By Barbara Zaragoza
The California Secretary of State Alex Padilla predicts a major surge in voter turnout. That’s good news for getting our voices heard. The most important races to understand for the June primary are: the State Assembly and Proposition 50. Here’s a little primer:
Your California Governor:
Jerry Brown’s (D) term ends in 2018.
Your State Senator: Ben Hueso
California has 40 State Senate members: 25 Democrats and 14 Republicans. Each State Senator serves 4 year terms.
District 40 covers most of the South Bay, including Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, National City and portions of San Diego and Imperial County. Our California Senator for District 40 is Ben Hueso (D). His committees and legislation focus on issues such as climate change, California-Mexico cooperation and dual immersion programs in schools, among others. He was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times for his active role in setting customer prices for Uber and Lyft. His seat is not up for election.
Your State Assembly Members: Shirley Weber & Lorena Gonzalez
California has 80 State House Members (The Assembly): 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans. Each Assembly member serves 2 years.
According to the County of San Diego Registrar of Voters, Lorena Gonzalez is runing against Louis Marinelli (who also has an interesting article about him in the Los Angeles Times) and Lincoln Pickard (a life member of the NRA with a desire to “Make California Great Again”).
One measure will appear on your June 7th ballot: Prop 50. The measure would amend the California Constitution to “prohibit a suspended legislator from exercising any of the rights, privileges, duties, or powers of his or her office, or from utilizing any resources of the legislature while the suspension is in effect.”
The measure was proposed by State Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-6). One of the resources I like to use is Ballotpedia (as well as its footnotes) to read & decide about measures. This is how Ballotpedia explains the reason Prop 50 came into being: “On March 28, 2014, the California Senate voted to suspend Ron Calderon (D-30), Roderick Wright (D-35) and Leland Yee (D-8) until all criminal proceedings against them were dismissed. The three were involved in separate criminal cases. Before the March 28, 2014, suspensions, the California Legislature had never before suspended a member in its 164-year history. The Legislative Counsel noted that the Senate had the authority to suspend the three, but could not suspend their salaries or benefits. The annual salaries of the senators, at the time of their suspensions, were $95,291. SCA 17 would allow the legislature to terminate the salaries and benefits of suspended legislators.”
Hold on there. Make sure to read the opposing argument, in this case lead by Senator Joel Anderson (R-38). He explains, “This amendment means California citizens would face years of taxation without representation while their representatives sit in indefinite periods of suspension. This amendment not only is a clever way to use a crisis to gain power but also would allow the majority party to use suspension as a tool for political retribution to punish members who question authority. For these reasons, I opposed SCA 17.”
Your County Board of Supervisor: Greg Cox
Although some political rumors had it that a viable candidate was going to run against incumbent, County Supervisor Greg Cox, it looks like he is the only one on the ballot. Within the many layers of government, we not only have federal and state representatives, but we also have a County Supervisor who oversees a $5 billion budget. He makes decisions on health & human services, public safety and land-use. There are five County Supervisors and the South Bay is covered by District 1. Our County Supervisor is Greg Cox and he is running for a sixth term.
Your County Board of Education Rep: Guadalupe Gonzalez, District 2
The South Bay has some of the largest school districts in the State. They include the Chula Vista Elementary School, the Sweetwater Union High School, plus the National School District, the South Bay Union and the San Ysidro School Districts. Each of these boards have elected trustees who manage your tax dollars and decide how schools spend those dollars. However, there is yet another layer of government that oversees the school districts: the San Diego County Board of Education.
The South Bay’s elected official for the County Board of Education is District 2’s Guadalupe Gonzalez. She is running against Jerry Rindone. You can read a little about both candidates by clicking on the links. (Rindone also served as a Chula Vista City Councilmember at one time.)