By Tommy Hough
If you're just filling out your ballot or heading off to the polls, here are my recommended choices for candidates and ballot measures on San Diego County ballots in the Nov. 8, 2016, general election – punctuated by my occasional thoughts on a particular candidate or measure.
While there's a lot of crossover, my choices should not be considered endorsements of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action unless otherwise noted on the SDCDEA endorsement page. These are my own personal picks.
Many thanks to my Treehuggers International fans, who still like to get an environmental voting round-up come election time. I hope this comes in handy. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Polls open in California at 7 a.m. on Nov. 8, and will remain open until 8 p.m.
President and Vice President – Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine
U.S. Senator – Kamala Harris
U.S. Representative, 49th District – Doug Applegate
U.S. Representative, 50th District – Patrick Malloy
U.S. Representative, 51st District – Juan Vargas
U.S. Representative, 52nd District – Scott Peters
U.S. Representative, 53rd District – Susan Davis
State Senator, 39th District – Toni Atkins
California State Assembly, 75th District – Andrew Masiel
California State Assembly, 76th District – Thomas Krouse
California State Assembly, 77th District – Melinda K. Vásquez
California State Assembly, 78th District – Todd Gloria
California State Assembly, 79th District – Shirley Weber
California State Assembly, 80th District – Lorena Gonzalez
San Diego Unified School District Member, Board of Education, District A – John Lee Evans
San Diego Unified School District Member, Board of Education, District E – LaShae Collins
Southwestern Community College Board, Seat 3 – Roberto Alcantar
Chula Vista Elem. School District Governing Board Member, Seat 2 – Michael DeAngelo Jackson
Chula Vista Elem. School District Governing Board Member, Seat 4 – Glendora M. Tremper
Poway Unified School Board – Kimberly Beatty
San Diego County Board of Supervisors, District 3 – Dave Roberts
Dave has done some great work with parks, open space and the environment generally in the four years he's been in office. He's also the only Democrat at the county supervisor level. Please vote for Dave Roberts for county supervisor and keep him in office for another four years.
San Diego City Attorney – Mara Elliott
Over 18 months before the June 2016 primary I got to know all of the Democratic city attorney candidates, and Mara continues to be one of the most consistently impressive people I've met seeking public office. She's already essentially working the job as chief deputy city attorney, and she is endlessly impressive, capable and pragmatic – not to mention she's hired some outstanding lawyers onto her staff. Give her the promotion she has earned, the city will be the better for it.
San Diego City Council, District One (D-1) – Barbara Bry
San Diego City Council, District Nine (D-9) – Georgette Gómez
Georgette comes from an environmental non-profit background with years of experience at the Environmental Health Coalition, and she'll be an exceedingly positive force for District Nine's constituents at City Hall. Chalk me up, I'm a fan of Georgette's. She'll effectively represent this diverse community, and make sensible decisions that don't sell out the city, cave to moneyed interests, or leave the environmental impacts of a project hanging.
Carlsbad City Council – Cori Schumacher and Bill Fowler
Cori is a true environmental hero. She helped organize resistance to the idea of a mall being built above Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad and became a key player in the defeat of Measure A earlier this year, and her record fighting for those without a voice and for greater equality for women cannot be eclipsed. A former professional surfer, Cori is taking the advice of her friend Barney Frank and is turning her activism into public service. The organization I serve as president of, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, even awarded Cori our annual Making a Difference Award at our yearly anniversary beneft in September. Give Cori your vote, and vote for Bill Fowler too. Good things are coming to Carlsbad.
Chula Vista City Council, District Three – Steve Padilla
Encinitas Mayor – Catherine Blakespear
Encinitas City Council – Tony Kranz and Tasha Boerner Horvath
Helix Water Board, District Three – Mark Gracyk
Imperial Beach City Council – Mark West
Mark will be an immense asset for good government in Imperial Beach, and he's a genuine environmentalist whom I got to know from my work with the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Read more about Mark at my blogpost here.
La Mesa City Council – Colin Parent
Lemon Grove Mayor – George Gastil
Lemon Grove City Council – David Arambula
We're on the verge of a highly progressive, effective city council in Lemon Grove if councilmember George Gastil wins the mayor's race. David Arambula, a retired U.S. marine who now works as an attorney, will also make an outstanding addition to the Lemon Grove City Council. Please vote for George and David so Lemon Grove can pave the way and set a template for quality, progressive government in the eastern suburbs of San Diego.
National City Council – Alejandra Sotelo-Solis
Oceanside City Council – Esther Sanchez
Vista City Council – Erubey Lopez
If you need additional information on county races, candidates and ballot measures, please check out this San Diego County Democratic Party flyer. You can also utilize the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action endorsement page.
Prop 51 – YES
Prop 52 – YES
Prop 53 – NO
Prop 54 – NO
Prop 55 – YES
Prop 56 – YES
Prop 57 – NO
Prop 59 – YES
Prop 60 – NO
Prop 61 – YES
Prop 62 – YES
Prop 63 – YES
Prop 64 – YES
I'm generally agnostic on marijuana legalization for recreational use. On one hand I think it's great that the state and communities can tax it for, well, a "bumper crop" of revenue, as has been the case in Colorado. My concerns with it are how will it be regulated so that tax money is actually collected from it, and so people don't just continue to buy from their local unregulated dealer – thereby continuing a cycle of smuggling from Mexico and environmental damage from illegal marijuana crops being grown in Humboldt County and the Redwood belt. I also don't want to see people just walking around and toking. Yes, I'm voting YES on 64, but I'd like to be more excited about it. That having been said, check out my 91X interview with Prop. 64 proponent Rich Riel.
Prop 65 – NO
Prop 66 – NO
Prop 67 – YES
Measure A – NO
Measure B – NO
I'm proud that San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action members took hard NO positions against Measures A and B. You can read more about the Enviro. Dems. objections to Measure A here. And not only did I join Nicole Capretz from the Climate Action Campaign and Chuck Lowery from the city of Oceanside at Politifest at San Diego State University to debate the merits of Measure A in September, I was also included in this video produced by the No on B campaign.
Measure C – NO
Measure D – YES
For more on Measure D, check out my 91X interview with Attorney Cory Briggs from earlier this year.
Measure E – YES
Measure F – YES
Measure G – YES
Measure H – YES
Measure I – NO
Measure J – NO
Measure K – YES
Measure L – YES
Measure M – YES
Measure N – YES
City of Chula Vista, Measure P – YES
Southwestern Community College, Measure Z – YES
Sweetwater Union High School, Measure CC – NO
By Tommy Hough
I've held off on advocating for specific candidates on my personal account this year, but I sincerely hope you'll join me ahead of Election Day in supporting my friend Mark West, who is running for city council in Imperial Beach, the southwesternmost community in San Diego County.
Mark is a retired U.S. Navy officer with a lengthy, laudable career in the defense industry, and he's exactly the kind of environmentalist who builds bridges and seeks solutions while adhering to the best science and good sense. I know Mark through my involvement with the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and he's the real deal – a surfer who connects the dots from watersheds to the beach to the ocean, and an outdoorsman who knows and loves our region's parks and special places. Mark cares about the future of our region, and the community he calls home.
Whether working to help launch a Surfrider chapter in northern Baja, working with leaders on both sides of the border to find solutions to the pollution challenges posed by persistent sewage discharges along the Tijuana River, and his enthusiastic support of nearby Border Field State Park and the Tijuana National Wildlife Refuge, Mark is exactly the kind of guy we want to be involved in local politics, with the best kind of temperament and quality environmental sense.
While Mark is already an active, engaged local leader, getting Mark onto the Imperial Beach City Council will begin to build pathways for him to grow into a political leader delivering demonstrative results, whether they're solutions to issues relating to the Tijuana River, beaches, the homeless crisis, veterans' issues, sensible growth, or simply enhancing the quality of life for all the residents of I.B.
Mark is currently under attack by a ridiculously-named organization fronted by former Missouri State Senator John William Louden, who moved to California at some point after his service in the Missouri legislature. Mr. Louden likes to tell his friends he lives in Coronado, the well-off bastion of the super-rich north of Imperial Beach, but he's really an I.B. resident who only recently made his home there – yet his organization makes it appear as though Mark is the outsider in their attacks, as though Mark hasn't already spent years living and working in San Diego County and calling I.B. home.
To give you an idea of the sense of entitlement and maturity level of the organization that Mr. Louden is affiliated with – the same organization behind the shoddy attacks on Mark's character and campaign – look no further than the "mission statement" that Mr. Louden's organization has on their Facebook site (their listed URL appears to be expired, going straight to GoDaddy.com), which reads:
"We are people who want to do what we want when we want without ninnies trying to take our stuff and tell us how to live our lives."
You can't make this up. As of the afternoon of Nov. 3, that's verbatim.
Perhaps Mr. Louden feels oppressed in his privilege, or perhaps he feels he should be allowed to drive down the middle of the street and read other people's mail. Does he hate government? What else can you gather from a statement like "people who want to do what we want?" What liberty is being deprived people like Mr. Louden that they can only lash out at genuine local leaders like Mark with prurient nonsense instead of responsible differences? How can they even level the charges they have at Mark?
Sadly, when you read something as immature as the mission statement of the organization attacking Mark, it's reasonable to assume the politics of personal destruction aren't too far behind. While we're not immune to radical Tea Party and Breitbart-style electioneering in Southern California, the level of attacks that Mr. Louden has levelled against my friend Mark are despicable – and desperate.
What can you do? Donate to Mark's campaign. Then donate to Mark's campaign again.
Walk precincts for Mark. Make calls for Mark. Volunteer, and create such a groundswell for Mark in Imperial Beach in the final days of this campaign that all the John William Loudens in our lives will fully appreciate that their sick vindictiveness for political aims have no place in San Diego County.
As president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, I'm proud our club endorsed Mark, and I'm doubly proud our decision was mirrored by the San Diego County Democratic Party, San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria, Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins, and other like-minded political and environmental organizations.
The other day, Mark hit a milestone in his campaign in Imperial Beach: he's now knocked on every single door in the city. Every single door. I've told Mark in the past his best asset is himself, which comes across in any interaction you may have with him. Imperial Beach – Mark is going to do you proud. You're lucky to have this guy as your neighbor.
Please vote for Mark West on Nov. 8 for Imperial Beach City Council. Please donate to his campaign so Mark can remain competitive through Election Day, and reject the petty, hate-fuled mania of John Louden and the ugly attacks of his childish organization.
"When they go down, we go up." Indeed we do. And Mark has clear visibility and an open ceiling above him. Let's get this done, I.B. On Nov. 8, vote for Mark West for Imperial Beach City Council.
Tell your friends and family – and vote.
A former San Diego broadcaster and media personality, Tommy Hough is a wilderness and conservation advocate, communications professional, California Democratic Party delegate, and the co-founder and former president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action. He ran as the endorsed Democratic candidate for San Diego City Council in District 6 in 2018.