Marga’s Recommendations on 2018 California Propositions

Prop 10 is the most important proposition in the ballot. It allows cities to pass rent control ordinances that stop gentrification and social disruptions.

We previously published Alfred Twu’s beautifully illustrated guide to the California propositions, but I (Marga Lacabe) personally voted differently in a few.  So here are my personal recommendations:

Prop 1: YES

It authorizes $4 billion in affordable housing bonds. We have a housing affordability crisis in California and this is a logical way to address it.

Prop 2: NO

It authorizes $2 billions in bonds, to be paid back by an existing tax on millionaires, to fund supportive housing for people with mental health issues.  The Green Party believes this is a giveaway to building interests and that there are more economical ways to provide this housing.  I’m unsure enough to vote against it.

Prop 3: NO

We just passed a water bond in June, but agriculture and dam interests are hoping we’ve forgotten.  This one would authorize almost $9 billion in bonds to pay for specific projects supported by the interests behind this bond.  The Sierra Club opposes it.

Prop 4: YES

It authorizes $1.5 billion bond for children’s hospitals expansions and retrofits.

Prop 5: NO

It provides property tax breaks for the rich.  Bad idea.

Prop 6: NO

It repeals the gas tax.  While I’m usually opposed to regressive taxes, the gas tax is used to fund transportation projects.  Moreover, from an environmental/climate change point of view, we need higher gas taxes to discourage needless driving and gas-chugging vehicles.

Prop 7: NO

This proposition would have California adopt year-round daylight savings time.  I wouldn’t oppose it if the whole country moved to it – but I don’t like the idea of being in a different time zone than the rest of the West Coast for half the year.

Prop 8: NO

This proposition essentially limits the profits commercial dialysis companies make to 15% over costs.  The danger here is that this will lead companies to inflate costs in ways that would not benefit patients and to close clinics in areas where most of the residents are in public assistance.  Dr. Ron Birbaum offers a solid analysis of the measure.

Prop 10: YES

It eliminates the state-wide prohibition on municipalities passing rent stabilization ordinances.

Prop 11: NO

It allows companies that employ paramedics to not pay them for breaks when they are on call.

Prop 12: YES

This measure sets minimum amounts of room for chickens, pigs and some cows.  The problem is that the space allotted is still too low, but it’s higher than current regulations so it’s a step in the right direction.

In Alameda County, These are the Best Candidates for AC Transit and BART Boards

We are not experts on transportation, so take our recommendations with a grain of salt.


At-Large: Dollene Jones

Dollene Jones

Dollene Jones

We repeat here, our recommendations from 2014:

Joel Young, the incumbent for this seat, should not be re-elected.  Not only did he have a nasty domestic abuse scandal which derailed his campaign for Assembly several years ago, but he was caught taking confidential AC Transit information for use in his private practice as a lawyer.  That’s the type of unethical behavior that we should not condone on our elected officials.

Alas, he’s been good to a segment of Labor and they are backing him.  This support was enough to scare off strong potential challengers.  Dollene Jones  is a retired bus driver who lives and breathes buses. She goes to meetings, she knows the system, and while her overall knowledge may be limited, it’s ampler than her opponent.

Ward 4: No Recommendation

As a matter of principle, we like contested elections because they provide voters the opportunity to make a choice between candidates and make their displeasure known with incumbents that have not done an acceptable job.  However, candidates who step up to challenge incumbents need to be half-way serious.  Elections cost taxpayers money and voters time.  Nicholas Harvey, who is challenging incumbent Mark Williams in this race, is simply not a serious candidate.  He is running for four other offices (EBMUD board, Hayward School Board, Eden Health District Board and Fairview Fire Protection District) at the same time.  No serious candidate should run – much less serve – in more than one elected position at the same time (with the obvious exception of a party’s central committee).

Incumbent Mark Williams is a progressive, but he was fined by the FPPC for not filing any campaign finance statements since 2011.  He seems to be taking his re-election for granted, and doesn’t even have a campaign website.

Diane Shaw
Diane Shaw

Ward 5: Diane Shaw

Diane Shaw is new to politics but not to transportation.  She is a retired software systems manager for SamTrans and a regular bus rider.  She has an overall progressive ideology, has a thorough understanding of the issues facing AC Transit and the intelligence to deal with the challenges that present themselves to the Board.

Her opponent, Kewal Singh, has conflict of interests as he works at BART and represents transportation workers.  Moreover, he is a big supporter of mass surveillance and wants to see cameras, including those with facial recognition, all over buses and bus stops.


Robert Raburn
Robert Raburn

District 4: Robert Raburn

Incumbent Robert Raburn lives, sleeps and breathes BART.  A transportation expert with a PhD in Urban Studies from Cal, Raburn lead the East Bay Bicycle Coalition for many years.   He has spearheaded many innovative projects at BART, including a youth clipper card that provides half-priced fares and solar plants that will eventually power all of BART.

While we don’t always agree with Raburn and he is more conservative than other members, his opponent is a Republican.

anu natarajan bart
Anu Natarajan

District 6: Anu Natarajan 

This is a default recommendation as we never managed to talk with her opponent, Liz Ames.   But we are confident on supporting Anu because, while she is by no means a progressive, she is a thoughtful thinker very concerned with public policy, including on issues of policing and mass surveillance in BART.  We are encouraged that she has the support of Rebecca Saltzman and Lateefah Simon, the two most progressive members of the BART board.  Ames, meanwhile, is supported by the most conservatives members and the BART police union.


Progressive Voter Recommendations for Monterey County

Councilmember Alan HaffaThe following voter recommendations come from Monterey City Council member and Bernie Sanders delegate Alan Haffa


City Council: Tyller Williamson
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District: Amanda Whitmire
Monterey Peninsula Water Management District: George Riley
Measure S: YES
Measure J: YES

Seaside Mayor: Kayla Jones
Seaside Council: Jason Campell and Jon Wizard
Yes on J!!!
Monterey Peninsula College Trustee Area 1: Natalie Molina
Monterey Peninsula College Trustee Area 2: Yuri Anderson

Monterey Peninsula College Trustee Area 2: Yuri Anderson
Marina Coast Water Management District: Jan Shriner AND Matt Zefferman
YES on Measure N, P, V

Pacific Grove City Council: Jenny McAdams
Yes on Measure M, J, and U

Del Rey Oaks
Mayor: Alison Kerr
Monterey Peninsula Water Mangement District: George Riley
Yes on J



The California Legislature May Get a Progressive Makeover: Here Are the Candidates You Should Vote For

We have some amazing progressives running for California Assembly and Senate throughout California.  Most are facing great obstacles, and for that reason they need your votes, your money and your help.

State Assembly

AD 3Sonia Aery Sonia Aery

Sonia is a corporate free, super progressive running against the Republican incumbent.  The daughter of Indian immigrants, Sonia is running a spirited campaign. Please support her.

AD 10Dan Monte Dan Monte

Dan is a social justice advocate running a corporate-free campaign with a Bernie Sandes-like platform.  His opponent is corporate Democrat Marc Levine.  
AD 15: Jovanka Beckles

Jovanka is a Panamanian immigrant, mental health worker and Chevron-fighting City Council member in Richmond.  There, she has worked tirelessly to bring in community policing and rent control and to fight Chevron for poisoning the air and paying unfair wages.  In response, Beckles has been subjected to intense harassment by homophobic community members and Council members and had Chevron spent millions trying to defeat her at the polls – it failed.  We need people with her integrity, her passion and even-temperedness and her vision in the California Assembly.  Beckles has been endorsed by Our Revolution National and was previously endorsed by Bernie Sanders himself.

She is facing Buffy Wicks, a corporate candidate who promises to do nothing to rock the vote for the powerful oligarchical and corporate interests in the state.  She opposes basic human rights, including housing and health  and stands with the insurance companies to see healthcare as a profit making enterprise and with landlords to evict tenants.  Charter schools are spending obscene amounts of money to get her elected, knowing that she would put their interests before those of California children.  As a member of the 1%, she aims to serve the interests of the 1%.

AD 16: Rebecca Bauer-Kahan*

Bauer-Kahan is challenging incumbent Republican Catherine Baker, whose record of right-wing votes includes voting against overtime pay for farm workers.  Bauer-Kahan is a lawyer who, at least in private, expresses progressive views on both economic issues and civil liberties.  She is intelligent and personable.

District 18: Rob Bonta*

Since a progressive slate for California Democratic Party were elected against his own slate, Rob Bonta has recognized that his district is far more progressive than he is and has moved to the left.  He has introduced progressive legislation such as a measure to reform the bail system and has become a strong supporter of single payer healthcare.  He can be easily intimidated however – he introduced a bill that would allow for appeals for wrongly denied public record requests, but then killed it when some of his donors expressed opposition about it.  He needs more encouragement from the left to do the right thing.

Robert RivasAD 30 Robert Rivas 

A member of the  San Benito County Board of Supervisors, Rivas won the primary with the support of Berniecrats and environmental groups.


AD 33Socorro Cisneros Socorro Cisneros 

Socorro is a community activist and strong Berniecrat progressive facing Republican Jay Obernolte.


AD 63Maria Estrada Maria Estrada

Maria Estrada is a force of nature.  You have to be to decide to run against the second most powerful man in California (after Governor Brown): Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

Maria took the challenge, moving back to the district she grew up in and her family still lives in, so she could challenge an Assemblyman who betrayed not only his district, but all of California, by killing the single-payer bill that had passed the Senate.  With little money, and taking no corporate donations, this is a David vs Goliath fight against Rendon, but Maria has the strength of her convictions and her people.  Please help Maria defeat Rend’on.

Michelle Singleton

AD 67 Michelle Singleton

Michelle is a progressive Berniecrat running against Republian Melissa Melendez.


AD 71James Elia James Elia

James Elia is an exciting political talent.  He is as running as a Democratic Socialist in an uber-red district, and is unapologetic about his support of single payer for all, free college education and social programs.  He also has absolutely rejected corporate money, even when laundered through the Democratic Party.

James is impressive, however, because he has the authenticity that voters crave in a leader.  He tells it like it is, not trying to pretend he is more conservative than he is when talking to Republicans.  He is polite, he is intelligent and he makes a lot of sense.

AD 73Scott Rhinehart Scott Rhinehart 

Scott is a Bernie Sanders progressive and openly gay man running a courageous campaign in a very red Orange county district.  He oozes integrity.  Vote for him.

 Alan GeraciAD 75 Alan Geraci 

Alan is a consumer attorney that has represented hundreds of people whose homes were foreclosed by banks.  He is a Bernie Sanders progressive also running in a red district.

AD 76Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren

Among Berniecrats in California, Elizabeth is known as “Our Elizabeth Warren.” She is an uncompromising progressive, a fighter for the environment and against the TPP, who was appointed to the DNC platform committee by Bernie Sanders.  She is running a corporate-free campaign against a corporate Democrat.  She needs your support.

State Senate

SD 4 Phillip Kim 

A union organizer, Phillip is a hardcore Berniecrat running a corporate-free campaign against an established Republican.


SD 24peter choi  Peter Choi 

Peter is a progressive Democrat running against a moderate Democrat and DNC member who attacked Bernie Sanders during the primary.


SD 36Marggie Castellano Marggie Castellano 

Marggie is a documentary producer, an environmental activist and was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC.  She is running in a very red district.

Here are the Races You Can Comfortably Skip

Safe Democratic districts, lousy incumbents.

Assembly District 20

Incumbent Bill Quirk is an inconsistent politician.  He has been good on issue of surveillance, and less good on issues of social justice.  He originally voted against mandating overtime pay for farm workers.  He gets a “B” rating from the Courage campaign, which is almost an F given how progressive his district is.  Moreover, despite his support of marijuana legalization, he has supported right-wing local candidates running against progressives.

Assembly District 25

Kansen Chu has been a completely generic Assembly member for his district.  If he has any accomplishments, he hasn’t bothered to list them in specific terms.  Indeed, as homelessness increases in his district, he seems to be proudest of putting forward a proposition to change daylight savings.   Chu is also  part of the party machine and endorses right-wing candidates, including pro-mass incarceration Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley.

California State Senator District 10:

Incumbent Bob Wieckowski is what you can call an “establishment progressive”.  He will introduce progressive legislation, but will tug closely to the party’s leadership and ultimately do as he’s told.  For this reason, he ends up not fighting for the good bills he introduces and endorsing non-progressive candidates.  His district deserves better.

* These candidate did not support Bernie Sanders.

These are the Key Congressional Races for Progressives in California

The following recommendations are for select California races.  These are candidates that have the support of progressives/Berniecrats in their respective districts – even if the candidates themselves are not super-progressives themselves.  Real progressive candidates are highlighted.   Write ups for many of them are coming.

Audrey Denney
Audrey Denney

CD 1 Audrey Denney

Audrey Denney is a progressive Berniecrat running against a corrupt Republican in northern California.  She is as progressive as a candidate can be in that district and have a hope of winning.  She has our full support.

TV Commercial: 2018 Congressional Campaign #AudreyforCongress

Growing up on a farm, you learn pretty quick who you can count on. Unfortunately, Congressman Doug LaMalfa isn't one of them. LaMalfa sided with party leaders and against the North State by voting to cut Medicare, increase prescription costs, and endanger rural hospitals to please special interest groups that have given $1.3 million to Representative LaMalfa's campaigns. I'm Audrey Denney and I'll only work for you. That's why I'm not accepting any corporate contributions. We need a leader we can count on. Election Day is November 6th. Vote. This is one of our television commercials running in California's 1st Congressional district. #AudreyforCongress

Posted by Audrey Denney for Congress on Thursday, October 4, 2018

Jared Huffman
Jared Huffman

CD 2: Jared Huffman

Jared Huffman is an ethical environmentalist and climate champion who authored (among many environmental bills) the Keep It In The Ground Act to phase out all drilling for oil and move to green energy, and has fought for habitat protection and conservation on many occasions.  He was a chief lawyer for the NRDC before holding office, then an Assemblyman who forged bipartisan agreements back when that was possible. Before NRDC, Huffman was a public interest attorney whose victories included several major verdicts in gender discrimination and race discrimination trials.

Huffman is an ethical straight shooter, and interestingly, the only member of Congress who has been courageous enough to come out publicly as a non-theist.

Huffman supports Medicare For All, is a champion of civil rights and the separation of church and state, and is strongly anti-corruption. He makes himself accessible both by holding many town halls around Marin and Sonoma where he takes submitted questions– and by posting on Facebook, where he doesn’t mince words about the ethical, racial, environmental, legal, constitutional etc violations going on in Washington, and where he is often responsive to reader comments and questions. He’s also a pretty good singer and guitar player!

Jessica Morse

CD 4 Jessica Morse

She’s running against McClintock, a right-wing Republican that doesn’t even live in his district. .


BREAKING: #CA04 is sick of partisan politics & career-politicians who get us nowhere. I've worked for Democratic & Republican administrations, I know how to get bipartisan solutions for our community. Watch our new TV ad & chip in to keep it on the air!

Posted by Jessica Morse on Saturday, October 6, 2018


Josh Harder
Josh Harder

CD 10 Josh Harder

Running against Republican Dernham, who needs to go.

Barbara Lee
Barbara Lee

CD 13 Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee continues to represent her district well, standing up against war and militarization and for progressive issues.  This is a nobrainer vote.


Ro Khanna
Ro Khanna

CD 17 Ro Khanna

In the two years since his first election, Ro Khanna has become the progressive voice in Congress, speaking truth to power.  From calling on the DNC to eliminate superdelegates, to speaking out against war and a militaristic foreign policy, to embracing single payer health care and working across the aisle for jobs in middle America, Khanna is the ideal of a progressive statesman that other candidates can aspire to.  Plus he is corporate-free.

Anna Eshoo
Anna Eshoo

CD 18 Anna Eshoo

Representative Anna Eshoo has been an excellent fighter for the left in her term in office. She has fought for net neutrality (Filed an amicus brief with the DC Superior Court), clean money (Cosponsored H. Res. 1043, Prohibiting Members of Congress from Serving on Corporate Boards), voter turnout (Introduced H.R. 6880, the Election Day Holiday Act), affordable housing ( Cosponsored H.R. 6671, the Rent Relief Act of 2018 ), polled her constituents for questions to ask Zuckerberg and actually used the responses, and of course, was the woman with the courage to bring Dr. Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Tatiana Matta
Tatiana Matta

CD 23 Tatiana Matta

Matta is a progressive Berniecrat running a corporate free campaign.

Service Before Self

I’m Tatiana Matta. A mother, military spouse, school board member, nonprofit leader, and veterans advocate. I'm running for Congress in California's 23rd District. This is my mission. Join me!Share the video and help us win: 👉

Posted by Tatiana Matta on Friday, October 12, 2018

CD 25 Katie Hill

Hill is running against Trumpist Republican Steven Knight.

Kenneth Mejia
Kenneth Mejia

CD 34 Kenneth Mejia

Kenneth Mejia is a progressive Berniecrat running as a Green against a Democrat in a progressive district.

It's time to be Revolutionary | Kenneth Mejia

Los Angeles, elect a U.S. Representative who doesn't take corporate money, who will fight for bold legislation to make healthcare, housing, education, & a clean Green environment Human Rights. You have the chance on November 6 to break the status quo & elect not only a public servant but a movement of integrity, compassion, & courage.Far too often we hear from our representatives on both sides of the aisle the things we want to hear but every so often those same representatives are still catering to the very people & corporations who oppose the change we desperately need. That is why we are running to break the status-quo!If you live in Los Angeles Congressional District 34, vote for Kenneth Mejia on November 6th. • Downtown Los Angeles• Parts of Echo Park• Highland Park• Cypress Park• Garvanza• Glassell Park• Westlake• Koreatown• Historic Filipinotown • Chinatown• Little Bangladesh• Little Tokyo• Boyle Heights• Eagle Rock• Mount Washington• Montecito Heights• Lincoln Heights• City Terrace• El Sereno• Monterey Hills• Pico Union• MacArthur ParkFind out more at time for medicare for all, universal rent control, tuition free public college, cancellation of student debt, 100% clean renewable energy, raising social social security, guaranteeing jobs, and ending all wars is long over due. We need representatives who will be vocal and on the front lines who aren't afraid to speak truth to power and go after those destroying our communities. Our campaign is a 100% volunteer run campaign. We have no PAC money, corporate money, union money, or even any large individual dollar donations. We are running the most bare bones people powered campaign. We are lucky and humbled that every financial reporting period, we have out-raised our corporate Democratic Congressman in small dollar donations. Volunteer and donate at More info: us on social media:Instagram: created by: Tommy Tang ( by: LIVE FOOTAGE ( #mejiaforcongress #mejiaesmejor #yesweken #ocasiocortez #berniesanders #jillstein #greenparty #losangeles #echopark #angelinoheights #dodgers #dtla #koreatown #cypresspark #littletokyo #littlebangladesh #westlake #glassellpark #highlandpark #lincolnheights #cityterrace #eaglerock #jimmydore #publichousing #universalrentcontrol #tenantsrights #CA34 #BoyleHeights #Koreatown #HighlandPark #EagleRock #dtla #echopark #glassellpark #cypresspark #elsereno #cityterrace #mtwashington #ocasio2018 #berniesanders #demexit #SinglePayer #HousingIsaHumanRight #CostaHawkins #Yeson10 #Macarthurpark #RentControl #mejiaforcongress

Posted by Kenneth Mejia for Congress on Thursday, August 2, 2018

Gil Cisneros
Gil Cisneros

CD 39 Gil Cisneros

Running against Republican Ed Royce.

rodolfo cortes barragan
Rodolfo Cortes Barragan

CD 40 Rodolfo Cortes Barragan

Rodolfo Cortes Barragan is a corporate-free, millennial, Green progressive. He believes in rent control, tuition-free college, and guaranteed healthcare. He was born to Mexican immigrants and grew up in Los Angeles, going on to be the first in his family to acquire a PhD. Rodolfo found his way to activism through campaigning for Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and then Kenneth Mejia.

In CA-40, incumbent congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard has been in office since 1993. She recently voted to arm Trump with more nuclear weapons. She voted against impeachment. It’s time to replace her.

Rodolfo is running Green – the only challenger against 13-term Democratic Party Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. He aims to use the status and privilege associated with the U.S. House of Representatives to call for a bold new direction for the people of District 40 and for humanity as whole. Establishment, neglectful politicians like Roybal-Allard serve the war-profiteers, polluters, and even those who run concentration camps for immigrant children. Rodolfo believes it is time to defeat these enemies of shared prosperity and to establish a society that can thrive sustainably on Earth. We must defeat the corporate state.

Julia Peacock
Julia Peacock

CD 42 Julia Peacock

Julia is a very strong progressive  school teacher running against a Republican

Nanette D. Barragán
Nanette D. Barragán

CD 44 Nanette D. Barragan

Despite missteps on foreign policy, Barragan is mostly a progressive and she was endorsed by Bernie

Katie Porter
Katie Porter

CD 45 Katie Porter

Porter is a consumer law professor and an Elizabeth Warren protege.  She’s running against Republican Mimi Walters.

It's time for Fiscal Common Sense

When the $1.9 Trillion deficit created by the current Trump Tax Plan comes due, regular Orange County families will be the ones left holding the bill. Mimi Walters supported this tax break for the 1% and big corporations, but I don't. Send me to Washington to put actual fiscal common sense back in office.

Posted by Katie Porter on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Harley Rouda
Harley Rouda

CD 48 Harley Rouda

Rouda is running against a Trump minion with ties to Russia.

Ammar Campa-Najjar
Ammar Campa-Najjar

CD 50 Ammar Campa-Najjar

Ammar is a strong corporate-free progressive running against a corrupt Republican under federal indictment.

Today, this will officially air on TV.We intend to run a campaign that is honest, fair and transparent. No one is above the law and we have a duty not to let those who make our laws get away with breaking them.I give Speaker Ryan credit for stripping Hunter of his committee responsibilities and I have faith that the voters in my district will strip him of his responsibilities as Congressman. Integrity and responsibility isn't a Republican issue or Democratic issue – it's an American issue and I am ready to put country over party.

Posted by Ammar Campa for Congress on Thursday, August 30, 2018

And Here are the Races You Can Comfortably Skip

Safe Democratic districts, lousy incumbents.

CD 12

It’s Nancy Pelosi running against a Republican in a safe district

CD 15 

Incumbent Eric Swalwell is more concerned with running for President in 2020 and attacking Trump that he is with representing his district.  He usually votes as told by Nancy Pelosi, though he sometimes crosses the aisle to vote with Trump in anti-civil liberties/anti-progressive legislation such as Kate’s Law and  the reauthorization of warrantless spying, as well as the gigantic defense budget.  He does not hold progressive values and does not deserve progressive votes.  He is in a safe Democratic district, running against a Republican.

For Alameda County Assessor the Real Progressive Choice is Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson

The County Assessor’s job is a professional job – not a political position.  It requires knowledge and experience.  Jim Johnson has worked in this office for 26 years while his opponent, Phong La, has no experience whatsoever.   I have spoken with employees of the assessors’ office who are very worried that if Johnson is not elected, the assessor’s office will be in chaos.  Property owners should take this very seriously.  Johnson has the support of the current County Assessor, as well as the other employees in the office.  Indeed, you can hear them yourself at his Facebook page – in English and  Spanish.

It is definitely true that the Democratic and Green Party establishment have thrown their weight behind La – albeit for different reasons.  Early in the election cycle, the Green Party sent Johnson a questionnaire in which he expressed opposition to a splitting Prop 13 so as to increase taxes on commercial property while keeping the low taxes on homes.  He answered in this manner because he does not believe that the role of the assessor is to express policy views, including about the need to change current laws.  Rather, he sees the job of the assessor as implementing the law, whatever it is.   His political inexperience led him to do some other political mistakes early on, but it would be foolish to punish a professional simply because he doesn’t know how to play politics.

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, supports Phong La because he is a well known political operative and contributor to Democratic candidates.  Most concerning to progressives is that in addition to running his own firm,  La works for a  privately held real estate holding company and is a real estate investor himself.  Just as worrisome is the fact that La amassed multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions – an unheard of  amount for a county assessor’s race.   Several of these contributions have been in the five figures, and come from both individuals and corporations.  As money in politics is never free, we are concerned about how La plans to repay such generosity by his contributors.  Recent corruption scandals involving the Los Angeles County and Contra Costa County assessors  come to mind.

We don’t know why La is running for assessor, but we do believe that if he wants to do the job, he should first apply to a junior position with the assessor’s office, learn the ropes and then run.

Meanwhile, I urge voters to vote for Berniecrat Jim Johnson for Assessor. 

It’s Time for a Change (Mostly): Here is Who to Vote for Community College Board

It’s extremely difficult for voters to know whom to support for Community College Boards.  For this reason, incumbents are usually automatically re-elected, sometimes serving for decades – and not necessarily doing a good job.

Here are our recommendations for community college boards.

Chike Udemezue
Chike Udemezue

Chabot – Las Positas Community College District, Area 2: Chike Udemezue (with reservations)

The incumbent in this race is retiring, so the choices are between two newcomers to politics.  Chike Udemezue is a Nigerian-born accountant and active member of the San Leandro community.  He has children in the local schools and is a member of the San Leandro Democratic Party.   We are recommending him with reservations because his knowledge of the community college system and the problems at Chabot is very rudementary.  However, his opponent is very problematic.  We will be casting a vote for Udemezue in this race.

His opponent, Linda Granger, is the former principal of San Leandro High School.  She was a weak and inefficient principal, and under her tenure the school experienced quite a bit of  “white/middle class flight”.  She left with little notice at the start of the fall semester of 2013, when it was too late for the District to hire a new principal.  She had failed to train any of the vice-principal to do her job, which meant San Leandro High was left in total chaos for a whole academic year.  Fortunately, the district hired two very skilled co-principals who have turned the school around, but none of this was thanks to Ms Granger.  It is difficult for us to believe that she has the best interests of students at heart and she is likely to be a negative addition to the Board.

Chabot – Las Positas Community College District, Area 3: No recommendation

Genevieve Randolph, the appointed incumbent in this race, is a professional school administrator, currently working as the assistant superintendent of human resources and administrative services in Belmont-Redwood Shores School District.  She is a woman of color and I’ve been told that she has good working relationship with other members of the College Board and is an effective School Board member.  However, she has very moderate political views.  She did complete the questionnaire I sent her.

Harpal Mann, her challenger, is a Union City planning commissioner.  He is ery committed to technical education and creating opportunities for working class immigrants and their children.  He is full of energy and out-of-the-box thinking, and is committed to having inclusive community colleges.   He seems very progressive, but seems to be a fan of some not-very-progressive politicians such as Eric Swalwell.

At this point, we cannot recommend one over the other, though we will not that Randolph is more likely to be elected as she’s running as an incumbent.

Richard Watters
Richard Watters

Ohlone Community College District Trustee, Area 1 (vote for 2):  Richard Watters (with reservations)

None of the candidates returned our questionnaires. Incumbent Vivien Larsen is a Democrat, but she endorsed Rick Jones for re-election, a candidate who is running with an “All Live Matters” and “Blue Lives Matter” message and who won’t acknowledge that Black and Latino lives matter.  This makes us concerned about Larsen’s commitment to the African American and Latino students she’s supposed to serve.  Challenger Stacy Graham is a Republican.  That leaves us with Richard Watters as the only candidate that we could possibly vote for on this race.  A college administrator, Watters has a reputation for being extremely knowledgeable on all matters associated with the college and being willing to challenge the Ohlone administration rather than rubber stamp what’s put before him.  We recommend him with reservations as we didn’t speak with him.

 Lovedeep Jhamat
Lovedeep Jhamat

Ohlone Community College District Trustee, Area 2 (vote for 2): Lovedeep “Love” Jhamat

Lovedeep Jhamat is an Ohlone graduate with a passion for the community college.  He has the support of students and graduates and has the reputation for being an easy person to get along with.  He is on the moderate side or progressives – he supports the 2nd amendment, for example – but seems to be the best choice in this race.

Incumbent Jan Giovannini-Hill has been on the Board for 8 years.  She’s known as a rubber stamper for whoever the Superintendent is.  When asked what her greatest accomplishment as a Trustee has been, she mentions making sure the campus police is armed.  She was to increase policing in the schools. Unsurprisingly, she’s been endorsed by Nancy O’Malley.  You should definitely not vote for her.

Tommy Bandy does not seem to be running a campaign, we couldn’t find a website or Facebook page for him and he did’t reply to our e-mail asking for an interview.  He appears to have been the Veteran Resouce Center Coordinator at Ohlone before taking a job with the Veteran’s administration.  Sue Chan is a former Fremont City Council member.  She was a moderate vote and did not advance or support any progressive legislation while in that office.  She also endorsed  Rick Jones

Tawney Warren
Tawney Warren

Ohlone Community College District Trustee, Area 2, Short Term: Tawney Warren 

There are two progressives in this race, Tawney Warren and Steven Worley.  They were both Bernie Sanders supported and are committed to giving students a quality education.  Worley is currently an instructor at Ohlone while Warren is a former student.  We are recommending Warren because she brings experience to the role: while at Ohlone, she was elected to be the Student Trustee so she has built-in understanding of the Board and its players as well as the issues the district faces.  Moreover, as a legally blind woman, Warren has an appreciation of the specific issues students with disabilities phase.

  Marty Froomin is a Republican. Tejinder Dhami is an establishment Democrat, someone more concerned about his political career than principles. He is a Rick Jones supporter for that reason.

Peralta Community College District Trustee, Area 3: Corean Todd (with reservations)

Incumbent Linda Handy has been in the Board for many years and she’s been a reliable rubber stamp for the Chancellor – a problem given Peralta’s issues financial issues at the moment and the lack of trust of professors in the colleges’ leadership.  There are also concerns about her ethics.

Challenger Corean Todd is an involved parents of younger students and a community member. She was recruited to run against Handy but when we heard her, in mid-September, she was painfully unprepared and seemed to know little about the issues concerning the district.  However, she has the support of the Peralta Federation of Teachers and the Oakland Education Association as well as the Green Party, and we believe she has the skills and intelligence to come up to speed and become a strong and independent voice.

Cindi Reiss
Cindi Reiss

Peralta Community College District Trustee, Area 5: Cindi Reiss

Cindi Reiss is the sort of candidate that you expect to see exciting crowds in a Presidential run, not one for Community  College Board.  She is dynamic, charismatic and brilliant.  An arts professor and a long-time active member of the State Academic Senate, Reiss was recruited by Peralta instructors to run for this seat a year ago – it took her six months to read through every report and document the District had generated and conclude that things were broken and she could figure out how to fix them.  Only then she accepted.   She has the strength to stand up to the college president and any administrator, and the charm to do so disarmingly.  I can only hope that after she fixes Peralta, she’ll run for higher office.

Her opponent, Bill Riley, is the exact opposite.  He’s been on the board for ages, rubber stamps what’s put before him, lacks new ideas and should have retired on his own.


Don’t Just Say Yes: How to Vote in California’s Judicial Races

The following recommendations (save for the one on Corrigan) come from progressive activist Carter Lavin.  We deeply appreciate his taking the time to research these judges.  

Carol Corrigan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: NO

Update: After consulting with other attorneys, we’ve found out that Corrigan is often a swing vote in the Court, sometimes siding with the liberals and sometimes with the conservatives.  California would be far better off is Newsom was able to appoint a more progressive justice.  We therefore recommend you vote against her.

Original write up: As a Supreme Court Justice, Corrigan  wrote two dissents to the Court’s finding that the California Constitution protected the right of gay people to marry.  However, Corrigan also seems to be the first lesbian to serve in the California Supreme Court.  She considers herself a moderate. We need to do more research on her record.

Leondra Kruger, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court:  YES

Kruger worked for Obama, could go further but rules narrowly so as to not rock the boat

James Humes, Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 1: YES

Ruled that a potential employer can be held to have violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act by deterring a pregnant woman from applying for a job through lying to her that there were no openings.

Sandra Marguiles, Associate Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 1   : NO

Ruled to allow the state to perform warrantless blood draws on motorists in a wider variety of circumstances.

James Richman, Associate Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 2: NO

Ruled against protecting public worker pensions

Marla Miller, Associate Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 2 : NO

Tried to protect the Governor’s office during the CPUC corruption issue.
Also ruled against tenant protections/Ellis Act reforms in SF

Peter John Siggins, Associate Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 3: YES

Siggins  was one of the justices who ruled that California’s prisons are overcrowded to the point of human rights violations

Alison Tucher, Associate Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 4: YES

When a lawyer did a ton of pro-bono work and got a person exonerated who was wrongfully convicted of murder.

Jon Steeter, Associate Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 4 : YES 

While in private practice sues the Federal Gov’t for holding immigrants without a chance of bail.

Barbara Jones, Associate Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 5: YES

Ruled in favor of the Raiders’ Cheerleaders in wage theft issue.

UPDATE: Here is another take on the judges’ races.

In San Leandro, Vote Shafer for Mayor and Arce & Aguilar for City Council

San Leandro, like many cities in the Bay Area, is in crisis.  About half of our community members are renters and skyrocketing rents are pushing them out of their homes, either displacing them out of the Bay Area or putting them on the streets.   This lack of community stability is affecting neighborhoods and schools, as the challenges of facing an ever-changing student population are significant.   Yet the City Council has done nothing to address this situation.   This is not surprising because the Rental Owners Association and landlords have poured money into the incumbents’ campaigns.

Lack of ethics and integrity is, indeed, a generalized problem in San Leandro city government.  The former City Manager, fearing that accusations of sexual harassment by the head of a local nonprofit would become public, sent out a rambling and utterly unprofessional letter to the press, in which he detailed how he’d have business meetings with his accuser in the front seat of her car and play ping-pong with a local lobbyist.  In the letter, he also discussed  the contents of private conversations with Council members.  Rather than fire him on the spot for unprofessional behavior, the Council put him on paid leave for months while he looked for a new job and and gave him  a $350K parting gift.

What San Leandro needs is progressive and ethical leadership, thus our recommendations below.  Note that San Leandro has ranked choice voting (RCV) for its Mayor and City Council races.

Jeromey Shafer

Mayor: #1 Jeromey Shafer, #2 Dan Dillman

Incumbent Pauline Cutter has been a disaster as Mayor of San Leandro.  She seems to have approached her job as a money-making scheme.  Early in her term, her daughter was hired by the City (with the approval of the City Manager) for a highly-paid position in the Parks and Recreation department – despite nepotism being explicitly forbidden by the Charter of the City of San Leandro.   Cutter would later defend the City Manager against sex harassment accusations, resist efforts to ask for his resignation after he wrote an unprofessional and incoherent public letter, and later vote to give him a $300K farewell gift on his way out.

Cutter has spent much of her time traveling at tax-payer expense, but she can’t point to any concrete accomplishments from her tenure.  The promise of San Leandro becoming a high tech center based on our fiberloop never materialized, and instead our industrial area is filled with warehouses that pay low wages.  Moreover, Cutter has supported police militarization and despite her promise that the counter-attack armored vehicle she voted to buy for the police would not be used on demonstrations, it’s been deployed twice for such purposes.  Cutter is a supporter of mass surveillance, including sharing this data with ICE.

Her opponent City Council member Benny Lee has basically the same record and positions.  He demonstrated his lack of ethics by taking large campaign contributions from a garbage company that was bidding  for a contract with the City of Oakland, and lobbied the neighboring City to award that contract to his contributor.  The competitor was based on San Leandro, so his move could have cost San Leandro $2 million.  Lee’s major “contribution” to San Leandro has been to propose honoring the genocidal Chinese government by flying its flag over City Council.  As Tibetans burn themselves to bring attention to their plight and a million Ughyurs are imprisoned in China, Lee’s loyalty seems to be foremost with the Chinese government.

Fortunately, San Leandro has another choice: Jeromey Shafer.  The co-founder of San Leandro for Bernie and leader of Our Revoution San Leandro, Shafer is intelligent, hard working, thoughtful and  unapologetically progressive.  He is committed to human rights and social justice.  If elected, he will champion rent-control in San Leandro and will take an innovative approach to solving our other social ills.  He will stop the militarization of our police forces and actually make the police department accountable to the city, not the other way around as it seems to be now.  He is running a clean money campaign, rejecting all funds from corporations and developers and limiting contributions to $99.   Shafer will also restore transparency and accountability and a sense of ethics to the office.  Really, San Leandro can do no better than to support him.

Dan Dillman is our second choice because, whatever his faults, he cares about San Leandro.

Eva Arce
Eva Arce

City Council District 1: #1 Eva Arce, #2 Ken Pon

Incumbent Deborah Cox is another white-moderate who supports police militarization and mass surveillance and opposes rent-control. She drew controversy for not returning the financial contribution of a politician who used the “N” word in a public meeting.

Eva Arce, a newcomer to  politics, is a strong progressive who has seen her community fall apart by the Council’s regressive politics and wants to restore it.  She is a big supporter of rent control, police accountability and fixing potholes.  She is running a clean money campaign, rejecting all funds from corporations and developers and limiting contributions to $99.    She is an intelligent woman, who does her homework and will tackle issues with a fresh, yet progressive perspective.  She is just what we need in San Leandro.

Ken Pon is also a moderate, but to the left of Cox.  He opposes the militarization of police and favored marijuana dispensaries when Cox was ranting against them at City Council meetings.

Victor Aguilar

City Council District 3: Victor Aguilar

School Board member Victor Aguilar was a progressive back when people didn’t want to admit to being progressive (his opponent, incumbent Lee Thomas, has never claimed himself as one).  He supports rent control, police accountability, clean money (he is not taking any corporate or developer money), and free speech.  As a commissioner, he refused to agree to the City Council’s demand that he forgo his first amendment rights and agree to no disparage the City Manager.

Incumbent Lee Thomas takes money from landlords and opposes rent controls while supporting police militarization.

Maxine Oliver-Benson

City Council District 5: Maxine Oliver-Benson (with reservations)

Both candidates are problematic.  Incumbent Corina Lopez supports police militarization and has done painfully little to bring accountability to the police and remained a supporter of the City Manager even after he showed himself to lack professionalism, but at least she may vote in favor of rent control if someone else brings it up to the table. She also was the impetus behind the sanctuary city declaration, but would not go a step further and make it an ordinance with some teeth – this allowed the Police Department to continue sharing data with the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, which in turn shared it with ICE.  Moreover, Lopez can be difficult to work with, she easily gets offended and needs to have her ego massaged lest she retaliate over perceived slights.

Her opponent, Maxine Oliver-Benson, is an African American woman who has spent her life in East Oakland as an activist.  She is corporate free and has many strong progressive values – she favors rent control and police accountability, for example, and is rejecting all money from corporations, developers and other special interests (unlike Lopez).  However, she supports increasing mass surveillance in San Leandro – which Lopez says she does not.