Tag Archives: 2008

CA-03: Durston Made Big Gains, Will Run Again

As we chew our nails waiting for the Brown – McClintock results and vacilate wildly between reflecting on how we lost on Prop. 8 and simply feeling the pain of that loss, some good news came out of CA-03.

While Dan Lungren beat Bill Durston, silver lining in that defeat abounds. For starters, Durston made serious inroads since the previous match-up. The final tally will likely end up 49-44, a relatively small margin – especially compared to two years ago, when Durston ran as a virtual unknown. He ended up only pulling down 37 percent of the vote in 2006, meaning that in two short years Durston went from a 22-point margin to a 5-point margin. Makes you feel a little cocky about 2010, huh?

Speaking of 2010, Durston just announced he will run again in two years, setting up what should be a tight race that we will have a real chance of taking. In fact, our chances may be much greater: progressives won’t have the Obama campaign taking up all their time and money; if we’re lucky, Brown will be comfortably defending his seat against a weaker candidate, needing less resources; and as readers of this site know, Lungren can be counted on to pull at least a few idiot moves in the next two years.

As our president-elect said on election night, the fight has just begun. Let’s get ready for 2010, folks.

Prop 8: Speaker Pelosi Addresses Volunteers in SF

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign and this post is part of a live series from the No on 8 SF offices)

This morning Speaker Nancy Pelosi came by the San Francisco No on Prop 8 offices to surprise several hundred volunteers who were for training.  She stopped at the office after church and her good friend Phyllis Lyon was with her.  The two (and Del) go way back to the days when Pelosi was a young up and coming San Francisco politician and are close to this day.  I am still trying to track down a great picture someone showed me of Pelosi giving Phyllis a big kiss on the cheek.

Pelosi recalled the time she called Del Martin and it took a few minutes for Del to figure out who was calling.  She repeated that it was Nancy a few times, but Del said “I’m sorry, I don’t know who this is.”  Pelosi finally said “Del, it’s the speaker.”, which prompted a big “Oooh, hi Nancy.”

Unfortunately, it was hard to hear the rest of the Speaker’s remarks.  She didn’t have a mic and I was towards the back.  Heather Cronk from NOI is out here volunteering and captured it all on her flip camera.  It is hard to hear and a bit shaky.  Flip it for the video and more pictures.

Volunteers are here for the final training of the evening.  They are signing up for shifts on election day at voting locations all over the Bay Area.  Thousands have come through this office over the weekend.  The same scene is repeating at offices across the state.

Staffers are busy allocating literature for election day, having to re-calibrate their estimates given the flood of volunteers coming into the offices.  The staff is a mix of Californians and out of state veterans of the MA marriage fight and other GLTB battles.  They have been sleeping (a little) on futons and couches and everyone is a little in awe of the scale of this campaign.  For some of the staff this is officially “vacation” time as they have taken a leave from their day jobs to join the campaign trail.

Speaking of staff, the Oakland team organizing the African-American literature drop returned recently, exhausted but with smiles on their faces.  They had a great turnout and covered a ton of turf.

On the more good news front, the campus program continues to expand.  There are GOTV activities on 167 campuses across the state, from small rural community colleges to the big UCs.  That is a lot logistics to sort out to get literature to all of those locations, but that is a great problem to have.

Only 48 hours until the polls close.

Phyllis and Pelosi sitting in the crowd.

Office packed listening to Pelosi

Speaker Pelosi

More photos up on my No on 8 flickr photoset.

Prop 8: Updates from the Field, Pushback on the Obama Flier and More

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign and this post is part of a series live from the No on 8 SF offices)

Yesterday, the No on Prop 8 campaign had Interfaith Call to Action Services all over the state.  Over 2,000 attended one of three masses in LA, San Diego, or San Francisco. Mayor Newsom attended the SF event at Glide Memorial Church. Many parishioners wept as Reverend Dorsey Blake spoke about our country’s painful history of discrimination and connected it to the discrimination on the ballot on Tuesday.

The No on 8 campaign is fighting back today against our opponent’s targeting of African American voters with misinformation about Barack Obama’s position on Prop 8.  Volunteers are passing out a new flyer in heavily African-American precincts and churches.  Flier is below the fold along with more pictures.

LA City Council President Eric Garcetti and actor Martin Sheen were on-hand in LA,and SD Mayor Sanders led a candlelight vigil in the hours after the service in San Diego.

Today, same-sex couples, many of them accompanied by straight friends, neighbors and co-workers will go “Door-to-Door Against Discrimination” in over 20 cities to urge fellow voters to defeat the unfair initiative on Tuesday.

This happening right now in Chula Vista, Fresno, La Verne, Livermore, Marin, Palm Springs, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Bruno, the San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, San Jose, and Tracy.

One couple went door-to-door today and left copies of a personal letter at over 200 homes in their neighborhood. Here’s part of their report: “Actually we got around twenty calls to our home ranging from “Thanks for doing this,” “You really didn’t think we would vote yes, did you?” to “You shouldn’t have used your phone number or address. It was brave of  you.”

Front of flier:

Back of flier:

Pastor at Glide Church:

Inside Glide Church:

Student rally:

Where Will You Be at 8:01pm on Election Night?

(Good question! Post them in the comments. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

I was browsing online looking around for where all the election night gatherings are going to be, and thought I’d pose the question to the group here – where will you be hanging out on Election Night after the polls close at 8pm?

I remember in 1992 they had a big party in San Francisco, since that was the year Clinton won California, and Sens. Boxer and Feinstein won too…so post some parties here!

Prop 8 Spokesman Says Defeating Gays is Like Defeating Hitler

Yes, he went there at an official Sacramento Yes on 8 rally yesterday.  This is Brad Dacus, an official Prop 8 spokesperson speaking.  He is the President of the Pacific Justice Institute, a religious-right lawyers 501c3 organization.

Here is the transcript:

“There was another time in history when people, when the bell tolled. And the question was whether or not they were going to hear it. The time was during Nazi Germany with Adolf Hitler. You see he brought crowds of clergy together to assure them that he was going to look after the church.

And one of the members, bold and courageous, Reverend Niemand (sp?) made his way to the front and (inaudible) said “Hitler, we are not concerned about the church. Jesus Christ will take care of the church.

We are concerned about the soul of Germany.” Embarrassed and chagrined, his peers quickly shuffled him to the back.

And as they did Adolf Hitler said, “The soul of Germany, you can leave that to me.” And they did, and because they did bombs did not only fall upon the nation of Germany, but also upon the church and their testimony to this very day.

Let us not make that mistake folks. Let us hear the bell! Vote on Proposition 8!”

Dacus is the guy who was the chief architect of the movement to get an opt-out law for parents to take their child out of any school activity that violates their religious or moral beliefs.  Like say if a charter school asks the parents if they want to take their kids on a field trip to celebrate their teacher getting married.  You know, the one they are conveniently forgetting about and then lying in their ads about education and teh children.

The best way you can answer back to Dacus is to get out this weekend and election day and volunteer for the No on 8 campaign.  There is a special netroots volunteer sign-up form.  Fill it out and tell them you came from Calitics.

Heck you can even find instructions on how to get an opt-out form on his organization’s website.  This is the guy who is comparing me to Hitler in an attempt to take away my rights.

Oh and there is another outrageous clip on the flip, where another spokesman from the Prop 8 campaign says the gays are trying to recruit children.

Dan’s Nov. 08 Ballot Recommendations



This will be a close race!  Phone-banking to swing states-including Colorado-continues at your local Obama or United Democratic Campaign headquarters.  Go to http://my.barackobama.com/page… to find the Obama office near you.  

U.S. Congress – C.D. #s 1-53 – Vote for the Democrat in your district!  

IF you live in one of these two districts, please volunteer/contribute to your candidate’s campaign:

 ~  C.D.  #4 – Charlie Brown  [www.charliebrownforcongress.org] – This district is our best chance to turn a red district blue in California this year.  He is running against Tom McClintock, the most ideologically conservative legislator in the state and a carpetbagger from Southern California.  Charlie Brown, he’s “a good man.”

 ~  C.D. #11 – Jerry McNerney  [www.jerrymcnerney.org] – The Democrats, with tremendous grassroots activism, took this seat two years ago, but the Republicans are spending huge amounts of money to take it back.  Let’s make sure we send Mr. McNerney, a leader in renewable energy, back to Congress.  

California State Senate:

~ S.D.  #3 – Mark Leno

~ S.D.  #5 – Lois Wolk [www.loiswolk.com] – This is an open seat that we must keep in the Democratic column.

~ S.D.  #7 – Mark DeSaulnier

~ S.D.  #9 – Loni Hancock – Since I live in this district, I will take this opportunity to say that we are very fortunate to have Loni representing Oakland and other East Bay communities in the St. Senate.  Among her accomplishments, she was successful this year in getting passed and signed into law a ‘Clean Money’ pilot program.

~ S.D. #11 – Joe Simitian

~ S.D. #19 – Hannah-Beth Jackson [www.jackson4senate.com] – This district is our best hope at picking up a Democratic seat in the St. Senate.  Please do what you can to help her win against a very conservative opponent who is misleading voters about his own record.  

~ S.D. #23 – Fran Pavley

~ S.D. #27 – Alan Lowenthal

~ S.D. #39 – Christine Kehoe

California State Assembly – A.D. #s 1-80 – Vote for the Democrat in your district!  IF you live or work in one of the following districts, please volunteer/contribute to your candidate’s campaign.  These are expected to be very close races.  

~ A.D. #10 – Alyson Huber – www.alysonhuber.com

~ A.D. #15 – Joan Buchananwww.joanbuchanan.com – If you live in the Bay Area and want to help the Democrats gain seats in our state legislature, please contact the Buchanan campaign and help in any way possible.  925-806-0560

~ A.D. #26 – John Eisenhut – www.johneisenhut.com

~ A.D. #65 – Carl Wood – www.wood4assembly.org

~ A.D. #78 – Marty Block – www.martyblock.com

~ A.D. #80 – Manuel V. Perez – www.manuelperezforassembly.com


Oakland City Council (at-large seat) – REBECCA KAPLAN

Rebecca is exactly the type of person we need on the Oakland City Council.  She is smart, progressive, experienced and accomplished.  She will shake things up on the city council and move it in a more progress-oriented direction.  She is a former civil rights attorney, policy advocate, environmental activist, and yes, a ‘community organizer’.  She understands the array of issues facing Oakland residents and will work hard to make Oakland a more safe and livable city.  She is well-known for being able to work with a broad cross-section of people and personalities.  Currently, she’s an elected member of the A/C Transit Board of Directors.  She is endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic Party, the MGO Democratic Club, the Sierra Club, East Bay Young Dems, Assembly Member Sandre Swanson, Supervisors Keith Carson and Nate Miley, and a wide array of organizations, elected officials and community leaders.  www.kaplanforoakland.org

Mayor, City of Berkeley – TOM BATES – Mayor Bates has shown leadership and brought people together to get things done in Berkeley.  He’s endorsed by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the Sierra Club, and a broad range of organizations, public officials and community leaders.  See www.tombates.org/index.htm for details on his priorities.  

Judge – Superior Court (Alameda County seat #9) – DENNIS HAYASHI

Dennis, a public interest attorney, is highly qualified to be a superior court judge.  He is a former attorney with the Asian Law Caucus, and was director of the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Clinton.  He was also the director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.  We desperately need more public interest attorneys as judges.  He is endorsed by the Sierra Club, the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club, former Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and numerous state and local elected officials, as well as several judges.  Dennis will make a superb Superior Court judge.   www.dennishayashi.com

San Francisco County Supervisors:

   District  #1 – ERIC MAR – Eric is an elected member of the S.F. Board of Education, a civil rights attorney, college lecturer, and long-time progressive political activist.  He’s been recognized for his civic involvement, leadership, and passionate advocate for human and civil rights.  He is committed to working at City Hall and in the Richmond district for working families, thriving neighborhoods, and responsive local government.  To volunteer on his campaign, go to www.ericmar.com.

   District  #3 – DAVID CHIU (rank #1) – As a former civil rights attorney, counsel to a U.S. Senate subcommittee, neighborhood activist and leader, former deputy district attorney, member of San Francisco’s Small Business Commission, affordable housing advocate, and Democratic Party activist, David has the breadth and depth of experience to be an excellent supervisor-responsive, innovative, smart ideas. http://votedavidchiu.org  

TONY GANTNER (rank #2) – Experienced neighborhood and environmental activist, Tony would also be a good Supervisor.  

   District  #4 – CARMEN CHU – She’s moderate-to-conservative by San Francisco standards, but this is the Sunset district and her principal opponent is even more conservative.  

   District  #5 – ROSS MIRKARIMI – Ross has been a very good supervisor for this district and he deserves reelection.  He reaches out to groups of people in his district and strives to develop and support innovative and compassionate ideas and proposals.  

   District  #7 – SEAN ELSBERND – Has only token opposition and will be reelected easily in this relatively moderate-to-conservative district.

   District  #9 – no recommendation – Many good progressive candidates in this district, including David Campos and Mark Sanchez.

   District #11 – JULIO RAMOS (rank #1) – Julio is an attorney, elected member of the San Francisco Community College Bd. of Trustees, an experienced trial lawyer, and former Coro Fellow.  I’ve known Julio for nearly 10 years and I’m confident that he would be an excellent county supervisor.  He’s progressive, compassionate, and is committed to focusing his energy on crime prevention, services to seniors, helping at-risk youth, improving neighborhoods and creating clean streets, and expanding educational opportunities for local residents. www.julioramos.org

JOHN AVALOS (rank #2) – Former supervisorial aide, Avalos would also be a good county supervisor.  

BART Bd. of Directors

   Tom Radulovich (district 9) – Smart environmental leader.  He’s been a very good BART director.  

A.C. Transit Bd. of Directors

   Chris Peeples (at-large)

   Greg Harper (ward 2)

East Bay Municipal Utility District Bd. of Directors

   Doug Linney (ward 5) – Environmental leader on the EBMUD Board.  Certainly deserves reelection.  

East Bay Regional Parks District Bd. of Directors

   Norman LaForce (ward 1) – Norman has shown important leadership as a long-time advocate for parks.  He is currently the chapter chair of the Sierra Club and an experienced attorney for environmental causes.  He will be an excellent EBRPD board member.  

Trustee, Peralta Community College District

   Marlon McWilson (area 2)

San Francisco Community College District –

Several good candidates.  I recommend the following four candidates:

   Natalie Berg

   Milton Marks

   Chris Jackson

   Rodel Rodis

San Francisco Board of Education:

Several good candidates.  I recommend the following four candidates:

   Norman Yee

   Sandra L. Fewer

   Kimberly Wicoff

   Jill Wynns

City Council, Daly City – Judith Christensen – She’s a teacher, is supported by the environmental community, and she’s been a breath of fresh air on a stale city council.  She deserves re-election.  

Mayor, City of Fremont – Gus Morrison – Former Mayor Morrison would do a far better job as mayor once again than either the incumbent or his other opponent.  Vote to put Gus back in the Mayor’s office.  

City Council, Orinda – Victoria Smith – She’s done a good job on the Orinda City Council and deserves re-election.  Go to www.voteforvictoria.com for more information.  

Mayor, City of Sacramento – Heather Fargo – Mayor Fargo is running against a former Pro Basketball player who has no experience in government.  Her opponent is being put forth as a candidate by development interests who do not like Ms. Fargo’s policies.  She’ll do a better job than her challenger.  Vote to re-elect her.  For info on her priorities, experience and endorsements, or to volunteer, go to www.fargoformayor.com

Los Angeles County Bd. of Supervisors (2nd district) – Mark Ridley-Thomas

Ridley-Thomas is the more progressive of the two candidates.  He is a former L.A. City Councilman and a current State Senator.  We will miss him in Sacramento, but he will make an excellent County Supervisor.  He is endorsed by the L.A. County Democratic Party, Sierra Club, Members of Congress Jane Harmon, Brad Sherman, Howard Berman, Hilda Solis, Planned Parenthood, and dozens of other elected officials and community leaders.  Go to www.ridley-thomas.com to learn more.  

Santa Clara County Bd. of Supervisors (2nd district) – Richard Hobbs – Endorsed by the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters and the local Sierra Club chapter.  That’s good enough for me.    

…Propositions follow…


1A – YES High-Speed Train System for California.  $9.95 billion bond measure to fund construction of a long overdue high-speed rail system in California.  Additional monies would come from federal and private sources.  Once in operation, this will help reduce traffic on north-south major highways, reduce the need to expand airports, and help reduce the total output of greenhouse gases that might otherwise occur without such a train system.  You’ll be able to get from the L.A. area to San Francisco in about 2-¾ hours.  This expensive capital project that will be in existence for several decades or longer is just the type of project that bond measures were made for.  This has broad support from business leaders to the environmental community.  Go to www.californiahighspeedtrains.com for more information and please vote YES on 1A.  

2 – YESConfined Farm Animals.  This initiative will ban some of the worst confinement practices of polluting confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and is an important step in promoting a modern approach to agriculture that is productive, humane, and more healthful.  www.yesonprop2.com

3 – YES Children’s Hospitals Bond.  $980 million bond measure to assist with construction and modernization of nonprofit children’s hospitals in California.  Up to 20% of the funds would go to University of California teaching hospitals throughout the state.  

4 – NOParental Notification and Waiting Period for Abortions by Minors.  This Constitutional Amendment would mandate that doctors deny an abortion to teenagers until the parent is notified and a waiting period has gone by. This measure creates onerous procedures for minors, including those in troubled families, to obtain a lawful abortion.  This election is the third time that this measure is on the ballot.  We defeated the previous two, and we need to defeat this one as well.  Vote No!

5 – YESNonviolent Drug Offenses and Rehabilitation.  This measure expands drug treatment diversion programs for criminal offenders, expands prison and parole anti-recidivism programs, and reduces certain penalties for marijuana possession.  It also creates a separate state cabinet level position in charge of rehabilitation (separate from the current Corrections department).  Also reduces parole time for certain nonviolent drug offenses and expands parole time for serious and violent felons.  This is an important initiative if we’re ever going to deal with overcrowded prisons and take meaningful steps to move people away from a life of crime.  Most crimes are committed by people who have committed crimes before.  If we can reduce the number of repeat offenders, we will be making great strides in reducing crime overall.  Vote Yes!

6 – NO – Law Enforcement Funding and Penalties.  Substantially increases state funding for law enforcement activities without identifying where that money will come from, which means it will require additional cuts in other services such as higher education, medi-cal and state parks.  Increases penalties for specified crimes, and allows hearsay testimony to be used more freely.  This initiative requires all public housing residents to have criminal background checks done on them annually.  It also changes the composition of the existing juvenile justice coordinating councils in each county by eliminating the requirement that the councils include representatives of community-based substance abuse treatment programs.   This proposition does many things and a few of them may seem appealing.  But overall, the initiative goes overboard and would be very costly to the state.  It would increase crowding in our prisons and jails, require cuts in other discretionary spending at a time when the budget has already been cut to the bone, and incarcerate juvenile offenders at a time when what we need more of is treatment and rehabilitation programs.  Most of this initiative takes us in the wrong direction.  The ACLU, Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, the Youth Law Center, the California Democratic Party, the L.A. City Council, the League of Women Voters and over 25 newspapers, among many others, urge a NO vote on Prop. 6. www.votenoprop6.com

7 – NORenewable Energy Statutory Changes.  This proposition purports to increase the generation of electricity from renewable resources, such as solar and wind.  However, this initiative was so poorly drafted and vetted that every major environmental group and virtually all of the renewable energy industry companies and associations in California are opposing it.  Prop. 7 put loopholes into the renewable energy statute for the first time-something the Legislature had rejected on more than one occasion.  It creates problems with the transmission siting process and creates a counter-productive cost policy that could actually discourage the development of large-scale solar projects.  It also has a provision that could shut out the small renewable energy company from being part of the solution.  Overall, it creates uncertainty at a tine when the renewable energy industry needs clarity.  There are too many flaws to list here.  Please join with the Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environment California, the CA League of Conservation Voters, the California Wind Energy Association, the Calif. Democratic Party, and over three dozen newspapers in opposing this well-intentioned, but wrong-headed initiative.  Vote NO! www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_energy/no_on_prop_7.pdf

8 – NOElimination of Right to Marry for Same-sex Couples.  This proposed constitutional amendment would very simply take away the rights of some adults in our state to marry.  This is a question of fundamental fairness and equal protection under the law.  Do get fooled by the misleading ads by the proponents.  Proudly vote NO to keep same-gender marriage legal in our state.  

9 – NOParole and Victims’ Rights (Constitutional Amendment).  Appears to give additional benefits/rights to victims of crimes.  However, California already requires that crime victims receive several specified rights, some of which are duplicated here.  Says that restitution payments to victims come first before any other debts that the criminal already owes.  Allows victims to withhold information from the accused during pre-trial proceedings.  Severely reduces the ability of the state or of judges to provide early release to inmates at state prisons.  Reduces the number of parole hearings (and lengthens the time between parole hearings) to which inmates are entitled.  There are a number of constitutional questions raised by this initiative.  Overall, this would be an expensive initiative to implement without any proven gain in public safety.  Please join with the ACLU, the CA Democratic Party, over three dozen newspapers, the League of Women Voters, and the former warden of San Quentin State Prison in opposing Prop. 9.  Vote No. www.votenoprop9.com

10 – NOAlternative Fuel Vehicles Bond.   Prop. 10 is an inefficient use of public dollars at a time when our state budget is in crisis.  This is a $5 billion mostly self-serving initiative where nearly three-quarters of the money would likely go to subsidize the natural gas vehicle industry.  This measure is being bankrolled by T.Boone Pickens, the Texas oil and natural gas tycoon.  While the rebates in the initiative sound attractive, they are not based on a consistent environmental metric and they do not require any improvement in smog emissions as a result of how the money is spent.  There are better solutions available that would get us more environmental benefits for less money.  Don’t be fooled.  Join with the Consumer Federation of California, the Sierra Club and several other environmental groups, along with the League of Women Voters, Latino Issues Forum, and over 30 newspapers in opposing the Prop. 10 giveaway.  Vote No.   www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/no_on_prop_10.pdf  

11 – ? – Redistricting Commission.  This is a difficult one.  I’m leaning ever so slightly toward voting No.  Here are a few pros and cons along with some of the key supporters/opponents.  On the Yes side, it certainly makes sense to have a relatively independent commission, not legislators themselves, draw the district lines for legislators every 10 years.  If the result of this measure is the creation of a larger number of so-called competitive districts, that could lead to making a larger number of our elected representatives more responsive and accountable to the voters in their districts.  From a purely good government point of view, creating a redistricting commission is long overdue.  And this proposal is more logical than previous ones because it excludes Congressional districts (including them would be unfair because other states, such as Texas, don’t have similar commissions).  On the No side, from a purely partisan point of view, this could lead to either more Republicans being elected, or more likely, the same number of Dems and Reps being elected, but more of the Dems would be the so-called moderate, business-oriented Democrats-often the ones who don’t support environmental legislation.  Also, if the Commission becomes deadlocked on approving a plan, it would be kicked to the state supreme court to appoint a so-called special master.  Supporters of 11 include the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, AARP, NAACP, Governor Schwarzenegger, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Steve Westly, Gray Davis, Leon Panetta, California Democratic Council, numerous Republican clubs.   Opponents of Prop. 11 include the California Democratic Party, California League of Conservation Voters, MALDEF, California Federation of Teachers, Senator Barbara Boxer, AFSCME, Asian Law Caucus, and many, many Democratic clubs around the state.

12 – YES – Veterans’ Bond Act.  This is a $900,000,000 bond measure to provide home and farm aid to California veterans.  The monies would be spent on loans to veterans that they would have to pay back with interest.  Veterans often get the short end of the stick from the federal government.  Regardless of what we may think of the current war in the Middle East, our veterans deserve our thanks along with modest financial assistance.  Vote Yes.



N (OUSD) – NO – This is a $120/year parcel tax to fund teacher salaries for the stated purpose of attracting and retaining qualified teachers in Oakland’s public schools, with 15% of these funds going to Oakland’s charter schools.  We already pay $195/year parcel tax for Oakland’s public schools.  This proposed additional parcel tax does not have the support of the local teachers’ union-the group of people that purportedly would benefit the most.  Apparently, this was put on the ballot with virtually no input from the various stakeholders that should have been involved.  While it’s not easy to oppose a tax increase for public schools, this one appears to have very little support.

KK (Berkeley) – NO – Passage of this measure would require that the voters of Berkeley approve the creation of any transit-only traffic lanes, such as Bus Rapid Transit lanes, in Berkeley.  This would hinder efforts to promote more effective transit options in Berkeley and be a set-back for environmentally oriented transportation planning in the East Bay.  We elect representatives to make these decisions for us based on a deliberative process.  Let’s allow them to do their job.  The Sierra Club urges a No on measure KK.  

NN (Oakland) – YES – This measure would authorize the City of Oakland to levy a parcel tax for the express purposes of adding 105 police officers (on top of the 803 required by Measure Y passed in 2004) AND 75 crime investigation technicians to the Oakland police force, as well as to purchase a computerized crime data management system.  Virtually everyone agrees that we need more police and crime investigators in Oakland to help combat, deter and solve crimes.  The question is will we try to pay for this within our existing city budget, or will we find a new funding source for this vital service.  I say the responsible thing is to raise additional revenue so it won’t come out of other vital city services.  The parcel tax would start at less than $9.50 per month, but could rise as high as $23/month a few years from now.  Nevertheless, this is an essential service.  I strongly recommend a YES vote!

OO (Oakland) – NO – This measure would dramatically increase the already-existing “Kids First” fund in the City of Oakland.  The measure specifies that at least 2.5% of the entire Oakland city budget must be spent on the specified children’s programs.  Currently, the city must spend at least 1.5% of the City’s discretionary funds on these kids programs.  This measure does not specify where the money would come from other than the city’s general fund.  If the city didn’t have any ‘kids’ fund today, I would probably support this; but at a time of severe budget problems and significant cutbacks, we can’t afford this budget set-aside without identifying a new funding source at the same time.  These additional funds would have to come from cuts in other existing programs (senior services, parks, libraries, fire, etc.).  I recommend a NO vote.  

VV (AC Transit) – YES – This is a parcel tax to support AC Transit operations and bus maintenance.  The measure would double the existing parcel tax to a total of $96/year, with the tax expiring in 2019.  The purpose of this increase is to avoid fare increases and make sure transit services affordable and attractive.  I urge a Yes vote.  

WW (E.B.R.P.D.) – YES – Measure WW is the East Bay Regional Park District’s Bond extension to protect wildlife, purchase open space, and acquire and improve our regional parks and trails.  The current bond measure will be expiring soon.  This measure merely puts out a new bond to continue with the same level of funding.  In other words, your property taxes will not increase because of this measure.  Please vote YES on WW.  

 SAN FRANCISCO local ballot measures:

  A – Yes – This is a much-needed bond measure to re-build San Francisco General Hospital.  This is a no-brainer.  SFGH, which serves as the primary trauma center in San Francisco, does not meet seismic safety standards.  This bond measure is long overdue.  Vote Yes!

  B – Yes – The city is in dire need of more affordable housing.  While budget set-asides are not usually the best way to determine policy priorities, this one seems important enough to justify using this mechanism.  Vote Yes for more affordable housing in San Francisco.

  C – No – Prop. C uses a chainsaw approach in a situation that calls for a scalpel.  Top management should not be allowed on city commissions and no employee should be on a commission for the department in which they work; but Prop. C bans all city employees from serving on virtually all city commissions.  This overly broad measure is unnecessary and would prevent some good people from volunteering their service as a city commissioner.  Vote No.  

  D – Yes – This sounds like a smart plan for the Port of San Francisco’s Pier 70, and it’s really something that the Board of Supervisors should have the authority to do on their own through the annual budget process.  But it appears that a vote of the public is necessary to make this happen, so vote Yes.  

  E – Yes – This measure would increase the number of signatures required to recall a district level elected city official in San Francisco.  Recall petitions should not be easy, and this measure would make the city more consistent with existing state law.  A Yes vote makes sense to me.  

  F – Yes – Voter participation increases in even-numbered years, and the more people who participate in a local election, the more representative the result would be.  This is a good government.  On top of that, the city would also save some money that could be used for other essential services.  I urge a Yes vote.  

  G – Yes – This seems like a modest effort to make sure city employees have an opportunity to not lose any of their retirement benefits due to having to take parental leave in the past.  Vote Yes.  

  H – Yes – This is a local clean energy initiative that primarily deals with (a) setting aggressive goals for using clean sources of electricity (including Hetch Hetchy electricity), (b) requiring the San Francisco’s PUC to conduct electricity resource planning, including the development of a comprehensive plan to move San Francisco toward clean and efficient electricity generation and use, and (c) potentially moving toward a public power system of electricity distribution.  PG&E is understandably spending several million dollars to defeat it.  Don’t be fooled by the ads.  Prop. H includes a provision that simply adds one additional purpose for which a vote of the public is not required for the issuance of revenue bonds.  There is already in the City Charter eight situations when a vote is not required.  Revenue bonds are different from general obligation bonds.  Revenue bonds are paid back through income and savings from using the facilities that are built, not from property taxes.  Remember, Vote NO on 7, but YES on measure H.  Go to www.sfcleanenergy.com/about-the-clean-energy-act/frequently-asked-questions to find out the facts on this measure.  

  I –  ? – Not sure if this is necessary or even a good idea, and it essentially duplicates a provision in Prop. H anyway.  No recommendation.

  J – Yes – I’m generally leery of giving unelected commissions the authority to designate buildings as historic landmarks.  However, this measure does not do that.  It still retains final decisions on new historic building designations with the elected Board of Supervisors.  But this measure does allow this new commission to decide on permits once building are already designated as landmarks or deemed historic.  Overall, this seems like a well-crafted and balanced measure in terms of authority and oversight.  I recommend a Yes vote.  

  K – No – This measure does not appear to be well thought out.  While it may make sense to decriminalize prostitution and prioritize police investigations toward more serious crimes, this measure goes overboard.  I suggest voting No.  

  L – Yes – This appears to duplicate what was already approved by the Board of Supervisors regarding the funding for a Community Justice Center court.  Nevertheless, the services that will be provided by this CJC court are a big step in implementing valuable anti-recidivism programs.  It’s worth reaffirming this and putting it into statute so the initial funds can’t be decreased.  Vote Yes.  

  M – Yes – This measure provides additional protections and recourse for renters who are harassed by their landlord.  I recommend a Yes vote.  

  N – Yes – This measure does two things.  First, it doubles the real estate transfer tax for properties that sell for more than $5 million.  Second, it would reduce, but not eliminate, the tax for properties where the seller had installed a solar energy system or made seismic safety improvements.  This would incentivize homeowners to make needed seismic retrofit improvements as well as encourage them to install solar panels on their roofs.  The increase in the transfer tax for upper end properties would essentially pay for the tax losses on the other properties that have their transfer tax reduced.  Sounds like a great idea.  I urge a Yes vote.  

  O – Yes – This merely modernizes the city’s telephone user tax and modifies the fee that is used to fund local 911 services.  These changes are due to recent court rulings.  Vote Yes.  

  P – No – This removes almost all the members of the Board of Supervisors from the existing County Transportation Authority.  While adding the Mayor to this authority makes sense, taking away a majority of the board does not.  This is a power grab that should be rejected-I urge a No vote.  

  Q – Yes – This measure closes a loophole in the city’s payroll tax for businesses and increases the dollar threshold for the small business exemption, so a larger number of small businesses would be exempt from this tax.  This makes sense to me.  Vote Yes.  

 R – No – We all despise George W. Bush, so who would want to name anything-even a sewage treatment plant-after him in San Francisco.  This is a silly measure that should not be on the ballot.  Let’s not encourage these types of things.  Vote No.  

  S – Yes – This is merely a policy statement dealing with budget set-asides that voters can choose to ignore at any time in the future.  Nevertheless, it makes sense to ask elected officials and voters to consider the points outlined in this policy statement.  Might as well vote Yes.  

  T – Yes – This prioritizes substance abuse treatment and calls upon the city’s Department of Public Health (DPH) to implement a plan to make sure that sufficient treatment services to meet demand.  The city would be required to provide sufficient funding to allow DPH to meet expected demand.  Drug treatment is an important part of helping homeless and other people improve their lives.  Vote Yes.  

  U – Yes – This is merely a declaration of policy urging California senators and local members of Congress to stop funding the Iraq war.  The measure carries no force of law.  It does suggest that funds to facilitate a safe and orderly withdrawal would be acceptable.  Might as well vote Yes as a way of expressing your opposition to the war.    

  V – No – This is an unenforceable policy statement urging the SF School Board to reinstate Junior ROTC programs at some district high schools.  After extensive debate, the school board voted to phase out JROTC programs in San Francisco public schools.  Even though this is only an advisory measure, I would recommend reading the pro and con ballot arguments.  It seems on balance that those against the JROTC programs have stronger arguments, especially since some students are enrolled in this program by their parents against their will.  Neither this measure nor the action taken by the school board has or will have any impact on ROTC programs at public universities and colleges.  I respectfully urge a No vote.  


   A – YES – A parcel tax of $3 per month to fund anti-gang and violence prevention programs, including after-school programs and mentoring, as well as graffiti removal.  

   B – YES – A measure to remove some height restrictions on affordable housing in order to be eligible for certain pots of state and federal monies.  

   J – YES – $3.5 billion bond measure for community college construction, classroom repair, nursing and apprenticeship training, and earthquake safety.

   R – YES – Metropolitan Transportation Authority 1/2-cent sales tax to fund rail extentions, repair potholes, and relieve traffic congestion.  

Saturday morning campaign thread

Where are you campaigning this weekend?

Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in the California Young Democrats’ “Campaign Invasion” on behalf of Hannah-Beth Jackson in SD-19.

How are you helping?  There’s plenty to choose from.

Early voting opens in Nevada this morning…

No on Prop 8 needs more money and more volunteers…

Our contested Congressional and State legislature races could always use more help…

What’s going on in your area this weekend?  Any events or campaign activities you’d like to share?

CA’s Most Dangerous Initiative

While Prop 8 is getting all the headlines, another initiative, Prop 4, is threatening even greater harm. One reason the threat is so great is that it is getting too little attention.

Prop 4 is another clone of the anti-abortion initiative California rejected in 2005 and again in 2006. The religious right keeps rolling the dice on this because they have nothing to lose and they only need to win one time to start chipping away at Roe v. Wade. For them to win in this huge, pro-choice state would empower the religious right like never before and build momentum to dismantle abortion rights from coast to coast.

2008 may be their year. Polls currently show Yes on 4 leading — but it’s close enough that progressives can defeat it again if we are willing to work.

Prop 4 proposes an abortion restriction most voters find appealing until they think about it. In the past, we’ve been able to get voters to look close and see the dangers. This year, with Prop 8 grabbing the headlines and a Presidential race eclipsing all else, it is harder to get voters’ attention, and it is harder to get campaign volunteers and donations to help us win.

Prop 4: a dangerous initiative

Prop 4 would preclude a safe, legal abortion for anyone under 18 without parental notification. To make this appear more palatable, the authors have written in some bypass options that sound comforting but don’t work in real life. (The main bypass requires a teenager in crisis to single-handedly navigate our court system and track down a sympathetic judge while the clock is ticking. In other states, right-wing judges have abused their power in these cases, humiliating the teenagers and denying every request. But even in the best cases, this judge-hunt causes dangerous delays, making the abortion more complicated.)

Voters feel pulled to support this at first because so many voters are parents who naturally want to be involved in their daughters’ lives. What voters don’t see are statistics showing that, without this law, the overwhelming majority of pregnant teenagers in California choose to involve their parents anyway. A scared, pregnant teenager wants help, and if she can safely turn to her parents, she will. No law is needed for that. The few who do not, however, may have good reason not to; and these are the teenagers Prop 4 would tragically affect.

Phonebanking for No on Prop 4, I recently spoke to a voter who told me why she’s voting no. When she was a teenager, her best friend got pregnant. Adults advised this pregnant youth to talk to her parents about it. Reluctantly, she did so. Soon she was admitted to a hospital, not for an abortion, but for broken bones. If Prop 4 passes, that story will become more common.

Teenagers who cannot tell their parents will be placed in worse danger. Prop 4 will put a medically safe abortion off limits, and it will leave only dangerous alternatives.

These dangers don’t seem to bother the religious right. A few weeks ago, I had a voter calmly tell me that when pregnant teenagers die from back-alley abortions or suicide, they get what they deserve.

Most California voters who see the dangers, however, disagree with that hateful view, and they will vote no on Prop 4. The last two times this was on the ballot, they did. But with so many races and issues competing for attention this year, and with the media reluctant to cover an issue they already covered in 2005 and in 2006, we must work harder to ensure voters remember the dangers.

Donate money or volunteer your time here. Lives are in the balance.

The Chronicle, The Examiner, The SF Business Times, Asian Week and more Agree – No on H

Disclaimer: I do some work for the No on H campaign. But my views on this measure were decided before I took the job.

Today the San Francisco Chronicle was the latest publication to endorse a “No” vote on San Francisco’s Prop. H. It joins the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Business Times, Asian Week, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research organization (SPUR) and the Bay Area Reporter in opposing the measure.

I think it’s important to note that much of the reasoning behind these endorsements has to do with the fact that the supporters of Prop. H have put forth some of the most misleading campaign material in recent history. The No on H campaign gets pilloried by the so-called “progressives” as “telling lies” but in fact the objections raised have been based entirely on the actual text of the measure itself.

The Chronicle put it best in the lead today when it said:

“The least advocates of San Francisco’s Proposition H could do is be forthright about their motives. This is not about saving he planet by increasing the use of renewable resources, or commissioning a study to determine the best way to achieve it.

This is about stacking the deck to achieve what has become the Holy Grail of certain “progressive” factions of the city: a municipal takeover of electrical service from Pacific Gas & Electric Co.”

That’s an important point to remember. Voters have rejected every single attempt to have San Francisco, a city of less than a million people and only about 370,000 power customers, go into the power business. Since Sup. Mirkarimi (who has been on a crusade against PG&E for years)  and progressive allies could not get a politically motivated takeover passed by asking the voters straight up, they’ve now used the current popularity of all things “green” to cloak the measure in good intentions. People in the know about these issues have agreed that Prop. H is a poorly written law.

That’s bad enough, as it plays on people’s good intentions to pass a law they’ve rejected in the past. What’s worse is that by voting for this measure, voters would be exchanging tough, enforceable, state standards for a new definition of “clean energy” – that it simply be “non-nuclear.” And all city-owned utilities are exempt from California’s tough, enforceable laws that PG&E has to abide by. Supporters deny this is true, but you can read the measure for yourself what it says. Just go to section Section 8B.129.

Also, it’s important to remember that supporters of Prop. H have no idea where they are going to get all this “clean” energy the measure allegedly requires. It is not as if PG&E is simply refusing to buy or produce power from clean sources (in fact, it has signed some of the largest solar and wind contracts in the world) – there simply aren’t the facilities and distribution networks available right now to do the job. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, PG&E must comply with California’s strictly defined clean energy standards and timetable – a city-owned one can ignore them at will.

Thus, the City of San Francisco will not only have to issue billions in bonds to buy PG&E’s facilities in town – they’re going to have to issue more to start building plants (clean or not) to ensure the lights turn on every day. And right now is not a great time to be trying to finance new construction, as the financial crisis on Wall Street starts to have an impact on new energy plant construction and all City bond costs.

Likewise, the measure allows the Board to issue revenue bonds for any utility they want to take over – the measure makes no requirement it only be for electricity. Thus, if the Board wanted to go into the Internet business, the garbage business, the telephone business, or really any “utility” business they can thanks to Prop. H. The people who voted for this thinking it was just about a study for clean energy will be powerless to stop them from abusing this new power. No one likes it when this is said, but again, you can read the measure for yourself.

Whenever these points are brought up, the supporters of Prop. H refuse to listen and dismiss them as “lies,” and never answer the questions raised. The evidence continues to build the case against the measure, and the only response are vicious personal attacks, vulgar language and deceptive online videos that claim support from Sen. Obama for their cause (the Sen. has taken no position on this local matter, for the record). Is this the best the City’s progressives can do, using the tactics of bully Karl Rove and the foul language of an X-rated movie? I think not.

If Sup. Mirkarimi and allied progressives want the city to take over the power system, they should ask voters if they want to do that, period. Let them make a decision free of the deceptive and dangerous wrapper they’ve put on this measure to try once again to pass something voters continue to reject. There is a time and place for an honest debate on all sides regarding the role of local government in the utility business. Unfortunately with Prop. H, we’re not getting that now.

Prop 8: $6 million down. Time to step it up.

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign)

Yes, you read that headline correct.  I told ya that the Mormons and others were flooding the Yes on 8 campaign’s coffers with donations.  We may have beaten them up on the air, but they have more cash to spend on their buy.  The two recent polls taken after the ads have hit the airwaves show that we are losing ground.  So, Brian is right to say “complacency is our worst enemy”.

So here is what we have to do folks, there is something every one of you can do.  It will take all of us to win this thing.

  1. Contribute to the campaign using the Calitics ActBlue page.  If you have the cash to give big give big.  If you only have $5 or $10, give what you can.  Yes, your money will be spent on TV ads, but unfortunately that is the way we win elections here in California.
  2. Volunteer. Show up at a local campaign office.  They are all over the state.  Or stay in the comfort of your own home to phone bank.  We win this by persuading more undecideds to vote No on Prop 8.
  3. Talk to your friends and family about Prop. 8.  Lot’s of people are still confused that supporting marriage equality means voting No. To that end, the Courage Campaign has created what the Politiker is calling“the most humorous TV ad of the fall election season”.  They like it, we think it’s pretty funny, but watch it for yourself.

    It is aimed at straight people, using a privacy, “get the government out of my pants” argument.  The undecided electorate is quirky.  Some of your friends will be swayed by talk about fundamental rights being taken away.  Others with a more libertarian streak may like the video. Tailor your discussion to your friends.

Oh and keep an eye out for a new ad from the No on 8 campaign that should hit the airwaves shortly.

We can win this historic fight, but we gotta buckle down and do the hard work and contribute what we can.

Check the flip for an email I got from a Yes on 8 person who for some reason thinks I know where the lost in China lawns signs are.  

I have no clue why this dude thinks I know where the Yes on 8 signs are, but he is really eager to get a bunch for his church.

Would you please let me know how I can get those yard signs, I need lots of them, my church wants to make sure we have them.

How much do these cost? are they by packages?

Please let me know.

Thank you and God bless you.


How about you do one of the above and ignore dear ole Jack.  Deal?