Orange County we have to choose between Van Tran and Loretta Sanchez to send to the House. Tran is more or less about, “WE HAVE TO IMPROVE ROADS NOW RAH RAH RAH.” where Sanchez at least attempts to talk about goods movement, transit and other crap.

  • jim

    authorizations are considered in EPW committee, but not funding

    if the gas tax is adequate, authorization looks like funding

    but when more taxes are needed, then Finance must provide

  • Someone needs to get Brown a pari of Vibram Five Fingers. His stride is going to lead to all sorts of foot and joint problems. He also has bad posture.

    How will we stand up to the communist Chinese manufacturers if we can’t even stand up?

  • UrbanReason

    Thanks Damien. As a voter concerned largely with issues of livability, transportation and the built environment, and depending largely on this blog for new about those issues, I really appreciate Streetsblog’s research, perspective, and analysis on elections. Thanks for putting this together for us!

    I’d love to see an earlier and more in-depth analysis next time around. Certainly in the form of research regarding their previous actions and items in their platform; but something in the form of exclusive interviews, if possible, with candidates regarding their positions on transportation/urbanism/sustainability/livability issues would be fantastic. Urban Review in St. Louis tried this a few years ago and while candidate participation was somewhat spotty, it did reveal quite a bit about their positions and priorities.

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