Every other year around this time, we research the list of incumbents and candidates vying for positions to make it to the November election. We feel that the incumbents have a particularly strong advantage this election year, especially for the upcoming primary, such as eight-term U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and two-term Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, though Williams only has one contender this cycle. Due to the passage of Proposition 14, the Top Two Primaries Act, seats that only have two candidates will automatically go to the regular election.
There are two seats, however, that will be particularly contentious in the November election cycle: the 44th Assembly District and the 26th District of the U.S. House of Representatives. Two-term Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell, R-Camarillo, is not running for reelection in the Assembly and instead is challenging one-term incumbent Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, for the House of Representatives. The 44th district is up for grabs: nine-year City Councilwoman Jaqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, who also served as mayor for two terms, will be running against Republican businessman Mario de la Piedra of Camarillo and conservative pastor Rob McCoy of Newbury Park. For primary candidate endorsements, we decided to sit this one out since the candidate pools are slim or lacking substantial name recognition.
When it comes to more spending for any particular reason, taxpayers have become relatively weary. Good news, though: This isn’t about more spending. It’s about redirecting money that has already been allocated through bonds. Proposition 41, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act, would fund the construction, renovation and acquisition of apartments and multifamily housing for vets who are homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless (yearly income of $14,000 or less). There will be some cost: The state will use $50 million in tax revenue over 15 years to repay principal and interest. In the end, however, housing the homeless, vets or otherwise, has been proven time and time again to be much more cost-effective than continuing services associated with helping the homeless. This is a no-brainer: Vote yes on Prop. 41.
Often referred to as Sunshine laws, state legislators passed two laws to facilitate public access and transparency: The California Public Records Act allows every person to inspect and obtain copies of state and local government documents; and the Ralph M. Brown Act requires local governing bodies to post agendas publicly and to hold meetings in an open forum. Currently, cities, school districts, etc., that have complied with these laws can request reimbursement from the state. But during financial difficulty, the state hasn’t always been able to pay in a timely matter or at all, thereby giving these agencies reason not to comply with such laws. As a news organization, we understand the utmost importance of Sunshine laws so we feel any initiative that requires compliance should be the standard. On the other hand, detractors have said that the state shouldn’t put the burden on local entities. In order to understand what our local municipalities would have to endure, we decided to talk to them. In general, we found that, 1. it costs more time and energy to file the paperwork for reimbursement than what an agency typically gets back; and 2. there are so many rules and regulations to meet the qualifications for reimbursement that there wouldn’t be much at stake in the end if the option were to be taken away. The passage of this amendment seems to have more pros than any cons worthy of mention. Vote yes on Prop. 42.