Tag Archives: Emily Reilly

A Different Kind of Town Hall

When I ran for election to the Santa Cruz City Council for the first time in 2000, and again in 2004, I must have knocked on every door in an attempt to speak to every voter.  I was privileged to receive the most votes ever in each election, and I credit it to this hands-on campaigning.  Running for the State Assembly, I have tried to connect with voters in the same way, but campaigning in a much larger district requires innovative thinking.  That’s one reason I am proud to be a part of the Calitics community – it gives me the chance to speak with people without a media filter and without resorting to sloganeering.

I want to share with you another innovative approach to voter communication I had the good fortune to experience.  Yesterday evening, I hosted a telephone town hall for voters across the 27th district, reaching out to nearly 28,000 voters in all.  We discussed issues ranging from global warming to universal healthcare.  I used telephone town hall technology to speak with voters from Boulder Creek, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Santa Cruz and other parts of the district. Over 4,000 people joined me for some or all of the one hour town hall, from the comfort of their own homes.  

The event was like an amalgam of a virtual house party and a radio call-in show.  I began by telling the folks on the call a little bit about my background as a progressive small business person and two-time Mayor of Santa Cruz and then outlined some of the themes of my campaign, including environmental protection which was the theme of the town hall.  But most of the time was dedicated to answering questions from those who called in.  Callers were able to hear each other’s questions as well as my answers, as we discussed how to increase public transit and rail service in the district, preventing cuts to the education budget and creating alternative sources of energy instead of relying on fossil fuels.

This town hall – with the large number of participants – would be difficult, if not impossible, to put together in a usual venue.  I look forward to participating in more once I am in the Assembly, in addition to in-person town halls, as a tool to bring the voices of voters to government.  If commenters know of other innovative voter and constituent communication tools that you have used or participated in, I would love to hear from you.  Thanks to Calitics for providing a similarly innovative forum and for your support of my campaign.

2008 June Assembly Endorsements

This is our first attempt at endorsements on a broad scale in the legislature.  It is not comprehensive, we simply don’t have the resources to get to every seat. But, we tried to get to most of the competitive seats.  We’ll provide a bit of commentary on some of these over the flip. State Senate races tomorrow, and Congressional races on Wednesday. But, today, Assembly races:

AD-08: Mariko Yamada

AD-10: Alyson Huber

AD-15: Joan Buchanan

AD-27: Emily Reilly

AD-37: Ferial Masry

AD-40: Laurette Healey

AD-78: Any Democratic candidate other than Auday Arabo.

AD-80: Manuel Perez

UPDATE: AD-14: Kriss Worthington

AD-08: Mariko Yamada

Chris Cabaldon has run a textbook 20th Century campaign. He has a good resume and the institutional support.  Yamada has a solid resume of her own but can also claim the support of much of the grassroots.  She is also a tireless advocate of single payer healthcare. We support Yamada as the more progressive candidate.

AD-10: Alyson Huber

We have respected Ms. Huber for a while, and she continued to impress on the Calitics podcast. AD-10 is a district that is rapidly blue-ing, so we have a shot in this open seat.

UPDATE: AD-14: Kriss Worthington

We missed this one originally, and for that we apologize. Kriss Worthington is definitely deserving of the endorsement of a progressive blog like this one.  While frontrunners Nancy Skinner and Tony Thurmond would likely be excellent Assembly members, Worthington stands out for his prolific work for the progressive movement in the East Bay. He has signaled his intent to be the far-left conscience of the Assembly, and we need one of those.

AD-15: Joan Buchanan

AD-15 is an always competitive seat that shares much of its district with Jerry McNerney’s congressional district.  Ms. Buchanan would be a very competent Assembly member.

AD-27: Emily Reilly

This is a solid progressive district, and the candidates are all pretty good. Nonetheless, we like the way Reilly has reached out to the grassroots and netroots over the past few months. As a current Santa Cruz city council member and former city mayor Reilly also brings valuable government experience, especially with balancing budgets and finding new revenues, that are desperately needed right now in Sacramento. Her intellect, creativity, and support for budget reform and single payer mean she would be an excellent Assembly member.

AD-37: Ferial Masry

AD-37 is a tough district, but Sharon Runner Audra Strickland is a particularly odious Republican who stands in the way of real progressive change.  We wholeheartedly support Masry’s candidacy.

AD-40: Laurette Healey

AD-40 is the seat of Lloyd Levine, who is now termed out.  The campaigning has been long and tiresome between the two candidates favored by the institutional players, Bob Blumenfeld and Stuart Waldman. Both have experience in the legislative bodies as aides, but we find the progressive choice is Laurette Healey.

AD-78: Any Democratic candidate other than Auday Arabo

We won’t be sorry to see Shirley Horton go, and aside from former Bilbray staffer-turned-Democrat Auday Arabo, we’d definitely prefer any of the Democrats in this race over Republican nominee John McCann. But Marty Block, Arlie Ricasa and Maxine Sherard have all run similar campaigns centered on similar issues that have failed to differentiate. We are confident in any of them, but can’t separate one from the rest.

AD-80: Manuel Perez

This race has become a smidge more personal in the last few weeks, and we’d prefer to see it become more substantive.  We like both Manuel Perez and Greg Pettis, the leading candidates. Pettis, an LGBT leader on the Cathedral City Council, would be a solid vote in the  Assembly for Democrats. Perez, on the other hand, holds more potential, and a bit of our concern was eased when he publicly announced his support for gender-neutral marriage licenses. Not only is he a part of a growing demographic that could produce a new progressive majority, he also understands the need for more than transactional changes. In the end, the Calitics Editorial Board chose to support Manuel Perez.

Save the Coastal Commission – Sign the petition!

( – promoted by Robert in Monterey)

This week, the California State Senate will be holding a hearing on SB 1295, a dangerous bill intended to weaken the power of the California Coastal Commission. I urge you to sign my petition below and join me in voicing opposition to this bill.

Click here to sign the petition!

For over 30 years, the California Coastal Commission has worked to safeguard 1.5 million acres of our coastline, fighting the good fight for our beloved California coast.

As the toughest defender of our coast, the Coastal Commission has faced various attempts to weaken its ability to advocate on behalf of our coastal environment. The most recent such attempt is SB 1295. This bill would eliminate the ability of Commissioners to appeal local government project approvals. I strongly oppose this bill, and any legislation that seeks to undermine the Commission's ability to provide effective oversight of projects along the coast.

On Tuesday, March 25th, at my request, the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously voted to officially oppose SB 1295 and communicate our opposition to our legislators and the Chair of Natural Resources Committee.

I urge you to join me in opposing the bill by making your voices heard prior to the State Senate hearing on April 8th, when this bill will come in front of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

Click here to sign the petition!

Experience Counts: Solving California’s Budget Crisis

(Great to see an assembly candidate tackling the budget issue head-on. If anyone is interested, here’s Emily’s ActBlue page. – promoted by Robert in Monterey)

As many of you know, I am a candidate in the 27th Assembly District. I am the only currently elected local official in the race, and the only candidate who has balanced a municipal budget while also balancing competing priorities. As a two-term mayor and councilwoman in the City of Santa Cruz, I have spent countless hours deliberating over how we should best allocate our taxpayers dollars. Whether negotiating large scale construction contracts or approving new road signs, all projects, no matter how big or small, received the same level of attention.

Today, California faces a terrible reality. More money is being spent than is coming in.  Our structural budget deficit is the single largest problem facing the state, because it affects every goal we are trying to accomplish.  

As a state, we cannot continue to embrace the Governor’s policy of slashing the budget year after year without any attempt to enhance revenues.  It is irresponsible to jeopardize the future of Californians by eating away at our infrastructure and essential programs.  How we invest our money is a reflection of the things we value and our budget is the statement of these values.

During my first few years on the Santa Cruz city council we had some difficult financial challenges. I supported and advocated for tactics that, although sometimes reducing services, did not eliminate any. And because, unlike the state, we had to balance the budget, and because we had a city council that agreed to put differences aside and work together, we were able to cut 7 million dollars from a 42 million dollar general fund, keep people employed and provide essential city services.

It was very difficult, and I believe our willingness to make those hard decisions was why our city residents passed a permanent sales tax increase to augment our general fund a few years later. We used that money, as we had promised, to increase services and to repair our infrastructure. That sales tax was critical to addressing our budget needs in Santa Cruz.

For too long the state budgetary process has been caught at a standstill due to archaic rules and a lack of leadership from across the aisle. Every budgetary action must be approved by a 2/3rds majority. This was originally implemented with the hope of increasing bipartisanship within the legislature. What is happening, however, is the exact opposite. Even when faced with a crisis of the highest importance, the Republicans will not do what is necessary to get us out of it.  The balanced approach I took with our city budget, judiciously cutting spending when necessary and raising critical revenues, is the kind of approach I intend to bring to my work in Sacramento.  

Let the Races Begin

In the aftermath of the failure of Prop 93 on Tuesday, most attention seemed to be focused on the leadership contests in Sacramento. But Prop 93’s failure has sparked a whole series of contests to replace outgoing lawmakers. With the June primary four months away, potential candidates are scrambling to get their names out there in the public eye, raise money, and rally supporters. These contests will help determine the future of the Democratic legislature and progressive politics in the state, and so it’s time we looked at some of these in greater detail.

Here in the Monterey Bay area, in AD-27, we’re faced with the task of replacing the incomparable John Laird, one of the most knowledgeable legislators on the budget and a strong progressive. The Yes on 93 campaign won Santa Cruz and Monterey counties with an effective “Yes on 93 – Keep John Laird” appeal, but it wasn’t enough. Laird’s future is uncertain – like the equally talented Fred Keeley, who represented the district before he was termed out in 2002, Laird does not live in SD-15, the long coastal state senate district currently represented by Republican Abel Maldonado. Most of us here would love Laird to move a few miles east and run in SD-15, one of the most winnable Senate districts in the state (Dems now have a lead in registration), but Laird has not announced his intentions.

Five candidates have declared for the Democratic primary here in AD-27. Emily Reilly is a member of the Santa Cruz City Council and last year served as the city’s mayor. She’s visited Calitics before – in December she wrote an excellent piece attacking the “design-build” concept that Arnold is so much in love with, and I personally support her in the race to replace Laird. She has strong progressive credentials on issues from health care to sustainability and climate change, and has also demonstrated significant fundraising prowess – she raised nearly $120,000 from over 300 small donors in Q4 2007, even before it was known whether she would actually be a candidate for AD-27 (she, like most in the race, promised to withdraw if Prop 93 passed).

Bill Monning is another experienced entrant into the race. Monning is a Monterey attorney, and has challenged for this seat before – in 1994 he was the Democratic nominee, but lost to Bruce McPherson in that year’s Republican tide. Monning, like Reilly, emphasizes his strong progressive credentials, and is especially interested in action on climate change. According to the Monterey Herald Monning has $60,000 in the bank, but plans to raise $480,000 for the primary.

Over the flip I discuss the other announced candidates for the seat…

Barbara Sprenger is an activist from Felton in Santa Cruz County, and like Reilly and Monning has a strong commitment to progressive ideas – her website explains her support of single-payer care, student loan reform, and green jobs. Sprenger also helped organize the town of Felton’s public buyout of a private company that had controlled their water supply. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel she had already raised $60,000 as of early January.

Stephen Barkalow, a Monterey doctor, emphasizes the need for health care reform (though does not explicitly call for single-payer) as well as action on education, environment, and affordable housing.

Finally there is Doug Deitch, of Aptos in Santa Cruz County. He doesn’t have a website yet his website is here, but he is running as a one-issue candidate – focused on water. Deitch believes that the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency should have its state-delegated powers stripped because, in his eyes, the agency has given too much groundwater to farmers. Interestingly, Deitch was going to run in the primary even if Prop 93 had passed.

Overall it’s a strong field, and each one will be bringing a good set of progressive values to the campaign. Of course, with the state budget issue dominating all else in CA politics, and given that these candidates are vying to replace the legislature’s acknowledged budget genius, they’re going to need to explain to voters how they will help provide long-term revenue solutions to the budget, instead of going for short-term fixes and crippling spending cuts. My advice to the candidates is to take leadership on the budget, and show voters how that squares with the candidate’s other progressive positions.

That’s good advice for any Democrat running in the June primary, and I invite your comments on other races.