Voter Guide: Election 2016

Why?  Because I’m a union member who walked his first picket line just this past week.  I’m a working artist, an agnostic progressive Democrat.  I did some election homework, so maybe this will help like minds.  (My Facebook post with campaign links HERE.)

I’m voting in Hollywood, geographically defined as Los Angeles.  You may be voting elsewhere.  Perhaps the path to my decisions helps you make yours.  These resources aided my research:

Voter’s Edge (KPCC)

Voters Guide (California Secretary of State)

Easy Voter Guide (League of Women Voters)

Voter Cheat Sheet (LA Weekly)

Neighborhood Issues (Curbed LA)

LA Times Endorsements

LA Democratic Party Endorsements

LA Progressive

If you’re not sure where you stand, know that I grew up born-again Christian conservative Republican.  Not only can I see things from a different perspective, I once held (and did boldly proclaim) such perspectives.  When I stopped merely listening and starting watching how Christians, Republicans, conservatives and “leaders” of the “business and civic community” behaved, I noticed the impact on other human beings.  Suddenly I became Socrates.  My questions broke through the dam of belief.  I recognized I was the Son of Elmer Gantry’s Bitch.  And my life changed.  For the better.

I marvel at all those who watch and make reality TV, patient dump, steal from customers, exploit employees, religiously avoid literacy or treat anyone different from them like a disease.  That troubles me.  I’d rather see people laugh than cry.  Perhaps that’s why I allowed myself to be a comic.  It certainly does not follow that I know everything.  I’m still learning, searching and exploring.  I make mistakes.  I endeavor to learn from them.

But I truly believe that some choices make the world a better place and others do not.  There are people who inspire me.  There are people who frighten me.  Sometimes they are the same person.  We make choices with available information among available options.  The following choices will be mine at the ballot box Tuesday.  Here’s what and why…



YES on GG Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority – An Eagle Scout, I grew up hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevadas.  Even when I was a Republican I valued our environment.  I join fellow SAG-AFTRA member Ed Begley, Jr. and Alex Trebek (no, really) in voting YES on GG.



YES on HHH Homelessness Reduction & Prevention – I’ve been homeless.  Our society continues to treat those without a home like addicts and criminals.  LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and other leaders clearly act to reward wealthy developers above any other consideration.  Luxury properties appear overnight, fortified like embassies in troubled lands.  Except the troubled land is LA.  Fortified from what?  Perhaps the growing tent cities of the displaced, discarded and despised.  The homeless.  Measure HHH is one small step towards changing the Charles Dickens realities that linger in our “modern” civilization.

jjj-logoYES on JJJ Build Better LA – Unions for the construction workers support it.  We need the affordable housing, local hires and better working conditions.  The Mayor and my Councilman claim to have better alternatives.  I don’t trust them.  I’m voting for the union-built bird in hand.

vfxod4sdNO on RRR Dept Water & Power – Mayor Eric Garcetti, the City Council and the DWP want this.  I don’t trust any of them.  DWP has dropped the ball in a number of garish ways.  Remember when UCLA flooded?  Remember the full service Vegas trips at taxpayer expense?  I’m voting with consumer watchdog groups NO on RRR.

NO on SSS Airport Police to Join LA Fire & Police Pension – At first blush, this sounds like righting a wrong, making things equal.  But according to the LA Times the union representing the airport police don’t want this.  They would know best, so I’m joining them in voting NO on SSS.


YES on CC Community Colleges Bonds for Repairs


YES on A Property Taxes for Parks – Doesn’t cost much and replaces expiring taxes.  Sorry, but I like parks.  As a former homeowner I paid property taxes.  As a tenant I pay rent a landlord charges to cover expenses … such as property taxes.  Any homeowner or tenant should be happy to pay pennies for parks.

measurem-logo-1YES on M LA County Traffic Improvement Plan – Many Angelinos think of driving as a necessity.  In fact, driving is a privilege.  A privilege the 50 states routinely remove from fathers who don’t earn enough.  I’ve depended on public transit.  LA desperately needs to catch up to the rest of the world.  This is long overdue.  Developers and the wealthy should pay for it.  But this is the only way it will get done.


NO on 51 School Bonds – Funding for schools sounds good, but I’m joining the LA Times and Governor Jerry Brown in voting NO on 51.

?? on 52 Medi-Cal Hospital Fee ProgramHealth care worker unions oppose, but haven’t articulated their arguments.  I’ll have to sit this one out.  Not enough information.


NO on 53 Revenue Bonds: Statewide Voter ApprovalI join Governor Jerry Brown, the California Chamber of Commerce and firefighters and voting NO on 53.



YES on 54 Legislation TransparencyIf we had more of this, there’d be less need for WikiLeaks.




YES on 55 Tax Extension to Fund Education & Health Care 



YES on 56 Cigarette Tax to Fund Health Care – I don’t care if you smoke them.  Just don’t force me to breathe it.  And don’t whine about the taxes you should pay for the inevitable health consequences.  To yourself AND others.  Don’t like the tax?  Quit the filthy habit.  Only you and Phillip Morris complaining.


YES on 57 Criminal Sentences, Parole – Opportunity for parole is not the same as releasing rapists into the street.  Stop the scare tactics.  Stop aiding and abetting Prison, Inc. Start introducing sanity to the criminal justice system.




YES on 58 English Proficiency, Multilingual Education



YES on 59 Overturn Citizens United – Corporations are not people.  Elections bought by the wealthy are not free speech.  We the real people deserve better.  I join Bernie’s call to vote NO on 59.




NO on 60 Adult Films: Condoms & Health Requirements




YES on 61 State Prescription Drug Purchases



YES on 62 Death Penalty Repeal – Review the work of the Innocence Project.  False imprisonment is inexcusable.  Yet it happens.  Clearly we cannot trust our justice system with the death penalty.  Justice requires we dispose of this costly and inhumane false deterrent.



YES on 63 Firearms Ammunition Sales – Mere common sense.  If we were talking about automobiles or other heavy machinery whose sole purpose wasn’t to kill someone, there’d be no debate.  I’m a former handgun owner.  And I’m voting YES on 63.


YES on 64 Legalize Marijuana – Stop the War on Drugs already!  It doesn’t work!  Legalize, tax and regulate.  I don’t partake.  But I sure am not going to tell a cancer patient they shouldn’t relieve their pain.  That would be immoral.  Not something I can imagine anyone’s idea of Jesus would do.


NO on 65 Carryout Bags Charges



NO on 66 Death Penalty Procedures



YES on 67 Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags – We’ve turned our oceans into garbage dumps.  Stop it!



#11 Debra R. Archuleta

#42 Efrain Matthew Aceves

#84 Susan Jung Townsend

#158 Kim L. Nguyen




Richard Bloom – He’s the Democrat incumbent.





Adam B. Schiff – He’s the Democrat incumbent.




Kamala D. Harris – Both Democrats running appear to have similar positions.  But a casual comparison of the Twitter accounts of both candidates was hard for me to ignore.  Harris quickly strikes me as having much more going for her.  She’ll need that support, professionalism and social media competency to be my Senator.


im_with_her_blueHillary Clinton & Tim Kaine –  She’s a leader.  She’s experienced.  She’s an adult.  It’s time.    Golda Meir led Israel two years before I was born.  Theresa May is Britain’s second female leader, and I’m not talking about the Queen.  Pakistan has an airport named after their first female leader.  I grew up a Reagan conservative.  What a carnival ride watching Reagan conservatives squirm into marvelous contortions as they attempt to justify and quantify their support of the reality TV star rich kid who calls bankruptcies and routinely failing to pay his sub-contractors “success in business”.  His very candidacy indicts America, not to mention the Republican party to which I once belonged.  I preferred Bernie in the primaries, but Hillary clearly hits enough of the issues right for me to feel very comfortable calling her Madame President.

Hear a Nation Roar

(Most of this on Facebook)

POEM: Son of Elmer Gantry’s Bitch

Son of Elmer Gantry’s Bitch – by Mark Roman
This is an essay that became the current poem, but feels like it wants to be lyrics to a song.
I have more work to do…

Why do I struggle in this culture so coarse?  
Why don’t I pursue profit without remorse?
Why do I want to heal, write and sing?  
And feel guilty every time I permit that fling?

See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

Is it because I grew up Kimmy Schmidt, not boy but man?
Inside the body of that Eagle Scout son of Willy Loman?
The not yet dead salesman of creeds and policies.
Always at the Goddamn fucking knee of Elmer Gantries.

Is it because I’m still technically Catholic, brother?  
Chained to a Pope enrages a father. But satisfies a mother.
A mother after whom my nurtured fears did once lust.  
A second awkward marriage averted. Back to dust.

See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

The student paper I wrote & published, why could I not let it go?  
That right wing Ken Doll pub crawl college boss sure hoped so!  
See he had a lot of agape to give.  If the smoking gun found sun.
Understand they wouldn’t. Especially his lady’s groom. His son.

Everyone wonders why that abundant happy salesman not in my bones.  
Something completely different than Dad’s insurance.  Like mortgage loans?
Harness my wit and charms to sell whatever’s not yet criminal in this port!
Grab my “fair share” and do it before the next Great Depression or Big Short!  

See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

To love what you’re supposed to do is just a decision away.  
For those not burdened with too many questions to parlay.
Produce for the consumers. Why not Abide? Like The Dude?
Why so fucking depressed and homeless you silly white dude?

When the vultures steal and enslave, why don’t I in kind retaliate?
Their tactics are worldly and wise, why should I not embrace?
And so to my ground zero arrive the charity of career counselors
What the Goddamn fuck happened to all the emergency responders?

See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

Doctors without board certified want to medicate my personality away.  
Soma.  For the masses.  If the theatre of Mass is not enough to assuage.  
The good citizens annoyed at the disease of my eyes that see.  
Why so stubborn?  Why not “get over it” and assimilate like we?

Why is merely being me an act of open revolution against the established fable?  
Why does imminent homelessness bring suicidal thoughts to the food stamp table?  
Mommy gave me religion.  And taught me to read.  Dark & Light, The Force indeed.

See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

© 2016 Mark Roman aka Mark Nehls –

(Rise above mere Dead Poets Societies!  Support poets when they need it most.  While still alive!  BUY autographed copies HERE.)