Meanwhile, Down in the South Bay

That’s the Bay Area’s South Bay, not the one in the LA area. There are a couple of interesting Assembly races, with some pretty good candidates.

AD-20: The Choice is Clear: Bob Wieckowski

First, I want to look at the 20th District, where progressives should be paying attention.  The district, currently represented by Alberto Torrico, is solidly Democratic.  This race pits a progressive Fremont City Councilman, Bob Wieckowski, against a moderate Oholone College Board member, Garrett Yee.  Until 2002, Yee was a Republican, and registered as a Democrat in 2007.  Wieckowski has been a strong progressive throughout his career.

Democrats voting in the upcoming primary will have a rare treat on their hands when it comes to the 20th Assembly District race: a real choice.

Fremont Councilmember Bob Wieckowski and Ohlone College trustee Garrett Yee attended the same Fremont high school, but they differ starkly in disposition, life experience and political philosophy. (OakTrib)

Wieckowski says he would support marijuana legalization, oil severance, and a split roll for property taxes.  Yee says that we should not be touching Prop 13, and is backed primarily by groups looking to destroy the rights of consumers and victims of medical malpractice.  On the flip side, Wieckowski has gotten help from the nurses and environmentalists.

Now, I speak only for myself here, but if I had a vote, I’d happily vote Wieckowski.

AD-21: Some Great Choices

Just to the west, there are several great choices in AD-21.  I had the chance to sit down with San Mateo Supervisor Rich Gordon and venture capitalist Josh Becker to talk about the race. Both impressed me, Becker with his optimism and willingness to try new things, Gordon with his pragmatism and willingness to fight for the progressive ideals.  Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto is also an intriguing candidate with a record for environmentalism.

One interest factor in this race is high speed rail.  Robert has a good write-up of the positions of the three candidates that any interested parties should read.  Long story short, all want to listen to their constituencies (a dash of NIMBYism) but want to get the thing built. To date, none of the three candidates have really been champions of HSR, but neither have really set down the gauntlet against it. It would be nice to see a candidate really come out strong for moving the process forward for getting it built, but that doesn’t seem to be something we’ll see for now.

Gordon, an openly gay candidate, has been snapping up most of the endorsements in the race.  However, it appears that Becker’s campaign is out hustling their competitors. Yoriko has a sizeable base in her community, so where this one is going is anybody’s guess.

Note, that I’ve thought a bit about this race, and at various times considered writing more in depth about it.  I could very easily see myself voting for Josh Becker. He’s been involved in any number of great progressive organizations, including auctioning himself off for the New Leaders Council.  If I were voting? It’s a really tough call. I think I would be switching my vote back and forth several times.  For right now, I’d say Rich Gordon, but any of the three would do a good job. But then again, maybe Becker…or Gordon…or…well, I don’t vote in this race. Anybody have any more solid opinions?

5 thoughts on “Meanwhile, Down in the South Bay”

  1. we don’t get much attention around here.

    I was going to give you trouble over calling Fremont and Palo Alto “South Bay”, but I checked first and both districts stretch south into San Jose. Stretch pretty far in the case of AD-21. It took me a while to figure out how connecting Redwood City and South SJ made any sense (it follows the mountains). Interestingly it also connects all the richest parts of Santa Clara county.

    I don’t have an opinion; I’m in between in AD-22 where it looks like Paul Fong will be re-elected without trouble.  

  2. All three of the major candidates in AD-21 are solid, and would serve the district well.  But AD-21 and the California legislature has a special opportunity to do something different and exciting in electing Josh Becker.  

    What the California State Assembly needs is ideas and leadership.  We need someone who can come up there and look at things through a slightly different scope, bringing entrepreneurial strategies and approaches to spur innovation in state government and in our economy.  Though each one of the candidates would be a “good vote” for the Assembly Democrats, which one of them would be able to come up there and immediately bring something different than his or her 79 other Assembly colleagues?   Which one of them is most likely to offer Sacramento and the Democratic leadership something that it doesn’t already have?  

    Becker has shown an ability to bring people together, identifying intersections and new opportunities in technology and education, and marshaling the forces necessary to make it happen.  He has extensive experience in clean energy, technology, and education, and the ways in which each of these areas intersect.  Let’s use our technology to improve our education system, and let’s also ensure that our education system prepares our young people for the jobs of the future.   Becker is a unique and dynamic leader with an intimate understanding of these issues, and there is no one like him currently serving in Sacramento.  

    AD-21 is also Silicon Valley’s Assemblymember.  Silicon Valley has so much to offer Sacramento and California state government, yet unfortunately Silicon Valley’s best and brightest are yet to truly engage in state issues.  Becker is uniquely situated and connected to help change that in a way that would benefit the entire state.  We also need Silicon Valley to understand why the Democratic party is the party of innovation and opportunity–electing Josh Becker would send a strong statement that the Democratic Party is just that.  

    If we expect the California legislature to function effectively and be a place that generates new ideas, we need people like Josh Becker in it.  

  3. Bob has been endorsed by the CA Democratic Party; he received 90% at the pre-endorsement.

    As for the AD-21, I am fully supporting Rich, but Becker would make a fine addition to the Assembly as well.

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