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.