Wellstone members heard and questioned candidates on Sunday, August 26, examining their track records and positions on important local issues and state propositions, such as Prop 10, which would lift rules hampering local cities from adopting rent control.
In some Oakland and Berkeley races, the club voted to endorse challengers with a stronger progressive voice rooted in grassroots politics than incumbents have provided. In addition to endorsing candidates who received a supermajority of votes, the club used a process to recommend second choices for the ranked-choice ballot in November. These are candidates that a majority of the club considered worthy of support, as well.
15th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT: Jovanka Beckles
Oakland Mayor: Cat Brooks, endorsed
– Also recommended for 2nd choice in November: Pamela Price
Oakland City Council Races:
Oakland City Council, District 2: Nikki Bas
Oakland City Council, District 4: Sheng Thao, endorsed
– Also recommended for 2nd choice in November: Nayeli Maxson
Oakland City Council, District 6: Loren Taylor, endorsed
– Also recommended for 2nd choice in November: Natasha Middleton
Oakland School Board, District 4: Clarissa Doutherd
Oakland School Board, District 6: Shanthi Gonzalez
Oakland Ballot Measures:
A. Expanded Just Cause Protections: closes the Just Cause Loophole and expands renter protections to duplexes and triplexes which are now exempted. Recommend YES
B. Progressive Real Estate Transfer Tax: modifies the current flat rate percentage and adds higher tiers to the real estate transfer tax in Oakland starting at $2 million and lowers them for properties selling for $300k or less. Recommend YES
C. Vacant Property Tax: It would impose a $6,000-per-year tax on empty residential and commercial buildings and lots. It apparently will include exemptions for such things as community gardens. Recommend YES
D. EBASE: Hotel workers rights and protections against harassment in the workplace – “Creating Workplace Protections and a Minimum Wage for Hotel Employees, Modifying How Oakland’s Local Employment Standards Are Enforced, and Creating a Department of Workplace and Employment Standards ” Recommend YES
E. Oakland Promise: Creating the “Children’s Initiative of 2018” and approving a Parcel Tax to fund Early Childhood Education and College Readiness Programs. To be considered at the September 27 Club Meeting
F. Cannabis Tax Change: allow the City Council to adjust the Cannabis Tax Rate to make Oakland more competitive in the market. Recommend YES
Berkeley City Council Races:
District 1: Igor Tregub
District 4:Kate Harrison
District 8: Mary Kay Lacey
Berkeley School Board: Ty Alper, Ka’Dijah Brown, Julie Sinai
Berkeley Auditor: Jennifer Wong
Berkeley Ballot Measures (City of Berkeley webpage about these ballot measures):
Measure O. General Obligation Bond for Affordable Housing: Recommend YES
Measure P. Transfer Tax Measure: Recommend YES
Measure Q. Amendments to the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance. To be considered at the September 27 Club Meeting
Proposition 1: A $4 billion bond measure for affordable housing and veterans housing.
Three-fourths of the bond proceeds would go toward building low-income housing. The remaining $1 billion would be set aside for a program that provides home loans to veterans.
Proposition 2: Would give the state approval to spend $2 billion in mental health bond money on housing for homeless people. The bond money was approved by voters in 2004 under Proposition 63, which raised state taxes on the wealthiest Californians to fund mental health programs. A program called No Place Like Home sought to use the funding for permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people with mental illness. Voter approval would allow the money to be spent on creating the housing.
Proposition 3: California would issue $9 billion in bonds to improve water quality and storage and to repair dams in preparation for droughts.
— Who’s behind it: A coalition of farmers, environmental groups and business leaders. The bond measure is headed by Jerry Meral, former deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources and a longtime water-project advocate. (Website for YES ON PROP 3 campaign)
— Who’s against it: The Sierra Club says the bond will allow for more dams to be built, something the environmental group generally opposes. (Website for NO ON PROP 3 campaign).
Proposition 4: A $1.5 billion bond measure to fund expansion and renovation projects at children’s hospitals in the state. Two-thirds of the money would go to projects at eight private non-profit hospitals serving low-income families and children with disabilities, including UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. The rest would go to pediatric hospitals operated by University of California and to around 150 hospitals treating children eligible for the California Children’s Services program for serious chronic conditions.
To be considered at the September 27 Club Meeting
Proposition 5: Would let homeowners who are 55 and older and those with severe disabilities keep their lower property taxes when they move within California. Under Proposition 13 and subsequent ballot tweaks, homeowners 55 and older can transfer their lower property-tax base one time when they move to a home of equal or lesser value, if it’s in the same county or in one of 11 counties that accept such transfers. Prop. 5 would allow older homeowners to do so anywhere in the state, regardless of how many times they move. It would also apply to severely disabled homeowners of any age.
Proposition 6: Would repeal the 12-cent-per-gallon increase in the state’s gas excise tax and the 20-cent-per-gallon increase in the excise tax on diesel fuel, both of which were passed as part of SB1 last year to pay for road and bridge improvements. Vehicle registration fee increases that began in January would also be repealed; they raised registration costs by $25 to $175, depending on the value of the vehicle. The measure would require that any future gas-tax or vehicle-fee hikes go before voters, with a majority needed to enact them.
Proposition 7: A step toward possible switch to year-round daylight-saving time in California. The measure would put the question of whether to move clocks forward an hour in March and back in November before lawmakers, who could then introduce a bill to stay on daylight-saving time permanently. The bill would need two-thirds approval from both houses in the Legislature, the governor’s signature and congressional approval.
Proposition 8: Would cap charges at kidney dialysis clinics and require that providers make annual public disclosures on costs and patient charges.
To be considered at the September 27 Club Meeting
Proposition 9: Removed from the ballot
Proposition 10: Would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 1990s law that barred rent control expansion. The initiative would allow cities to extend rent control to single-family homes and condos and impose rent caps in buildings built after February 1995. It would also let cities impose rent control on units when they become vacant.
Proposition 11: Private sector paramedics and EMTs could remain on-call during their lunch and rest breaks, despite a 2016 California Supreme Court ruling that found that practice unconstitutional.
Proposition 12: Hens, calves raised for veal and breeding pigs would have minimum space requirements in order to be sold commercially. Egg-laying hens would be required to have at least 144 square inches of usable floor space by the end of 2019 and be cage-free with accommodations like scratching posts and perches by the end of 2021.
California Federal and State Offices Endorsements
13th Congressional District: Barbara Lee
18th Assembly District: Rob Bonta
U.S. Senate: Kevin De Leon
Governor: Gavin Newsom
Attorney General: Xavier Becerra
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond
State Board of Equalization: Malia Cohen
Treasurer: Fiona Ma