Orange County

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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 Orange 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 Orange County? Visit your county elections website.

Congress

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

38th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Linda Sánchez photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation


Representative Linda Sánchez is from Orange, CA, just south of the district. She is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 2003. According to campaign materials, Rep. Sánchez is running for re-election to improve the lives of families in her district by making Southern California a better place to live and work for everyone.

In Congress, Rep. Sánchez has advanced legislation to improve workplace safety, address cyber-bullying, and has worked to bring government and business together to bring good-paying jobs to her district. Rep. Sánchez sits on the Ways and Means Committee and the subcommittees on Oversight, Select Revenue Measures, and Social Security. Additionally, she serves as the Vice-Chair of LGBT Equality Caucus and was the former Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Prior to her election to Congress, she served as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the Orange County Labor Council, AFL-CIO. 

Rep. Sánchez is being challenged by Michael Tolar (D). Challenger critiques of Sánchez include concerns about her sizable campaign donations from special interests and her inability to quickly enact large structural change. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat.

Rep. Sánchez is the best progressive choice because of her positions of power in Congress, relationships with partners and her vision to advance progressive policies that improve the lives of people in her district. According to our analysis, Rep. Sánchez is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.

Last updated: 2020-02-28


39th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Gil Cisneros photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Representation


Representative Gil Cisneros, a veteran, is from Los Angeles. He is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 2019. According to campaign materials, Rep. Cisneros is running for re-election to ensure future generations have the same opportunities that were available to him through the Navy.  

In Congress, Rep. Cisneros has advocated for quality education, stood up to the insurance and pharmaceutical industry to address high healthcare costs, and worked to bring good-paying jobs to his district. He currently sits on the House Committee on Armed Services and the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Prior to his election to Congress, he served in the United States Navy and was an education advocate. 

Rep. Cisneros has progressive education and economic positions. That said, while we have concerns about some votes, like his vote against an amendment that would have allocated $5 million to combat vaccine misinformation.  

Rep. Cisneros is being challenged by Young Kim (R) and Steve Cox (NPP).  Though we do not agree with all of Rep. Cisneros’s votes, his community support and relationships with progressive partners, his progressive votes on healthcare and other issues make him a strong choice in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


45th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Katie Porter photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation



Representative Katie Porter is from Fort Dodge, IA, and now resides in Irvine, CA. She is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2019. According to campaign materials, she is running for re-election to hold Republicans and their special interests in Washington accountable.

In Congress, Rep. Porter has played an instrumental role in advancing reforms that have helped American families have a fair economic opportunity by helping pass legislation to fight against abusive credit card fees. Towards the end of 2019, she gained a position on the Committee on Oversight and Reform due to her expert questioning style in Congressional hearings. She also sits on the Committee on Financial Services where she serves on the Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, as well as the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets subcommittees. Prior to Rep. Porter’s election to Congress, she was a law professor at UC Irvine and a consumer rights advocate, where she defended working families against predatory banking practices.

Rep. Porter is running against Greg Raths (R), Don Sedwick (R), Lisa Sparks, Rhonda Furin (R), Christopher J. Gonzales (R), Peggy Huang (R). According to recent election results, it's rare that Democrats win this seat. Porter's ability to flip this seat, her pledge to always put working-class families first, and her relationships with progressive partners, help to build progressive momentum and makes her the strong choice in this race. 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


46th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Lou Correa photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation


Rep. Lou Correa was born and raised in Anaheim, California. He is the incumbent, having first been elected to this position in 2016. According to campaign materials he is running to help families throughout Orange County live better lives and have a shot at the middle class. 

During his tenure in Congress representing District 46, Rep. Correa has continuously worked to protect immigrants, refugees, and DREAMers through solutions such as providing legal counsel to those at risk of being deported, and demanding that more attention be paid to understanding and combatting domestic terrorism. Rep. Correa was recently appointed to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. He also serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and House Veterans Affairs Committee. With his recent appointments, Congressman Correa has the potential to be a strong voice in crafting laws governing immigration, and the enforcement of those laws by the Department of Homeland Security.

Rep. Correa first ran for office in 1996 and has held positions in the California State Assembly where he served three terms and represented the first District on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, where he was the first Democrat to be elected in nearly 20 years. He also served two terms in the California State Senate from 2006-20014. 

Rep. Correa is being challenged by Pablo Mendiolea (D), James Waters (R), Will Johnson (NPP), and Ed Rushman (NPP). Challenger critiques of Correa include concerns about his sizeable campaign donations from the real estate industry. According to recent election results, Democrats typically safely win this seat as Rep. Correa did in 2018 and 2016. 

Rep. Correa’s strong voice on immigration policy and complementary committee positions make him the strongest choice for progressive leadership in this District. 
 

Last updated: 2020-02-05


47th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Alan Lowenthal photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress



Representative Alan Lowenthal is from Queens, NY, and moved to Long Beach, CA, in 1969. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2013. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to advocate for his community’s needs and to defend all of his constituents’ rights and dignity.

In Congress, Rep. Lowenthal has advanced initiatives to address climate change and pushed for adopting sustainable renewable energy. Throughout his tenure, he has also continuously fought for everyone’s human rights, increasing access to quality education, and reinvesting in the nation’s infrastructure. He currently serves on the House Committees on Natural Resources, and Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as seven subcommittees. Prior to his election to Congress, he served on the Long Beach City Council, in the California State Legislature, and as a psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach.

Rep. Lowenthal is being challenged by Peter Mathews (D), Jalen Dupree McLeod (D), John Briscoe (R), Sou Moua (R), and Amy Phan West (R). According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Rep. Lowenthal is the progressive choice because of his track record defending human rights and his leadership position in the fight against climate change.

According to our analysis, Rep. Lowenthal is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.

Last updated: 2020-02-28


48th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Harley Rouda photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress



Rep. Harley Rouda has lived in California since 2007 and is a resident of Laguna Beach. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2019. According to campaign materials, Rep. Rouda is running for re-election to be a Congressional representative who is accessible and unifying, and to provide leadership that is puts country over party and service above self.

In Congress, Rep. Rouda has authored legislation to protect vulnerable coastal communities impacted by the climate crisis, ensure fair lending to LGBTQ-owned businesses, and to hold manufacturing polluters accountable for water contamination. He currently serves as Chair of the Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Environment. Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Rouda worked as a lawyer and was an active supporter of Orange County charities working to address issues including domestic violence and homelessness.

Rep. Rouda is being challenged by John Thomas Schuesler (R), Michelle Steel (R), Richard Mata (AI), Brian Burley (R), and James Brian Griffin (R). According to recent election results, it's rare that Democrats wins this seat, as Rep. Rouda did in 2018. In fact, he is the first Democrat to win since the district was created in 1992.

Rep. Rouda’s track record of fighting for important environmental protections, his work to protect communities under attack, and his strong base in the district he managed to flip in 2018 make him the strongest choice for progressive leadership in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


49th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Mike Levin photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress


Representative Mike Levin was raised in South Orange County and Los Angeles before moving away briefly for university and law school. He has returned to live in Orange County, where he currently represents District 49 in Congress.

Rep. Levin was elected to Congress in 2018 and he has been a champion on issues of sustainability and climate change. He is a member of the Natural Resources and Veterans Affairs Committees, as well as the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. He has sponsored legislation across a broad range of progressive issues, including electoral reforms, protection of voting rights, protection against discrimination, pay equity, and environmental protections. Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Levin was a bold advocate for clean energy and sustainability in Orange County, San Diego, and beyond.

Rep. Levin is being challenged by Brian Maryott (R), a conservative businessman and mayor of San Juan Capistrano. Rep. Levin stands out as a strong progressive voice in Congress who has had significant impact in his first term. According to recent election results, this has been a tough race for Democrats to win, as Levin did in 2018. His strong progressive track record and ability to keep this flipped district make him the strongest choice in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


State Assembly

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

State Assembly, 55th District

Member of the State Assembly

Andrew Rodriguez photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation


Andrew Rodriguez is a lifelong resident of the City of Walnut and the 55th State Assembly District. According to campaign materials, he is running for the position to be an accessible, transparent, and effective representative for his community in Sacramento.

Rodriguez is Mayor Pro Tem of the city of Walnut. In this position, he has advocated for more housing in the district, smart growth strategies for the city, and he completed a general plan land use update for the city for the first time in forty years. He has also worked as a land use planner in San Gabriel Valley and on several political campaigns, including then Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s successful U.S. Senate bid.

Rodriguez is running against Phillip Chen (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2018. Assemblymember Chen has shown that he does NOT represent the needs of constituents in facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. Rodriguez is the progressive choice because of his passion for urban revitalization, planning, and public administration and growing list of endorsements.

According to our analysis, Rodriguez is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-24


State Assembly, 65th District

Member of the State Assembly

Sharon Quirk-Silva photo

Builds Power
Builds Representation


Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva moved to Fullerton when she was two, attended Orange County public schools, earned her bachelor's degree from Fullerton College and UCLA, and her teaching credential from CSU Fullerton. Quirk-Silva defeated a Republican incumbent for this seat in 2012, but lost her bid for re-election in 2014 to Republican Young Kim. She ran again in 2016, defeated Kim, and has served in this seat since. According to campaign materials, Quirk-Silva is running to keep working on education, climate, and economic issues that affect the state of California.

In the State Assembly, Quirk-Silva authored a fee waiver bill that allows the homeless to receive an ID and a copy of their birth certificate without paying for them. Quirk Silva served as the Chair of the Assembly Jobs Committee and secured $23 million dollars for small businesses. Quirk-Silva currently sits on the Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Communications and Conveyance Committee. Prior to their election to the State Assembly, Quirk-Silva served on the Fullerton City Council starting in 2004 and was elected mayor in 2007.

Quirk-Silva generally votes progressive for bills that address California’s education system and climate change. That said, she has abstained from voting on policies that could help solve other issues including police transparency.

Quirk-Silva is being challenged by Cynthia Thacker (R). In 2019, Quirk-Silva scored a 49 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records. According to recent election results, Democrats can win this seat but it's often a close race. Though we disagree with some of Quirk-Silva’s decisions regarding police accountability, their strong base in a relatively recently flipped district supports progressive momentum and makes them the strongest choice in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-21


State Assembly, 68th District

Member of the State Assembly

Melissa Fox photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation


Melissa Fox is from Orange County and currently resides in Irvine, CA. According to campaign materials, she is running for Assembly to be the leader her district needs to represent their interests and values in the capital.

Fox currently serves on the Irvine City Council and on the board of the Orange County Fire Authority, where she strives to improve the quality of life and safety of those in her community. Fox has also served as Chair of the Irvine Community Land Trust, Vice Chair of the Orange County Great Park, and was the founder of The Fox Firm. Through these positions she has increased access to affordable housing, successfully represented businesses in court, and fought fraudulent activities.

Fox is running against Steven “Steve” Choi (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2016, as well as Eugene Fields (D), and Benjamin Yu (R). According to recent election results, it's difficult for Democrats to win this seat. Fox is the best progressive choice because of her vision to enact progressive policies that will grow the middle-class, preserve the environment, addressing public safety concerns, and hold government accountable.

According to our analysis, Fox is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-24


State Assembly, 69th District

Member of the State Assembly

Tom Daly photo
Democrat


Assemblymember Tom Daly is from Anaheim, CA and is a lifelong resident of Orange County. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2012. 

In the State Assembly, Assemblymember Daly has been responsible for a variety of bills that have been signed into law that protect Californians and reduce barriers to opportunity for them. In 2019, Daly authored legislation that protects homeowners’ access to insurance policies in high or very high fire hazard severity zones and eliminates fees for Californians who have been involved in the juvenile justice system to request sealing of their juvenile records. He currently serves as Chair of the Insurance Committee, and also serves on the Appropriations, Veterans Affairs, and Transportation committees, among others. 

Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Assemblymember Daly had a long record of public service in Orange County, first as Mayor of Anaheim from 1992 to 2002, and then as Orange County Clerk-Recorder from 2002 to 2012. As Mayor, Assemblymember Daly oversaw the development of Anaheim as a popular tourist destination, developing eight new city parks while also overhauling the city’s planning and land development standards. As Orange County Clerk-Recorder, his administration opened new offices and implemented Orange County's innovative Electronic Recording System, which was recognized nationally for greatly improving accessibility and efficiency for Orange County residents. 

Assemblymember Daly has also championed increased efficiency through modernization of technology and record keeping, improving access for veterans and businesses. That said, he often abstains from taking positions on key progressive bills in areas including affordable housing, criminal justice reform, and worker protections. Assemblymember Daly has a lifetime score of only 32 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting record. 

Assemblymember Daly is being challenged by Jon Paul White (R). According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Though we disagree with Assemblymember Daly's stance on the many issues named above, and know that a stronger progressive candidate would more accurately represent the 69th district, Daly is the most progressive candidate on the ballot. That said, we encourage more progressive candidates, that will better reflect this community’s needs, to run in future cycles.

Last updated: 2020-02-24


State Assembly, 72nd District

Member of the State Assembly

Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen photo

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation


Diedre Nguyen is from Saigon, Vietnam, and has resided in Garden Grove, CA since 1995. According to campaign materials, she is running for Assembly to represent her community’s working class interests by fighting to increase access to economic opportunities.

Diedre Nguyen is a member of the Garden Grove City Council and a Laboratory Cancer Scientist, which she does to advance cancer research, improve access to quality education, spur local business growth, increase job opportunities, and address public safety concerns. Diedre Nguyen has also served on the boards of the Lunar New Year TET Parade, Vietnamese Young Marines, and as Vice-Chair of the Hurricane Haiyan Philippines Fundraiser, and has been appointed to various other Vietnamese community positions where she successfully worked to bring her community together to solve issues and promote diversity.

Diedre Nguyen is running against Tyler Diep (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2018, as well as Bijan Mohseni (D) and Janet Nguyen (R). According to recent election results, it's challenging for that Democrats to win this seat. Diedre Nguyen is the best progressive choice because of her track record of community service in the Garden Grove community, as well as her vision to fight for an economy that works for everyone in her district, not just those at the top.

According to our analysis, Diedre Nguyen is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-24


State Assembly, 73rd District

Member of the State Assembly

Scott Rhinehart photo
Democrat

Builds Progress


Scott Rhinehart is from West Virginia and has lived in Orange County for 16 years. According to campaign materials, he is running for State Assembly to be an advocate for his community and to increase access to economic opportunities, quality healthcare, and preserve the environment.

Rhinehart owns his own real estate brokerage. His firm provides programs for first time-buyers, seniors, and veterans, which help address the hardships middle-class families and small businesses face in today’s economy. Rhinehart has also worked as a political advocate, where he successfully helped beat the Briggs Initiative, an effort to ban members of the LGBTQ+ community from being employed in California’s public schools, and to increase investments for HIV and AIDS prevention.

Rhinehart is running against William “Bill” Brough (R) who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2014. Other candidates include Chris Duncan (D), Laurie Davies (R), and Ed Sachs (R). According to recent election results, it's challenging for Democrats to win this seat. Rhinehart is the best progressive choice because of his track record of fighting for all American's rights and his vision of creating an economy that works for everyone, ensuring people have healthcare coverage and addressing issues of climate change.

According to our analysis, Rhinehart is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-24


State Assembly, 74th District

Member of the State Assembly

Cottie Petrie-Norris photo

Builds Power
Builds Representation


Representative Cottie Petrie-Norris is from San Diego County and currently resides in Laguna Beach, CA. She is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2018. According to campaign materials, she is running to keep her seat to address quality of life issues and support her community in the State Legislature.

In the State Assembly, she has authored bills that have been signed into law that aimed to improve access to water, elderly support services, and establish environmental protections. Rep. Petrie-Norris currently serves as Chair on the Accountability & Administrative Review Committee. Prior to her election to the State Assembly, she worked in finance and technology for startups, small companies, and Fortune 500 corporations.

Rep. Petrie-Norris has progressive economic, education, environment, and healthcare stances. That said, she has voted against key progressive bills on increasing access to affordable housing and issues pertaining to criminal justice reform.

Rep. Petrie-Norris is being challenged by Diane Dixon (R) and Kelly Ernbym (R). In 2020 she scored a 34 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records. According to recent election results, it's challenging for Democrats to win this seat. Though we disagree with Rep. Petrie-Norris’ stance on affordable housing and reforms to our criminal justice system, her relationships with partners and strong base in a recently flipped district helps advance progressive policies and makes her a strong choice in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-24


State Senate

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

State Senator, 29th District

Member of the State Senate

Josh Newman photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation


Josh Newman is a veteran from Orange County and currently resides in Fullerton, CA. According to campaign materials, he is running for State Senate to stand up for California by putting people and working families' needs over corporate interests.

Newman previously served as a State Senator, where he focused on advancing policies to improve veteran and mental health services, as well as initiatives to promote public education, jobs, and infrastructure improvements. Following the legislature's approval of a bill to repair the state’s aging transportation infrastructure in 2017, Senate Bill 1, Newman was singled out by a well-funded, hyper-partisan campaign that resulted in his recall. Prior to his election to the State Senate, he served as a United States Army officer, business owner, as well as a veteran and community activist.

Newman is running against Ling Ling Chang (R) who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2018, and Joseph Cho, Ph.D. (D). Newman is the best progressive choice because of his track record of putting the people of California above politics.

According to our analysis, Newman is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.

Last updated: 2020-02-28


State Senator, 37th District

Member of the State Senate

Katrina Foley photo
Democrat


Katrina Foley is a Democrat who is serving her second term as mayor of Costa Mesa, in Orange County. She is running on a platform to address the homeless crisis, climate change, education, and healthcare.

Foley previously served on Costa Mesa's City Council and Newport Mesa Unified School District Board of Trustees from November 2010 to November 2014. She is an attorney and owns her own practice, The Foley Group.

During her tenure as mayor, Foley ended a lawsuit that followed attempts to enforce anti-encampment laws by agreeing to build a 50 person homeless shelter. A temporary shelter was constructed, and a permanent one is being built near John Wayne Airport. On her campaign site, Foley has stated she would push for renewable energy, Community Choice Energy, and more electric car charging stations, particularly in low-income areas, and better fuel efficiency standards. While campaigning, Foley has spoken against Schools & Communities First, a November 2020 statewide ballot measure to increase funding for schools and other local government services by reforming California's broken commercial property tax system. We strongly disagree with her position. (Please note: Schools & Communities First will not affect the residential property tax system.)

Foley has support from other elected leaders in Orange County as well as labor organizations such as the California Labor Federation, the Orange County Labor Federation (OCLF), the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) and the California State Council of Laborers (LiUNA), among others. She is also endorsed by EMILY's List and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

According to our analysis, Katrina Foley would be a strong choice in this purple district.

Last updated: 2020-02-27


Dave Min photo
Democrat


Dave Min is a California native and longtime resident of Irvine. According to campaign materials he is running for State Senate District 37 because he wants to continue to build on the foundational ideal of American innovation, as well as to improve economic equity, environmental progress, and public education.

Min is a Law Professor at UC Irvine and has focused his research on building an economy that works for people of all backgrounds. Min spent his early career working for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to break up fraud operations, was a senior policy advisor to Senator Chuck Schumer, and served as the Deputy Staff Director on the Joint Economic Committee. This Congressional work was a reflection of his commitment to establishing a policy that allows markets to operate more fairly for everyone.  

Dave Min is running against John Moorlach (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2015, and Katrina Foley (D). According to recent election results, it's challenging for Democrats to win this seat.

According to our analysis, Dave Min would be a strong choice in this purple district.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-27


Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

VOTE YES

Vote YES On Prop 13, School and College Facilities Bond

This proposition would provide $9 billion for desperately needed renovations to public preschools and grade schools throughout the state, and $6 billion for construction to community colleges, the Cal State system, and the UC system. This will allow the state of California to use tax revenue to pay for improvements that local communities cannot afford. 

The funding would come from bonds the state would pay back over 35 years, totaling an estimated $26 billion, which includes $15 billion in principal and $11 billion in interest. This investment is well worth the costs. It takes money, after all, to ensure that students -- especially those in districts that can’t afford major capital improvement projects -- do not have to learn in dangerous environments. 

The vast majority of Democrats in the state legislature support it, as does Gov. Newsom, and the only major opposition is a group called the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. This is the group famous for destroying California’s school funding system in 1978 through another proposition, ironically one that was also dubbed Prop 13. The group spends most of its time lobbying to reduce tax rates. It has never shown any interest in supporting California’s children, at least if that means wealthy individuals or giant corporations would pay their fair share in taxes.

Critics of the measure have pointed out that the ballot measure’s language includes a provision that frees new multi-family developments around subway stops and bus stations from school impact fees. This provision will make it easier for developers to build apartment buildings within a half-mile of public transit but could also drive up the cost of new housing and take funds away from school districts across the state. Despite this provision, the measure is still supported by most education groups in the state, who believe the overall funding allocation to schools outweighs the impact of reduced funding to school districts located near transit hubs. 2020’s Prop 13 is worth the investment since it means children will soon be able to attend school in buildings that are retrofitted to withstand earthquakes and no longer have lead in their water. 

We strongly recommend a YES vote on Prop 13.