Midterm Elections 2018

We’re witnessing one of the most divisive periods in US history, where the politics of “Us” vs “Them” is being carved out by those in power. So now is a great time to think about what unites us. And I think voting is a perfect opportunity to think about what connects us, and what is good for EVERYONE in society right now.

I’ve had an amazing opportunity to work on bringing election analysis to the public airwaves with my job as a producer with KPFA Radio. For the past month, we’ve hosted debates on the most critical ballot measures and (some) candidate races - you can listen here: https://kpfa.org/program/up-front/

As a private citizen, I’m excited to vote this Tuesday. Many friends have asked, so here’s my take on the 2018 Midterm ballot.

2018 Midterm Elections: California / Alameda County / Oakland (District 1)

U.S. Senator: Kevin De Leon
U.S.Congress: Barbara Lee

Governor: Gavin Newsom - too bad there weren’t other competitive candidates
Lt. Governor: Eleni Kounalakis 
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
Controller: Berty Yee
Treasurer: Fiona Ma
Attorney General: Xavier Becerra
Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen - I’ve seen her in action on as an SF Supervisor, she’s very effective.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond - let’s make the charter school lobby think twice.
15th Assembly District: Jovanka Beckles - experienced leader in Richmond, and a Democratic socialist.

Assessor: Phong La
AC Transit At-Large: Dollene Jones - retired bus driver, yes.

Areas 3 & 5 - Corean Todd and Cindi Reiss

Mayor: Cat Brooks - I’ve had the honor of working with Cat at KPFA Radio. She is an activist to the core, a visionary thinker, connector, teacher, journalist, actress, and most of all a leader. She makes me remember why I love Oakland, it’s people, and want to work for it’s future.

Auditor: Courtney Ruby - this is tough, but I think its time for new management.


Measure V: YES - Gives City Council flexibility in administering the cannabis business tax, always important for changing markets.
Measure W: YES - Tax vacant properties, owners can afford it if they can afford to let their place go vacant. Use funds for homelessness services.
Measure X: YES - Tax high priced property ($2+ million), go for it.
Measure Y: YES - Expands the just cause eviction law, strengthens renters’ protections. 
Measure Z: YES - Hotel workers need the pay bump and more workplace protections, like a hotel room panic button for emergencies and in case of sexual assault. This needs to be addressed in other ways besides the ballot box, but for now yes.
Measure AA: YES - Parcel tax raises funds for early childhood education and help kids go to college 

Prop 1:
YES - State bond for affordable housing and veterans services. Much needed.  
Prop 2: NO* - This is tricky. This would redirect funds for mental health services (Prop 63) to affordable housing for the homeless. I want to invest in services, programs, personnel, not brick and mortar developments.
Prop 3: NO* - Tough, but I agree with the EBX “This $8.8 billion infrastructure bond is a giveaway to Big Agribusiness, which should pay for its own water projects.”
Prop 4: YES - Bond for $1.5 billion for hospitals 
Prop 5: NO* - Do not allow wealthy homeowners to transfer their low property taxes to second and third homes. It would cost counties and schools billions every year. 
Prop 6: NO* - Do not repeal the gas tax. It would kill public transit projects across the state. 
Prop 7: YES - Eliminate daylight savings time? Sure, why not.
Prop 8: YES - Regulate corporate dialysis industry, cap profits at 15%. Very reasonable. 
Prop 10: YES* - Permits cities to enact rent control and protect tenants. Repeals Costa-Hawkins. 
Prop 11: NO* - Employment rules requiring EMTs, first responders, to be on-call during breaks should be settled in the workplace, not on at the ballot box.
Prop 12: YES - Expand farm animal confinement standards. It’s tough though, I agree with PETA (who opposes Prop 12) too, it’s not good enough and we should be moving toward real humane conditions for farmed animals.

SOURCES: ballotpedia.org, East Bay Express Voter Guide, UpFront on KPFA Radio.

Corinne Smith