The other two voters in my household asked a reasonable question the other evening: Who's Molly Munger?
The TV was on and someone made mention of the competing tax plans Propositions 30 and 38. Everyone (presumably everyone who reads this page, anyway) knows about Jerry Brown, the leading proponent of 30. But who is Molly Munger?
She's a rich attorney, I responded, realizing that it was an inadequate answer. So for all voters who wonder about Munger, here's a brief biography, gleaned from an Associated Press article last summer, from Reason.com and other sources I consider legitimate.
Molly Munger is 63 (and doesn't look it) and is one of eight children of billionaire Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charles Munger in other words, Warren Buffet's partner.
After growing up in Southern California, she went to Radcliffe and then Harvard Law School, graduating in 1974. As AP said, her youthful passion about civil rights "was reawakened when riots erupted in Los Angeles in 1992 after the acquittal of white police officers charged in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, sparking a national debate about racial equality."
"By then, I was in a skyscraper on something like the 34th floor being a partner in a New York law firm and you know, I just saw the disconnect" between the struggle for women's equality and other equality movements, Munger told The AP.
She became western regional counsel for the NAACP, where she lobbied unsuccessfully against Proposition 209, the 1996 initiative that prohibits affirmative action in state government and universities.
She later co-founded a liberal-leaning civil rights group called The Advancement Project and has done legal work for social causes she believes in, often for free.
A registered Democrat for most of her life, she is now an independent.
Her younger brother, Charles Jr., a Stanford physicist and a Republican, led the drive to create an independent redistricting commission.
According to Jon Ortiz of The Sacramento Bee, in this election Charles Jr. has contributed nearly $20 million to an independent committee promoting Proposition 32 and fighting Brown's tax plan.
Meanwhile, Molly has put about $28 million into her tax measure.
On the personal side, she's married to another attorney, and they have two grown sons, one of whom is a scout for the Texas Rangers. (In my family, that's an important footnote.)
While the dollars pouring in for valley legislative candidates pale in comparison to the numbers above, there have been some interesting financial filings regarding local legislative seats:
With Christopher Mateo not campaigning, the low-budget race will be the 12th Assembly District. Incumbent Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, is getting zero money from the independent expenditure committees (so-called super PACs) because she doesn't need it.
The 5th Assembly District, the Mother Lode-mountain district stretching from Mono Lake almost to Tahoe, is getting interesting. The runoff is between two Republicans. Former legislator Rico Oller of San Andreas has loaned his own campaign $100,000. His opponent, Madera County Supervisor Frank Bigelow loaned his campaign $50,000. As of Sept. 30, Bigelow had almost $197,000 in his treasury; Oller had $142,000 on the same date.
Some of the groups that might otherwise support a Democrat are giving to Bigelow. So did Jeff Denham, with money from his aborted campaign for lieutenant governor in 2014. Money in that account has to be spent on a California race, so Denham directed $3,900 to Jack Mobley in the 21st and $7,800 to Bigelow.
The Stanislaus County Republican Central Committee has dumped $385,000 into Bill Berryhill's state Senate campaign. When the dust settles, it will be interesting to see where the committee's money came from. Friday afternoon was the deadline for the latest campaign money reports, so we'll have a better picture early this week.
I don't know that it's doing him any good in his campaign for Congress, but Jose Hernandez is getting a lot of exposure from a different kind of advertising a nationwide "Got Milk?" campaign timed to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month. The former astronaut is appearing in magazine ads with New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz and with Karla Martinez, co-host of "Despierta America" (Wake Up America) on Univision. And yes, Cruz and Hernandez sport the telltale milk moustaches.
Our sibling paper, The Sacramento Bee, has put together an interactive voter guide that will be helpful to those wanting to know more about the state propositions and about races at the north end of our valley. http://c3.thevoterguide.org/v/sacbee12.
Sly is editor of the Opinions pages. Contact her at (209) 578-2317 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @judysly.