Meet some local candidates you ought to know.
Sometimes the most influential contests on your ballot are the ones you haven’t heard much about. Let’s fix that.
Are you psyched to vote for Sunday Gover or Paloma Aquirre in the upcoming general election? How about Cory Schumacher or Akilah Weber? James Elias or Jeff Griffith? (I’ll say more about them below.)
What? You’ve never heard of them? Chances are good they won’t be on your ballot unless you live in a small city or less urbanized part of the county. But there will be a host of names, regardless of where you reside, worth learning about in the coming weeks.
One such name would be Matt Brower, who’s running for a spot on the local judicial bench. In the unlikely event you should find yourself in California Superior Court and the judge happens to occupy Seat 37, I’m fairly certain you don’t want your case to be heard by incumbent Gary Kreep. In 2017 he was censured by the Commission on Judicial Performance for two dozen violations of the Canons on Judicial Ethics governing the behavior of judges in our local courts.
The incumbent judge got elected to seat 37 because people didn’t pay attention. He’s a piece of work, and the warning signs were all plain to see for anybody who was interested.
“The biggest threat to our democracy … is not one individual, it is not one big super PAC billionaires. It is apathy, it is indifference, it is us not doing what we are supposed to do.” —President Obama in Anaheim on Saturday
It’s almost time to vote.
In less than a month, the first California votes in the 2018 general election will be cast. A few eager beavers will return their mail-in ballots the day after receiving them, and the ability to persuade voters will begin to decline.
This is why September and early October are becoming crucial periods for campaigns. President Obama visited the state over the weekend to encourage support for Democratic candidates for the House of representatives in districts where Hillary Clinton bested Donald Trump in 2016.
Carl DeMaio’s No Gas Tax campaign will be working hard to convince voters they are victims rather than beneficiaries of California’s infrastructure efforts.
All the big name candidates and issues are the easy part for already motivated voters. The down-ballot names and propositions lacking big ad budgets or dedicated canvassing teams are where I want to focus my attention in the coming weeks.
The current madness in Washington is a symptom of a greater ailment, an affliction years in the making with two main elements, namely voter apathy and marketing of big-name candidates.
People don’t vote for a variety of reasons, but the biggest ones are they don’t think it makes a difference and they don’t want to feel stupid when it comes to filling in the ballot. They know a large part of the ballot will ask them to draw upon knowledge they haven’t acquired.
Some folks get past this dread by voting for candidates supported by a political party. Others just leave those fill-in the bubble spaces blank. Lot’s of folks just don’t bother to vote at all.
Many of them are people who have registered to vote and chosen to not affiliate with a party in recent times. Thanks to the way electioneering is run by the data crunchers these days, these folks are a tougher sell, in part because their NPP (No Party Preference) status makes them less of a priority.
Think this is no big deal? Of the 1 million Californians registering in April through early August through what’s known as Motor Voter (the DMV, which already screwed up 23,000 registrations) 52% have opted out of any party affiliation. (Only 182,000 of those folks were new voters, FYI)
The science of getting people engaged in the voting process says there are four elements for increasing election participation.
- Educate early and well. The bottom line in persuading people to engage in any transaction is related to the question of what will this action do (or not) to make my life better? Negative campaigns work because they discourage people. President Obama’s acknowledgment of progressive ideas (Medicare for all, employees sitting on corporate boards, and debt-free college)making it upstream provides insight into the way forward for this election.
- Peer pressure – 25% to 50% of people who don’t vote lie and say they actually did when asked. What does work is talking with people about how they plan to vote. Don’t just say “vote”, say “make a plan to vote. Everybody makes promises they can’t or won’t keep–eating healthier, exercising more, or saving money. The people that succeed have a plan. And a plan works better when friends and family are in the mix.
- Healthy competition – People are going to participate when they think they are going to make a difference. Drawing attention to more competitive (or more impactful) races is a good motivator. Yes, you should vote for people doing good work in the State Assembly like Todd Gloria or Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher. But your vote in the County Supervisors races will actually help your already-effective legislators get more accomplished.
- The personal touch. The folks in the 49th Congressional district have the right idea; they’re reaching out to as many voters as possible, not just the sure thing Democrats. Indivisible chapters have amazing postcard writing campaigns in progress for elections throughout the United States. And you, the reader of this story, shouldn’t be shy about expressing your enthusiasm for a cause or candidate. Pick one. And… Just Do It.
Who are those people? At the top of this story, I mentioned a half dozen (randomly picked) progressive candidates worth knowing about. There are more, and we’ll be writing about them in coming weeks.
Sunday Gover–-is the Democratic candidate for San Diego’s 77th Assembly District, including the Northern San Diego communities of Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Clairemont, Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo and the city of Poway. Hillary Clinton won the district by 16 points in the November 2016 election.
Gover has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, the LGBT Victory Fund, the California Teachers Association, EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Pay attention, folks. She’s tied in polling with incumbent Republican Brian Maienschein among likely voters.
Paloma Aguirre–is running for City Council in Imperial Beach.
Her experience includes a stint working on issues with US Senator Cory Booker.
Endorsements include Assembly members Todd Gloria, Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, Congressman Juan Vargas, the Sierra Club, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, and the local Democratic Party.
Cori Schumacher— is running for Mayor of Carlsbad and currently sits on that city’s Council. Her involvement in the “No on Measure A” effort, ensuring Carlsbad citizens a vote on a proposed 600,000 square foot mall on the shores of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, raised her public profile. She is also widely known as a 3-time world champion surfer.
Elected officials endorsing Schumaker include: Toni Atkins, State Senate President pro Tempore, Kevin De León, Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus, Todd Gloria, State Assemblymember, Mary Salas, Mayor of Chula Vista, Serge Dedina, Mayor of Imperial Beach, Catherine Blakespear, Mayor of Encinitas, Lorraine Wood, Former Carlsbad City Councilwoman, Olga Diaz, Escondido City Councilwoman, Mara Elliott, San Diego City Attorney, Georgette Gómez, San Diego City Councilwoman, District 9, Chris Ward, San Diego City Councilmember, District 3, Barbara Bry, San Diego City Councilwoman, District 1, David Arambula, Lemon Grove City Councilmember, Mark West, Imperial Beach City Councilmember, Tasha Boerner-Horvath, Encinitas City Councilwoman, and Chris Orlando, San Marcos City Councilmember. There is an equally impressive list of organizational endorsements at the campaign website.
Dr. Akilah Weber— is running for La Mesa City Council. She is currently the Director of the Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology Division at Rady Children’s Hospital and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of OB/GYN at UCSD. She is an elected delegate for the 79th Assembly District and serves as board member for La Mesa Conversations and the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club. And, yes, she is the daughter of Assemblymember Shirley Weber.
Elected officials endorsing Dr. Weber include Assemblymembers Todd Gloria, Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, and Shirley Weber, State Senator Toni Atkins, La Mesa City Councilman Colin Parent, and San Diego City Council persons Barbara Bry, and David Alvarez. There is an equally impressive list of organizational endorsements at the campaign website.
James Elia–is the Democratic candidate for the 71st California Assembly District, including much of inland East and North San Diego County. He’s the director of operations for the Neighborhood Market Association, a Chaldean business group advocating for corner stores and independent grocers.
He has an impressive list of organizational endorsements including the United Domestic Workers, United Steelworkers, IBEW Locals 47 &440, the Riverside and San Bernadino Building and Construction Trades Council, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and Our Revolution. There is an equally impressive list of elected officials endorsements at the campaign website.
Jeff Griffith–is the Democratic candidate running for State Senate in District 38 representing both Northern and Eastern San Diego County. He’s a twice-elected member of the Palomar Health Board of Directors, and has 30 years of experience as a firefighter and paramedic–currently serving as a Fire Captain. Look for his op-ed in Wednesday’s San Diego Free Press.
His organizational endorsements include: the International Association of Firefighters, CAL FIRE Local 2881, California Democratic Party, San Diego County Democratic Party, California Professional Firefighters (CPF), Fallbrook Firefighters Association Local 1622, Poway Firefighters Association Local 3922, San Diego/Imperial Counties Labor Council, North County Labor Alliance, International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the California Labor Federation. There is an equally impressive list of elected officials endorsements at the campaign website.
The San Diego Free Press Progressive Voter Guide, to be published in early October will include these and many other candidates. To see all our coverage for the 2018 elections, go here.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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