Itís three oíclock in the morning and my mind is reeling.†Chase just fell out of bed (a semi-regular occurrence for a 3-year old) and needed to be consoled, but I was already awake.† Polls are open in New Jersey. For only the third time in United States history, a governor may be recalled in Wisconsin. Somewhere, a voter is being purged. Itís Election Day.
Here in Atascadero and across California, there is a lot at stake, but in most cases it is too close to call. Nevertheless, as a prognosticator, there are a few things of which Iím almost certain will have occurred as you read this column.
1.†Iím hung over. Either from celebrating Jim Pattersonís re-election as County Supervisor, mourning his loss or waiting for the final results.†Regardless of the outcome, itís been quite a ride.†Thanks for the ticket, Jim.
2.†Atascadero is divided, but strong. The highlight of this campaign season was the candidate forum held at the Carlton and Colby Jackís Cafť. With the single exception of Allen Litten, who lacked even the basic decency to shake my hand, more than 100 Tea Party Patriots, Occupiers and normal people from all across town packed the room and hallway with civility, respect, and integrity. The moderators were professional, the audience was attentive, and both Jim and Debbie were at their best. Say what you will about the freak show that is our town, but democracy is alive and kicking in Atascadero.
3.†The stateís new ďtop-twoĒ primary system will be a failure. In principle, it could help bring big change. With the new districts, itís possible that up to 20 statewide Assembly and Senate races will field only Republicans or Democrats in November. Moreover, Democrats have an opportunity to win two-thirds of the seats in both chambers, essentially making California a one-party system, like Russia or China. Nice reform.
4.†This will be my last regular column. I have had a great time exchanging views with my neighbors over these pages, but I have other callings, so please donít write in begging to Jason Cross. He already offered to triple my salary.†Heather Young promised to take my wife wine tasting every day, and Creig P. Sherburne has started showing up at the foot of my bed at 3 a.m. with hot mulled cider. I donít really know what thatís about.
Thank you, to all the readers who have been inspired, amused and disgusted by my column.
Michael Latner is a citizen of Atascadero and professor of political science at Cal Poly.
For the complete article see the 06-06-2012 issue.
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