Tag Archives: local politics

East Bay Democracy for America chooses an AD18 candidate!

Remember Howard Dean?


Well he may not have been able to become President, but his progressive energy lives on in Democracy for America, a “grassroots powerhouse working to change our country!”

The East Bay DFA Meet-Up Group, had a gathering this past Tuesday in order to discuss current events (WHY are Republicans attacking contraception?) learn about progressive initiatives ( Move to Amend: corporations are NOT people!) and to hold a forum in order to choose a candidate for the hotly contested California Assembly District 18 seat!

The candidates for #AD18 (Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro) are Rob Bonta, Vice Mayor of Alameda City Council; Abel Guillien, Peralta Community College Trustee and Joel Young, AC Transit Director-At-Large.

Your friendly neighborhood blogger was able to crash this event in order to obtain some free $5 donation pizza, witness a contentious and heated debate and to participate in a straw poll! (I’ve never done one .. and it’s on my bucket list. I mean who really wants to go sky diving? Pfft!!)

To my utter disappointment, a contentious and heated debate was not to be had. None of the candidates showed up! Bonta had to attend an Alameda City Council Meeting, Guillen was sick with the flu ..and Young, unfortunately, just wasn’t present.

Rob Bonta and Abel Guillen did send some representatives on their behalf. So instead being on hand to witness a fist cat fight, I was able to obtain some information to share with you all.

Jim Oddie and Jessica Reynolds for Rob Bonta.

Rob Bonta sent Jessica Reynolds and Jim Oddie. I don’t really know either of them and I wasn’t able to catch what role they play in Bonta’s campaign. However they seemed very knowledgeable about their candidate and what’s happening in Sacramento. …. and I give Jessica points for the awesome red hair that matched her outfit.

Winnie Anderson, for Abel Guillen

Abel Guillen sent his campaign manager Winnie Anderson from Inkwell World Tattoo, my best friend er..the lady I met while visiting the studio a couple of blog posts ago. Not only is she associated with an awesome local business, but she is a very dynamic and engaging speaker!

Each representative gave general introductions on their candidate, of which you can read more details on their website. Essentially..

  • Rob Bonta is all about education, economic development and public safety (http://www.robbonta.com)
  • Abel Guillen wants to increase revenue by taxing big corporations and improving education (http://abelforassembly.com)
  • From submitted summary.. Joel Young is about bringing in new jobs into the community, in particular those involving green (clean energy) and informational technology. (http://youngforassembly.com)

Afterwards, the audience asked some probing questions, the answers of which I will summarize for you below.

What can you do about the foreclosures happening in our community?

Team Bonta: One of the most horrible aspects of the foreclosure crisis is the dissolution of the social service network. Due to our state budget crisis, may social service programs have been cut. If someone is in jeopardy of losing their home, where can they go for advice or services? Who can they run to? He may not be able to affect what is going on nationally, but Bonta wants to create a better social services network in California by bringing in more revenue and reduce cuts to important programs.

Guillen Manager: Banks are not dedicated towards re-investing into our community. Re-investing means caring about it’s customers enough to work with them and help them keep their homes. Winnie Anderson spoke to the audience about a family member who was in danger of losing their home, so she knows what it is like. Guillen is determined to get banks to reinvest to the community. He has experience in working with banks for the benefit of the community. Did you know that he was instrumental in the Peralta College divesting a large amount of money (140 million) from big banks and reinvesting into community banks and credit unions? He is interested in getting banks to work with us, and not against us.

Jessica Reynolds also let us know that there is legislation in California to fight dual tracking. Dual tracking is when the banks starts working with you to renegotiate your loan, but at the same they start the foreclosure process. (SHADY!!) There is also some federal legislation in the works.

Can you share with us 2 or 3 of your most important endorsements?

Team Bonta: Rob Bonta has more labor support than any other candidate. Professional Firefighters, Bay Area Police officers, and the United Farm Workers. He is most proud of this endorsement because his parents were active members of the United Farm Workers. That is where he got his life mission to fight for social economic justice. (Check out more endorsements here)

Guillen Manager: Guillen has the endorsement of the National Democracy for America. The most important endorsement is the support of the community. Guillen’s camp is proud to say that the majority of their donations comes from residents who have given $100 or less. California Nurses Association, California Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers. (Check out more endorsements here)

Incidentally, Joel Young has the endorsement of the Bay Area Business Roundtable, the American Nurses Association and the California Black Congressional Caucus. (Check out more endorsements here)

What are the candidates positions on Single Payer?

[ What? According to our friend WIKI, single payer health care is medicare funded by a single insurance pool run by the state. Apparently California legislature has passed a single payer bill twice. Governor Schwarzenegger then vetoed both bills. (swell!..not really) There is currently another bill being introduced.]

Team Bonta: in favor.. Served on the Alameda Health Care District Board as Director and helped keep the hospital open. The hospital serves a lot of senior and Medicare patients. It’s a critical resource for health care in the East Bay. He helped put together a Wound Care Center that is going to open this summer.

Guillen Manager: in favor..and of universal health care for all. He established a Peralta Wellness Center at the college. For those that don’t have insurance or qualify for Medicare can have access to health care.

It’s hard to get things done in Sacramento. Share a story that will demonstrate your ability to be successful?

Team Bonta: Rob Bonta has the ability to get people to work together in order to get things done. When he was in private practice he worked on a class action suit against Cal Highway Patrol to end racial profiling. Donated a lot of pro-bono time to get that accomplished. Just another example of his work in social justice… [this is one story of many..but I’m already typing too much]

Guillen Manager: Abel Guillen has a reputation of being respected. He established himself as someone they can go to. He did his research and proved his credibility. When he became a trustee he was able to build consensus through communication. He’s not afraid to have difficult conversations. Communication is very important in order to get things done. He has a relationship and the respect of a lot of legislature (including Republicans) already through his work as a trustee.

Straw Poll with no straws?? That’s just crazy.

After the debate portion ended a straw poll was cast and who won?


Good job, guy.. or rather good job Winnie Anderson!

However, I would like to hear from the candidates themselves before I make my final decision. How about you?

Would you like to see a debate with all three candidates? Do you know of when they are going to get together? What are YOUR opinions on the AD18 candidates?

Share! Inquiring minds wanna know.. (okay..I just wanna know.)

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Filed under Election 2012, Oakland, Politics

City Council: how to participate.

In honor of MLK Day, I will repost this blog entry in the hopes that this encourages more local participation in city government.

2012 is an important election year not just for our nation, but for the city of Oakland. I’ve heard there are 5 council seats up for grabs in November, a burgeoning recall effort of the mayor..and who knows what else might be put on the ballot.

Take the time to read this post and learn how you can get involved.

Council chambers are packed during a Council meeting on pot. July, 2010. Read article by The Bay Citizen here: http://tinyurl.com/47meepa

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. A prominent leader of the civil rights movement, King led protests, marches, and made numerous speeches towards the advancement of African American people.

The culmination of his efforts led to the ending racial segregation and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Racial harmony hasn’t quite been achieved but now we are allowed to participate in the process of making things better. Unfortunately, a lot of people take this for granted.
I choose to do my part by learning as much as I can about what is going on in Oakland’s local politics and sharing it with the world!

Last week, I attended my first set of Oakland City Council meetings and boy was that an experience. Each session that I attended  deserve posts of their own.

Today, I would like to share how you can participate in city council meetings. Please note that all of this information can be found in detail on the Oakland City Council Website: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/CityCouncil/index.htm

First, the Oakland City Council is the governing body that makes decisions for the city. They approve the city budget, adopt ordinances (laws) and each member represents the citizens who live in their district and elect them to office. Oakland has seven districts with one at large member. Look at a map which outlines all seven districts here! Basically, the City Council is Congress at the local level.

The priorities of the City of Oakland, as agreed upon by the City Council and the Mayor, include:

  • Increasing public safety by reducing crime and violence.
  • Fostering a sustainable and healthy environment by investing and encouraging the use of clean energy. They are also supposed to provide programs that support the mental, spiritual and physical health of it’s residents. Yay!
  • Increasing Economic development by developing and maintaining businesses that will attract people to the city.
  • Community involvement and empowerment
  • Help facilitate private and public partnerships
  • And to deliver government services with openness and efficiency.

The Council meets every 1st, 3rd and 5th Tuesday every month at City Hall. They meet pretty much all day, from 10:30 am – 7:30 pm. The meetings are broken into 7 different committees: Public Works, Finance and Management, Community and Economic Development, Life Enrichment, Education Partnership, Public Safety and Rules and Legislation. You can find the meeting schedule and download the agenda here.

According to rules and procedures, anyone is allowed to attend meetings and to comment on items found on the agenda. This is where we can participate in the process and make our voice heard. You can make suggestions on future ordinances, request funds for a city program, or share your opinion on a key vote that can affect your city or neighborhood.

You are allowed to speak on each agenda item. If you want to address a concern that is not on the agenda, you request to speak in Open Forum, which occurs at the 6 pm hour and lasts for 15 min. In order to speak on an agenda item and/or Open Forum, you have to submit a speaker’s card to the City Clerk beginning noon Friday before the meeting and until 6 pm the day of the meeting. You can download a speakers card and find more information by clicking here.

Given that the Council meets during a regular business day, it’s understandably difficult for those with jobs to come to a meeting. However, if there is a chance that you have a free day, going to a city council meeting is a great way to find out exactly what is happening at the local level and being a part of the process. You can also hold the people you vote into office accountable.

Because of the efforts of the Martin Luther King, Jr and those part of the Civil Rights Movement, every American citizen has the right to participate in the running of their government. Let’s not let those efforts go in vain. The simplest way to honor them is by voting. However, if you can take the time and learn about how Oakland is run and be a part of the process, you will not only do historical activists proud, you can potentially make Oakland a better place to live.


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Filed under City Council, Oakland, Politics