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The BAS 2020 Oakland Voter Guide

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Primarily researched and written by Sayre Piotrkowski. State propositions were researched and written by Stephen Torres. Edited by Stuart Schuffman 

Editors Note: Why is a website, known in part for its coverage of San Francisco politics, doing an Oakland voter guide? Because hella Broke-Ass Stuart readers live in Oakland now! We’ve been covering arts, culture and nightlife in The Town for a number of years now and many of our readers keep asking each year when we will do an Oakland voter guide. So here you go!

The BAS 2020 Oakland Voter Guide

A week from Tuesday is the final day we Oaklanders will be casting ballots in the ongoing election. While we can’t pick up our cell phones without being reminded of the critical importance of 2020 as a national election year, the effect of social-distancing on smaller campaigns, as well as the ongoing dismantling of independent local news outlets, has made finding solid analysis on our local contests more difficult than in past cycles. This is a shame because right now, Oakland is very much a battleground between the two wings of the Democratic Party. One is the grassroots wing that is engaged with the various movements for social justice that have galvanized and grown over the past decade. While the other is a corporate wing, committed to ensuring that the any remedies undertaken to address the very real crises  we face today, should only go so far as can be reconciled with the interests of the party’s donor class. At present our city government is split between these two camps, with our mayor Libby Schaaf acting as a tie-breaker in favor of big-money interests on a host of issues.

Many of the competitive match-ups discussed below feature candidates grown from the East Bay’s very deep activist bench facing off with high-dollar-donor-backed alternatives. If Oakland is to have a real chance of addressing our ever-worsening housing affordability crisis, halting the hand-off of our public schools to charters, or defunding the bloated budget of our violent, criminal, and embarrassingly dysfunctional police force, we as voters must use this current election to empower Oakland’s activist community by supporting the candidates and policy reforms they endorse.

This guide is largely informed by the work of longstanding community organizations and independent activists with a history of working on behalf of Oakland’s most vulnerable. For further analysis of the issues and candidates evaluated here, please refer to these voter guides from #OakMtg Appreciation Club, and Oakland Rising, as well as essential reporting from local news outlets like The Hyphenated Republic, The Oakland Post, and Oaklandside.

The Quick Guide (Longer explanations come after)

Especially strong endorsements have an asterisks (*).

Federal Races 

President/Vice President of the United States: Joe Biden & Kamala Harris 

CA 13th District Congressional Representative — Barbara Lee*

State Races 

California State Senate — State Senator Nancy Skinner

California State Assembly District 15— Sara Brink

California State Assembly District 18 — Rob Bonta*

Transit Races 

AC Transit D1 — Jovanka Beckles*

AC Transit D2 — Jean Walsh

AC Transit At Large — Christian Peeples

BART Board D7 — Lateefah Simon*

City Races 

City Council D1 — 1) Dan Kalb, 2) Tri Ngo 

City Council D3 — 1) Carroll Fife* 2) Seneca Scott 

City Council D5 — 1) Zoe Lopez-Meraz 2) Richard Santos Raya 

City Council D7 — 1) Aaron Clay 2) Marchon Tatmon 

City Council At-Large — Rebecca Kaplan*

School Board District 1 — Sam Davis & Stacy Thomas

School Board District 3 — Vancedric Williams* & Cherisse Gash

School Board District 5 — Mike Hutchinson*

School Board District 7 — Kristina Molina & Victor Valerio & Ben Tapscott

City Attorney — Barbara Parker

County Judges 

Alameda County Superior Court Judge — Elena Condes

State Propositions 

Proposition 14NO POSITION  

Proposition 15–  YES

Proposition 16  YES

Proposition 17 –  YES

Proposition 18 – YES

Proposition 19 – NO

Proposition 20NO

Proposition 21 – YES

Proposition 22NO*

Proposition 23YES

Proposition 24NO

Proposition 25NO

County Measures

Measure V — YES

Measure W — YES

Measure X — YES*

City Measures

Measure QQ — Yes*

Measure RR — Yes

Measure S1 — Yes*

Measure Y — Yes*

Longer Explanations

Especially strong endorsements have an asterisks (*).

Federal Races 

President/Vice President of the United States – Joe Biden & Kamala Harris 

In San Francisco, numbers and history would lead us to think that a very small percentage will be voting for the incumbent candidate in this election.  That said, San Franciscan voters often claim the privilege to vote with “my conscience” because Democrats have carried the state in federal elections since 1992.  For this very reason, many of our readers will vote for a third party or not in the presidential category at all.  If this is the case, we would ask that you consider your privilege, and how many people’s privileges have been stripped away by this sitting president.  Voting with conscience is how one should vote, but that also means understanding how your vote affects how others vote and the potential to enfranchise or disenfranchise others.  Historically, there may be no real danger of Biden losing California, but if there is one thing we have learned this year, it is that nothing is for certain and another fresh hell takes less than 24 hours to reveal itself. Moreover, if you do, in fact, feel that you have the safety to not vote for Biden because of where you live, others in your life might take your lead in states that aren’t as surely not going to Trump.

Again, everything right now is changing almost hourly.  As of the writing of this voter guide, the Trumps have announced they have COVID-19. Is this true? Will it kill him? Will it simply pass through his jaundiced, corpulent viscera without a trace? Is it another dodge or hustle?  We don’t know. What we do know is that our future as a fully realised fascist state is a very real possibility.  We cannot leave even one vote to chance. Every vote counts. Even in California. Even in San Francisco. EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

13th Congressional District — Barbara Lee* 

Since her election to this seat in 1998, it could be argued that the Congresswoman has been the most praise-worthy member of the US congress. Beginning with her laudable and lonely opposition to the Iraq War, and continuing today with her unwavering support of Medicare-For-All and The Green New Deal, Barbara Lee has been on the right side on issue after issue. Given this history, her endorsement of Kamala Harris in this most recent Presidential primary was confounding to some. Still, congresswoman Lee will win re-election easily, as she should.

State Races 

State Senate District 9— Nancy Skinner  

Sitting State Senator Nancy Skinner is also extremely likely to win re-election. Since her election in 2016, she has been a solid, mainstream progressive. Skinner is best on environmental issues. As a member of the Berkeley City Council, she was instrumental in the country’s first Styrofoam ban and she is a co-founder of Local Governments for Sustainability.

**Fun fact, there is no Republican in this race so doing your due diligence as a citizen means getting to dig into the rather bizarre (and kind of adorable) campaign of Libertarian Jamie Dluzak**

California State Assembly District 15— Sara Brink

This candidate will not win. Her own website says so. Brink is an avowed anti-fascist, running without party affiliation, against Buffy Wicks, an incumbent opponent who is a darling of both the Democratic Party power-brokers and likely your friend who not only listens to Pod Save America but also buys their t-shirts and coffee mugs. Prior to her election in 2018, Wicks, who had worked on the Obama campaigns, was parachuted into the district with the backing of both big-business and the Democratic party establishment. At that moment, it appeared that Richmond City-Council Member, Jovanka Beckles — a queer, Black woman and a member of the staunchly anti-corporate Richmond Progressive Alliance — was poised to take this seat. From Brink’s website “To Buffy Wicks: you’re obviously a person whose values are organized around the accumulation of power, and whose community is those who help you gain it. Your presence in this seat is a result of your privilege, not your worth to us.” In the assembly, Buffy Wicks has been what most expected her to be, a consistent progressive with no appetite for upsetting those who put her in office. 

California State Assembly District 18— Rob Bonta* 

Like Skinner, Rob Bonta maintains a 98 out of 100 score from Courage California. This is hardly a rigid standard as Buffy Wicks maintains a perfect score. Nonetheless, as with Skinner’s race, there is no radical alternative here, and unlike many of his colleagues in our statehouse, Bonta has demonstrated a willingness to be pulled toward more radical reforms. Most recently Bonta introduced legislation alongside San Francisco’s anti-carceral DA, Chesa Boudin which would bar elected prosecutors from handling police misconduct cases if they accepted money from police unions during their campaigns. 

Transit Races 

AC Transit District 1— Jovanka Beckles*  

Consistent with her identification as both a Democratic Socialist and a member of The Richmond Progressive Alliance Jovanka Beckles is running on a platform of free public transportation. Beckles was extremely effective as a member of the Richmond City Council. During her two terms on the council, Richmond fought Chevron and won, moved forward a community policing model that precipitated a significant drop in violent crime, and passed a living wage. As Berkeley mayor, Jesse Arreguín wrote in his endorsement of Beckles, “…she is the only candidate in her race who has won major legislative victories as an elected official, and the only candidate with ideas bold enough for the current moment.”

AC Transit D2 — Jean Walsh 

Walsh is endorsed by many progressive groups but I have never encountered anyone who is really plugged into movements for social justice who is an enthusiastic supporter of hers. The main reason for this endorsement is that Walsh is running to unseat Greg Harper. Harper’s status as the leading fiscal conservative on the board places him at odds with people like Beckles who are working to make public transportation more accessible.

AC Transit At Large — Christian Peeples

Like Walsh, Christian Peeples is endorsed by most mainstream progressive organizations and garners little enthusiasm from more radical organizations. Also like Walsh, this endorsement comes largely for fear of the election of one of Peeples’ opponents, Victoria Fierce. Fierce identifies as a YIMBY socialist and is a fixture at local government meetings. She has engaged in the harassment of longtime area activists, both on the internet and in-person, and she referred to the Berkeley Shellmound memorial sight, an ancestral burial site for the native Ohlone people, as a “sacred parking lot.” Fierce does not feel that we need to get police out of transit, and she has spoken disparagingly of concerns about the surveillance cameras on the BRT corridor. Despite her self-identification as a socialist, Fierce is functionally an ally to the Mayor’s pro-development wing and has personally donated over $1,000 to the PAC seeking to unseat Rebecca Kaplan.

BART Board D7 Lateefah Simon* 

Lateefah  Simon’s community activist bona-fides are well established here in the Bay. Prior to being elected, Simon was the President of the Akonadi Foundation where her work to make Oakland a more racially just city was widely praised. While Simon is the incumbent in the race, the effect of COVID on the BART system makes it hard to evaluate her performance as a reformer in that capacity. This endorsement is based largely on Simon’s activist resume and connection to the community.

City Races 

Oakland City Council D1 — 1) Dan Kalb, 2) Tri Ngo 

With respect to the two main issues facing our city, police accountability and housing affordability, sitting councilmember Dan Kalb is a mixed bag. With respect to housing, he (along with Nikki Fortunato Bas who has endorsed Kalb in this election) has been the most reliably pro-tenant voice on the council. He worked diligently to turn a CCA dorm into a shelter and emergency housing, he was the author of Oakland’s tenant protection ordinance and co-authored the emergency eviction moratorium. Kalb has also worked with Oakland Tenants Union to ensure that much needed seismic retrofitting would not lead to displacement. OTU has also endorsed Kalb.

Unfortunately, when it comes to defending Oakland’s residents from our unaccountable police department, Kalb has not shown the same dedication and fortitude. Back in July when councilmembers Bas and Kaplan put forth a budget that would have defunded OPD by 50%, Kalb argued that there was much in the proposal he supported, but he ultimately abstained.

Kalb’s main competition, Stephanie Walton, is supported by the East Bay Rental Housing Association, a demonstrably anti-tenant-rights organization. Hyphenated Republic’s Jamie Omar Yassin reported that “Walton’s husband is a lawyer at one of the nation’s top real estate law firms and is a member of an advocacy group seeking to pressure Oakland into selling the Coliseum and promoting the Howard Terminal ballpark proposal. The law firm Walton works for advertised that it is available to challenge tenant protection laws until a short time ago, when I reported on the claim.” 

While Kalb’s lack of courage when it came to defunding OPD offered Walton her opening, she has been very vague about the issue in the various online candidate forums and has previously spoken about wanting more police officers on the force.

Oakland City Council D3 — 1) Carroll Fife* 2) Seneca Scott 

Carrol Fife is exactly the sort of person who should represent Oakland. She is a radical grassroots organizer, an executive director with ACCE, and she was a fixture within Cat Brooks’ campaign to unseat Schaaf as mayor. Fife believes in the decommodification of housing and that shelter is a human right and she has shown the ability to bring her radical analysis into the system, working with Elizabeth Warren on housing policy, and serving as a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 convention. 

Fife has been a tireless advocate for Oakland’s most vulnerable residents for more than a decade. Most recently she rose to national prominence with Mom’s For Housing, a group of unhoused West Oakland families whose direct action is providing shelter for vulnerable families and bolstering the Oakland Community Land Trust

Fife’s politics align with a broad spectrum of Oakland’s voters and non-voting residents and her impressive campaign has brought together an equally broad coalition of supporters. Not only is she endorsed by the list of long-standing, POC-lead, radical community-based organizations one might expect, but she has expanded that coalition. Fife enjoys endorsements from the Alameda Democratic Party, an endorsement she received over mayor Schaaf’s objection, and East Bay DSA, who infamously sat out the Brooks vs Schaaf mayoral campaign.

Fife is running to unseat a popular incumbent. Lynette Gibson McElhaney and her family are certainly deeply-tied to the community. However, McElhaney almost always votes with the mayor’s wing of the council, and her notoriously cozy relationship with area developers actually garnered her an ethics violation in 2018. If Fife is successful, it would follow Nikki Fortunato Bas’ defeat of Abel Guillen in 2018, to begin a trend of dedicated activists taking council seats from popular, business-backed, incumbents.

Oakland City Council D5 — 1) Zoe Lopez-Meraz 2) Richard Santos Raya 

This is a longshot campaign to upset incumbent Noel Gallo. Richard Santos Raya and Zoe Lopez-Meraz are two very young activists from the district hoping to join forces and utilize Oakland’s ranked-choice voting to unseat the rather mediocre incumbent. Like McElhaney, the incumbent in D3, Gallo is well-liked in his district, but not at all bold enough to meet our current moment. He has been a fairly reliable ally to the mayor. He has given every indication that he will not support defunding OPD. 

Both Meraz and Raya support defunding the police, a Black New Deal, and providing rapid re-housing for unsheltered people. Meraz is explicit about decriminalizing homelessness and sex work. She also wants to make it harder for landlords to discriminate against Section 8 vouchers. According to her campaign, Meraz wants to ensure “all future development is only approved if there is an agreement to keep jobs local, construction is environmentally sustainable, employment is open to the formerly incarcerated, residential units are affordable, and tenants have the right to organize.”

Oakland City Council D7 — 1) Aaron Clay 2) Marchon Tatmon 

The D7 race is crowded and the assumed front-runner is Treva Reid, the daughter of Councilmember Larry Reid who has held this seat since 1996. The younger Reid boasts a number of strong endorsements, but the specter of generational succession and her history as a lobbyist for PG&E present more than a few conflicts between her rhetoric and what we would expect from her as a councilmember. 

Aaron Clay, on the other hand, enjoys the endorsement of the Green Party, the ILWU, and the League of Conservation Voters. He is a vocal proponent of solar energy and sits on the board Youth UpRising a vital and pragmatic resource for many of East Oakland’s most vulnerable young people.

Oakland City Council At-Large — Rebecca Kaplan*

Out of the three candidates that are running for this seat Rebecca Kaplan is the only one who supports shrinking OPD’s budget, expanding tenant protections, increasing funding for homeless services, a progressive business tax, and she was the only Councilmember advocating for clean air centers for unhoused people during the wildfires.

The biggest obstacle to Kaplan’s re-election is not one of her opponents; it is the obscene amount of money that Lyft and Uber have injected into this race. Back in 2017, Kaplan proposed a tax on ride-hailing apps operating in Oakland, and the two behemoth companies in that sector have remained dedicated to seeing her out of office ever since.

The beneficiary of the ride-hailing industry’s opposition to Kaplan is Derreck Johnson. Johnson enjoys the backing of a well-funded PAC, and the endorsement of Senator Kamala Harris whose brother-in-law is Uber’s chief legal officer. He is also the preferred candidate of Mayor Schaaf, who has been at odds with Kaplan for years. 

Previously best-known as the owner of a popular Jack London Square restaurant, Johnson claims he is running because he feels the current City Council hasn’t created a business-friendly atmosphere. Prior to this run, Johnson’s most prominent political activity was as founder of the Oakland Indie Alliance a collection of small business groups who petition state and local government in opposition to minimum wage increases. He supports the rollback of tenant protections and deregulation of Oakland’s housing market. He opposes a progressive business tax, opposes the right of return for workers who lost their jobs to COVID-19, and opposes cutting OPD’s budget. Derreck Johnson is not your friend.

City Attorney — Barbara Parker

Like Councilmember Kalb, City Attorney Parker has been excellent on housing and lacking on police accountability. She has sued problem landlords for providing unsafe conditions for tenants and co-sponsored Oakland’s Emergency Eviction Moratorium. She has advocated for tenant protection upgrades, including making it illegal for landlords to turn their tenants or their relatives over to ICE. She supports the Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance which prohibits asking for or considering criminal records in rental housing applications. Like Kalb, Parker is endorsed by the Oakland Tenants Union.

Her opponent, Elias Ferran has had a rather undistinguished twelve-year career in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office and done nothing to indicate that he would be stronger on police accountability than Parker.

Oakland School Board 

More than the specific candidates, what is critical about this year’s school board elections is that we vote to stop the billionaire-funded takeover of Oakland’s public school. GO public schools is an extraordinarily well-heeled non-profit organization whose work bolsters gentrification and negatively affects Oakland’s most vulnerable students by advocating for charter schools. By in-large, Oakland’s charter institutions have failed students with unexpected closures and have not delivered the academic results they promised. The funding for GO, as well as the candidates they are advancing for school board, comes from far outside Oakland

Both https://votewithoaklandteachers.com/ and Oakland Rising have put out school board endorsements guided by the sentiments of those who are most directly affected by Oakland’s push toward privatization. Follow their recommendations and support the following candidates in your district. The voting is ranked-choice:

School Board District 1 — Sam Davis & Stacy Thomas
School Board District 3 — Vancedric Williams* & Cherisse Gash
School Board District 5 — Mike Hutchinson*
School Board District 7 — Kristina Molina & Victor Valerio & Ben Tapscott

County Judges 

Alameda County Superior Court Judge — Elena Condes

Condes is the incumbent in this contest and she enjoys broad support from nearly every liberal or progressive group with an opinion. She is also endorsed by prominent Oakland civil rights attorney and Sanders-campaign fixture, Walter Riley.

Her opponent, Mark Fickes is a former prosecutor and counsel for the SEC who is misrepresenting himself as a civil rights attorney.

State Propositions 

Proposition 14 – Authorizes Bonds Continuing Stem Cell Research. Initiative Statute: No Position

On first glance, Proposition 14 seems like one of those abstract propositions that one might default to vote in favor of. In a nutshell, the State of California would issue an additional bond of $5.5 billion to compensate for the loss of the exhausted $3 billion bond that voters authorized in 2004. The original bond created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which aside from some modest successes has not really delivered on its projected return (remember, bonds need to be paid back.) It can be argued, however, that exploratory research requires time, and it would seem that both sides more or less agree on that respect. Where they diverge is in the funding. Opponents feel that this is a high-risk investment during a time when funding is desperately needed elsewhere in our imperiled state and something that can be funded by the federal government since it reversed its position on stem cell research since 2004. Proponents rightly claim that little can be relied on from our current federal leadership and that more research is desperately needed. One wonders however, given the groundswell of support from celebrities and the wealthy, that funding can’t be easily obtained from that type of financial backing. That said, the board of the CIRM has already been criticized for conflicts of interest and lack of oversight when it comes to private interest and investment.

Proposition 15 – Increases Funding Sources for Public Schools, Community Colleges, and Local Government Services by Changing Tax Assessment of Commercial and Industrial Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment: YES

This is one of those high profile propositions that has come to define the state of California over the past few decades. What this prop would do is amend the California Constitution so that commercial and industrial properties could be taxed at market rate. Back in 1978 Proposition 13 fixed all California properties at 1976 rates.

A lot of what the opposition (real estate, corporate landlords, and chambers of commerce) have claimed is that this will in fact crush small businesses and “mom and pop” landlords. The former because they have insinuated that big time landlords (meaning them) will pass these costs on to tenants like small business and there won’t be anything they can do about it, which is reminiscent of a gangster film where some mob heavy threatens an elderly laundry with “protection or else”. The latter is based on the contention that small time landlords would be affected by this as well, which is not the case, as that the property would have to be valued over $3 million, which in effect, doesn’t make you a small time landlord even in San Francisco.

What’s more is that the bulk of these taxes (as much as $3.5 million per year) will go to public schools and community colleges that desperately need it.

Proposition 16  Allows Diversity as a Factor in Public Employment, Education, and Contracting Decisions. Legislative Constitutional Amendment:YES

Ah, Proposition 209…it seems like only yesterday. But, in fact, twenty-four years have passed since affirmative action was effectively banned in the State of California. Back then, the likes of Governor Pete Wilson touted Proposition 209 as a way of leveling the playing field and making jobs and opportunities available to all Californians regardless of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. A swell sentiment if you don’t factor in systemic racism, which finally, in the horror show that has become our daily existence, people seem to be coming around to accepting as an actual thing and not a figment in the mind of radical liberals in the heady “post-racial” utopia that was 1996. The numbers play it out, there are less black/poc folks in universities and well-paying jobs than there was almost thirty years ago. It’s time to overturn 209.

Proposition 17 – Restores Right to Vote After Completion of Prison Term. Legislative Constitutional Amendment: YES

In California, we are finally beginning to make cracks in the prison industrial complex that has strangled that state and the civil liberties of its citizens for decades.  At one time, the State of California was more focused on rehabilitation than punishment, and now that the success of restorative justice is finally getting traction, we are headed in that direction again.  Really,  this proposition is very simple, it contends if you’ve done your time, re-entered society and have started having obligations like taxes, you should have some say in that. That seems fair to us.

Proposition 18 – Amends California Constitution to Permit 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Primary and Special Elections if They Will Turn 18 by the Next General Election and be Otherwise Eligible to Vote. Legislative Constitutional Amendment: YES

In the same vein of the previous proposition, if folks coming of age are expected to pay taxes and about to be  subject to society’s laws applying to adults (which, it could be argued happens well before 18), they should have a say in how those laws come to be.  There is the argument that this slight age reduction will surge thousands of impressionable voters into elections who opponents contend are still children in the scant months leading up to their 18th birthday and can be swayed or pressured to vote how their parents or teachers vote.  It could also be argued that our current state of affairs demonstrate that being impressionable is not something relegated to teenagers, and if anything, at least on a national level, numbers would indicate teens feel more confident in their own assessment of politics over that of their parents.

Proposition 19 – Changes Certain Property Tax Rules. Legislative Constitutional Amendment: NO

This is another iteration of 2018’s  Proposition 5 which we also recommended a ‘no’ on.  It’s unnecessary and seeing that significant boostering and support coming from real estate strikes us as a red flag.  Enticing seniors and the disabled to move from properties which likely have more value by dangling tax savings in front of them and playing into the “newer=nicer” narrative seems a little gross as does the firefighting incentivizing.  The state needs more money to support fire fighting and programs to prevent massive conflagrations, but this isn’t the way to do it.

Proposition 20 – Restricts Parole for Certain Offenses Currently Considered to be Non-Violent. Authorizes Felony Sentences for Certain “Offenses Currently Treated Only as Misdemeanors. Initiative Statute – NO

Like Proposition 17, this proposition addresses criminal justice reform. Unlike Prop 17, this aims at turning back some of those reforms at their infancy. Law enforcement associations and unions are spearheading this, acting as shills for the corporate incarceration interests that fund them. As we said before, California is back on track to rehabilitation and restorative justice. Among gutting propositions Californians overwhelmingly voted to approve, this goes further by making misdemeanors felonies and requiring DNA samples from misdemeanors. If, like us, you’re wary of law enforcement leadership padding their pockets off of the bodies of inmates, vote NO on 20.

Proposition 21 – Expands Local Governments’ Authority to Enact Rent Control on Residential Property Initiative Statute: YES

If anything has brought the dire need for statewide rent control in sharp focus, it’s the current pandemic.  Real estate lobbyists have long simultaneously assuaged and stoked the fears of California renters by claiming that rent control will take away protections that the free market provides.  Simply put, wouldn’t you feel more confident about your housing going into one of the bleakest winters in recent memory with city and state mandated rent control?

Proposition 22 – Exempts App-Based Transportation and Delivery Companies from Providing Employee Benefits to Certain Drivers. Initiative Statute: NO*

Speaking of unstable markets, if this one seems familiar, it’s because the State of California already made a law protecting people who work for app-based transportation companies. Proposition 22 is an attempt to reverse this by throwing in a few protections their employees already have under the law, but stopping short of the entitlements and protections enjoyed by hourly/ cooperative employees.

Proponents of this proposition disingenuously suggest that this is going to take thousands of jobs away from gig workers, destroy the “gig economy” and that their drivers are not, in fact, their employees. From day laborers to handymen to street vendors, gig workers have existed since time immemorial. When those gigs start getting run by one central outfit, however, that is a company. Uber, Lyft and the like are companies and the true reason they don’t want protected employees is because it will widen the cracks already showing in their flawed business models. Like taxi drivers and other transpo operators, every one of these employees deserves the same protections as those working as hourly employees or in a cooperative.

Incidentally, if you want more proof on Lyft and Uber’s political maneuvering just have a look at the election over in Oakland.  Originally masquerading as a housing PAC, they heavily- funded a bid to unseat Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. She had the audacity to try and tax them but they evaded it, again because their drivers aren’t “employees”.

Another candidate trying to reign them in is AC Transit Board contender Jovanka Beckles.  So for our readers out in Oakland vote REBECCA KAPLAN for Oakland City Council  and JOVANKA BECKLES for Alameda County Transit Board.

Check out our deep dive on why you should vote NO on Prop 22 right here.

Proposition 23 – Establish State Requirements for Kidney Dialysis Clinics. Requires On-Site Medical Professional. Initiative Statute: YES

One would think that the last iteration of this would have passed, especially since it is requiring regulation on how people handle your kidneys.  But there are a lot of kidney dialysis clinics in this state, they make a lot of money,  and they used that money to defeat it last time.  Additionally, the kind of regulation that is being sought here, is the kind one would think would already be in place because, again, it has to do with one’s KIDNEYS.  Passage would require that a licensed physician be on site during treatments, quarterly oversight on dialysis-related infections, bar discrimination based on how bills are paid (like MediCal), and state approval on clinic closures.  And, if the world of kidney dialysis seems a little out of your orbit because you don’t have any preconditions, take a hard look at that box of wine or tub of ice cream that’s been keeping you company since March.

Proposition 24 – Amends Consumer Privacy Laws. Initiative Statute: NO

When Jerry Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act a couple of years ago it enabled the state to lead the nation in privacy protection. Unfortunately, technology moves at a much faster pace than legislation and it could use some work in terms of implementation. That said we have some qualms about this proposition. Funding from wealthy real estate interests has rarely boded well for our state and when the ACLU contends that this is a “fake privacy law” that will add hurdles to consumers and loopholes to corporations, we’re going to take their advice and hold out for something better.

Proposition 25 – Referendum on Law That Replaced Money Bail with System Based on Public Safety and Flight Risk: NO

Cash bail is bad, but this is not the way to fix it.  We’ll again follow the ACLU’s lead here.  In voicing concerns that risk assessment could easily be affected by racial bias, they stated this about this prop’s predecessor, “SB 10 is not the model for pretrial justice and racial equity that California should strive for.”

County Measures

Measure V — YES

Renewal of an existing and necessary tax on utility usage in unincorporated areas.

Measure W — YES

Measure W is a half-cent sales tax that will provide funding for rapid re-housing, rent assistance, job training, mental health support, as well as hygiene stations, and other similar interventions. Although a sales tax is regressive, ultimately we can’t afford to not fund these services. Measure W also comes with an oversight committee to ensure that the funds are spent as they were described.

Measure X — YES*

This is a fire safety bond. From Oakland Rising — “in the midst of increased climate crisis fires and reduced budgets, adding resources for the fire department is a good idea.”

City Measures

Measure QQ — Yes*

Oakland students should be able to vote for their school board representatives!

Measure RR — Yes

 Illegal dumping is a real problem in many Oakland neighborhoods. This measure removes the $1,000 cap on civil penalties in hopes of discouraging residents from bumping trash on street corners, a practice that primarily impacts lower-income residents.

Measure S1 — Yes*

Necessary to provide legitimate oversight over OPD.

Measure Y — Yes*

Construction bond measure to found public schools

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BAS Editorial Team

We're the editorial team who get together to do the Broke-Ass Stuart voter guides.

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