Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

Jack Ohman: If I were writing the candidate endorsements ...

05/11/2014 12:00 AM

05/08/2014 8:42 PM

As we approach the June 3 primary, most California newspapers are busy entertaining prospective candidates and cranking out serious endorsements for a slew of mundane races. The Sacramento Bee is no exception.

In some races, the choices are rather obvious: There’s one great candidate, and then there are cranks, perennials and people who orbit around Saturn. Other races feature multiple wholly qualified and distinguished candidates, and it’s hard to decide. Newspapers try to interview the major contenders in the area, and the candidates dutifully troop down to newspaper offices to present their case.

We try to be polite with everyone, I think, and give each wannabe office-holder a fair hearing, be it in person or in a telephone interview. However, I wonder whether there’s a more candid, descriptive way to characterize the people running. If I were writing the endorsement editorials, they would probably run like this.

State Senate District 41: The incumbent, Dee Nighall, has shown herself to be a slave to her political consultant as well as the three or four major labor unions that jerk her chain every 15 minutes. Nighall is currently under investigation by the FBI and lives in Nebraska. One challenger is a corporate something-or-other who will introduce a bill to permit her masters to make astronomical amounts of money without lifting a finger. The other, a shadowy figure who calls himself “The Dude,” offers a refreshing alternative to politics as usual. We like “The Dude.”

Assembly District 85: In an open seat, the laughably underqualified Rob Ewe, a 26-year-old eighth-year senior and a part-time babysitter, is seeking to replace earnest liberal drudge Assemblywoman Carry Waters. Ewe’s opponent, City Councilman Bob Enweave, was so vague in his interview that he puts the bi-part in bipartisanship. We like Ewe’s youthful joie de vivre and lack of a criminal record, other than 34 parking tickets that he says he’ll pay. However, voters should choose a very cute cat named Beau currently featured in a popular YouTube video.

City Council Position 10: There are 29 candidates in this race, all of whom are in agreement on the need for more citizen involvement. Of the 29, we like the tall guy with the beard. We can’t remember his name. We think it began with “R,” and he was really funny.

District Attorney: The top two candidates in this race couldn’t offer a greater contrast. Prosecutor Molly Caudle, who finished 112th out of 121 in her law school from a rectangular Western state university, promises that she will send murderers to book groups instead of asking for the death penalty in capital cases. Her opponent, former Assistant Associate Deputy Chief U.S. Attorney Bill Melater, has called for a mandatory minimum five-year sentence for first-time water over-usage offenders. A third candidate, F. Lee Circus, has no Facebook page, no email address, no phone number, no Twitter account, and was last seen in 1998. We recommend a write-in.

District Judge: Just one guy is running. What can we do or say here to affect the outcome? Nothing. Still, we endorse him. He seems OK. Looks good in a robe. Gray hair.

State Auditor General Comptroller Finance Commissioner: These offices completely run together for us. Why the governor doesn’t just appoint them instead of creating yet another obscure statewide office for some termed-out legislator is beyond us. In this race, the Bay Area candidate faces the L.A. candidate. The Central Valley candidate bitterly complains about the geographic unfairness of it all. We endorse the Central Valley candidate.

For more information about the candidates, go to voterguide.sos.ca.gov.

Yes, it’s real. Unlike www.who’srunningagainbesidesbrown?.ca.gov.

But don’t ask to see the GOP candidates.

The Republicans didn’t list their candidates in the sample ballot. We get that.

Those interviews take a lot of time.

About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.


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