SF Bay Guardian Endorses Rebecca Kaplan (and Mark Leno)

30 Apr

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?

6 Responses to “SF Bay Guardian Endorses Rebecca Kaplan (and Mark Leno)”

  1. Ms. Blue May 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm #

    Very thoughtful comments by you and pretty good endorsements by the BG. I was dissapointed in their endorsement of Hancock for Senate over Oakland’s Wilma Chan. Hancock has co-authored lots of bills but it is Chan who has won passage of landmark legislation to protect us from toxics and expand childcare. As for Leno – he is everything you say and more.

  2. Becks May 1, 2008 at 5:55 pm #

    Ms. Blue – I’m not very informed about the Chan-Hancock race, since I don’t live in that district and think they’re generally both OK. Thanks for the info.

    I think the Guardian sometimes gets stuck in the mind frame of having to endorse the most ideologically liberal candidate, when the truth is that if the candidate can’t get anything done, their ideology doesn’t matter. I think that’s where some of their endorsements for Oakland City Council candidates come from, and their endorsement for Hancock.

  3. V Smoothe May 9, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    Kaplan is quoted in the newspaper and on video at the launch of the updated all-nighter service saying that there was no way to get back to Oakland after BART closed, and she’s repeated that on the campaign trail. So if she did know, she was lying to the press to generate more attention, which is ethically questionable.

    Also, the new transbay service is still a single bus that runs once an hour, and the old bus did not just stop at downtown Oakland, it went through the whole city all the way to the airport. Late night service to and in Oakland hasn’t improved at all under Kaplan’s tenure on the AC Transit board – in fact, post-midnight buses to and from Jack London Square were cut last year.

  4. Becks May 9, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    For some reason, I was under the impression that several of the all-night buses were transbay, but it turns out that it’s just the one that happens to stop in front of my apartment so thanks for the correction.

    I did a search and could not find one instance when Rebecca Kaplan explicitly said that there was no transbay late night service before the all nighters service started. She said she missed her BART train and felt stranded, which I’m guessing meant that she was nowhere near the transbay terminal and felt that it shouldn’t be so inconvenient. If you know of a quote where she says there was no previous service, I’d be interested to see it.

    I think the real improvement in the late night service is that it mirrors BART service and goes deeper into San Francisco. I agree that it needs further improvements but I still believe it is an improvement over past service.

    What’s interesting is that several people at the time argued that this was a new service. Via AC Transit:

    “Before the All Nighter, people would either drive, causing more evening traffic congestion and late-night accidents, or ride BART and keep a constant eye on the clock, making sure not to miss the midnight train,” said Stuart Cohen of the Transportation and Land Use Coalition, which first proposed the service in 2001…

    “This service will give our members a new option for getting to and from their night-shift job if their car breaks down or their carpool falls through,” said Mike Casey, president of UNITE/HERE Local 2, which represents 12,000 workers in the hospitality industries of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. “And our members who don’t drive will now be able to take a night-shift job if they wish, whereas before their options were more limited.”

  5. V Smoothe May 12, 2008 at 11:12 pm #

    See Kaplan clearly implying there was no previous all-night transbay service here and here.

    In any case, the all-night bus thing continues to seriously annoy me, but I also realize it’s a somewhat petty grudge and I’m not going to discount Kaplan’s entire candidacy because of it. I am currently undecided about how to vote in the at-large race, and struggling with the choice between Kaplan, Killian, and Rose, all of whom I think have a lot going for them, but also each of whom have several drawbacks.

  6. Becks May 13, 2008 at 8:48 am #

    Thanks for the links V. I see the implications here, but as you’ve argued in conversations on your blog, I think flat out lying vs. being unclear or maybe even implying something that’s not fully true are different.

    I agree that we have a great field of candidates running. I’d be curious to see a breakdown of the pluses and minuses of the three candidates you’re struggling between.

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