Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last pre-election update for my campaign

Last one here, anyway, I'll be busy at the campaign blog until Election Day. Previous post was here.

I feel reasonably optimistic about the race, but it's impossible to tell for sure in an open seat election with two serious candidates in a local race - I certainly can't afford a poll. I hope my opponent spends his money on one but he doesn't seem likely to make such a big mistake, and the results would be useless anyway in a race that many voters won't think about until they pick up their voter guides.

I feel pretty good in having done far better in endorsements and having an active ground campaign. With 133,000 voters, we can't reach them all, but we've done a reasonable amount of precinct walking with the help of volunteers, as well as going to farmers markets, train stations, and a few special events with a lot of people. As far as I can tell, my opponent doesn't have that ground campaign.

His one advantage is money. This election has no contribution limits. I set my own, at $250/person, $500/organization, and invited my opponent to do the same but he declined. His advantage is from big donations that range four to ten to twenty times the maximum donation I'll accept. All perfectly legal, of course, and I have no reason to suspect improper deals, but it is an issue regardless. He has virtually no small contributions, though, and I have tons, and that helps build support. I still have one more printing going out, so if anyone wants to help out with a small donation, you can donate here (must be US citizen or permanent resident).

There are many other worthy issues and candidates, of course. I am deeply concerned about national politics. Voters will punish Democrats for failing to completely fix the mess created by Republican leadership, and do so by electing Republicans. In the long run, this will actually help Democrats, because the Republicans need to have some kind of ideas other than keeping government out of Medicare. The Tea Party types may someday morph into a libertarian concept that's useful, but they're nowhere near that now, and winning now will stop that transformation. Demographics will also kill the Republican prospects with non-whites and young people who accept homosexuals and science. All we can do is support good people on the national stage - I just gave some money to Congressman Jerry McNerney, and others could do something similar.

More locally, I support my fellow Water District candidate and excellent environmentalist Linda Lezotte in her race (we're in different electoral districts). I also support Water District Measure C, imposing okay-but-not-great term limits.

Mountain View Council Member Margaret Abe-Koga has done a great job. The other two incumbents, Ronit Bryant and Jac Siegel, should also be re-elected, but I know that Margaret in particular has stuck her neck out to take on some regional challenges. Jim Zito running for Evergreen School District in San Jose has also taken some strong environmental stances, and many school districts have been more than ready to throw the environment out the window if it saves them some money, so Jim's presence is needed.

Other than that, we'll see what happens next Tuesday!

(And one good thing I remembered - we've sent thousands of postcards out reminding voters of the problem of sea level rise and San Francisco Bay, something the Water District will have to deal with, so we're keeping climate disruption in the minds of voters.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Salvaging climate action in one-eighth of the US, and other stuff

I've felt a little guilty about not doing more to fight Prop 23, the Texas oil company initiative to kill California's fight against climate change. I've been busy, although I have been talking about climate change in my campaign. The one thing I did do was send some money their way, and it would be great if anyone reading this would do the same. California is one-eighth of the US economy, so what it does is important. Tesoro, Valero, and Koch brothers are attacking California for a reason, so fighting back is important.

Related stuff - a great interview by Rachel Maddow with climate denialist/(apparently former) HIV denialist/radiation enthusiast Art Robinson. How she keeps her sense of humor is beyond me. At the same link is the video debunking of Robinson's Oregon Petition that fraudulently claimed 32,000 scientists dispute climate change.

And yesterday, I was precinct walking for my campaign and a nice old man in slippers invited me into his living room. He was an arch-conservative, couldn't stand Obama, and convinced that climate change is only natural. Then he said that based on his gut reaction to me, he liked me and would give his vote to me. My reaction: I'll take it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I don't usually join the media-bashing, but this Chamber stuff qualifies

Yet another report from Think Progress on how the US Chamber of Commerce is accepting foreign funds and putting them in the same accounts it uses for political lobbying.

I read this particularly shameful New York Times article that simply accepts the Chamber's claim that it keeps the money separate without providing an accounting, accepts the Chamber's claim that it's a small amount, and worst of all, refused to interview Think Progress to give them a chance to respond (see the first link above - "Most reporters (from the New York Times, McClatchy, the Associated Press, etc.) never contacted ThinkProgress, instead opting to only interview Chamber officials.")

I know some of our local Chambers here in Santa Clara County, and some of them do good work. But the US Chamber is doing some terrible work, and the media is making it even worse.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Republican Party denialism and Roger Pielke Jr.'s analysis

The National Journal finds that no major party in any democracy is as thoroughly in denial about climate science as the Republican Party. Roger Pielke Jr. writes "it didn't have to be this way....I have no idea as to how that circumstance may have evolved differently." That seems incoherent to me, especially as he acknowledges a strong and widespread anti-environment shift among Republican political candidates. He does his best to blame climatologists for provoking this shift instead of reacting to the shift.

What I really had been looking for in Roger's work is this piece from 2007 saying that climate science was so widely accepted that the "issue of science is no longer relevant to debate in Congress." Even in 2007, the massive level of Republican denialism meant only 57 Senators accepted the consensus position. Not enough to overcome a filibuster, and Roger felt that denialism didn't matter.

I think the level of denialism at the highest level of the Republican Party has an obvious connection to the inaction we've had in the US, and it should be a pretty obvious connection.

Unfortunately, it took me a while to find that 2007 post of Roger's. While looking for it, I also came across this one from 2009 saying cap-and-trade is likely to get Congressional support sufficient to pass in the next few years; another one making the (incomprehensible to me) argument that improved mitigation of potential weather-related damages doesn't affect the damage signal from climate change; and another from 2007 saying the public has accepted climate change science (with the implication being there's no point in battling denialists).

I'm not finding any of these five blog posts particularly persuasive.

Friday, October 08, 2010

And the voting starts

So here's my video campaign statement, courtesy of the free services provided by the Midpeninsula Community Media Center, which will be showing candidate videos on their channels:

I should've talked a little faster I think, but it wasn't too bad for a 20 minute session and my first use of a Teleprompter. My opponent apparently decided to skip doing it.

Nothing about climate change in there, but I've said quite a bit elsewhere.

In answer to the most common question - how's the campaign going? - I can't really tell for sure. The people I talk to are enthusiastic supporters but there's an obvious selection effect. I've done very well with endorsements. We've got people walking precincts too (no sign of my opponent doing the same), and this is a Democratic Party-favoring area. On the other hand, my opponent's got decent name recognition as a Council member of one of the four biggest towns in the district.

So we'll just keep pushing, and we'll get the answer in less than a month.