I'm really bummed that my US citizenship application did not push through in time for me to vote in today's elections (blame an interview appointment that conflicted with a trip abroad, a rescheduling notice lost in the mail, and the frustrating, inexplicable delays). But if I were allowed to go into a polling booth today, here's how I would vote:
President/VP: Barack Obama/Joe Biden
US Representative, District 14: Anna Eshoo
State Senator, District 11: Joe Simitian
State Assemblymember, District 21: Ira Ruskin
Judge, Office No. 8:
Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee, Area 1: Grace Mah
Hmmmmm..... who should we vote for president in the most important election of our time? Let's see...... the war in Iraq needs to end .... we need a healthcare system that doesn't bankrupt people.... it's been proven that the financial markets actually DO need a bit of government intervention..... rich people need to help out the people who made them so stinking rich in the first place...... we need a leader who can restore the US's reputation around the world ..... the country needs a change from George Bush..... was there any doubt that I'd vote for Obama/Biden?
As for the rest.... I'd vote to keep the incumbents because haven't heard anything negative about their performance so far. And I'd vote for Grace Mah because I've seen her in action, campaigning for Mandarin immersion in Palo Alto schools, and I know this girl gets things done.
Below are the measures I support (I have left out a number of measures because I haven't done enough research on the issue to have an intelligent opinion one way or the other)
California State Measures:
Prop 1A: No
High speed trains sound great, but the need for local public transportation is much greater.
Prop 2: Yes
Yes, we're prepared to pay higher prices in exchange for better animal treatment standards. Besides, have you seen the state of chicken farms in China? Remember where the avian flu came from? Do you want to risk all sorts of diseases coming from crowded conditions like that?
Prop 4: No
This was a Really Tough One, I think the toughest of all. I'm Catholic and I'm pro-choice, but I'm against abortion (Wha-ha-hat? For explanation, I refer you to Joe Biden's brilliant, rational and compassionate defense of his pro-choice position, which is exactly how I feel). If my teenage daughter got pregnant I'd want to know about it so I could do everything I could to discourage her from getting an abortion. But notification is not consent. If The Pea really wanted to go through with it, there would be no way I could stop her anyway. Teens who will not or cannot tell their parents they are having an abortion will simply ignore this law and find a way to go through with it anyway. So they need to have access to safe and legal procedures. Yes, the measure does have an "out" that allows minors to bypass the requirement, but it requires spilling all your secrets to a judicial court, or telling Social Services that your legal guardian has molested you. Like any girl is going to opt for that!
Prop 8: No.
Let people live their lives the way they want to, they're not harming you! Whatever your religious views on same-sex marriage, this is a legal issue. Your church can say marriage is between a man and a woman and condemn all homosexuals to hell, it's their business. But that's church and this is state, and all couples should be treated equally under law. Otherwise, it's like having different water fountains, oh yes, they're both water fountains so why should you complain if you have to use your own water fountain and not mine? Even though my water fountain gives me cold, filtered water and yours gives you warm tap water, they're still the same......
Santa Clara County measures:
Measure A: Yes
Do I want to be in a hospital during a minor earthquake and have the ceiling collapse on me? Heck, no. I hated paying an arm and a leg for the seismic safety upgrade of our 1920's house -- but we did it anyway. When safety is at stake, it's an easy decision. And besides, we'd spend a whole lot more to rebuild the house.
Measure B: Yes
The Valley needs more public transportation, and the systems that already exist need to be connected. How else are we going to ease the congestion on our roads and pollution in the air?
Palo Alto city measures
Measure N: No
Sorry, I love the libraries, but it's just too much money in a time when there's not enough money to go around. I said yes on Measures A and B, and there's just not enough in our budget for Measure N. Sacrifices are being made all around, and this is a luxury we'll have to forego. Better yet, get rid of the branch libraries and concentrate resources on a single library (and yes, I'd be happy to drive from North Palo Alto to a single, new and improved Mitchell Park library).
For all you US citizens -- you don't know how lucky you are. You are in a privileged position to make a real difference in how your money is used, in how your state is run, in what direction your country takes. Heck, the US is such a powerful nation that your vote can even affect the way the world turns. So USE that vote! If you don't want, it, I'll gladly have it!