Category Archives: Elections

BCA Election Newsletter – October 2018: BCA Recommendations for the November Ballot

CANDIDATESEndorsed CandidatesState Assembly, 15th District: Jovanka Beckles

Berkeley City Councilmember, District 1: Igor Tregub. BCA Steering Committee says vote for Igor #1, Margo Schueler #2 & Mary Behm Steinberg #3.

Berkeley City Council District 4: Kate Harrison. BCA Steering says vote for Kate only.

Berkeley City District 7: Rigel Robinson. BCA Steering Committee says vote for Rigel Robinson #1, Aidan Hill #2, and no one else.

Berkeley City District 8: Mary Kay Lacey. BCA Steering Committee says vote for Mary Kay Lacey #1, Alfred Twu #2 and Russ Tilleman #3.

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board: (Vote for 5): James Chang, Soli Alpert, Paola Laverde, Maria Poblet & John T. Selawsky

Berkeley City Auditor: Jenny Wong. 



Measure O, $130 Million Affordable Housing Bond………. YES

Measure P, Raises Transfer Tax (homeless housing)…….. YES

Measure Q, Amends Berkeley Rent Control…………………. YES

Note: The steering committees for BCA, BPA & BTU withdrew their support for Measure Q after Council voted for a 20 year period before new housing will be covered by Rent Control. However, at the endorsement meeting, which had a low turnout, Measure Q passed with 85% of the vote.

Measure R, Vision 2050 Advisory…………………………………. YES


Recommendations of the Steering Committee

Prop 1, Affordable Housing Bond…………………………………. YES

Prop 2, Homelessness prevention housing bonds ……….. YES

Prop 3, Water bond………………………………………………………. NO

Prop 4, Children’s hospital bond………………………………….. YES

Prop 5, Property Tax Break…………………………………………… NO

Prop 6, Gas Tax Repeal…………………………………………………. NO

Prop 7,  Year Round Daylight Savings Time…………………… YES

Prop 8, Limits Dialysis Profit to 15%……………….……………. YES

Prop 10, Allows expansion Rent Control……….. YES, YES, YES!

Prop 11, Ambulance workers on-call during breaks……… NO

Prop 12, More space for farm animals…………………………. YES

Record Spending and Outside Money Help Wicks in AD-15 Primary

From the Berkeley Daily Planet
by Rob Wrenn
Saturday June 23, 2018

In November, voters in Berkeley and the rest of the historically progressive 15thAssembly District will decide between two dramatically different candidates: Buffy Wicks, a newcomer to the district, with no local track record, but with record amounts of outside money, and Jovanka Beckles, a locally based candidate with a strong record of progressive activism.

Follow the Money

Through May 19, Assembly District candidate Buffy Wicks, who finished first in a 12 candidate race in the June 5 primary, received contributions totaling $656,597.91, a record amount for this district, according to campaign filings with the California Secretary of State.

On top of that, an independent expenditure committee of Govern for California, a group of wealthy “philanthropists” who support charter schools, spent $493,332.70 to support her candidacy, while the California Dental Association Independent Expenditure PAC spent $99,481.46 to support her.

The money her campaign raised added to the money spent to support her by outside groups totals $1,249,414, a record amount for a candidate in our local Assembly District and far more than in previous elections. Govern for California’s heavy spending for Wicks makes this election very different from previous 15th District races.

The Out of State Candidate

Buffy Wicks, who has never held any elected office, managed Hilary Clinton’s 2016 California Primary campaign against Bernie Sanders and also worked in Barack Obama’s campaigns and in the Obama White House. She has only been registered to vote in the 15th Assembly since 2016 and between 2008 and 2016 lived out of state or in Los Angeles.

She has no track record working on local issues in the district and, for that reason, it may not be surprising that only 14% of those who have contributed money to her campaign so far live in the district.

48% of contributors to Wicks’ campaign committee live out of state. 20% are residents of Washington D.C. and its suburbs. She has more contributors not only in DC and its suburbs, but in Chicago and its suburbs, and in New York City and its suburbs, than she does in either Berkeley or Oakland.

There has never been a such an expensive local Assembly race or a candidate who has relied so heavily on outside money. It’s not unusual for candidates to receive some contributions from family members and friends in other parts of the country, but it is unusual for a local East Bay candidate to rely so heavily on out of state money.

The Locally Based Candidates

In sharp contrast, Jovanka Beckles, Vice Mayor of Richmond, in her second term as a member of the Richmond City Council, who came in second behind Wicks, raised a more modest $157,844.25 in the same period, less than a quarter of what Wicks raised. Beckles spent less per vote received than any of the other six major candidates. Spending for Wicks per vote received was more than three and a half times spending for Beckles as of the end of the latest filing period, with total spending not yet reported.

67% of Beckles’ contributors live in the District; only 4% of her contributors live out of state. No outside money from independent expenditure committees run by wealthy investors or special interests was spent to support her. Not surprisingly, she has the most contributors from Richmond.

Robs TableOakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, who finished third behind Beckles, raised $279,21739 in the same period; 3% from out of state; 48% from inside the District. Much of the rest of his money came from parts of Oakland not in the District and from other Bay Area Cities.

Berkeley school board member Judy Appel, who finished fourth, raised $288,791; 7% of her contributors reside out of state; 59% reside in the district. Appel had the largest number of contributors from Berkeley and was endorsed by four current Berkeley councilmembers.

Two Berkeley-based candidates, East Bay MUD director Andy Katz and Berkeley City Councimember Ben Bartlett also raised very little money from out of state and got most of their contributions from AD-15 and the larger Bay Area.

Big Increase Over 2014

In the 2014 Assembly District 15 primary, Elizabeth Echols received 31.1% of the vote in the June primary, running ahead of Tony Thurmond who received 24.4%.

In the same reporting periods that year, Echols, the best financed candidate, received contributions totaling $358,528.05, while Thurmond’s contributions totaled $242,014.90. Thurmond went on to win the November election.

Wicks this year raised about $300,000 more than Echols did in 2014 for the same campaign filing periods.

Who is “Govern for California”?

So who the outsiders who are pouring so much money into our local Assembly race? Harriet Steele’s June 1 post on helps to answer the question and is worth reading. You can find it here:

Steele reports that Govern for California’s founders are David Crane, a former advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; David Penner, currently chairman of the board of Wal-Mart, and Ron Conway, a wealthy tech investor.

One of Govern for California’s committees takes the money it receives from wealthy donors and gives it as PAC contributions to candidates they like. Wicks received two $4400 PAC contributions (one for the primary; one for the general election) from this committee, the maximum that can be given in a state race. Another Govern for California Committee acts as an intermediary for wealthy donors, with the majority giving the maximum $4400 to Wicks. Over $76,000 was raised for Wicks’ campaign committee by Govern for California. This money from wealthy donors is equal to almost half of the money Beckles raised, most of it from local donors.

More significant is the Govern for California Action Committee, which is the committee that expended to date $493,332.70 in support of Buffy Wicks. This paid for mailers supporting Wicks as well as for research and consulting work in support of her candidacy. A little over $120,000 was donated to this committee by David Crane. Over $36,000 was donated by a pro-charter schools PAC. Crane is a charter school supporter and critic of teachers’ unions.

While per pupil spending in in California ranks 41st in the nation, these wealthy donors to Govern for California are not advocating for reform of Prop 13 to generate more money for education. Nor will you find them calling for a higher minimum wage, single payer health care, funding for affordable housing or advocating other progressive positions. This is not a group that is addressing the growing economic inequality in this country.

The Govern for California Action Committee seems to exist largely to support Buffy Wicks. While two other candidates have received some support, over 95% of the expenditures to support candidates, in the current election cycle, have been spent to support Wicks, apparently the favorite of Govern for California and its founder David Crane. It seems fair to assume that they think she will advance their agenda if elected and would prevent election of a progressive Assembly member who would challenge that agenda.

Other candidates receiving support from Govern for California, via its Network Committee, include Marshall Tuck, who is running against Tony Thurmond for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, with over $175,000 in contributions channeled to Tuck, the second highest amount of support from Govern for California committees.

Catherine Baker, the Republican candidate in Assembly District 16, which includes Eastern Alameda County, Lamorinda and part of Walnut Creek, is also backed by Govern for California, which was an intermediary for over $88,000 in donations. The group also backs some moderate Democrats like Scott Weiner, author of SB 827.

The CNA-backed Candidate

Buffy Wicks was not the only candidate to benefit from independent expenditures, though far more outside money was spent for her than for any other candidate. Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, Mayor Pro Tem of El Cerrito and a neonatal nurse at Alta Bates Hospital, who finished fifth in the primary, benefited from $137,715.40 of independent expenditure by a committee affiliated with her union, the California Nurses Association, and from $56,114.30 spend by the California African American PAC. Pardue-Okimoto was endorsed by current AD-15 Assembly member Tony Thurmond.

Rochelle Pardue Okimoto was not the only candidate backed by her union. Jovanka Beckles, who makes her living as a mental health specialist working with children, was supported by the PAC affiliated with her own union, Teamsters Local 856 and by other Teamsters PACs, and by PACS affiliated with unions representing healthcare workers and other workers. Other candidates, including Dan Kalb, Andy Katz and Judy Appel had some union PAC support, with Appel winning support of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers and other unions representing educators. Both Appel and Beckles received contributions from the Equality California PAC.

Dan Kalb, supported by the Sierra Club, received a contribution from the Club’s PAC and one from a solar industry PAC. Union PAC money and the few other PAC contributions, though, played a relatively small role in the race, being totally dwarfed by all the outside money flowing to Buffy Wicks and spent in support of her candidacy by wealthy donors from outside the district.


What’s at Stake

It’s not just on charter schools and education that the candidates differ. Buffy Wicks is the only Democratic candidate in the primary who does not support repeal of Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Under Costa Hawkins, cities like Berkeley that passed rent control before 1995 cannot extend rent control to housing built since rent control was adopted (1980 in Berkeley). And no city can apply rent control to any housing built after 1995. Costa Hawkins prevents cities from taking steps, if they choose to do so, to protect tenants from soaring rents. There will be an initiative on the fall ballot to repeal Costa Hawkins.

This fall’s election will determine whether outside money will prevail and whether a candidate with few ties to the East Bay and no track record, will end up representing one of the country’s more progressive districts. Her wealthy financial backers are not spending huge sums of money supporting her candidacy because they want to see progressive policy initiatives from AD-15’s representative.

Technical note: contributions received is the sum of those reported on the form 460 for calendar year 2017 and those reported on Form 460 for 2018 through May 19. Money received after May 19 is not included, nor are expenditures made after May 19, which will be included in later campaign filings. Percent contributors from inside the District and from out of state is calculated from the spreadsheets for contributions on the Secretary of State’s Web site for AD-15. People whose contributions were returned for some reason are not included in my count. Some contributors made more than one contribution. Data based on percent of contributions, which is easier to calculate, would differ somewhat from date based on contributors, where each contributor is counted only once. Not all of Oakland falls within AD-15. Six zip codes made up entirely or partly of parts of Oakland fall wholly or partly in AD-15. Any person or group with one of these six zip codes is considered to be a resident of AD-15, though in a few cases they aren’t since district boundaries do not conform exactly to zip code boundaries. Street addresses are not given, so sorting by zip code is the best that can be done. Average contribution per contributor is calculated by dividing the total amount of contributions as found in the spreadsheets on the Secretary of State Web site by the number of contributors.

Final Election Results Assembly District 15 – Wicks vs Beckles in November

by Rob Wrenn, June 22, 2018

Contra Costa County finished their count of vote by mail and provisional ballots. Alameda County finished their count last week. Here are the final totals. Jovanka Beckles beat out Dan Kalb for second place by 619 votes and will face Buffy Wicks, who finished first, in November. Official Statements of Vote, when released, will provide results by precinct and city.

Buffy Wicks Votes Percent
Alameda County: 24,655 32.5%
Contra Costa County: 12,478 29.3%
Total: 37,133 31.4%

Jovanka Beckles
Alameda County: 11,123 14.6%
Contra Costa County: 7,602 17.9%
Total: 18,725 15.8%

Dan Kalb
Alameda County: 14,770 19.4%
Contra Costa County: 3,236 7.6%
Total: 18,006 15.2%

Judy Appel
Alameda County: 10,714 14.1%
Contra Costa County: 2,875 6.8%
Total: 13,589 11.5%

Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto
Alameda County: 4,065 5.4%
Contra Costa County: 5,760 13.5%
Total: 9,825 8.3%

Pranav Jandhyala
Alameda County: 3,038 4.0%
Contra Costa County: 3,907 9.8%
Total: 6,945 5.9%

Andy Katz
Alameda County: 3,461 4.6%
Contra Costa County: 2,747 6.5%
Total: 6,208 5.2%

Ben Bartlett:
Alameda County: 2,787 3.3%
Contra Costa County: 1,162 2.7%
Total: 3,949 3.3%

Other Candidates:
Alameda County: 1,229 1.6%
Contra Costa County: 2,779 6.5%
Total: 4,008 3.4%

Alameda County: 39.7%
Contra Costa County: 39.8%

Turnout was a lot higher than for the 2014 primary election, but a lot lower than turnout in the 2016 presidential primary. Results can be found on the Secretary of State’s Web site:

Recommendations for the June Ballot

BCA Steering Committee members met with other progressives and talked up the June Ballot  for Berkeley voters.  Here are their recommendations, along with links to Allies suggestions and other election information. Remember that Election Day is today, polls close at 8 pm.

Office                                                               Candidate Recommended
Governor                                                         Delaine Eastin
Lieutenant Governor                                        Gayle McLaughlin
Secretary of State                                            Ruben Major or Erik Ryberg
Controller                                                        Betty Yee
Treasurer                                                        Kevin Akin
Insurance Commissioner                                  Nathalie Hrizi
Attorney General                                             Dave Jones
State Board of Equalization                               No endorsement
Senator                                                            Kevin De Leon
Congresswoman                                               Barbara Lee
Assembly District 15                                       Jovanka Beckles  *

Superior Court Judge                                       Tara Flanagan
State Superintendant of Instruction                 Tony Thurmond
Board of Education                                           Joaquin Rivera
County Assessor                                              Phong La
County Auditor Controller                                Irella Blackwood
County District Attorney                                 Pamela Price     *

Sheriff/Coroner                                               write in “No Confidence”
      *Endorsed by BCA membership at February meeting   
State Propositions            

YES       Prop 68: $4B Bond for Parks, Drought Protection, Climate Adaption            

YES       Prop 69: Require Diesel Tax to Be Spent on Transportation

NO         Prop 70: Don’t Give Republicans & Corporate Dems Power on Cap’n’Trade $$       

YES       Prop 71: Delay Effective Date of Ballot Measures Until All Ballots Are Counted      

YES       Prop 72: Rainwater Systems Won’t Trigger Property Tax Assessments                      

Regional Measures             

YES   Regional Measure 3: Raise Bridge Tolls $3 Over 7 Years to Fund Transportation 
Kriss Worthington says: “RM3 has the highest percentage for transit of any omnibus transportation

funding in California EVER in history. Getting 16 percent for transit operations and billions for Transit is phenomenal! Supported by the AC Labor Council, Bike East Bay, Save the Bay, the League of Conservation Voters and all AC Transit Board members,” along with the SF League of Pissed-off Voters. Greens and the Guild of Space Cat Voters say “you decide.” We were convinced by Kriss.
Local Measures

YES       Measure A: Alameda County Child Care and Early Education Tax

Ballot Recommendations from Allies, use links below:

Guild of Oakland Space Cat Voters: BCA members Colin and Asa Dodsworth helped develop this guide.


Green Voter Guide: BCA steering committee member Phoebe Anne Sorgen helped develop this guide:


San Francisco League Of Pissed Off Voters:

Find Your Polling Place: Log on to My Voter Profile at


Ballot Drop Box: It takes 2 stamps to mail your ballot. You can drop your ballot at Berkeley’s 24 hour ballot box. Sign the back of your envelope! Open until 8 p.m. on tonight at City Hall, 2180 Milvia Street.

Results of Berkeley City Council and Auditor Endorsement Meeting

collage jpg onlineMore than 80 members of Berkeley Citizens Action and Berkeley Progressive Alliance met today the North Berkeley Senior Center Sunday afternoon to hear from candidates for City Auditor and City Council hopefuls for District 1, 4 and 8. Several candidates were not well known so it was a great opportunity to hear their statements and ask questions about their positions.

A big thank you to all who came out to hear the candidates and who volunteered to make the event happen: planners, candidates, supporters, MCs, ballot counters, photographer, the timekeeper and candidate greeter, and the crew who helped set up and take down the event. This event could not happen without you!

Endorsement results are listed below. Our organizations require 60% to endorse a candidate. Look for ideas in the coming weeks on how to support these candidates. Click on the links to see the candidates answers to our questionnaires.

City Auditor:
Candidates were Steve Levine and Jennifer Li Wong.
Ballot Results: No endorsement. Both Candidates had strong support, so no neither candidate could achieve the 60% threshold for endorsement.

City Council District 1: 
Candidates were Mary Behm-SteinbergRashi KesarwaniMargo Schueler and Igor Tregub.
Ballot Results: Igor Tregub Endorsed.

City Council District 4: 
Kate Harrison was the only candidate who requested our endorsement.
Ballot Results: Kate Harrison Endorsed.

City Council District 7:
No candidates requested endorsement at this time. Rigel Robinson, Cassandra King and Kriss Worthington decided to wait until the fall to ask for our endorsement. We expect to hold a meeting after Labor Day to discuss measures, propositions and unresolved candidate races.

City Council District 8: 
Candidates were Mary Kay LaceyAlfred Twu and Russ Tilleman
Ballot Results: Mary Kay Lacey Endorsed.

Photos above by Christine Schwartz


Join Berkeley Citizens Action & Berkeley Progressive Alliance for a Candidate Endorsement Meeting for City Council Districts 1, 4, 7 and 8, and City Auditor

Date and Time: Sunday April 29, 2-5 pm (Registration begins at 1:30 pm)

Location: North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue

Help us choose our slate of progressive candidates for 2018. Candidates who have submitted their questionnaires and will be on the ballot are listed below. Click on their link to read their questionnaire.

City Auditor: Pamela BoyleSteve LevineJennifer Wong

City Council District 1: Rashi KesarwaniMargo SchuelerIgor Tregub & Mary Behm-Steinberg

City Council District 4: Kate Harrison

City Council District 7: Cassandra King

City Council District 8: Mary Kay LaceyAlfred TwuRuss Tilleman

This event is open to all. Members of BCA or BPA will be able to vote for endorsements. Past members may pay current dues (by check or cash) in advance or at the door. Please renew membership in advance to avoid lines during registration. No one turned away for lack of funds.

BCA: Membership is $35 yearly, $10 low income. To renew membership online:

BPA: Membership is $25 a year, or $10 for low income and students, $50 for sustainers. To renew membership online:

Questions? E-mail: or

8 Candidates plan to attend the joint BCA-BPA Endorsement Meeting

What: Join BCA and BPA members to meet city candidates for council and auditor

When: Sunday, April 29, 2 to 5:30 p.m., Registration begins at 1:30 p.m.

Where: North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst St (at Martin Luther King Jr. Way)

The following candidates have accepted our invitation to seek our endorsement:

City Auditor: Pamela Boyle, Steve Levine

City Council District 1: Cecily Brewster, Rashi Kersawani, Margo Schueler, Igor Tregub

City Council District 4: Kate Harrison

City Council District 7: Rigel Robinson

City Council District 8: Mary Kay Lacey, Alfred Twu

Candidates who return our questionnaires by April 19 will be listed on our endorsement ballots. Questionnaires will be posted on the BCA and BPA Web sites shortly after April 19.

Who can vote: You must be a member in good standing of either BCA or BPA to receive a ballot and vote at the April 29th meeting. If you have ever been a member of BCA, you may renew your membership before or at the April 29th meeting and will be able to vote. Annual dues are $35; $10 for low income and students. You can renew your membership online: ( We encourage members to renew before the meeting, if possible, to speed up the registration process on April 29th.

E-mail:, Web site:

Endorsement Meeting Results

About 115 members of Berkeley Citizens Action, Berkeley Tenants Union and Berkeley progressive Alliance along with candidate supporters came to hear Candidates for District Attorney and Assembly District 15.

About 115 members of Berkeley Citizens Action, Berkeley Tenants Union and Berkeley progressive Alliance along with candidate supporters came to hear Candidates for District Attorney and Assembly District 15.

Alameda County District Attorney: Pamela Price won the endorsement for District Attorney

Total valid votes: 65
Pamela Price: 52 votes 80%
Nancy O’Malley: 8 votes 12%
No endorsement: 5 votes 7%
(Doesn’t total to 100% because of rounding)

California Assembly District 15: Jovanka Beckles won the endorsement for Assembly District 15, in the 2nd round of ranked choice voting

Total valid votes: 74

Results for first choice count:

Jovanka Beckles: 44 votes 59%
Ben Bartlett: 9 votes 12%
Dan Kalb: 7 votes 9%
Andy Katz: 5 votes 7%
Judy Appel: 4 votes 5%
Rochelle Pardue-O 3 votes 4%
Owen Poindexter 2 votes 3%
Buffy Wicks no votes (Her child was taken to the hospital so she was not able to attend)
Cheryl Sudduth no votes
No endorsement: no votes
(Doesn’t total to 100% because of rounding)

When the second choice votes of Owen Poindexter’s 2 first choice voters were counted, Jovanka Beckles picked up the additional vote that she needed to reach 60%. Counting of votes stopped at that point. Poindexter was dropped first and his second choice votes were counted first because he had the lowest number of votes. Beckles certainly had additional second choice votes that she didn’t need.

Head counts suggest that about 115 people attended including candidates and those of their supporters who were not members of any of the sponsoring groups.


BCA Endorsements for Measures & Propositions

Below see a list of the local Measures and statewide Propositions on the Ballot in November, as endorsed by the membership of Berkeley Citizens Action. Click HERE for a PDF listing of all the measures and descriptions.

Endorsed on Sept 10, 2016

City Measures

Measure                                                               Position                              comment

T1 (infrastructure)                                              YES                                    94.4% discussion

U1 City Rental Unit Business License Tax       YES                                    By Consent

V1 Gann Appropriations Limit                          YES                                    By Consent

W1 Redistricting Commission                           YES                                    By Consent

Y1 Youth Voting                                                   YES                                    By Consent

X1 Public Financing of Campaigns                     YES                                    By Consent

Z1 Low Income Housing Authorization             YES                                    By Consent

AA Rent Board Ordinance                                    YES                                    By Consent

BB Business Backed Min.Wage Ordinance        NO                                      94.4 %

CC Citizens Choice Min Wage Ordinance           NO                                      64.7%

DD Big Landlords Bad Rental License                 NO                                      By Consent

E1 Berkeley Schools Funding                               YES                                    By Consent


Other Local Measures

A1 Alameda County Affordable Housing bond       YES                                    By Consent

C1 AC Transit                                                                 YES                                    By Consent

RR (BART Bond                                                               YES                                    By Consent


Statewide Propositions
51 School Bonds                                                             YES                                    66.7%

52 State Fees on Hospitals                                            YES                                    66.7%

53 Revenue Bonds                                                          NO                                      By Consent

54 Legislature 72 hour hold                                           NO                                      66.7% a

55 Tax Extension for Education and Healthcare          YES                                    By Consent

56 Cigarettes                                                                      YES                                    By Consent

57 Juvenile Criminal Sentences                                       YES                                    By Consent

58 Bilingual Education                                                      YES                                    By Consent

59 Overturn Citizens United                                            YES                                    By Consent

60 Adult Films                                                                  NO ENDORSEMENT            62.5%

61 Prescription Drugs                                                      YES                                    By Consent

62 Death Penalty Repeal                                                  YES                                    By Consent

63 Automatic Weapons Ammunition                            YES                                    72.2%

64 Marijuana                                                                    YES                                       By Consent

65 Plastic Bag Fees                                                           NO                                      By Consent

66 Reform Death Penalty                                                  NO                                      By Consent

67 Reaffirm Plastic Bag Ban                                              YES                                    By Consent