Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Down-the-ticket jobs grab attention

TomEliasW

By
From page A6 | January 10, 2014 |

In any normal election year, most public attention, newspaper headlines and television reportage centers on top-of-the-ticket jobs like president, governor and U.S. senator.

Not in 2014. There is no race for either president or U.S. senator in California this year, and with Republicans unable so far to find and recruit a major figure to oppose septuagenarian Jerry Brown’s re-election bid, there might as well not be a race for governor.

The only question in that so-called contest will be whether Democrat Brown wins a majority in the June primary, like Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein did in 2012. Even if he does, though, he would still have to face off against the No. 2 primary vote-getter in the general election.

That will leave most focus on so-called down-the-ticket state posts, where some Democrats will vie for an unofficial anointment as the likely successor to Brown.

While there is one interesting nonpartisan entrant, no significant Republicans have yet emerged to run for any secondary statewide office. The GOP holds no statewide offices today.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the onetime San Francisco mayor who opposed Brown for awhile in the 2010 Democratic primary — before voters adopted the top-two primary election system for all offices below president — will seek re-election with no major opposition within his party.

Attorney General Kamala Harris will look to increase the razor-thin margin by which she won election over former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley last time out. And the popular Dave Jones will seek another term as insurance commissioner, most likely opposed by conservative GOP state Sen. Ted Gaines of Rocklin.

State Controller John Chiang, about to be termed out, will try for treasurer, possibly opposed by former Central Coast Republican legislator Sam Blakeslee. And soon-to-be-termed-out Assembly Speaker John Pérez aims to replace Chiang as controller in this game of musical chairs, opposed by Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, a fellow Democrat. If he wins, Pérez would be the first openly gay person elected statewide in California.

There’s a four-way race to succeed termed-out Secretary of State Debra Bowen. This includes two state senators, Alex Padilla from the San Fernando Valley portion of Los Angeles and Leland Yee of San Francisco. A third entrant is Derek Cressman, head of state operations for the Common Cause good government lobby, with Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Unruh Institute for Politics, the fourth. Schnur, former spokesman for both for ex-Gov. Pete Wilson and one of Arizona Sen. John McCain’s Republican presidential runs, is no longer registered GOP, but now an independent.

Any of these folks who does spectacularly would be strongly positioned to run for governor four years from now. But any or all of them might do it anyway. Watching these races is like taking in a Triple A baseball game to check out which top minor leaguers might someday become big leaguers.

There also will be plenty of initiative and referendum action, all concentrated in November, timing dictated two years ago by the Legislature for popularly qualified measures.

Expect big fall spending on two referenda, one to roll back a law passed at midyear giving transgender students in public schools the choice of which bathroom to use and which gender’s sports programs to choose. Another referendum would cancel compacts allowing the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to build a large off-reservation casino.

The state’s ongoing political battle over public employee pensions and their impact on local and state budgets also likely will make the ballot, as San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and officials of a few other cities propose to allow altering of future pension benefits while letting stand those already earned and vested. There’s also a measure letting the insurance commissioner veto or alteration all health insurance price increases.

Other possible ballot entrants include one to totally legalize marijuana and two aiming to ease teacher firings.

Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats both boast of wresting one or two seats from the other, but anything more than a small shift in the state’s current party balance in the House of Representatives is unlikely.

All of which means this won’t be the most spectacular of election years, but it still will pack plenty of action, voters as usual called upon to make the important public policy decisions.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at tdelias@aol.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Red Cross honors community heroes

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

     
    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Music and Words Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

     
    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
     
    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

     
    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas George Byrne

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8