Get Out and Vote

2020 Primary Voting Guide: CA 10th District

Get Out and Vote
Photo by Steve Houghton-Burnett on Unsplash

There is nothing more important for the preservation and development of our democracy than to vote. While this guide is specific to my own district and my own thoughts, I wanted to make it available to the public to help support the decision-making process of others interested in getting another perspective.

My resources this year (aside from the official California California Voter Information Guide and the information guide specific to my own county), The Sonoma County Gazette, the Green Party websites, the Progressive Voter’s Guide, and… the GOP voting guide website (I find it easy to decide on complicated issues by simply referencing whatever they support or don’t support and then starting from the assumption that the opposite is probably the most humane and intelligent option).

What’s up on March 3rd?

2nd Congressional District: Jared Huffman

Jared Huffman has served faithfully as the representative for our district since 2013, helping to champion movements defending against climate change. His ability to actually enact positive change (and his long-term commitment to doing so) makes him a clear winner over other potentially-progressive runners for the Democratic or Green parties. He has fought hard for preservation of scientific values, women's rights, LGBTQ rights (he helped to lead the fight to allow transgender troops to serve in the armed forces, for instance), and separation of church and state. His environmental record speaks for itself with his continual defense of California’s coastline and his renunciation of any attempts to expand drilling there.

State Assembly, 10th District: Marc Levine

Marc Levine is the incumbent for the 10th district and his record for defending the environment and standing up for his constituents has been exemplary. He has consistently supported efforts to increase affordable housing and to defend the environment against corporate lobbies; he supports increased efforts to improve our infrastructure, and he has a long history of progressive activism. His main Democratic contenders in this election are Ted Cabral (D), Veronica “Roni” Jacobi (D), neither of which has as much campaign stability as Levine’s. I’ve supported Jacobi in the past but I believe her campaign has again failed to amass the sort of support needed to actually implement any aspects of her “Climate New Deal,” and since Levine has shown a strong defense of our environment I’m going to support him. His Republican opponent, Ron Sondergaard, is running on the usual GOP platform of “anti-tax” without, literally, any positive aspects — his is a scary “anti-campaign” which seems bent on attacking literally every progressive move the State has made in the last century (his campaign website shows how enamored he is with 1850s America, and how little understanding he shows of modern political and environmental realities).

I’ll be voting Levine.

YES on Measure I: Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District

A ridiculous number of leaflets attacking the rail system have now been tossed into my recycling bin; there’s a lot of pretty icky push-back against the idea of having easy access to affordable transportation which is also low on its long-term environmental impact. As always, that anger appears to arise from a minority of vocal and aggressive, and generally uninformed individuals who hate all things “tax” in general.

There is an existing tax to support the train (a super-small sales tax) but in order to do important things like apply for grants and ensure long-term continuation of services, the rail needs the public to speak up and make the right call. The ad campaign against it has been pervasive and I fear that some voters who earnestly mean well might be swayed by this misleading material. So, to clearly state things: the train is good. More rail infrastructure is vital for our changing future, not merely because it means that we will have access to a form of transportation which is environmentally friendly, but because it offers an easy transportation option to a huge number of people who cannot use cars or would like to reduce the personal financial cost of operating a car for commuting purposes.

Please, VOTE YES on Measure I

Proposition 13: Vote Yes On Prop 13

Proposition 13 is really simple: more money for schools, none of which is slated for administrative salaries. The goal of Prop 13 is to refit and rebuild some of California’s crumbling academic infrastructure where it’s most-needed. It will especially help those schools in districts where property taxes aren’t doing enough to support school infrastructure. Here’s what the PVG has to say on the issue:

The only major opposition is a group called the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. This is the group famous for destroying California’s school funding system in 1978 through another proposition, ironically one that was also dubbed Prop 13. The group spends most of its time lobbying to reduce tax rates. It has never shown any interest in supporting California’s children, at least if that means wealthy individuals or giant corporations would pay their fair share in taxes. Without question, 2020’s Prop 13 is worth the investment since it means children will soon be able to attend school in buildings that are retrofitted to withstand earthquakes and no longer have lead in their water.
We strongly recommend a YES vote on Prop 13.

Seriously, vote for this.

YES on Local Ballot Measure B: West County Union High School District

This measure is for an eight-year parcel tax, the proceeds of which all go to supporting the school district’s libraries and school programs. There was some confusion about this Measure because of an accident involving the submission of the full details of the Measure (two pages got lost in-transit). This led to some people being upset since there appeared to be no exemptions for senior citizens and similar. This, however, was only due to the missing pages. Sonoma West covers the issue here.

I’ll be voting yes for this.

YES on Local Ballot Measure E: Sebastopol Union School District

This allows our local schools to be supported through bond sales — it’s a vital step in the process of updating our schools and ensuring they remain in the best possible condition for our students. All the money raised from this will go to infrastructure and will be overseen carefully by an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee.

I’ll be happily voting YES.

YES on Local Ballot Measure G: County of Sonoma Fire Support

It’s hard to believe that anyone who lives in Sonoma County is actually opposed to this sensible plan to support our fire services. Our firefighters do a lot more than merely fight fires, but they’re sort of indispensable for that primary task. In order to actually do any of the myriad jobs they’re called in for, including defending all of us from the grotesque dangers of a climate-crisis-fueled fire season, they need the very best equipment. The minuscule half-cent tax is more than worth that. I’m utterly flabbergasted by the people who are arguing against this.

Vote YES on G

Would you like another opinion? Here’s a piece by Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins which provides a clear overview of these measures and more.

Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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