Get ready for Special Election January 8 – mail those ballots now!

22 Dec

I know, a lot of you have already forgotten what a mess the Fourth Senate District turned out, where Dan Logue, for some reason known only to him, decided to run for two offices at the same time – State Assembly and US Senate.  Logue isn’t a bad guy, I don’t know what was going on there.

Sure, I guess you could blame Doug LaMalfa, for jumping ship in the middle of his State Senate term to run for Wally Herger’s US Senate seat. But, frankly, I’m glad he did. I wasn’t always thrilled with Wally Herger’s performance, but  the last thing we need in that seat is some entitlements-happy liberal out to turn the North State into a bigger tax generator to pay salaries in LA.

But it did start a mess that’s going to cost us pretty good. Since Logue stuck his thumb in the Fourth District pie, we are faced with a stupid legal snaptrap – Jim Nielsen came less  than a percentage point of getting the required 50.1% of the vote, with 49.8. Meanwhile, Mickey Harrington came scraping in with a pathetic 27.7%. But still we will have to shell out the bucks for a run-off election.

Harrington should throw in the towel. And a stinky towel, I imagine. He’s been running unsuccessfully for an assembly seat since 2006. He’s dropped out of one race due to health problems. But last October, admittedly behind the 8-ball because of his last-minute scramble, crying “fix!”, Harrington decided to switch gears and run for Senate District 4. And that’s my fault?

He blames LaMalfa and Nielsen, but that’s just sour grapes talking.  In this most recent race, over 60% of the voters went with Republicans Nielsen and Logue. Harrington would have to get every one of Logue’s votes, as well as all of the other candidates’ combined votes, to come within spitting distance of Nielsen. I think he’d have to get some of Nielsen’s votes too!

But look at the time frame Jerry Brown placed on this election. According to the rules, this election could have been called as late as April. But Brown called it for January 8 – two weeks after Christmas. Only two months after that last contentious election. And right in the middle of the holiday mail season, he’s got postal workers handling our vote-by-mail ballots.  You know the Governor and his flying monkeys are banking on certain  people not voting. 

Well screw them, I voted already. My ballot came in the mail last week, and a mailer from Nielsen reminded my husband and I how little time we had to get it right back in the mail. So I penned in my vote and put it right back in my mailbox. Bon Voyageee!

A friend of mine was asking me how I feel about the issue of Nielsen’s residency. I thought about that, and realized, what’s legal is legal.  Nielsen has lived in this area, done business here, knows farming,  knows our issues.  He appreciates the lifestyle we have up here and how important it is to the health of the general state economy. For example, Nielsen and LaMalfa have been recognized for their efforts to keep ag programs alive in schools.

Meanwhile, ex-Chico Mayor Ann Schwab, who owns a spacious house in Forest Ranch, bought an apartment in Chico when she wanted to run for Chico City Council. I don’t see anything wrong with Nielsen living in a “trailer” in Gerber.

There’s always been talk of Nielsen taking money from Mansanto – but I’ve never heard of him being convicted or even warned about any kind of inappropriate behavior. And, a lot of farmers around here would say, Mansanto is a stakeholder in this community, they are as much a part of the local economy as prunes and nuts and rice. As long as they abide by the rules, they can donate money to whichever candidate they want – just like Scott Gruendl can take money from the National Gay and Lesbian PAC’s and Ann Schwab can take money from the Service Employees International Union and the firefighters’ PAC.

Harrington lives in Magalia – where he retired after a long service with PG&E and a long membership with the electrical workers’ union. Who knows where he’s from, or why he left to come out here, but his residency leaves him no more suited to represent the district than Nielsen. In fact, I feel his background leaves him more likely to represent corporate and union interests than those of rural ranchers, farm workers, small business owners, and small town residents.

I won’t vote for Harrington because he admittedly supported Prop 30 and opposed Prop 32. He also seems to have no interest in pension reform. According to his pre-election interview with the Chico Enterprise Record, Harrington said that “the majority of people with public pensions work for less than $20 an hour, and take less knowing a pension is included.”

That’s not correct in Chico. The police and fire departments make up the lion’s share of our employees, and they make well over $20/hour, especially when you tack on the overtime, sick leave and vacation accrual, and “special pay.”  Harrington is not thinking for the taxpayers, he’s thinking from the point of view of a very well-pensioned PG&E retiree. PG&E has many of the same policies in place in the public sector, of course he’s going to support the public sector on this – he’s not going to rock the boat.

I have not had a chance to poll the other regular attendees of the Taxpayers Association, I’ll be sure to ask around at the next meeting and see what other people think. But I’ve already voted for Nielsen.

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