Endorsements - Page 3

Obama for president. No on 94-97. Yes on A. Our complete endorsements for the Feb. 5 election
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The best is Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congressional representative, who has switched from the Democratic to the Green Party and is seeking a spot on the top of the ticket. McKinney has her drawbacks, but we'll endorse her.

The real question here is not who would make a better president (that's not in the cards, of course) but who would do more to build the Green Party and promote the best course for a promising third party that still hasn't developed much traction as a national force. We've been clear for years that the Greens should be working from the grass roots up: the party's first priority should be electing school board members, community college board members, members of boards of supervisors and city councils. Over time, leaders like Mark Sanchez, Jane Kim, Matt Gonzalez, and Ross Mirkarimi can start competing for mayor's offices and posts in the State Legislature and Congress. Running a presidential candidate only makes sense as part of a party-building operation. (That's what Nader did in 2000, and for all the obvious reasons he's incapable of doing it today.)

But the Greens insist on running candidates for president, so we might as well pick the best one.

McKinney has a lot to offer the Greens. She's an experienced legislator who has won several tough elections and taken on a lot of tough issues. As an African American woman from the South, she can also broaden the party's base. She was a solid progressive in Congress, where she was willing to speak out on issues that many of her colleagues ducked (she was, for example, one of the few members to push for an impeachment resolution).

McKinney has her downside — in recent years she's been flirting with the loony side of the left, getting a bit close to some Sept. 11 conspiracy theories that hurt her credibility (although she's also made some very good points about the attacks and the lack of a serious investigation into what happened). And some of her supporters have made alarmingly anti-Semitic statements (from which, to her credit, she has attempted to distance herself). But she has to come out now, strongly, to denounce those sorts of comments and show that she can build a real coalition.

With those (serious) reservations, we'll give her the nod.

Proposition 91 (use of gas tax)

NO

Prop. 91 is essentially an effort to ensure that revenue from the state's gas tax goes only to roads and highways. It's a moot point anyway: Proposition 1A, which passed last year, did the same thing, and now even proponents of 91 are urging a No vote.

But we're going to take this opportunity to reiterate our opposition to Prop. 1A, Prop. 91, and any other ridiculous effort to restrict the use of gasoline tax revenues.

It should be clear to everyone at this point that the widespread overuse of automobiles is having far bigger impacts on California than just wear and tear on the roads. Cars are the biggest single cause of global warming, and they kill and injure more Californians than guns do, causing enormous costs that are borne by all of us. Driving a car is expensive for society, and drivers ought to be paying some of those costs. That should mean extra gas taxes and a reinstatement of the vehicle license fee to previous levels (and extra surcharges for those who drive Hummers and other especially wasteful, dangerous vehicles). That money ought to go to the state General Fund so California doesn't have to close state parks and slash spending on schools and social services, as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing.

Proposition 92 (community college funding)

YES

Prop.