Returning to Broadway & 19th, the center of Oakland’s campaign universe

23 Sep

Life can be a strange thing. It’s odd how I can realize that I love something, but then stop doing it for a months or years and totally forget how happy it makes me.

This happens to me a lot with yoga. I do it regularly for several months, get too busy, and stop doing it for months. Then I start up again and wonder why I ever stopped, only to stop again in a few months when life gets hectic again.

It apparently also happens with voter outreach. Back in 2008, I was practically a phone banking machine, phoning for Rebecca Kaplan’s City Council once a week for months leading up to the June election and then several times a week in September and October. Why? Well, I of course wanted Kaplan to win, but I also did it because I absolutely loved it. I apparently loved it so much that I wrote a blog post in September 2008 titled “Voter Outreach as Therapy“:

If you’ve never phoned for a candidate or issue before, it might seem strange, but electoral phoning is extremely therapeutic. You have to focus, pay attention, take cues from voters, so there’s no energy left to think about anything else. It really is a great form of meditation.

The energy in the office also helped lift my mood. The space is huge, and there were several volunteers downstairs and upstairs calling for various campaigns – Kaplan, Obama, Yes on 2, No on 4, No on 8. And because of the office’s excellent location at Broadway and 19th, people were literally walking in off the street to help out.

But then many months passed without another election. I think I managed a night of phoning for the special election in 2009, I phoned once for Victoria Kolakowski this Spring, and I phoned from home several times this summer for John Laird, but I fell out of the phone banking groove.

Last night, I got back into the groove, phoning at the United Democratic Campaign (UDC) headquarters for Boxer and Brown. And even though practically all I’ve been doing for the past few months is election related – at work and through East Bay Young Dems – it felt really good to talk to voters one on one.

After phoning, I felt so good that I stopped into Rebecca Kaplan’s campaign office and picked up walk lists and maps for the precinct I live in so I can walk it this weekend.

Regardless of who you’re supporting this November, I highly encourage you to get out there and walk or phone for at least one campaign. Not sure where to go? Chances are that you’ll find a campaign to volunteer for at 19th and Broadway, which has become the center of Oakland’s campaign universe. Here’s what you’ll find at that intersection:

United Democratic Campaign
1931 Broadway
Phoning for Boxer, Brown and the entire statewide Democratic ticket (will also be phoning for Libby Schaaf for City Council starting next week and probably other local candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party).
Contact Carla Woodworth at or Alex Boskovich at

Yes on 19 Campaign
1776 Broadway
Phoning every day and every night for Yes on 19 to control and tax cannabis. Stop in anytime – we could use your help!
Contact James Rigdon at

Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor Campaign
1773 Broadway
Phoning for Kaplan Monday-Thursday from 5:30-8:30pm, and walking on Saturdays from 10am-1pm and Sundays from 11am-2pm.
Contact Jason Overman at

And who knows, depending when you stop in, you just might see me there. I’ll be the one dialing rapidly, totally engrossed in phone conversations, and smiling.

10 Responses to “Returning to Broadway & 19th, the center of Oakland’s campaign universe”

  1. Richard Cowan September 23, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    People favoring other candidates might also try Grand Avenue in the first block across from the Grand Lake Theater. Here you can find Joe Tuman’s, Jen Pae’s and Jean Quan’s headquarters, and they too need phone bankers and precinct walkers. If you would like to help Jean, the phone number is 444-QUAN.

  2. Hometown grrl September 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    Pat Kernighan’s HQ is on 3734 Grand Avenue (across from the Safeway). We welcome phone bankers and precinct walkers.

  3. Andy K September 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    I would be interested in phone bank help. My question is, does this really sway voters? I personally do not want to listen when people call me about a candidate. I usually have my mind made up (closed minded- I would say no, but….).

    I have thought of just calling people I know, especially about some down ballot candidates.

    • Becks September 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

      Talking to people you know is definitely the most effective way to sway voters, but phone banking is also extremely effective. Especially for local races, most voters are undecided and many don’t even know who’s running.

      I’ve probably called thousands of voters. A few people don’t want to talk, but the vast majority do want to talk. And they appreciate being called by a real person who cares about an issue or candidate.

      Try it out for yourself and see. It’s effective and enjoyable. And you’ll perfect your pitch to use on your friends!

    • Hometown grrl September 25, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

      Definitely talk to friends and if you email them send them more than a facebook page or link to website. I ignore these. Make it personal, people listen.

    • Hometown grrl September 25, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

      Accidentally deleted the other half of the post – PHONEBANK, it is the single most important thing you will do all year unless you are 40 in which case it may be the 2nd most important thing behind getting a complete physical.

  4. East Lake Rider September 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    I’ll be phonebanking for Robert Raburn, who’s running for BART Board, and was a little nervous at taking it on. Thanks Becks for your insight. I’ll be calling folks who live on Lakeshore so I’m practically their neighbor and not some robo-caller from out of state.

    The Raburn campaign basically operates out of his house. To get involved:
    -call 530-3444
    -or catch him at the LWV forum this Monday at City Hall.

    • Becks September 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

      Awesome! I’m doing some work on Raburn’s campaign and am super excited that he’s running and inspiring so many people to help out. Another way people in the district (all of Oakland South of MacArthur and East of Broadway, and all of Alameda) can help is by displaying his lawn signs. You can pick them up at:

      Bay Area Bikes, 2424 Webster St, in Oakland
      Alameda Bicycle, 1522 Park St, in Alameda

  5. East Lake Rider September 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I think you meant SOUTH of MacArthur and East of Broadway. Oakland streets are so screwy. For the exact boundaries of Robert’s district go to

    Even if folks don’t live in the district, please get the word out to those who do!

    • Becks September 25, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

      Oh yeah, I definitely meant South. Was just typing too fast. Thanks for the correction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: