On Tuesday’s ballot
Governor: Jerry Brown. California’s governor from 1975-82 — and the former mayor of Oakland and current attorney general — comes off as the quirky thinker he was more than 30 years ago, but he now brings a more mature and pragmatic approach to grappling with budget and structural challenges. He is a far better choice than Republican Meg Whitman, who brings inexperience in government and policy positions that appear to be based more on calculated appeals to voter anger than on a grasp of the state’s real problems. Read the full endorsement.
Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom. So long as voters must be bothered with this pointless office, they should focus on the only part of it that matters: the succession to the top office if the governor leaves. That’s why The Times picks the dynamic and creative San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, over Republican incumbent Abel Maldonado, who arguably has done as good a job as can be done with the ceremonial and menial aspects of this office. Read the full endorsement.
Secretary of State: Debra Bowen. When selecting their top elections official, Californians have little reason to switch from incumbent Bowen to Republican Damon Dunn, who thought so little of voting that he didn’t even do it himself until last year. Read the full endorsement.
Controller: John Chiang. Democrat Chiang kept a steady and businesslike hand on the state’s cash flow during four tough budget years. He is the better choice in his rematch with Republican Tony Strickland. Read the full endorsement.
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer. Democrat Lockyer became a leading advocate for California on Wall Street, ensuring that state bonds were properly valued and that they kept money flowing to the state even during financial crisis. Republican challenger Mimi Walters contributed to investor mistrust of the state by rejecting every budget during her Sacramento tenure. Read the full endorsement.
Attorney General: Steve Cooley. The Republican district attorney of Los Angeles County stood up to pressure and adopted an enlightened approach to the three-strikes law and protocols for meeting the obligation of prosecutors to sharing information helpful to the defense. San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala D. Harris, a Democrat, is an impressive candidate with a promising future, but she was sloppy in her approach to sharing so-called Brady evidence. Read the full endorsement.
Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones. As California begins implementing national healthcare reform, it has in Democrat Jones one of the smartest and most thoughtful members of the Legislature, and one of the most ardent advocates for consumers. Assemblyman Mike Villines, a Republican, deserves credit for standing up to his caucus to offer a budget deal last year, but he lacks Jones’ knowledge and consumer focus. Read the full endorsement.
U.S. Senator: Barbara Boxer. There are times when the incumbent Democrat could have been more effective in defense of California’s interests, but she could not have been more ardent or correct in her positions. It would be a mistake to reject her for Republican Carly Fiorina, whose right-wing positions are out of step with most of the state. Read the full endorsement.
Supreme Court Chief Justice: Tani Cantil-Sakauye – Yes. This would be the first 12-year term for this politically moderate justice, who would succeed Ronald M. George. Read the full endorsement.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ming W. Chin – Yes. Read the full endorsement.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Carlos R. Moreno – Yes. Read the full endorsement.
Second District Court of Appeal – The Times urges yes votes for all 13 justices of the intermediate Court of Appeal that covers Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. They are: Division 1 — Robert M. Mallano, Victoria G. Chaney, Jeffrey W. Johnson; Division 2 – Judith Ashmann; Division 3 – Walter Croskey; Division 4, Steven Suzukawa; Division 5 – Orville “Jack” Armstrong; Division 6 – Paul Coffee, Steven Z. Perren; Division 7 – Laurie D. Zelon, Frank Y. Jackson; Division 8 – Tricia A. Bigelow; Elizabeth Annette Grimes. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, Office No. 28: Randy Hammock. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, Office No. 117: Alan Schneider. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, Office No. 136: Amy D. Hogue. Read the full endorsement.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Larry Aceves. The former schools superintendent is a pragmatic reformer. Read the full endorsement.
Los Angeles County Assessor: John Y. Wong. The Times prefers Wong because of his experience as chairman of the county Assessment Appeals Board. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 19: No. The real question posed raised by this badly drafted ballot measure is not whether voters want marijuana to be legal, but whether they have confidence in California’s cities and counties to create local regulations regarding the drug. They shouldn’t. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 20: Yes. A citizens commission, rather than the Legislature, should redraw congressional districts every 10 years. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 21: No. This measure would add a regressive $18 fee on cars to pay for state parks. If Californians are going to inch the vehicle license fee back up, the money should be available for programs in the most desperate need. Voters should not make the budget process even more difficult. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 22: No. The state has long bailed out cities and local transportation and redevelopment agencies. Now that it can no longer afford to do that, the locals claim that cutting off the funding constitutes a state “raid.” Californians should not make budgeting even less flexible and responsive to the needs of any given year. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 23: No. Californians should not fall for the attempt by oil companies to suspend the state’s landmark global warming law. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 24: No. Even worse than the three corporate tax breaks that this measure would overturn is the penchant for special interests to go to the ballot to undo a budget. It’s hard enough already to adopt a spending plan each year, and voters should not try to rewrite budgets months later. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 25: Yes. This measure may be more important to California than any other item on the ballot, including the governor’s race. If it passes, it would permit the state to adopt a budget by a simple majority of the Legislature — and in so doing, it would make lawmakers more accountable. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 26: No. Under this measure, cities would no longer have the ability, for instance, to assess polluters to compel them to clean up their messes without approval from voters. Read the full endorsement.
Proposition 27: No. Voters correctly put a citizens redistricting commission, instead of politicians, in charge of redrawing district lines in 2008; they should reject this effort by political parties to stop reform before the commission even completes its work. Read the full endorsement.