I was extremely pleased today to find that the Guardian had endorsed the two Bay Area candidates I’m very actively supporting – Rebecca Kaplan for Oakland City Council and Mark Leno for State Senate. I’ve already explained why I’m supporting Rebecca, and the Guardian lays out some additional reasons:
Rebecca Kaplan is exactly what the Oakland City Council needs: an energetic progressive with the practical skills to get things done. As an AC Transit Board member, she pushed for free bus passes for low income youths — and defying all odds, managed to get all-night transit service from San Francisco to the East Bay. She did it by refusing to accept the conventional wisdom that transit agencies on the two sides of the bay would never cooperate. She put the key players together in a meeting, convinced the San Francisco supervisors to allow AC Transit buses to pick up passengers in the city late at night, and put through an effective program to get people across the bay after BART shuts down.
Kaplan is running for City Council on a progressive platform calling for affordable housing, rational development, and community policing. Her latest idea: since Oakland has so much trouble attracting quality candidates for vacancies in its police department, she suggests the city recruit gay and lesbian military veterans who were kicked out under the Pentagon’s homophobic policies. Her proposed slogan: “Uncle Sam doesn’t want you, but Oakland does.”
I know others have taken issue with the claims that Rebecca created the first all-night transbay bus service. I haven’t talked to her about it yet, but I’m sure she knew at the time about the one bus that ran all night once an hour from the Embarcadero to downtown Oakland. I have to say though, that bus was not sufficient and was often overcrowded at peak hours on weekends. The current bus service pushed by Kaplan is superior. So semantics aside, she made an important advance for bus riders. As one person mentioned to me when I was campaigning for Rebecca at the farmers market, “She’s saved me from a bunch of DUIs.”
I can’t say I agree with all of the Guardian’s endorsements, but I wholeheartedly agree with their endorsement of Mark Leno for State Senate. OK, I know, this is San Francisco politics I’m delving into, but State Senators effect the entire state, including Oakland.
The SD-3 race is probably the most contentious primary in the state and I’m sure an entire book could be written about the ins and outs of it (though it might be more appropriate for reality TV fodder), but I’m going to keep it simple here. Mark Leno is simply one of the most dedicated, driven, intelligent, and likeable California Assemblymembers. His staff follows suit – many of his staff members have been with his office for years and they are passionate about what they do. A commenter on the Guardian’s blog lays this out beautifully:
And ask anyone in the Capitol about Mark Leno, you almost always get a positive one. The guy is just very approachable, very patient and VERY intelligent. As Chair of Appropriations, he has to have a wide array of knowledge on all kinds of subjects — something quite evident if you see him Chairing. And if you ask Republican members what they think, I notice they always like preface their personal respect and admiration for Leno with “Although I lothe his politics…” That’s how you know you’ve got a real progressive to vote for.
Go check out the rest of the Guardian’s endorsements and make sure to scroll down to the comments. They’re getting a lot of flack (and about an equal amount of support) about the Leno endorsement, and there’s some discussion going on about Oakland candidates. What do you think about their endorsements?