Governor: As much as it pains us to say it, we endorse Jerry Brown. He wasn't much of a mayor, and he wasn't much of a governor the first time around either. But he's better than Meg Whitman, who didn't even start voting until recently. The only reason she's gotten this far is because of her obscene wealth. So hold your nose and vote Brown.
Senate: Barbara Boxer is the clear choice. Yes, she could be more effective in the US Senate, but her work on climate-change legislation and her stalwart stances on progressive issues have been noteworthy. Carly Fiorina, by contrast, is a failed ex-CEO and Tea Party wannabe, who would attempt to roll back President Obama's achievements, including health-care and Wall Street reform.
Attorney General: Unfortunately, Democrats have fielded a weak candidate this year. San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has been a mediocre DA. By contrast, her opponent, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, a moderate Republican, is very impressive. His office has set the gold standard in California for prosecuting corrupt public officials — both Republicans and Democrats — and for aggressively targeting police misconduct. Our only concerns about him involved gay marriage and marijuana legalization. But his campaign assured us that he has no plans to intervene in the Proposition 8 federal case if he's elected, nor has he decided whether he will defend Prop 19 in court if it wins — which essentially mirrors Harris' position. As a result, we're endorsing Cooley, because he's clearly the better prosecutor.
Controller: Incumbent John Chiang, a Democrat, has been a good, independent controller, and we see no reason not to endorse his reelection.
Insurance Commissioner: We think Democratic Assemblyman Dave Jones will be a strong advocate for consumer rights, while his opponent, Republican Assemblyman Mike Villines, appears to be in the insurance industry's pocket.
Lieutenant Governor: We greatly admire San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's courageous stance on gay marriage. But while the mayor has been notable for the quality of his ideas, his terms in office have been characterized by more talk than action. So we've decided to endorse moderate Republican Abel Maldonado for lieutenant governor. We respect Maldonado for being one of the few state Republicans to cross party lines and work with Democrats when he was in the state Senate. And his decision to break with the GOP and vote with Democrats on a budget deal earlier this year in exchange for the June open primary proposition was a win-win.
Secretary of State: Democratic incumbent Debra Bowen has been a good secretary of state and there's no reason why she shouldn't be reelected.
State Superintendent of Schools: We think Larry Aceves, an experienced public schools superintendent, will be an independent voice and an advocate for students and parents.
Treasurer: Democratic incumbent Bill Lockyer has been a solid state treasurer and we endorse him for reelection.
Alameda County Board of Supervisors: We endorse Nadia Lockyer — Bill Lockyer's wife — for county supervisor. We simply can't support ex-state Senator Liz Figueroa after she clearly lied about living in Alameda County when she actually lived in San Mateo County.
Superior Court Judge: We endorsed Victoria Kolakowski in the June primary and we're endorsing her again this November. The transgendered administrative law judge will bring a new and much-needed perspective to the Alameda County court system, which has been dominated over the years by law-and-order prosecutors.
Oakland Mayor: Rebecca Kaplan, Jean Quan, and Joe Tuman. See our endorsement from last week.
Oakland City Council District 2: We think Pat Kernighan has been an excellent and fiercely independent city councilmember, and we proudly endorse her reelection bid.
Oakland City Council District 4: We're doing a ranked choice endorsement in this race. We endorse Libby Schaaf as our first choice, followed by Daniel Swafford as our second pick, and Jill Broadhurst as our third. Schaaf reminds us of Pat Kernighan in 2006. She, too, is an experienced City Hall insider who used to work for Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente. But she assures us that she will be an independent councilwoman, and we think she's the best qualified and smartest candidate in the race.
Oakland City Council District 6: We endorse Councilwoman Desley Brooks for reelection.
Oakland City Auditor: We endorse former deputy city auditor Michael Kilian. He's an experienced auditor, who we think will be independent and productive. Current auditor Courtney Ruby has produced too few audits in the past four years, and has depended too heavily on expensive outside auditing firms.
Oakland School Board District 4: Incumbent Gary Yee has been a good board member and he deserves reelection.
Berkeley City Council District 1: Councilwoman Linda Maio is the clear choice in this race. She's been a strong proponent of downtown development and green issues.
Berkeley City Council District 4: We're doing a ranked choice endorsement in this race. Our first choice is architect Jim Novosel, and our second choice is UC Berkeley engineering instructor Bernt Wahl. Novosel gets it that dense development is the best way to revitalize the downtown and to fight climate change. And Wahl is simply better than incumbent Jesse Arreguin, who claims to be a progressive, but in truth is a NIMBY obstructionist.
Berkeley City Council District 7: We endorse businessman George Beier as our first choice and political newcomer Cecilia "Ces" Rosales as our second pick. Beier, like, Novosel, understands the importance of smart growth and small businesses to the health of Berkeley's economy. And Rosales, although inexperienced, is a better choice than incumbent Kriss Worthington. We used to like Worthington, but we can't endorse him in light of his unyielding and unreasonable opposition to the city's downtown plan and to Measure R.