While few in the state will be promised a victory overall this June, having to wait for the November election, the primaries will set in motion the reality of Democratic fervor after the election of Donald Trump, with one exception: The top-two vote-getters (regardless of party affiliated) will advance to the general election, not the top vote-getters per party. California, along with Washington and Nebraska, are the only states to have such a system in place. This will be the first gubernatorial election for California with the new voting system and will collectively show how well-organized Democrats really are. For Ventura County, however, most of the higher office positions, such as U.S. House of Representatives and state Assembly candidates, have only incumbents, plus one or two candidates, with top-two voter-getters to run again in November. There are only a few seats that are actually interesting, which we endorse below. As for the nonpartisan positions with only one person running, such as such as the assessor, district attorney and sheriff, we only say, there is always room for improvement. If the quality of life isn’t improving for people in the community you serve or will be serving, perhaps it’s time to reassess the status quo.

Governor

On the June ballot, there are 12 Democratic gubernatorial candidates, five Republicans and 10 others (Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, Green and “none”). Four candidates seem to be making headway and headlines statewide, Democrats Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Treasurer John Chiang and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and businessman and Republican John H. Cox, who has been endorsed by Trump. This is a rather precarious situation for Democrats, should any of the Democrats to have to face off in November, which, by all appearances would be Newsom versus Chiang or Villaraigosa. While Villaraigosa is garnering attention in Southern California, Chiang and Newsom seem to have a broader appeal statewide. We feel comfortable with seeing who has the best ideas among the Democrats at this time versus a more polarized point of view for California by supporting Cox, given what we have seen come from Trump. We, however, are leaning toward Newsom, who has served under Gov. Jerry Brown since 2011, and speaks about California becoming more progressive, and Chiang, who comes from a more reserved fiscally focused perspective. Ideally, they would join forces for the November ballot if they are not competing. We believe that Democrats have a good thing going in the state, except for one major problem: affordable housing. Whoever can reasonably address that with tangible solutions we will stand behind. Until that time, vote for either Gavin Newsom or John Chiang for the primary election.

Treasurer

It’s rare to see a familiar name running for a state seat, but Fiona Ma, a certified public accountant who lives part time in Silverstrand with her husband and Port of Hueneme/Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jason Hodge, has been a winner in elections since 1994, her first seat as the president of the Asian Business Association. She also served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the California Assembly and is now on the state Board of Equalization. We believe that she has the ability to properly serve in the role as treasurer, and her credentials support that. Nevertheless, however, having a local heading a state department is surely better than yet another unfamiliar name. Vote for Fiona Ma for Treasurer.

U.S. Senator

Every once in a while the feeling of being stuck in a rut becomes palpable. While Diane Feinstein has received the support of California voters since 1992, longer than many young voters have been alive, and continues to be the frontrunner at 84 years old, we feel that it’s time for a different voice in Congress. While Feinstein recently backtracked on the death penalty and pot prohibition, both of which she said she no longer supports, state Sen. Kevin de León, author of the California Values Act, aka the sanctuary state law, is a mover and shaker catching the attention of passionate Democrats across the state. Though the sanctuary state law has proven to be controversial, De León’s dedication to justice for all human beings is admirable. Vote for Kevin de León for U.S. Senator.

U.S. House of Representatives, District 25 (Simi Valley)

This seat happens to be one of the most contentious ones in the state. With Trump’s election came a lot of angry Democrats who felt that Rep. Steve Knight did not come close to representing their values. For those who like Trump, choose the incumbent. For those who do not, Bryan Caforio is giving it another try from his failed run in 2016 against Knight and seems to have the best name recognition for such an important election. We have, however, heard that Katie Hill stands a good chance. Whatever the case may be, Democrats in the district need get behind one who is strong enough to vote Knight out. Vote Bryan Caforio for U.S. House of Representatives.

Ventura County Supervisor, District 4

With Supervisor Peter Foy opting not to run for re-election, Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber, Ventura County Community College District Trustee Bernardo Perez and farmer Andy Waters have all filed to run. Interestingly enough, Perez took Huber’s seat on the board when Huber was elected mayor of Simi Valley. Each of them has his own unique qualifications, but it is Waters who seems to be standing out, at least in terms of local support. Driving through the quiet rural roads of East County, Waters’ signs no doubt stand out. If Waters is on the ground, making friends and building relationships the old-fashioned way, we feel that he should at least make it to the November election so we can learn more about him in the interim. Vote for Andy Waters for County Supervisor, District 4.

Proposition 68

Authorizes bonds funding parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection. If approved, $4 billion in “general obligation” bonds will be issued, adding an average of $200 million annually to bond repayment costs over 40 years while saving local governments “tens of millions of dollars” on natural resources-related projects.

Two-thirds of the funds are dedicated to building and maintaining parks with a priority for neighborhoods with no parks. The positive effects a park can have on a neighborhood is on full display in Ventura’s Kellogg Park, which recently opened on the west side, though it took nearly a decade of fundraising to do so. This proposition could speed up the process by making funds available to needed projects. The remaining funds are allocated toward procuring clean drinking water, protecting communities from wildfires and mudslides, and water conservation for farmers. Vote Yes on Prop. 68.

Proposition 69

Requires that certain new transportation revenues be used for transportation purposes (constitutional amendment). If passed, the measure would require that revenues generated by the 2017 transportation funding law, known as SB-1, be used only for transportation purposes. It also prohibits the Legislature from diverting funds to other purposes.

Californians are feeling the effects of SB-1 at the pump and when renewing vehicle registrations. Requiring that the funds be spent on what they were adopted for to begin with is a no-brainer. Vote Yes on Prop. 69.

Proposition 70

Requires legislative supermajority vote approving use of cap-and-trade reserve fund (constitutional amendment). Would require that a cap-and-trade revenue fund be created for use by the Legislature only if a two-thirds majority authorizes the use of said funds.

Sadly, the boondoggled bullet train will sap $730 million from the program this year alone. In 2017, to get the cap-and-trade program renewed, Gov. Jerry Brown had to agree to this measure that would require another two-thirds vote in 2024 for renewal. If in six years the bullet train is still a fiasco, perhaps its existence will need to be rightfully used as a bargaining chip. Vote Yes on Prop. 70.

Proposition 71

Sets the effective date for ballot measures (constitutional amendment). Assures that ballot measures approved by a majority of voters take effect five days after certification by the secretary of state.

This measure would change the date that laws go into effect from the day after the vote to the day after the secretary of state certifies the result, taking into account vote-by-mail ballots. As the number of voters choosing to cast their ballots by mail increases, so too does the likelihood that results can change from how they appear on Election Day, threatening to disenfranchise a significant portion of the voting populace. This measure ensures that all votes are treated equally. Vote Yes on Prop. 70.

Proposition 72

Permits Legislature to exclude newly constructed rain-capture systems from property-tax reassessment requirement (constitutional amendment). Permits Legislature to allow construction of rain-capture systems on or after Jan. 1, 2019, without requiring a new property-tax assessment. Supporters of the measure say that it would encourage homeowners to install rain-catching systems free from the cost of a property-tax increase and that such devices are beneficial to a state dealing with long-term drought. 

No one should be punished for conserving. This proposition removes the need for a reassessment and thus promotes conservation throughout our drought-ridden state. Vote Yes on Prop. 72.