March 20, 2023

Conan Neutron, Esq.

Rocker, Talker, yeah… we get it.

Neutron Voting Guide – November 2014

Well now! The time has come, the time has come once again to choose mostly between diminished expectations and hard choices and impending evil. It must be… yup… Election season. Time to lock myself in the office with a healthy dose of righteous indignation and drop some science.

So let’s get right down to it boppers. Please remember, that I know that of which I speak… but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good decision.

Cliff’s notes, then the full deal:

Oakland Mayor –  first because it is most important: It’s ranked choice so in this order:

1) Kaplan

2) Seigel

3) Schaaf


Oakland, District 2:

1) Abel Guillen

2) Nonsense

3) Not Dana King

City Auditor:

1) Len Raphael

2) Nonsense

3) Brenda Roberts


Governor – Jerry Brown

Lt. Governor – Gavin Newsom

Secretary of State – Alex Padilla

Controller – Betty Yee

Treasurer - John Chiang

Attorney General – Kamala Harris

Insurance Commissioner – Dave Jones

Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tom Torlakson

Board of Equalization, District 2, -LEAVE IT BLANK!

13th Congressional district – Barbara Lee

18th Assembly District – None!

 Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate district, Division 1 – Jim Humes

 Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 2 – J. Anthony Kline

1st Appellate district, Division 3 – Stuart Pollak

 County Superintendent of Schools – Helen Foster

 Proposition 1 - Water Bond – YES

Proposition 2 - stabilize the budget – YES

Proposition 45 – Health care insurance cost control – YES

Proposition 46 – Drug Test Doctors  – NO

Proposition 47 – Reform sentencing – YES

Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming – YES

Measure J in SF – Minimum Wage Hike – YES, YES, YES!

Measure D in Berkeley – Soda Tax – YES


 Governor – Jerry Brown

I was having this conversation with a conservative coworker the other day, I said something along the lines of: “If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would not only be endorsing Jerry Brown for Governor, but ENTHUSIASTICALLY doing so, I would call you a liar.”. But here I am, doing it again.

He’s good. He’s really, really good. He’s not the best, but he is good. Prisons and fraking he ain’t right on, but man does the guy get disaster leadership.

It’s jarring since we’ve been run by noodniks, maniacs and incompetents for years.. What is there to say? The guy proved me wrong. I like being proven wrong when I’m being cynical.


Neel Kashkari is a jackass

Lt. Governor – Gavin Newsom

I’m much more leery of the Smiler. But the man can speak, oh yes… oh yes. He’s also right on drug policy reform, despite being a Richie Rich. History has proven the bro VERY correct on gay marriage and good on him for it. He is a very handsome “waiting in the wings” dude.  Not my favorite guy, but he’s ok.

Secretary of State – Alex Padilla

I advocated for Cressman in the primary, because the dude was into electoral reform. But I’ve got nothing against Padilla. He’s just fine. He’s for the voting rights act, and will be good in the role. And if I can’t have Debra Bowen again, I guess he’ll do.

Controller, Betty Yee

She turned down contributions from tobacco and fought for equity between same sex couples. The controller watches the money. You could do much, much worse. I full expect her opponent Ashley to get some misguided votes because her last name is Swearengin, like one of the best characters in TV, the dude from Deadwood. Trust me you aren’t voting for Al Swearengin.

Treasurer, John Chiang

He was a good controller, he’ll be a good treasurer. Dude is good on fiscal stability.

Attorney General, Kamala Harris

An attorney general who is against the Death Penalty. Yes! Still pisses me off she has taken little action against the Federal stomping on the Marijuana trade, but she is a dece AG. I wish she would take a stronger stance against the death penalty and for legalization of the weed. But, she has her eyes on bigger things. That’s fine. She’ll be good at that too.

Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones

Smart dude, was on Uber and Lyft and others before most were. Solid progressive who has good sense about the ACA.

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson

Yeah, Torlakson is good. He’s a former teacher. Always nice to have somebody that has been in the role in the big boss job.

Board of Equalization, District 2, -LEAVE IT BLANK!

Fiona Ma sucks. Flat out, not explanation needed.

Leave this blank or write in Mickey Mouse or something. Do you really want some dope trying to ban raves in this office you barely understand?

No! you do not.

She sucks, her opponent sucks. Top 2 screwed us here… leave it blank.

13th Congressional district – Barbara Lee

One of my favorite congress people in the whole wide delegation. We are damn lucky.

18th Assembly District – None!

I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know a damn thing about this Rob Bonta character. At least what he’s done in his current role. I’m sure he’s managed to collect his salary. I forget who I advocated for when he ran. This dude is my assemblyman though… and I barely know he is, and I pay attention to this stuff.

Ugh, the assembly can be important. Why do we have a dude in there who I immediately forget exists when I’m done typing about him? All I know about his opponent is that he’s an electrician that likes dams, and he knows he is doomed to lose. Great.  Democracy in action. Vote for this dude or don’t… I don’t know. I can’t advocate either way.

I’m going to be honest with you, I’d rather give myself a good, hard punch in the dick than go through all of the data that you have to do to speak authoritatively about these damn judges. It’s what keeps this thing from coming out in early October…

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court – Mariano-Florentino Cuellar

Dude just got appointed in August, who knows what he’s going to be up to… but let’s see..

Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate district, Division 1 - Jim Humes

First openly gay justice on the California court of appeals. Do I need to say more?

I’m not super into identity politics or anything, but yeah…

Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal – 1st Appellate District, Division 2 –  J. Anthony Kline

1st Appellate district, Division 3 – Stuart Pollak

1st Appellate district, Division 4

just one dude running unopposed, so…. No vote. G

 1st Appellate district, Division 5

no endorsement.

County Superintendent of Schools – Helen Foster

Either of them are fine. Man, these are the worst to write about… you do the research and you really can’t find yourself giving a damn much way or the other.

Perlata Community College District Trustee, Area 5

I couldn’t give a damn about this if I tried… and I did.

I left it blank. Both are pretty wordy. Beats me.

Oakland Mayor – It’s ranked choice so in this order:




Flat out: Rebecca Kaplan is the best, brightest and most vibrant politician that this city has seen. She’s whip smart, a huge advocate for smart growth and a transit activist.  I believed in her enough to work for her campaign last time, and that belief has NOT changed at all. A whole bunch of things that Quan was given credit for were indeed great ideas. And I liked them better when they came from Kaplan. Point of fact: she’s an smart, pragmatic politician who can build coalitions. She’s also into hiring locally for the Police, which is super smart and is zeroed in on unemployment. Also very smart.

It breaks my heart to admit it, but it has not been a very good campaign this time. She’s somehow been defined by concern trolls and the line of attack seems to be that she’s lazy? Insanity. Absolute insanity.  The trash talk all offered by political enemies are all being repeated as truth? Uh. Ok.

Allegations that she doesn’t get anything done is completely absurd. Again: point to some of the better things Quan has done and you can trace them back to Kaplan. While you cannot trace the idoicy (like police layoffs).

Look: Oakland you got it wrong last time, because we were all worried about Don Perata. Let’s not dick this up again. I hate to use: “trust me” as a justification…. But you really should just trust me on this.

Dan Seigel:

He’s a fine progressive, a civil rights attorney who has fought for poor people in the face of massive tech displacement and has a long track record of social justice. I like the dude. He’s right on a lot of stuff, he isn’t focused on the housing shortage though. With all of the influx of people being priced out of SF that is a pretty damn big deal.

And a distant, DISTANT third:

Libby Schaaf.

I just don’t think that councilmember Schaaf is that awesome.  She’s right on some issues and just worries me on others. The Express opines about her good government reforms, but it’s all seems very pandering to me.  Maybe it is that she worked for De La Fuente…

As for the other contenders:

Joe Tuman is a fine candidate, but would not make a good mayor. He has a few ok policies, but he would not make for a good mayor.  Sorry Joe, feel free to give me the evil eye in your bike outfit when I see you next at Peet’s, but I didn’t think you were a good candidate 4 years ago and I don’t think you are a good candidate now. No matter how long you were on the news.

Bryan Parker seems fine.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY RIGHT THINKING INDIVIDUAL VOTE FOR MAYOR QUAN. How on earth this is even being considered by anybody is utterly beyond me, I can speak from personal experience when I say she is arrogant, entitled, and just terrible at the job. The Eastbay Express actually mentioned her before Kaplan which surprised the living hell out of me, but they are flat out wrong. She is exactly as awful as she has been portrayed and should be NOBODY’s first , second or third choice. Do not reward mediocrity. Do not do it.

Oakland has survived in SPITE of her, not because of her. Do not forget Occupy Oakland, do not forget Chief Batts.

Seriously if you willingly vote for Quan at this point… I’m not sure I want to know you. I’ve never voted for once, and I don’t intend to start. She is terrible. If she somehow manages to win… I don’t know man. I think that’s the last nail in the coffin for me living here.

District 2: Abel Guillen.

I should care about this race, I really should. It is my district… but I don’t care.  A couple times people jokingly suggested I should run. Some suggested it and weren’t kidding. I thought about it. An open seat would have been my chance, and we need more people that come from punk rock in office. Where punk rock = critical thinking. I could have run, and I would have probably done ok. What would I be giving up… touring? Big deal. Hell: I’ve lived in the district for 9 years and I already work in a city hall (just not my town’s), to say nothing of intimate knowledge of public safety.  I’m more qualified then most, and I know how to listen. But no, I didn’t.  It’s casual arrogance to think that because you pay attention to politics, you’d be good at it.  I can’t talk trash about Tuman and turn around and be a hypocrite myself just because we have a different base and mine has more tattoos and piercings (and a better record collection!).

Anyway, Abel… Abel is smart. He’ll do just great.  Game recognize game. Vote for Guillen. Cool.

Just Don’t vote for Dana King, she was on the news… I get it. Doesn’t make her qualified for council.

I went Guillen, nonsense, Park.. but it could have just as easily been Blackburn.

City Auditor: Len Raphael

Dysfunction is not acceptable. Dude is plucky, I like plucky. Vote Raphael. Brenda Roberts changed registration and is angling for the nice salary ($140K a yr).

Do you know what the city auditor does? Probably not. I do. It’s who makes sure the city’s money is spent properly. Anyway, I’m on some dumpy e-mail list with this guy, and while he does prattle on… he’s the best kind of dude you want in this kind of role. I’m for the guy.


Second choice: nonsense

Third Choice: Brenda Roberts

 AC Transit Director at Large

I don’t like any of ‘em.

I voted for Ryan Christopher Parks. God help us all.

Bart Director, District 4:  Robert Raburn

Man does a good job.

Ask me at a bar about BART and my long history with them sometime, I’ll let you know.

Straight up, although… I love seeing Larry Lionel Young Jr. Running. “vote LL and Oakland will be well.”  Make that dude the assemblyman, he’d get stuff done and look good doing it.

One of my favorite people from my time “on the inside” of mayoral politics. Him and Don Macleay for very different reasons.



N-afterschool programs – YES

Oh, how I hate how everything that is decent is funded by damn parcel taxes. But our state is insane with it’s anti-tax rules.  Maybe if we legalized and taxed marijuana we would have some income to kick around… hmm?!?! Back on point: This helps kids for college prep, it’s damn worthwhile. Yes, some would go to charter schools, not all charter schools are the devil. Do it.

Z- Continue Measure Y public safety bill

I voted yes, but it is with the thinnest support possible. I could get more into it… but I won’t. I’m a soft Yes on it.

BB- BART to Livermore – NO

Dude, what? This adds more sales tax, and we already have so much. BART to Livermore would rule… but there’s already the half cent transportation tax that is in place until 2022. I know I should like this… I don’t.  yeah, yeah… it does all kinds of neat stuff. Try again.

Good Government pair

CC – Yes

Give the Oakland Public Ethics commission the money it needs to do it’s job

DD- Yes

Council and school district lines drawn objectively. There is some gerrymandering that would be hilarious if it wasn’t such a bummer. This is smart.

EE.- Yes

Reduce costs for  the city’s retirement system. Should be a no brainer.

FF – Raise Minimum Wage – YES YES YES!

YES! This would raise minimum wage in Oakland to $12.25.

If you’ve ever tried to live on the minimum wage (been a long time for me) it absolutely sucks. Cost of living is through the roof and everybody is broke. GET ON IT. Raise it

Statewide Props

Proposition 1: Water Bond – YES

This one hurts. It’s not that good of a prop. It’ll lead to more damn dams. It’ll probably hurt the Delta even more. But we’ve completely screwed our environment and if we don’t want total collapse we have to go to war with what we have. It’d be great to have the luxury to say: “Try again.” We don’t have that.

Proposition 2: stabilize the budget – YES

This creates a general fund in boom periods that can be used when needed, like say: for disaster services or education. It’s just smart, it will hurt local schools in the short term, but we will come out the other side stronger for it.

Proposition 45 – Health care insurance cost control – YES

If you don’t work for the people profiting from it, I don’t see the argument against really. Health care costs are nutso high.  The CNA is for it and so am I.

Proposition 46 – Drug Test Doctors  – NO

I didn’t understand this one at first. I heard it on the TV and thought it was a comedy bit. But there isn’t too much to get. Drug testing for Doctors. Ok: well… I’m against drug testing for all professions. And while I know how this came to pass (terrible story!) it is a wild outlier. Statewide prescription drug database would be good… but no. I’m against drug tests. Period. Vote no on this.

Proposition 47 – Reform sentencing – YES

Personal use of illegal drugs shouldn’t equal prison sentences, and I don’t sleep better at night because check kiters are locked up with the rapists and murderers. Use this money for some ding dang rehabilitation. Screw the prison industrial complex!

Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming – YES

I don’t care about gambling. Everybody can gamble away all they want. Give the North Fork and Wiyot tribes theirs.

not my district but on my mind:

Measure J in SF – Minimum Wage Hike – YES, YES, YES!

Same reasons as outlined for Oakland, cost of living is through the roof

 Measure D in Berkeley – Soda Tax – YES

It’s a pretty soft yes, but soft drinks are atrocious for you.