Area:    Feminism
  Msg:    #287
 Date:    11-10-94 14:05 (Public) 
 From:    Paul Kienitz             
 To:      All                      
 Subject: women in politics        
So how did the election turn out, feministically speaking?  Well, the
republicans did better than even some of their own rah-rahs were willing
to forecast, and that's probably a bad sign overall.  On more specific

  - Ann Richards, who I dug as one of the coolest of politicians before
     she was ever elected governor, lost to some kind of peculiar marine
     invertebrate with a strong facial resemblance to a former president.

  - Kathleen Brown decisively lost her bid to unseat Pete "I'll hold my
     breath and turn blue" Wilson from the governorship of California.

  - Dianne Feinstein, expecting a fairly easy win, held onto her
     freshman Senate seat by the narrowest of margins.  Her opponent
     Michael Huffington, who outspent her two to one, is still not
     conceding defeat.

  - Most congressional incumbents in my local area were re-elected, but
     one House seat in the San Jose area did change hands from a man to a

  - California's acting secretary of state, Tony Miller, who is the only
     openly gay person in an elective state office here, lost the office
     in a very close race.

  - Sonny Bono won a congressional seat.

  - The infamous and probably unconstitutional anti-immigrant measure
     Proposition 187 passed.  This had a significant effect on Pete
     Wilson's re-election campaign.  His victory speech called it a
     victory for all of you who work hard, play by the rules, etc etc --
     he listed about half a dozen more criteria which painted a pretty
     clear picture of US vs THEM, with him being the "us" candidate.

  - The one state race which left people with the feeling that we'd be
     well off with either candidate was, by an odd coincidence, the only
     race between two women: Delaine Eastin and Maureen DiMarco, who were
     contending for the nonpartisan post of Superintended of Public
     Education.  DiMarco is both the more professionally experienced and
     the more conservative of the two (though a Democrat) so I figured
     she'd win, but Eastin won, and promised to immediately haul
     Proposition 187 into court, refusing to use her schools as an
     extension of the Immigration and Naturalization Service when they've
     got better things to do.  She wouldn't be the only one -- two
     different judges have already put restraining orders on enforcement
     of the proposition pending the outcome of different suits.

  - Attorney General Dan Lundgren, just re-elected, says that there are
     already EIGHT different lawsuits filed against 187.  Lundgren,
     unfortunately, is a Republican, and vows to strongly defend the
     proposition in court.

  - A stupid variation of the "three strikes" concept that covers NON-
     violent felonies was passed into the constitution.  It already
     existed as a statute.

  - Single-payer health care was defeated by about a 3 to 1 vote.  The
     difference in campaign spending on the two sides was extreme.

  - Ted Dang, a slumlord who ran his campaign *exactly* in the style of an
     asshole Fidonet flamer, lost badly in his attempt to unseat Elihu
     Harris as mayor of Oakland.  He didn't even make a decent concession
     speech -- kept sniping even then.

  - The female candidate for mayor of Berkeley, Shirley Dean, lost to a
     white male, Don Jelinek.  This is because he is a staunch liberal
     while she is clearly speaking more for the affluent property-owning
     part of the citizenry than for any of the other residents of the city.
     Woops, Jelinek has not won after all!  He apparently got just a hair
     under 50% of the vote, forcing a runoff in December.  This will
     probably hand the election to Dean because of low turnout, though
     Jelinek is clearly the one preferred by the voters.  Unless, that is,
     Jelinek can make an issue out of Dean's slanderous last-minute direct
     mail hit pieces claiming that Jelinek was bullshitting when he said
     he'd once been Martin Luther King's attorney.  Jelinek quickly proved
     that this was true, but many of the voters probably never heard it in
     time, particularly since the San Francisco daily papers are currently
     nonexistent due to a strike.

     Speaking of last-minute slanderous hit pieces, the short-lived
     environmentalist majority on the board of the East Bay Municipal
     Utilities District has been shot down by hit pieces at incumbents
     Stuart Flashman and Katherine McKenney sent out by real estate
     developers angry at not being given all the water they want for new
     housing developments in the hot arid valleys and hills between the
     Bay Area and the Central Valley, where one suburban house with lawn
     consumes about four times the water that it would near the coast.
     The mail campaign was so egregious that the losing candidates think
     they have a good chance of proving libel in court, which is very
     difficult for a public figure to do.  The Fair Political Practices
     Commission will probably have something to say to them too about
     matters such as failing to identify themselves on their mailings, but
     the biggest fines they can levy are less than peanuts compared to the
     several billion dollars involved in these development projects.

     To get this back on topic, one other interesting piece of news is
     that Berkeley has managed to elect an all-female city council.  Since
     seats are elected by district, there was clearly no planned effort to
     do this.  Unfortunately the eight councilmembers are evenly divided
     into two blocs, liberal and conservative, and so whoever wins as
     mayor will cast a lot of important tie-breaking votes.

     The worst outcome in the Berkeley elections was the passage of two
     measures aimed straight at the homeless: an anti-panhandling law, and
     an anti-loitering law clearly intended to be selectively enforced
     against undesirables.  The inevitable legal battle over the
     constitutionality of these measures is going to be a tremendous
     embarrassment to a city that has prided itself on supporting
     tolerance and civil liberties.  Even Berkeley is not immune to the
     tremendous pressure towards scapegoating and intolerance that arises
     whenever living standards drop.

... "I've read it.  It's crap."  -- David Rice on the Holy Bible
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