2018 Fall Ballot Choices

In case anyone is curious how I’m voting in the November election.

Full Disclosure: I’m an outspoken Independent, who might be described as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”. Viewed by anyone outside California, I would be seen as a “Moderate Democrat”, and locally, I’ve been described as everything from a right wing fascist to a liberal snowflake. I probably self identify with Libertarians in many ways, but “Moderate Democrat” is pretty accurate in the broad sense. But I’m definitely independent, and don’t align lock step with any party affiliation. Notes added where I felt like adding some. Some of these positions I really didn’t care that much about (or research) so I usually went with a non incumbent Democrat when in doubt.

Governor: No vote. Don’t like Newsom. Don’t like Cox.

Lt. Governor: Ed Hernandez

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

Controller: Roditis (“I don’t take lobbyist, PAC, union, big business, corporate, or special interest money”)

Treasurer: Conlon

Attorney General: Bailey (publicly opposes Prop. 47, 57, and AB 109)

Insurance Commissioner: Poizner

State Board of Equalization, 2nd District: Gaines (opponent offers literally nothing)

United States Senator: Kevin DeLeon. DiFi had a good ride but it’s time for her to retire. I don’t want an 85 year old setting policy for me. She’s 85 years old! Enjoy some time off.

United States Representative: Jimmy Panetta

Member of the State Assembly: Vicki Nohrden (NO MORE MARK STONE!)

Judicial Votes:

  • Corrigan: Yes (moderate conservative appointed by Arnold)
  • Kruger: Yes (moderate appointed by Brown)
  • Greenwood: No (former PD, recently appointed by Brown)
  • Danner: Yes (former prosecutor appointed by Brown)
  • Mihara: Yes (longtime judge appointed by Pete Wilson)

Nonpartison School: Tuck

Santa Cruz City School District, Area 1: Cappalla, Shonick

Santa Cruz City School District, Area 3: Ranii

City of Santa Cruz City Council:

I’m not “officially” endorsing anyone. I’m officially endorsing everyone to vote their heart, their gut, their conscious, who they think is best for the job here. Who has the guts to take on the county and force them to take more financial responsibility for badly need local social service reforms that directly impact public safety, who will lead and who will coddle? Who would be willing to replace the city manager? Who is willing to shake up the status quo? Who will continue the status quo? Who talks about public safety regularly? Who never talks about public safety? Who supports rent control? All of these questions go into my considerations. I only ask you to please choose wisely. The difference between 3rd and 4th place could only be a few hundred votes. So please vote! And thanks to all the candidates, who have my respect just for running and enduring the extended grind, the mud slinging, the personal sacrifices of this campaign. If you win, the work is just beginning. If you lose, you did a hell of job no matter where you finish. Thanks for your willingness to serve your community. All of you are to be admired and commended for your efforts.

So here’s my ranked choice list of candidates based on what I just said above:

  1. Ashley Scontriano
  2. Richelle Noroyan
  3. Paige Concannon
  4. Greg Larson
  5. Philip Crawford
  6. Donna Meyers
  7. Cynthia Hawthorne
  8. Dave Lane
  9. Justin Cummings
  10. Drew Glover

The top 2 for me are easy. I personally think Ashley is for me the best “new candidate” running. She may not have the experience that Richelle brings, but she has the passion, the pragmatic approach, she’s smart, articulate, and fierce. She checks all my boxes. I also think Richelle has done a good enough job to get my vote again. We don’t always agree on everything, but she is also passionate, pragmatic, and has shown she’s not afraid to dispense tough love and call the county out publicly for their lack thereof.

The next 3 were tougher to rank. There are things that Paige, Greg, and Philip each bring to the table that I really like but it differs between all 3, so it ultimately became more about a “perceived willingness to take on the county and the city manager” (probably number 1 on my candidate wish list). Paige has excellent street credibility, she’s blunt and fearless, and she’s all in on public safety. Greg brings a wealth of knowledge and experience working as a city manager for a town like Los Gatos (which I’d like to see us emulate more). Philip also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from a long career in public safety and community service.

For me, there was a drop off on the next 5. Donna and Cynthia are both competent and I have zero faith that anything improves (or even changes) should either get elected. Public safety really isn’t a priority for them. We’ll get more long term narratives and committees to study UCSC growth (which we have little control over), affordable housing, transportation, global warming, etc. Dave seems like a nice guy but he has no plan beyond brewing beer. Justin and Drew, despite being nice, personable guys, are just on the wrong side of conventional wisdom and would not be good for the city based on their views. If they can’t wrap their heads around why rent control is bad, I have no faith they would understand the complexities of a city budget.

Santa Cruz Port District: Goddard, Geisreiter


1: Yes. This could make a dent in the state’s housing crisis, as well as locally. Critics point to the estimated average annual cost to pay off the bonds to be $175 million annually for 35 years. The LAO reports that the annual payment would represent “about one-tenth of 1 percent of the state’s current General Fund budget. That’s a small price to pay for such a critical need right now.

2. Yes. Taxes the wealthy to pay for more social service programs. This revenue bond would come out of the “millionaire tax” approved by voters in 2004, which takes 1 percent from incomes over $1 million and uses it for services and programs for the mentally ill. Prop. 2 would also divert some of that money to house the mentally ill rather than provide them with services or programs. The unhoused mentally ill locally is one of our saddest and most predictable public safety concerns. The county has consistently failed here. And the impact has been significant on the city. Bottom line, we need more treatment and housing for the homeless mentally ill and I really don’t care where the money comes from. Even better if it comes from millionaires.

3. No. Since 2006, more than 20 BILLION dollars in bonds have been approved for water infrastructure improvements. According to the State Treasurer, in August 2018 there were still $7.1 billion in bonds that haven’t even been issued yet. This is driven by special interests.

4. Yes. Provides critical upgrades and improvements to hospitals for kids. The overall cost is relatively small to the benefit it provides to communities. We need healthy children and we shouldn’t skimp on children’s health when we have so much other wasteful government spending we could eliminate instead.

5. No. This is a regressive measure that would provide additional property tax breaks to long-term homeowners, especially those with expensive homes, who already pay significantly lower tax bills.

6. Yes. Proposition 6 would repeal all gas and fuel taxes enacted by the California legislature since January 1, 2017, and would require voter approval for any fuel tax or vehicle fee increases in the future. New taxes should require voter approval. It’s a regressive tax that hurts low income people. And the state needs to do a better job managing it’s budget to pay for roads and infrastructure, not just keep increasing our taxes.

7. Don’t Care

8. No. This measure may actually hurt kidney dialysis patients by reducing their access to services. It’s government meddling motivated by special interests.

10. No. Rent control is a bad idea.

11. No. This is motivated by special interests and hurts local EMT first responders.

12. Yes. We should be kind to farm animals before we slaughter them.

County Measures:

G: No. Another county tax that just goes into the general fund. Spend your money wiser.

H: No. Find other ways to fund “affordable housing” than taxing people more. The county’s track record on spending money irresponsibly, with little to no transparency or accountability has been well established, and even been called out by the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury. I have zero faith the county would spend this money right. And the county (and local cities) are targeted to receive about $12 million dollars in Federal grant money to “combat homelessness”. Apply that money instead.

City Measures:

M: No. “Rent control is a terrible, idiotic idea” – every economist everywhere