The 10 Most Important Choices on Your Local Ballot

As former Congressman Tip O’Neil was fond of saying, “All Politics are local.”  Our Congresswoman Barbara Lee is the perfect example of that. She started out as a social worker and a staffer for Ron Dellums-who himself was a Berkeley Council Member first-she moved to the Assembly and then onto Congress where she reps us well. She understands the foundation on which progressive national politics are built. Here are some local races and issues to follow closely as bellwethers to our future.

  1. US SenateKevin de Leon has about as much chance of winning this time around as I have of picking the lottery numbers. But Senator De Leon is a leader for California’s future, please do what you can to support him and more progressive policies from our senators in DC. He has already succeeded in making Feinstein take better positions.
  2. Assembly District 15Jovanka Beckles has gathered a movement around her that represents the true diversity of her district. She has a track record, unlike her opponent, and that is how her opponent, besides pulling in gobs of donations has gotten where she is, because she has no baggage. A vote for Jovanka is a repudiation of the idea that hard work and service should count for less than a blank slate slathered with money.
  3. Tony ThurmondState School Superintendent-It’s important that we elect Tony to this position, not a school privatizer promoted shamefully by Obama’s privatizer-in-chief Arne Duncan.
  4. Cat Brooks and Pamela Price for Oakland Mayor (Saied Karamooz is my 3rd choice.) This is such an important election-we have a chance to beat a corporate technocrat in favor of two leaders who have built responsive movements here and have been able to engage the next generation of Oaklanders to take part in their own governance. Both of these women have grown as result of these movements while the incumbent seems to have become a caricature of an Oakland social justice advocate, unrecognizable in either guise.   https://www.catbrooksforoakland.com
  5. Oakland City Council– I’m going to fudge the numbers here and name 3 great candidates-Nikki Fortunato Bas is the proven leader we need for District 2. If you’re in District 4, either Nayeli Maxson or Sheng Thao-if you use your RCV ballot and mark it for women candidates, you can’t lose. I also really like Pam Harris but have been put off by her embrace of the police union, which remains one of the most regressive forces in Oaklanders’ daily lives.
  6. Clarissa Doutherd for District 4 School Board-her election can be the beginning of a new kind of board, one which is steeped in service and knowledge of its constituency and the desire to build a responsive and responsible budget.
  7. State Proposition 1-YES-In all the land lord and real-estate-generated anger against Prop 10, we have almost forgotten that we need more funding to build low income housing. These bonds will help us do that.
  8. State Props 5 & 6-NO-these are both regressive measures that limit our ability to improve infrastructure and provide local funding for all kinds of needs.
  9. State Props: YES on Prop 10– It doesn’t automatically enact rent controls and it certainly doesn’t take away homeowners rights but it does give us the ability to make local decisions on how to stabilize rents and staunch the flow of residents onto the streets. And it removes a law that throttles our local governments’ ability to decide how to best stabilize rents while maintaining profitability to rental property owners. Our state economy cannot continue to grow if we can only house the wealthiest residents.
  10. Oakland Propositions-YES on W and Y-Both provide opportunities to stabilize affordable housing. W, as a vacant property tax, provides funding towards more housing and services for the unhoused while Y can provide just cause protections for those in smaller properties. Y does have some downsides but these are not outweighed by the need for basic renter protections.

There’s lots more stuff on your Oakland ballot but while I’m at it, if you live in Berkeley, Please vote to return Kate Harrison to Council District 4. She is one of the most thoughtful, principled politicians in Berkeley and has been targeted by the Berkeley police union and other regressive forces for her votes against Urban Shield and for democratic oversight of BPD. Berkeley needs her voice.

In addition to marking your ballots, you should be helping out on a campaign either locally or by writing postcards, visiting Nevada, or one of California’s Republican Congressional Districts or donating, calling or texting to other states. Voting is the least you can do. Our remaining democracy hangs in the balance. See:

Swing Left East Bay–

Indivisable East Bay–

Flip the 14 

Flip Rural Nevada–

After you knocked on your neighbors’ doors, donated, texted or phoned for your local and some national offices–see you at the election night parties! You’ve earned it!









1 Comment on "The 10 Most Important Choices on Your Local Ballot"

  1. How about the ballot measures to vote no on? Oakland AA is the top of my list. $9 million/year out of the total $30/million (plus inflation) is what we’re getting charged for providing $18 million/year for early childhood ed that gets spent the way a board appointed by the mayor wants to spend it. That $9 million goes to our Mayor’s pet project to “”induce a college-bound identity and college-going culture” in low income students. For the next 30 years.

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