Here it is! But please read…

I usually offer more in-depth reasons for each of my votes, but I’m dealing with some health issues right now and can’t spend a lot of time on the computer. What you see below is based on my own research and that of many of my very smart friends. If you jump to the Resources at the bottom, you’ll find organizations that will give you additional information to help you decide on the best candidate for each office. (If you find a link that doesn’t work, please let me know) Thank you for understanding. Remember to breathe ️ April

Hi there, Manhattan Beach and other voters ~ welcome to another Great Election Adventure!

This election is daunting… so many issues, so many candidates…so many freaking judges! Please vote. If you don’t know, make an educated guess.  California needs you, America needs you. Don’t hand your vote to the other side by not voting. Like a frog in slowly boiling water, our rights are being stripped away. Do you really want someone else to vote on your behalf? Your voice matters. If you’re not from Manhattan Beach, check out the terrific voting resources below for recommendations in your community. Note: I generally don’t comment on candidates or issues unless they are on my own ballot. If you live in Los Angeles county, make a plan to vote here.
  • Not registered? We’re lucky: California offers Same Day Voter Registration at the Polls
  • If you’re mailing it, your ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day.
  • Need a replacement ballot? I never got mine for the June primary. If this happens to you, go here or call 800-815-2666. To my surprise, my ballot arrived by mail VERY quickly.
Get my political emails (I send specific, easy actions and a dollop of Hope–and do my best not to clutter your inbox). Send me an email: rabbitt101 (at) aol (dot) com. Your subject line: ADD ME Questions about California elections? Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Elections But Were Afraid to Ask

NATIONAL CANDIDATES

President of the United States
Joseph R. Biden Jr.
U.S. Senator - Full term
Katie Porter

Initially, I intended to vote (twice) for Adam Schiff, who I followed in the 1st impeachment trial. Adam also impressed me when he spoke at a Beach Cities Democrats gathering in September.

But I also was excited by Katie Porter, and contributed to her campaign. Then, one of my very smart friends sent me the following from northern California activist Debbie Mytels, whose reasoning clarified this race for me:

Debbie Mytels writes:
“US Senate — 
Like all of our CA elections now, this is a “Top Two” race in which the two candidates who get the most votes will go into a run-off in November.  That adds a wrinkle in this race, because there are three Dems (Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, & Adam Schiff) and one Republican (former LA Dodger Steve Garvey).

While I doubt that any of the people I know will be voting for Steve Garvey, his candidacy presents a problem, because as the lone Republican, Garvey COULD come in “second” — and while it’s not likely he would win in November, it would also mean that we won’t have a full and robust debate among the “top two” Democrats (whom I assume will otherwise be Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, based upon current polling and campaign funds collected.)   While I think Barbara Lee is a terrific person and admire her sole vote against the disastrous Iraq War back in 2001, she does not have the financial backing to run for this highly competitive seat.

Porter and Schiff, on the other hand, represent starkly different perspectives:  progressive vs. “middle-of-the-road” Democrat. Porter is not accepting any corporate contributions to her campaign, and as a former UC Irvine economcs professor, she’s become famous for writing questions on a whiteboard during Congressional hearings about economic issues.  For example, during a hearing with Jamie Dimond, CEO  of Chase Bank, Congressmember Porter wrote his salary with a Sharpie on her whiteboard, holding it up for all the cameras to see — and comparing it to the wages of a typical Chase worker.

Porter’s pointed questioning has helped many people to see the difficulties our country faces because of our extreme income inequality.  Schiff, on the other hand, is unapologetic about the big war chest he has accumulated for his campaign.  While Schiff has been a leader in former Pres. Trump’s impeachment hearings, this has not required much courage by the Congressman from a safe Dem. district in L.A. who has been ambitiously eyeing Feinstein’s seat for a while.  Porter is a young, dynamic and SMART woman, and I think she would be a great new Senator.  I’ve been donating to her campaign hoping she can get enough votes to win the # 2 spot so she can have a one-on-one debate with Schiff.  Schiff, meanwhile, has strategically been running TV ads that loudly proclaim Garvey as a Republican (rather than identifying him as an old baseball player who’s never held public office before) — and it’s clear he’d rather run against Garvey in November than Porter.”

* SF Chronicle’s Endorsement of Katie Porter:

“Katie Porter was easily the most impressive candidate we interviewed during our endorsement process. Overflowing with ideas and energy, Porter demonstrated deep policy knowledge and brought her analytical mind to bear on California’s most intractable problems — including the potential for water recycling technology to shore up the state’s residential supply while sustaining the water needs of farmers.

“Porter’s housing platform is pragmatic, including bipartisan-friendly ideas to bring homebuilding costs down, such as federal support for 3-D printing and modular construction. She also proposes allowing the federal government to finance the construction of four-unit starter homes, which could potentially make new housing in low-slung neighborhoods like San Francisco’s Sunset District more financially tenable.

“These practical ideas befit a candidate who has repeatedly won tough elections in a purple Orange County district. And they’re why we believe Porter has the chance to be effective for California even if Republicans control Congress.

“To be clear, should Democrats control the levers of power, Porter can swing big, too, most notably on her ideas to end soft corruption in politics.”

U.S. Senator - Partial Term
Katie Porter
U.S. House of Representatives ~ District 36
Ted W. Lieu

I’m so proud that he represents me in Congress. if only he could run for president! Unfortunately, he can’t, as he was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and immigrated to the US when he was three years old.

STATE CANDIDATES

Member of the State Assembly, 66th district
Al Muratsuchi

One of the good guys who has blossomed in his role as our state assembly member.

JUDICIAL OFFICES

Judges are the reason I began publishing my ballot more than 20 year ago.

In deciding who to vote for, I solicit the opinions of very smart friends (which, depending on the election, may include lawyers, current and former elected officials, and a former judge).

I also consider the Los Angeles County Democratic Party , Stonewall Democratic Club, as well as the LA County Bar Association ratings,  and sometimes more.

Note: Sometimes I’m puzzled/alarmed to see that some judges one or more of my sources support are also recommended on this ultra right site.

Which simply reminds me that politics is an art, not a science.

Look ~ we’re all trying to find the green button, the best candidate, the golden ticket.

willy wonka and the chocolate factory GIF

But we can’t possibly know how someone will act until they’re in office. So: research. Ask friends. Consider your choices. Then vote.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #12
Lynn Diane Olson
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #39
Steve Napolitano

Steve Napolitano ~ though Steve is not a Democrat, I know him and support him. He’s the youngest ever elected in our city and is now the longest serving Mayor and City Councilmember for the City of Manhattan Beach. Steve cares deeply and votes fairly.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #48
Renee Rose
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #93
Victor Avila
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #97
Sharon Ransom
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #115
Keith Koyano
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #124
Kimberly Repecka*

*NOTE: neither candidate is rated “qualified” by the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Emily Spear is the incumbent; The Beach Cities Dems have endorsed Repecka.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #130
Leslie Guitierrez
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #135
Steven Yee Mac
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Office #137
Tracey M. Blount

LOS ANGELES COUNTY ELECTIONS

LA County Supervisor - 2nd District
Holly Mitchell

Hands down, yes!

LA County District Attorney
George Gascon

George Gascon is supported by the Stonewall Dems and is a very smart judge who sends out a list of his recommendations.

Member, County Central Committee, 66th Assembly District (vote for no more than 7):
Jane Affonso (my brave, smart friend, Jane rushes off each morning to change the world for the better), Nichelle Henderson, Samuel Liu, Bobbi Buesher, Susan Brooks, Paul Seo, Wade Martin Kyle

CITY OF MANHATTAN BEACH ELECTIONS

Measure MB - Manhattan Beach Unified School District Special Parcel Tax Election
YES

Visit https://www.yes4measuremb.com/

Voting YES to renew Measure MB. Maintains top-rated schools without raising taxes.

Measure MB is an annual parcel tax that provides reliable and essential locally controlled funding to Manhattan Beach schools. Renewing it would continue the current tax rate of $225 per parcel per year for six years. The measure supports retention of exceptional teachers, keeps class sizes manageable, and protects excellent core academic programs in Manhattan Beach Unified School District (MBUSD).

Note: Measure MB exempts homeowners age 65+ for the duration of the measure after a simple one-time application and qualification process. Those who have pre-qualified for an age-based exemption under the current measure are not required to reapply as their exemptions will auto-renew with renewal of the measure. Available to alleviate financial burden on fixed or limited incomes, exemptions are optional and filed at the discretion of the homeowner.

STATE OF CALIFORNIA PROPOSITIONS

Proposition 1 - Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure:
NO

Northern California activist Debbie Mytels writes:

“This drew my attention when Kaye, the chair of our Unitarian-Universalist congregation in Redwood City noted that the major donors to Prop. 1 are giant health care companies — and the opposition was the League of Women Voters!

Another opponent is the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Assn (whose position usually tells me how NOT to vote!)  Since the LWV is known for its careful studies and it’s “good government” stance, we both wondered “why the differing positions?” — and were puzzled over the strange LWV/Howard Jarvis “bedfellows.” I then heard a woman on KQED who is a staffer at a small community-run clinic in the Central Valley — and she also opposed Prop. 1 because she said it would deprive their agency of resources — and take away their local decision-making about what are appropriate treatments for individuals.

Lastly, I received the note below from Vic Ojakian, a former Palo Alto Mayor/councilmember who lost his college-age son to suicide about a decade ago.  Vic and his wife are progressive community leaders — and they have sent out this statement from the ACLU, also opposing Prop. 1.

You can read Vic’s perspective here: 
DON’T BE FOOLED BY PROPOSITION 1’S FALSE PROMISES by ACLU https://aclucalaction.org/2024/02/dont-be-fooled-by-proposition-1s-false-promises/;

… in fact, it would have some catastrophic effects. Proposition 1’s changes to the Mental Health Services Act would force mental health, housing, and substance use disorder programs to compete for funding and would cause one set of life-saving services to be provided at the expense of the other. Proposition 1’s new regulations on counties are projected to lead to a 30-50% reduction in voluntary outpatient, peer-run, and community-based culturally responsive treatment programs. California ACLUs are especially concerned about the risk to programs like non-police mental health crisis response, and diversion programs for people with mental health needs into treatment instead of incarceration.

Additionally, Proposition 1 encourages expanding ineffective, force-first approaches to mental health treatment. Instead of housing, Proposition 1’s bond measure focuses on funding about 10,000 inpatient psychiatric beds, which are typically used for involuntary treatment, and creates a funding stream for for-profit locked mental health facilities, where people with mental health needs can be placed long-term without the right to leave, consent or refuse certain treatments, or other basic civil liberties.

Forced treatment facilities are significantly more expensive than community-based, voluntary care programs, and they are also not effective long-term. People who are involuntarily hospitalized and/or warehoused in institutions typically do not recover and stabilize – when they are released, they quickly end up back in crisis or on the streets. People who feel they are being coerced into mental health hospitalization against their will are more likely to attempt suicide after being released from the hospital [Jordan, J.T. and McNiel, D. E., Perceived Coercion During Admission Into Psychiatric Hospitalization Increases Risk of Suicide Attempts after Discharge, Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior Journal (2020)].

Most people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders, and those experiencing houselessness, can live independently in the community in housing with the appropriate, voluntary support. Institutionalizing individuals who do not require that restrictive of a setting simply because that is the only placement available presents serious civil rights and constitutionality concerns.

They got it right. — Vic Ojakian

Thanks again to Debbie Mytels and my very smart friend who sent her positions to me

FABULOUS VOTER RESOURCES

  • VOTE411 ~ This site is easy to use. Compare candidates. Dive deep: who contributed to this campaign and how much? What organizations are behind this candidate or proposition?
  • Register to vote in your state here ~ a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the candidates and measures on your ballot.
  • Californians:  REGISTER WHERE YOU VOTE-AND  VOTE that day. Yay!
  • Check out this GREAT one-stop chart comparing endorsements from progressive organizations and others, including the LA Times: Indivisible South Bay L.A.’s Endorsement Tracker.
  • LAist’s VOTER GAME PLAN 2024 This the LA NPR station that I listen to. Their reporters have compiled a terrific website just for YOU. Worth exploring.
  • League of Women Voters Beach Cities
  • Opposition: see how the far right votes Very useful to see who not to vote for.
  • CalMatters Voter Guide CalMatters is a nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization…We are the only journalism outlet dedicated to covering America’s biggest state, 39 million Californians and the world’s fifth largest economy.
  • The California Democratic Party’s endorsements and VOTER HOTLINE
  • CAvotes.org ~ the League of Women Voter’s Education Fund’s site. Click on “VOTE,” and become a wizard in all things election-related. While you’re there, consider making a donation  (contributions to the League’s Education Fund are tax deductible.)
  • Beach Cities Democrats ~ my local Dem club ~ scroll down for the chart of their endorsements.
  • Los Angeles Times endorsements This link may or may not work for you.
  • Raucus Caucus Voting Guide
  • Stonewall Democratic Club According to Wikipedia: The Stonewall Democratic Club was established in 1975 in Los Angeles, the first ‘Stonewall Democratic Club’ in the country established for LGBT individuals and straight allies committed to achieving equality for all and to advancing progressive and feminist values through the Democratic Party. (The National Stonewall Democratic Federation was a national organization of LGBT Democratic clubs and individuals founded in 1998, in Kansas City, Missouri. On January 1, 2013, National Stonewall suspended operations due to a financial deficit.
  • Vote Save America Just go here–it’s an extraordinarily well-done voting site. It’s produced by the folks at Pod Save America.
  • Swing Left ~ Swing Left helps you find and commit to supporting progressives in your closest Swing District to ensure we take back the  Senate and more.
  • Indivisible ~ “Defeat Maga. Save Democracy.” ~ They’re a grassroots movement of thousands of local Indivisible groups with a mission to elect progressive leaders, rebuild our democracy, and defeat the Trump agenda. This is a GREAT one-stop chart comparing 10 progressive organizations’ endorsements: Indivisible South Bay L.A.’s Endorsement Tracker.
  • Field Team 6  Their tagline is “Register Democrats. Save the World.” Field Team 6 meets people where they are – via phone, text, postcard, social media, and voter drives. Armed with Voterizer.org, they track down “every good-hearted eligible voter we can, and get them on the voter rolls where they belong. And sign them up to vote from home! “
  • Blue Voters Guide ~ “Let endorsements guide you” ~ on this site you have the option of choosing candidates one at a time OR choosing an organization you have an affinity for and building your ballot based on that organization’srecommendations.  Pretty cool.
  • Open Secrets ~ Following the Money in Politics. “Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, OpenSecrets is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Our mission is to track the flow of money in American politics and provide the data and analysis to strengthen democracy. Our vision is for Americans to use this knowledge to create a more vibrant, representative and accountable democracy.”
  • MB United ~ “Advocacy Rooted in Community” ~ MB United represents a broad coalition committed to a Manhattan Beach that is welcoming, inclusive, safe and supportive for residents, business, employees and visitors. We advocate for city leadership and policy decisions that promote these goals through grassroots community action and reliable public information. If you live in Manhattan Beach, please consider subscribing to  our weekly newsletter which includes summaries of school board and city council meetings as well as local events and businesses worth supporting.

  • The Torrance Refinery Action Alliance is a well-organized grassroots organization that has taught me a lot ~ click on this link for videos and maps of the horrendous consequences if MHF (the deadly acid modified hydrofluoric acid) is released by the Torrance Refinery or the Wilmington Refinery.

Peace Action ~ Of all the groups I give money to, I save my biggest donation for Peace Action, which is a lean, efficient and politically pragmatic organization. Once a year, a Peace Action staffer comes over for lunch and teaches me a TON about the peace movement and specifically what Peace Action is doing to move our politicians, our policies, our country towards peace. Contact me if you’d like to join us for lunch: rabbitt101 (at) aol (dot) com with the header: PEACE ACTION

 

Movement Voter Project logo

Movement Voter Project  I recently helped promote a fundraiser for MVP, which raises millions of dollars and supports volunteers in more than 600 grassroots groups of color, youth, and LGBTQ individuals in key states. Local groups are best at registering, motivating, and turning out voters. These are the groups that help elect people who will protect our electoral system and democracy.  Movement Voter Project’s long-range plan is what excites me the most. Go to https://movement.vote/, click on “Learn More,” then click on “Progressive Decade Plan.” (mic drop)

The LA County Bar Association rates judges. LACBA considers the following when interviewing and evaluating judicial candidates:
(1)  Integrity and character
(2) Judgment and intellectual capacity
(3) Fairness
(4) Experience
(5) Industry and diligence
(6) Judicial temperament, including whether the candidate would be courteous and considerate of counsel, parties, witnesses and jurors, and
whether the candidate is even-tempered
(7) Professional ability and knowledge of the law
(8) Health problems that might affect the candidate’s ability to serve as a judge
(9) General reputation in the community
(10) Civic and community activities
(11) Candor in preparing the Personal Data Questionnaire and list of references, and responding to inquiries by Committee members
(12) Other relevant matters of concern including any issues relating to potential bias

Useful links from the LA County Registrar:
Find a drop-off location to return your Vote By Mail (VBM) ballot before Election Day.
Text Messages
~receive quick and easy text message notifications about important election information.

LAvote.net ~ Everything you wanted to know about voting in LA County but were afraid to ask.
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
12400 Imperial Highway, Norwalk, CA 90650 (800) 815-2666, Opt. 3

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So…why the heck do I tell you and your friends how I voted?

I started this site because I used to call my brilliant uncle Raphael Konigsberg and ask him how to vote–especially for judges. I mean, who knew how to pick judges?  When he died, I said, “So now who’ll tell me how to vote?”

Then I realized, “Uh-oh…”

So…I’ve been researching, comparing, and sharing my ballot with friends, and friends of friends for more than 20 years.  Many thanks to the individuals and groups who continue to share their views with me.

If you’d like to be on my political email list, email me at:
rabbitt101 (at) aol (dot) com with the header: ADD ME