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Qualified or not, they’re on the ballot

Jeff Ackerman, Publisher
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

I spent the weekend boning up for Election Day. I’m sick and tired of being swayed by roadside campaign signs, television commercials and letters to the editor.

“Let’s see … which one had the cool aqua-blue billboards…”

“And … which one got the most favorable letters to the editor…”



Fortunately, the state and county were kind enough to mail me 124 pages of voter information. And if that’s not enough, the state offers telephone voter information in six languages, including Tagalog.

The first thing I’ll be asked to vote for when I step to the plate on Nov. 5 will be governor. The sample ballot says Gray Davis has the job now and wants to keep it. Five other guys also want the job. One is listed as a business analyst, and the others include a financial investment adviser, chief executive officer, businessman/charity director and electrical contractor/farmer.




The state could seriously use a financial investment officer, but I’m voting for the guy who can fix light bulbs and milk cows. Besides, he says if he’s elected, he’ll double the places we can go swimming, and his slogan is “Poke ‘Em in the Eye,” which has kind of a no-nonsense ring to it.

Then I’ll need to vote for a lieutenant governor, just in case the governor electrocutes himself, drowns, or gets stomped to death by a bull.

Someone named Pat Wright is listed as a Ferret Legalization Coordinator and I’ve always thought ferrets ought to be legal. So it’s Pat for lieutenant governor. “For being outspoken, I’ve had one ferret confiscated,” he wrote in my election day pamphlet (really). “Armed agents broke down my door to seize my other ferrets. While ferrets are not an important issue to most Californians, how government works should be.”

If I had a ferret, and if some armed agents broke into my home to arrest it, I’d probably run for president, not lieutenant governor.

The state constitution says we need a secretary of state, and seven people want to be one, according to my sample ballot. I don’t think we’ve ever had an author/historian serve as secretary of state before, so Larry Shoup gets my vote. “It was a dark, stormy night in Sacramento and the power was out and we had no money …”

Five people want to be controller, but I don’t think we need one. California has a $23 billion deficit already and a controller will only make it worse. Same with the treasurer’s job. When you’re broke, you don’t need anyone to watch your money. Although I did enjoy the profile of one candidate who reminded us in the Election Day Information Guide that, “If we don’t change direction, we’ll end up where we are going.”

And, yes, she actually wrote that. And, no, she’s not related to Yogi Berra.

Let’s see … Dick Ackerman for attorney general? Dick says he’ll protect me and my family at “home, school and work.” I’ve never seen him at any of those places, but he’s an Ackerman and we need to stick together.

A bunch of people are running for “Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,” but all we get to do is vote “yes” or “no” for them. It’s kind of a token vote because you can’t really fire an associate of the Supreme Court. Besides, if Ackerman is attorney general, I don’t care who the judge is.

According to my guide, John Doolittle wants to stay in Congress for the rest of his life, but I’d be more comfortable with a guy named John Dooalot, or John Doosomething, even. That’s why I’m voting for the retired sales manager. Anyone who can sell vacuums door-to-door won’t have any problems in Congress.

If you’re looking to crash the two primary political parties, the information guide explains the options

“The Reform Party will stay out of religion, your bedroom and social issues,” according to the guide. I’ve never had a party in my bedroom, but it’s good the Reformers want to keep it that way.

“The A.I.P. needs you and you need the A.I.P.,” says the American Independent Party summary. Simple and to the point.

The various state ballot measures are also outlined in the guide, complete with the pro, con and counter-pro and counter-con. I wouldn’t suggest reading those just before bed, though. You’ll toss and turn all night.

And, depending upon your trust level of the pro and con, the combined measures could cost us anywhere from nothing to a zillion dollars, give or take a few billion.

In the end, it’s not as important who, or what you vote for as much as it is that you exercise your right to do so. One way or another, we always get the government we deserve.

Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears on Tuesdays. Contact him at 477-4299,


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