Sanchez: Bay Area ‘Controls Everything’ in California Politics

Emperor's New Clothes (Eric Chan / Flickr / CC)
Eric Chan / Flickr / CC

Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) is attempting to rally Southern California to her cause by noting that the San Francisco Bay Area “controls everything” in California because of voting propensity.

Los Angeles County has over 1.3 million more registered voters than the six counties that comprise the six counties that make up the Bay Area, yet L.A. County voters cast almost 300,000 fewer votes in the 2014 and 2016 primaries.

Rep. Sanchez, who hails from Orange County, has been running hard in an uphill effort for the 2016 all-Democrat race for the Senate seat of retiring Democrat Barbara Boxer. She now takes care to note that her opponent, Attorney General Kamala Harris, is “from San Francisco.”

Under California’s “jungle” primary rules, statewide contests are no longer about party affiliation, since the top two finishers in the primary advance to the general election, regardless of party. While that weakens parties, it means that primaries are becoming more about the pursuit of the regional business spoils that come from political representation.

Sanchez complains that although the Bay Area accounts for fewer than one in five Californians, its residents hold seven of the 10 current statewide offices: U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Governor Jerry Brown, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Controller Betty Yee, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris (all Democrats).

Despite Southern California having nearly 60 percent of the state’s residents and about 55 percent of registered voters, Sanchez argues that only two statewide offices are controlled by SoCal residents, namely Secretary of State Alex Padilla and State Treasurer John Chiang (both Democrats).

The San Jose Mercury observed, “That’s a far cry from 1990, when Southern Californian politicians controlled a majority of statewide offices, including the governor’s office (George Deukmejian) and one U.S. Senate seat (Pete Wilson, who would go on to become governor).”

Sanchez has been working hard to attract Hispanic L.A. and San Diego County voters, but she is also reaching out to conservative Republican strongholds south of L.A. County and across the Central Valley. GOP voters overwhelmingly resent the San Francisco liberal political machine, which out-performs in motivating their voters to go to the polls.

The Bay Area’s giant tech firms were once rigidly bipartisan, but Silicon Valley is now referred to as the “Valley of the Democrats.” Over the last two decades, in an effort to capture billions of dollars of federal and California spending, Silicon Valley has become a prime recipient of tax, fee, and cap-and-trade revenues through its symbiotic political and business relationships with Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Breitbart News reported that Google, with $16,830,000 in lobbying expenditures last year, is the top federal and state government influencer. Combined with $139.5 million in annual lobbying expenditure by the computer and Internet industries, Google and friends were essentially able to rewrite the “Net Neutrality” regulatory language.

San Francisco is also the home town of billionaire Tom Steyer, who is well on his way to spending $150 million this election cycle to elect the best state and local government his money can buy. Breitbart News reported that while whispering that he is preparing to run for Governor of California in 2018 as a Democrat, Steyer has led the formation of a $50 million Super PAC in June that is combining support from public employee unions and the AFL-CIO to register new Democrats.

Bob Mulholland, a veteran Democratic Party strategist who has knocked on doors all over the state to canvass voter opinions, told the San Jose Mercury News, “We refer to Los Angeles as the black hole of politics.” He chuckles that voters in Los Angeles know more about Lindsey Lohan that their State Assembly member.

Bay Area voters are just the opposite, according to Mulholland. “If you go door-to-door in San Jose or San Francisco or Oakland, whether it’s rent control or a legislative election, they’ll actually know something.”


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