Friday, July 18, 2014

Day Six - Recount over!

John Perez has called off the recount. Thank you for listening to the people. Congratulations Betty Yee and on to November!

Move on Mr. Speaker

Move On should start a petition asking John Perez to "Move on" and stop the recount now, so Betty Yee can get on with the General Election for Controller already. I mean, jeesh, the State Democratic Party has given her $50,000 and declared her the winner and endorsed candidate.

What kind of apple cart does he want to upset anyway?

It's time. #stoptherecount.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Perez Fatal Mistake? No Candidate's Statement in Voter Guide

Amazing. John Perez, Speaker of the California Assembly, Emeritus, who has now dragged the Controller's election out beyond mid-July because of his ill-advised recount, failed to submit a candidate's statement for publication in the voter information guide sent to every voter in the State.

True that many voters don't read them, but equally true that some voters read only those statements before making up their mind who to vote for. Could this be the main reason State Board of Equalization member Betty T. Yee, eked out a scant 481 more votes than Perez, despite being outspent three times over? I've seen this simple mistake made by others and the results are clear. No statement shows a disdain for the voters and they may well show a disdain for the candidate on election day.

So speculated Jim Miller of the Sacramento Bee yesterday, also noting that only those candidates who agree to abide by a voluntary spending limit of no more than $5.44 million in a statewide race are eligible for the statements. Interestingly Perez did not appear to come near that mark in his Primary race spending, but his $1.7 million spent through the last reporting period of May 17th was close to treble the amount spent by Yee to that date.

So, instead of laying out $6,250 for a ballot statement, Perez is spending hundreds of thousands on a recount to try to scare up 482 votes and beat Yee long after election Day. This is hubris at its most unattractive. This is not what we expect from our Democratic Party.

And apparently not what the  Democratic Party itself expects either, as they have accepted Yee as the winner and endorsed Democrat in the race, and put $50,000 into her bank account to help pay for her expenses associated with the recount.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stop the Recount!

From the Sac Bee, by two Democratic stalwarts. Thanks for letting me reprint:

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2014 - 12:00 am
Nearly all who followed the close race for second place in the state controller primary know that Democrat Betty Yee prevailed after the last ballots in Lake County were tallied in late June. But fellow Democrat John A. Pérez has now called for a time-consuming recount in hopes of overcoming his 481-vote deficit.

That’s a decision we hope he reconsiders.

First, the protracted recount process threatens to drag on for weeks. It covers hundreds of precincts in 15 counties and could take long enough to hamper preparations for the Nov. 4 general election.

Second, a recount threatens to undermine what most Democrats consider a core value of our party – putting the public interest ahead of self-interest. This is not the first time Pérez has put his own goals ahead of party unity. This spring he ignored advice from party elders not to demand a vote seeking endorsement over Yee at the party convention in Los Angeles. Pérez, from Los Angeles and then still the Assembly speaker, pressed ahead with the motion to endorse – and lost, capturing less than 50 percent of the ballots. Calling off the recount now would only work to his advantage. It’s not too late to show party unity and back Yee with all the resources he’s got.

Third, Yee, a state Board of Equalization member, should not be left stuck in proverbial limbo. The grace and restraint she has shown amid the questioning of her winning margin and the call for a recount are admirable. In the race for controller, Republican Ashley Swearengin, Fresno’s mayor, finished first and will be a formidable opponent. A complete Democratic slate with Yee getting full and undivided statewide support needs to proceed now, not whenever a prolonged recount wraps up.
We understand the desire by a candidate who comes up short by a very narrow margin to pursue a recount. But existing California law has no provisions for an automatic recount, and the process it does outline raises questions of fairness over who can foot the bill and how long it might last. One candidate can pay to pursue newly counted ballots in some areas and another candidate might then pay for and pursue newly counted ballots in others. The recount could stretch on for several weeks. Even then it could end in court.

Such is the Pandora’s box that Pérez has opened. The middle of a general election season, with county clerks facing a tight timeline to ready and release the fall ballot, is a particularly bad time for this to happen. The Legislature should not be called into special session to adopt new rules now, with the specific circumstances of this race weighing on their judgment.

Pérez can avoid this collateral damage by canceling the recount. The time for reviewing and reconsidering state policy for very close elections is in a future regular session of the Legislature.
Close elections can always inflame passions, especially when counting of ballots takes weeks. But that count happened. Yee finished as the top Democrat and is ready to make her case to win the general election. We strongly encourage Pérez to do the right thing and call off the recount. We would count this to his benefit if he ever seeks our vote again. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Recount Day 3

So the recount in the State Controller's race is now in its third day. Already in those precincts counted, Assembly Speaker Emeritus John Perez has picked up three votes. If this keeps up at this glacial pace, it could last for months, past the date the the election. Please, please Mr. Speaker, stop counting. Think of the Party (Now backing Betty Yee, as the official winner of the June primary) and the State. Think of your own image and legacy.

Stop the counting, because even if you find those votes you so desperately crave, you may still look like a loser come November 4th. Be gracious. Let Betty Yee run her race already.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Recount Redux

More on the messy recount going on as we speak in the California Controller race. Think a Controller race is dull? Think the job is a big bore? Think again. The Controller controls the State budget. Whoever sits in that seat has an awesome responsibility. With Emeritus Speaker of the House John Perez unwilling to concede defeat to Betty Yee, who won when all the ballots were accounted for by a slim 481 votes our of more than 4 million cast, he plunged the Party into angst and the State into uncertainty.

Because of the arcane way California's recount laws are written, the loser, in this case Perez, has the right to a recount in what ever Counties and whichever precincts he chooses. He has to pay for it, but with what's left in his Primary campaign warchest, he can afford it.

As you might suspect, this has made the Republicans, whose candidate Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen finished in first place with 24% of the vote (Perez and Betty Yee finished with 21.7% each), rub their hands together with glee. Nothing like a divided Party to cast the voting public into confusion and frustration, not to mention deepen an already heavy cynicism.

The result of all this is to suppress the vote, giving Swearingin an edge in what should be a solid Democratic seat. And that edge is like the camel's nose under the tent. Republicans are snorting and pawing the ground with every passing day.

If the reaction to Betty Yee's presence at this weekend's State Executive Board meting is any indication, Perez' tactics are not going over well with his own base. Betty got standing O's wherever she went, including at the Labor Caucus meeting. Perez sits on the board and didn't bother to make the meeting.

Oh, yeah, pressing State business, or vote counting, whatever. As State Party Chair John Burton said in the SF Chronicle yesterday, "John [Perez] is a young guy with a political future ... and I don't think he's going to thwart that for the controller's job."  Make his words come true, Mr. Speaker. Be a gracious loser on this one, and there will be another chance for a solid political career.
Your author and Betty T. Yee ar this weekend's meeting.