Several local political contests more resemble student government than serious adult governance. Most candidates avoid any comment on major root issues and instead croon variants of “me too, but better,” yet gulping the mothers’ milk of politics down their money-thirsty throats.
One regionally respected political commentator sagely remarked to me several years ago that many politicians would feel as though they had died if they lost an election.
We are in deeply serious times and we not are well served by either ‘business-as-usual’ or opportunistic demagoguery.
As a "decline to state" voter and as columnist Dick Spotswood says, “A Militant Centrist,” it feels odd for me to endorse Norman Solomon for Congress. He calls himself a “progressive,” and I am perhaps best thought of as a '60's liberal. In fact, before leaving behind party affiliation two decades ago, I used to be something called a “liberal Republican” when that was not only possible, but common.
Yet, even though Mr. Solomon doesn’t look as good on a wedding cake as his opponent, he has important things going for him: 1) He has intellectual depth; 2) He has the common sense and guts to come flat-out against civilian nuclear power, 3) He is approachable, and; 4) From what I hear from one of his former students, he is kindly.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster is not any longer in our daily issues dialogue. The reasons include the preferences of those who own the media, and because the story, when looked upon in the full light of its horror, is so distressing that most of us want to avert our attention. But if you will take an hour to study it — try YouTube — you will far better understand why civilian nuclear power, in the long term, is a no-win for our civilization, to say nothing of Pacific aquatic life.
Normal Solomon is standing up on that issue, and I applaud him for it. I believe Mr. Solomon will also be more concerned with the civil liberties of our citizens, without which governance in the name of democracy would be a veil of charade.
The Judge Race: I have never met either candidate in the judgeship race in Marin. However, before taking my current job as a tech CEO, I worked as a trial lawyer for 35 years. I believe that it is never justified to politicize a judicial race, such as by criticizing a judge on the basis of the politics of the governor who appointed him or her to office. I believe that an incumbent judge should remain in office unless there is some solid, valid, objective reason for complaint, which is not the case in Marin. I will vote for James Chou.
The Assembly race: The late and sharp witted Texas political commentator Molly Ivans said there were three ways to know what a politician would do in the future: 1) What he has done in the past; 2) What he has done in the past, and; 3) What he has done in the past. Michael Allen’s career has been nurtured in the lap of the Service Employees International Union, the leadership of which dumped $150,000 into Susan Adams’ supervisorial race against Kerry Mazzoni very late in that campaign, after I personally heard Ms. Adams assert, at a Marinwood candidates night, that the pension crisis was “not that big a problem,” and that if things became too difficult we could “always go to the State.”
Due to those contributions, Ms. Mazzoni narrowly lost as county supervisor, and the SEIU leadership, as opposed to the membership, won the day. The actual members of the SEIU would have been better served by Ms. Mazzoni’s position that we needed to "bring all the stakeholders to the table.
I will vote for Mark Levine, who is local and qualified.
The Supervisors Race: In District 4, which represents West Marin and western Novato, I very nearly ran for this post. I had the papers ready, and at literally the last minute made a gut decision not to run. I believe that I can do far more for the public good through my work with our tech company, Green Swan.
In that process, I studied the stakes in this race. Steve Kinsey is more polished than Diane Furst, more definite on some issues and positions, and better informed about Marin agriculture. However, though Ms. Furst is currently the less sophisticated candidate, she has shown a great concern for transparency in government and respect for the will of the voters — in contrast to Mr. Kinsey’s ideological lockstep identification with the general outlook of the overfed “Smart Growth” planning community.
This is a difficult call for me, because I like Steve Kinsey and respect his many years of dedicated service. However, Furst “gets it” that her job is to represent those who elect her to the governance structure, not to represent that structure to the voters.