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Exciting news & Sierra Club City Council candidate forum

6 Jul Sierra Club candidate forum

Last night my wife was cleaning out some boxes that we hadn’t looked through in years, and she found a box that was full of a bunch of papers from my high school years, including some sweet hand written letters from friends and my sisters. In this box I found several drafts of the personal statement I submitted to get into UC Berkeley, full of hand written notes (no tracked changes) from my mom and dad. Reading my personal statement made me realize that though I have changed quite a bit since my senior year in high school, my values were very similar. (My writing issues apparently haven’t changed much either – my dad’s notes on one draft say “too many commas” and “too many transition words”.)  Here’s one paragraph from a draft of the statement:

Once issue that I have felt strongly about since childhood is ecology. In elementary school, our classes held an annual fund-raiser to buy and preserve several acres of the rain forest. I also participated in my school’s ecology club during eighth and ninth grade. Each year we organized an ecology fair and disseminated information covering issues ranging from vegetarianism to fuel conservation. We also instituted a recycling program, which the school still uses.

Being a longtime environmentalist, I was so excited this week to receive the news that the Sierra Club had endorsed my candidacy for BART Board. The decisions made in the next decade at BART are crucial not just for BART, but also for the Bay Area’s environment for decades to come. I’m just as eager as I was in elementary school to address the environmental challenges we face.

The City of Oakland also faces a myriad of environmental challenges, and next year we will have at least two new city councilmembers to address these issues. The Sierra Club and the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC) recognize the importance of the open seat races in districts 1 and 3 so they’re holding a forum on Monday featuring nearly all of the candidates running for these seats (a few couldn’t make it). From the Facebook event description: Continue reading

Oakland ballot measures go down in flames, sending $800K in election expenses down the drain

16 Nov Oakland Ballot 2011

In the midst of Occupy Oakland, some Oaklanders might have forgotten about our municipal mail in only election. Whether they forgot or just decided not to vote, a full 75% of eligible voters did not return their ballots so yesterday evening the election was decided by just under 25% of the electorate. And that quarter of Oakland voters rejected all three ballot measures.

Since I opposed two out of the three measures (and in the case of Measure H – which would have changed the city attorney position from being elected to being appointed by the Council – I vehemently opposed it), I’m pretty happy with the outcome. What I’m not happy about is how much money, time and energy was wasted on this useless election.

Mayor Jean Quan of course blamed the failure of Measure I, the parcel tax, on Occupy Oakland: Continue reading

Nathan Stalnaker: Moving Oakland Forward

27 Oct Moving Oakland Forward

This guest post was written by Nathan Stalnaker, who spends the day organizing in West Oakland and serves on the Board of Make Oakland Better Now! and is an elected at-large member of the East Bay Young Democrats.

The City of Oakland suffers from gridlock and a fiscal crisis that just won’t quit.  Even so, again and again, the same characters are repeatedly elected to the same positions.  Our system is broken.  Our local races are anti-competitive.  New people enter the races and win only when an incumbent steps down.  It begins to seem that to become an elected official in Oakland, you already have to be or have been an elected official or spend your time currying favor with those already in office.

A Catch-22?   Sure.  Could an initiative calling for term limits for City Council stir things up sufficiently enough to get fresh policy thinking in City Hall?   Absolutely.  Read the petition yourself.  To balance experience and fresh ideas, the petition was crafted with a three-term (12 year) lifetime limit. Continue reading

Election open thread

24 Oct Oakland Ballot 2011

UPDATE: I’ve posted my endorsements for the ballot measures.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting my endorsements for Oakland’s November election, but before I do, I thought I’d create this space for Oaklanders to discuss the election and the three ballot initiatives – Measures H, I and J.

Feel free to share your opinions, and if you have questions, please ask them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them in tomorrow’s blog post. Continue reading

Oakland showcased at Obama fundraiser rally last night

21 Apr Obama

Last night, along with 3000 other people, I went to San Francisco to watch President Obama speak. I have to admit that I’ve been feeling pretty down on Obama’s presidency recently, particularly after spending this past weekend in San Diego with a friend of mine who’s a federal public defender. She deals with a lot of immigration cases and says Obama has been worse on immigration than Bush, which is pretty scary. She said she plans to vote for Obama again but is not excited about it.

I had her stories in the back of my mind as I reached the Masonic Auditorium last night, but even just as I arrived, the energy of the crowd infected me. I couldn’t help but feel a bit more optimistic.

My optimism grew throughout the night, particularly as Oakland was showcased at this San Francisco event. Peggy Moore, California Political Director for Organizing for America, and a longtime Oakland LGBT activist, opened up the night with a rousing speech, which had everyone in the crowd shouting “I’m in” by the end of it. Continue reading

Vote for your delegates to the California Democratic Party this Saturday

6 Jan

UPDATE: Thanks to the 255 who braved the cold to vote for me, I was elected as a delegate to the California Democratic Party. Thanks so much to everyone who supported me! I look forward to serving as your delegate for the next two years.

I’m sorry I haven’t had time this week for more substantive posts. I started a new job at the California League of Conservation Voters, have had meetings late every night, and am still trying to get over a cold I’ve had for a week and a half so I haven’t had much time or energy for blogging. I have plenty on tap – a review of Plum, a recap of Vicky Kolakowski’s incredible induction ceremony, and more, but that will all have to wait until next week.

I did want to post a reminder about the 16th Assembly District California Democratic Party Delegate election this Saturday, as I’m running. If you missed the post explaining why I’m running, you can read the whole thing here, and as a recap, I’m running because I’m committed to working hard to help grow and evolve our state party. Since I last posted, I’ve sought endorsements and I’m proud to be endorsed by the East Bay Democracy for America Organizing Team and the following elected officials:

  • Lena Tam, Alameda City Councilmember
  • Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember
  • Pat Kernighan, Oakland City Councilmember
  • Libby Schaaf, Oakland City Councilmember
  • John Russo, Oakland City Attorney
  • Elsa Ortiz, President, AC Transit Board of Directors
  • Chris Peeples, AC Transit Director
  • Andy Katz, East Bay MUD Director
  • Doug Linney, President, East Bay MUD Board of Directors
  • Abel Guillen, Peralta Community College District Trustee
  • Karen Weinstein, Chair, California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus
  • Darleen Brooks, Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Member
  • Rocky Fernandez, Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Member & Former AC Transit Director
  • Edie Irons, Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Member
  • Mario Juarez, Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Member
  • Igor Tregub, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner

I hope you’ll take 5-10 minutes to come vote for me, Rebecca Saltzman, and the Local 5 Progressive Unity Slate I’m running on:

The vote takes place on Saturday, January 8th from 2-4pm at Laney Community College Theater, 900 Fallon St. All registered Democrats in the 16th AD can vote. The 16th AD covers all of Alameda and Piedmont, and the vast majority of Oakland (if Sandre Swanson is your assemblymember, than you live in the 16th). If you can make it, please RSVP to our slate’s Facebook event or leave a comment below, as we’re trying to get a count of our votes ahead of time.

Also, if you’re so inclined, you can do the following:

If you have any questions about my candidacy, our slate or the process, please feel free to ask here or at the Blogoaksphere Party tonight. I hope to see you on January 8th and hope to continue serving as your 16th AD delegate through 2012!

Why I’m running to be your delegate to the California Democratic Party

23 Dec

For the past two years, I’ve served as an appointed delegate to the California Democratic Party (CDP). I have to admit that this was an appointment I sought at the last minute and I didn’t know much about what I was getting myself into. But I knew that I wanted to get more involved in the Party, and this seemed like a good way to do that.

I soon found out that being a delegate can be fun and empowering, but also at times trying and demanding of hard work. I attended the last two conventions and cast some very important votes to elect new party leadership, to endorse ballot initiatives for the 2009 statewide special election, and to endorse candidates for statewide office this year. I stayed for every last vote but was appalled that not everyone did the same. Particularly in 2009, it seemed as if half of the delegates had left by the time the endorsement votes came up for the special election initiatives on Sunday afternoon.

This is part of the reason I’m running to be a CDP delegate for 2011-2012. I’m willing and eager to not only attend every convention and stay for every last vote, but also to work on campaigns leading up to the convention. In 2009 I helped the 16th AD caucus with our No on 1A campaign, which led to the Party staying neutral on the initiative by just a couple dozen votes, even though the state elected officials pushed hard for support. This year, I led outreach leading up to and at the convention for Yes on 19 campaign. We secured 500 signatures from delegates on our Prop 19 statement of support and talked to hundreds of other delegates at the convention. Though the Party ultimately stayed neutral on 19, our work shifted the conversation.

I want to continue this important work so I’m asking for your vote for 16th AD delegate to the CDP. The vote takes place on Saturday, January 8th from 2-4pm at Laney Community College Theater, 900 Fallon St. All registered Democrats in the 16th AD can vote. The 16th AD covers all of Alameda and Piedmont, and the vast majority of Oakland (if Sandre Swanson is your assemblymember, than you live in the 16th). You can come and stay for the meeting and speeches, but if you only have a few minutes, you can vote and then leave. It’s quick, easy, and incredibly important for the future of the California Democratic Party.

You might be wondering how you’ll vote for me if you don’t who I am. I’m guessing most of this blog’s readers know me by now, but for those who don’t, my name is Rebecca Saltzman. Here is my candidate statement:

I am currently an appointed 16th AD delegate and associate member on the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. As President of the East Bay Young Democrats, I’ve worked to increase the representation of young people in the leadership of the Party. Since high school, I’ve been active in electing Democrats and fighting for progressive causes. The day after graduating from UC Berkeley, I began leading a fundraising office that ultimately raised more than $1 million for the DNC. I was Deputy Campaign Manager for the Yes on Prop 19 campaign, which garnered more votes than any statewide Republican candidate, including Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, and made marijuana policy reform mainstream in California and nationwide. I spend much of my time volunteering with the Democratic Party, and for transit, environmental, and good government advocacy groups. I have attended and done outreach at the past two CDP conventions, and am familiar with party structures and procedures. If elected, I will bring energy, commitment, and diverse experience to the role of 16th AD Delegate, and will use my position to get more people, especially young people, involved in our party.

I hope you’ll save the date and take few minutes out of your day on January 8th to vote for me. Two years ago, some of the delegate elections came down to literally one vote so this is truly an election where every vote counts.

You can vote for up to 6 men and 6 women, and I’m running on the UFCW Unity Slate so I hope you’ll vote for our full slate:


  • Sean Dugar
  • Joel Freid
  • Richard Fuentes
  • Abel Guillen
  • Dan Rush
  • Sean Sullivan
  • Ronnie Caplane
  • Emmy Fearn
  • Jennifer Pae
  • Chantal Reynolds
  • Rebecca Saltzman

I’ll write another blog post with a reminder closer to the election date, but for now, please mark the date and time on your calendar.

Also, if you’re so inclined, you can do the following:

If you have any questions about my candidacy, our slate or the process, please feel free to ask. I hope to see you on January 8th and hope to continue serving as your 16th AD delegate through 2012!


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