June's primary is a whole new ballgame | May 11, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - May 11, 2012

June's primary is a whole new ballgame

With voting districts redrawn, races heat up for state Legislature

When voters go to the polls June 5, they'll be voting in a primary election unlike any in recent history.

For one thing, boundaries have been redrawn for state and U.S. Congressional districts, significantly changing the constituent base for elected representatives.

What's more, thanks to the California electorate's approval of Proposition 14 in 2010, voters no longer have to cast ballots along party lines in a dozen primary races — for U.S. Congress, state Legislature and top state officials. Instead, all candidates are eligible to receive a voter's endorsement; the top two vote-getters per race will face a run-off in November's general election.

This year, Proposition 14 affects the bids for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and state Senate and Assembly.

Two Democrats with experience in the state Assembly, incumbent Jerry Hill and former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, are competing for the newly redrawn state Senate District 13, along with Democratic teacher Christopher Chiang and Libertarian John Webster. And in the Assembly, one-term Democratic incumbent Rich Gordon is being challenged by Republican Chengzhi "George" Yang, a software engineer; Democratic business owner Geby Espinosa; and Joseph Antonelli Rosas, a network security adviser who declared no party affiliation.

Santa Clara County is also electing a new supervisor and asking voters to weigh in on Measure A, which determines the government branch in control of the county jail.

Those vying to be on the Board of Supervisors are termed-out state Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), two-time Cupertino Mayor Kris Huyilan Wang and Cupertino City Councilman Barry Chang.

Also on the ballot, though not included in this voters' guide, are two open Superior Court judgeships. Five attorneys are seeking election in those two races.

Ballots were mailed this week to absentee voters. This year, a new "drive-through" drop off will be available in some areas of the county for returning mail-in ballots, according to Registrar of Voters spokeswoman Elma Rosas.


Like this comment
Posted by Richard Winger
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2012 at 9:25 am

It is not true that our primary election this year is unlike any other in modern history. All during 2011 California used this system in special elections for Congress and legislature. Also, during 1998 and 2000, we also used primary ballots that include all candidates running, all on a single primary ballot.

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Posted by Henry
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

In the supervisors race, vote NO on Joe.

Last Fall there was much lamentation in the media when Gov. Brown vetoed Simitian's SB 29, a bill Joe had claimed would reform red light cameras.

In many of those articles Joe said that the bill would have prohibited “Snitch Tickets.” (If you're not 100% sure of what that they are, Google the term.)

But it wasn't so. The bill DID NOT contain a ban on Snitch Tickets. (The reporters were copying from an erroneous press release sent out by Joe.) SB 29 would have done the opposite of a ban, legitimizing the fake tickets. From the bill:

"(c) This section and Section 40520 do not preclude the issuing agency or the manufacturer or supplier of the automated traffic enforcement system from mailing a courtesy notice or any other notice other than a notice to appear to the registered owner of the vehicle or the alleged violator prior to issuing a notice to appear."

Worse, the phrase "prior to issuing a notice to appear" seems to give the issuing agency more time, limited only by the one-year statute of limitations, to issue a real ticket (a Notice to Appear). The present deadline to issue a real ticket is 15 days.

Many articles said that the bill: "Required adequate signage to notify drivers when red light cameras are in use."

Again, not so. The bill would have decreased the number of warning signs at camera enforced intersections, from four per intersection to one or two. (The reporters were copying from Joe's press release, again.)

So why is this important, considering that the bill has been vetoed? Partly, because the bill is back, in 2012, as SB 1303. But more importantly, because it offers us a peek into Joe's mind. Clearly he thinks that he can pull the wool over our eyes - legislate to make it worse for us, but tell us that he is helping us (too appease our anger about the ticket mills on the Peninsula) - and that's it's OK to deceive us in this fashion.

I think that this mind set comes from Joe being in politics too long. Simitian can't change his stripes, so needs to go.

Like this comment
Posted by Lucky
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

This article doesn't begin to show Sally Lieber's achievements during 3 terms in the state legislature or the breadth of issues she has worked on and will work on if elected. Please go to her website to learn more!

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on May 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Given the demographics and voter registrations in California, all political parties except Democrats have been dis-infranchized (except maybe parts of the Central Valley) and their votes mean nothing because they are a minority. Why bother?Only the top vote getters in the primaries even get on the ballot regardless of party.
As for Joe Simitian, he had close ties with ABAG when he was a county supervisor before going to the State Assembly and probably still does. Poor Joe. He's been waiting for years for
Anna Eshoo to retire (aren't a lot of people?) so he can move to Washington.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.