Some inspirational words for Election Day

Some words of inspiration for those who still haven’t cast a ballot today:

“Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.”
— Daniel Webster

“I know nothing grander, better exercise, better digestion, more positive proof of the past, the triumphant result of faith in human kind, than a well-contested American national election.”
— Walt Whitman

“We preach the virtues of democracy abroad. We must practice its duties here at home. Voting is the first duty of democracy.”
— President Lyndon B. Johnson

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
George Jean Nathan

“Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.”
Laurence J. Peter, formulator of “the Peter Principle”



It’s Election Day – get out there and vote, if you haven’t already!

California’s polls are open today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you haven’t put your vote-by-mail ballot in the mail yet, DON’T – it won’t be counted unless it reaches the registrar’s office by 8 p.m. tonight, and postmarks don’t matter. You can drop it off by hand at any polling place in your county, or at the registrar’s office; don’t forget to sign the outside of the envelope.

If you have any questions about your ballot, your polling place or anything else having to do with this election, contact your county registrar:

Alameda County, www.acgov.org/rov, 510-267-8683
Contra Costa County, www.cocovote.us, 925-335-7800
Marin County, www.marinvotes.org, 415-473-6456
Monterey County, www.montereycountyelections.us, 831-796-1499
Napa County, www.countyofnapa.org/Elections, 707-253-4321
San Francisco, www.sfgov2.org/index.aspx?page=599, 415-554-4375
San Joaquin County, www.sjcrov.org, 209-468-2885
San Mateo County, www.shapethefuture.org, 650-312-5222
Santa Clara County, www.sccvote.org, 408-299-8683
Santa Cruz County, www.votescount.com, 831-454-2060
Solano County, www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov, 707-784-6675
Sonoma County, vote.sonoma-county.org, 707-565-6800

To report election fraud, call the California Secretary of State Office‘s voter hotline: 800-345-8683


AD20: Quirk hits Ong for opposing Prop. 30

In most places, candidates gets slammed for supporting a tax increase; in one Bay Area Assembly race, a candidate is being attacked for opposing one.

Bill Quirk, a Hayward councilman running for the 20th Assembly District seat, is taking his opponent, fellow Democrat Jennifer Ong, to task for opposing Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure on next month’s ballot.

Prop. 30 would raise income taxes for the next seven years for those earning more than $250,000 per year, and would raise the state sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years. The proceeds – estimated at from $6.8 billion to $9 billion, would be used to shore up K-12 schools’ and community colleges budget; if the measure doesn’t pass, schools will suffer an automatic $6 billion in cuts.

The local Democratic machine is campaigning for a slate that includes Rep. Pete Stark, Quirk for Assembly, Richard Valle for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, yes on Prop. 30, and no on Proposition 32, which would cripple unions’ ability to spend on political causes.

Jennifer OngOng – a Hayward resident with an Alameda optometry practice – implied her opposition to Prop. 30 at an Oct. 3 League of Women Voters forum, and then expressed it more specifically in an interview afterward with the East Bay Citizen.

Ong told The Citizen she was troubled by the regressive nature of the sales tax increase. “I won’t be able to personally support that,” said Ong. “It’s trying to stick it to the poor.”

That’s actually a 180-degree turn from what she told the Bay Area News Group’s editorial board in May. Back then, she said she preferred the governor’s measure to the competing tax measure being put forth by Molly Munger (now on the ballot as Proposition 38), and she specifically agreed with the governor’s proposal to boost the sales tax – the only part of his measure that could be considered regressive.

Ong hasn’t yet responded to a phone call and an e-mail seeking comment on this.

UPDATE @ 6 P.M. SUNDAY 10/14: Ong sent this statement at about noon on Saturday, roughly two days after I’d tried to reach her:

“As I said before, I don’t think raising the sales tax on the necessities of life is a good idea. I wish the Governor had not included this in Proposition 30. It is difficult for me to fully support Proposition 30 as it currently stands with great concern over its impact on families and family owned small businesses along with the incremental increase in the price of gas and impending drought.”

This statement, however, ignores the difference in her stance from the May editorial board meeting to now, about which I specifically asked in the email and voice mail messages I left for her Thursday.

Quirk’s campaign on Wednesday issued a statement saying Ong’s opposition to Prop. 30 is surprising for a Democrat in a heavily Democratic district. AD20 is 54 percent Democrat, 17 percent Republican and 22 percent no-party-preference.

“Proposition 30 is critical to the future of our state” Quirk said in the statement. “If it doesn’t pass, our students may lose up to three weeks of instruction each year. I’m actively campaigning in support of the measure – fighting for public education as I have my entire career.”

Campaign finance reports filed last week show Quirk raised $197,742 and spent $121,121 in the third quarter of 2012, and had $110,396 cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Ong raised $96,888.06 and spent $30,474.48 in the third quarter, and had $81,846 cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

But neither of the Ong mailers that arrived at my home in the past week were paid for by her campaign.

One Ong mailer came from the Californians Allied for Patient Protection Independent Expenditure Account. According to the Secretary of State’s campaign finance database, that committee spent $112,205 to support Ong in the year’s first three quarters – including $12,000 in August for “opposition research” – and has spent $86,589 since the start of this month for mailers on her behalf. That committee’s biggest contributors in this election cycle have been the Cooperative of American Physicians State PAC ($100,000); NorCal Mutual Insurance Co. ($100,000); The Doctors Company PAC ($100,000); the California Medical Association PAC ($75,000); Physicians for the Group Practice of Medicine ($45,000); and the Medical Insurance Exchange of California PAC ($40,000).

Another came from Doctors of Optometry for Better Healthcare, sponsored by the California Optometric Association PAC. Unlike the other committee, which has spent on behalf of other candidates besides Ong, this one exists only to make independent expenditures on Ong’s behalf – $173,092 worth since the start of the year, including $73,866 since June’s primary.

The newly drawn district includes Hayward, Union City and part of Fremont as well as the unincorporated areas of Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Sunol, Ashland, Cherryland and Fairview.

See video of the League of Women Voters’ AD20 forum, after the jump…
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South Bay GOP Assembly candidate short on cash

A South Bay Republican Assembly candidate who’s already grappling with her own skeletons-in-the-closet while taking on a Democratic incumbent in a heavily Democratic district has a new problem: cash, and none of it.

Santa Clara management consultant ArLyne Diamond, the challenger to Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, in the newly drawn 25th Assembly District, sent out this e-mail plea today:


The hardest part, for me, of running for office is trying to raise the money one needs in order to succeed.

Your donations helped me get on the ballot in the primary and win a spot towards the November election. You might remember that among the costs were the fees to both counties for having ballot statements.

Well, we need approximately $8,500.00 to get statements on the ballot in both Santa Clara and Alameda counties. We are about ½ way there.

The deadline is August 10th. That’s just a few days away. I must bring checks to the Registrar of Voters in both counties before that date.

So please: Make as big a donation at this time as you are able – and either mail it today or tomorrow – or use the “donate” button and pay it through Paypal.

Now, $8,500 isn’t a whole lot of money in the context of a California Assembly race, but Diamond’s campaign hasn’t reported ANY fundraising to the Secretary of State’s office so far. Wieckowski’s campaign had $57,778.30 cash on hand as of June 30; the data crunchers at MapLight.org have found most of his money comes from labor unions, followed by lawyers and lobbyists.

Diamond’s fundraising picture might not be helped by our recent revelation that her license to practice psychology was revoked 23 years ago by state authorities who concluded she’d improperly and unethically used her relationship with a patient to get a loan to fund her business.

Wieckowski finished first in June’s primary with 41.4 percent of the vote, followed by Diamond at 30.7 percent; eliminated was Democrat Pete McHugh, at 27.9 percent. The district is registered 45.3 percent Democrat, 19.7 percent Republican and 30.5 percent no-party-preference, so there’s not a lot of suspense here.


Sandre Swanson endorses Rob Bonta in AD18

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson has endorsed Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta to succeed him.

Swanson, D-Alameda, picked Bonta over the other candidate, Peralta Community College Trustee Abel Guillen; both candidates are Democrats.

“It has truly been an honor to represent the East Bay in the California State Assembly and I am looking forward to passing the baton to a new leader to represent Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro,” Swanson said in a release. “Over the past several months, I have given serious consideration to the Democratic candidates running to succeed me. I have carefully considered their values, experience and vision for the future. It is now clear to me that Rob Bonta is the best choice for the California State Assembly.”

Swanson noted Bonta last weekend won the state Democratic Party’s endorsement.

Rob Bonta“Rob is an impressive young leader,” Swanson said. “As a husband and father, he fights for better schools and safer streets. As a lawyer, he stood up to Governor Schwarzenegger to stop education cuts. As an Alameda City Council Member, he has balanced budgets, protected public safety and worked to create local jobs.”

Swanson serves on the Assembly Budget Committee and chairs the Labor and Employment Committee, and said he believes Bonta would serve the district well in setting budget priorities, working to create jobs and protecting the middle class. Swanson also cited Bonta’s father’s civil rights background – he stood with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and was an organizer under Cesar Chavez. And Bonta would be the first Filipino American to serve in California’s Legislature, Swanson noted.

“I am confident Rob will continue the work we started to be a champion for working families and the community,” he said. “We share a strong commitment to protecting the social services safety net for women, children the elderly and the disabled. Rob is an independent thinker who will consistently do what’s best for the East Bay and the people of California.”

Swanson is term-limited out of the Assembly after serving the 16th District for six years; the newly drawn 18th Assembly District, in which Bonta and Guillen are vying, covers a similar area.

Bonta and Guillen finished first and second, respectively, in last month’s primary election, and so advanced to November’s general election under the state’s new “top-two” system despite both being Democrats. Eliminated in the primary were another Democrat, AC Transit Director Joel Young, and Alameda businesswoman Rhonda Weber, a Republican.