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All was not lost on election day, at least not locally


edit_14232393_1166055086801312_6162782396031943489_nOn the way home from therapy on Wednesday, I stopped along the highway to pick up an election souvenir, a green-and-white YES ON Z sign. It now rests next to my computer as a reminder that all is not lost, that sometimes the good guys win.

I’m sure I will look at the sign often while reading about the latest groaner from the Trump administration. I am hoping that it will ease my despair and keep me focused on the positive and the local.

While the national election was an unmitigated disaster, it was a mixed bag locally. You had to look closely for the positives, but they were there.

Measure Z, of course, wins first prize for greatest success in the face of overwhelming money. It was the anti-fracking measure and you know all about it so I’ll spare you the normal details except for how the oil industry spent at least $5.5 million to fight it. (I’m hoping our friends at KSBW and elsewhere in electronic media spend their campaign advertising fortune wisely.)

Co-conspirator Larry Parsons and I made the rounds of election parties Tuesday night. We tried to stop by the Measure Z party in Salinas but a goodly share of the Measure Z camp is, well, it’s older now and the lights were off before 10 p.m.

We did stop by the Yes on Y affair. Medical marijuana, another ballot winner. I thought for a minute we had made a wrong turn and had ended up at a Pebble Beach Food & Wine after-party. There were lots of very pretty people, young and well dressed. I didn’t recognize anyone.

Monterey City Councilwoman Libby Downey’s party nearby was a quieter affair filled with older folks in comfortable clothes. Libby was just as gracious in defeat as she always is, saying that if Dan Albert Jr. had to knock one of the progressives off the council, which he did, it was better that it wasn’t Alan Haffa. For Downey, being on the council has meant also being on the mayors water authority and the boards of TAMC and the transit authority and the sewer board, etc., etc. It has meant almost daily meetings and lots of work. She deserves a standing ovation as she steps aside.

The Seaside results can be interpreted in different ways. I see it as a victory for common sense because even though Ralph Rubio will stick around as mayor, the fact that he didn’t receive an outright majority tells me that the people of Seaside aren’t so keen on the Monterey Downs project. Kay Cline came in a close second on a platform led by her opposition to the racetrack/housing venture. Give her the votes of the other two candidates and she would have won.

Cline’s party at the Press Club was upbeat even though no one in the room was enjoying the national election coverage on the bank of TVs.

Supporting my Seaside thoughts was the defeat of Councilman Ian Oglesby, who once was a promising newcomer but who fell into the trap of doing what Ralph wanted him to do. He will be replaced by Kayla Jones, a rising star with a progressive view of Seaside’s needs. Dave Pacheco was re-elected, a good thing because every council needs someone who is only looking out for the people.

Seaside was the setting for Sen. Bill Monning’s intimate victory party, populated mostly by campaign workers and elected officials such as Jane Parker and Mary Adams. Mel Mason was there, looking well. The Monning affair was at DeMarco’s Pizza, my go-to place for pizza. Monning and Haffa are also regulars there and you should be, too.  (This is what they call a plug. DeMarco’s is on Broadway (Obama Way) across the street from Goodwill.)

In Salinas, the big news was that odd-man-out Councilman Jose Castaneda is all the way out, finishing fourth in a four-way race for his seat. All went as expected in Pacific Grove. Nothing new there. Same with Marina, though it was gratifying to see Kevin Saunders fall flat, especially after he lobbed some anti-Semitic nonsense at Weekly editor Sara Rubin. Go off somewhere and torch one, Kevin, and leave the rest of us alone.

The Hartnell bond was approved and the transportation tax may have been approved. It needs two-thirds approval and had almost exactly that as of last count but there are thousands more ballots to count before we rest.

Could have been worse. Not nearly good enough to salve the sting of the Trump victory but good enough to keep some good people in the game for a few more cycles.

Congratulations to the Measure Z camp, especially Jeanne Turner, who did a remarkable job of organizing the petition drive and keeping her colleagues focused.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jean November 10, 2016, 10:35 am

    “What can I do to make this better?”

  • Patti C November 10, 2016, 10:40 am

    Hey Royal, thanks for the election night roundup but especially for your shoutout to Marco’s pizza. I’ve lived in Seaside for two years and driven up and down Broadway hundreds of times, but never stopped into the place. Taking my son there for lunch!

  • John Dalessio November 10, 2016, 11:04 am

    You left out Measure E’s victory, Royal. This one guarantees that the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, under the leadership of dynamic General Manager, Rafael Payan, will to continue to find, purchase and make available to the public such treasures as Garland Ranch Regional Park, Palo Corona Regional Park, and Mill Creek Regional Park; coastal beach areas including Aolean Dunes and Marina Dunes Preserve; wetlands, including Locke-Paddon, and Frog Pond; and to encourage and assist in the development of projects like the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.
    Our Regional Park District (really an Open Space District) is one of the unknown and little recognized gems in the Bay area. While few know its name, thousands use and enjoy our Regional Park’s open spaces.

    • ENRIQUE MENDEZ FLORES November 10, 2016, 11:10 am

      My amigos the Pruneda family in Prunedale worked very hard in getting people to vote yes on measure Z. They deserve lots of credits as they had many fund raising parties for la causa. Good job for these great working family. Congratulations! You did it again Demetrio and Sally!

  • Christina Lund November 10, 2016, 11:05 am

    Measure E passed too, another little bright spot.

  • gin November 10, 2016, 11:14 am

    A shout-out to Libby Downey . . .
    Libby, thank you for all your hard work on our behalf!

  • Dan Turner November 10, 2016, 11:30 am

    Remember, behind every successful woman, there’s a little man.

    • Jeanne Turner November 10, 2016, 2:22 pm

      Without whom I couldn’t do half the stuff I do.

  • Bob Coble November 10, 2016, 11:33 am

    Good positive thoughts. Thanks. I was disgusted in reading in the Herald this morning that Ralph Rubio claims his actions were vindicated by the election results. Nonsense. Over 56% of the Seaside voters REJECTED Rubio, not only for his Monterey Downs dishonest campaign, but also for his high-handed way of running the council, supported by his two rubber stamps (Oglesby and Alexander). There is still a possibility that the uncounted ballots will have Kay Cline overtaking Ralph’s totals. Now that Kayla Jones is replacing rubber-stamp Oglesby she, along with Jason Campbell and Dave Pacheco, will lead the way for honest, transparent, open leadership for the city — something long overdue.

  • Loren Steck November 10, 2016, 11:56 am

    Thanks Royal for the good thoughts, a thin silver lining in a thick grey cloud. One small point: The Hartnell Bond was a 55% bond, not a two-thirds one. With 66% of the vote, it passed easily. Congratulations to Hartnell!

    • Royal Calkins November 10, 2016, 4:53 pm

      Thanks Loren. Brain freeze. Fixed. Cheers

  • Jeanne Turner November 10, 2016, 2:59 pm

    While it’s true that I had volunteered to lead the petition drive for Measure Z in West County, that was just the beginning. Monterey County is huge and diverse. A book called Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber tells it all. It’s one of Dan’s favorite books. He states that the only way to win over BIG money and their less than truthful TV ads is with feet on the ground. People talking to people. Protect Monterey County – Yes on Measure Z was a coalition of people, some of whom had already won Measure J in San Benito County and were now putting their energy into helping us. Food and Water Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity were key players in our winning. Both organizations contributed heavily to our campaign and loaned us staff members who had experience in organizing. People began coming down from the Bay Area and San Jose on weekends to walk precincts. We will be holding a debriefing in the near future, once we know voting results by precinct. As with Measure J, what we have learned from Measure Z will be passed along to the next county in CA that attempts such an initiative – that and lots of our feet on the ground to help them.

  • James Toy November 10, 2016, 4:21 pm

    It has long been the mantra of the Partisan and its readers that Measure O failed because the big bad water company bombarded voters with a zillion No on O ads. Yet the big bad oil companies similarly bombarded voters with No on Z ads but Z passed with room to spare. So how do y’all explain that discrepancy? My theory is that campaign ads aren’t as influential as you think, and that voters weighed the pros and cons and thought things out for themselves.

    I’ll miss Libby Downey. She was the smartest cookie in the jar. I won’t miss Ian Oglesby – hooray Kayla!

    • Dan Turner November 10, 2016, 6:47 pm

      These well funded corporate PR campaigns are very effective at delivering the goods – namely, winning the election for the corps over the grass roots group. The corp PR folks have honed their techniques over the past 40 years so that they almost always succeed. The reasons that they sometimes fail are : 1. the grassroots group can get enough people involved (feet on the ground) to tell enough of their friends and neighbors the truth (counter the PR campaign’s lies and half-truths) that it makes a difference in the outcome. We were never able to recruit/organize enough people to accomplish that w/Measure O but w/Measure Z we did. 2. The corp PR campaign does not go unanswered. Usually, the grassroots folks cannot afford TV or radio airtime. I don’t know how much of a response is needed to neutralize the corp PR campaign. By that I mean that I don’t know if an effective response to the corp PR campaign requires spending 10%, 50%, or 90 % as much as the corp campaign for TV & radio but w/Measure O we weren’t able to afford any radio or TV. Unanswered corp campaigns are very effective/successful. W/Measure Z, we were able to afford a little bit of radio & TV and that may have made a big difference compared to not being able to respond at all. Also, we made much more effective use of Facebook (which isn’t cheap, either) w/Z than we did w/O.
      Other factors in our favor w/Z were that fracking is a national issue that is being played out locally, either at the state or county level, so many more people were aware of what fracking was and why it was dangerous and why we opposed it. With O, many folks never understood what we were so concerned about. They turned on their faucet and good, clean water came out. Their water bill didn’t seem that high to them, especially compared to their electric bill, or their phone/internet/cable bill. In addition to that, most renters don’t get a water bill. They pay for it, of course, in their rent, but only the landlord actually gets a bill from the CalAm so most renters don’t see how lower water bills will benefit them (unless you believe that the landlords, out of the goodness of their hearts, or due to the invisible hand of the market place, are going to lower rents because their water bill has decreased). Under those circumstances, these slick,, professional, expensive corp PR campaigns are deadly. You can count on the fingers of one hand, even if you’ve lost a few fingers, the times that grassroots groups have been able to overcome them over the past 40 years.
      There is probably a point of diminishing returns in terms of the money that can be spent on these PR campaigns. There may even be a point at which the sheer quantity of the ads becomes so annoying to the people they are intended to target that they become counter productive. But not usually. Telling people the same thing over and over again (the Big Lie technique) is a very effective way of convincing them that the lie is the truth – if it goes unanswered.
      So, I completely disagree w/you that the ads in these corp PTR campaigns aren’t as effective as you might think. They are extremely effective. This time, however, conditions were such that we were able to counter them and prevail.

    • L. Parrish November 10, 2016, 6:52 pm

      Measure O lost for several reasons, not only false advertising from Cal-Am. The O opposition had practically all the political forces with them, especially Burnett and the puppet water authority, and even including Sam Farr. Measure O required the Water Management District to play a major role and that’s one of the most despised public agencies around. The business community had been effectively bought off with favorable water rates that were negotiated just prior to the creation of Measure O. And finally, although everyone involved worked very hard, the campaign was just not very efficient, including a less-than-inspiring election consultant. Not trying to be critical, just telling it like it was. We were consistently beaten to the punch, constantly reactive instead of proactive, outperformed in both strategy and the ground game, etc. All in all, it was simply a mountain too big to climb. Next time we’ll be better prepared and get it right.

    • Melodie Chrislock November 12, 2016, 7:57 pm

      Measure O lost because 80% of Cal Am customers had low to moderate water bills back then, so 55% of the voters really didn’t see a problem. The low bills for the majority were and still are subsidized by the 20% of Cal Am customers that pay hundreds of dollars a month in water bills. However that may be about to change.

  • Royal Calkins November 10, 2016, 4:54 pm

    The Cal Am ads were significantly more deceptive than the oil company ads. Measure Z also had an advantage in that folks don’t like the idea of fracking whereas some folks think private enterprise is better than public ownership.

    • Helga Fellay November 10, 2016, 9:20 pm

      I agree with everything Dan, Larry and Royal wrote. In addition, I think the frackers made one mistake – that TV ad with the fire truck that wasn’t going to answer that 911 call just because folks had voted yes on Z. It was soooo over the top that even the most gullible viewers, who normally are easily persuaded by slick commercials, probably realized that it was deceptive, which then perhaps made them doubt the veracity of their other ads. In addition, firemen were so offended by it that they went public and pointed out that it was a lie, and started to support Measure Z. So it totally backfired on them.
      In addition, while most people don’t really care if their water company is privately or publicly owned, with Z we had two other motivators to vote yes: the fact that at exactly the right time it became public knowledge that Oklahoma, which had had almost no earthquakes before they started fracking, now experiences many daily earthquakes, some of them quite devastating, due to fracking, and we all know how close the San Andreas fault is to us. The other thing that helped Z was that the plight of the people of Flint, Michigan, where children were led poisoned with probably lifelong negative consequences, because of water contamination. One could assume, logically, that no one in his right mind would vote no on Z. The fact that our margin of victory was as small as it was is a testament that millions of dollars worth of slick TV ads and slick mailers ARE indeed effective, even in the face of so much evidence against them.

  • Julie Engell November 10, 2016, 9:01 pm

    One of the things I observed about Measure O was that the initiative supporters kept being dragged into responding to the bullshit financing minutiae advanced by the measure’s opponents. It’s a tough situation. Fail to make a detailed response, and you’re accused of being unable to defend your position. Provide a detailed response, and voters lose their way, get nervous and vote NO.

    Given my experience with the Monterey County Water Resources Agency (worse, in my view, than the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District), I never saw public ownership as a panacea. However, I voted for Measure O without a moment’s hesitation. I always thought it was unfortunate that leaders of the Measure O campaign couldn’t just stick to the fundamental question. Who do you trust when it comes to managing your community’s most essential assets? Do you want to be in charge along with your neighbors, or do you want a huge multinational corporation to control your water?

  • Douglas Deitch November 11, 2016, 6:20 am

    “Those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCabT_O0YSM&t=720s ?

    Let’s try to come together like Hillary, President Obama, and President elect Trump are trying to do?

    Is this “Presidential” enough for all of “US” yet ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL_wh-d1pP4

    “The forgotten men and women of this country shall be forgotten no longer.”?

  • Louis MacFarland November 11, 2016, 10:11 am

    Measure Y was not about medical marijuana, that was addressed in past measures, Y proposed a general tax on commercial cannabis businesses in the unincorporated areas of Monterey County.

    With “medical” marijuana being addressed in the past, this round of measures across the various jurisdictions looked at legalizing recreational use as well as the above mentioned tax on commercial operations.

    With “medical”, recreational, and taxing addressed, I assume new measures next year will look at whether all citizens, regardless of immigration status, should be required to smoke marijuana.

    Buried in all the details of how someone like Donald Trump got elected President, look at all the slackers in this state and country sitting around stoned, barely employed, contributing almost nothing, living off that which is enabled by others, past and current.

    Knowing the types of reflexive and thoughtless responses some Partisan readers post which allege things that are not even remotely contained in the original posting – I am not saying marijuana has no place in medicine or responsible recreational use, but marijuana is not evenly consumed across the Democrat-Republican spectrum, a lot of Democrats were too stoned to remember to vote, and their adult age kids may not even have been registered to vote, though have “medical” marijuana cards.

    A clear mind, pure heart, and a strong work ethic can enable a dignified existence for all sentient beings, so put down the reefer and take this country back for the good of all people, the environment, and all that depends on it.

    • Helga Fellay November 11, 2016, 3:53 pm

      Alcohol and regular tobacco are heavily taxed. This has never led to “all citizens, regardless of immigration status, should be required to smoke” tobacco or drink liquor. Why such illogical, far-fetched theories and fear mongering? Businesses selling marijuana, as well as consumers of marijuana should pay taxes just as businesses selling alcohol and regular cigarettes, as well as consumers of alcohol and regular cigarettes have to pay taxes. That’s all. Calm yourself. And no one, to the best of my knowledge, has ever alleged that marijuana is consumed only by democrats but not by republicans.

  • bill leone November 12, 2016, 9:08 am

    To Dan’s point: over 90% of the candidates or proposed legislation that is over-funded -that is, more than 2:1- is elected or signed into law.

    To Helga’s point: Mr. McFarland sounds like Archie Bunker after watching “Reefer Madness” too many times.

  • bill leone November 12, 2016, 10:34 am

    That should read: “are elected or signed into law.”

  • Karl Pallastrini November 12, 2016, 6:02 pm

    Measure Z was flawed, as it went far beyond tracking. Having said that…fine with me. Monterey County residents have been the punching bag for Cal-Am too long. We must conserve…we are in a draught. Now it’s….Cal Am shareholders are unhappy with the loss of revenues because, people conserved. Pay me now….or pay me later. But by all means, pay me. If you couple the deep concern about water in the county with the possibility that Fracking could do damage to the water tables in earthquake county, you have a perfect storm. The added catalyst is Big Oil. Ridiculous assumptions like diminished Fire protection, higher costs of oil products (really…are we that big of a potato in the industry) loss of taxes and revenues and the holy grail of B.S…suggesting that Chevron and Aera might pack up and leave as a result of passage of Z. Does anyone believe that either company would leave if there is any % of oil left to extract? They thought they could buy this election. Why wouldn’t they? After all, everything is for sale, for a price. Would someone please let me know when San Ardo Fire Dept. does not respond to a fire with trucks disappearing on route. How about some statistics on how many jobs in the field are actually lost? Which public agencies will be acutely affected by the passage due to a loss of tax revenues? And…if Monterey County is #4 in the state in oil production, please let me know where Chevron and Aera would go to better their profit line??$5.5 million dollars would have been better spent adding to the tax base, rather than trying to dupe John Q public with a slick, expensive and ridiculous advertising campaign.

  • bill leone November 12, 2016, 9:49 pm

    Karl, this may not be your intention, but you’re sounding like a Progressive Democrat. Welcome to the struggle to speak Truth to Power. I will work with you to (somehow) get Cal Am’s criminal corporate behavior under public control.