District 3 Board of Supervisors
Ray Mueller has the experience, intelligence and above all empathy to represent all of us, not just those who are well-off or well-connected. Because he always does his homework, I am confident any decision he makes will be thoughtful and in the community’s interest, not a ploy to win over voters.
These are dark times for our nation, with aggressive self-serving electeds focusing more and more on preserving power and privilege for themselves and their behind-the-scenes supporters. You can see this all over the national stage, most recently in the form of a proposed over-turning of a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.
We need people like Ray – who has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood and is endorsed by over 50 women electeds – at all levels of government.
Giselle Halle, because she impresses me as someone who both thinks outside the box and is willing to take on the status quo to make the world a better place for everyone. I value her experience on the Redwood City City Council, which is one of the more forward-thinking councils in San Mateo County.
Plus, she’s a supporter of the State’s attempts to rein in the housing crisis caused by decades of local communities prioritizing commercial development — which brings in more tax revenues — over housing for the employees needed to operate those commercial enterprises. Besides being the right thing to do, both morally and for the long-term health of the region, that took guts. And guts are important in representing our interests in Sacramento.
House of Representatives
Kevin Mullin, because he has the most relevant experience, by far, and is a thoughtful person who always does his homework. Those of us of the liberal/progressive persuasion are, unfortunately, likely to have to live with a resurgence of extreme right-wing lunacy at the Federal level after this November. Hopefully it won’t last too long, but in the meantime, we will benefit enormously from having someone with Kevin’s connections, experience and skill representing us in Washington. And when the tide turns, as I believe it will, those same skills and intelligence will pay us even bigger dividends.
David Pollack, because his commitment to enabling everyone to utilize public services — and exercise their right to vote! — is unmatched. Plus, his private sector experience will return San Mateo’s Election Office to the forefront of ensuring fair, convenient, accessible elections, where it used to be but sadly no longer is.
General Thoughts on this Election
Tribal Identity and Gender Politics
I’ve been struck by how strong a role what I think of as “tribal identity” has played in this election. This has been most visible on the gender front, with some female candidates making their gender a significant part of their pitch.
Not all of the female candidates have done so, and to be clear, there’s not only nothing wrong with including gender identity in a campaign pitch but our national community has clearly suffered from ignoring or downplaying the issues female candidates are more personally affected by. A woman’s right to control her own body is the current, high-profile, example. But there are a lot of others.
But, for me, it’s a relatively weak argument. Definitely not an unimportant one! I would not only never, for example, vote for a pro-life candidate (of any gender), I would work very hard to see they were banished from the public stage.
But for representative democracy to function key issues have to be decoupled from any particular “tribe”. Otherwise, we either risk the war of all-against-all or will need to decide every public choice at the ballot box, via direct democracy.
The latter may sound like a great idea. But only if you ignore the fact that, for it to work well, every single voter would have to devote a lot of time and attention to stay on top of every issue. Because otherwise we’d end up making choices out of ignorance. And history shows, quite clearly, what happens then1. We “hire” representatives to do the work we don’t want to take the time to do ourselves.
Given this, how significant is gender politics in San Mateo County? Are we at utopia yet? No. But is there any reasonable candidate for higher office who doesn’t support, strongly, “women’s issues”? Not that I know of.
California Association of Realtors and the California Apartment Association
I was surprised I didn’t end up supporting Diane Papan’s bid for the Assembly despite knowing Papan better personally than I do Hale. Papan’s been a council member longer, so I was able to interact with her when I was on the San Carlos City Council.
I think well of Papan…but I really do not like the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Realtors. I know them as a result of doing the endorsement circuit when I ran for the San Carlos City Council. They impressed me as greedy, self-centered organizations who care only for the economic interests of their members.
Representing your members’ interests isn’t a disqualifer. But doing it as single-mindedly, and as dogmatically, as these two organizations do most definitely is. They gave me the distinct impression they don’t care what harm befalls their fellow citizens so long as their members are able to make as much money as possible. Libertarianism uber alles! Not for me, thanx.
By stifling attempts to address the housing crisis they “coincidentally” enable those members to make astounding amounts of money from a scarcity of housing. A scarcity which could be alleviated if only people who disagree with the organizations’ goals could get elected. Money talks, and when you have as much money as these clowns have, you pretty much get to shout down everyone else in the room.
The fact that Papan has enthusiastically accepted support from the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Realtors makes her a non-starter in my mind, despite her otherwise significant qualifications.
Conservatives in Liberal Clothing
Or, yet another example of how rabidly right-wing the modern Republican Party is.
Some have asked me why I’m not supporting Laura Parmer-Lohan in the Board of Supervisors race. After all, she represents my hometown, San Carlos, on its city council, where I had the opportunity to work closely with her. I supported her 2018 run for the Council.
As I explained in greater depth in an op ed I wrote for the Daily Journal, I mistakenly assumed Laura is a liberal when I first met her because she’s gay. But based on my experience working with her she’s not. I wouldn’t characterize her as a centrist Democrat, either. Her fiscal priorities are clearly conservative, as highlighted not just by her views on limiting the use of reserves to help residents and businesses through the pandemic but also in her early opposition/lack of support for raising the minimum wage2.
There’s nothing wrong with being conservative, and Laura’s brand of conservatism is actually quite liberal…by modern GOP standards. I grew up in New York, and back there/then we called such people “Rockefeller Republicans”, after Nelson Rockefeller, a long-time governor who was a fiscally-conservative, socially-liberal Republican3. Sadly, such Republicans are almost non-existent among modern GOP representatives.
But while being conservative isn’t wrong per se, being conservative in 2022 sure isn’t a philosophy I embrace or want to see promulgated. At least until the GOP re-generates a Rockefeller Republican wing.
Interestingly, I made the same misjudgment about being liberal when I decided to support Kyrsten Sinema’s bid for the Federal Senate in Arizona. In both cases I should’ve remembered being gay doesn’t automatically make someone liberal. It just, unfortunately, makes them subject to prejudice and bias, enabled and sustained by modern conservatism.
Actually, you don’t need to study history. Just read the latest news out of the Florida or Texas state capitols. ↩
It was only after she was called on the carpet for that by the San Mateo Central Labor Council, which had previously endorsed her, that she became a supporter. ↩
An interesting historical footnote: such Republicans were essential to getting FDR’s New Deal approved. Because Southern Democrats — who were neither fiscally nor socially liberal (supporting segregation was their be-all and end-all) — disapproved of it. ↩