Which Color, California?

NOV. 3, 2010

by KATY GRIMES

If you just look the big offices in last night’s election — governor, attorney general, U.S. Senator, et al — then it looks like the state of California is just a giant solidly blue state, cut adrift, as it were, from the red tide that washed over the rest of the nation. But those who look deeper, at congressional and legislative races, quickly see that it is not. California is more like two states (or even three): two very blue islands called Los Angeles and San Francisco surrounded by red.

For the next two years, those blue islands — Democratic fortresses, really — will dictate terms (new laws, regulations, budgets and taxes) to the rest of the mostly red state.

“The poor folks of the Central Valley are screwed,” said Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, when asked about the failure of Proposition 23. Prop 23 would have suspended California’s restrictive global warming legislation (AB 32) until unemployment drops below 5.5 percent.

Currently, unemployment hovers between 12 and 13 percent. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the jobs at risk of getting dismantled and moved elsewhere by AB 32 regulations are largely in the central and inland portions of the state, which the so-called “green jobs” that will supposedly prosper under AB 32 are in the blue portions.

Of the 53 congressional districts in California, a mere 18 are now held by Republicans, according to the latest election results from the California Secretary of State’s office. While the rest of the country repudiated the left, California added Democratic seats to the state’s roster.

The lock the Dems had over congressional seats in the San Francisco region was never in doubt. Speaker of the House (for now) Nancy Pelosi won 80.4 percent of the vote, Jackie Speier 74.9 percent and Barbara Lee 83.4 percent in each of their districts.

Other Bay Area area Democrats winning statewide elections were Assembly members Tom Ammiano with 80.4 percent of the vote, Fiona Ma with 83.4 percent, and Nancy Skinner (Berkeley) with 82.8 percent. State Senator Leland Yee won 78.2 percent of the vote in his San Francisco district, and Ellen Corbett of San Leandro won 66.4 percent.

Oh, and Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer won a fourth term, soundly defeating  Republican challenger Carly Fiorina 52 percent to 42.6 percent.

There’s a lot more red in California’s Central Valley. There, where farming and water issues dominate current political debate, Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-18, kept his seat with 57.7 percent of the vote, but Republican Congressional candidate Andy Vidak beat incumbent Jim Costa (D-CA 20) 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent.

Central Valley congressional incumbents Devin Nunes (R-CA 21) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 22) ran unopposed.

The 11th Congressional District race is in a tie, with Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney and challenger Republican David Harmer both holding 47.5 percent of the vote (at press time, Harmer is winning by a mere 23 votes).

Southern California remains soldly Democratic, with even the recently deceased state Senator Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) winning reelection. Incumbent Democratic Congressional members who won reelection include John Garamendi, D-Ca 10,  Zoe Lofgren, (D-CA 16), Lois Capps, (D-CA 23), Lynn Woolsey, (D-CA 6), Mike Thompson, (D-Ca 1), George Miller (D-CA 7), Sam Farr, (D-CA 17), Howard Berman (D-CA 28), Adam Schiff (D-CA 29) and Mike Honda (D-CA 15).

A national CNN  poll released right before the election showed that voters felt the country was going in the wrong direction, and most said they were worse off than during the last sweeping electoral reform in 1994. But California voters — the majority of which live in two areas not really representative of the rest of the state — obviously feel differently.

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  1. S. Perry
    S. Perry 3 November, 2010, 23:13

    The state is not mostly red. The state is mostly blue. Democrats have a 13% advantage in voter registration. California elects Democrats because there are more Democrats (and people holding similar views) than Republicans.

    The Bay Area and the Los Angeles are the state of California, much more so than the “rest of the state,” and they should be able to dictate the laws of the state because that’s where the population is. It’s called democracy.

    Green jobs are already growing in central California – see the recent news about the Blythe and Calico solar projects.

    Reply this comment
  2. Buzzsaw51
    Buzzsaw51 4 November, 2010, 04:35

    S. Perry, Tell that to the devastated Fishing Industry, their families, the thousands that used to have supported jobs….and well as those who enjoy fresh fish caught locally.

    Monterey Bay Fisheries will be no more in a few years, as GREEN thinking without balance systematically destroys the livelihoods of thousands in this historic fishing community.

    I guess that’s something the people in the Bay Area and LA have a great deal of concern about.

    It’s called tyranny against the minority.

    Reply this comment
  3. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 4 November, 2010, 05:32

    Not to mention farmers in the central valley trying to farm without water so the liberal elite can feel good about a tiny bait fish in the delta.

    Reply this comment
  4. FedUp
    FedUp 4 November, 2010, 09:00

    Not to mention the 75% of the construction workforce that can’t work on the green projects you mentioned because they have Project Labor Agreements, forcing people to be union to work on them. Oh, and Spain went green and for every one green job they added, they lost two traditional jobs. Wow, that sounds great. Time to make SF and LA their own state and see if they can afford all their entitlement programs and out of control spending without the rest of the red state to support them.

    Reply this comment
  5. ggswede
    ggswede 4 November, 2010, 11:29

    Well,in a way the mass take over of Sac.,is a good thing.Now they won’t be able to shirk their responsibilties.No one to blame but themselves.

    Reply this comment
  6. S. Perry
    S. Perry 4 November, 2010, 12:53

    “Tyranny against the minority” is more commonly referred to as democracy.

    I’m not familiar with the Monterey Bay fisheries specifically but I believe that salmon fisherman in California generally have been supportive of the Democrats’ effort to restore the Delta, including preserving the bait fish, because it is allowing the salmon population to rebound. What is happening with the Monterey Bay fisheries?

    I also think it’s a good point that Democrats will have considerable responsibility now in Sacramento, and will have to live up to that responsibility. I’d just say don’t blame them for cuts caused by Republicans’ crippling allergy to reasonable and necessary taxes.

    Reply this comment
  7. S. Perry
    S. Perry 4 November, 2010, 15:54

    This is less than comprehensive and a bit dated but blue counties pay the highest taxes to the state and red counties receive the highest level of state spending: http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-06-30/news/17210516_1_modoc-county-california-s-general-fund-tax-averse-county

    The Bay Area would be fine as its own state.

    Reply this comment

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