James Goodno

James B. Goodno writes about politics and policy in the American West and Southeast Asia.

Recent Articles

At Bay

SAN FRANCISCO -- Will Matt Gonzalez soon become the Green Party's first mayor of a major U.S. city? Gonzalez faces centrist Democrat Gavin Newsom in a Dec. 9 runoff election in San Francisco. And while the smart money is on Newsom, who ran well ahead of Gonzalez in a crowded Nov. 4 general election, there is reason to believe that a tight race is possible. The election may come down to whether San Francisco's large constituency of progressive Democrats can bring themselves to back a Green for local office. Gonzalez, who is currently president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, won 40,714 votes in November, compared with the 87,196 votes claimed by Newsom, who is also a supervisor. But candidates who ran to Newsom's left grabbed an additional 72,539 votes -- and of those, 54,898 went to two candidates who share Gonzalez's progressive populism. (This is San Francisco, after all, so the lone conservative combined with a trio of fringe candidates to total fewer than 8,000 votes.)...

Philippine Folly

Americans don't fare well in the historic memory of residents of the Sulu Archipelago, a Muslim-dominated group of islands in the far southwestern Philippines. In one 1906 incident, U.S. troops under the command of Gen. Leonard Wood killed more than 1,000 ethnic Tausugs, leaving a bitter animosity that survives to this day. "It is a scar left by the Americans that cannot be healed," Gerry Salapuddin, the Philippine House of Representatives' deputy speaker for Mindanao, a group of islands in the southern part of the country that encompasses Sulu, recently told the Philippine Daily Inquirer . "We do not want to repeat the mistakes of history." Repeating the mistakes of history pretty well captures what the U.S. and Philippine governments appear ready to do in the Sulu and other parts of the Mindanao region. With little debate and even less sense, the Bush administration is poised to rush U.S. troops into a politically and militarily dangerous conflict. With public attention focused on...

Westward Ho!

P at Williams was happy to get back to Montana. "It was like going to an island of victory to be in Helena," says the former nine-term member of Congress. A Democratic progressive, Williams witnessed the election-day desperation of his party in the nation's capital. But in Montana, Democrats gained ground in the state legislature, re-elected U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and captured the important Public Service Commission (PSC). And they weren't alone in claiming victory in the interior West. Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming voters picked Democratic governors, ending the Republican grip on that position in the West's eight landlocked states. Democrats even made gains in solidly Republican Idaho, doubling their still small presence in the state legislature. But progress hasn't been easy. Away from the Pacific coast, the Republicans remain the dominant party in most western states, and this fall Republicans claimed clear victories in Colorado, Utah, Nevada and eastern Oregon. Much of this...

Herrera's Winning Hand

"D ario [Herrera] is the best one-on-one campaigner I've ever seen," says Paul Brown, Las Vegas coordinator of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), and after a day going door-to-door with Herrera in the city's new 3rd Congressional District, I don't doubt it. A 29-year-old Democrat and a member of the powerful Clark County Commission that governs greater Las Vegas, Herrera is battling down to the wire against Jon Porter, an insurance executive and a Republican state senator, in a closely watched race in a swing-state district almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Both national parties are throwing resources into the campaign, believing it will help determine the face of the next Congress. Early on, Herrera faltered badly when allegations of ethical slipups caused him to fall far behind in the polls. "I thought Porter had it locked up," says Hal Rothman, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas historian and close observer of all things Vegas. In August,...