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November 2014 endorsements: Libby for Mayor, Abel & Annie for Council, and more

31 Oct

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve written anything here and nearly three years since I announced a “hiatus” for this blog, but as I was writing my endorsements to post on Facebook, I thought I should post them here as well. This will probably be my last blog post for a very long time, but if you’d like to keep up with my thoughts on Oakland, BART, transit, land use, and plenty of other issues, I tweet regularly and like to engage there. Follow me – @RebeccaForBART – or if you’re not on Twitter, follow me on Facebook.

Now, to the endorsements… You might have noticed that there are a LOT of competitive races and ballot measures on the ballot this year. So I have not endorsed in all of them, just those where I feel the most strongly. I’ve offered some resources below that cover many of the other races.


Libby with familyOakland Mayor – Libby Schaaf: I’m so excited that Councilmember Libby Schaaf is running for mayor. I’ve long supported her (and worked on her council campaign), and I’ve been incredibly impressed by her time on the council. I’m supporting Libby because she is the smart, creative, and effective leader that Oakland needs as mayor. In one term she’s accomplished so much, and many of her accomplishments have been hard fought and on controversial issues. One example of this is the compromise she led on tenant and rent protections earlier this year. Tenants advocates and landlords had been at odds over this, and Libby was able to get them to compromise on real reforms both sides could agree on. This is just one of many examples of Libby’s ability to listen to all sides, consider all opinions, and to find solutions to difficult policy problems. Libby recently released policy papers on all of her major priorities, which include what she’s done on these issues and what she plans to do if elected mayor. I highly recommend reading them, especially if you’re still undecided in the mayor’s race.

Continue reading

Exciting news & Sierra Club City Council candidate forum

6 Jul

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

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

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

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

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!