Thursday, October 21, 2004
>> John Kerry
It’s difficult to imagine anyone reading these pages who has not yet made up his or her mind in this year’s presidential contest. This is either the most important election in our lifetimes or the most important election in all of American history.
But while this is a crucial decision, it isn’t a difficult decision.
Although the candidates have much in common—they’re both aristocrats with New England roots and Yale diplomas—John Kerry and George Bush are polar opposites in temperament, in experience, and more to the point, in political philosophy.
To any reader who is still on the fence, we offer one argument that we feel makes Kerry the easy choice:
When George Bush was running for office in 2000, he often said, “I am a uniter, not a divider.” As it turns out, George Bush has divided the nation profoundly. And he has done so willfully, even arrogantly, ruling as an ideologue much too sure of his own God-given rightness.
By pursuing a hard-right agenda in both domestic and foreign policy—from tax cuts for the super-wealthy to the doctrine of “preemptive war”—George Bush has left many Americans feeling utterly alienated and disenfranchised, and broken his promise.
Among the many things this president has done while compiling a record that would be pathetic if it were not tragic, this is the most deplorable.
Because one important thing about the United States is that, when the smoke clears, we are, in fact, united. If that sounds hokey in these harshly divided times—blame George Bush.
John Kerry is a pragmatist—not an ideologue. This isn’t to say he is not a man of principles—his genuinely heroic war record and his heroic anti-war record both prove him to be a man of values with the agility to change his mind. The Bush camp calls it flip-flopping, but we are reminded of the old Emerson saying: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” John Kerry is not small-minded.
His Senate record, again, reveals a pragmatic turn of mind.
His foreign policy votes have been about getting things done—he is, after all, the son of a centrist diplomat who scorned ideological decision-making by both the left and the right, and he has not strayed far from his father’s point of view.
His record on the economy puts him in league with Bill Clinton (a centrist, let’s remember). And while he has been a leader in the Senate on environmental issues, he has not alienated business leaders with his methods.
Okay: he can be stiff and pedantic and even overbearing. But we are not electing the guy to be our pal. And maybe he has not done a spectacular job of raising America’s passions. But he has done a damn good job of earning our trust. And he deserves our vote.
>> Barbara Boxer
This past month, responding to the pleas and logic of Sheriff Mike Kanalakis, Barbara Boxer steered $3.3 million in federal money to Monterey County to fund an anti-gang task force. Two years ago Boxer helped add thousands of acres of the Los Padres Forest in Big Sur to the federal wilderness system, permanently protecting the land from logging, mining or development. Boxer has delivered on issues of critical importance to Monterey County during her 12 years in the US Senate. We endorse her re-election.
On issues generally more the domain of US senators—national policies—Californians can also be proud of Boxer’s accomplishments. This newspaper was heartened by Boxer’s dissenting voice in the run-up to the Iraq war, by her legislative accomplishments establishing and funding federal after-school programs, by her critical evaluation of many of the most conservative nominees to the federal bench advanced by President Bush, and by her emphasis on homeland security issues important to residents of the Golden State.
Former California Secretary of State Bill Jones was effective and pragmatic in his old job, but as the Republican challenger to Boxer he has proven underwhelming in both his campaign and his ideas. Jones has echoed the Bush-Cheney scare tactics of linking 9/11 with the war in Iraq and while championing fiscal conservatism he has indicated his support for making permanent the Bush tax breaks aimed at the wealthiest members of society.
Barbara Boxer has shown that she understands the issues critical to her constituents and has become a national leader capable of delivering the goods. She is clearly again the best choice in the US Senate election.
U.S. HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES >> Sam Farr
Our congressman has done much to make us proud in the past couple of years. His opponent, Mark Risley—a good guy with bad ideas—offers Farr no threat, so we will only mention two big reasons to vote for the incumbent.
While he has been taking care of the district—through support for DLI and the Naval Postgraduate School, to name just two examples—Farr has been the most tireless supporter of ocean protection in Congress. His omnibus oceans protection bill, which builds on work started by Leon Panetta, will have positive repercussions for generations.
One other reason to give Farr the nod is his vote against the war in Iraq—which showed courage and intelligence.
He’s our guy, and we are proud to endorse him.
~ STATE OF CALIFORNIA
STATE SENATE, 15TH
DISTRICT >> Peg Pinard
So she’s not from Monterey County, or even, Santa Cruz County. It’s time to move on and get over the fact that we were basically drawn off the map when the state Senate redrew its district lines. We’ve got to ask ourselves: What Would Fred Keeley Do? He’s endorsed Pinard for the 15th District, the Senate seat that should have been his.
Pinard, a former mayor and San Luis Obispo county supervisor, has the local government experience and the Democratic values that deserve the support of the Monterey Peninsula. Pinard has fought—and won—battles to clean up the coastline, preserve open space, build affordable homes and walkable communities, and create after-school programs for kids.
Her opponent, Assemblyman Abel Maldonado, is a decent man who describes himself as an Independent—but to the Republican Party, he is one of the most important men in the state—the party has pumped a lot of money into his campaign coffers to sway this race. And his voting record shows him to be out of step with Monterey County voters.
The Sierra Club and the Teacher’s Union support Pinard, a former teacher herself. So does the Weekly.
STATE ASSEMBLY, 27TH DISTRICT >> John Laird
Since his election to state office in 2002, Laird has carried almost 40 bills to Assembly passage and served on several committees, including Water Needs, Environmental Safety, Labor and Employment, and Budget. His opponent, Del Rey Oaks Mayor Jack Barlich, isn’t campaigning.
Because of Laird’s strong commitment to the environment, his depth of knowledge when it comes to water issues, and his dedication to keeping higher education affordable to all Californians—among other key attributes—we strongly support a second term for Laird.
28TH DISTRICT >> Simón Salinas
Salinas has consistently been a strong supporter of issues that matter to the people who live in his district: affordable housing, education, transportation and health care. He championed these causes as a Salinas City Councilman, as a County Supervisor, and most currently, as a state Assemblyman.
He has served on numerous committees, including Local Government, Transportation, Agriculture, Health, Housing and Community Development, and Veterans Affairs.
The governor recently signed into law Salinas’ AB 32—a bill that encourages partnerships between growers and non-profit developers, and will make it easier for growers to provide housing for their farmworkers. And this is only one of five bills in Salinas’ final legislative package that are intended to increase affordable housing supplies.
Salinas’ opponent, Republican Bob Perkins, has vocally opposed county policies that would encourage developers to build more affordable housing. As executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau, he has asked the Board of Supervisors to ditch the General Plan and replace it with a more pro-development document that essentially makes it easier and more profitable for farmers to grow mini-mansions on their land instead of vegetables.
Salinas has the record, the experience, and yet hasn’t lost sight of the local issues that matter to the 28th District. The Weekly looks forward to seeing what Salinas will accomplish in a third term.