I, Lieva Whitbeck, wrote this guide, based on research done at a voting party in Laurel in Oakland with Sonya Brewer, Noah Cochran, Tijanna Eaton, Vivienne Muller, Stacy Reed, Ariana Waynes, and Jameson Wolf. On our small team of queer progressive Oakland voters, polyamorists, Black folks, and kinksters each constituted a majority, and trans and gender non-conforming folks were well-represented. Snacks included rotisserie chicken, fresh baked rosemary-onion and asiago bread, kale chips, and cupcakes, in case that helps you in deciding how much to trust our politics.
Sources: We drew heavily on the League of Pissed-Off Voters, our brilliant friend Laura, and LA progressives, and got some help from Oakland Rising, the Green Party, and East Bay Express for local stuff. We also appreciated this handy compilation from a guy named Ian. For judges, we found Carter Lavin’s research to be super helpful.
In summary (or: thinking is hard and I trust you, just tell me what to do)
Governor: Gavin Newsom | Lieutenant Governor: Ed Hernandez | Secretary of State: Alex Padilla | Controller: Betty Yee | Treasurer: Fiona Ma | Attorney General: Xavier Becerra | Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara | Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen | U.S. Senator: Kevin de León | U.S. Representative, 13th congressional district: Barbara Lee | Member State Assembly, 18th District: Rob Bonta | Judges | Carol A. Corrigan: No | Leondra R. Kruger: Yes | James M. Humes: Yes | Sandra Margulies: No | James A. Richman: No | Marla Miller: No | Peter John Siggins: Yes | Allison M. Tucher: Yes | Jon B. Streeter: Yes | Barbara Jones: Yes | State Superintendent: Tony Thurmond | County Assessor: Jim Johnson | California propositions | 1: Yes | 2: Yes | 3: No | 4: Yes | 5: No | 6: No | 7: Yes | 8: Yes | 10: Yes | 11: No | 12: Yes | Peralta Community College District Trustee Area 5: Cindi Reiss | AC Transit District Director at Large: Dollene C. Jones | Bart Director, District 4: Robert Raburn | Oakland propositions | E: Yes | G: Yes | V: Yes | W: Yes | X: Yes | Y: Yes | Z: Yes | AA: No | FF: Yes | Mayor of Oakland (1) Cat Brooks, (2) Pamela Price, (3) Marchon Tatmon | City Council, District 4: (1) Pam Harris, (2) Sheng Thao, (3) Nayeli Maxson | City Auditor: Courtney Ruby | School Director, District 4: Clarissa Doutherd
In more detail:
Governor: Gavin Newsom
Lieutenant Governor: Ed Hernandez
The other lady is backed by her rich family. Big pharma hates him for standing up to them.
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
He’s the Democrat.
Controller: Betty Yee
She’s great, and she’s the Democrat.
Treasurer: Fiona Ma
Sigh. Better than the Republican.
Attorney General: Xavier Becerra
The Democrat up against a scary Republican who’s backed by the NRA.
Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
Progressive Gay Latino who’s awesome.
Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen
She’s the Democrat.
U.S. Senator: Kevin de León
Unlike Feinstein, de León supports single-payer health care and strong legislation regulating police use of force. We’re ready for Feinstein to retire so we can push this seat to the left.
U.S. Representative, 13th congressional district: Barbara Lee
She is legit awesome. We’re so excited to vote for her. Barbara Lee for everything.
Member State Assembly, 18th District: Rob Bonta
He’s the Democrat.
Judge: Carol A. Corrigan: No!
She’s a swing vote on the court. If we vote her out Newsom will be able to appoint a more progressive justice, which would really be much better than keeping this lesbian who voted against gay marriage.
Judge: Leondra R. Kruger: Yes
Worked for Obama, could go further but isn’t terrible. Rules narrowly so as to not rock the boat.
Judge: James M. Humes: Yes
He said you can’t lie to pregnant women and tell them you have no job openings when you do. Also he’s a homo.
Judge: Sandra Margulies: No
Ruled that it’s ok to draw blood from motorists without a warrant. WTF?!?
Judge: James A. Richman: No
Ruled against protecting public worker pensions.
Judge: Marla Miller: No
Ruled against tenant protections in SF. No.
Judge: Peter John Siggins: Yes
Yes! Siggins was one of the justices who ruled that California’s prisons are overcrowded to the point of human rights violations. Then they had to let out some people who were in prison for no good reason. Yay!
Judge: Allison M. Tucher: Yes
As a lawyer did a ton of pro-bono work and got a person exonerated who was wrongfully convicted of murder.
Judge: Jon B. Streeter: Yes
Sued the federal government for holding immigrants without any chance of bail. Good job. Yes.
Judge: Barbara Jones: Yes
Ruled in favor of the Raiders’ cheerleaders in a wage theft issue.
State Superintendent: Tony Thurmond!
This public servant from Richmond supports teachers, unlike his opponent, a charter school dude who supports Betsy DeVos, who is terrible in every way. Tony Thurmond for superintendent. We feel strongly about this one.
County Assessor: Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson has a lot of experience in this office, and believes it should be relatively apolitical. Phong La is inexperienced and playing politics with it. We don’t want a chaotic assessor’s office.
Prop 1: Yes
Money for affordable housing. Yes please.
Prop 2: Yes
Plugs gaps in the mental health system. People who know a lot about it say it’ll do a good job. Yes.
Prop 3: No?
$ for water infrastructure. We need this, but also it gives money to some people we don’t like. Some white environmental organizations say no, and some of the people most impacted say yes. It’s not perfect, but it’s got some stuff in it that’s really necessary. This seems to be a question where “no” voters are hoping for a better measure next time, and “yes” voters are hoping this will get used well even though there’s no oversight. We vote no, hesitatingly.
Prop 4: Yes
$ for children’s hospitals. Everyone we trust says yes.
Prop 5: No
Tax cut for rich folks. Vote no.
Prop 6: No
This one is terrible. It says we should fund roads even less than we already do, and makes it extra extra hard to tax gas, even when it’s a good idea.
Prop 7: Yes?
This probably has no effect, because it’s superseded by a federal law. If it ever it becomes permissible under federal law, a yes vote means more light in the afternoon, and no means more light in the morning.
Prop 8: Yes
Capping profits is a risky business, but this proposition will incentivize dialysis clinics to invest in quality of care, and make it more possible for their workers to unionize. We vote yes.
Prop 10: Yes!
Costa-Hawkins makes it impossible for cities to make rent control laws. Prop 10 repeals that, so cities can regulate rent in ways that work for them. Yes rent control. Yes on 10.
Prop 11: No
This is a corporation using a ballot measure to avoid a lawsuit and so they don’t have to compensate their employees. We vote no.
Prop 12: Yes
Sure, a chicken should get to live in at least one square foot of space before we eat it. Yes on 12.
Peralta Community College District Trustee Area 5: Cindi Reiss
The incumbent has been at this job for 20 years, and there are still problems with transparency, too much administration, and not enough teacher pay. Cindi Reiss is the challenger, a faculty member who’s spent those 20 years teaching in the community college system and is a strong advocate for low-income students and students of color. She seems ready to try to make it work better.
AC Transit District Director at Large: Dollene C. Jones
People we trust like her.
Bart Director, District 4: Robert Raburn
He’s been doing it a long time and seems to know about his job. The other guy is a naval officer who wants to fight to keep parking at BART stations. We have limited information. This is our best guess.
Prop E: Yes
Let community colleges keep their existing funds.
Prop G: Yes
Fund Peralta community colleges with bonds.
Prop V: Yes
Support small pot businesses.
Prop W: Yes
Tax vacant properties. Housing in Oakland that no one is living in is unconscionable. House people!
Prop X: Yes
Tax the rich.
Prop Y: Yes
Right now, if you live in one part of a duplex or triplex you own and have tenants in the other part(s), you can kick them out for any or no reason. This measure would make it so you can only kick them out if you have just cause. We wish we didn’t need this measure, because it’d be better if tenants whose landlords disliked them could just go live somewhere else instead of sharing a wall with their angry landlords, but in practice landlords have been raising the rent on all units of a two or three unit property by claiming to be moving into one of them, and that’s not cool. We vote yes.
Prop Z: Yes
Protect hotel workers from sexual assault and wage theft.
Prop AA: No?
This pet project of Libby Schaaf’s is asking for a regressive tax that claims to fund stuff we like, like early childhood education and college, but without much accountability. The suspicious among us say no, the people who want to throw homeowners’ money at kids and hope for the best say yes.
Prop FF: Yes
$12/year tax on houses to support nature. We vote yes. We love trees.
Mayor of Oakland
First choice: Cat Brooks!!!
She’s awesome. Oakland should be the city showing the U.S. what can happen when we put experienced progressive activists in charge of city government. This is the one I feel most strongly about. For serious. I put up signs for her and everything. Cat’s amazing.
Second Choice: Pamela Price
We loved her when she was running for D.A. We imagine she’d be a fine mayor.
Third Choice: Marchon Tatmon
He’s an activist for unhoused citizens, and he sounds smart in debates.
*Don’t rank the incumbent at all. Oakland should be in more progressive hands.
City Council, District 4: (1) Pam Harris, (2) Sheng Thao, (3) Nayeli Maxson
Pam Harris (not the same Pamela Harris as the one running for mayor) is a super-progressive Black lesbian who’s getting my #1 spot. She’s endorsed by the incumbent. She’s also endorsed by the cops, which is a bit concerning, but she cares a lot about equity, and people who’ve worked with her applaud her independence and her straightforward no-nonsense approach. Sheng Thao is a longtime aide to Rebecca Kaplan who’s pro-tenant and into police reform. She seems like the person most ready to step into the job on day one. Nayeli Maxson also sounds like a reasonable person who knows what she’s doing, and she’s the only candidate who has worked in the district 4 council office.
City Auditor: Courtney Ruby
Ruby did a great job in this job for a long time. Roberts pledged to carry on her work when she took it over but has actually been terrible as an auditor and as a boss. We’re lucky Ruby wants her old job back.
School Director, District 4: Clarissa Doutherd
Black lady Tony Thurmond endorsed who actually seems really great.