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The Express' November 2018 Endorsement Guide

We endorse Schaaf, Ezzy Ashcraft, and Butt; along with Fortunato Bas, Thao, Middleton, and Whitaker for Oakland council and Knox White and Oddie for Alameda council.

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Alameda Mayor: Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft

This is another easy endorsement for us. Alameda Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is by far the best candidate in the mayor's race. She's pro-tenant protections, pro-housing (both affordable and market rate), fiercely independent, and she understands the need to find alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles on the Island as the best way to combat traffic.

By contrast, Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer is arguably the most conservative candidate running for office in the inner East Bay and is woefully out of step with the mainstream. She usually sides with landlords, is anti-housing, and has serious ethical problems (see, "Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer Has Yet to Return Missing Funds," 10/3/18).

The third candidate the race, Councilmember Frank Matarrese, is better than Spencer, but not Ezzy Ashcraft.

Alameda City Council (2): John Knox White and Jim Oddie

John Knox White.
  • John Knox White.

John Knox White, a former Alameda Planning Board member, is the class of the city council field. He's whip smart, progressive, pro-tenant, and pro-housing. He also has long been a strong advocate for more bike and pedestrian paths on the Island.

We're endorsing Councilmember Jim Oddie for the second available council seat, mainly because he's more progressive than the rest of the field (except Knox White). He's also pro-tenant, pro-housing, and pro-worker. Although we're disappointed in his actions during the scandal involving ex-City Manager Jill Keimach, we think he deserves a second term.

The other three candidates, former councilmembers Stewart Chen and Tony Daysog, and attorney Robert Matz, are too moderate for us.

Berkeley Council Dist. 1: Rashi Kesarwani and Igor Tregub

We're co-endorsing Rashi Kesarwani and Igor Tregub. We think Kesarwani, a fiscal forecasting manager for the San Francisco Human Services Agency, is right about the need for more dense housing near major transit hubs in Berkeley, and we think Tregub, a longtime member of the city's Rent Stabilization Board, is right about the need for tougher rent control and tenant protections to prevent further displacement.

Berkeley City Council Dist. 4: 1st choice: Greg Magofña; 2nd Choice Ben Gould

Our first pick in this race is Greg Magofña, a former staffer to ex-Mayor Tom Bates and aide to former state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley. Magofña is pro-tenant and he understands that in the era of climate change, we desperately need more housing in urban areas near transit in order to help curb suburban sprawl.

Ben Gould is our second choice. His positions on issues are nearly the same as that of Magofña, but he lacks experience in Berkeley government.

We've been deeply disappointed by incumbent Kate Harrison. She has sought to portray herself as progressive and pro-affordable housing, but she has supported policies that make affordable housing much tougher to build, and she has embraced NIMBYs in Berkeley, appointing Steve Finacom to the city's Landmarks Advisory Board after Finacom spearheaded a plan to landmark the view from the Berkeley Campanile — a ridiculous move that would have severely impacted the ability to build more housing in downtown.

Berkeley Council Dist. 7: Rigel Robinson

Rigel Robinson, a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, is bright, energetic, and progressive. He's the clear choice in a city that too often finds itself at odds with the university, especially over student housing.

Berkeley Council Dist. 8: 1st choice: Lori Droste; 2nd Choice: Alfred Twu

We think incumbent Lori Droste is one of the best elected officials in the East Bay. She's progressive, pro-tenant, and pro-housing, and a consensus builder who can work with differing factions on the council. She recently led an effort to greatly streamline affordable housing in the city and was instrumental in placing the rent control initiative Measure Q on the ballot.

We also like Alfred Twu, a smart young progressive. We hope he stays involved in local politics in the years ahead. But we oppose Mary Kay Lacey, who appears to be much like Kate Harrison — a candidate who claims to be progressive, while working to keep Berkeley a wealthy and exclusive enclave.

Berkeley Auditor: Jenny Wong

This is a no-brainer. Jenny Wong, an auditor for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), is clearly the best candidate.

Richmond Mayor: Tom Butt

This was a tough choice. We like Councilmember Melvin Willis. He's an intelligent young progressive, and we're glad he's on the Richmond City Council. But Tom Butt deserves a ton of credit for his 20-plus years in Richmond City Hall, fighting Chevron long before others, working to preserve the city's rich heritage, and pushing for renewable energy programs.

We're also mindful of the fact that if Butt loses, he'll be off the council, and the candidates to replace his seat are simply not as good (see below). Willis, by contrast, will remain on the council regardless of the outcome in this race.

Richmond City Council (vote 3): Ada Recinos and Eduardo Martinez

We're only endorsing incumbents Ada Recinos and Eduardo Martinez, even though there are three seats available, because of the lack of other good candidates running. Recinos and Martinez are both members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, and we think they both deserve reelection, particularly Recinos, who has proven herself to be one of the smartest and most independent politicos in the region.

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