California Gubernatorial Candidates From Z to Z
California is the home of Alphabet Inc, so it’s symbolically appropriate that we have twenty-six candidates in this year’s gubernatorial primary. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will get bored after looking into two or three. Not us! We are going to do our civic duty and evaluate them all, in the order they’re listed on the ballot. Starting with:
Bradley Zink is fed up. The terminally-delayed high speed railway from Los Angeles to San Francisco has been a boondoggle. As governor, his first act would be to cancel it, saving $40 billion. What would he do with the money? From his Facebook page:
With the same money, built a 200-mile electric train from San Diego to Yuma [in Arizona], along the border [with Mexico], UNDERGROUND. Place a light rail system above ground. Now, you have cut off any possible illegal drug and human trafficking across the border, both above and below ground. And, you have a basic infrastructure to develop the 200+ miles of undeveloped land, to build new cities and millions of new homes, thus solving the housing crisis! A Double WIN-WIN, a secure border, and room to grow. IT'S THAT SIMPLE!
That’s not all. Later, Zink points out that you could also “utilize turbine power created by train windflow” to help generate electricity and fight global climate change.
The outpouring of support from ordinary Californians has been overwhelming:
Jenny Rae Le Roux
If you look up “Republican candidate” in the dictionary, you’ll see Jenny Rae Le Roux’s picture. She was born in Tennessee, got a job at Bain, founded a company, bought a ranch, had several beautiful children, and now wants to spread the gospel of pro-business pro-family conservatism to the world.
Jenny Rae has exactly the positions on the issues that you would expect. She’s pro-business, pro-family, pro-school-choice (“When Newsom closed the doors of public schools, he sent his kids to private school for in-person instruction; in contrast, I invited our school’s teachers to come to our farm to create instructional videos to help students adapt to virtual teaching”), pro-freedom, and pro-innovation. She’s not just pro-life, she’s “pro-life plus” (which means she wants strong social programs to support infants after birth).
Le Roux is currently third among these 26 candidates in amount of money raised, and has a decent chance of making it to run against Newsom in the general.
David Lozano is an attorney and former sheriff, running on a plan to end homelessness.
The plan will build, from the ground up, not one, but three major metropolitan/residential cities – one in the Northern part of California; the second Northeast of the Antelope Valley outside of Los Angeles; and the third in the Southern tip of California with each having upper and middle class areas, but also having a moderate class area with the capability of housing over 50,000 homeless each.
David Lozano: the only candidate standing up for moderate-class people. Also:
You can see an interview with Lozano here.
Vote for me and I can change California. For years people of California have been voting for movie stars, radio disc jockeys and Olympic athletes. Heck, I was at a luncheon last week and a young lady at the table told me her grandmother voted for the last governor because she thought he was cute. The other woman at the table said her mom voted for Newsom because she liked the way he dressed. Come on, California! Please!
Look at my background — look at what I have accomplished and what my solutions are. I was a past cop working the streets of Los Angeles for years, I’ve worked the jails in Los Angeles. How many past governors have that experience? I’ve been a federal attorney specializing in finance, fighting against the mortgage industry for the past 28 years. I can solve homelessness and crime. I can lower taxes, provide affordable housing to lower and middle class families, and bring industrial arts and trade skills back to our high schools. I can reinstitutionalize mental health facilities all throughout California. I can provide health care and housing for our veterans. I can bring water management to our state. I can do all of this because I have the skill, training, knowledge, ability and determination to make this state great again.
Now personally I do think my ties are OK, but my wife did say I could get a few more trendy looking suits.
Ronald Anderson wins my award for “quickest retreat from a spirit of bipartisanship”:
It’s time we all come together whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. It’s time we fix the problem. The system is clearly broken and we the people are losing because of Democrat policies.
But that’s not all. He also wins my award for best facial hair:
…and for most unintentionally appropriate slogan:
Anderson has pretty typical Republican positions on the issues. He’s against illegal immigration, against defunding the police, and against gun control. Also some less typical positions: he wants to place a tax on all Chinese container ships to fund COVID relief.
Also - and I find this incredibly endearing - in the middle of all of these standard Republican positions, he has something on how much he hates animal abuse, and how if he’s governor he’s not going to tolerate it. Good luck Ronald!
What is it with these crazy candidates? This guy doesn’t even have a normal name - who ever heard of a Gavin? Also, his campaign website is ridiculous:
Gavin has typical Democratic policies on most things. Like everyone else, he has a ridiculously-named Plan To End Homelessness, Project Roomkey, which will give homeless people hotel vouchers.
In his spare time, Gavin is a family man. Although his first wife left him for Donald Trump Jr. (?!), he is happily remarried and has four children named “Montana”, “Hunter”, “Brooklynn”, and “Dutch”.
Robert C Newman II
Robert’s biography says he was born to a poor family. At age 4, he contracted polio; no longer suitable for manual labor, his father encouraged him to go to school. He became a small farmer and research psychologist. Then:
In 2001, Robert informed us that God was calling him to “Be the governor.” At that point, life changed dramatically for the Newmans and turned their ordinary life into an extraordinary journey which continues to the present.
His policy interests include reducing taxes, protecting the unborn, and water security (five of his thirteen issue pages are about the water system). He looks like this:
Robert is endorsed by California businesses including Valley Livestock Feed Recycling, Eaton Tire Service, and Kriley Exca-Break.
Brian Dahle is another more serious candidate. He was the former Republican leader in the California State Assembly, which is probably a lot like being a snowplow driver in Libya.
Again, pretty standard Republican positions on issues. He’s against school closures, against crime, against vaccine mandates (he himself has refused the vaccine) and against “Government Waste, Incompetence, And Fraud”. He, too, has a plan to end homelessness - he will:
Streamline state programs for vulnerable populations, deregulate to encourage housing development, and start treating housing as a critical human need and not an impact that needs years of CEQA review before approval.
In case you’re still not convinced he’s really Republican, he lives on a ranch and has three children named Chase, Reagan, and Rosslyn.
Joel Ventresca is a self-described Berniecrat running to Newsom’s left. He has an impressive resume, in a sense:
His positions include free public transit, non-nuclear 100% renewable energy, challenging "corporate and tech agendas", free health care funded by the rich, and a selection of pro-diversity initiatives.
He is not a big fan of our current governor:
…and describes himself as “the only top leading challenger that can defeat Newsom this year.”
Major Williams (motto: “It’s Time To Think Major”) is handsome and has snazzy promotional material. I cannot quite figure out his job, but his LinkedIn page says he is “CEO of the Major Williams Brand” and “Founder of The Office Of Major Williams”, both of which he seems, if anything, over-qualified for. He is a philanthropist and runs “Major Kicks For Kids”, apparently a charity of some sort.
He has a three-point Plan To End Homelessness, but his website only shows the first point, and there isn’t an obvious way to click through to find the others:
He is running as a Republican, and knows what he likes and doesn’t like:
Major and his wife have three children named Kahlo, Lord, and York.
Ron Jones has been an army veteran, law enforcement officer, small business owner, and pastor. It’s like he’s a one-person Republican Party. We can’t let him also get a ranch, he’ll become too powerful.
On the issues, he wants to:
He has three children, but wisely avoids telling us their names.
Anthony Trimino has a really impressive campaign website, which I guess makes sense since he’s the CEO of a digital advertising agency.
Anthony is the grandson of Cuban immigrants. He apparently started out poor, then lifted himself up by his bootstraps to found his ad business, “one of the fastest growing privately-held companies in America”.
He says he stands for “freedom, faith, [and] family” but gives few specifics - although he does say he’s against vaccine passports. His plan for homelessness is to:
…work with community leaders, faith-based organizations and non-profits to scale already existing grassroots efforts across the state to deliver immediate, measurable, and sustainable results for our growing homeless population.
Not only does he tell us his children’s names - Christian, Zach, Elijah, Niko, and Cameron - but each of them has made an impeccably-produced campaign video talking about what their father means to them.
I am not sure I would vote for Anthony, but I think I would hire him to run my business’s ad campaign, which might have been what he was going for in the first place. Actually, running for governor is an amazing way to advertise your advertising business, which I guess is exactly the sort of idea you should expect the CEO of America’s fastest-growing advertising company to think of.
Mr. Mercuri’s campaign website starts off strong:
Daniel is part-Italian and part-Mexican. He’s a navy vet, CEO of an “independent production company”, CFO of a private cryptocurrency investment firm, and a mixed martial arts instructor. He tried running for Congress a few years ago, but lost.
Daniel actually has a very complete and thoughtful description of his stance on various issues, probably the best of anyone I’ve seen on here so far. He has clearly read various state laws and has opinions on them. He has a six-point kind of vague Plan For Homelessness, but I find the specifics less impressive than his research process: he went around talking to homeless people and asking them what they needed; nobody else seems to have thought of this. For a crypto CEO with a ridiculous offense-focused slogan, I am actually very impressed by his seriousness - though in the end most of his opinions boil down to standard Republican solutions.
I can’t do justice to all of his positions, but I can at least repost this summary:
In his spare time, Mercuri practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He is married and has two children, Carver and Braedyn.
Cristian is a first-generation Guatemalan immigrant who achieved the American Dream, got a Masters degree, and now supervises various manufacturing plants. He describes his goal as:
Be the Labor Candidate for Governor of California, and the first Latino representing the voices of the working class.
He also wants to fight for civil rights, support immigrants and asylum-seekers, and give everyone affordable healthcare.
The fun part: Cristian is a Republican, and a lot of his site is devoted to explaining why he thinks his platform and the GOP are a good match for each other. For example:
I am a pro labor Republican. As I indicated above, I believe that the labor movement is now with the Republican party. President Obama famously said certain manufacturing jobs would never come back to the United States. I can say a positive of President Trump’s presidency was his support to bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States (which he did).
It is well documented that a significant percentage of Latino Americans either have a family member, relative, or otherwise know someone that is undocumented. Worse if this person is a young person and with the vitriol being said in the media and by some fellow Americans I can understand why Latinos would choose to NEVER vote for a Republican. I believe I am in a unique position as someone who is a lifelong Republican, conservative to make the case why at least certain undocumented individuals should be considered some sort of compassion from certain countries that share the same value system as the majority of Americans. A significant percentage of the people from the Northern Triangle countries are ultra conservative devout Evangelical Christians. Some of the fastest growing religions in the Northern Triangle countries include the Church of Latter Day Saints. I ask for compassion in this time of need for the hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors from the Northern Triangle which include the countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
I like him and I wish him good luck. He’ll need it. I think his best hope is that Donald Trump says that our country needs Christian morals, and people misinterpret it as a Cristian Morales endorsement.
Michael Shellenberger straddles a weird line between environmentalist and anti-environmentalist. He has lots of famous and popular books named things like The Death Of Environmentalism: Global Warming In A Post-Environmentalist World, The Eco-Modernist Manifesto, and Apocalypse Never: Why Environmentalist Alarmism Harms Us All (cf. bright green environmentalism)
I think he holds basically the same ideas I do here: environmental problems are real, but we’re not all going to die immediately, and thoughtful evidence-based plans beat screaming about Green New Deals. He is very pro-nuclear and thinks that a bunch of nuclear plants plus desalinization would solve the state’s energy and water crises. He might be the first of these candidates to have a plan to solve giant statewide crises that would just clearly and unambiguously work.
Like many people straddling weird lines between progressive and anti-progressive ideas, he has strong opinions on wokeness. Here’s his inevitable appearance on the the Joe Rogan Experience, where he talks about his inevitable Plan To End Homelessness:
The latest step in his intellectual evolution is his book San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, which points out all the rampant crime and drug use and homelessness and garbage in SF and says maybe some of these things are bad (the New York Times wrote a negative review here).
I am really split on this guy. He is clearly thinking very hard and developing original opinions on everything. Some of these, like his nuclear/desalinization opinions, are excellent. Occasionally he hits exactly the same notes I would on something, like:
Newsom and many school districts went too far on Covid. It was reasonable to take precautions early in the pandemic to avoid hospitals being overwhelmed. But the continued masking of children and the demand for vaccination against a virus that hurt children the least was unreasonable.
But like many people who have original opinions, he also gets some things really wrong.
On his mental health-related opinions - the rare field I am qualified to assess - he comes to opposite conclusions from me. I support suboxone treatment , he’s against it; I oppose sweeping institutionalization of the mentally ill , he’s for it [EDIT: Shellenberger has objected to this characterization of his position and says he believes the opposite of what I ascribed to him] . Also, he wants the school day to be longer in order to be more convenient for parents, which is thoughtful and makes sense, but only in the same way that never letting people out of prison would be more convenient for parole boards. Lots of hits, lots of misses.
The San Francisco Chronicle accuses him of being “obsessed with stoicism”, and I don’t know whether this is some kind of attack or if he is actually obsessed with the philosophy. He does recommend Victor Frankl books to people on Twitter:
I really like this guy, but when I inspect that emotion further I find it has a flavor of “I could fix him”, which I’m told is not a good way to choose one’s relationship partners or governors.
I can’t find Frederic Schultz’ 2022 California gubernatorial campaign page, but I did manage to find a Frederic Schultz for President 2020 page. He seems to support many things, especially hashtags:
#NoMoreDrugWar! $10.5TRILLION (REALLY MUCH MORE WHEN ADD IN MY NEW HIGHEST RATE F/ BILLIONAIRES GOING FROM 8% TO 50% OVER $1B!, AS WELL AS WHEN ADD IN #WEALTHTAX STARTING AT 2% OVER $10M (START OF RICHEST 1%!) EVEN F/ "#NONPROFITS"!) #TaxNonProfits! #TaxTheRich! #WealthTax! #HumanRights now! #FREEthePEOPLE!
#Abolitionist Human Rights Attorney Fred Schultz, J.D. for #President 2020! #ProhibitionKills! #Jobs4All! #Fred2020! #FREEtheSLAVES! #JAILisTORTURE! #FreeShamu too!
#NoVictimNoCrime! #FreeThe2Million! #PardonThe70Million! #StopKillingUs! #Jail is #torture+ #slavery! #enough! #NeverAgain! #NeverIsNow (brilliant, moral awesome speech, Sasha Baron Cohen! You're right!! WE need them to respect our #PRIVACYRIGHTS / #ENCRYPTION #RIGHTS TOO!!!)
#Progressive #antiwar #AntiNazi
#Democratic (socially #Libertarian!) / #LOVEparty!
#Abolitionist pro-#democracy #candidate for #president! (I've been working last 3 years on filing Supreme Court case , just filed 6/24/19, but have to refile in next few days!, to make #Hillary Clinton president, b/c #SheWon, but LOST case on Oct. 15, 2019, w/ J. Roberts NOT voting b/c I was suing him f/ swearing in trump, originally suing to block him from swearing in trump b/c he lost to Hillary Clinton by 3m votes, so not who we elected f/ president, so should have sworn in Hillary!!!)!
He is very against the war on drugs, which he says costs us trillions of dollars a year and causes millions of people to be imprisoned (“modern-day slaves”, which makes him a “modern-day abolitionist”).
But he also has other beliefs, for example:
Robots driving cars: also, we should not allow robots to drive cars. We have no other choice if we want to live, and we do. we can barely trust people to drive our cars. Now we’re supposed to let a robot decide if we live or die? And all computers can be, and are, hacked daily! No!
…including some which surprised me. He’s pretty angry about the police in a lot of ways, thinks they’re prosecuting victimless crimes and contributing to a culture of mass incarceration - but also, he supports police militarization, because:
I will reverse the recent infuriating presidential order from president Obama which requires police departments nationwide to return most of the combat weapons and armored vehicles that they have received in the last decade back to the federal government. yes, these vehicles were wrongfully given to the police to fight unconstitutional victimless and/or consensual “crimes” like drug use and sales, and yes i will stop that day one i am in office, and yes they have been wrongfully used by police to suppress peaceful protests, which is one of the reasons our nation was founded was to preserve that right.
But now we need police to be as heavily armed and armored as possible, to defend/guard us (and themselves) against, and god-forbid have to fight, terrorists here at home, and president Obama made a big mistake ordering them to return those weapons by April 2016. i will return those weapons to the police day one I’m in office, and simultaneously issue an order that police are never to pursue criminals for illegal unconstitutional “crimes” again, but only pursue real criminals, or guard us from them, using whatever our best technology can provide. if all those weapons can save the life of even one police-person defending us against terrorists, we must return them, so i will. Day one.
Update: Hillary Clinton has hinted she now has changed her mind and supports arming police with military weapons, but only to fight terrorists. So, all her experience led her to the wrong conclusion on this issue until police proved they needed to use combat weapons and armor in the recent murders of police in Dallas Texas, which we all still mourn. so, i don't want to hear how my "lack of experience" should prevent me from holding office, when i am right consistently on issues that save lives, and Hillary (and trump certainly!) are wrong on issues that would kill so many here and abroad
Schultz is a practicing lawyer. You can learn more about him at this video:
Woodrow Sanders III
Woodrow Sanders III has one of the WASPiest names I’ve ever heard, yet is black.
He spent seventeen years working at various state bureaucracies (including as a UNIX administrator) but “after realizing that he would never be able to effect lasting change from within under the bad leadership of the governor’s office, he decided the only way to break the cycle” was to run for Governor himself.
He says that what separates him from other candidates is that he has practical opinions on how specific things about the bureaucracy could be run better, eg:
He’s less about having a Plan To End Homelessness than some of the other candidates, which I find thought-provoking - do you want to elect someone who has a Grand Vision themselves, or someone who purports to be able to get the bureaucracy running more smoothly? A lot of candidates’ Grand Visions boil down to things like “figure out what works and then do it”, and probably the reason the last guy didn’t try that had something to do with the bureaucracy. So I’m not sure.
He also has a channel GovUnleashed where he talks about his ideas.
Reinette Senum was the first woman to successfully cross Alaska alone in the winter. She said that “I could handle the 55-below cold, but I could not handle the loneliness”. Partway through her journey, she found a sled dog named Diamond, whom she rescued from death and befriended. She had to leave Diamond behind at the end of her journey, which bothered her so much that she decided to go back and get him. She sold the footage of her trek to National Geographic, who turned it into a special called Alaska Revisited, and with the money she flew back to Alaska and rescued her dog friend a second time. They moved to Nevada City, California, where unfortunately Diamond was killed by a car. If you don’t vote for her after hearing this story, you have no soul.
She stayed in Nevada City (population: 3,000) for twenty years, got elected to City Council, and eventually became Mayor. Now she wants to do a Mr. Smith Goes To Washington style move to the big city.
Her Contract With California is thoughtful, albeit rural-focused. Her platform has more words about pollinators than homelessness, and the Plan For Homelessness it does have is kind of pollinator-y:
The Santa Cruz Homeless Garden Project provides job training, transitional employment and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness. This dynamic employment-training program is focused on stewardship, conservation and regenerative agricultural principles; it teaches skills that truly transform the lives of those who participate and want to achieve a stable place in society. Programs like this can be incredibly effective. In 2019, 100% of the graduates of the Santa Cruz program obtained employment, and 78% obtained housing […]
By implementing our statewide regenerative farming, pollinator gardens, soiling building, and forest management systems, and thriving community centers, we will provide jobs that never before existed, and a grassroots economic groundswell.
Reinette is another person who doesn’t clearly fall into a partisan mold - she’s very environmentalist (and has won environmental awards), but also boasts of launching a video interview series which was banned from YouTube for “providing little-known information regarding COVID”.
Realistically I think by almost anyone’s standards she is a conservative. Still, I like her and wish her well.
Here my commitment to find something interesting and unique about all 26 candidates for Governor of California starts to flag. I’m not sure there are any cute facts about Lonnie Sortor. He is a Republican. He owns a construction company. He lives in Truckee (population 13,000). His campaign motto is “It’s Time To Stand”. He looks like this:
One does not necessarily have to be a unique person with specific qualities to get elected Governor of California. Gavin Newsom has been governor for three years now, and he has never had a specific quality in his life. Still, this sort of pathway mostly works for you if you’re rich, well-connected, and willing to go through the list of offices in the correct order: friend of Getty family → SF supervisor → SF mayor → lieutenant governor → governor.
If you’re an ordinary humble working person with no political experience, and you want to be elected governor - especially as a Republican in a lapis-lazuli-blue state, competing against twelve other Republicans in a 26-person field, I feel like it behooves you to have a plan deeper than saying “It’s Time To Stand”.
Yet Sortor hits exactly the same Republican beats as every other Republican, often in the same order. He does not like mask mandates. He is angry that, despite our state’s many blessings, the economy is so mismanaged that businesses are leaving California. He has what one could generously call a Plan To End Homelessness:
California leads the nation in homelessness. It accounts for one-fifth of the homeless population of the United States. Homelessness is a result of poor planning, regulations, and lack of leadership. This is a symptom of failed policies.
As governor, I will work collaboratively with community leaders, faith-based organizations, and non-profits to implement practical solutions that build on existing efforts. These solutions will bring sustainable programs across the state.
I’m making fun of him, but it would not surprise me if Lonnie Sortor would be an excellent governor, at least by his own values. Year after year, ordinary people see Gavin Newsom, a person with no memorable qualities except for having excellent hair, win elections. They think “I, too, have hair. But also, I care deeply about the people of this state. Maybe if I do the same thing Gavin Newsom did - start a website, go on some campaign tours, mouth inane mottoes - I can accomplish what he accomplished. But instead of being a checked-out boring elitist, I could turn California around.” Then they lose horribly, because they don’t have a giant political machine behind them, plus the vote is getting split twenty ways.
Still, there’s something good about these people existing. I used to think that nobody could possibly be optimistic about an ordinary person succeeding in our political system. You would have to be living in a cave. People like Lonnie Sortor prove that isn’t true. You just have to be living in Truckee, California.
Mando’s website starts out ominously:
…but further scrolling reveals that Mando has a mouth, neck, nice-looking suit, and some policy positions.
Also, he’s another one of this year’s bumper crop of proud diverse minority conservatives:
PROUD TO BE AMERICAN, LOVE CALIFORNIA & I STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.
Instead of following fraudulent Black Lives Matter Organization that is Anti-American. They committed FRAUD and purchased a 6 Million Dollar Mansion with the Non-Profit Donations it received instead of supporting the Black Community. As Governor, I will make an immediate 30 Million Dollar Investment in the Black Community in Education, Small Business & Jobs in Compton, Long Beach, Inglewood & Oakland.
PROUD OF MY MEXICAN ANCESTRY FROM MICHOACAN/ GUANAJUATO
Spanish: Orgulloso de mi ascendencia Mexicana y mis padres inmigrantes. Necesitamos a "MANDO" para deveras ayudar a nuestra comunidad Latina. Mis abuelos piscaban fresas y naranjas cuando llegaron a California, ahora por su esfuerzo y la ayuda de Dios soy un Candidato Catolico pidiendo su voto.
Tierra, Trabajo, Libertad Y Educacion, SI SE PUEDE RAZA!
Like every other proud diverse minority conservative, he has a business: Perez Combat Inc, makers of the Pro Action Rod:
He also has a message for Joe Biden:
"Here's the deal"... LoL :), due to your "Extreme" old age, memory loss, degenerative brain disorder, Cognitive Impairment from Alzheimer's, Dementia, Parkinson's or all the above, your approval rating Crashing like the 1929 stock market, inflation at 10% and rising fast turning into hyperinflation that has triggered a massive recession do to your bad "Monetary Policy" you really need to step down, check in to a retirement home & leave the Presidency to me - MANDO.
He also . . . has some kind of interest in Mandalorians? A reasonable interpretation would be he thinks it’s funny that his name is Mando, and has made a brand out of it. You can come up with the less reasonable reading yourself:
James G. Hanink
James Hanink is the only metaphysician running for Governor of California. Maybe for anything anywhere.
Hanink got a PhD in Philosophy from Michigan State; his dissertation, “Persons, Rights, and the Problem of Abortion” set the tone for much of the rest of his life. He moved to California, where he taught at Loyola Marymount (a Catholic university) for almost forty years. Now, at age 75, he wants to be Governor.
His main issue, as you might expect, is abortion, which he is against. But he’s also running on various help-the-poor policies, on environmentalism, and on COVID (he’s unhappy that churches got closed).
Although other candidates have committed to running against socialism, communism, and Marxism, Dr. Hanink is the only candidate as far as I know to be against both socialism and capitalism:
(it looks like he’s a distributist, an exotic economic philosophy mostly endorsed by Catholics)
His candidacy statement sure does sound like the kind of thing a Catholic philosophy professor would say:
My political philosophy centers on the primacy of the common good. To advance the common good, I look to the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, and economic democracy. The common good includes the good of all. In this respect it is unlike the utilitarian aggregate of personal preferences. Human beings have an inviolable dignity. For this reason, I am committed to a consistent ethics of life.
He also has a blog, where he inevitably gushes about Alasdair MacIntyre and complains about Steven Pinker.
Yet another black Republican. If you went by the gubernatorial ballot, you’d think we were still in the bad old days of Senator Byrd and half of Democrats being KKK members.
Shawn grew up poor in inner-city Dallas, joined the Navy, served in Afghanistan, and became an attorney. He coaches baseball and basketball, and has completed eight triathlons for a total of twenty-four athlons in all.
His stance on the issues is thoughtful and well-explained but basically standard Republican. His Plan To End Homelessness is:
California must distinguish between the people who have fallen into homelessness due to a lost job or other catastrophic event (the “have nots”), those who are homeless due to addiction or mental illness (the “can nots”), and those who are resistant to any help when it is judiciously provided to them (the “will nots”). Much of our chronically homeless population (roughly 60%) are the “can nots” and the “will nots”, who are suffering from addiction and mental health issues, and for far too long, California has tried to help addicts and the mentally ill with a housing first policy that simply puts them in a motel without addressing their mental health or drug addictions.
It’s time to fix the mental health laws that cleared out our mental hospitals fifty years ago and put tens of thousands of people on the streets, effectively transforming our jails into mental health centers. I would demand that the legislature put forward serious reform of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS Act) and require any county that receives mental health funds for housing to adopt Laura’s Law, so that treatment is an option before involuntary commitment is required.
I support the removal of any restrictions that throttle the ability of shelters, non-profits and churches to house individuals and families using strict guidelines, requirements and programs that have a proven track record.
…like I said, thoughtful and well-explained but basically standard Republican.
Gavin Newsom won the governorship primarily by having extremely slick, well-styled hair. But what if you cut out the middleman and just elected hairstylists directly? Enter Heather Collins:
Heather is a hair salon owner and single mother from Los Angeles who is running as a Green Party candidate. She supports the environment, increased immigration (she herself is an Irish immigrant), and, of course, her Plan To End Homelessness:
For our homeless living on the street, I call for municipalities to approve or develop 8 -10 story parking lots or parking-like structures in downtown or industrialized areas. (With most office workers working from home, there should be parking structures that are underused now)
The structures would shelter them from the sun and rain and still have airflow. Each person would be given an assigned safe, hygienic, and spacious spot where they can move with their pets, belongings, and the communities they have formed on the street. (Just like us, they have started communities that they are comfortable with, so, unlike Roomkey, they are not isolated from their community). Indeed, and unfortunately, some homeless can still illegally acquire harmful drugs and drink, however they will not be allowed to manufacture and sell drugs in these proposed homeless shelters. They also cannot have bicycle chop-shops like the ones, that have amassed on the streets, that often consist of stolen bicycle parts.
Also, there would be restrooms, showers, and laundry available for them. They would have an address they could use (this is a HUGE need), access to banking, so they don’t have to carry all the money they have with them, and if needed, help with medications, mental health, get a GED, get an ID, accessing programs that they may be entitled to, job training and regular meals.
There would be security for the structures’ residents and the surrounding areas. There could be a floor just for women because I found out that when women first experience homelessness, various sources have stated that 99% of homeless women are sexually molested, emotionally harassed, and victimized.
There are a number of logistical challenges and costly duplication with the programs currently helping our homelessness. Helping them to safely relocate into one location would cut down on that and make the funding possible for homeless services more productive…
The homeless would not be forced to live in these structures or parking areas, but they would NOT be allowed to live on the streets or park wherever they want. There are still shelters they can access.
This is more creative and thoughtful than most homelessness policies. I give her top marks.
Tony is a first-generation Italian immigrant and owns an Italian restaurant. He also has a classically Italian solution to the water crisis:
Don’t laugh - why don’t we have something like this? This article suggests it would work but be too expensive - $10 - $30 billion. But California had a $97 billion budget surplus this year. If spending some of that on an aqueduct would save me from people preaching that I should take shorter showers, then hail Caesar!
His Plan To End Homelessness:
Some context for this: rumor has it that other states give their homeless people free tickets to California. The homeless like it, because California has better weather, and the other states like it, because they stop having homelessness problems. Anyway, this solution is extremely unconstitutional, but I like the way he thinks.
Otherwise he seems like a pretty standard Democrat, albeit more fashionable:
Serge is just your typical half-Belgian / half-Ivory-Coastian immigrant working in the entertainment / eco-tourism / pharmaceutical / real-estate industry. He lives in Pleasanton, California / Luanda, Angola; in his spare time, he breeds horses / writes screenplays.
He wants to End Homelessness by "creat[ing] housing solutions that work using tiny home villages where meals, basic medical needs, professional training, and job solutions are provided [and] incentiviz[ing] corporations to hire in these communities." His other policy positions are practical, thoughtful, and middle-of-the-aisle. He has a remarkably good video:
Despite probably knowing 700 languages, his favorite method of communication is retweeting terrible political cartoons:
Luis describes himself as
…a novelist / memoirist / short story writer / children's book writer / essayist as well as a community & urban peace activist, mentor, healer, youth & arts advocate, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Unlike many people who describe themselves this way, other people agree: he was the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles from 2014-2016.
He self-identifies as Xicanx, which I think is what happens if you see “Latinx” and think it’s a good start but needs more X’s. He writes plays about the Xicanx experience, and also goes by the Aztec name “Mixcoatl Itztlacuiloh”.
Needless to say, he is running for the Green Party and wants “no more capitalist private property relations, exploitation, war, or inequities”. His motto is “"In essential things, unity; in nonessential things, liberty”, and one suspects he thinks very many things are essential.
The important question is: are his poems good? A typical example is To The Police Officer Who Refused To Sit In The Same Room As My Son Because He’s A ‘Gang Banger:
How dare you!
How dare you pull this mantle from your sloven
sleeve and think it worthy enough to cover my boy.
How dare you judge when you also wallow in this mud.
Society has turned its power over to you,
relinquishing its rule, turned it over
to the man in the mask, whose face never changes,
always distorts, who does not live where I live,
but commands the corners, who does not have to await
the nightmares, the street chants, the bullets,
the early-morning calls, but looks over at us
and demeans, calls us animals, not worthy
of his presence, and I have to say: How dare you!
My son deserves a future and a job. He deserves
contemplation. I can't turn away as you.
Yet you govern us? Hear my son's talk.
Hear his plea within his pronouncement,
his cry between the breach of his hard words.
My son speaks in two voices, one of a boy,
the other of a man. One is breaking through,
the other just hangs. Listen, you who can turn away,
who can make such a choice; you who have sons
of your own, but do not hear them!
My son has a face too dark, features too foreign,
a tongue to tangled, yet he reveals, he truths,
he sings your demented rage, but he sings
You have nothing to rage because it is outside of you.
He is inside of me. His horror is mine. I see what
he sees. And if my son dreams, if he plays, if he smirks
in the mist of moon-glow, there I will be, smiling
through the blackened, cluttered and snarling pathway
toward your wilted heart.
You may judge this for yourself, but he certainly has had an interesting life, which you can read about here.
Luis lives in Los Angeles and has four children - Ramiro, Ruben, Luis, and Andrea - and a Chihuahua/Terrier mix named “Chula”.
Leo S. Zacky
Finally, we reach the end of our journey. Twenty-six gubernatorial candidates; twenty-six more-or-less neatly-packaged collections of hopes and dreams and promises, twenty-six Plans To End Homelessness - and we come at last to Leo S. Zacky.
Mr. Zacky is the heir to a legendary poultry dynasty, a series of words I didn’t think I would be using in that order today.
He tells the inspiring (?) story of how he grew up toiling in the chicken mines, “work[ing] alongside the workers, doing the dirty jobs, asking them questions on how to improve production and what the company could provide to motivate them. At Zacky Farms, the workers were viewed like family.”
Now he’s ready for bigger and better things:
This 2022 election is all about stopping what is happening all around us. We sense an underlying, destructive anti-American presence that is causing California to be a less desirable place to live and do business. Obama’s prediction years ago that America must be “fundamentally transformed” is coming true before our eyes. Our news media has been compromised and we must dig deeper to be truly informed and understand how to fix this broken system. There is so many issues before us, each one rooted in bad ideologies and policies. Each of us have a personal responsibility to do our part to keep freedom alive. As Governor of California, I will fight for freedom, integrity, law and order, and a common-sense approach based on the US Constitution and our Bill of Rights. I am strongly against mandatory vaccinations, lockdowns, and mask mandates. I support science and freedom of individual choice. I am a capitalist who believes in free markets, not socialism. I am fed up with business as usual.
You will not be surprised to hear he has more or less the same positions on issues as every other Republican. His Plan To End Homelessness is:
I have solutions to benefit the unfortunate people living on our streets and to restore cleanliness and safety to our communities. My solutions include medical treatment, education, work programs and more.
He does have a wacky perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic:
We are now finding out that the COVID-19 pandemic is part of a global plan being orchestrated by the World Economic Forum, headed by Klaus Schwab. Read his book, published in August 2020, “COVID-19: The Great Reset.”
And a tacky video:
In case it’s not clear yet, I love all of these people.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many of them are immigrants. Immigrants believe in the American Dream. Maybe they’re the only people who still do. Back in Mexico or India or wherever, they heard that America was a magical place where ordinary people governed themselves and anyone could get ahead. Then they came to America and it met their expectations in some ways, and didn’t quite measure up in others. And they thought “Wait a second, I’m in a democracy now, it’s my job to fix this!” And so they bought their flag pin and their red-white-and-blue striped tie, subscribed to web hosting for $3.99/month, painted “[NAME] for Governor” on their beat-up old truck, and went off to the crusade.
A few years ago, I asked: what happened to the Puritans? Those old-timey almost superhuman Americans who had five incompatible jobs, invented stuff in their spare time, and fought like hell for every single weird utopian cause they believed in? The answer seems to be: they live on small farms and only come out once every four years, for gubernatorial elections. Most of these people have no cultural or genetic link to the Puritans of old, but the spirit is unmistakable.
People complain about increasing polarization, but there is no polarization among vanity California gubernatorial candidates. Decided your two top priorities are fighting climate change and fighting vaccine mandates? You can run for governor. Equally angry about gun control laws and animal abuse? Run for governor!
These people see homeless encampments all around them and think “Wait, what if we just built a bunch of new cities for the homeless people to go to?” Or “how much would it cost to get all of them those $10,000 tiny houses you sometimes see advertised on Facebook?” Or “What if we built eight-story parking structures they could live in?” Probably there are good reasons we don’t do any of those things. But even thinking of them demonstrates a spirit of looking at the world, realizing it doesn’t make sense, and groping for solutions. Probably none of these particular ideas will end homelessness. But they sure beat the usual attitude of “eh, if there were some solution, some important person would have thought of it already, I’ll assume it’s either been taken care of or never will be, avert my eyes, and go about my life.”
These are people who the system hasn’t beaten down. They think for themselves, they stand up for what they believe in, they take risks. Most of the time their thoughts are insane, and the things they believe in are ridiculous. Still, whatever their negative qualities, they seem, in some important sense, to be free. They seem human. They are not NPCs.
In the old days, people devoured success stories - Horatio Alger and all that. Nowadays you don’t hear them as often; something about celebrating success feels problematic. Except during gubernatorial elections. Then everyone’s an immigrant from a poor background who made something of themselves. Or an immigrant from a poor background who hasn’t made anything of themselves yet but plans to, any day now. Or a rich person from a rich background who made full use of their advantages, lived a happy and fulfilling life, had seven beautiful children, and bought a ranch. Everyone has trekked across Alaska solo, or founded businesses in fifteen different industries, or been a veteran/firefighter/pastor. I did not know there were so many Army veteran small business owner ranchers in the entire world.
Realistically, none of these people besides Gavin Newsom will become governor. Gavin Newsom will continue to run California for four more years, then run for President and very possibly win. When he leaves for DC, the political machine that created him will find some other excellently-hairstyled person, he or she will succeed Newsom as Governor, and none of these candidates will be consulted in any way. California will continue to have homelessness, fires, water shortages, worst-in-the-nation business climate, near-worst-in-the-nation schools, muddled and inconsistent COVID-19 policies, and all the other things these people are complaining about.
Still, I think of these candidates the same way Ross Douthat thinks about cults. They themselves may be crazy and of questionable value. But they’re the extreme version of a healthy tendency. They’re a live canary singing happily in the coal mine, demonstrating that something good still exists in American culture. Some people are still hopeful, entrepreneurial, free-thinking, and invested in democracy.
These people are our Strategic Optimism Reserve, and I am glad to have them.