Thursday, October 13, 2016

November 2016 Election Endorsements

You can REGISTER TO VOTE IN CALIFORNIA until October 24, 2016.

Your vote counts the most on the local level, so let’s get the Federal & State level races out of the way first:

President and Vice-President - Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka
I’m a Green in a deep Blue state that Hillary Clinton will easily win- plus every Green vote for President pushes us closer to 5% of the national vote, which would give the 2020 Green candidate federal FEC funding!
U.S. Senate – Kamala Harris
U.S. House of Representatives
District 13 – Barbara Lee
State Senate, District 9 - Sandre Swanson
State Assembly, District 15 - Tony Thurmond

State Propositions:

62 - End the Death Penalty – YES!
66 - Speed Up the Death Penalty – NO!
I’ve always been a strong supporter of abolishing the death penalty. 62 substitutes life without parole and ensures that no innocent person is executed in our state anymore. 66 “speeds up” what’s already a broken & discriminatory part of the criminal justice system; a sure-fire way to make sure that we execute innocent people. YES on 62, NO on 66!

65 - Carry-Out Bags Measure from the Plastics Industry - No
67 - Uphold the Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags - Yes
Another one where big business tries to confuse the voter in order to continue screwing up our world. NO on 65, YES on 67!

63 - Firearms, Ammunition Sales – Yes
I own a gun & am in favor of this. Every 4 years I have to pass a background check that says that I’m not a domestic abuser or otherwise legally unable to carry a gun.

64 - Marijuana Legalization - Yes
Way overdue, this taxes pot at both the grower and the retailer levels & allows local cities & counties to further regulate, tax, and/or ban recreational marijuana. It funnels funds into research & is flexible enough to be changed by the legislature when necessary.

52 - State Fees on Hospitals, Federal Medi-Cal Matching Funds - Yes
53 - Revenue Bonds Requiring Statewide Voter Approval - No
54 - Legislature and Legislation, Allows Time to Read Bills - Yes
55 - Tax Extension on the Rich, for Education and Healthcare - Yes
56 - Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare, Tobacco Use Prevention, Research - Yes
57 - Sentencing for Non-violent Crimes and Juvenile Criminal Proceedings - Yes
58 - Allows Bilingual Education - Yes
59 - Campaign Finance, Repeal Citizens United - Yes
60 - Adult Films, Condoms - No
61 - State Prescription Drug Purchases, Pricing Standards - Yes

Now to some of the key local campaigns!

First off, there are a host of local cities trying to strengthen or institute rent control for the 1st time in many years. This is a by-product of the awful affordability crisis we’re neck-deep in.

City of Alameda:
Measure L1 - NO
Measure M1 - YES

Measure L1
City Council’s Rent Control Measure- allows “no cause” evictions (evictions of ANY tenant, even if they haven’t done anything to violate their lease), restricts rent increases to 5% annually unless tenant & landlord agree to a higher increase, and- most crucially- can be rescinded by a majority vote of any future City Council.
Measure M1
Alameda Renters Coalition’s Rent Control Measure - forbids “no cause” evictions (so evictions are only for tenants who violate their lease, called “just cause” in other cities), restricts rent increases to Consumer Price Index, & mandates an elected Rent Board. Crucially, it’s a charter amendment, which means that it can only be rescinded by a vote of the people. This is what strong rent control cities like Berkeley have, which has protected it from the whim of elected officials.

City of Richmond:
Measure L - YES
Establishes an appointed Rent Board that will allow annual rent increases at 100% of the Consumer Price Index, establishes a way for tenants & landlords to petition for higher or lower rents, and establishes "just cause" evictions.

City of Oakland:
Oakland Measure JJ - YES
Just Cause Eviction and Rent Law Amendment
Makes Oakland’s rent control system more proactive & expands “just cause” eviction to thousands more units. Instead of the current situation, where a tenant must suspect that s/he is being overcharged, a landlord who wishes to raise rent more than the CPI in a year must request permission to do that from Oakland’s appointed Rent Board.

City of Berkeley:
Measure AA - Berkeley Rent Board Ordinance – YES
We (the Berkeley Rent Board) worked with the Berkeley Property Owners Association (BPOA) on this measure and the City Council placed it on the ballot on our behalf. It makes landlords who want to move into a unit wait until after the school year if there’s a child currently living there, lessening educational disruption. It also raises the financial assistance landlords have to offer tenants they evict for “no fault” causes from its original 1980s level to levels comparable to other local cities and includes a consumer-price index increase so any future hikes in this amount will follow inflation.

Alameda County:
BART, District 3 - Rebecca Saltzman
BART, District 7 - Lateefah Simon. Don’t vote for Mallett- he’s anti-labor.

County-wide Measures:
A1 - Alameda County Housing Bond – YES! We need affordable housing around the county. In this affordability emergency, please support this!
C1 - A.C. Transit Parcel Tax Extension – Yes
RR - BART Infrastructure Bond – Yes

Now on to Berkeley:

We have Ranked Choice Voting (aka Instant Runoff Voting) for Mayor & City Council races with more than 2 candidates. This means you can rank 1, 2, or 3 choices- you don’t have to fill all 3 slots. It means you can vote both strategically (“lesser evil voting”) AND for who you’d like to see win. Plus, by offering multiple choices to voters up front, it functions as a run-off election without the extra expense & depressed voter turnout of actual run-off elections.

If no one breaks 50% in the 1st round, then the least successful candidate is eliminated and anyone who voted for them 1st has their 2nd choice candidate get their vote. It continues eliminating the least successful candidate until someone gets a majority of votes.

Below I’ve listed my personal ranked choices.

Mayor – #1- Jesse Arreguin #2- Kriss Worthington. Don’t vote for Capitelli.
I’ve worked closely with Arreguin, Capitelli, & Worthington on various legislation. All 3 are intelligent & driven, but while Capitelli is a close ally of outgoing Mayor Bates & the “Bates Machine”, Arreguin has been a pragmatic progressive voice on the Council since replacing the late Dona Spring in 2008. Worthington is a common sense progressive activist who’s weathered a lot of City Council storms over the past 20 years. That said, this race is really between Arreguin & Capitelli, so I’ll concentrate on those 2 in this writeup.

Arreguin recognized the affordable housing crisis as the emergency it has been for the last decade LONG before Mayor Bates & Capitelli. Arreguin’s position (and mine) has been that it is almost criminally negligent that the city’s newest construction has been- for the most part- luxury & market rate housing with mere pittances paid into our affordable housing fund. Instead of maximizing the amount that developers have to pay, Capitelli discounted their fee from $28,000 to $20,000 in order to “encourage” them to build. The Council *just* raised the fee from $20,000 to $34,000 under intense public pressure, but under an Arreguin administration such a discount wouldn’t happen again. Under a Capitelli administration I’m not so sure.

I am 100% positive that Mayor Arreguin will work with the Council & the staff to strongly encourage a mix of various levels of affordable family-sized housing, with market rate being the exception rather than the rule. Considering that even uniformed personnel (police & fire) & Berkeley teachers cannot afford to rent or buy in Berkeley (let alone service workers and minimum wage earners), development must include options for many different economic levels. Berkeley’s African-American
has dropped from 20% to 8% over the past 20 years, while rents have skyrocketed 60% over the past 6 years. A vote for Arreguin is a vote for cultural, community, and economic diversity!

Rent Board – Christina Murphy, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Leah Simon-Weisberg
and Igor Tregub are the CALI SLATE! (Christina-Alejandro-Leah-Igor)
Vote for all 4!
I’m really impressed with Christina Murphy’s drive and activism and Leah Simon-Weisberg’s knowledge & legal expertise and look forward to working with them on the Rent Board. I’ve worked closely with both Alejandro Soto-Vigil (he’s an incumbent) & Igor Tregub (he’s a former Rent Board member) and expect to welcome both back to the Board next month!

There are 2 BPOA-funded candidates running against them- one an incumbent. I urge everyone to vote the CALI slate instead!

City Council, District 3 – #1- Ben Bartlett. Don’t vote for Matthews.

City Council, District 5 – #1- Sophie Hahn. Don’t vote for Murphy.
Both Hahn & Murphy have land use experience, but Hahn is a close ally of Jesse Arreguin and would use her 7 years of Zoning Board experience to augment his efforts to expand affordability for all of Berkeley.

City Council, District 6 – #1- Fred Dodsworth. Don’t vote for Wengraf.

Berkeley Measures:

U1 - Berkeley Rental Unit Business License Tax, City Sponsored - YES!
DD - Berkeley Rental Unit Business License Tax, Big Landlord Initiative – NO!
U1 was put on the ballot UNANIMOUSLY by the Berkeley City Council in order to raise much needed funds for non-profit affordable housing & homeless services. Sensing that they couldn’t win by just opposing U1, the BPOA paid signature gatherers $60,000 to put DD on the ballot to confuse things. If you live in Berkeley, you’ve received many full color mailings from DD. Check out the donors printed at the bottom of each mailing- they’re all huge landlords and their LLCs.

It’s big money trying to muddy the waters. U1 would increase the existing tax on rents less than 2% from the current 1.08%. This sliver of skyrocketing rents that they don’t want to give back to the community would mean between $3 million & $5 million PER YEAR for affordable housing and homeless prevention services with U1. DD only raises the tax 4/10ths of a percent to 1.5% and raises $1.4 million/year.

I could talk a lot about U1 & why it’s good and why DD is bad, but here is a comparison of the 2 measures.
More information here.

W1 - Berkeley Citizens Redistricting Commission – Yes
Depoliticizes the redistricting of City Council districts.

X1 - Berkeley Public Campaign Financing – Yes
This common sense measure will allow candidates with a wide range of support to run and stay competitive with well-off politically-connected insiders. As a candidate who has raised tens of thousands of dollars over 4 campaigns (3 of which were successful), I 100% endorse this. I’d rather be campaigning than fundraising.

BB - Berkeley Minimum Wage - City Sponsored - No
CC - Berkeley Minimum Wage – Labor-backed Citizens’ Initiative – No
After the original version of CC was scuttled in part by Capitelli & the competing BB was placed on the ballot, both sides in the $15/hour minimum wage debate came to an agreement in August that split the difference on when the $15/hour minimum wage goes into effect. The City Council passed an ordinance mandating $15/hour in 2018. BB’s $15 happens in 2019 while CC’s happens in 2017. The 2 campaigns put joint “Please Vote NO on BB & CC” arguments in the ballot book.

E1 - Berkeley Public Schools Educational Excellence Act of 2016 – Yes
T1 - Berkeley Infrastructure and Facilities Bond – Yes
V1 - Berkeley GANN Appropriation Limit Override– Yes
Y1 - Berkeley Youth Voting – Yes
Z1 - Berkeley Low Income Housing Authorization – Yes

Here are some resources that I found very useful in making these recommendations. Dig in and vote smart!
Green Party of Alameda County
East Bay Express
SEIU California

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dean Dean the Sex Machine needs our help!

My old friend Dean DuPont needs our help. Many of you late 80s/early 90s Gilman people may remember him after he moved up here from San Diego- he had a black derby with the Descendents Milo Goes To College cover drawn on the back. He lived in the office @ Gilman for a while, including the, um, legendary time when Motorhead the security guy lived in the sound loft. (Oh, the stories we can tell, huh?)

Anyway, he's been married to Kym for a few years and they've been happily living in Northern California since the mid-2000s. She's been diagnosed with Stage 1 uterine cancer so they're fundraising to put a down payment on removing her uterus ASAP.

To be clear: the SOONER its removed, the better the chances that all cancerous cells are excised and she'll be a cancer survivor. The hospital wants a $10,000 payment to make it happen. I gave. Please do the same.

- Jesse

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Election results for local & state elections!

I will have a race-by-race recap of November's election with a comparison of my endorsements and the actual results.

This will be uploaded in the next couple of days, thanks!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Sinners Day DJ night at the Night Light!

This Thursday, it's a last minute DJ set with yours truly at the Night Light in downtown Oakland!

Celebrate All Saint's Day with your fellow sinners as Jesse Luscious spins punk, power pop, rock, and whatever else barrels down the track!

Are you on facebook? Then join the DJ Jesse Luscious group and reply to Thursday's event page!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

November 2012 Endorsements!

Here are my local & state recommendations for the November 6th election. If you're an absentee/vote-by-mail voter, ballots are being sent out starting Tuesday Oct 9.

More resources are listed at the end of this post. Please leave comments!

A quick shout-out to Albany: The Occupy The Farm movement this year injected a lot more energy to the campaigns & a lot more attention to development issues. Now a couple of Greens are running strong campaigns for City Council (Sheri Spellwoman) and School Board (Byron Barrett). Check the Albany Patch & Green Voter Guide links below for more info about the other candidates in those races.
The biggest Berkeley news is that Ranked Choice Voting (aka Instant Runoff Voting) is here for the City Council & Mayor's races, changing the dynamics of many campaigns. This means that you can vote for more than 1 person for a seat and rank them in order of preference.

Some candidates running for the same seat are banding together, saying rank us 1 & 2 and do not rank the 3rd candidate.

A key point is that you do NOT have to rank more than 1 candidate, although you can rank as many as 3 candidates. My advice is that if there's someone on the ballot who you don't want to win, don't rank them at all.

The major political controversies this year in Berkeley are development & whether to further penalize the homeless.

The Council majority is generally in favor of increased development at the expense of existing community/city plans which push a more balanced approach to our city's evolution. This is exactly what Measure T is all about. It endangers the current, astonishing diversity of West Berkeley's business, artistic, and non-profits in favor of developer get-rich schemes.

The same goes for the atrocious Measure S- the "Sit/Lie" measure that bans sitting or lying on the sidewalk by the homeless. All of the street behavior that stinks- public drunkeness, disorderly conduct, blocking the sidewalk- is already illegal. Duplicating existing law will not convince the Berkeley Police to enforce laws they already give a low priority. The necessary substance abuse services, housing assistance, and shelter services exist in whole or in part to help our homeless neighbors. Measure S merely saddles the homeless with a misdemeanor fine that they probably won't be able to pay.

Measure S is a political football taking up all of the air in the room while other Measures with imminent real-world effects like Measure R (redistricting/gerrymandering) and Measure T (eviscerating the West Berkeley Plan) sneak by.

Berkeley races: 

Rent Stabilization Board: Igor Tregub, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Judy Shelton, and Asa Dodsworth.
This is the progressive slate chosen by 200 community members at the Berkeley Tenant Convention in July. These are my allies on the Berkeley Rent Board and I urge you to support all 4.

City Council District 3: Max Anderson, no others. He's rock solid.

City Council District 5: Sophie Hahn, no others.
For the 2nd election in a row, I'm supporting Sophie. Incumbent Laurie Capitelli & I ran for this open seat in 2004 (he won) and since then I've worked with him & other City Council members on disaster preparedness issues. The key reason I'm endorsing Sophie is the role that District 5's seat plays in city-wide development issues. Laurie, a self-described "small scale developer" and Sales Manager of Red Oak Realty, is firmly allied with Mayor Tom Bates pro-development majority. Right now, that majority wavers between 6-3 and 5-4 depending on the issue. Sophie is skeptical about the "Develop Now!" approach of the Council majority and is firmly against Measure T.

City Council District 6: don’t vote for Susan Wengraf. Write in Phoebe Sorgen.

Mayor: For 1st and 2nd choice, Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi and Kriss Worthington.
Kahlil is an energetic Green who is running a coalition campaign with Kriss and Jacqueline McCormick against Mayor Bates. I'm not supporting Jacqueline because she's too fiscally conservative for me & she's against the Warm Pool measure (O & N).

Berkeley Unified School Board: Judy Appel & Beatriz Leyva-Cutler

Berkeley Measures:

Measure N — Pools bond. Yes 
This and Measure O are companion measures- both must pass by 2/3rds in order to go into effect. This replaces the Warm Pool, which is key for the disabled, elderly, and people in physical therapy. It also reopens Willard Pool and fixes the other 2 public pools.

Measure O — Pool special tax. Funds Measure N. Yes
Provides dedicated ongoing funding for maintenance & operation of the pools. This means little or no general funds will be needed for the life of these facilities.

Measure P — Reauthorize taxes (Gann override). Yes. This continues existing taxes for libraries, emergency medical services, parks, and emergency services for the disabled. (Easy Does It, the non-profit I used to run, administers this last item for the city)

Measure Q — Modernize utility users tax. Yes.

Measure R — Redistricting. No.
Right now Council districts are pretty static. This would allow for the City Council to radically redraw the districts every 10 years- no matter whether you like the current Council majority or not, what about the majority in a decade? Or the decade after that? It opens the door to local gerrymandering to protect incumbents. Can you imagine the political chaos in Berkeley if every decade led to radically different Council districts?

Measure S — Sit-lie ordinance. No.
This duplicates existing laws and would be applied only to those who "look" homeless, not people sitting in the median on North Shattuck eating pizza. That's called discrimination.

Measure T — West Berkeley Project. No.
West Berkeley's a vibrant, exciting, economically & socially diverse part of the city. Big-time developers have wanted to increase their profits in West Berkeley forever and this is their latest best hope.

Measure U — Sunshine Ordinance. No.
I'm directly affected as a member of the Rent Board, and while I love a lot of the things in this, it puts too many restrictions on open meetings. For instance, the Rent Board could not receive oral reports from staff, slowing down our response time to & increasing already heavy staff workloads. This is a tough call for me.

Measure V — Biennial Financial Reports, if not submitted, no tax increases (FACTS initiative). Yes.

State Propositions:

Proposition 30 Jerry Brown's Tax Increase for Schools - Yes

Proposition 31 Two-Year Budget Cycle- No.
This restricts the state's budget flexibility.

Proposition 32 Ban on corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates - No
It's another attempt by corporations to obstruct unions to give to campaigns by prohibiting payroll deductions for political purposes by either unions or corporations. Of course, the vast majority of corporate donations do not come from payroll deductions, while the opposite is true of unions, imagine that!

Proposition 33 Car Insurance- No.
An Insurance magnate put this on the ballot again- it does not benefit consumers.

Proposition 34 "End the Death Penalty"- YES!

Proposition 35 Prohibition on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery- No.
Devil's in the details, like expanding the definition of a trafficker &requiring all registered sex offenders to turn over their internet passwords for life to the state.

Proposition 36 Reform "Three Strikes" Law- YES!
Requires the 3rd Strike to be "violent and serious."

Proposition 37 Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food- Yes.

Proposition 38 Molly Munger's State Income Tax Increase- No. Vote Yes on 30 instead.

Proposition 39 Income Tax Increase for Multistate Businesses- Yes.
Fixes loopholes that will make CA $500 million in 2013 & $1 billion in 2014 & 2015.

Proposition 40 State Senate Redistricting Plan- Yes to oppose the legislature's redistricting plan.
Sacramento politicians are still pissed off that they can't gerrymander anymore. We voters removed that power to a non-partisan commission a few years ago.

More Resources:

City & County races:
Albany Patch
Berkeley Voters Edge
Berkeley Daily Planet

Local & State races:
SF Bay Guardian
Green Voter Guide

This Sunday!
Green Sunday: 4-Person Panel on the State Propositions
The Green Party of Alameda County invites you to a Green Sunday discussion about the November 6 general election, featuring a 4-person panel. The discussion will focus primarily on the state propositions.

Sunday Oct 14 5 to 6:30 pm Niebyl-Proctor Library 6501 Telegraph Ave. at 65th in North Oakland wheelchair accessible

You can also get a bundle or two of the Voter Guides to distribute in your neighborhood, workplace, etc. Green Sundays are a series of free programs & discussions sponsored by the Green Party of Alameda County. They are held on the 2nd Sunday of each month.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Songs The Clash Taught Us

Here's yesterday's special, "Songs The Clash Taught Us", for a limited time!

Friday, December 30 from 6 - 9 pm- Jesse Luscious spins covers of Clash tunes, covers of songs the Clash covered, and features the original versions of some of the many songs the Clash covered as done by the original artists!

Songs The Clash Taught Us download (247 MB 6-9pm)
Songs The Clash Taught Us Playlist

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Strummer Show 2011!

image from Strummerville

Last Friday 12/23/11 was my 10th annual celebration of Joe Strummer on KALX, 1 day after the 9th anniversary of his death on 12/22/02. The show ran from 3pm to 9pm and is available as 2 3 hour mp3s below. No repeats!

Jesse Luscious was on the air in 2002 when the news of Strummer's death became known, and immediately began what's now an annual celebration of his music, from the 101ers to the Clash to the Latino Rockabilly War to the Mescaleros, with some surprising stops along the way (Janie Jones & the Lash, Ellen Foley, & the Pogues, to name just a few).


The show will be available for a limited time only at the links below!
10th Annual Strummer show download part 1 (166MB mp3 3-6pm)
10th Annual Strummer show download part 2 (164MB mp3 6-9pm)
10th Annual Strummer show Playlist

====> Tomorrow, December 30th, from 6-9pm will be a special program Songs The Clash Taught Us. I'll be spinning covers of Clash tunes, covers of songs the Clash covered, and featuring the original versions of some of the many songs the Clash covered as done by the original artists!

Don't forget to tune in to KALX every day at 90.7 FM or on-line! The weekly Jesse Luscious program is Wednesday 6-9am (Pacific).