Tag Archives: election

Are you ready for the November 2012 Election?

By now, you have probably heard enough information about the November 2012 election to turn you blue in the face. I’ve heard some say they wish this election season was over and it’s only August!

However, this election season is crucial. Not only are we (re) electing the President of the United States, but there are important issues to decide upon locally as well.

What’s at stake?

In California, we have 10 new propositions including a re-evaluation of the 3 – strikes Law, getting rid of the Death Penalty, and deciding if we want to tax the wealthiest in order to help support education. We also need to elect new state legislators.. and decide whether or not a governing body can re-draw county boarders. This is not only important to Californian’s but the rest of the country, because what we do here is often modeled in other states.

In Alameda County, we need to vote for 2 Council members, an auditor and a treasurer.

In Oakland, we get to elect practically a whole new City Council – something that local policy nerds and a large portion of residents are really looking forward to. Districts 1 (North Oakland, Temescal, Rockridge), District 3 (West Oakland, Downtown Oakland and Adam’s Point), District 5 ( East Oakland like Fruitvale), District 7 ( Deeper East Oakland near San Leandro) and Oakland At-Large are up for grabs.  We also need to vote for a new City Attorney and School Board Directors for Districts 1, 3, 5, 7.

Phew!  A lot to decide about.

However you can’t decide on any of it unless you are registered to vote.

Why is it important to vote?

Some people feel that voting isn’t important and in the end your votes don’t count. It’s easy to feel that way, because often when you do take the time to vote, you may or may not get what you wish, causing you to walk away feeling that it was pointless. I would like to propose some reasons why voting is really important.

1. If you care about history and have any kind of reverence for your ancestors at all: you should vote. I’m not going to give you a history lesson behind voting and the trials and tribulations that people who have came before us (that includes males, females, races and ethnic groups of all kinds) to secure you the right to have a voice in how our society is run. Just know that people fought and died for your rights. Respect that.

2. If you care about social issues in your present life.. You should vote.  Do you care if your child gets an adequate education? Do you care if people can be sent to prison for life for being caught with marijuana 3 times? Do you care if your district is mainly Democratic or Republican? Are you concerned with the level of crime in the city of Oakland and whether or not you should be taxed yet again in order to supply the city with police protection? Want to make sure your vegetables are truly organic and come from local farms? If so, you should vote.

3. If you like to complain about things and want people to listen and take you seriously instead of rolling their eyes and telling you to be quiet, you should vote. Voting is the most official, and productive way to complain there is. REAL complainers vote..and if you have any pride in your complain game you should vote in every election there is.

Being a voter is great and the responsible thing to do. However, sometimes voting isn’t enough to create real change. Some cynical Sues and Sams out there already know this and remind folks about it every election season, so here is something else you might want to think about.

Why it is important to be an informed and informing voter, despite sketchy results..

Here is the thing. We live in a society where quite frankly, the majority rules. You might think that it’s money that rules and  money does have great potential to shape things, but imagine what a little bit of research and responsible decision making by the majority can accomplish? A lot.

Wealthy position holders can plaster tv and radio with ads sharing their opinions all day, but word of mouth can be just as powerful. A broad game of “Telephone” can sway an election like no other.

Some folks aren’t willing or have the time to do analysis of issues. That’s fine. But maybe you are. Maybe you will read your registrar packet. Maybe you will Google a measure that is confusing. Maybe you will do more than just listen to commercials you see or hear, but pay attention to who is paying for those commercials and what their agenda is. When you do so, tell a friend who can’t do that kind of research. Talk about it over coffee, while playing on your Wii, or jogging around the Lake.  Share what you have learned, be informed and be an informer. The more you talk about it, the more likely the listener is going to vote. Whether they agree with you or not! If everyone talks with just one other person about the issues..can you imagine how powerful that would be?

The more knowledgeable about your vote you are..the more democratic and fair the process is. Even if your vote doesn’t produce the results you are looking for, you will feel good about your decisions and you won’t be as frustrated about the process.  Also, if you do your part to educate your neighbor, you will know that decisions were made responsibly and not because an individual voter didn’t know which option to pick. People actually vote that way, and that’s a little scary if you think about it.

Plus, when you complain, folks will listen!

Who can vote?

The simplest answer is registered citizens. Things are rarely as simple as that, and there are currently real efforts to make sure some voters don’t make it to the polls. #sigh

In California, we don’t have such concentrated efforts,  YET, there are people who can register to vote but haven’t done so for some reason or another. Who are those people?

  • High School Seniors (aged 18)
  • College Freshman (aged 18)
  • People who have moved recently.
  • Recently married and changed your name? Re-register please!
  • Newly recognized citizens.
  • Released felons and parolees.. (say what? Served your time and parole is done? Peep this!)
  • Complainers who haven’t made it official. (shaking my head)

If you know someone who is in this situation, tap them on the shoulder and say “Hey? Have you registered to vote yet?” Get to it!

Send them to these websites. They don’t have computer access? You do..you are reading this blog right? Share it with them!

State Registrar: You can find information about state propositions, who is running for office and local rules and regulations about voting.

Voter Registration – Elections & Voter Information – California Secretary of State.

Alameda County Registrar: You can learn qualifications of voting, where your poling place is..and actually register online!

http://www.acgov.org/rov/registration.htm

Rock the Vote: help register young people and educate them about the importance of being heard this election cycle!

http://www.rockthevote.com/

GottaVote.org: Register to vote, get information on what you need to bring and sign up for important reminders.. (this is paid for by the Obama/Biden campaign btw).

http://gottavote.org/en/CA/

REGISTER TODAY: You have to have your registration post-marked by Oct. 22, 2012 to be eligible to vote in November!!

Check back here!

I am going to try to attend local candidate forums and write about the 10 CA propositions. So check back here for more details and share them with a friend! Let’s all do our part to make sure everyone is an informed voter this election season!

What’s your opinion? Why do you feel it’s important to vote? Any issues you are excited about? Got a crazy story? Share!

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Filed under Advocacy, City Council, Election 2012, Oakland, Politics

It’s official. Sandre Swanson will run for State Senate, for District 9

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson confirmed Tuesday that he’ll challenge incumbent Loni Hancock for her newly drawn state Senate seat next year, setting up a term-limit-fueled, Democrat-on-Democrat grudge match that’s sure to divide many East Bay allies.

Sandre Swanson will challenge Loni Hancock for State Senate http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19540356

Yay!!??

I don’t know. I don’t know enough about him or the incumbent.

A friend suggested that I get to know Swanson and chronicle my learnings on this here blog. I signed up on Facebook, put myself on the Swanson email list and learned that he was co- sponsoring a food drive at Everett and Jones that was held last week. Food drive, free bbq..I was soo down!

BBQ and Elbow rubs.

Swanson/Lee/Carson Christmas Party, 2011 <— View Photos here

I couldn't get there at 5 when it started, but when I did arrive (at 6) E&J was already packed full of people I did not know. Luckily I brought a friend, and my handy dandy camera to take pictures and pretend like I had a purpose.

I didn't learn very much though. The speeches I heard contained a lot of "Thank You for.." and "Look who's here!.." and "Great job everyone!" and "Remember when..?" none of which I took notes on because I was too busy partaking of bbq beef and cornbread muffins while trying to look pretty. I did make note that Sandre Swanson was there, along with Keith Carson (co-sponsor), Desley Brooks and a rep for Rebecca Kaplan. Barbara Lee (another co-sponsor) was not present because she still had some voting to do down in DC. Something to do with payroll taxes. 😉

Thanks to Pamela Drake for chatting with me as well. So, I knew two people. 🙂

All in all, the event was a great mixer for those that have worked with Carson, Swanson and Lee for a long time. It also helped collect food for the local food bank. Several bins were filled with food. I brought beans, peas and corn. Keepin' it healthy!

Were you there? Was there other stuff to learn? Share!

Some Learning..

District 9 ( download District 9 Map.pdf) includes parts of Contra Costa County (Hercules, Richmond, El Cerrito) and Alameda County (Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro).

Loni Hancock has served as the representative since 2008. I remember voting for her..I don’t remember why. (bad Tonya, bad!) Her website says that she is a strong advocate for criminal justice, government reform, education and environment. She recently stood by the California Faculty Association during the strike at CSU East Bay and was (is she still?) a supporter of the Occupy movement and supported the General Strike on Nov. 2nd.

Sandre’ Swanson has been the State Assembly District 16 (Emeryville, Oakland, Peidmont and Alameda) Rep since 2006. Serving the public for the past 30 years, Swanson’s legislative work is pretty transparent. His website, Facebook and newsletter lists legislative wins through the year for 2011, and also for 2006 and 2007. Those include: new child labor laws, strengthening laws human trafficking, small business tax credits, and justice for low wage workers in 2011. His bio says he also has a deep commitment towards access to health care. What happened in 2008-2010? Dunno. Not on the website. Get on it Swanson Communications team!!

So who should we vote for in June? We shall see. As I learn I will share.

What do you know? Got an inside scoop that should be public? Share!

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Filed under Advocacy, Election 2012, Oakland, Politics

Adventures in Oakland Politics: District 2!

Tonight I went to a forum between District 2 City Council candidates Pat Kernighan and Jennifer Pae held at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church.

I enjoyed every minute. The church was very nice inside.

Pat Kernighan is the incumbent and has been in the Council for 5 years. I had been part of the Grand Lake Neighborhood group for a couple of weeks. Our neighborhood has suffered from a couple of power outages and Pat Kernighan has been emailing us offering support in working with PG&E. I was all for offering Pat my support on the outset. I had never heard of Jennifer Pae.

However, Jennifer held her own and gave me something to think about. She gave clear solutions to various questions highlighting the problems that Oakland and District Two is facing.

Truancy in Schools: Programs are understaffed and under-resourced.
Work with the community and link it to the school system. Ask
non-profits and local businesses to participate in programs that would
hire students.

Measure BB (continue funding the police and other programs to reduce
violence in Oakland- via measure Y): Sad that this issue has to be taken to
the voters, but she does support it. If the measure fails, then she would
support a program to civilianize police positions to support community
policing.

Reducing Crime: Let’s look at the root causes for the increase in crime.
Lack of jobs and good opportunities and a school system that needs work.
We need to think about crime in different ways. While Measure Y worked in
some neighborhoods- others like East Oakland and West Oakland find it
difficult to work with the police out of fear of retribution. We need to work
together to empower the people of Oakland to act on their own behalf.

Pat Kernighan defended her seat and also made some good points as well!

Maintenance of Lake Merritt: She worked hard to make sure that renovation
of Lake Merritt started in the first place, however she realizes that continued
maintenance will be difficult because of funding. Work is being done to put
together a possible Lake Merritt Conservancy, to support the day to day
maintenance of the Lake.

Jennifer mentioned we need to look at safety as well, but I liked Pat’s answer best!

Oakland Army Base: A wonderful opportunity to build our local economy.
The council sent requests for developers of the Army Base and got a couple
of responses. The one they accepted was from a developer who is interested
in making good use of the Port of Oakland, creating jobs and developing
the area near the port. However, it will take a while because the Army Base
infrastructure needs to be worked on.

So who to choose? I have made my decision. You should make yours. Visit each candidates website to get more information. 🙂

To see the debate on video.. join the Grand Lake Neighborhood yahoo group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GrandLakeNCPC/

Tomorrow: Oakland Mayoral Debate at City Hall
6-8 pm.

ps I know I was supposed to write about the one two weeks ago, but I was busy. Sorry! I will combine my report on tomorrow’s debate with last weeks.

toodles!

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Filed under Oakland, Politics