California Voter Guide (Tight Races to Act On!)

TIGHT RACES Edition… this is specially put together by a DREAMActivist from California, Azadeh Ghafari.  Comment, agree, disagree, but most importantly, get involved if it’s your district! As always, we’re in it to win it!

CA-44 (District Map) (Find your polling place)

We mostly like… Bill Hedrick (D) for Congress

CA-44 district is a weird-looking gerrymandered district. About 20% of its residents live in the heavily Republican region of the district along the Orange County coast in the cities of San Clemente, Ladera Ranch, and parts of San Juan Capistran, while the other 80% of  residents live in the more Democrat area of the district located in San Bernardino county and the Inland Empire in the cities of Corona, Norco, Mira Loma, Rubidoux, and parts of Riverside, In fact, our candidate of choice Bill Hedrick, prevailed in the the this area, which makes up the majority of the district by 5% during the 2008 election.

Currently, CA-44 district is held by Republican Ken Calvert who has been plagued with ethical and legal troubles. For the past four years the non-partisan Congressional watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has ranked Ken Calvert as one of the most corrupt members of Congress. In 1993 Corona Police found Ken Calvert in a car with a prostitute, with her head in his lap, and he tried to flee the scene. Subsequently, for over a year Calvert attempted to cover up the incident by continually denying that the incident ever occurred. It took a court order brought forth by local newspaper, The Press-Enterprise, to force the Corona police department to release Calvert’s police report. Even Fox news has highlighted Calvert’s corrupt antics, and you know you have a problem when Fox news comes out against a Republican politician: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTQSJk6tfD

In regard to immigration, the American Immigration Lawyers Association consistently gives Calvert its lowest possible rating and although Ken Calvert has not given his opinion on the DREAM Act, he has spoken out against CIR and has stated “I am wholeheartedly against amnesty. I believe it is inherently unfair to give legal status to those whose first actions were to break our laws.” He is also on record for being in favor of denying citizenship to an individual born in the U.S. if both parents are undocumented immigrants. He’s also in favor of denying credit cards and drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Whenever I think of Ken Calvert (which I try not to do while I’m eating) I am reminded of Gollum. Besides what I’ve already mentioned above, one of the most recent offensive positions that Calvert has taken is on drilling for oil offshore. Now let me remind you, one of the cities in his district is San Clemente, a beautiful beach town with some amazing surf spots. Yet Calvert has somehow managed to dupe the residents of the city to vote for him during the last few election cycles. Less than a month before the the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Ken Calvert said this about the safety of offshore oil drilling: “With new and emerging technologies, offshore energy development can be pursued with little to no visible impact on the coastline and in a way that protects the surrounding environment. That is why I introduced the MORE Act…” So what’s the the H.R. 797 MORE (Maximize Offshore Resource Exploration Act)  all about? According to That’s My Congress H.R. 797 MORE Act is “the kind of legislation that big oil companies like BP dream about. If passed, it would radically expand offshore drilling along America’s coastlines. In some states, the would allow “offshore” drilling to take place right up to the beaches and wetlands at the water’s edge.” JOY! wouldn’t it be awesome to see some oil drilling platforms right by T-Street? Way to represent your district Calvert!

His opponent Bill Hedrick, who ran against Calvert in 2008 and lost by a VERY slim margin in a heavily Republican district, is a progressive who pledges to“ fight to preserve our coast and beaches, and I will NEVER support expansion of offshore drilling in California’s waters.” San Clemente residents, how do you like them apples?

On the issue of immigration, Hedrick agrees with strengthening the U.S – Mexico border, and he fully supports a path to citizenship for undocumented working immigrants, stating “As enticing as it might seem to some, it is unrealistic to pursue mass deportations of millions of illegal immigrants… It is in our national and local interest that illegal immigrants who are currently employed, paying taxes, and without criminal records, should be provided a path to achieve legal status.”

While his district CA-44 is known to be a predominantly Republican district, Hedrick refuses to run as a Blue Dog. In fact, Hedrick promises that if he’s elected to congress he will join the Congressional Progressive Caucus. While to some it may seem like his position on the issues is political suicide in a heavily Republican district,  Howie Klein points out that this is exactly how Hedrick has gained a strong and loyal base and why during the 2008 election cycle, Bill was actually able to come closer to winning a seat from an entrenched GOP incumbent than any other Democrat anywhere-and with virtually no money from the DCCC. During the current election cycle the DCCC has listed the Hedrick-Calvert showdown as one of their “emerging races” and a recent poll shows Bill Hedrick is surging and within striking distance.

This is a very important and winnable race, so Hedrick really needs our support. So if you or any of your friends live in Californias 44-District please be sure to turn out and vote for Bill Hedrick. Better yet, if you have some time please consider volunteering an hour or two during these last crucial days Lets shake things up and tear open the Orange Curtain. Learn more about his campaign for congress & support Bill Hedrick by checking out his Website, Facebook, and Twitter.

CA-45 (District Map) (Find your polling place)

We like… Steve Pougnet (D) for Congress

CA-45 district picks up where CA-44 (above) leaves off. It’s a narrow district encompassing the cities of Palm Springs, Moreno Valley, Hemet, Cathedral City, Temecula, Rancho Mirage, Murreit, India, La Quinta, Cabazon, Thermal, Idylwild, Coachella and other unincorporated areas of Riversid County. The district is currently represented by Republican Mary Bono Mack, whose been in office since 1998.

When it comes to immigration, Bono Mack attempts to act like a moderate. While she is in favor of the 700-mile fence along the U.S – Mexico border and wants full enforcement measures, in November 2006 she expressed her sympathy for undocumented immigrants and said that she supports a guest worker program for undocumented immigrants. The same year, Bono Mack continued to show her moderate stance on immigration by seeking to reduce criminal penalties which were included in the 2006 House version of the of the immigration reform bill.  Still, the current political climate is a bit more intense now than it was in 2006, and the heat of the the new GOP aka Tea Party has obviously been getting to Bono Mack. Recently, she has stated that she does not see CIR being possible until the border is fully secured. She now fully supports E-verify, and defended the passage of Arizona’s SB1070 by stating that “Arizonans passed this law because the administration has failed to act and has given the American people no reason to trust its ability to enforce the laws already on the books,” she also went on to blast the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging Arizona’s SB1070.

So while many view Bono Mack as a moderate, she’s more like a fauxhawk moderate. She supported the 1999 Largent Amendment to ban same-sex adoption in DC. She has voted against repealing DADT, she opposed the public option, voted against 2009 Health Care reform bill, the financial reform bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – ensuring equal pay for women, and even refused to co-sponsor or support ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) or state her public position on Prop 8 in her own state.

Her opponent is Steve Pougnet, the current mayor of Palm Springs. Pougnet  stands a good chance of picking up the seat that’s been held by Republicans for a couple of decades, and he’s  considered to be Bono Mack’s strongest challenger in years. If Pougnet is successful in unseating GOP incumbent Bono Mack, he would could become the first and only openly gay married parent (of two really adorable twins!) to be elected to Congress.

As mayor of Palm Springs, Pougnet has been a strong leader in clean energy, has supported Californias AB32 law, and has dedicated himself to revitalizing the cities economy by investing in green solar and wind technology. Due to his vision Palm Springs was awarded the iHub designation, one of only two in Southern California.

When it comes to immigration, Steve Pougnet fully supports a “pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers that considers the needs of Southern California’s workers and families.” He is not in favor of a fully enforced E-verify system and blames both parties in congress for politicizing the immigration debated. He did not shy away from showing his opposition to SB1070. In fact in a statement put out after Bono Mack made her pro-SB1070 statements, Pougnet came out swinging: “Arizona’s immigration bill is misguided, sets a dangerous precedent that makes it okay to treat Hispanics different from others and ultimately is the wrong reaction to a very real issue. Everyone recognizes that our immigration system is broken but this bill not only doesn’t make the border more secure, it enshrines racial profiling in the law. Washington and Congress have failed to do anything about the problem and it is time for them to act now.” Nuff said. What more can we say? We like this guy because he’s an open and bold progressive Democrat, and we find that to be a refreshing breath of fresh air. Lesson to Democrats: if you run them this way, we will turn out and vote. We are not at all surprised that this race is as tight as it is, but he still needs our support over the next two weeks. Learn more about Steve Pougnet & come out to support him. Check out his  Website, Facebook, or Twitter.

CA-47 (District Map) (Find your polling place)
We support Loretta Sanchez (D) for Congress. Sigh. 😉

CA-47 District, includes the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Ana in Orange County.   Loretta Sanchez is the Incumbent Democrat who has held the seat since 1996. Up until this past spring, Loretta Sanchez had continually refused to support the DREAM Act as a standalone bill, stating that she favors complete CIR instead, but this past May she finally came around (due in no small part to the efforts of OC DREAM Team) and decided to Co-sponsor the DREAM Act.

Sanchez is also Pro-choice, voted in favor of prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation, voted NO on bills which would Constitutionally define marriage as one-man-one-woman, making the PATRIOT Act permanent, Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, promoting free trade with Peru, and on implementing CAFTA. She’s voted YES on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution, keeping a moratorium on drilling for oil offshore, $40B for green public schools, and the 2009 Stimulus bill.

Her opponent Van Tran, who is an assemblymen representing the CA-68 District. While we would love to tell you where Van Tran stands on the issues, we simply cannot because according to Vote Smart he either has no position on the issues or simply has something to hide “Assembly Member Van Tran refused to tell citizens where he/she stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.” Things that make you go hmmm… While he refuses to give his position on the issues, he has plenty of time to hang out with Sarah Palin and Andrew Breitbart this past Saturday October 16 at a Tea Party/GOP fundraiser in Anaheim.

During a debate with Sanchez last month, the moderator asked Tran, on three separate occasions, his position on CIR and immigration as a whole, but each time he gave a waffling non-response to the question.

In other words, we endorse Loretta Sanchez. For more information Check out her Website, Facebook, or Twitter.

CA-48 (District Map) (Find your polling place)
We like… Beth Krom (and not just because DA.org’s editor, Flavia, is from Irvine, and making the seat go blue would. be awesome. Seriously, once the founder of the Minutemen ran for this district and won over 25% of the vote. yuck).

District includes the cities of Irvine, Tustin, El Toro, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo, Dana Point and all the Laguna’s. Currently the seat is held by Republican John Campbell who has missed more 314 votes during his time in congress. He’s voted against Education and tax cuts. Although his district is composed of one of the largest Iranian American communities in the nation, he has not been an advocate of Iranian Americans living in the district. He has repeatedly supported full sanctions on Iran and also favors attacking Iran. Campbell has done little listening and mostly lectured the Iranian American community on his support for neo-conservative approaches to US-Iran relations. Oh and to top it all of he’s cozied up to Tea Partiers and supports the position of “Birthers” Like many of his fellow Southern CA  Republican colleagues, he takes a hard-line approach on immigration. He’s stated his opposition to the DREAM Act: “it seems that we shouldn’t provide taxpayer-funded college education to people who are in this country illegally.” and although he does not show up often enough on the Hill to vote and represent his constituents, when he does he makes it count by voting against gay marriage; voted for Same Sex Marriage resolution, does not support increased funding for public education; voted against the College Access and Opportunity Act,  and is also against federal support of Medicare; voted against the  Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act.

And, this guy is a birther. Like, he still doesn’t believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii…

His opponent Beth Krom (D) has a proven track record of success. Krom has been in elected office for almost 10 years, including two terms as mayor of Irvine, the largest city in the district. During her time in office she balanced the cities budgets, tripled city reserves, and helped Irvine to be recognized as one of the safest, greenest big cities in the country.

In regards to immigration, she has spoken out against the passage of Arizona’s SB1070. While she does agree with border security she’s also in favor of CIR, saying “We have borders, and those borders should be secured. But I also believe that people who have lived in America for a long period of time, who may not have legal status (but have) been law-abiding … should (have) a path to legalized citizenship.

When asked by DWT about why she was running for congress, Krom stated that “This is an educated district. As a co-sponsor of the “Birther Bill” challenging the legitimacy of the President’s birth certificate, [John] Campbell is out of step with the people he represents. It’s time we had a real voice in our nation’s capital– someone who understands how the decisions made in Washington directly affect our local communities… When we win, we will prove that people and ideas are still more powerful than special interests and influence peddling in our democracy.

We agree with her on all points. John Campbell is fully out of touch when it comes to local issues. He does not show up to vote and has failed to represent the interest of his constituents. Campbell simply focuses on his own personal financial agenda and reclaiming a Republican majority in Congress. On the other hand, Krom is an upstanding citizen who has worked hard for her constituents. As mayor she has proven herself as an effective and accessible leader who is able to run a city while working collaboratively with the education community, business, labor, and public officials. Unlike Campbell, Krom’s used her time in office wisely and produced some tangible results for her city. She has a successful record with her feet on the ground. So lets get out the vote for Beth.

For more information about Beth Krom Check out her Website, Facebook, or Twitter

CA-50 (District map)
We’re down with…  Francine Busby (D)

CA-50 District includes Coastal towns located between Carlsbad to Solana Beach, and inland to Escondido, and San Diego. The district is currently represented by Republican Brian Bilbray. Just like Ken Calvert from CA-44 district reminds me of Gollum, in this case Brian Billbray reminds me of Sméagol. They are two sides of the same coin, and their connection is corrupt Duke Cunningham who resigned – the very seat that Billbray currently holds –  in 2005, after pleading guilty guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion. Cunningham is currently service eight years in prison. But it get worse. Billbray has also been linked to Jack Abramoff and reportedly accepted thousands of dollars from Tom Delay’s PACs. How sassy of him.

During his time in office, he voted in agreement with President Bush 93% of the time. Bilbray unfortunately chairs the House Immigration Reform Caucus, but some reason unbeknownst to us, he made some very disturbing anti-immigrant claims after the passage of Arizona’s SB1070. Bilbray appeared on MSNBC “Hardball” with Chris Matthews. When Matthews asked him about SB1070 and the possibility of widespread racial profiling of Latinos in Arizona, Bilbray said that police officers and other “trained professionals” are able to spot illegal immigrants by the way they’re dressed and the way they behave: “They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there’s different types of attire,” Bilbray said. “There’s different type of attire, there’s different types of clothing, right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes.” oh yeah! SHOES! But he didn’t stop there, a few months later in September 2010, the day before the procedural vote on the Defense Authorization bill, Bilbray sunk to a new low in an article that he wrote entitled “Something to consider before casting a vote for the DREAM Act” in it Bilbray used the horrible tragedy and killings of 72 migrants in Mexico who had been caught between the cross fire of drug and human smuggling cartels to say that DREAM Activists and their supporters are accessories to muder:

“Unfortunately, some people in Congress and in the business community share the responsibility for the         murders. When my colleagues talk about providing amnesty (or ‘a pathway to citizenship’) they become an         accessory to these murders. When they support amnesty, introduce bills that provide a pathway to             citizenship and, in the most irresponsible of cases, use amnesty to motivate voters, they tell people: ‘work         with the     cartels and come across our border illegally, for we will eventually give you amnesty and             citizenship.’  This talk of amnesty is not only an insult to every American who has come to the United         States legally and the millions who wait patiently while playing by the rules, but is in part what makes it         possible for the cartels to murder those 72 innocent migrant workers.”

Current opponents Francine Busby (D) She talks tough on immigration, a little too enforcement-heavy for our taste, but she supports humane immigration reform (her words).

“Securing our borders is a national responsibility, and stopping illegal entries, human trafficking and gun and drug smuggling at the border is a top priority. We must reform our immigration policies and practices to establish market-based immigrant labor policies and hold employers accountable. Francine will work to address the complex issue of dealing firmly but fairly with the twelve million undocumented immigrants who work productively and live peacefully in the United States.  She supports comprehensive immigration reform to humanely address important issues regarding both legal and illegal immigration policies.”

According to Daily Kos: “Assessment: Vulnerable. Busby lost a squeaker a while back.  She’s good.”

For more information about Francine Busby Check out her Website, Facebook, or Twitter.

OTHER RACES ya should be thinkin’ about!

CONGRESS

District CA-03 (Sacramento to Nevada border map)
Look up Amrerish Bera (D)

District: CA-18 (Central Valley map)
Check out Dennis Cardoza (D)

District:CA-33 (Small district in Los Angeles map)
Of course…  Karen Bass (D)

District: CA-46 (coastal north OC, including Long Beach and Costa Mesa map)
You should know about Ken Arnold (D)

District: CA-49 (Oceanside, Parts of San Diego to Parirs map)
Try and support Howard Katz


JUDGES

Victoria Kolakowski—Superior Court Judge, Alameda County
Victoria Kolakowski is a a lawyer who has is a strong LGBTQ civil rights advocate, she is running to become a judge on the Superior Court of Alameda. She has been a lawyer has over two decades of judicial and legal experience.  If she wins, Victoria Kolakowski  will become America’s first openly transgender judge.

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