We’re a couple of weeks past the June primary. While there has been no change in those claiming victory, there are bits and pieces of data emerging worthy of further analysis.
First up: Voter turnout. The depressing numbers bandied about (I saw one guesstimate as low as 19%) in the days following the election just weren’t correct.
In the 2014 primary election, 27% of voters cast ballots. This time around, the number is 39%, according to the County Registrar of Voters. Not great, but I’ll take it for now. There are 15,000 ballots still to be counted.
Popularity Contest Winners. Assemblypersons Todd Gloria (71.07%) and Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (70%) received the highest percentage of votes in races with opponents not named “write-in.”
We need to fix this. Judge Gary Kreep (30.59%) made it through to the November general election. Describing just how bad he’s been on the bench deserves its own article, and I’ll be getting around to doing it around Labor Day. Suffice it to say significant organizational opposition to his re-election came from across the political spectrum.
The upside to the results in this judicial contest is that 69.41% of those casting ballots voted for somebody else. Electing second-place finisher Matt Brower (26.31%) will be a priority come November. I’ve already arranged an interview to be published closer to the election.
In the contest for Mayor of Chula Vista, incumbent Mary Salas won 62.47% of the vote. She’ll face the other real stinker on County ballots in November, namely Hector Gastelum, who sits on the Otay Water Board and tweets out racist garbage.
Democrats did some things right. It’s only fair to applaud the effort of the County party, whose 600 GO Team volunteers (twice as many as 2014) knocked on doors and distributed 100,000 slate door hangers.
SD Party Chair Jessica Hayes noted in a recent mailing: “In every statewide race where party was listed on the ballot, Democratic candidates collectively got a majority of votes countywide — a historic first.”
Candidates who lost while winning. In City Council District 2, 57.23% of voters picked somebody other than incumbent Lorie Zapf. Her opponent come November will be Dr. Jen Campbell, who will be up against a massive war chest courtesy of the deep pockets in the Lincoln Club and Chamber of Commerce. Third place finisher Bryan Pease is still holding out hope (and asking for money) as he’s 495 votes behind.
Perhaps the biggest shocker in City Council races was the poor performance of Council President Myrtle Cole. Voters not casting ballots for the incumbent in District 4 totaled 61.5% of the total. Challenger Monica Montgomery (who will face Cole in November) is a mere 62 votes behind as of this morning.
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Opponents to former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis were supported by 77% of the voters. AND she came in a disappointing second, behind former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who took a lickin’ from several sides in the form of negative advertising throughout the primary contest.
The biggest loser wasn’t on the ballot. The Union-Tribune’s Michael Smolens chronicled the primary election misfortunes of Mickey Kasparian, the once-upon-a-time wannabe king-maker of San Diego politics.
Kasparian is president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 and leader of the breakaway union umbrella group San Diego Working Families Council.
He and his organizations decided to back former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña for county supervisor instead of former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who was supported by the much larger San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, the Democratic Party and allied groups.
Fletcher ended up in first place in the District 4 primary and will advance to the fall runoff with former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, who came in second. Saldaña finished out of the running in third.
Kasparian also was on the short end of another intense battle in National City over dueling term-limit initiatives. His forces helped the campaign for Measure B, which could have extended the mayoral run of Ron Morrison. Other unions backed the successful Measure C, which will not allow Morrison to run for re-election in November.
It’s too soon to say what role Kasparian’s breakaway group will play in the general election, though much has been made about his communications director suggesting support for Bonnie Dumanis on social media.
One thing I do know, making sure Nathan Fletcher gets a resounding victory in November is as good a way as I can think of to send a message to the Lincoln Club about their disgusting negative role in local politics.
DA Stephan Bails on Bail Reform. Remember back when DA Summer Stephan warded off criticism of her office by saying she was actually a reformer? And remember when she claimed to be working for bail reform? Trust me, she said those things.
Now that the election is over and her buddies in law enforcement successfully played the fear of Negroes and George Soros cards (mostly) North of Interstate 8, the San Diego DA’s office has signed on to a list of opponents of SB10.
SB10 is the bail reform measure endorsed by Gov. Brown, the editorial boards of most of the major newspapers in California, and many organizations working for criminal justice reform. It has a reasonable chance of passing this year, following a long period of tweaks and negotiations.
Here’s conservative columnist Steven Greenhut, in an op-ed written for the Orange County Register and reprinted in Reason Magazine:
Most people who are accused of crimes don’t have the money to bail themselves out, nor do their families. A wealthy person accused of a serious crime can post bail and go home. A poor person accused of a lesser crime will languish in jail. The court process can be excruciatingly long. Those who wait in jail are three times more likely to be sentenced to prison than those who post bail, according to reports.
The reason is simple. If you were accused of a crime, but didn’t have the money to get out, you’d be far more likely to accept a plea deal—any plea deal—so you could get back to work, or get back to your kids. How do you pay the rent or car payment while you’re sitting in a county jail? The prosecution already holds most of the cards in the criminal justice system, and this system gives prosecutors a winning hand.
Public safety should of course be the first concern. After New Jersey passed reformed its bail system, “the state’s jail population has fallen by 15.8 percent, while crime has decreased 3.8 percent and violent crime by 12.4 percent,” according to my R Street Institute colleagues Arthur Rizer and Caleb Watney, writing in USA Today in September.
The push for bail reform in California gained momentum after California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told the Legislature in 2016 it cannot continue to ignore “the question whether or not bail effectively serves its purpose, or does it, in fact, penalize the poor.”
Those opposing bail reforms are the same fear mongers who have opposed virtually every reform Californians have endorsed at the ballot box. And in this case, they have the backing of the bail bond industry, which has a vested interest in continuing the policy allowing personal wealth (or ability to take out loans) as a qualifier for pre-trial detention, rather than risk to the community.
San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan has her office’s name to the list of those opposing SB 10. They have money and lobbyists who will try to kill SB10 before the legislature adjourns this year. To be clear, this legislation is the only bill under consideration at present. The status quo–which means disproportionally pre-trial jailing of people of color– will continue for the foreseeable future. The opposition to bail reform has nothing other than vague statements to propose.
San Diegans for Criminal Justice Reform, a group emerging from this year’s campaigns for challengers to the local enforcement establishment, has issued a call to action.
They’re urging people to call DA Stephan’s office and make their voices heard on her decision to walk back support for bail reform. There are scripts and more information available at their website.
Here is her contact information:
E-Mail: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter: @SummerStephan and @SDDistAtty
Office Phone: 619.531.4040
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