City of San Jose

City of San Jose

Not in City of San Jose? Click here to choose your customized guide.

Your location has several assembly districts. You can further customize your guide by identifying your district, which should be listed on your ballot.

RETURN BALLOTS BY TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD

The Courage California Voter Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

Voting has changed in Santa Clara County this year. The Voter’s Choice Act was enacted in the county to make voting more convenient. Changes include an expanded period of in-person early voting, every registered voter in the county will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, and every registered voter in the county is able to vote in-person at any Vote Center in their county. Have questions about the changes to voting in Santa Clara County? Visit your county elections website.

Congress

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.

17th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • Democrat
  • Re-elect Congressional Representative Ro Khanna to keep CA-17 on the right track.

    About the Position

    The United States is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 individuals. Each district elects a representative to the House of Representatives for a two-year term. California has 53 congressional representatives. There is no term limit for this position.  

    About the District

    California's 17th Congressional District includes parts of Alameda and Santa Clara Counties. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show 73.9 percent of AD-17 voted for Clinton for president in 2016, and 71.5 percent of the district voted for Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Ro Khanna led Republican challenger Ron Cohen by a margin of 47.2 percent. Rep. Khanna has taken the pledge to refuse corporate PAC and fossil fuel money, but has yet to pledge to refuse police money. Cohen’s campaign has not committed to refusing corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money, and has not made any FEC filings.

    About the Candidate

    Rep. Ro Khanna was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended the University of Chicago and Yale Law School. Khanna served the Obama Administration in Washington, DC, from 2009–2011; afterward he accepted a position at a law firm and moved to Silicon Valley. He is the incumbent in the district, having served in this position since 2017. He is running for re-election on a platform supporting the Green New Deal, internet-privacy reforms, Medicare for All, immigration reform, and economic growth.

    In Congress, Khanna has been outspoken in support of legislation to fight climate change, including the Green New Deal. He has called for various online and cybersecurity reforms, including helping to draft an Internet Bill of Rights. He sponsored the VALOR Act, which became law in 2019 and makes it easier for employers to create apprenticeship programs for veterans. He is a member of the NO PAC Caucus, which has pledged to not take donations from any PACs.
    He currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, House Budget Committee, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Prior to the election in 2016, Rep. Khanna was an attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and taught at Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and San Francisco State University. From 2009–2011, he served as deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and in 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed him to the California Workforce Investment Board.

    Rep. Khanna’s priorities for CA-17 this year have included banning PAC and lobbyist money, creating tech and manufacturing jobs, and providing debt-free college. This year, Rep. Khanna has voted 97 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi and 97 percent of the time with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Rep. Khanna has sponsored three bills: about requiring Trump to stop military aggression in and against Iran without congressional approval, protecting the USPS, and providing for more police accountability this year, all of which have successfully passed.

    Rep. Khanna is endorsed by many progressive groups in the district. According to our analysis, Rep. Khanna is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

     

    Ro Khanna

    Re-elect Congressional Representative Ro Khanna to keep CA-17 on the right track.

    About the Position

    The United States is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 individuals.

    Last updated: 2020-09-27

19th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • Democrat
  • Re-elect Congressional Representative Zoe Lofgren to keep CA-19 on the right track.

    About the Position

    The United States is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 individuals. Each district elects a representative to the House of Representatives for a two-year term. California has 53 congressional representatives. There is no term limit for this position.  

    About the District

    California's 19th Congressional District includes parts of Santa Clara County. Republicans held this district until 2012, when Zoe Lofgren won and flipped CA-19 from red to blue. The most recent election results show 72.9 percent of AD-19 voted for Clinton for president in 2016, and 70.3 percent of the district voted for Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Lofgren led Republican challenger Justin Aguilera by a margin of 50.4 percent. Rep. Lofgren’s campaign has pledged to refuse fossil fuel money, but it has received a donation from Robinson Oil. Her campaign has yet to pledge to refuse corporate PAC and police money. Her campaign donors include banks and corporations. Justin Aguilar’s campaign has not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, and police money. Rep. Lofgren has raised much more than Aguilera, with $1,444,692.52 versus Aguilera’s $960.00.

    About the Candidate

    Rep. Lofgren was born and raised in the Bay Area, and attended Stanford and Santa Clara Law School. Lofgren is the incumbent, having served in the House of Representatives since 1995. According to campaign materials, she is running for re-election to protect dreamers, end gun violence, protect the free and open internet, and get dirty money out of politics.

    In Congress, she helped pass the DREAM Act of 2019 (and 2010), and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the House. She has opposed the Trump administration's immigration policies, and has called for an end to the detention centers, and for foreign aid to end the instability in Central America that leads to people fleeing their homes. As the representative for the heart of Silicon Valley, she has been active on internet and technology issues. She fought the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the NSA surveillance of Americans, and recently introduced the Online Privacy Act. Lofrgen has been a strong supporter of women’s rights, abortion protections, and LGBTQIA+ equity, and has led the implementation of the House of Representatives' mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination trainings.
    Prior to her role as congresswoman, she was an immigration lawyer, taught at Santa Clara Law School, and served as staff assistant to Congressman Don Edwards.

    Rep. Lofgren’s priorities for CA-19 this year include protecting Dreamers, ending gun violence, and promoting clean elections. She currently sits on three committees and chairs the Committee on House Administration. This year, Rep. Lofgren has voted 99 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi and 96 percent of the time with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Rep. Lofgren has co-sponsored five bills, including the HEROES Act, as well as legislation to constrain Trump’s ability to allow military action against Iran, to protect the USPS, and to provide for more police accountability this year, all of which have successfully been sent to the Senate.

    Rep. Lofgren is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district. According to our analysis, Rep. Lofgren is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

     

    Zoe Lofgren

    Re-elect Congressional Representative Zoe Lofgren to keep CA-19 on the right track.

    About the Position

    The United States is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 individuals.

    Last updated: 2020-09-27

State Assembly

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Assembly races on your ballot.

State Assembly, 28th District

Member of the State Assembly

  • Democrat
  • Elect Drew Phelps to push AD-26 in the right direction.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 26th Assembly District includes all of Inyo County, most of Tulare County, and some of Kern County. Republicans typically hold this district. The most recent election results show 52.9 percent of AD-26 voted for Trump for president in 2016 and 57.6 percent of the district voted for Cox for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat challenger Phelps trailed Republican incumbent Representative Devon Mathis by a margin of 23 percent. Phelps’s campaign has not taken corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money, but has yet to pledge to refuse such funds. Mathis’s campaign has also not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, and police money, and has received funds from all three groups.

    About the Candidate

    Drew Phelps is a fourth-generation Tularean. According to campaign materials, he is running for Assembly District 26 to offer transparent leadership and tailored solutions to the issues that affect Tulare, Inyo, and Kern counties.

    Phelps works as a land use and project manager for Granville Homes, a Valley-based residential development company that builds energy-efficient homes for local working- and middle-class families. He has advocated for justice as a journalist and a grassroots organizer for Citizens for Hospital Accountability. Phelps’s commitment to community health goes beyond holding providers accountable. He served as director of Grant Oversight with the Manuel Torrez Family Resource Center, bringing in funding for the Center’s Healthy Families, Happy Kids initiative, as well as helping organize the program’s annual mobile health clinic and fair.

    Phelps is endorsed by many local progressive groups in the district. According to recent election results, this is a challenging seat for Democrats to win. Phelps, however, is a notable progressive choice because of his strong and tangible goals for Tulare’s future, and the impact he’s had on his community so far, without yet holding public office. According to our analysis, Drew Phelps is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Drew Phelps

    Elect Drew Phelps to push AD-26 in the right direction.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 26th Assembly District includes all of Inyo County, most of Tulare County, and some of Kern County. Republicans typically hold this district. The most recent election results show 52.9 percent of AD-26 voted for Trump for president in 2016 and 57.6 percent of the district voted for Cox for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat challenger Phelps trailed Republican incumbent Representative Devon Mathis by a margin of 23 percent. Phelps’s campaign has not taken corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money, but has yet to pledge to refuse such funds. Mathis’s campaign has also not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, and police money, and has received funds from all three groups.

    About the Candidate

    Drew Phelps is a fourth-generation Tularean. According to campaign materials, he is running for Assembly District 26 to offer transparent leadership and tailored solutions to the issues that affect Tulare, Inyo, and Kern counties.

    Phelps works as a land use and project manager for Granville Homes, a Valley-based residential development company that builds energy-efficient homes for local working- and middle-class families. He has advocated for justice as a journalist and a grassroots organizer for Citizens for Hospital Accountability. Phelps’s commitment to community health goes beyond holding providers accountable. He served as director of Grant Oversight with the Manuel Torrez Family Resource Center, bringing in funding for the Center’s Healthy Families, Happy Kids initiative, as well as helping organize the program’s annual mobile health clinic and fair.

    Phelps is endorsed by many local progressive groups in the district. According to recent election results, this is a challenging seat for Democrats to win. Phelps, however, is a notable progressive choice because of his strong and tangible goals for Tulare’s future, and the impact he’s had on his community so far, without yet holding public office. According to our analysis, Drew Phelps is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Last updated: 2020-09-29
  • Democrat
  • Re-elect State Assemblymember Evan Low to keep AD-28 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 28th Assembly District includes parts of Santa Clara County and parts of the cities of Cupertino and San Jose. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show 70.6 percent of AD-28 voted for Clinton for president in 2016, and 69.6 percent of the district voted for Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Low led Republican challenger Carlos Rafael Cruz by a margin of 47.6 percent. Low’s campaign has raised $1,248,667.17, has not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money, and has received funding from all three groups. Cruz’s campaign has not made any filings about their campaign contributions. Cruz has also not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money.

    About the Candidate

    Evan Low was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2014. According to campaign materials, he is running to continue serving his home community and working toward equitable solutions for his constituents.

    In the State Assembly, Rep. Low has worked to strengthen protections for the LGBTQIA+ community, pushed for more affordable housing, and has passed bills to protect victims of crime and human trafficking. Rep. Low has been a responsive legislator, working to improve college admissions reform since early 2019, and establishing the California Legislative Technology & Innovation Caucus.

    Rep. Low’s priorities for AD-28 this year include environmental protection, housing, LGBTQIA+ rights, and technology. He currently sits on six committees, and chairs the Business and Professions Committee. Rep. Low has co-sponsored two bills about expanding affordable housing this year. He scores a lifetime 79 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Rep. Low has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, Rep. Low has not supported several bills that would provide for key oversight of the police, increase employer responsibility to prevent workplace harassment, and to limit the establishment and operation of charter schools in the state.

    Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Low was the first Asian-American and openly gay person to be elected to the Campbell City Council. He later served as mayor of Campbell and was a community college instructor at De Anza Community College.

    Rep. Low is endorsed by many progressive groups in the district. He is also endorsed by a police group. However, the threat of Republican challenger and strong Trump supporter Cruz’s potential policies greatly outweighs Low’s moderate voting record and inaction on police accountability and workplace harassment. According to our analysis, Rep. Low is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Evan Low

    Re-elect State Assemblymember Evan Low to keep AD-28 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 28th Assembly District includes parts of Santa Clara County and parts of the cities of Cupertino and San Jose. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show 70.6 percent of AD-28 voted for Clinton for president in 2016, and 69.6 percent of the district voted for Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Low led Republican challenger Carlos Rafael Cruz by a margin of 47.6 percent. Low’s campaign has raised $1,248,667.17, has not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money, and has received funding from all three groups. Cruz’s campaign has not made any filings about their campaign contributions. Cruz has also not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money.

    About the Candidate

    Evan Low was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2014. According to campaign materials, he is running to continue serving his home community and working toward equitable solutions for his constituents.

    In the State Assembly, Rep. Low has worked to strengthen protections for the LGBTQIA+ community, pushed for more affordable housing, and has passed bills to protect victims of crime and human trafficking. Rep. Low has been a responsive legislator, working to improve college admissions reform since early 2019, and establishing the California Legislative Technology & Innovation Caucus.

    Rep. Low’s priorities for AD-28 this year include environmental protection, housing, LGBTQIA+ rights, and technology. He currently sits on six committees, and chairs the Business and Professions Committee. Rep. Low has co-sponsored two bills about expanding affordable housing this year. He scores a lifetime 79 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Rep. Low has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, Rep. Low has not supported several bills that would provide for key oversight of the police, increase employer responsibility to prevent workplace harassment, and to limit the establishment and operation of charter schools in the state.

    Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Low was the first Asian-American and openly gay person to be elected to the Campbell City Council. He later served as mayor of Campbell and was a community college instructor at De Anza Community College.

    Rep. Low is endorsed by many progressive groups in the district. He is also endorsed by a police group. However, the threat of Republican challenger and strong Trump supporter Cruz’s potential policies greatly outweighs Low’s moderate voting record and inaction on police accountability and workplace harassment. According to our analysis, Rep. Low is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Last updated: 2020-09-29

State Assembly, 29th District

Member of the State Assembly

  • Democrat
  • Re-elect State Assemblymember Mark Stone to keep AD-29 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 29th Assembly District includes parts of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara Counties. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show 70 percent of AD-29 voted for Clinton for president in 2016, and 70.9 percent of the district voted for Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Stone led Republican challenger Shomir Banerjee by a margin of 51.6 percent. Stone’s campaign has raised $163,718.50, has not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money, and has accepted funds from corporations and police groups. Individual donations comprise a large amount of Stone’s campaign finances. Banerjee’s campaign has raised $2,250.00 and has also not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money.

    About the Candidate

    Mark Stone lives in Scotts Valley. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2012. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election because he wants to continue to protect the most vulnerable Californians.

    In the State Assembly, Rep. Stone has led reform in criminal justice, youth and education, LGBTQIA+ rights, and the environment. Last year, his bill to eliminate copayments for medical and dental visits for incarcerated people became law, as well as a bill that allowed more incarcerated people to qualify to earn parole credits. He also introduced a Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights, and the Coastal Adaptation, Access, and Resilience Program (CAARP), to fund climate-adaptation projects. He currently chairs the Judiciary Committee.

    Rep. Stone’s priorities for AD-29 this year include child welfare, justice reform, and environmental protection. He currently sits on eight committees, and he chairs the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Stone has sponsored or cosponsored five bills supporting gun violence prevention legislation, consumer protection, and expanded medical leave this year. He scores a lifetime score of 100 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Rep. Stone has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote.

    Prior to election to the State Assembly, he served two terms on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

    Rep. Stone is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district. According to our analysis, despite his lack of campaign finance pledges, Rep. Mark Stone is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

     

    Mark Stone

    Re-elect State Assemblymember Mark Stone to keep AD-29 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 29th Assembly District includes parts of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara Counties. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show 70 percent of AD-29 voted for Clinton for president in 2016, and 70.9 percent of the district voted for Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Stone led Republican challenger Shomir Banerjee by a margin of 51.6 percent. Stone’s campaign has raised $163,718.50, has not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money, and has accepted funds from corporations and police groups. Individual donations comprise a large amount of Stone’s campaign finances. Banerjee’s campaign has raised $2,250.00 and has also not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, or police money.

    About the Candidate

    Mark Stone lives in Scotts Valley. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2012. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election because he wants to continue to protect the most vulnerable Californians.

    In the State Assembly, Rep. Stone has led reform in criminal justice, youth and education, LGBTQIA+ rights, and the environment. Last year, his bill to eliminate copayments for medical and dental visits for incarcerated people became law, as well as a bill that allowed more incarcerated people to qualify to earn parole credits. He also introduced a Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights, and the Coastal Adaptation, Access, and Resilience Program (CAARP), to fund climate-adaptation projects. He currently chairs the Judiciary Committee.

    Rep. Stone’s priorities for AD-29 this year include child welfare, justice reform, and environmental protection. He currently sits on eight committees, and he chairs the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Stone has sponsored or cosponsored five bills supporting gun violence prevention legislation, consumer protection, and expanded medical leave this year. He scores a lifetime score of 100 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Rep. Stone has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote.

    Prior to election to the State Assembly, he served two terms on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

    Rep. Stone is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district. According to our analysis, despite his lack of campaign finance pledges, Rep. Mark Stone is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

     

    Last updated: 2020-09-29

State Senate

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Senate races on your ballot.

State Senator, 15th District

Member of the State Senate

  • Elect State Senate Representative Dave Cortese to keep SD-15 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State senators represent and advocate for the needs of their district at the California State Capitol. They are responsible for creating legislation that addresses issues within their district, as well as voting and debating on preexisting laws. The California State Senate has 40 congressional districts. Each represents a population of about 930,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Senate for a four-year term. Every two years, half of the Senate's 40 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to two four-year terms (eight years) in the Senate. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate or Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 29 seats in the California State Senate, while Republicans hold 11 seats.

    About the District

    California's 15 Senate District includes parts of Santa Clara County. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show 73 percent of SD-15 voted for Clinton for president in 2016, and 70.8 percent of the district voted for Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Dave Cortese led Democratic challenger Ann Ravel by a margin of 11.8 percent. Cortese’s campaign has raised $1,384,885.53, not pledged to refuse corporate PAC and police money, and has received funds from both corporations and police groups. While Cortese has signed the pledge to refuse fossil fuel money, he is still funded by Edison International, which emits 62.9 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. His campaign is also funded by labor unions and local businesses. Opponent Ann Ravel has not pledged to refuse corporate PAC, fossil fuel, and police money. Ravel’s campaign has not made any campaign finance filings.

    About the Candidate

    Dave Cortese is from East San Jose and is a lifelong resident of Santa Clara County. According to campaign materials, he is running for State Senate because he has a long history of public service at the local level, which has provided him with a strong understanding of the unique challenges of the region.

    Cortese has been a member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors since 2008, which he joined to bring increased social equity and justice to his community. Cortese served as the Board’s president for four years, and has several accomplishments as a member, including addressing and reducing homelessness in the region, advocating for changes to criminal-justice custody operations, and decreasing the number of children involved in the child welfare system. Sen. Cortese’s priorities for SD-15 this year include tackling housing and homelessness, public safety, and protecting the environment.

    Prior to his election to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Cortese ran a large family agriculture and real estate business, and served as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Valley Transportation Authority, and as a trustee for the East Side Union High School District. In each of these roles, Cortese worked to build funding for capital projects intended to support local communities.

    Rep. Cortese is endorsed by many progressive groups in the district. He is also endorsed by police unions and chambers of commerce. Although we disagree with Cortese taking money and endorsements from corporations and police unions, and know that a more progressive candidate would better represent SD-15, Cortese has the backing of local progressive groups that will help him legislate more effectively than his opponent. That said, we encourage more progressive candidates that will better reflect this community’s needs to run in future cycles.

     

    Dave Cortese

    Elect State Senate Representative Dave Cortese to keep SD-15 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State senators represent and advocate for the needs of their district at the California State Capitol.

    Last updated: 2020-09-27

State Senator, 17th District

Member of the State Senate

  • Democrat
  • Elect John Laird to push SD-17 in the right direction.

    About the Position

    State senators represent and advocate for the needs of their district at the California State Capitol. They are responsible for creating legislation that addresses issues within their district, as well as voting and debating on preexisting laws. The California State Senate has 40 congressional districts. Each represents a population of about 930,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Senate for a four-year term. Every two years, half of the Senate's 40 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to two four-year terms (eight years) in the Senate. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 29 seats in the California State Senate, while Republicans hold 11 seats.

    About the District

    California's 17th Senate District includes San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz Counties, as well as parts of Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. Republicans held this district until the 2008 election, when Democratic incumbent Bill Monning won and flipped SD-17 from red to blue. The most recent election results show SD-17 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat challenger John Laird led Republican challenger Vicki Nohrden by a margin of 12.9 percent. Laird’s campaign is funded by police, fossil fuels, and corporate PAC money. Nohrden’s campaign has not committed to any of the pledges, and $10,000 of the $63,493.05 raised is self-funded.

    About the Candidate

    John Laird was raised in Vallejo and moved to Santa Cruz in the 1960s. He graduated with honors from UC Santa Cruz in 1972. Laird served as a councilmember on the Santa Cruz City Council and then as a two-term mayor. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election because he wants to work to expand state efforts against climate change, guarantee universal health-care coverage, develop affordable housing, and protect the public education system.

    Laird is a former city councilmember, mayor, member of the California State Assembly, and California Secretary for Natural Resources under Governor Jerry Brown. His other professional experiences include serving as executive director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project and teaching state environmental policy at UC Santa Cruz. While serving as assemblymember for the 27th district, Laird authored 82 bills that were signed into law.

    Laird is endorsed by a strong majority of local progressive groups, including California Democratic Party, California Legislative LGBT Caucus, California Teachers Association, and NARAL Pro-Choice California. He is also endorsed by California Association Highway Patrolmen, Peace Officers Research Association of CA, and Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart. However, the threat of Republican Nohrden’s potential policies greatly outweighs Laird’s few problematic endorsements and lack of campaign finance pledges. According to our analysis, Laird is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

     

    John Laird

    Elect John Laird to push SD-17 in the right direction.

    About the Position

    State senators represent and advocate for the needs of their district at the California State Capitol.

    Last updated: 2020-09-27

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, District 3

  • Non-Partisan
  • Elect Otto Lee to push Santa Clara in the right direction.

    About the Position

    Each of the 58 counties in California is governed by a five-person board of supervisors. A board of supervisors has legislative and executive power to manage county services and resources, including courts, jails, public health, and public lands. They also have quasi-judicial powers, which gives them the right to hold hearings, conduct investigations, and make decisions in a manner similar to judicial courts. Laws passed by Boards of Supervisors are generally called ordinances. Because counties include both incorporated cities, which are administered by their own city councils and unincorporated areas, which are directly administered by the county, ordinances may or may not apply in different areas of the county. Supervisors are typically ‎limited to three terms, or 12 years in office total.

    About the District

    Santa Clara is California's 6th most populous county. Santa Clara’s Board of Supervisors oversees the needs of 1.9 million people and manages an estimated budget of $8.2 billion dollars annually. According to the County Charter, residents are represented by an elected five-member Board of Supervisors. A county executive is appointed by the Board of Supervisors to manage day-to-day operations. Demographic analysis of District 3 reveals significant Asian (53 percent) and Latinx (21 percent) populations.

    About the Race

    In the March 3 primary election, challenger Otto Lee trailed incumbent Supervisor Kansen Chu by a margin of 2.5 percent. Lee’s campaign has raised $772,476 and has not committed to any campaign finance pledges. Chu’s campaign has raised $414,431 and has also not committed to any campaign finance pledges. Chu’s campaign has recently come under fire in the press for potential campaign finance violations and for comments that reveal a lack of support for affirmative action.

    About the Candidate

    Otto Lee, an intellectual property attorney and former mayor of Sunnyvale, is from Hong Kong and moved to California at the age of 15. According to campaign materials, Lee is running to take action to address the cost of housing, traffic congestion, and homelessness.

    Otto Lee’s priorities for Santa Clara this term include building up rather than out in order to preserve open and agricultural spaces, increasing the availability of inpatient and outpatient mental-health treatment, and ensuring that the Valley Medical Center, St. Louise Regional Hospital, and O’Connor Hospital are fully funded. His record in Sunnyvale’s local government reveals a steadfast commitment to green energy and waste reduction.

    Otto Lee’s first experience in local government was with the Sunnyvale Planning Commission. He went on to serve on the Sunnyvale City Council from 2003–2011, including his 2006–2007 term as mayor, during which he passed the city’s single-use plastic bag ban, installed solar panels on city buildings, and encouraged commercial development projects to build with higher green LEED standards. In 2018, Lee was elected to the Democratic National Committee, where he helped propel the party to great success during the “Blue Wave.” Lee works as an intellectual property attorney in San Jose, CA, and is a 28-year veteran of the Navy and Navy Reserve, having achieved the rank of commander before his retirement in 2018.

    Otto Lee is endorsed by many progressive groups in the district and is, according to our analysis, the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Otto Lee

    Elect Otto Lee to push Santa Clara in the right direction.

    About the Position

    Each of the 58 counties in California is governed by a five-person board of supervisors. A board of supervisors has legislative and executive power to manage county services and resources, including courts, jails, public health, and public lands. They also have quasi-judicial powers, which gives them the right to hold hearings, conduct investigations, and make decisions in a manner similar to judicial courts. Laws passed by Boards of Supervisors are generally called ordinances. Because counties include both incorporated cities, which are administered by their own city councils and unincorporated areas, which are directly administered by the county, ordinances may or may not apply in different areas of the county. Supervisors are typically ‎limited to three terms, or 12 years in office total.

    About the District

    Santa Clara is California's 6th most populous county. Santa Clara’s Board of Supervisors oversees the needs of 1.9 million people and manages an estimated budget of $8.2 billion dollars annually. According to the County Charter, residents are represented by an elected five-member Board of Supervisors. A county executive is appointed by the Board of Supervisors to manage day-to-day operations. Demographic analysis of District 3 reveals significant Asian (53 percent) and Latinx (21 percent) populations.

    About the Race

    In the March 3 primary election, challenger Otto Lee trailed incumbent Supervisor Kansen Chu by a margin of 2.5 percent. Lee’s campaign has raised $772,476 and has not committed to any campaign finance pledges. Chu’s campaign has raised $414,431 and has also not committed to any campaign finance pledges. Chu’s campaign has recently come under fire in the press for potential campaign finance violations and for comments that reveal a lack of support for affirmative action.

    About the Candidate

    Otto Lee, an intellectual property attorney and former mayor of Sunnyvale, is from Hong Kong and moved to California at the age of 15. According to campaign materials, Lee is running to take action to address the cost of housing, traffic congestion, and homelessness.

    Otto Lee’s priorities for Santa Clara this term include building up rather than out in order to preserve open and agricultural spaces, increasing the availability of inpatient and outpatient mental-health treatment, and ensuring that the Valley Medical Center, St. Louise Regional Hospital, and O’Connor Hospital are fully funded. His record in Sunnyvale’s local government reveals a steadfast commitment to green energy and waste reduction.

    Otto Lee’s first experience in local government was with the Sunnyvale Planning Commission. He went on to serve on the Sunnyvale City Council from 2003–2011, including his 2006–2007 term as mayor, during which he passed the city’s single-use plastic bag ban, installed solar panels on city buildings, and encouraged commercial development projects to build with higher green LEED standards. In 2018, Lee was elected to the Democratic National Committee, where he helped propel the party to great success during the “Blue Wave.” Lee works as an intellectual property attorney in San Jose, CA, and is a 28-year veteran of the Navy and Navy Reserve, having achieved the rank of commander before his retirement in 2018.

    Otto Lee is endorsed by many progressive groups in the district and is, according to our analysis, the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Last updated: 2020-09-29

Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition #15

VOTE YES
Vote YES on Prop 15

Vote YES on Prop 15 to provide between $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in additional funding to local schools and governments. 

Proposition 15 asks California voters to raise an estimated $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in funding for local schools and governments by increasing property taxes on commercial and industrial properties based on current market value instead of the price they were purchased for. Based on the most recent report by Blue Sky Consulting Group, 10% of the biggest corporate property owners will pay 92% of the funding and more than 75% of total revenues will come from properties that have not been reassessed since prior to 1990 -- just 2% of all commercial and industrial properties! Proposition 15 will maintain the existing commercial and industrial property tax at a 1% limit and will also maintain existing exemptions for small businesses, homeowners, agricultural lands, and renters.

Why voting YES on Prop 15 matters:

  • California public schools continue to be underfunded and communities of color continue to be impacted the most. Prop 15 is a way to invest in our communities without having to raise taxes on small businesses, renters, and homeowners. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, California needs this funding from corporations who have not been paying their fair share of taxes.
  • California ranked 41st (with adjusted cost of living) out of all states and Washington, D.C. in spending per K-12 student (California Budget & Policy Center). 
  • California is ranked 51st in three categories: number of K-12 students per teacher, number of K-12 students per guidance counselor, and number of K-12 students per librarian (National Education Association / National Center for Education Statistics).

Misinformation about Prop 15 includes:

  • "It hurts small businesses" -- FALSE. Prop 15 maintains all existing exemptions for small businesses, homeowners, renters, and agricultural land.
  • "It taxes working families" -- FALSE. Prop 15 will predominantly affect corporations who have not been paying their fair share of taxes.
  • "It is a step towards repealing Prop 13" -- FALSE. - Prop 15 actively maintains the exemptions Prop 13 secured.
  • "Small business operations from home aren’t protected under Prop 15" -- FALSE. Prop 15’s exemptions for businesses and homeowners apply to small business operations at home. 

Primary Funders of Prop 15 include:

Prop 15’s main opponents include realty and industrial property owners, while there is overwhelming financial support from the California Teachers Association and SEIU California State Council.

Top Funders

Last updated: 2020-09-10

Proposition #16

VOTE YES
Vote YES on Prop 16

Vote YES on Prop 16 to repeal 1996’s Prop 209 and reinstate affirmative action in the state.

Proposition 16 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to repeal Prop 209’s restrictions on local and state governments from considering race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracting. If passed, Prop 16 will permit governments to consider those protected categories in order to promote inclusive hiring and admissions programs in California’s public universities, government, and public agencies.

Why voting YES on Prop 16 matters:

  • It is time that California follows the other 42 states that have taken gender, race, ethnicity, and national origin into account for college admissions and hiring in government and public agencies.
  • Prop 209’s affirmative action ban resulted in an over $820 million loss every year in Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program (MWBE) contracts with the state of California.
  • Reports conclude that the percentage of contracts granted to MWBEs never returned to pre-Prop 209 levels. Restoring affirmative action is the next step in building a more equitable and diverse future for California.
  • The University of California’s analysis of Prop 209 revealed that affirmative action had increased the population of underrepresented students by at least 12 percent, with the largest effects seen at UCLA and Berkeley.

Misinformation about Prop 16 includes:

  • "Gains for women of color in workforce diversity have already been addressed." -- FALSE. Women of color continue to face systemic racism in the wage gap and earn an estimated $946,120 less than white men over a 40-year career.
  • "Black civil workers are overrepresented." -- FALSE. According to the 2018 Civil Service Census of California employees, Black Californians made up 5.5 percent of the total population and 9.8 percent of the total civil-service workforce, compared to white Californians, who made up 37 percent of the total population but 43.5 percent of the total civil-service workforce.
  • "Colleges and universities would be able to use racial quotas." -- FALSE. Racial quotas for university admissions have been outlawed as unconstitutional since Regents of the University of California v. Bakke in 1978.

Top Funders of Prop 16 include:

  • Opposition to Prop 16 is sponsored by Students for Fair Admissions, Inc., which contributed to the Californians for Equal Rights committee.
  • Support for Prop 16 is largely financed by philanthropists M. Quinn Delaney and Patty Quillin, California Nurses Association Initiative PAC, California Works (a project of California Labor Federation AFL-CIO), and Elizabeth Cabraser.
Last updated: 2020-09-26

Proposition #17

VOTE YES
Vote YES on Prop 17

Vote YES on Prop 17 to restore voting rights to Californians on parole. 

Proposition 17 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while on parole. If passed, Prop 17 will restore voting rights to approximately 50,000 Californians currently on parole.

Why voting YES on Prop 17 matters:

  • California is one of the 31 states that do not automatically restore voting rights upon completion of a person’s sentence. In Maine and Vermont, there are no laws that disenfranchise and discriminate against people with criminal convictions even when they’re still serving out their sentences.
  • Parolees who are reintegrating into society resume other civic responsibilities, such as paying taxes and jury duty. Being barred from voting while paying taxes is taxation without representation.
  • In 2017, Black Californians made up 28% of all prison populations despite only making up 6% of California’s total population. With an astonishing and horrifying incarceration rate at 8 times the rate of white Californians, it is clear that the disenfranchisement of parolees is the disenfranchisement of Black voters.

Misinformation about Prop 17 includes:

  • "Voting is a privilege" -- FALSE. Voting is a right, not privilege. Projecting voting as a privilege and not a right inherently undermines our democracy. 
  • "Individuals who have not completed their parole period have not completed their sentence" -- FALSE. As soon as a person completes their sentence in prison, they are released into their parole period in order to reintegrate into society. The sentence in prison and parole period are two separate phases.

Top Funders of Prop 17 include:

There are no contributions recorded for support or opposition to Prop 17.

Last updated: 2020-08-28

Proposition #18

VOTE YES
Vote YES on Prop 18

Vote YES on Prop 18 to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will turn 18 by the following general election.

Proposition 18 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will turn 18 by the following general election. At the age of 18, Californians are technically given the right to vote in all elections. A subset are currently prohibited from voting at 18 if they are 17 during the primary election. Prop 18 amends the constitutional loophole that prevents all 18-year-olds from being able to vote in general elections.

Why voting YES on Prop 18 matters:

  • Nineteen other states, including D.C., allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will be 18 by the general election.
  • Research has proven time and again that voting is habit-forming. These states recognize the importance of allowing 18-year-olds to vote, to help form their voting habits and amplify their voices.

Top Funders of Prop 18 include:

There are no recorded contributions in support of or opposition to Prop 18.

Misinformation about Prop 18 includes:

There is no prominent misinformation about Prop 18.

Last updated: 2020-08-28

Proposition #19

VOTE NO
Vote NO on Prop 19

Vote NO on Proposition 19 to maintain property tax savings for all and avoid increasing housing inequity.

Proposition 19 asks voters to amend sections of 1978’s Proposition 13 to increase the number of times a property tax base can be transferred to three times for longtime homeowners. Prop 19 is almost exactly the same as Proposition 5, which was on the 2018 California ballot and overwhelmingly defeated by voters, with 60 percent having voted against the proposition. The main difference in the proposition this year is that Prop 19 includes an additional amendment to Prop 13 that narrows an existing inheritance property tax break and promises to distribute any revenue generated from that amendment toward fire protection agencies and schools.

Why voting NO on Prop 19 matters
  • Proposition 19 widens the generational wealth gap by giving homeowners older than 55 and other qualified groups a way to keep property tax breaks they receive for having bought their homes decades ago if they move anywhere else in the state, up to three times. They can also keep that break if they move to a more expensive property.
  • Proposition 13 caps most property tax rates at 1 percent of a home’s sale price and holds annual increases in assessed value to 2 percent or less. This means people who purchased their home a few decades ago already pay significantly less property tax than newer homeowners. Prop 19 further builds the wealth of longtime homeowners and denies wealth-building opportunities to people who don’t own a home or who may be struggling to buy one.
  • While Prop 19 does eliminate a $1 million property tax exemption for parent-to-child transfers and could potentially generate state revenue that would be distributed to fire protection agencies and schools, this amendment is being paired with the primary tax break for longtime homeowners to make it more appealing.
Top Funders of Prop 19

Realtor associations have contributed $36,270,000 in support of Prop 19. There is no registered financial opposition.

Misinformation

There is no prominent misinformation about Proposition 19.

 

Last updated: 2020-09-26

Proposition #20

VOTE NO
Vote NO on Prop 20

Vote NO on Prop 20 to protect criminal justice reforms and constitutional rights to privacy.

If passed, Prop 20 increases penalties for low-level offenses and would create a state database that collects DNA samples from persons convicted of specified misdemeanors for use in cold cases by repealing parts of Props 47 and 57. Prop 20 would expand the list of offenses that disqualify inmates from a parole program, consider an individual’s collective criminal history and not just their most recent offense, and impose stronger restrictions for a nonviolent offender’s parole program. Additionally, Prop 20 would reclassify theft between $250 and $950 as a felony.

Why voting NO on Prop 20 matters:

  • Prop 20 is a dangerous proposition put forth by Courage Score Hall of Shame Assemblymember Jim Cooper, and it is sponsored by Courage Score Hall of Shame Assemblymember Vince Fong. Time and again, Assemblymembers Cooper and Fong vote to protect police brutality and discriminatory criminal justice policies. Both voted no on AB 1600, which would expedite access to police misconduct records for a trial.
  • Association for L.A. Deputy Sheriffs, L.A. Police Protective League, and the Peace Officers Research Association of California all support and have heavily financed Prop 20.
  • Prop 20 would increase recidivism by removing positive incentives from Prop 57.
  • Parole review boards would consider an individual’s entire criminal history, not just the offense they are on parole for, when deciding to release a person convicted of a felony on parole.

Top Funders of Prop 20:

  • Three police unions are the top funders in support of Prop 20, including the CA Correctional Peace Officers Association, the Association for LA Deputy Sheriffs, and the LA Police Protective League Issues PAC.
  • Philanthropists are the top funders of campaigns against Prop 20, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Patty Quillin, and Stacy Schusterman.

Misinformation about Prop 20:

  • "Criminals are getting away with more violent crimes." -- FALSE. The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Prop 47, which Prop 20 attempts to roll back, not only decreased racial disparities in bookings and arrests, but also found that violent crimes did not increase after it was passed.

 

Last updated: 2020-08-28

Proposition #21

VOTE YES
Vote YES on Prop 21

Vote YES on Prop 21 to allow cities and counties to establish and regulate rent control.

Proposition 21 asks voters to amend state law in order to allow (not require) local governments at the city and county levels to establish and regulate rent control on residential properties. This proposition would affect residential properties over 15 years old and exempts individuals who own up to two residential properties. Additionally, Prop 21 would allow rent in rent-controlled properties to increase up to 15 percent over a period of three years with the start of a new tenancy. Prop 21 is more or less the same proposition voters rejected in 2018.

Why voting YES on Prop 21 matters:

California has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation, which can be attributed to the overwhelmingly high median rates for rent throughout the state forcing residents to pay 50 percent of their income just toward rent.
The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act prohibits rent control on residential properties built after February 1, 1995. Since then, housing built in California has become accessible only to those who can afford uncontrolled rent increases, and low-income families have largely been shut out from newer housing developments.
According to a Stanford study, those who lived in rent-controlled properties when Costa-Hawkins passed ended up saving a cumulative total of $7 billion over 18 years, which confirms that rent control is an effective way to prevent displacement from the city.

Misinformation about Prop 21 includes:

  • "Makes the housing crisis worse." -- FALSE. With one in three Californians paying 50 percent of their income just for rent, Prop 21 offers local governments the opportunity to prevent displacement, and as a result, prevent homelessness. A person who experiences homelessness will cost taxpayers an average of $35,578, and chronic homelessness generally costs around $100,000.
  • "Removes a landlord’s right to profit." -- FALSE. Prop 21 actually guarantees a landlord’s right to profit.
  • "California just passed AB 1482, which went into effect in January of this year, so California doesn’t need any more rent laws." -- FALSE AB 1482 only affects residential properties built after 2005, and according to Zillow’s analysis, only 7 percent of renters would have benefited from AB 1482’s rent cap in 2018.

Top Funders of Prop 21 include:

  • Three of the top 10 property owners in Silicon Valley (Prometheus Real Estate Group, Inc., Essex Property Trust, and Equity Residential) have contributed over $10 million in opposition to Prop 21.
  • The leading funder in support of Prop 21 is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and its housing advocacy division Housing Is A Human Right is a leading sponsor of the Rental Affordability Act.
Last updated: 2020-08-28

Proposition #22

VOTE NO
Vote NO on Prop 22

Vote NO on Prop 22 to protect labor rights and classify app-based drivers as employees, not contractors.

Proposition 22 asks voters to classify ride-share and delivery companies as independent contractors, not employees. Additionally, Prop 22 would restrict local regulation of app-based drivers and would criminalize the impersonation of drivers.

Why voting NO on Prop 22 matters:

  • By classifying workers as contractors and not employees, companies like Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash are not required by state employment laws to enforce minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
  • Ride-share and delivery workers are entitled to labor rights that every other employee in California is entitled to, such as the right to organize, minimum wage, and Social Security.
  • AB 5, which Prop 22 is trying to repeal, guarantees paid family leave, paid sick days, and unemployment insurance to those classified as gig employees. These labor rights are essential during a global pandemic.

Top Funders of Prop 22 include:

  • Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash are leading contributions in support of Prop 22, with over $30 million each. Both InstaCart and Postmates have contributed $10 million each, for a grand total of over $110 million.
  • Transport Workers Union of America, SEIU California State Council, Working Families Issues Committee, Service Employees International Union, and District Council of Ironworkers PIC have contributed a total of $842,850 in opposition to Prop 22.

Misinformation About Prop 22 Includes:

  • "The cost of ride-share will go up, decreasing the amount of people who will pay for rides and services and forcing companies to lay off more workers." -- FALSE. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office found that because these companies would not have to pay for standard employee benefits and protections (roughly 20 percent of total employee costs), companies can charge lower delivery fees and fares. It is projected that this will increase companies’ profits and drivers’ state income taxes.

 

Last updated: 2020-08-28

Proposition #23

VOTE YES
Vote YES on Prop 23

Vote YES on Prop 23 to require infection reporting and state approval to close or reduce services at hospitals.

Prop 23 would add sections to the California Health and Safety Code about how dialysis facilities can operate, requiring a physician to be on-site at every dialysis clinic to oversee operations, and mandating that each chronic dialysis clinic submit quarterly reports on dialysis-related infections to the California Department of Health. The on-site physician would assume a non-caregiving role, as they would not be required to be specially trained in nephrology or interact with patients at all. Additionally, Prop 23 would prohibit discrimination against patients based on their coverage or care.

Why voting YES on Prop 23 matters:

Prop 23 builds upon current federal requirements that report dialysis-related infections to the National Healthcare Safety Network at the Center for Disease Control to include reporting these infections to the California Department of Health.
Having a physician on-site at chronic dialysis clinics during all treatment hours provides a higher quality of medical care with an additional layer of patient safety.

Prop 23 protects the 80,000 Californians who require dialysis on a weekly basis by ensuring chronic dialysis clinics cannot discriminate against patients based on how they are paying for their treatments. Insurances like Medi-Cal pay less for dialysis treatments than private insurance, which is why corporations like DaVita and Fresenius are spending millions to oppose this proposition.

Top funders of Prop 23 include:
  • Opposition to Prop 23 is heavily financed by dialysis giants Davita and Fresenius, who maintain larger profit margins if Prop 23 fails.
  • Support for Prop 23 is financed by SEIU United Healthcare Workers West PAC.
Misinformation about Prop 23 includes:
  • “Prop 23 is just being used as leverage in unionizing against dialysis employers.” A spokesperson for SEIU-UHW West, Sean Wherley, said that health-care workers in dialysis clinics “want these [initiative] reforms regardless of what happens with their union efforts.”

 

Last updated: 2020-09-28

Proposition #24

VOTE NO
Vote NO on Prop 24

Vote NO on Prop 24 to protect consumers’ personal information.

Proposition 24 asks voters to amend the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) to include pay-for-privacy schemes, which provide better services and internet connection to those who pay more in order to protect their personal information while providing suboptimal services for Californians who cannot or do not want to pay more. Additionally, Prop 24 caters to tech companies by allowing them to upload a California resident’s personal information as soon as that resident’s device, computer, or phone leaves the state’s borders, and permits tech companies to completely ignore a programmable universal electronic “do not sell my information” signal. Under current law, privacy follows a Californian wherever they go, and businesses must honor the electronic signal.

Why voting NO on Prop 24 matters:

  • Prop 24 erodes a consumer’s request to delete their data and would completely end CCPA protection of biometric information.
  • California should maintain net neutrality so people do not have to pay for companies to safeguard their personal information.
  • Prop 24 would disproportionately affect working people and families of color.
  • The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that Prop 24 will cost $10 million annually to create a new state agency that oversees and enforces the more stringent consumer privacy laws with an unknown impact on state and local tax revenues.

Misinformation about Prop 24:

  • "It will better safeguard consumers’ information." -- FALSE. Prop 24 will only do this for the consumers who are financially able to pay for better protections. Additionally, Prop 24 will end CCPA protection of biometric information.

Top Funders of Prop 24:

  • Alastair Mactaggart, a real estate developer from San Francisco, donated the majority of the total funds for the support campaign entirely by himself, with a total of $4,892,400.
  • There are no contributions to an opposition campaign.
Last updated: 2020-08-28

Proposition #25

VOTE YES
Vote YES on Prop 25

Vote YES on Prop 25 to eliminate the use of cash bail in pretrial incarceration.

Proposition 25 is a referendum, which asks voters to directly weigh in on whether to keep or reject SB 10, a bill originally passed in 2018. Voting YES on Prop 25 will keep SB 10 in place and eliminate the cash bail system of pretrial incarceration in California, which is directly responsible for the disproportionate incarceration of Californians who cannot afford bail. The bail bond industry is directly responsible for placing Prop 25 on the ballot and calling SB 10 into question.

Why voting YES on Prop 25 Matters
  • The cash bail system directly ties an individual’s wealth and ability to pay to the question of whether they pose a risk to the community and their conditions of pretrial release. This system is unfair from every angle and perpetuates the cycle of poverty and incarceration existing in many low-income communities, which are also disproportionately Black and brown communities.
  • The bail bond industry uses its influence to lobby for legislation favorable to them, which perpetuates but also escalates the cycle of poverty and incarceration. Passing Prop 25 will permanently end their influence in the political process.
  • If Prop 25 does not pass, voters will be perceived as having rejected SB 10’s reforms, in particular the effort to end the cash bail system. This will be framed as a significant precedent for opponents of criminal-justice reform to use in lobbying and legal arguments to keep the system intact in the future.
  • If Prop 25 passes, community groups will have the opportunity to advance further criminal-justice reforms related to this initiative.
Special Circumstances Surrounding Prop 25
  • Originally, there was unanimous support for SB 10 from most criminal-justice reform groups across the state. The process of making amendments to the legislation caused many groups to drop their support. In our research, we discovered that the legislative decision-making process around SB 10 was strongly influenced by applied political pressure, resulting in a process and an outcome with less buy-in. Despite the widely acknowledged flaws in the overall process, a strong majority of Courage California's statewide progressive partners are aligned around a yes position on Prop 25.
  • Organized opposition to Prop 25 from grassroots groups is strongest in Los Angeles County, where community leaders have been most successful in partnering with county officials to design and implement community-based alternatives to the incarceration system. In Los Angeles County, there are major concerns about how the implementation of a state-mandated pretrial incarceration program could interfere with their major strides in redressing the harms done to communities by an unfair justice system. These concerns are entirely valid, and attention will be focused on the actions of L.A. County’s Board of Supervisors to ensure that the alternatives to incarceration recommendations developed through a robust, community-driven dialogue process will continue to be implemented. The breakthroughs achieved by L.A. County’s criminal-justice reform movement have been characterized as historic and a model for other counties in California to follow, and this work must continue to move forward without delay.
Concerns About Prop 25

There are three major components to grassroots groups' objections to Prop 25. Here we provide our assessment of these concerns and how they can be addressed in the future if Prop 25 passes.  

  • Algorithm-based risk-assessment tools will be used as the core component of the new pretrial incarceration system in all California counties. There are concerns about how inherent biases in the system could influence the implementation of these tools. There are two notable countermeasures in place to address these concerns, and both are overseen by the Judicial Council, the policymaking body of the California court system.
    • First, counties must validate the chosen risk-assessment tool for the communities in which it will be used. This is not a standardized approach to validation; the tool must be proven to provide a higher level of responsiveness and sensitivity to community conditions before it is implemented. The Judicial Council will have to certify each county's tool, and the tool must be revalidated for the communities it serves every three years.
    • Second, counties are now required by law to track and publicly report how a defendant’s circumstances and background correspond to the decision a judge makes about their pretrial release conditions. This data has to be collected, compiled, and reported annually to the Judicial Council, as well as made publicly available for review. This law was passed the year after SB 10 to provide an avenue to monitor the implementation of SB 10, and is an important step in making risk-assessment tools more accountable and the overall pretrial incarceration system more transparent.
  • The new pretrial incarceration system is directly implemented by the probation departments of each county in California. Probation departments are currently responsible for investigating offenders’ backgrounds, making sentencing recommendations to the court, enforcing court orders, and supervising sentenced offenders. They also recommend and collect restitution, oversee community service, and provide oversight of criminal-diversion programs. There are strong concerns about how probation departments will approach the oversight of defendants who have not been convicted of crimes.
    • We encourage counties to 1) require probation departments to work in partnership with other agencies, including the public defender’s office and mental-health services, in implementing the risk-assessment system; 2) use their power to hold probation departments accountable for how they implement pretrial incarceration programs in communities; and 3) invest in alternatives to the overall incarceration system, such as Measure J on the ballot in Los Angeles County, which amends the county charter to require that at least 10 percent of the county’s local revenues go to community-based programs, such as affordable housing and rent assistance, job training, and mental-health and social services.
  • There are also concerns that judicial discretion is greatly expanded by SB 10. While this is technically true, there are two additional changes to the judicial role in the pretrial system that limit judicial discretion.
    • First, anyone arrested with a misdemeanor, with some exceptions, is considered to not pose a significant risk to a community and is automatically released without going in front of a judge. This greatly reduces the overall role that a judge currently plays in the pretrial incarceration system.
    • Second, while judges do have increased judicial discretion over the more serious felony cases, their decisions are now required to be publicly recorded and therefore more transparent. Under the new system, when a prosecutor exercises their option to seek detention, a judge must hold a hearing and make the findings available on record before they order the person detained pretrial. In the current cash bail system, judges can use their discretion to set cash bail at any number with no requirement to make any findings public, which effectively detains an individual with no judicial accountability. The new judicial transparency requirement is a clear improvement over the lax requirements that existed before SB 10.
Misinformation About Prop 25

The bail bond industry has invested heavily in a No on the Prop 25 campaign in an attempt to spread misinformation and save the industry.

  • “Prop 25 denies a U.S. constitutional right.” FALSE. The 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the courts from imposing excessive bail. By eliminating the cash bail system, Prop 25 simply makes this prohibition irrelevant.
  • “Prop 25 puts our public safety at risk.” FALSE. Judges will have increased judicial discretion over the more serious felony cases, which means defendants who may pose a threat to a community or specific individual will be given individual consideration. All decisions made by judges will also be required to be publicly recorded.
  • “Prop 25 deprives justice for crime victims.” FALSE. In New Jersey, where similar legislation passed eliminating the use of cash bail in 2017, a recent study concluded that defendants are continuing to show up for court cases at the same rate and that people released under the new regulations are no more likely to commit a crime while waiting for trial than those released under the previous system on money bail.
  • “Prop 25 creates additional biases against minorities and the poor.” FALSE. In New Jersey, similar legislation passed eliminating the use of cash bail has reduced racial disparities in the jail population. In California, new reporting requirements enable racial disparities to be systematically tracked for the first time. And ending cash bail immediately eliminates the most immediate factor in the criminal-justice system that drives the cycle of poverty and incarceration existing in many low-income communities, which are also disproportionately Black and brown communities.
Top Funders of Prop 25
  • The two largest donors in support of Prop 25 are Connie and Steve Ballmer. Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the L.A. Clippers team. The Ballmers are philanthropists who have given over $300 million to 70 nonprofits over the last three years for gun safety and racial justice. They have also pledged $25 million in coronavirus aid. In a statement, they said that “far too many people that are not a danger are getting stuck in jail waiting for their trials simply because they can’t afford bail.”
  • The other three top donors in support of Prop 25 are SEIU California State Council; Action Now Initiative, LLC; and philanthropist Patty Quillin.
  • The top donor in opposition to Prop 25 is Triton Management Services, LLC, the parent company of Aladdin Bail Bonds.
  • The American Bail Coalition, consisting of several insurance and bail companies, is opposed to Prop 25, as it wants the bail system to remain in place to avoid going out of business.

 

Last updated: 2020-09-28

San Jose City Council

San Jose City Council, District 4

  • Non-Partisan
  • Elect David Cohen to push San Jose in the right direction.

    About the Position

    San Jose, CA, is governed by a ten-person city council. A city council is responsible for establishing policy, passing local laws (called ordinances), voting on budget appropriations, and developing an overall vision for the city. City councilmembers in San Jose are ‎limited to two consecutive terms of four years each.

    About the District

    San Jose is Santa Clara County’s most populous city. The San Jose City Council oversees the needs of an estimated 1 million people and manages an estimated budget of $3 billion annually. San Jose is managed by a council-manager structured government. San Jose’s District 4 includes Alviso, Berryessa, and the North San Jose Innovation District.

    About the Race

    In the primary, challenger David Cohen led incumbent Lan Diep by a margin of 3.3 percent. Cohen’s campaign has raised $123,766 and has not committed to any campaign finance pledges. Diep’s campaign has raised $227,062, has not committed to any campaign finance pledges, and is endorsed by the California Apartment Association and the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors. Diep was a registered Republican until 2019, when he re-registered as “Decline to State” without a public statement. Diep’s top priority for a prospective second term is “safety,” and he is quoted as saying, “This is the challenge of the moment facing our police force: trying to grow our ranks as we face waves of officers ready to retire.”

    About the Candidate

    David Cohen, an engineer and Berryessa Union School District Board trustee, has lived in District 4 for twenty years. According to campaign materials, Cohen is running for election to promote sustainable financial investment in San Jose’s public services.

    David Cohen’s priorities for San Jose this term include making solar energy part of every development project, working with the water district to ensure that gray water is reused for irrigation, expanding BART and light-rail access by completing stalled extension efforts, and partnering with Santa Clara County and nonprofit organizations to provide housing, mental-health care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and job training/placement programs for unhoused residents.

    David Cohen earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his PhD from U.C Berkeley. During his time on the Berryessa Union School District Board, Cohen started Dual-Immersion Programs in Mandarin and Spanish, prevented class size increases, protected the music and science programs from budget cuts, ensured that counselors and social workers were added to each school site, and moved several schools over to solar energy. He is also involved with the Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council and other neighborhood associations.

    David Cohen is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district and is, according to our analysis, the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    David Cohen

    Elect David Cohen to push San Jose in the right direction.

    About the Position

    San Jose, CA, is governed by a ten-person city council.

    Last updated: 2020-09-27