Updated: Who, What, When, Where and Why to Vote on November 6 if You Vote in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Monday October 08, 2018 - 04:57:00 PM

UPDATE: OOPS. We inadvertently left off the endorsement for the 15th Assembly District: JOVANKA BECKLES.

The countdown to Election Day begins in earnest today.

Here are the key dates:

Today, October 8, 2018, is :

  • First day for early voting for the November 6 General Election
  • First day for mailing vote by mail ballots
  • First day to pick up will call ballots
Last day to register to vote for the November 6 General Election Is October 22.

Last day to request a vote by mail ballot for the November 6 General Election is October 30.

Last day to request a will call ballot for the November 6 General Election is November 05.

From an odd combination of an abundance of caution and a certain amount of bourgeois sentimentality, I usually prefer to walk into my neighborhood polling place at the firehouse. You never know what might happen between now and November, do you? Still time for an October Surprise, isn’t there?

But god willing and the creeks don’t rise, many readers will probably be turning in their ballots starting now, and they probably won’t want to change their mind later in the month. So we should get on with the inevitable business of endorsements. 

I’ve never been comfortable telling other people how to vote, so I just settle for telling them how I plan to vote, and let them make up their own minds. 

The principal way I decide how to vote is one I learned from my mother, who was an early member of one of the groups formed in the 1950s to return citizen control to California politics, the California Democratic Clubs. The movement has had its ups and downs since then, but I still find membership in the right local autonomous Democratic Club is a good way to find out what the right choices are on election day. 

This is increasingly important now that we have the insane Top Two primary system. No longer can you hope to use party affiliation as a rough guide to who you might vote for. Right here in the 15th Assembly District we have two self-defined Democrats both claiming my vote. 

In the last decade or so (since 2004) the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club has been my go-to information source at election time. It was founded (I was at the first meeting) by a yeasty assortment of Old Lefties launching de novo into electoral politics, experienced civil rights and anti-war activists, labor leaders, feminists…all the usual suspects. It has developed and maintained a scrupulously fair and very complicated endorsement system involving candidate speeches and elaborate ballots. 

I go to the endorsement meetings, most of the time. Even if I don’t go myself, my confidence in the decisions club members vote for is based on my confidence in the integrity of a high percentage of club members, many of whom I know as effective progressive activists in various arenas. And also, of course, I trust them because they mostly agree with my own preliminary choices. 

This year, I’ve decided to take the novel route of simply publishing Wellstone’s endorsements on Berkeley elections to save myself some work, because I agree with them. There are some races, notably A.D.15 and a couple of the Berkeley City Council slots, that I think deserve more comment because they've gotten remarkably nasty. That will be forthcoming in the near future, but meanwhile, don't believe everything you read. 

However, if you’re one of those people who like to be first out of the gate, if you want to vote RIGHT AWAY, you can’t go wrong with these choices: 


Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club Endorsement Results from the August and September 2018 Meetings 


Wellstone members heard and questioned candidates on Sunday, August 26, and Thursday, September, 27, 2018, examining their track records and positions on important local issues and state propositions, such as Prop 10, which would lift rules hampering local cities from adopting rent control. 

In some Oakland, Berkeley, and special district races, the club voted to endorse challengers with a stronger progressive voice rooted in grassroots politics than incumbents have provided. 

In some city races, in addition to endorsing candidates who received a supermajority of votes, the club used a process to recommend second choices for the ranked-choice ballot in November. These are candidates that a majority of the club considered worthy of support, as well. 





  • 13th Congressional District: Barbara Lee
  • U.S. Senate: Kevin De León
  • Governor: Gavin Newsom
  • Lieutenant Governor: No Recommendation
  • Attorney General: Xavier Becerra
  • Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond
  • State Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen
  • Treasurer: Fiona Ma



  • Berkeley City Council, District 1: Igor Tregub
  • Berkeley City Council, District 4: Kate Harrison
  • Berkeley City Council, District 7: Rigel Robinson endorsed. Ces Rosales recommended for second place on ballot.
  • Berkeley City Council, District 8: Mary Kay Lacey
  • Berkeley School Board: Ty Alper, Ka’Dijah Brown, Julie Sinai
  • Berkeley Auditor: Jennifer Wong
  • Berkeley Rent Board: Soli Alpert, James Chang, Paola Laverde, Maria Poblet, John Selawsky



  • Berkeley Measure O: Bond for Affordable Housing. General obligation bond for affordable housing. Allows up to $135 million in bonds to fund very low-, low-, moderate-, and median-income housing. YES.
  • Berkeley Measure P: Progressive Real Estate Transfer Tax. Raises the transfer tax on property sales valued at $1.5 million or more from 1.5% to 2.5% to fund homeless services. YES.



  • Peralta Colleges Board, Area 3: Corean Todd
  • Peralta Colleges Board, Area 5: Cindi Reiss
  • AC Transit Board Director At-Large: Dollene Jones



  • CA Proposition 1: Veteran and Affordable Housing Bonds. Would enact a $4 billion bond measure for affordable housing and veterans’ housing. Three-fourths of the proceeds would go toward building low-income housing. The remaining $1 billion would provides home loans to veterans. YES.
  • CA Proposition 2: Use previously collected taxes to house the mentally ill. Would allow the state to spend $2 billion in mental health bond money on housing for homeless people. The bond, approved by voters in 2004 in Proposition 63, raised state taxes on the wealthiest Californians to fund mental health programs. A program called No Place Like Home sought to use the funding for permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people with mental illness. Prop 2 would allow this. YES.
  • CA Proposition 3: Water infrastructure bonds. Would enact a $9 billion bond measure to improve water quality and storage and to repair dams in preparation for droughts. No Recommendation.
    • WHO’S BEHIND IT: A coalition of farmers, environmental groups, and business leaders headed by Jerry Meral, former deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources and a longtime water-project advocate. (Website for YES ON PROP 3 campaign)
    • WHO’S AGAINST IT: The Sierra Club, which opposes building more dams and using state funds for local special water district projects. (Website for NO ON PROP 3 campaign).
  • CA Proposition 4: Children’s hospitals bonds. Would enact a $1.5 billion bond measure to fund expansion and renovation projects at eight private non-profit children’s hospitals, pediatric hospitals operated by University of California, and around 150 hospitals treating children eligible for the California Children’s Services program for serious chronic conditions. Two-thirds of the money would go to projects at hospitals serving low-income families and children with disabilities. The League of Women Voters opposes using a state bond to fund capital improvements at private hospitals. No Recommendation.
  • CA Proposition 5: Transfer of assessed value of current homes. Would let California homeowners who are 55 and older and those with severe disabilities keep their lower property taxes when they move. Under Proposition 13 and subsequent ballot tweaks, 11 counties in California allow older homeowners to transfer their lower property-tax base one time when they buy a home of equal or lesser value. Prop. 5 would extend this tax break to every county in the state, allow it to be used more than once, and also apply it to new property of greater value and to second homes. Prop 5 would decrease funding for public schools and local services. NO.
  • CA Proposition 6: Repeal gas tax. Would repeal the gas tax and vehicle registration fee increases enacted in 2017 to pay for road, bridge, and transit improvements, and would require that any future gas tax or vehicle fee hikes be approved by voters. NO.
  • CA Proposition 7: Extend daylight savings time to year round. Would allow the Legislature to enact year-round daylight-saving time in California by a two-thirds vote in both houses, the governor’s signature, and congressional approval. No Recommendation.
  • CA Proposition 8: Regulate dialysis center prices. Would cap charges at kidney dialysis clinics and require that providers make annual public disclosures on costs and patient charges. YES.
  • CA Proposition 10: Affordable Housing Act. Would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 1995 law that barred rent control expansion and let landlords raise rents to market rate when property became vacant. Prop 10 would allow cities to extend rent control to single-family homes and condos and impose rent caps in buildings built after February 1995. It would also let cities impose rent control on units that become vacant. YES.
  • CA Proposition 11: Restrictions on rest periods for ambulance workers. Would require private sector paramedics and EMTs to remain on-call during their lunch and rest breaks, despite a 2016 California Supreme Court ruling that found that practice unconstitutional. NO.
  • CA Proposition 12: Farm animal housing standards. Would set minimum space requirements for hens, calves raised for veal, and breeding pigs that are sold commercially. Egg-laying hens would have to be given at least 144 square inches of usable floor space by the end of 2019 and be cage-free with accommodations such as scratching posts and perches by the end of 2021. YES.