Editorial: Hill, Gordon, Simitian are best choices in local races | May 18, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - May 18, 2012

Editorial: Hill, Gordon, Simitian are best choices in local races

Voters should welcome opportunity to elect effective and experienced candidates on June 5

With at least one veteran legislator running for seats in the state Senate, state Assembly and county Supervisor, voters will have an easy task when they go to the polls June 5. Four legislators stand out in a field that includes many first-time office-seekers in the debut of the "open primary" under rules approved last year.

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Posted by Leiv Lea
a resident of Woodside
on May 18, 2012 at 11:40 am

Palo Alto Online should be embarrassed by its characterization of George Yang's positions on the issues facing California.

They write: "Yang is worried about how the shortfall in state revenue will impact the university system and he sees a lot of potential in bringing Chinese tourists to California."

In fact, Mr. Yang's two key issues are pushing legislation to significantly reform California's government employee pension system and stopping California's high speed rail plan.

I have heard Mr. Yang speak on many occations so I find it hard to believe that he did not mention his two main issues when speaking to the Palo Alto Online editorial board. I understand that editorial boards can take political positions but is it too much to ask to at least state candidates' positions accurately?

Perhaps the problem is that Rich Gordon will most likely to support Jerry Brown to build the high speed rail system and that Gordon, Brown and the California assembly have done nothing on pension reform. The likelihood of Brown's pension reform bill going anywhere in August with union political support needed for the November election is zero.

As California's budget problems increase and key services degrade, at least it will be clear which political party is clearly responsible for California's sad state of affairs.

Like this comment
Posted by Jocelyn Dong
editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on May 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

Thanks for your comment, Leiv. At the start of the endorsement interview, the editorial board gave the candidate a chance to talk about his/her background and why he or she has entered the race.

Mr. Yang did indeed single out the two issues listed in the editorial. Regarding the decline in funding for the UC system, he cited a talk he'd heard at Stanford in which the speak indicated state funding for the UC system would be zero by 2020. Regarding jobs, he believes that tourism and the manufacturing of goods needed by other countries would boost the economy.

The editorial board then raised additional issues for the candidate to discuss. On the topic of pension reform, Yang believes in a cap on pensions for all employees. On the subject of high-speed rail, he favors returning to the voters for approval of a plan that more accurately reflects current figures and estimates.

Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Joe Simitian has been in Sacramento for 12 years, and he hasn't addressed the High Speed Rail issues, nor the ABAG housing mandates, the budget deficits, nor state employee pension reform.

So although the Palo Alto Weekly says he has "experience",what has he done for the district he represents?

I'd rather have someone who will represent the district, than someone who is a does nothing about these issues, so either Barry Chang or Kris Wang would be a better choice - both have stood up for the residents they represent, rather than holding hands with the special interests.

Although Rich Gordon has had only 2 years in Sacramento, he's following Joe Simitian's pattern. Send someone else instead of Gordon.

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Posted by Henry
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

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 common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Another "accomplishment" that Joe is touting is that because of his legislation, 30% of electricty in California will come from "Green" sources. What he fails to mention is that

1) This is driving up the price everyone is paying for electricity, much faster than inflation

2) This is a crony capitalism deal, whereby venture capitalist who bet on the "green tech" made campaign contributions to politicians like Joe; Joe in turn mandates that "green energy" be used, which increases the value of the venture capitalist investments. The only loser is the utility rate payer, who sees the higher electricty bill.

Like this comment
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm

The one good thing about Joe Simitian was that he held sidewalk events permitting one on one discussions.

My one time chat with Joe was more than sufficient to determine that he is indeed an empty suit.

Like this comment
Posted by Hart
a resident of Green Acres
on May 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I agree that Simitian and Gordon have experience, and experience does matter. However, I also consider support of the current high speed rail plan to be toxic. Gov Brown firmly believes that the train is the most important, and by fer one of the most expensive, unfunded, projects California has considered undertaking. I feel that it is also clear that Brown's support for the rail project is pay back to the unwavering support of big labor groups. Now, towing the part line has become Rich Gordon's political goal. Simitian has had ample opportunity to derail the rail project, but continues to help it along, forever claiming to not quite understand all the details. He's towing the part line too.

Our governor has put all of his efforts, and California's wealth, or what's left of it, into a train that will cost CA perhaps 10 Billion dollars every year for decades to come to pay off the bonds and the high interest that CA will have to pay because of the states crummy credit rating. Don't forget the estimated $2Billion every in operating subsidies.

Don't you PA Weekly Editors think that there are so many other better uses of that money than a train? Votes for Gordon, Simitian in his new role, and quite possibly Hill, will likely mean a vote for California's train to nowhere.

Like this comment
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 19, 2012 at 10:27 am

Simitian like Kniss, career politicians in a revolving door. Time for a fresh perspective and not the business as usual. Time to close the book and move on. Please.

Like this comment
Posted by Matt
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I support Sally Lieber over Jerry Hill. She is much more communicative with her constituents. Jerry Hill doesn't even answer email. Hill voted against AB 1017, which would have eased prison overcrowding by changing cannabis cultivation from an automatic felony to a wobbler, allowing the DA the discretion to decide whether to charge a particular case as a felony or a misdemeanor.

Sally Lieber is fantastic on women's issues. Vote for Sally Lieber on June 5!

Like this comment
Posted by keep it,up
a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

aLooks like Dong admits that the editorial was poorly written and did not include Yang's position on the issues. Knowing the Weekly, this was done on purpose. They have a vested interest in setting certain candidates elected. They are hardly impartial.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

> Simitian, Gordon and Hill are experienced ..

Really? Experienced at what?

Here’s what the SacBee’s Dan Walters says about these guys:

Web Link

But California's politicians have seemingly gone out of their way to make the state inhospitable, with a dense regulatory structure (including the new cap-and-trade system for limiting carbon emissions), ever higher utility costs, one of the nation's highest tax burdens, and deficiencies in education, transportation, water supply and other forms of public infrastructure.

And these three are also experienced at not balancing budgets, creating structural deficits that won’t go away. They are experienced at not getting the budgets finished on time, and are very experienced at pandering to their constituencies—such as labor unions, and big money special interests.

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Posted by John
a resident of Los Altos
on May 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Did any of you watch the candidates forum, if not you guys can watched it on the City of Cupertino video site.
The only candidate with specific ideas was Rosas the candidate for district 24, he is going to get my vote, he can bring fresh ideas to Sacramento, every time Joseph Rosas spoke, Richard Gordon blushed, he was probably thinking why I didn't say that before. We need new blood in Sacramento, and Rosas is a very bright young guy.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor Next Door
a resident of another community
on May 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm

CA lawmakers switch schedule for extra pay

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by George Yang
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

It is pretty sad that the Weekly failed to highlight my strong opposition to the High Speed Rail project, and how it is being run at present. We do not have a viable funding plan for construction or for continual operation, and the negative effects to our communities cannot be understated.

I would like to re-iterate what I said during the interview with the Weekly: The only honest, honorable, and democratic thing to do, is to give the voters of California the true numbers and another vote.

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Posted by Henry
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2012 at 9:12 am

Earlier in these comments I wrote about Simitian's SB 1303, and how bad it is. On May 29 Joe amended the bill, and now it is really bad.

The amendment declares that documents created by the for-profit red light camera companies are NOT hearsay.

Why would Joe do this last minute amendment? There's two cases that have just come up to the Cal. Supreme Court, and they are about red light camera hearsay. Joe's bill will save the red light camera companies the expense of briefing in the court. In so doing, he denyies the two defendants their hard-fought-for day in court.

Joe's bill hasn't passed yet. I ask everyone to ask their legislators to oppose it. And oppose Joe on June 5.