George Boardman: Your quick guide for sifting through the debris of the elections |

George Boardman: Your quick guide for sifting through the debris of the elections

George Boardman

Observations from the center stripe: Precedent edition

PLACER COUNTY settled for $110,000 a complaint that a prisoner allegedly died from an overdose of drugs smuggled into the county jail. What’s it going to cost Nevada County to settle a similar case now pending? … FACEBOOK is now catching flak for doing business with Chinese telecom firm Huawei, but how bad can that be if the Trump administration is letting ZTE — allegedly, a major threat to U.S. security — off the hook? … NOT ONE member of the Philadelphia Eagles took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem last football season, but they got dumped at The White House because they couldn’t produce a big enough crowd to satisfy the president’s ego … DURING HIS “Celebration of America,” Trump didn’t appear to know all of the words to “God Bless America” … AMERICA FIRST is starting to look like America Alone …

Now that most of the votes have been counted, the losers have made their excuses, and the winners have advanced dubious theories for why they were victorious, do you still have questions about last week’s election?

I’m here to help.

The media and pundits are straining for lessons to be learned from primaries in just eight states. The lessons will be learned in November, when we will find out if there was a blue wave, a puddle, or a mirage that hid a desert.

California Republicans shouldn’t get too excited about last week’s results, particularly given the apparently low turnout. Conservatives always vote in the primaries while liberals tend to wait for the general election. Why do you think the Democratic-controlled state Legislature voted to move all of the tax increase and bond measures to the November ballot?

Democrats managed to get a candidate into the finals of the seven California Congressional seats they think they can flip. Now we’ll see if they can deliver.

So much for the carpetbagger issue: Opponents of Rep. Tom McClintock love to point out that he can’t vote for himself because he doesn’t live in the Fourth Congressional district, but his opponent in November, Jessica Morse, is hardly a homebody. She returned to the area recently after long service elsewhere in the federal government.

(McClintock claims he can’t move into his district because he bought his house in Elk Grove just before the real estate bubble burst and would have to take a loss if he sold. Given today’s housing prices, that excuse doesn’t work anymore.)

It appears the Democrats won’t have a super majority in the state Legislature after the November vote, which means the leader of the Assembly Republicans, Assemblyman Brian Dahle, will get a seat at the negotiating table. Maybe he can get the Democrats to appropriate money to fight the opioid crisis in “State of Jefferson” land recently chronicled in the New York Times.

State Senator Ted Gaines made it into the finals for a seat on the state Board of Equalization. I hope he can find enough time to do his current job while he campaigns for his next one.

California Republicans may have a winner in their ballot initiative to repeal the gasoline tax increase. A state senator they targeted for recall because he backed the measure was thrown out of office, and polls show people hate the tax.

But if Republicans think the gas tax repeal can be used to propel John Cox into the governor’s chair, they’re wrong. Cox lost multiple elections in Illinois, a state where a Republican actually has a shot at getting elected, before he moved to California, and he figures to continue that streak in November. Don’t expect the Republicans to grab any of the other state offices either.

Can an independent actually get elected to statewide office? Steve Poizner is the leading candidate for insurance commissioner. (Of course, he was a Republican when he held the office before.)

Was Assistant DA Chris Walsh really premature when he declared murder suspect Sean Bryant won’t face the death penalty, or did DA Cliff Newell read criticism of the decision in The Union and decide that wouldn’t play well on election day?

Some people criticized former Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster, who is third in the race for sheriff as I write this, for possibly being a double dipper. Somebody needs to explain to me what’s wrong with claiming something that is rightfully yours. Is there a rule I don’t know about that prevents people from collecting a pension because they’re being paid for another job?

Every candidate for office loves to embellish his or her accomplishments, and Supervisor Dan Miller is no exception. In ads running up to election day, he took credit for the Dorsey Drive Interchange, a project decades in the making that involved multiple government agencies and an endless parade of elected and appointed officials.

Miller’s opponent, Hilary Hodge, ran as a progressive, and apparently budgeted like one. While Miller was running plenty of advertising in the final days of the campaign, Hodge was missing in action.

The recall of a Superior Court Judge in Santa Clara County because he allegedly let a defendant in a sexual assault case off easily by following sentencing guidelines is bad news for anybody who has to stand trial. Judges may be motivated to impose sentences that are politically expedient instead of fair. The Stanford law professor who led the recall effort should know better.

The Sacramento Bee portrayed the race for Sacramento County sheriff as a contest between Sheriff Scott Jones and challenger Milo Fitch, basically ignoring retired police sergeant Donna Cox. Cox beat Fitch for second place.

Maybe it’s because I lived most of my life in a county that was fast when it comes to counting votes, but I still haven’t adjusted to how long it takes to count the votes in Nevada County. Things won’t get any better now that we’re going to all-mail balloting. But since the people who can fix the problem don’t seem to care, why should I?

It’s a rule of thumb in the U.S. Army that 10 percent never get the message. But after hearing reports of people throwing away their mail-in ballots, going to old polling places that don’t exist anymore, or waiting until the last minute to mail their ballot, the civilian percentage has to be a lot higher.

Apparently 29 people deposited ballots with the Nevada County election office that should have gone to other counties. Doh!

George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at

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