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Berkeley City Council District 8: Incumbent Gordon Wozniak deserves to win reelection against his two anti-growth NIMBY opponents.
Berkeley School Board (3): We endorse incumbent Karen Hemphill and challengers Josh Daniels and Leah Wilson for the three available seats. Hemphill has proven that she knows how to unite Berkeley's political factions without sacrificing results. Wilson has established herself as an energetic and dynamic speaker with a deep understanding of the issues facing the school district and a real sense of the nuances of public policy. And we're impressed by Daniels' energy and understanding of school finance issues.
Alameda City Council (2): We think Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Rob Bonta are the best choices for council. They're both smart and will bring fresh perspectives to the city. We also believe Bonta when he tells us that he won't be beholden to the firefighters' union despite its decision to spend considerable sums supporting him. He says flatly that the firefighters must agree to pension reforms. He also says strongly that he will never vote to allow SunCal to become developer of Alameda Point again.
Albany City Council (2): In light of the council's decision to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on a consultant's report about the Albany waterfront that'll likely just sit on a shelf somewhere, we think it's time for a change in leadership. So we support challengers Caryl O'Keefe and Francesco Papalia for council.
San Leandro Mayor: We endorse incumbent Tony Santos and see no reason to vote him out of office.
Richmond Mayor: Incumbent Gayle McLaughlin deserves reelection. The recent revelations about her past bouts with depression and joblessness might have raised questions about her fitness for office when she first ran for council in 2004, or for mayor two years later. But during the last six years, she has proven to be a stable, strong leader. We're particularly impressed with her courageous stances against Chevron. Her main opponent, Nat Bates, by contrast, has been too cozy with the oil giant over the years.
Richmond City Council (3): We endorse incumbent Jim Rogers and progressives Jovanka Beckels and Eduardo Martinez for the three available positions. Rogers has been a consistent voice against Chevron over the years, and we think Beckels and Martinez, who also have stood up to the oil company, will make good additions to the council.
Contra Costa County District Attorney: Longtime prosecutor Mark Peterson is the clear choice for district attorney. We don't agree with most of his politics, but he's an ethical prosecutor who we believe will break up that office's old-boys network.
AC Transit (At-Large): No endorsement. We've been very disappointed with appointed incumbent Joel Young, but we also can't endorse his opponent, Ellis Jerry Powell, who doesn't seem to be even running a campaign.
BART District 4: We endorse longtime transit activist, Robert Raburn, who we believe will bring some leadership and sanity to BART's dysfunctional board of directors. And we can't endorse longtime director Carol Ward Allen in light of her support of the $500 million Oakland airport connector boondoggle.
EBMUD Ward 7: We endorse environmentalist Matt Turner over incumbent Frank Mellon to represent the Castro Valley-Hayward area on the East Bay MUD board. We strongly agree with Turner's opposition to the giant new dam planned for the Mokelumne River in the Sierra foothills.
Proposition 19: Hell Yes. Details next week.
Proposition 20: No. We support the independent redistricting commission for state legislative districts, but think it's prudent to wait to see how it works before extending it to Congress.
Proposition 21: Yes. Our state parks, among California's most treasured resources, are in disarray and this $18 vehicle registration fee will provide a dedicated source of income for upkeep. It also gets you into the parks free, year-round.
Proposition 22: Yes. Cities, particularly ones like Oakland, need redevelopment funds to help revitalize blighted areas. This measure would halt the practice of the state raiding these funds to use elsewhere.
Proposition 23: No. Maybe the biggest no-brainer on the ballot. This measure, funded by out-of-state oil interests, would indefinitely suspend California's landmark climate-change law and block green-energy growth.
Proposition 24: Yes. This measure would eliminate an unaffordable $1.7 billion tax break for businesses.
Proposition 25: Yes. California's budget process is broken. Prop 25 would lower the unreasonable two-thirds vote needed to pass a budget to a simple majority. And don't believe the false assertions by opponents that it will make it easier to raise taxes.
Proposition 26: No. State and local governments depend on a variety of fees to stay afloat. But Prop 26 could be devastating because it would treat fees as taxes and would require a two-thirds vote from the electorate to raise them.
Proposition 27: No. Two years ago, California voters approved a measure to take redistricting away from the legislature and hand it to an independent commission. Prop 27, sponsored by state legislators, would kill it.
Measure F (countywide): Yes. We support this $10 vehicle registration fee that would raise money for road repair, public transit, and bicycle lanes.