Mega-Long Bay Area Voting Guide

November 2018 General Election

About This Guide

I am a leftist political organizer and a fair housing advocate living San Francisco. I grew up in Marin County with a mom who was on the public school board. Prior to moving to San Francisco, I also lived in Santa Clara and San Mateo County.

Before the last election, I shared the spreadsheet I used to research the issues on my own ballot on Twitter. I received a lot of positive feedback, so this year I’ve decided to expand the spreadsheet into a blog post.

I’m most familiar with San Francisco and Marin County politics, but I went ahead and made recommendations in other Bay Area races I’m confident I have fully researched. I’ve linked to a bunch of external resources at the end of this guide that you can use to research any issue I haven’t covered.

If you have any questions, comments, or requests you can find me on Twitter @sashaperigo or email me at sasha.perigo@gmail.com!

Table of Contents

Cheat Sheet

The one liners — issues I’m particularly excited about are marked in bold.

Statewide Elections

Governor — Gavin Newsom
Lieutenant Governor — Ed Hernandez
Secretary of State — Alex Padilla
Controller — Betty Yee
Treasurer — Fiona Ma
Attorney General — Xavier Becerra
Insurance Commissioner — Ricardo Lara
State Superintendent of Public Instruction — Tony Thurmond
U.S. Senator — Kevin de León

Judicial Confirmations

Carol Corrigan — NO
Leondra Kruger — YES
James Humes — YES
Sandra Marguiles — NO
James Richman — NO
Marla Miller — NO
Peter John Siggins — YES
Jon Streeter — YES
Alison Tucher — YES
Barbara Jones — YES

Statewide Propositions

Prop 1 — YES
Prop 2 — YES

Prop 3 — NO
Prop 4 — YES
Prop 5 — HELL NO!
Prop 6 — HELL NO!

Prop 7 — YES
Prop 8 — YES
Prop 10 — HELL YES!
Prop 11 — NO
Prop 12 — YES

San Francisco Elections

U.S. Congress, District 12 — Nancy Pelosi
U.S. Congress, District 14 — Jackie Speier
Board of Equalization, District 2 — Malia Cohen
Board of Education (Pick 3) — Mia Satya, Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez
City College Board (Pick 3) — John Rizzo, Thea Selby, Brigitte Davila
Assessor-Recorder — Paul Bellar
Public Defender — Jeff Adachi
Board of Supervisors, District 10 — Tony Kelly #1, Theo Ellington #2
BART Board District 8 — Janice Li

San Francisco Propositions

Prop A — YES
Prop B — NO
Prop C — YES
Prop D — NO
Prop E — YES

Marin County Elections

U.S. Congress, District 2 — Jared Huffman
CA Senator, District 2 — Mike McGuire
CA Assemblymember, District 10 — Dan Monte
District Attorney — Anna Pletcher

Tamalpais Union High School District Board (Pick 3)— Dan Oppenheim, Kevin Saavedra

Marin County Propositions

Measure AA — YES
Measure I — YES
Measure J — YES
Measure W — YES

East Bay Elections

Berkeley City Council, District 8 — Alfred Twu #1, Lori Droste #2

East Bay Propositions

Berkeley Measure O — YES
Berkeley Measure P — YES
Berkeley Measure Q — YES
Berkeley Measure R — YES
Oakland Measure W — YES
Oakland Measure X — YES
Oakland Measure Y — YES
Oakland Measure AA — YES
Alameda Measure K — NO

Peninsula Elections

Santa Clara County Supervisor —Susan Ellenberg or Don Rocha
Belmont City Council (Pick 3) — Warren Lieberman, Charles Stone, Julia Mates
East Palo Alto City Council (Pick 2) — Donna Rutherford, Regina Wallace-Jones
Los Altos City Council (Pick 2) —Neysa Fligor, Jean Mordo
Menlo Park City Council, District 1 — Cecilia Taylor or George Yang
Menlo Park City Council, District 2—Kirsten Keith
Menlo Park City Council, District 4 — Betsy Nash
Mountain View City Council (Pick 3)— Lucas Ramirez, Lenny Siegel, Pat Showalter
Palo Alto City Council (Pick 3)— Cory Wolbach, Alison Cormack
Redwood City Council (Pick 3) — Jason Galisatus, Giselle Hale, Diana Reddy
San Carlos City Council (Pick 3) — Adak Rak, Sara McDowell, Laura Parmer-Lohan
Sunnyvale City Council, Seat 1 — Gustav Larsson
Sunnyvale City Council, Seat 2 — No Endorsement
Sunnyvale City Council, Seat 3 — John Cordes or Mason Fong

Peninsula Propositions

East Palo Alto Measure HH — YES
Palo Alto Measure F — YES
Palo Alto Measure Z — YES
Mountain View Measure P — YES
San Jose Measure V — YES

The Nitty Gritty

Statewide Elections

Governor — Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom might just be the world’s most uninspiring candidate, but his opponent might as well be Trump Junior. Apparently there’s a real worry that John Cox could be elected, so please don’t leave this blank.

Lieutenant Governor — Ed Hernandez
Ed Hernandez is the union candidate, while his opponent Eleni Kounalakis comes from a wealthy real-estate family and has raised a lot of money. Kounalakis made a fortune of her own running her father’s business before donating enough money to the Obama campaign to be appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. Surprisingly, Kounalakis’ platform has a lot more substance than Hernandez’s, and includes progressive stances such as free community college and Medicare for All. It’s possible however that Kounalakis took these bold stances because she knows the Lieutenant Governor doesn’t have the power to institute either of these reforms, and I’m more comfortable assuming a union backed candidate will have the interests of working people in mind than a real-estate mogul will, so I’m voting for Hernandez.

Secretary of State — Alex Padilla
Controller — Betty Yee
Treasurer — Fiona Ma
Attorney General — Xavier Becerra
Insurance Commissioner — Ricardo Lara
There’s a Democrat and a Republican in each of these races, and I’m voting for the Democrat.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction — Tony Thurmond
The State Superintendent heads what is essentially a statewide school board, the rest of whose members are appointed by the governor. Their primary job is to work with public schools across the state to improve academic performance and oversee the implementation of state education policy. They also sit on the board of the University of California.

California is one of the most unequal states in the nation, and this shows in public schools. Only 15% of low-income Black students in California have been taught math at their grade-level. We also have the largest attainment gap in the nation for college degrees between white and Latino adults; just 17% of Latino Californians have a college degree, compared to 51% of white Californians. Overall U.S. News ranks California #44 in the nation when it comes to preparation for college in K-12 schools, an absolute embarrassment for a blue state that supposedly prioritizes public education.

The two candidate for State Superintendent have very different visions for how to better help vulnerable students. Tony Thurmond’s background is in social work, and he has made a career out of helping at-risk youth. His priorities include breaking down the school to prison pipeline prioritizing after-school programs to keep students in school and out of jail. He also supports increased teacher pay, vocational training, and has pledged to stand up against Betsy DeVos’ harmful federal education agenda. Tony Thurmond is also endorsed by the two large teachers unions in the state, which have donated over $3 million to PACs in support of his candidacy.

Marshall Tuck instead joins school reform advocates in arguing that teachers unions are often opponents to reforms that help underserved students. For example, Tuck supports moving towards a performance-based system for teacher pay rather than the current tenure system. In his past role as President of a charter school system Green Dot Public Schools where he also opened 10 new public charter schools in low income Los Angeles communities despite union opposition. Teachers unions tend to be strongly opposed to opening even public charter schools, as charter school teachers are usually not unionized and charters divert funding from other public schools. He’s also strongly opposed to the 2015 move to divert money intended for low-income, English learners, and homeless and foster youths towards across the broad teacher raises, citing the lack of evidence that increased teacher salaries have led to an increase in student performance.

By some metrics, Tuck’s agenda has produced results. Eight of the ten public charters Tuck opened were recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as among the best high schools in the country. On other metrics he seriously falters. Teachers at 8 of these public charters voted in a landslide that they had “no confidence” in the school’s administration. Critics also allege that while these schools saw increased graduation rates compared to other public schools, this was actually due to decreased graduation standards, not increased quality of instruction.

Tuck has raised significantly more money in this race than Thurmond has. The majority of this has been spent by independent expenditures — donors give in large sums to a PAC which is then used to promote their desired candidate. It’s called an “independent expenditure” however, because the PAC is not allowed to collaborate with the campaign while producing these ads. Donors to these PACs on Tuck’s behalf include the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune who have previously donated to Donald Trump. Thurmond’s campaign have attacked this connection, painting a picture of Marshall Tuck as in bed with the Trump administration and Betsy DeVos.

I reject the portrayal of Marshall Tuck as aligned with the Trump administration, and I do think his campaign raises some good questions. Vulnerable students don’t have a union of their own, and this should be taken into consideration when crafting education policy. For example, I agree with Tuck that the 2015 move to divert funding earmarked for low income students to teacher salaries was inappropriate. At the same time, I think it’s dangerous to think of the teachers union as an obstacle to student success. Teachers interact with students on a daily basis, and they have a lot of important insight about student needs! Unions are especially important, because collective bargaining power is a means of advocacy in an otherwise stressful and underpaid profession. We already have a teacher shortage, and undermining union power could make the job even less desirable.

Marshall Tuck’s extremely negative relationship with the teachers in his own district gives me pause, and they’re the reason I’ll be voting for Tony Thurmond. Many of the problems in our public school system stem from our extremely low per-pupil funding. I appreciate Marshall Tuck’s hyper-focus on the success of underserved students, but I haven’t seen evidence that his solutions are the quick fixes he advertises. Tony Thurmond on the other hand also has a background advocating for underserved youth and a positive relationship with teachers unions. Vote Tony Thurmond for State Superintendent!

U.S. Senator — Kevin de León
De León’s opponent Dianne Feinstein has served as a California Senator for a long time now — so long, in fact, that she’s been in office for longer than I’ve been alive. In an age where millennials are woefully underrepresented in Congress, it’s about time for some new representation.

Feinstein has also taken some really questionable stances over the years. Prior to her election to the Senate, she served as San Francisco Mayor where she allowed the Confederate Flag to be flown over City Hall in memoriam as recently as 1984! When she was elected to the Senate in 1992, she was known as a centrist Democrat, and it shows. Feinstein is one of only five Democrats still in the Senate who voted for the Iraq War. She also voted for the expansion of the PATRIOT Act and furthered the war on drugs. Still today, she’s opposed to Medicare for All and the legalization of marijuana.

Kevin de León is a successful California Senator and a welcome challenger from Feinstein’s left. He may be a long shot candidate, but he did upset Feinstein to win the Democratic Party’s endorsement this year. In the age of Trump, California needs a progressive leader. California deserves better than Feinstein; vote de León!

(P.S. I almost forgot about Dianne Feinstein’s inane statements this past December that we should build a second Bay Bridge to mitigate traffic! As an urban planning nerd, this is a reckless and shockingly bad idea that alone should be disqualifying.)

Judicial Confirmations

The judicial confirmations are admittedly the items on the ballot I know the least about. My understanding of why we’re voting on these is that California’s court nominations work a little differently than other states. The governor gets to appoint people to vacancies on California’s Supreme Court and our Court of Appeals. We don’t vote on these nominations, but every few years we get to cast a yes or no vote on whether or not to renew the judge’s term and their $200K+ salary.

I’ve seen some arguments from liberals saying that we shouldn’t recall judges based on the positions they’ve taken in court, and I want to emphasize that that is not what you’re doing when you vote no on a judge’s confirmation. You’re simply voting not to renew their term, and the next Governor would appoint someone in their place. For this reason, it’s in progressive’s best interest to vote no on conservative judges who were appointed by previous Republican governors. It’s likely that whomever Newsom would appoint in their place would be better.

I followed the Vox judge voting guide, and voted as follows:
Carol Corrigan — NO
Leondra Kruger — YES
James Humes — YES
Sandra Marguiles — NO
James Richman — NO
Marla Miller — NO
Peter John Siggins — YES
Jon Streeter — YES
Alison Tucher — YES
Barbara Jones — YES

I encourage you all to vote no on Carol Corrigan’s confirmation in particular, as she has repeatedly stood against marriage equality. If you’d like to cross reference another source, The League of Pissed Off Voters also wrote about the judicial confirmations.

Statewide Propositions

Prop 1: Housing for Veterans Bond — YES
Prop 2: Homelessness Prevention Bond — YES
It’s no secret that California is in the depths of a housing crisis. With the Trump administration at the helm of our government, it’s safe to say federal funding isn’t coming. California needs all the money for affordable housing that we can get. Vote YES on Propositions 1 and 2!

Prop 3: Water Infrastructure Bond— NO
This is one of the propositions I waffled on the most — in the first draft of this voter guide, I actually recommended a yes vote on this measure. In California’s June special election, we actually just passed Proposition 68 which was a $4 million bond measure for water infrastructure. Proposition 3 would be an addition $9 million in bonds. The issue with Proposition 3 isn’t that we don’t still need more money for water infrastructure projects, we do. The issue with Proposition 3 is that it’s deceptive and poorly crafted.

Proposition 3 was put on the ballot by special interest groups, and includes funding for private businesses that are supposed to be funded, you know, privately. As a tax payer I’m not too excited about having my money go towards a private businesses profit! Even more alarmingly, the Sierra Club has come out in opposition to this bill because it diverts money from our cap and trade program which would otherwise be spent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions towards new dams, which are both incredibly expensive and not environmentally friendly.

There are some good things that would be funded by this measure. Some money would be spent on nonprofit projects and clean water for low income farming communities. Ultimately, I think our state legislature can do better. As climate change continues to threaten our water sources, let’s make sure the water infrastructure measures we pass are actually sustainable. The funding from Proposition 68 will pay for urgent infrastructure projects in the meantime. I’m voting no.

Prop 4: Children’s Hospital Bond — YES
The last time voters authorized funding for children’s hospitals at the ballot was in 2008. Since then we’ve updated our earthquake safety guidelines, and our hospitals need to be renovated. The money raised from Proposition 4 would go towards renovating and increasing patient capacity at the state’s 13 nonprofit children’s hospitals. Five of these hospitals are public hospitals run through the University of California, and eight of them are private nonprofits. I’m usually not a fan of spending state money on private entities, but ultimately these hospitals are nonprofits, not businesses, and the money goes towards treating sick children. I’m voting yes.

Prop 5: Property Tax Break for Millionaires — Helllll no!
Proposition 5 is a dangerous measure designed to expand a California law known as “Proposition 13”. Proposition 13 was passed at the ballot in 1978, and it limits the amount of property taxes Californians have to pay. The measure was originally crafted to solve a very real problem. As home values increased, people on a fixed income like social security were being run out of their home because they couldn’t keep up with the property taxes. Unfortunately, Proposition 13 is an over-broad solution that has turned into one of the biggest tax breaks for millionaires in California history.

Proposition 13 mandates that the property taxes homeowners pay be proportional to the value of their home at the day they bought it, not the current value of their home. Since home prices have skyrocketed in the past few decades in California, this means many longtime homeowners are paying much less than they can afford. My parents who bought their home in 1998 only pay property taxes on one-third of it’s value. Even worse, I grew up with people in Marin County who have had multi-million dollar homes in their families for generations! Many of these millionaire families pay property taxes on less than a tenth of the value of their home.

I could write an entire essay on all of the negative effects of Proposition 13, but the biggest loser is our public school system. In California, our schools are funded through property taxes. The year after Proposition 13 passed, our schools lost so much revenue that California fell to #49 in the nation for funding per student! Today California is #44 in the nation for childhood education. Proposition 13 also ties the state’s hands in implementing equitable tax schemes for public services. As we can’t levy property taxes, we’re forced to resort to measures like sales tax which disproportionately affect the poor.

We desperately need Proposition 13 reform, but Proposition 5 wouldn’t reform Proposition 13, it would extend it. Proposition 5 would allow homeowners who sell their home and buy a new one to continue paying the same low tax rate on their new home that they were on their old one. Analysts predict that if Proposition 5 passes California schools could lose out on another $1 billion annually! Proposition 5 would also discriminate against millennials and further the incredibly large class divide in our state, as people who had the privilege of being able to buy a home in the past would forever be subject to a significantly lower tax rate than people who bought a home today. Proposition 5 is a disaster. Please vote no!

Prop 6: Gas Tax Repeal — Helllll no!
This Op-Ed from the Los Angeles Times says it well. Vote hell no on 6!

Prop 7: Daylight Savings Time — YES
It feels bizarre to be writing about Daylight Savings time immediately after two propositions that would have a huge impact on the average person’s daily life. Daylight Savings Time won’t actually be eliminated if this proposition passes. Instead, this proposition would allow the state to eliminate Daylight Savings Time if the federal government ever gives us the go ahead. Daylight Savings Time is an outdated tradition that has no relevance in today’s world, and my seasonal depression always makes the adjustment rough for me personally. I’m voting yes, but frankly I don’t think this one matters much.

Prop 8: Limits on Dialysis Prices — YES
This proposition is extremely confusing, and the misleading advertisements that have been running nonstop from the opposition don’t help. When I started researching this proposition I honestly didn’t even know what dialysis was. It turns out dialysis is the process of removing toxins from a patient’s blood when their kidneys are failing.

Proposition 8 would further regulate dialysis clinics, specifically requiring that they aren’t allowed to turn more than a 15% profit. This is apparently in response to the fact that dialysis clinics extract a much bigger profit from patients than most other services. The main opposition to Proposition 8 comes from the state’s two biggest dialysis clinics. The clinics claim that if Proposition 8 passes they’ll be forced to shut down, because they won’t be able to make ends meet, and that this would lead to less availability of healthcare. This is blatantly inaccurate — the entire point of the proposition guarantees a 15% profit.

The political backstory to Proposition 8 is also really interesting! Proposition 8 was put on the ballot by a chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). SEIU has apparently been trying to negotiate better working conditions for years, and dialysis clinics have been uncooperative. SEIU has developed a new tactic of taking ballot measures that large employers won’t like to the ballot — causing the business to spend millions in opposition — in order to try to get big business to negotiate with them. I think this is awesome, and I applaud workers using all the tools possible to negotiate a living wage.

So basically, this proposition is a two-for-one. Vote yes to lower healthcare costs and help workers negotiate better working conditions at the same time!

Prop 10: Repeal Costa Hawkins — YES!!
I ended up putting off writing about Proposition 10 until the last minute, because it’s one of the measures on our ballot that I care the most about and I want to be sure to do it justice. Proposition 10 is by far the measure that I’ve spent the most time campaigning for — I helped organize a fundraiser with DSA SF and the local Tenants Union, I gave a presentation to local housing organization YIMBY Action about it that was covered in the press, and I’ve been text banking for the measure. If you listen to one thing I wrote in this guide, I’d really like y’all to vote yes on Proposition 10!

Proposition 10 would repeal a law called Costa Hawkins that’s been #1 on tenants rights hit list since the year I was born. One of the reasons that Costa Hawkins sucks so much is that it’s super convoluted, but essentially there are four basic components:

  • Prohibits rent control from covering apartments built after the law was passed in 1995.
  • Prohibits cities that passed rent control before 1995 from ever expanding it. (San Francisco and Los Angeles are currently forbidden from expanding rent control to apartments built in the last forty years!)
  • Prohibits rent control from covering single family homes or condominiums.
  • Prohibits “vacancy control” — this means that under Costa Hawkins landlords are allowed to raise the rent as high as they want after a rent controlled tenant moves out.

A good place to start might be by explaining why rent control is important. The Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley has identified rent control as one of the Bay Area policies that’s effective at keeping tenants in their homes. As rents continue to rise in the Bay Area due to our severe housing shortage, we’ve seen unprecedented amounts of gentrification. When market rates rise out of control, one of our only policy tools that keeps low income tenants of color in their homes is rent control. The most optimistic estimates say that it could take us until 2063 to build enough housing to cover demand in San Francisco. Neighborhoods will be completely transformed by then — and if we want any hope of curbing gentrification before it completely transforms our cities, we need to repeal Costa Hawkins.

The first major issue with Costa Hawkins is that it forbids cities from expanding rent control. San Francisco and Los Angeles are two of the most expensive cities in the state, yet they’re two of the cities hurt the most by the policy. San Francisco and Los Angeles’ rent control policies are frozen at the year 1979 and 1978 respectively, which means that none of the hundreds of rental units that have since been built since then can ever be rent controlled until we repeal Costa Hawkins. With the absence of vacancy control, every time a tenant moves out of a rent controlled unit the landlord resets the price of that unit to the market rate, and we lose another affordable unit (where “affordable” is defined as accessible to people making less than the area median income). The Business Times estimates that for every 10 affordable units built in San Francisco, we lose another 8 affordable units!

The second huge issue with Costa Hawkins is that it creates an obvious incentive to evict rent controlled tenants. If a landlord is allowed to raise rents as much as they want after a rent controlled tenant moves out — of course they’re going to want tenants to move out! This is such a strong financial incentive that it’s caught the eye of Wall Street investors who see it as a big opportunity. The largest corporate landlord in San Francisco Veritas who operates by explicitly purchasing rent controlled buildings received $800M in investment capital from Goldman Sachs in 2016! Every tenants organizer in the city has a story about landlords harassing rent controlled tenants or neglecting critical repairs in order to get them to leave their unit.

Finally, Costa Hawkins is part of a set of laws that creates a massive power imbalance between renters and homeowners in California. I wrote a little bit about Prop 13 (a law that’s already on the books — there’s no Prop 13 on this ballot!) in my writeup about this year’s Proposition 5. Prop 13 is a law that caps the maximum amount of taxes that homeowners can pay on their homes. Meanwhile Costa Hawkins, which was passed soon after, forbids cities from placing a cap on how much tenants pay for their homes!

The landlord lobby in California is really, really strong which is one of the reasons why we haven’t gotten anywhere repealing Costa Hawkins in the legislature in the last 23 years. In fact, even in California where we have a Democratic supermajority, a bill this year that would have required landlords to state a reason why they were evicting someone could only get 17 yes votes on the floor because landlords were so strongly opposed. To restate — had this bill passed landlords would still be able to evict a tenant for any reason. The landlords were literally opposed to even providing a reason! The last time we tried to repeal Costa Hawkins through the legislature was this year, and the bill couldn’t even get the handful of votes it needed to be heard on the floor. If we’re going to repeal Costa Hawkins, it’s going to have to be at the ballot, which is why Proposition 10 is such a great opportunity!

Even though landlords can’t buy individual voters, they can spend millions running misleading ads. This election cycle, the landlord lobby spent of $100 million airing ads against Proposition 10. (If this wasn’t gross enough — they’re literally using our rent money to do it!) Because of this, I’m going to address one of their primary scare tactics.

The argument you might have heard from misleading advertisements is the Proposition 10 would worsen the housing crisis by reducing the supply of housing. The core of this argument comes from a fear that rent control will be extended to buildings from the day they’re constructed. The argument goes that if developers’ profits are restricted, they won’t have a financial incentive to build new housing, and no housing will get built. This is a gross exaggeration. Rent control has literally never applied to new housing construction in California, not once anywhere. The idea that if Costa Hawkins is repealed tenants will go hog wild and pass bad rent control policy is also seriously dubious, because it’s incredibly difficult to pass rent control. Even within the constraints of Costa Hawkins, just two municipalities in California — Mountain View and Richmond — have passed a rent control policy in the last 30 years.

There are some economic studies that show that rent control has a moderate effect on housing supply, but the methodology of these studies has been called into question. Even if we do accept the results of these studies as valid, a Stanford study on rent control showed just a 6% reduction in supply in San Francisco due to rent control. Meanwhile, the nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst Office’s showed an 80% reduction in supply due to exclusionary zoning. Exclusionary zoning is the housing policy I’ve been railing at the most over the past two years. When residents of Marin County, Palo Alto, or Presidio Heights in San Francisco ban apartments from being built near them because they don’t want poor people to live near them, that’s exclusionary zoning. Rent control has been shown to have an incredible, positive impact on keeping tenants in their homes, and at best the cons are moderate. Let’s see the forest through the trees and rather than voting down a critical anti-displacement policy, let’s keep our housing activism centered on equity and target exclusionary zoning.

If you want to learn more, you can check out this presentation I put together on Proposition 10 back in August. Please vote yes on Prop 10!

Prop 11: Require Ambulance Workers to Be On-Call At Breaks — NO
All workers deserve breaks, no matter what industry they work in. This proposition is a shoddy attempt to erode labor rights. Please vote no!

Prop 12: Guidelines for Farm Animal Containment— YES
Proposition 12 bans the sale of meat and eggs from animals that are confined in cages less than a certain size. It’s primary funder is the Humane Society, and it’s also funded by an array of other animal rights groups. Apparently this is essentially an edit to a ballot proposition passed in 2008 which instead defined cage sizes by saying hens must be able to “fully spread… both wings without touching the side of an enclosure or other egg laying hens”. Unsurprisingly, this vague description of animal behavior was challenging to enforce in practice.

It doesn’t seem like Proposition 12 changes all that much; it’s just a better written version of a law that’s already on the books. I’m voting yes!

San Francisco Elections

U.S. Congress, District 12 — Nancy Pelosi
U.S. Congress, District 14 — Jackie Speier
Board of Equalization, District 2 — Malia Cohen
Voting party line with the Democrats on all of the above.

Board of Education (Pick 3) — Mia Satya, Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez
This year’s San Francisco Board of Education election has certainly been newsworthy. There are 19 qualified candidates, one of whom withdrew from the race earlier this cycle after controversy over her history of transphobia.

My first vote for the Board of Education goes to Mia Satya. As a former queer activist in Bay Area public schools, I can tell you that denouncing transphobia does not go nearly far enough to protect trans students in our schools. An overwhelming 80% of trans students report feeling unsafe in K-12 schools, and 20–40% of homeless youth are queer or transgender. Mia Satya is a trans woman with a strong record of advocating for queer and trans youth. In San Francisco she has worked as a Program Assistant at the SF LGBT Center and queer youth center LYRIC. She also served for two year’s on San Francisco’s youth commission where she successfully advocated for a policy that require all city officials who interact with youth to go through an LGBT sensitivity training. She’s also a self-identified democratic socialist! I’m excited to get to vote for such an impressive advocate for queer and trans youth.

My second two votes go to Alison Collins and Gabriela Lopez, two strong advocates for equity in our public school system. Alison Collins has been working on issues of educational equity for 20 years. She’s the only candidate who has worked as a public school teacher, a parent organizer, and has students currently attending our San Francisco public schools. Gabriela Lopez is a current bilingual teacher in our public schools. She’s also a strong advocate for racial equity and improving programs for disabled students.

Since this is such a crowded race, there are lots of really good candidates. Honorable mentions go to Li Mao Lovett and Faauuga Moliga, Monica Chincilla, and Martin Rawlings-Fein who we would also be lucky to have serving on our public school board. Unfortunately we only get three votes. I ultimately decided to vote for Satya, Collins, and Lopez due to both their high qualifications and their name recognition in hopes of not splitting the progressive vote.

City College Board (Pick 3) — John Rizzo, Thea Selby, Brigitte Davila
Incumbents John Rizzo and Thea Selby have done a good job seeing city college through some tough transitions. Brigitte Davila is a progressive and a professor of Ethnic Studies, and she would be a good addition to the board. All of them are committed to keeping City College free for San Franciscans and increasing enrollment!

Assessor-Recorder — Paul Bellar
The city’s Assessor-Recorder is responsible for assessing (read: determining) how much property tax the city collects from different properties. In 2015, the city released a report that said that the Assessor-Recorder’s office was one of the most inefficient and wasteful departments in the city. Apparently the Assessor-Recorder’s office just wasn’t collecting the amount of tax due in a timely manner. This meant that the city was losing money that it should have been receiving, and that sometimes residents would receive large bills that were super delayed! What a nightmare.

Incumbent Carmen Chu has been steadily improving the office, but what really excites me about her challenger Paul Bellar is what a wonk he is about the position. He’s a total tax nerd, and he’s genuinely super duper passionate about the office of the Assessor-Recorder. I’ll spare you the details — I know most of us are definitely not passionate about tax assessment — but you can read more about Bellar’s innovative suggestions to improve the Assessor-Recorder’s office on his website. If all of our elected officials were as passionate as Paul Bellar, we’d be really lucky. Vote for Paul Bellar!

Public Defender — Jeff Adachi
Well, he’s running unopposed.

Board of Supervisors, District 10 — Tony Kelly #1, Theo Ellington #2
District 10 is my home. It’s also a unique district made up of four completely distinct neighborhoods — Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Bayview-Hunters Point, and Visitacion Valley. Bayview-Hunters Point has rightfully gotten the most attention in this race. It is the largest remaining Black community in the city, and residents have long been ignored by City Hall. The community has over 30% of the city’s homeless population yet receives only 8% of city homelessness funding. It has a dire shortage of shelter beds, forcing the homeless people who do receive shelter to sleep in chairs.

Bayview-Hunters Point is also currently ground zero one of the largest scandals in the history of San Francisco politics, the Shipyard crisis. Despite residents complaining for upwards of twenty years about suspicions of toxic soil, news recently broke that a Navy contractor lied about having cleaned up radioactive waste at the Shipyard site after World War II. In addition to all the community members who have already been poisoned by the toxic soil, the Lennar development corporation is set to develop over 12,000 desperately needed housing units on this soil which are now in jeopardy. There’s a federal investigation into the matter, and in my eyes the community is owed reparations for this horrific instance of environmental racism.

There are three major candidates in the field — Shamann Walton, Tony Kelly, and Theo Ellington. Shamann Walton is for all intents and purposes the establishment candidate in this race. He has endorsements from figures on both the moderate and progressive sides of city politics, and has pulled in the most money of any candidate. Unfortunately, Walton’s connection to the Lennar corporation — the developer set to build on the Shipyard site that our next Supervisor is sure to have some difficult conversations with — is disqualifying to me. Walton was one of the proponents of 2016’s Prop O, which exempted the Lennar corporation and only the Lennar corporation from city limits on office space. In 2016, people were already grumbling about how a ballot measure designed specifically to increase a single private company’s profits “reek[ed] of corruption and pay-to-play politics”. Walton also wrote the Lennar corporation a letter of recommendation to Alameda County based on his past work with them, despite concerns from previous communities Lennar had worked with.

On the other hand, Tony Kelly is the furthest you can get from a career politician. Kelly is an artist and a longtime neighborhood activist. He has been working with Greenaction to highlight the contamination in the Shipyard for over a decade, well before the story made national headlines. He’s also been instrumental in the Beds for Bayview campaign, where he’s worked with community leaders at Mother Brown’s to get the city to chip in for actual mattresses for D10’s homeless shelters. Kelly is also a self-described socialist, a proponent of police reform, and a key supporter of the campaign for a San Francisco public bank. He’s endorsed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, and he’s the only major candidate for supervisor in the entire city who did not receive the endorsement of either city police union, which is indicative of his unwavering commitment to police reform.

There are some things about Kelly’s platform that do give me pause. In particular, his housing platform makes no mention of the fact that gentrification and homelessness in Bayview-Hunters Point is explicitly connected to regional planning. It’s no coincidence that the Presidio was cleaned up in full after World War II and remains wealthy, white, and low density while the toxic Shipyard site was marked for development. I wish Kelly had made an explicit mention of our dire housing shortage or the need to build housing in exclusionary parts of the region that continue to reject it. Much of Potrero Hill meets the description of wealthy, white, and exclusionary, which is why I’m particularly dismayed by Tony Kelly’s history of activism with the Potrero Boosters. Only in 2016 did the Potrero Boosters take language opposing “increased density” out of their bylaws, yet Kelly boasts on his website about being elected President of the organization nine times. It’s no coincidence that many of the wealthy, white homeowners in Potrero Hill who are far from socialists support Tony Kelly. From talking to my neighbors, it’s evident that they see Kelly as the candidate who’s anti-density and anti-“overdevelopment”.

Due to the shortcomings I see from Kelly, I was originally attracted to Theo Ellington’s campaign. Theo Ellington was born and raised in Bayview-Hunters Point where he today owns a home on the Shipyard land that was just discovered to be toxic. Unlike Kelly, Ellington emphasizes the need to build more housing regionally: “I also believe, as stated in the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, the State must apply pressure so all cities partake in providing the additional supply of housing needed to reach our goals. My policy approach will consist of removing barriers from the planning process and identifying creative land-use strategies to build more housing in our city.” Because of these comments opponents have painted Ellington as a moderate who will side with business over community, but Ellington doesn’t fit neatly into either the moderate or progressive box. On the SF Greens candidate questionnaire, Ellington actually listed progressive, urbanist leader Jane Kim as the supervisor whose views most closely matched his own.

I’ve grown more wary of Ellington’s campaign due to some of his recent political stances. He was sole endorsed by the racist Police Officer’s Association. Most recently, the POA bankrolled an attempt to expand use of force definitions on the San Francisco ballot in June. The ACLU referred to this move as “reckless and unprecedented”. Ellington has declined to comment publicly or denounce the endorsement. Ellington also came out against Proposition 10 at an October 8 candidate forum. These moves seem morally inconsistent and out of character, and they’re red flags for me that Ellington might cede to political pressure in office.

I’ll be voting Tony Kelly #1 and Theo Ellington #2 in this election. Despite my reservations about his housing platform, I trust Kelly to be the community advocate that Bayview-Hunters Point residents so desperately need as the community weathers devastating rates of homeless and a national scandal of environmental racism. Kelly may be the only major candidate in this race who isn’t Black, but at community meetings I’ve witnessed first hand how much community members intimately trust him. Vote Kelly #1 and Ellington #2!

BART Board District 8 — Janice Li
If you live in Janice Li’s district, I’m envious that you get to vote for her! Janice an immigrant, a queer woman of color, and the advocacy director at the San Francisco Bike Coalition. She has a long history of public service; she started her career as an affordable housing organizer in New York. Janice is a total transit nerd, she’s incredibly passionate about BART and can tell you the ins and outs of all the wonky details of infrastructure. She’s also a huge advocate for building more affordable housing near BART stations, expanding fare subsidies for low income folks, and fighting the racist fare enforcement policies that I’ve been complaining about for months. We would be incredibly lucky to have Janice serve on the BART Board. Please vote for her!

San Francisco Propositions

Prop A: Repair the Seawall — YES

The San Francisco seawall is a literal wall built at the edge of the city, where San Francisco meets the Bay. It stretches from the Embarcadero all the way to AT&T Park. Confused? I was too. I’ve inserted a picture to the left. When the seawall is working properly we barely notice it, which might be why you didn’t know what it was until right now. The seawall serves a really important job though; if it breaks people’s lives, homes, and millions of dollars of city infrastructure will be at risk.

Apparently the seawall was built before we knew anything about earthquake safety — and given that there’s a 72% chance of a major earthquake in the next 30 years — we really, really need an upgrade. This measure is support straightforward and it has bipartisan support from both progressives and moderates in San Francisco politics. For all of our sake, please vote yes!

Prop B: Privacy Standards Charter Amendment — NO
It breaks my heart to be recommending a no vote on this measure! This proposition is designed to be modeled after Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation. If you’re not a software engineer or a total privacy nerd, you might not have heard of it, but it was an exciting new policy that went into place in the European Union this year setting unprecedented regulations for protections of user data. Proposition B would add similar privacy standards to San Francisco’s charter (basically our constitution). Though this language would mostly be symbolic, the Board of Supervisors could use it to strong arm tech companies that want to operate in San Francisco such as Uber into demonstrating best practices when it comes to user privacy.

My day job is in security and privacy engineering, and I would love to see San Francisco lead the way towards stricter regulation regarding user privacy in the United States. Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Proposition B also includes a clause allowing the Board of Supervisors to amend the Sunshine Ordinance — regulation which requires certain city documents by accessible to the public. Right now the Sunshine Ordinance is only able to be amended by a citywide vote, and for good reason. Constituents can use the Sunshine Ordinance to request documents from the Board of Supervisors that corrupt politicians could have an interest in hiding from us, so it’s not something we want the Board of Supervisors to be able to amend.

Proponents of the measure argue that the City Attorney wouldn’t sign off on an amendment to the Sunshine Ordinance that undermines its original intent, but the fact that this clause was snuck into the act in the first place still makes me uncomfortable. This privacy nerd is voting no on Proposition B!

Prop C: Tax Big Business for Homeless Services — YES
It’s no wonder that Proposition C has a wide range of supporters, it just makes sense! Proposition C expands the gross receipts tax that’s already levied on businesses in San Francisco to create a new tax bracket for companies that bring in more than $50 million annually. The revenue from this tax would go directly to a wide array of homeless services.

This proposition was crafted by the Coalition on Homeless, the only homeless advocacy organization in San Francisco that was founded by both homeless people and social workers. These people work with homeless people every day and are experts on what people on the ground really need. One of the most exciting things about Proposition C is that it’s a “housing first” policy! The Coalition subscribes to the idea that no matter what homeless folks are going through — be it mental illness, addiction, etc. — it would be a lot easier to recover if they weren’t sleeping outside on the street. The money from Proposition C would go towards building and acquiring a lot more permanently affordable housing for homeless people. More money would go towards creating a lot more shelter beds — current wait lists for space in a shelter are over 1,000 people long! Finally, there’s a chunk of money that goes to medical care and other preventative services.

If all goes to plan, the money raised from Proposition C could help San Francisco eliminate unsheltered homelessness in a matter of years! Tax the rich to house the poor. Vote yes on C!

Prop D: Cannabis Tax —NO
This is one of the issues I waffled on the most. On one hand, I’m supportive of taxing businesses for city services. On the other, cannabis was just legalized and this is a really big tax. The cannabis tax in San Francisco is currently 25%, and Proposition D would allow the Board of Supervisors to raise it another 7%! This tax rate is significantly higher than the rate at which we tax alcohol, despite alcohol being more dangerous than cannabis.

One of the fears about California’s marijuana legalization measure, Proposition 64, was that it was written in a way that would give power to big businesses at the expense of small retailers. I worry that Proposition D would exacerbate this problem. Activists have been working hard to ensure that San Francisco issues cannabis permits to small Black-owned businesses as reparations for the racist war on drugs. These small businesses are some of the ones that might be hurt the most by Proposition D.

The most compelling argument in favor of Proposition D I’ve read was put forth by The League and highlights a second tax snuck into the measure:

Prop D includes two separate taxes:
1. A tax on gross receipts from cannabis that doesn’t go into effect until 2021.
2. An “Amazon tax”* on corporations who sell stuff to people in SF but don’t have physical locations here. That part goes into effect in 2019.
We adore the “Amazon tax.” It’s incredibly unfair to local businesses that online retailers don’t have to pay taxes. The Supreme Court’s recent “Wayfair” decision opened the door to this, and we’re amped.
The cannabis tax is trickier, because that industry is still adjusting to the legal landscape. But we like that the implementation is delayed and that the Board of Supes can adjust it. We plan to keep an eye on that part as we get closer to that 2021 phase-in, but the “Amazon tax” makes us excited to vote Yes on D.
*Amazon actually already pays taxes here, but this is the easiest way we’ve found to explain it.

I can make an argument for both sides, but ultimately I’m voting no on Proposition D!

Prop E: Partial Allocation of Hotel Tax for Arts & Culture — YES
Proposition E would use part of the existing hotel tax to fund arts and culture. This measure doesn’t raise taxes; the hotel tax is already being collected, but right now all of it goes into a “general fund” for use anywhere in the budget. In the past, part of our hotel tax has been allocated for arts and culture. Proposition E is critical, because struggling nonprofit arts organizations are already counting on this money. If Proposition E does not pass, arts organizations will be cutting budgets to the tune of millions of dollars.

As rents have risen out of control, many of the beloved arts and culture organizations in our communities have been struggling to pay their rent. This not only impacts the types of arts and cultural opportunities that are available to residents in our communities, but it also severely impacts artists’ salaries and their ability to live in our communities. To put this in perspective, I’ll give an example. San Francisco is home to the prestigious nonprofit American Conservatory Theater (ACT). The ACT is considered a top-tier theater and a great place to advance a theater career. With ACT’s current budget however, their full-time adult fellows are paid either in a stipend that amounts to less than minimum wage or offered housing. The minimal pay offered to artists at even the most prestigious arts nonprofits in San Francisco severely limit who in our community can afford to go into the arts. You can imagine that entry-level arts jobs would become fewer or even more poorly compensated if these organizations lost millions in additional funding.

The opposition to Proposition E that you’ll hear from some policy wonks is that “budget set-asides are a bad way to govern.” The argument here is that earmarking certain parts of our budget to fund specific programs restricts the flexibility of our budget. This makes it harder for our Supervisors to move our city budget around as they like and could make it more challenging to respond to emergencies. I’m usually sympathetic to this argument, but I don’t find it convincing in relevance to Proposition E. The money that would be allocated to arts organizations through Proposition E is truly the bare minimum arts organizations need to stay afloat. I think it is perfectly reasonable for voters to vote for a small budget set-aside in order to prioritize funding programs that our Supervisors aren’t otherwise. Vote yes on E!

Marin County Elections

U.S. Congress, District 2 — Jared Huffman
Jared Huffman is one of the only true climate hawks in Congress, and his only opponent is a Republican.

CA Senator, District 2 — Mike McGuire
Mike McGuire isn’t my favorite, but his opponent is uninspiring.

CA Assemblymember, District 10 — Dan Monte
Dan Monte has been a pleasant surprise in this race. He’s running to represent Marin and Sonoma County in the California State Assembly against our incumbent Marc Levine. I really, really hate our incumbent Marc Levine, and I endorsed Dan Monte in the primary as a “I’ll take anyone else” Hail Mary. Once I looked further into his candidacy however I got really excited, and I ended up donating to his campaign.

In order to start talking about how much Marc Levine really sucks, we have to start with the backstory of how he was elected. In 2012, we had some redistricting in California and our state senate and assembly districts were redrawn. This means that for a bit, Marin was without a state assembly member. A corporate Democrat named Michael Allen, who was anything but inspiring, was appointed as the caretaker assembly member for our district. When Marin actually went to elect our next assembly member, Allen started to ruffle some feathers. The Democratic Party moved Michael Allen to Marin because they wanted to advance his political career and they thought our district would be an easy win. When local Democrat Marc Levine stepped up to run against him, the Democratic Party spent millions smearing Levine and trying to advance their chosen candidate. Marin voters rightfully thought this was super undemocratic, and they rejected Allen in an upset to elect equally unimpressive, but homegrown, Marc Levine.

Over his six years in the Assembly thus far, Levine has morphed into the exact type of corporate Democrat he railed against in the 2012 election. To make matters worse, he’s the most notorious NIMBY in the California Assembly. Some of the horrible housing policies he’s pushed are actually unbelievable, and they make him sound like a two dimensional movie villain. In the middle of our housing crisis, Levine introduced a bill that would exempt Marin County — and only Marin County — from building the amount of housing affordable to low income folks that they were legally required to!

Dan Monte is a grassroots challenger to Marc Levine’s left who doesn’t take corporate donations and supports labor rights and health care for all. What got me really excited about his candidacy however, is that his housing platform is the best one I’ve read from any candidate in the Bay Area! This is both surprising and super cool. Most people in Marin are opposed to tenants rights, rent control, and building any apartments anywhere. Monte supports all of the above.

If you vote in Marin, please, I beg of you, vote Dan Monte for State Assembly. It really can’t get worse than Marc Levine, but with Dan Monte in office I’m actually confident things could get a heck of a lot better!

District Attorney — Anna Pletcher
It’s hard to get excited about a vote for chief prosecutor, but Anna Pletcher is much better than her opponent. Lori Frugoli has a number of troubling endorsements, including an endorsement from Sheriff Bob Doyle. Since Doyle has taken office, he’s had a policy of close collaboration with ICE. Lori Frugoli is sympathetic to Doyle’s policy, while her opponent Anna Pletcher wants to rebuild trust with the community and has pledged to consider immigration consequences when making prosecutorial decisions. Please vote Anna Pletcher for District Attorney!

Tamalpais Union High School District Board (Pick 3) — Dan Oppenheim, Kevin Saavedra
I wish I could offer more enthusiastic endorsements of any of the candidates for TUHSD Board, but I’m not thrilled with any of the candidates. There are four candidates in the race and you can vote for up to three, but I’ve only chosen to recommend Dan Oppenheim and Kevin Saavedra.

Barbara McVeigh and Cynthia Roenisch are the two candidates in the race who I’ve chosen not to recommend. During interviews and debates, McVeigh talked in vague generalities and didn’t show expertise in the issues that the school board was currently facing. As a teacher and current trustee on the Kentfield School Board, Roenisch is more qualified, but her endorsement from the Marin GOP gives me pause. Her children also went to school with my sister and I, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that she had a reputation for being dismissive towards mental health. As an ADHD sufferer who cares a lot about the resources our school district provides to disabled students, I can’t in good conscience recommend her after hearing this information.

Dan Oppenheim and Kevin Saavedra unfortunately aren’t too inspiring either. The district is currently suffering from a lot of financial issues (see my writeup below about Marin Measure J), and both Oppenheim and Saavedra have financial expertise which is promising. Both of them have made comments however that allude to the fact that district’s woes are primarily due to money mismanagement, not a lack of funding, which I disagree with.

Marin County Propositions

Measure AA: Transportation Sales Tax Renewal — YES
Measure AA is super straightforward. It renews a tax that funds important transportation infrastructure. Vote yes!

Measure I: Shoreline Unified School District Bond — YES
Measure J: Tamalpais Union High School District Bond — YES
Thanks to Proposition 13, California schools are constantly underfunded and bonds paid for by parcel taxes are critical in order for districts to remain afloat. Measure J is especially crucial, as the Tamalpais Union High School District no longer receives per-pupil funding. Instead, all of the district’s funding comes from property taxes, which are growing slower than the number of students enrolled in the school. The district has already cut $2 million from the budget, and if this parcel tax doesn’t pass it will have to lay off dozens of teachers. Please vote yes on both bonds!

Measure W: West Marin Hotel Tax for Housing — YES
I was so pleasantly surprised to see Measure W on the ballot! Measure W is an effort by Supervisor Dennis Rodoni to address Marin’s dire affordable housing crisis. It levies a small tax on the hotel industry in West Marin to fund affordable housing. This money is badly needed. Please vote yes!

East Bay Elections

Berkeley City Council, District 8 — Alfred Twu #1, Lori Droste #2
Berkeley’s District 8 is unique — both because it’s the sole district without a NIMBY board member, and because I know two of the candidates! Incumbent Lori Droste has an impressive resume of supporting increased funding for affordable housing and new construction in Berkeley during her tenure.

Architect, environmentalist, and housing activist Alfred Twu is a young challenger to Droste’s left. Twu is exactly the kind of supervisorial candidate I wish I could vote for in San Francisco! Like Droste, Twu supports increasing the housing supply, but they’re also a leftist who is strongly in favor of strengthening rent control and tenant protections. Despite being a longshot challenger, Twu has racked up some big name leftist endorsements including those of Jovanka Beckles, California Young Democrats, the Berkeley chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America, and Our Revolution East Bay.

Luckily, Berkeley has ranked choice voting, so voters don’t need to choose — I recommend a vote for Alfred Twu #1 and Lori Droste #2.

East Bay Propositions

Berkeley Measure O: Parcel Tax for Housing Bond — YES
More money for affordable housing is always a good thing!

Berkeley Measure P: Transfer Tax for Homeless Services — YES
This measure taxes the sale of multi-million dollar homes for homeless services. Tax the rich to house the poor!

Berkeley Measure Q: Rent Control Policy— YES
Measure Q ratifies a rent control policy that would go into place in Berkeley in the instance that Costa-Hawkins is repealed. (Costa-Hawkins is a law that prohibits the expansion of rent control. See my writing on Proposition 10!) The rent control policy proposed is a good one; it would phase in rent control to new buildings 20 years after they’re constructed. Vote yes!

Berkeley Measure R: Vision 2050 — YES
Measure R is an advisory measure asking the mayor of Berkeley to start planning a “Vision 2050”, or a 30 year plan for environmental sustainability. An advisory measure lets the mayor know that voters would like to see action on a certain issue, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that anything will happen. Environmental sustainability is good. Vote yes!

Oakland Measure W: Vacancy Tax for Homeless Services— YES
The existence of a for-profit housing sector means that landlords’ primary motivation isn’t to house as many people as possible, it’s to make as much money as possible. Unfortunately, in some circumstances this can mean refusing to rent out an apartment and waiting until a tenant who’s willing to pay a much higher rent comes along. Measure W would implement a vacancy tax which would penalize landlords financially for keeping their rental units empty. The revenue raised from this tax goes directly to homeless services. The punishment here fits the crime. I like it. Vote yes!

Oakland Measure X: Transfer Tax for General Fund — YES
Measure X increases the tax on the sale of multi-million dollar homes.

Oakland Measure Y: Tenant Protections in Small Buildings— YES
Right now there’s a weird loop hole in some of Oakland’s tenant protection laws that doesn’t cover tenants who live in buildings with only a handful of units. Measure Y would extend tenant protections to all tenants, regardless of the number of units in the apartment building they live in. Your rights shouldn’t depend on what building you live in. Definitely vote yes!

Oakland Measure AA: Parcel Tax for Childcare and Education — YES
Measure AA would implement a small tax on properties to increase funding for childcare and education.

Alameda Measure K — NO
Ugh, this measure is so shady. Proponents of this measure have been advertising it as a tenant protect measure, but statewide renter advocacy organization Tenants Together makes clear that it’s definitely not. Alameda currently has a really weak rent mediation process. (In other words, if your landlord raises your rent the city will help you talk to them and ask them if they’ll lower it. Your landlord doesn’t have to say yes.) Measure K would lock in the weak tenant protections Alameda currently has and forbid the city from expanding them. Vote no!

Peninsula Propositions

Palo Alto Measure F: Affordable Health Care Initiative — YES
Palo Alto’s Measure F is very similar to California’s Proposition 8. It was put on the ballot by unions as a negotiating tool, and it seeks to cap Stanford hospital’s profits at 15% so private healthcare can’t gouge patients. It’s unfortunate that so many local papers have recommended against it, because this is a really common sense paper. Please vote yes on F!

Mountain View Measure P: Head Tax for Transportation — YES
This tax is a tax on big business (it taxes businesses per employee, so bigger ones pay more) that goes to transportation services. Google is the biggest employer in Mountain View, and right now they have private buses that deliver employees to work every day. I think Measure P is a great way to collect some money from Google that can be recycled into providing transportation that all residents can use!

San Jose Measure V: Affordable Housing Bond — YES
The housing crisis extends absolutely everywhere in the Bay Area. Allowing the city to spend more money for affordable housing is crucial. Vote yes!

Peninsula Elections

When researching the different Peninsula City Council races I was really taken aback by how the primary differentiator between candidates in every race on the Peninsula was attitudes towards development. For the most part, the Peninsula is made up of wealthy, white exclusionary communities that have refused to build new housing for a growing work force. This creates huge problems, because when Mountain View and Cupertino refuse housing, employees at Google and Apple move to San Francisco, Oakland, or East Palo Alto and contribute to gentrification and displacement. When making my endorsements, I looked for candidates that would support new development in exclusionary communities, and for candidates who strongly supported tenants rights and rent control in gentrifying ones.

I tried to write a little bit about each race below, but if I didn’t get to one you’re voting on, you can assume that’s how I made my decision!

Santa Clara County Supervisor — Susan Ellenberg or Don Rocha
Both of the candidates for County Supervisor seem fairly progressive and equally good on housing. I have no preference!

Belmont City Council (Pick 3) — Warren Lieberman, Charles Stone, Julia Mates

East Palo Alto City Council (Pick 2) — Donna Rutherford, Regina Wallace-Jones
East Palo Alto is a vulnerable and rapidly gentrifying community that has been deprived of resources by its wealthy neighbors. This race has two incumbents and four challengers vying for two seats on the city council. Frankly, I was impressed with all of the candidates. Both incumbents, Mayor Ruben Abrica and Donna Rutherford, have done a good job as city councilors. I chose to follow the San Mateo Democratic Party’s lead in endorsing challenger Regina Wallace-Jones over Ruben Abrica however, because she is whip smart and prepared on the issues and I think she’ll bring new blood to the council!

Los Altos City Council (Pick 2) — Neysa Fligor, Jean Mordo

Menlo Park City Council, District 1 — Cecilia Taylor or George Yang

Menlo Park City Council, District 2 — Kirsten Keith

Menlo Park City Council, District 4 — Betsy Nash

Mountain View City Council (Pick 3) — Lucas Ramirez, Lenny Siegel, Pat Showalter
Mountain View is pretty lucky in that there are three candidates who support an inclusive future with more housing who all got the nod of South Bay YIMBY. Vote Lucas Ramirez, Lenny Siegel, and Pat Showalter!

Palo Alto City Council (Pick 3) — Cory Wolbach, Alison Cormack
For the past two years, there has been a sharp divide on the Palo Alto City Council between councilors that support new development and those that favor “slow growth”. I strongly side with the pro-development councilors. Palo Alto is a wealthy, majority white area situated in the middle of a region with a growing housing crisis, and it is far from doing it’s part to build new housing. During the time I attended Stanford University, I remember housing options off campus as being few and far between as NIMBY neighbors allowed for the development of so few apartments in the region.

Please vote for the two pro-development candidates on the ballot, incumbent Cory Wolbach and challenger Alison Cormack! Leave the third option blank so as not to aid any of the slow growth advocates’ campaigns.

Redwood City Council (Pick 3) — Jason Galisatus, Giselle Hale, Diana Reddy
Redwood City is an interesting city, because it’s significantly more diverse than most of the other cities on the Peninsula. Parts of Redwood City are exclusionary and have blocked housing, while others are vulnerable and rapidly gentrifying. I followed the Silicon Valley DSA’s lead in endorsing Diana Reddy, who’s a strong advocate for tenants rights and rent control. She would be a great addition to the City Council! For the remaining two votes, I recommend Jason Galisatus and Giselle Hale who both support new development. The remainder of their challengers are “slow growth” advocates (aka as NIMBYs).

San Carlos City Council (Pick 3) — Adak Rak, Sara McDowell, Laura Parmer-Lohan

Sunnyvale City Council, Seat 1 — Gustav Larsson
Gustav Larsson is the incumbent, and he’s done a good job pushing for more housing and more homeless services during his tenure so far.

Sunnyvale City Council, Seat 2 — No Endorsement
I’m sorry if you have to vote in this race. The options are really all so bad that I didn’t even pick anyone.

Sunnyvale City Council, Seat 3 — John Cordes or Mason Fong
If only one of the two awesome candidates for Sunnyvale’s seat 3 could have run for seat 2. Both John Cordes and Mason Fong are good choices for Sunnyvale City Council. John Cordes supports new development in exclusionary areas, implementing exclusionary zoning, and he’s a long time environmentalist. On the other hand, Mason Fong is a young legislative aid who’s really nerdy about housing and transportation policy. Either would be a good choice here!

Other Resources

Didn’t find the Bay Area issue you were looking for in my guide? Here are links out to some other opinions that might be helpful.

Statewide Resources

  • Evolve California—Grassroots organization aimed at reforming Prop 13! They made a surprising number of endorsements statewide.
  • Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles Chapter — A dedicated group of members in the DSA LA Electoral Politics committee put together a very thorough voting guide. The statewide issue write-ups will be helpful for Bay Area voters.

Regional Resources

  • Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter — The Sierra Club is an environmental organization. I take their endorsements with a grain of salt, as the local chapter has a well documented anti-development streak.

San Francisco Resources

Marin County Resources

East Bay Resources

Peninsula Resources