state senate district 1


Fringe analysis and lots of opinion




Land Use Planner

LES BAUGH Republican


Small Business Owner

TED GAINES* Republican


Small Business Owner

"BO" BOGDAN I. AMBROZEWICZ No Party Preference


Independent Small Businessman


This week we’ll look at state senator for District 1, regardless that we led you to expect state assembly.  Maybe next week.



A Fringe Consideration of the Candidates

1.     Julie Griffith-Flatter:  Because we want HSRA to take over the state?  Please, not a serious possibility.

2.    Les Baugh:  Baugh talks about American values, but doesn’t walk the walk.  He has a plan for Republicans and Democrats to talk together and spend less money, as though that was a new idea.  Ironically, he complains about the erosion of liberties on one hand, and then supports a unanimous ban on medical marijuana dispensaries; which is it going to be, Les, freedom or oppression?  Les is also a practicing Christian minister, which isn’t bad in and of itself, but in my experience in this world, no one wants to tell you how to live like a religious zealot.  The anti-medical marijuana patients ordinances Les supported are what you would expect from knee-jerk, obstinately ignorant cow county good old boys.  It’s the 21st Century, Les, we’re learning to tolerate those who are different from us.  Sorry, can’t vote for Les “My Freedoms, Not Yours” Baugh.

3.    Ted Gaines:  Oh, jeez, we have to vote for somebody.  Gaines has been wriggling like a spawning trout up the political stream for the last several years, elected to the assembly and then re-elected only to leap into the senate.  As a result, he actually has a voting record to refer to.  He gets high marks for supporting the 2nd Amendment, and high marks for fighting the fire fee and other insults to rural people.  Gaines has called himself “kind of” a libertarian.  I reviewed about a hundred bills Gaines voted on in the assembly and the house, and was surprised how often I likely would have voted as he did, though he’s stated he’s against social programs (like crop subsidies?). In reviewing the votes I didn’t detect a “party of no” theme in his voting.  He voted against smog testing motorcycles, affirmed the need for a search warrant to pry into a cell phone, declined extended firearms registration, voted against SBx7 8 - Water Diversion Amendments.   He’s been a leader in the fight against unfair CDF parcel taxes.  However, Gaines supported a bill making parents of truant kids criminals as though making parents meaner would keep kids in school.  He voted against free drinking water in school cafeterias, voted against a ban on cadmium in children’s jewelry (see here).   He voted not to recognize same sex marriages from other states.   Worst of all, he voted against a law which would give medical marijuana patients the same rights as other patients.  It’s an easy freedom to take away when you yourself aren’t riddled with pain, but not a very courageous vote. 

Gaines is likely to take the seat, and in some ways he’s the lessor of the evils.  Not a model legislator, not a great example of the future today, but not the worst we could have.  Adequate is what I hope for in a politician these days.

4. "Bo" Bogdan I. Ambrozewicz   Not a viable candidate, not well informed on the issues.


A Fringe Confession to the Free and Brave

Your Fringe Editor confesses to this problem: he doesn’t like assholes telling him how to be.  He doesn’t like ham fisted, right wing bigots telling him, and he doesn’t like “for your own good” liberals telling him.  It’s been a problem for your Fringe and the countless assholes he’s met down through the years, and indeed because of their seemingly limitless numbers, it’s been the work of a lifetime. To be frank, I’m disgusted with the pitiful offerings for many of our political offices, at least at the state and federal levels.


A Fringe Complaint and Explanation

How did our politics evolve to this?  Our freedoms are being pilfered, and we ourselves are responsible. 

First, there is a tendency for voters to avoid voting for people more intelligent or better informed than themselves.  If a candidate puts forward a complex vision, our eyes tend to glaze over and we become mistrustful.  It’s as though we are saying “This sounds hard and there’s a lot of excuses in it, I can’t support that.”  On the other hand, some hackneyed politico spouts the most ignorant, short sighted, simple-minded bilge and voters seem to say “up with good and down with bad?  Now, that boy’s got the right idea.”  It’s as though being oblivious to complex truth is a good quality in a leader.  It isn’t, not in a leader, and not in a patriot.

A second reason is the recursive, reflexive relationship between the candidates and the voters, mediated by cultural themes and the lens of media.  In short, the “objects in our social mirror are nearer than they appear”: the propaganda of the candidates and the eye of the camera distort the reality of the political realm of the social world, and our reactions in turn prompt the next blab from the politicians and the next faux revelations from the media.  It’s unsavory, unsanitary and un-American, but it's how people are.

A third reason is our highly social behavior such that people tend to vote according to affiliation, as though voting “correctly” is a condition of participation in their social group (sometimes it is).  People tend to join political parties for the same reason they go to church, belonging, and very likely the social group at church influences people’s political “views”.  The warm social feeling of belonging trounces critical thinking and an understanding of our patriotic duty to protect the freedoms of others.  Want a warm feeling, piddle your pants; the ballot is too important to be left to people who select candidates like they select sports teams. 

All this human business constrained to a two-party system of government means our political horizon is generally narrow (our “far right” and “far left” horizons are fairly close together) but the groups tend to cluster at the extremes of those narrow boundaries.  Most people (two standard deviations or about 68%) tend to fall along what constitutes the “middle” of our political system (somewhat right of true center).

Hence, we have a very poor choice of candidates, one side protecting left wing rights like marriage freedom and a healthy environment and one protecting right wing rights like firearms ownership and property rights, and novel political thought is discouraged.

What is also discouraged is a value for mutual benefit.  Most human and primate groups distinguish between kin and non-kin, clan and non-clan, but Europeans in their historical period of dominance are as segregated and discriminatory as Islam ever was, propagating the idea of struggle between groups, rather than emphasizing mutual benefit. 

So it is that our politics is gridlocked between our two political parties, and few candidates emerge to close the gap, and when they do, they don’t fare well.  In a nutshell.


 The state senate race for District 1 has no clear choice for the Fringe.  Gaines is the likely winner, and while the news could be worse, we aren’t likely to see any innovative leadership.   He’ll change when we change, change his values when we are more thoughtful about ours.  Races like this are why voters are starting to choose “no party candidates” (article from the Sacto Bee).


There you have your Fringe analysis/opinion for state senate.  God Bless Us All (whose God, I leave to you).

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