Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

April 25, 2006 > Editorial: Showtime...May, the month of political mayhem

Editorial: Showtime...May, the month of political mayhem

Now that we have cleared the tax hurdle of April and stormy skies are beginning to clear bringing much needed sunshine, torrents of political rhetoric will soon begin to fall. The dreaded political signs are already beginning to sprout on fences and decorate intersections. Politicians with much at stake in June are beginning to make the rounds of celebrations, no matter whom or what is being honored. Others with more limited finances will have to wait until the air is ripe with slogans and election frenzy, but those with fat war chests are already on the prowl, milking any public opportunity for exposure. Although this is a primary race, most savvy politicians understand that with few exceptions, the Democratic Party rules this state and most of the elected offices in it.

So buckle up and settle in for the usual brash pronouncements of superiority and finger-pointing; due to term limits, the game of musical chairs is about to begin. The "Big Daddy" of our area is John Dutra who needs to outdistance Ellen Corbett and Johan Klehs for the State Senate position that Liz Figueroa has been forced to vacate. Taking no chances, Mr. Dutra has been putting together an impressive campaign fund and already has his campaign signs out reminding the few who are not aware of him, that although forced to sit out for a couple of years, he's back and intends to move up the political food chain.

In this musical chairs environment, Liz Figueroa now has to find an empty seat and has a tough challenge competing for the role of Lieutenant Governor. Fighting heavyweights such as Jackie Speier and John Garamendi will not be easy for our local state senator. This game gets tougher as the stakes are higher. Even Jerry Brown wants back in and will run for Attorney General.

Two state ballot propositions will vie for your vote and both relate to schools. A bond measure (Proposition 81) and a "sock it to the rich" measure (Proposition 82) to fund preschool education. While on the subject of schools, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan will face opposition from Newark's Superintendent of Schools, Dr. John Bernard.

Although it is interesting and often critical to our state and regional economy that voters be informed and cast their ballots wisely irrespective of political party - what world am I living in? - for state and regional offices, this paper will remain true to its local constituency. Our primary focus will be on candidates for local offices and analyzing ballot propositions although if time and opportunity permit, additional candidate positions may be explored.

There is still plenty to discuss. Hayward has an opportunity to change its composition through an election of city councilmembers and mayor. Assembly District 18 including Hayward and Sunol will pit Mary Hayashi against Bill McCammon and District 2 of the Board of Supervisors features a race between incumbent Gail Steele and challenger Union City councilmember Richard Valle. Milpitas has an interesting proposition (Measure I) that may be instructive for other cities and Santa Clara County is proposing Measure A, a sales tax that may be an indicator of the electorate's mood when asked for additional funds.

Although for some communities, June's primary will provide a relatively short list of choices, political and world events of the last several years should be motivation enough to vote in a free election. If not, you might want to review the challenges facing others around the world who literally risk their lives to visit a ballot box. All elections with high turnouts favor a continuation of your rights and freedom. Without participation, few remain to resist the unrelenting pressure of a selective and elitist society. History, both current and past, warns us of these dangers. It is up to us to preserve our heritage. TCV will do its best to inform, but visiting the ballot box is up to you.

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