Here it is–my guide to all those things, big and small and some you never heard of, on your Oakland ballot. Hopefully, you’re an vote-by-mail kinda person or you better bring your snacks with you to the polls, you’ll be there awhile. Let’s begin:
Congress- Barbara Lee still speaks for me and is upping the ante by running for a leadership position in the Democratic Caucus, but the vote won’t happen until after the November election. https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Barbara-Lee-may-run-for-Democratic-leadership-13035188.php
US Senate- Kevin de Leon– California State Senator de Leon has led our state legislature to pass many innovative, progressive bills: protecting immigrants, enacting criminal justice reform and providing much needed funding for affordable housing. He has been endorsed by the California Democratic Party which sees him as the future of progressive Democratic leadership.
Gavin Newsom- He’s never been my favorite politician but I think he may turn out to be a little more family friendly, that is for working families, than good ole Jerry who prefers pet projects and the veto pen to programs that benefit children in the ways that seriously reduce inequities. The Republican is just the same old recycled austerity for us and everything else for the top 1%.
Jovanka Beckles– Assembly District 15, including Montclair, North Oakland and all the way beyond Richmond and parts of Contra Costa county. Her opponent Buffy Wicks is not the devil as she has often been portrayed by local progressives but she has no public record, only credentials from mainstream Democrats in the Obama regime. As most of us know, some of DC’s accomplishments don’t play so well locally. Jovanka has a record of fighting corporate behemouths like Chevron and enacting local renters’ protectections, etc.
Rob Bonta– Bonta is running for well-deserved reelection as one of the innovative leaders in the Assembly, the more conservative of the Sacramento-based bodies fighting for and winning on the issues like, net neutrality, the end of money bail, funding or our schools and more.
Tony Thurmond-Thurmond gave up his AD 15 seat to run for State Superintendent of Schools. He started out as a school board member in Richmond and cares about protecting programs for all our kids, not the privatizing of our public school system as his opponent is noted for.
Other State Offices-Vote Democratic:
Lieutenant Governor-Senator Ed Hernandez
Xavier Becerra- Attorney General
Ricardo Lara- Insurance Commissioner
Alex Padilla- Secretary of State
Betty Yee-Controller, one of our real grassroots folks who made to Sac and needs to stay.
State Board of Equalization, District 2- Malia Cohen
County Assessor-Jim Johnson has the most experience while Phong La has the most endorsements. It would be difficult for someone outside this office to know which of them would do the best job or how to measure what they have done. Take your pick.
Confirming Judges to the California Supreme Court
Ok, I have asked around and gotten no information on these votes, which are confirmations as the governor does the appointing, so I went to Ballotopedia and have tried to glean some clues, but bring your breadcrumbs-this is meant as background info not as endorsements.
Carol Corrigan- She’s been on the court since 2005 and was appointed by Schwarzenegger. According to Ballotopedia, she scores as a conservative justice https://ballotpedia.org/Carol_Corrigan
Leondra R. Kruger- She was recently appointed by Jerry Brown and is the 2nd African-American woman to serve on the court. https://ballotpedia.org/Leondra_Kruger
Confirming Justices to the Court of Appellate Courts
If you click on this link, https://ballotpedia.org/California_First_District_Court_of_Appeal, you can see the names listed on your ballot, eight of them. You can see who appointed them and read their bios. [Very liberal attorney friends of mine note that judges should not be voted out unless they have committed malfeasance, which is probably a good yard stick to apply if we actually want some semblance of judicial neutrality.] It’s difficult to get much more info but think on this-most of them have been district attorneys-which means they’ve been a part of our criminal justice system in which the concept of justice plays only a small part. If we want to change this system, we’ll need to elect and appoint people with differing backgrounds, not just those who’ve spent years putting poor people in prison.
Our bizarre initiative industry results in yet again some progressive measures, some very regressive and some too complicated to be understood by people with lives to attend to.
Prop 1-Yes– authorizes additional general obligation bonds toward existing affordable housing programs for low-income residents including infill, mobile homes, and transit-oriented housing.
Prop 2-Yes– authorizes the former Prop 63, millionaires tax, to be spent also on housing and wrap-around services for homeless who are also mentally ill. The original bill did not specify allowing its use for housing. This prop amends that.
Prop 3-No– Water Bonds- The League of Women Voters, the Sierra Club and this blog (among many others) oppose this as irresponsible and a give-away to big water users while making the rest of us pay. The Sierra Club says it: 1) sidesteps oversight 2) removes accountability 3) robs Californians and 4) raids climate funds. Understanding who controls California’s most precious commodity is a long read but the bottom line is that it has always been the giant agricultural industry and this would exacerbate that.
Prop 4-No– Hospital Construction Bonds-The League of Women Voters (LWV) states, “While the League supports quality healthcare for all Californians, Prop 4 would use $1.5 billion in public, general obligation bond money to support privately-owned children’s hospitals, along with five children’s hospitals in the University of California system. State funds should not be used to support private facilities. This principle stands even when, as is the case in this measure, the facilities serve severely ill children….These are capital improvements that could be funded either through revenues the private hospitals generate or through capital campaigns (where, for example, a building is named after a donor).”
Prop 5-No– Property Tax -This prop, put forward by the Association of Realtors, would give older buyers the opportunity to retain their Prop 13 tax breaks even when buying homes of greater value than their original home. It is a measure which would once again deplete funds for school districts and municipalities while helping the wealthier residents. It’s a clear expansion of Prop 13 which ultimately will come back at us in the form of more parcel taxes to cover the losses.
Prop 6-No, No– Gas Tax Repeal-We have some of the worst roads in the country and this would repeal the gas and car registration taxes that is already in place and just beginning the rebuilding process. We can’t afford to allow more deterioration of our transportation infrastructure which includes roads, bridges and public transit.
Prop 7- Whatevs– Daylight Savings Time-It would not institute year round Daylight Savings Time or the other way around. It just gives our legislature the ability to amend it IF the federal government decides to change one or the other.
Prop 8-Yes– Limits Profits from Dialysis Clinics-Yes- According to Ballotopedia, “A “yes” vote supports requiring dialysis clinics to issue refunds to patients or patients’ payers for revenue above 115 percent of the costs of direct patient care and healthcare improvements.” Those costs don’t include advertising or other types of overhead.
To find out more about this giant and lucrative industry, check out this quote in an East Bay Express article about Bryan Parker, “Everything is growing at DaVita: Stock values, income, the number of clinics. But there’s a dark side to the Denver-based company’s expansion: DaVita has been rocked by numerous lawsuits that have alleged malpractice, wrongful death, Medicare fraud, corruption, harassment, and retaliation. The company also has been the target of federal and state investigations, and has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements,” in which I learned more about DaVita’s creepy practices than I did about the well-dressed Mr. Parker. https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/who-is-bryan-parker/Content?oid=3868243
Prop 9 was pulled-so no, you can’t vote to split California into 3 pieces.
Prop 10-Yes, Yes, Yes– Affordable Housing Act- Repeal Costa Hawkins- I love this prop though I cringe every time I hear the cheesy logo, “the rent is too damn high.” In fact all it does is return local control to municipalities to decide what kind of renters’ protections it wants and needs. The ridiculous policy known as the Costa-Hawkins bill removed the right of cities and towns to decide which buildings and when to impose some types of tenant protections so that the average person, middle management and professional, with a family or without can now not afford to rent a home in most of California’s job centers. Since they also can’t buy this begins to limit economic development in addition to causing serious harm to many individuals to live in stable homes.
The ultimate result is that homelessness has increased by almost 40% over the last 3 years in places like Oakland. The initiative does not impose rent controls on any building, does not slow development, does not provide protections on its own, it simply allows local governments to enact ordinances they deem necessary to protect their average residents well-being. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to decide these things for ourselves–because the rental housing industry sees the handwriting on the tent sheets-the rent is too damn high. From Ballotopedia, “The California Democratic Party’s executive committee endorsed Proposition 10, while the California Republican Party’s leadership decided to oppose the ballot initiative. Amy Schur, campaign director for the Alliance for Community Empowerment (ACCE), responded to opponents who said that decreasing rents requires more housing, not rent control. She said, “That [building] is slow and expensive. In the meantime, the only policy step that will address the severe displacement crisis in the short term is the expansion of reasonable rent control.”[
Everything you wanted to know about Prop 10–thanks to Katy Murphy
Prop 11-No– Regulates Private Sector Paramedics Breaks- Forces private sector paramedics to stay on duty during breaks, reversing a court ruling to
prevent the practice.
Prop 12-No– Changes Regulations for Confinement of Farm Animals- This is another tricky one. If you kinda remember voting on a similar measure not too many years ago, you’re right but no matter how humane this measure sounds, it apparently weakens those previously passed regulations and limits. This is what the Chronicle reported about how it compares to previous measures- https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/What-makes-a-chicken-cage-free-California-ballot-13284741.php. More- https://stoptherottenegginitiative.org/ Looks like we’ve been duped, not unusual in the initiative process, so I’m voting no.
From the mayor to the city auditor, controversies & choices abound. Let’s look at them:
Remember this is ranked choice voting. All city offices which have more than 2 choices can and should be ranked. Don’t waste a vote on ranking the same person more than once-it won’t count!
If your first choice doesn’t win, your second or third might, but don’t vote for someone who don’t want to win-the results may surprise you.
Mayor-1) Cat Brooks 2) Pamela Price 3) Saied Karamooz. See this blog for more info-
We cannot expect to stop the wholesale hollowing out of our city a la San Francisco if we re-elect Libby. Don’t let her play the Trump card. She has done little to nothing to protect immigrants, working families or small businesses or to prevent unequal treatment at the hands of law enforcement. Check this video for more on Cat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvmvfThtGQI
City Council District 2- 1)Nikki Fortunato Bas 2) Kenzie Smith https://www.facebook.com/Nikki4Oakland/videos/230231464305623/
For more info on all the city council candidates, see https://draketalkoakland.com/2018/08/23/towards-a-new-city-council-in-turbulent-times/
City Council District 4- 1) Nayeli Maxson 2) Sheng Thao Either order will get you a great council member so vote either of them 1 or 2 and Pamela Harris as number 3.
City Council District 6- No Endorsement-See above blog
City Auditor- Courtney Ruby with reservations. No to Roberts.
Oakland School Board
District 4- Clarissa Doutherd is a wonderful choice for parents, teachers, and students. She is the only candidate who can make disaffected parents who have felt for years that the board has not heard them together with employees who no longer trust the
administration. She knows what our struggling student population needs. She is running against Gary Yee who was once on the board and in the administration and proved to be a go-along to get-along guy. He now has the support of pro-charter organizations and their millionaire backers, sad to see. As the president of Parent Voices she has plenty of experience with budgets. Vote Clarissa.
District 2 & 6- Aimee is running unopposed and has stepped up her support of local control. Shanthi Gonzalez has been on the board during a very tumultuous period. She has disappointed some but as she diligently works with her constituents while not afraid to alter course after study and communication with the school community, it’s important to continue to support her.
Peralta Community College District
Linda Handy and Corean Todd- no endorsement. I have known and worked with Linda on issues and found her responsive and progressive. However, I have never attended a board meeting and am aware that there are many concerns about how the current board has handled the monies from parcel taxes, dealing with their unions and declining enrollment. I like Corean but don’t think she has a grasp of the issues yet. She has the support of the Peralta College unions, however, so she has contributions to make to the district if she stays involved.
Cindi Reiss– Area 5-She is the easy choice for change because her background as a community college teacher and member of the California Academic Senate prepares her to understand the complexity of the issues. She has pledged to keep her constituents informed as the incumbent has never bothered to do.
AC Transit At Large
Dollene Jones- a bus driver, knows the problems of this large bus district and should be supported against her very dubious opponent.
BART Director District 4-No Endorsement
Robert Raburn is listening to the community more than he had back when he assisted the General Manager as she pushed the unions into a strike. His opponent, Paul Cummings, is an old-style Republican who cannot win.
Oakland & Regional Measures
And you thought you had waded through controversial and complex initiatives. Well, the city has a surprise for you-6 city measures, 2 Peralta College measures and one from the East Bay Regional Parks.
Peralta College District Measures
Measure E-Maybe No- This is a continuation of a $48 parcel tax to provide tutoring and teacher support that enables students to get specialized help. Since we’re already paying it and it’s modest in comparison to other parcel taxes, the tendency would be to say yes. However, even the former chair of the oversight committee for this tax, argues against it, saying it is being misspent and some of the board members initially recommended a “no” vote. There is an audit somewhere purporting that it’s doing the job so a resounding–maybe for this.
Measure G-Maybe Yes- This is a new measure for monies for building projects which may be needed but given the strife on the board, we can’t bring ourselves to vote for both. Please reorganize the board or the administration of these important institutions if you want us to keep sending additional monies. But we’re inclined to support this more than E as it seems to be a clearer mandate -more likely to be spent on what it stipulates to. It is, however, not a flat rate and may run you more money when you pay your property taxes.
V-Yes- Changes the way Cannabis taxes are paid including deductions for raw materials and may make our local businesses more competitive.
W-Yes- Vacant property taxes. Levies a hefty fine on vacant residential and unused land parcels with exclusions for certain uses like community gardens and difficult to build sites. The funds raised would go toward homeless services and blight removal.
X-Yes- Progressive Increases in the Real Estate Transfer Tax- which means it is only levied when the property changes ownership.
Y-Yes- Closes the Just Cause and Rent Control loophole on duplexes and triplexes.While this measure is not without its controversies particularly among small landlords who say that because they often live in the same building as their tenants, it should not apply to them; however, tenants say the loophole has been used to jack up rents and displace renters from their homes.
Z-Yes- This specifies work place protections against harassment and abuse in hotels where this type of practice has been rampant but little known until recently. It also increases the minimum wage for hotel workers. My only quibble is the creation of a new city department to oversee it but I understand the reasoning behind it as the city often fails to oversee these types of laws.
AA-Maybe- The Children’s Initiative of 2018- This is another hefty parcel tax following on the heels of the previous elections’ measures, particularly Measure KK for roads and housing. The point of it should not be missed. California under Prop 13 and this governor has consistently underfunded programs for young children and college costs for low-income children (or middle class families for that matter.)
The $200 per year parcel tax (with deep exemptions for low-income homeowners) would be split, 62% for early childhood placements through OUSD and 31% for college funds with a non-profit chosen by committee to oversee those monies. The outline of services is very complex and rather vague because the needs are great and complex. It may not pass-requires 2/3’s vote- just because of all that. The other reason is that many see this as a vanity project for Mayor Libby Schaaf. Don’t base your decision on how you feel about the mayor-after all we might get a new mayor-but on the tremendous need and whether you feel you can afford it. If you believe you can stretch a bit so that the next generation, already very shortchanged, might have the educational opportunities denied to their parents, say yes.
East Bay Regional Parks
FF-Yes- This is a continuation of a $12 year tax on preserving our wonderful parks including wildfire protection. What could be nicer?