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Gavin Newsom for lieutenant governor

May 5, 2010

Apologies in advance for this item being specific to the Golden State:

For those of you who may have missed this several years ago, I ran for statewide office in California. I was the Green Party’s candidate for Insurance Commissioner in 2006 (270,218 votes, 3.2 percent — “What do we have for our departing contestant, Johnny Olsen?”). During that campaign, I picked up the Free/Open Source Software I used for the campaign, as well as the FOSS paradigm which leads me today to be the FOSS advocate that now addresses you as Larry the Free Software Guy.

So in a nutshell, I gave up partisan politics after that campaign to become the FOSS advocate whose blog you now read. While I have often mentioned to folks — both personally and in correspondence — that I am through with partisan politics in order to promote FOSS, I’m going to change my tune a little this election cycle.

This year in California, we have a monumentally great opportunity to put a good friend of FOSS in the lieutenant govenor’s office in November (and for Democrats, actually getting him on the ballot during the primary in June).

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who fostered an open source software policy in San Francisco earlier this year, looks like he’s heading to become the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor this year.

As you all know, my voter registration does not affiliate itself with either major political party, and my contempt for many Democrats (see Blue Dogs) is legendary. But Newsom comes to the ballot for lieutenant governor with some serious credentials: As mayor of the world’s greatest city (and it is), he has shown adimrable leadership around environmental and human rights issues, to name two, coupled with guiding The City through some perilous financial straits.

Plus, he’s a friend of FOSS, who can bring the open source to the halls of Sacramento. What more could FOSS advocates want?

In addition, the likely Republican candidate — appointed (not incumbent, arguably) Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado — could be second only to Sarah Palin in being the least qualifed person to hold any elected office, let alone one where he’s a heartbeat away from being in charge of California. You’ll not want to get me started on my former state senator. Trust me.

In any case, if you’re a Democrat, you can vote for Newsom in the primary June 8. Come November, the choice in this race is pretty clear and with Newsom as the candidate for lieutenant governor, I’ll be voting Democrat for state office for the first time in a long time.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
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