There are certain elections that make you want to wash your hands before voting. And that usually has something to do with the candidates.
In California's 10th Senate District, two Democrats who have served in the California Assembly want to fill the state Senate seat of termed-out Ellen Corbett. Former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi is best-known for her conviction for shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes at Neiman Marcus in October 2011. She vaguely blamed a "medical condition" for what she termed a "personal mistake." Does that mean she could not tell right from wrong? Or is her selling point that she would enter the state Senate pre-convicted? No waiting.
Her Democratic rival, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, has had great fun with her criminal conviction and incredible explanations. His campaign has put up a website, at http://mugshotmary.com, where you can see the mug shot and helpful graphics.
Team Hayashi responded in kind. Its website at http://bobprotectedrapists.com exposes Wieckowski's lone vote against a bill to allow spouses to not pay spousal support or attorney's fees to spouses convicted of domestic violence. Weickowski voted for a later version of the bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law.
Wieckowski's other positions truly concern me. Like Hayashi, Wieckowski supports Bay Area Rapid Transit workers' ability to strike. He thinks the strikes were no big deal. "People couldn't get to work," he told the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board. "People couldn't do their shopping. That's a mere inconvenience."
The Service Employees International Union has endorsed Wieckowski. That tells you he'll support spending hikes and perks for public employee unions. No coincidence, he told the Chronicle he advocates "Prop 30 Part II" -- which would perpetuate temporary sales and income tax increases set to expire in 2016 and 2018. Consider that state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told the Chronicle on Thursday that he thinks Brown should devote his next term to tax reform, as tax increases alone won't help the state's budget. Not Wieckowski.
Hayashi also wants to extend the Proposition 30 tax increases.
A vote for either of these Democrats is a vote for Sacramento Gone Wild.
Republican Peter Kuo doesn't carry their baggage. An insurance agent also involved with a startup, Kuo told me that he is running for office because he sees the insanity in Sacramento and he wants "to be an example" for his children.
Kuo wants to focus on making California more business-friendly. His other big issue is SCA5, a resolution passed by state Senate Democrats to put a measure on the ballot that would reinstate racial preferences in state college admissions.
"I came to this country at age 14 with one dream in mind, to achieve the American dream," he said. Born in Taiwan and raised by hardworking parents who insisted he excel in school, he started his own business and a family. Now he's living the dream. SCA5, he believes, "is the opposite of what" he was told when he came here.
Hayashi said she supports affirmative action but wants to shelve SCA5.
Wieckowski said he would vote for SCA5 if the Assembly put the measure to a vote. That's not likely. Its author, state Sen. Ed Hernandez, put a hold on the resolution after three Asian-American state senators who voted for the measure asked him to halt it. They had voted for it without really thinking and switched course when their constituents revolted.
It's typical Sacramento. Democratic lawmakers passed SCA5 with little thought as to how it might affect California families. But when the measure threatened to split their caucus -- Asians vs. Latinos -- they pulled the bill to help the Democratic Party.
Only then do they get practical.
If Kuo is not one of the top two voter-getters June 3, the Sacramento me-first culture can relax. Because November will be a contest between MugShotMary.com and BobProtectedRapists.com.