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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.
Have questions about voting in San Luis Obispo County? Visit your county elections website.
Endorsed By: Bend The Arc (PAC), California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Association, CAUSE Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Union of Healthcare Workers, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, SEIU CA, United Farm Workers
Representative Salud Carbajal, a veteran, was born in Mexico and emigrated as a child with his family to Arizona and later Oxnard, CA. After high school, Carbajal attended the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and went on to obtain his Master's Degree in Organizational Management from the Fielding University. Carbajal spent eight years in the United States Marine Corps, including active duty during the 1991 Gulf War.
Carbajal was elected to the 24th District in 2017 after serving on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for 12 years. According to campaign materials, he is running for reelection on a platform that promotes a robust Central Coast through investments in infrastructure and housing, renewable energy and environmental protections, and workforce development.
Salud serves on the House Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Agriculture, and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where he was elected to serve as the Vice Chair. As part of his commitment to renewable energy, Salud’s first act in Congress was to introduce the California Clean Coast Act, which would ban future offshore oil and gas drilling on California’s coast. He also secured $1 million for the Santa Barbara Veterans Treatment Courts and has introduced legislation to combat veteran homelessness.
Representative Carbajal is being challenged by Andy Caldwell (R), a conservative radio host, and Kenneth Young (NPP). Based on our analysis, Rep. Salud Carbajal has consistently demonstrated a commitment to progressive issues, from protecting the environment to ensuring DACA protections remain in place.
According to our analysis, Rep. Carbajal is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in this district.
Last updated: 2020-02-05
Dawn Addis was raised by a single mom in Mill Valley and obtained her Masters in Special Education at San Francisco State before moving to Morro Bay with her husband and son in 2001. She has made education, fighting injustice, and supporting working families a cornerstone of her platform. She also helped co-found the Women’s March in San Luis Obispo.
Addis was elected to the Morro Bay City Council in 2018. She ran on a platform focused on housing and infrastructure improvements, and protecting the California Coastline. She spent many years as a special education teacher, including as an English Learner Intervention Specialist for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District. She also co-founded the Women’s March SLO in 2016-2017.
Addis has been vocal about supporting gun violence prevention legislation -- including universal background check, as well as improving infrastructure, improving the housing crisis, and funding education. She has highlighted the importance of diversity in elections and across the board.
Addis is running against incumbent Jordan Cunningham (R). According to recent election results, this can be a tough race for Democrats. Republicans have won by significant majorities since 2012, but Democrats held the seat from 1998-2010. Addis has been securing endorsements from local, statewide and national organizations. She is the clear progressive choice in this race.
Last updated: 2020-02-24
There are two well-qualified candidates in this race who have received broad support from progressive advocates: Maria Cadenas and John Laird. After extensive research, we believe they are both good choices. Read the full descriptions below to find the candidate which best fits your values and priorities for State Senate District 17.
John Laird is from Vallejo and is a long-time resident of Santa Cruz. According to campaign materials he is running for State Senate to build on his long history of public service and activism by providing leadership on local environmental issues and pushing for continued social reforms.
Laird has recently completed eight years of service as the California Secretary for Natural Resources, which he did because of his strong interest and experience in advocating for environmental issues. Over the course of his career, Laird has been a leading voice on environmental issues, including advocating for the establishment of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, addressing the dwindling water supply, and responding to the frequent wildfires. Prior to his Secretarial appointment, Laird served two terms as the Mayor of Santa Cruz, sat on the Santa Cruz City Council, was the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project, taught environmental policy at UC Santa Cruz, and held a seat in the State Assembly for three terms. Laird was prolific in the Assembly, authoring 82 bills that were signed into law.
Laird is running against Maria Cadenas (D), John Nevill (D), and Vicki Nohrden (R) for this open seat. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Laird is a noteworthy progressive choice because of his track record of public service, and his commitment to important regional issues like environmental protections and education reform.
According to our analysis, John Laird is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-27
Maria Cadenas was born in Mexico, and moved to California with her family when she was 11. According to campaign materials she is running for State Senate because she wants to find innovative solutions to problems that plague our communities socially and environmentally.
Cadenas currently supports families through her work with Santa Cruz Community Ventures, which provides a variety of social supports, including seeking to create a college savings account for every child born in Santa Cruz County, reducing college debt, and providing resources for immigrant families. Cadenas does this work to ensure that vulnerable members of her community have access to crucial resources. She has worked as the Associate Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, fought to protect LGBTQ+ youth as the Executive Director of the Cream City Foundation, and supported career pipeline development through her work with Driscoll. Each of these roles have provided Cadenas with the opportunity to provide access and opportunity to underserved populations.
Cadenas is running against John Laird (D), John Nevill (D), and Vicki Nohrden (R) for this open seat. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Cadenas is a noteworthy progressive choice because of her demonstrated interest in complex progressive issues like reducing college debt, supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and working to provide resources to immigrant families.
According to our analysis, Maria Cadenas is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-27
Ellen Beraud is challenging incumbent Debbie Arnold for District 5 Supervisor in San Luis Obispo County. Beraud is running on a platform to address the housing crisis--particularly addressing the needs for workforce housing--as well as the promotion of renewable energy, sustainable groundwater management, sensible cannabis regulation, improving infrastructure, and job growth. She has resided in San Luis Obispo County for 20 years.
Beraud has been critical of the board’s inaction on a variety of issues. She is calling for a transparent groundwater use plan as communities have been negatively impacted by drought. She wants the county to provide more funding to address the homeless crisis, including providing mental health and addiction services.
While campaigning, Beraud has expressed concerns about potential local job losses with the closure of Diablo Canyon. She supports sensible cannabis regulation to provide stable jobs for the county, as well as investments in renewable energy and infrastructure, including off-shore wind farms and exploring the use of Diablo Canyon for renewable energy generation.
Beraud has a long history of public service. She is a former Atascadero mayor and City Council member. Prior to her election to the city council in 2006, she served on the Atascadero Planning Commission. She is also a registered dietician, working at local hospitals, and she and her husband own a small electrical contracting business. As a council member and mayor, she opposed the expansion of a Walmart Supercenter, citing the harm it could cause to local businesses.
District 5 includes Atascadero, Creston, Pozo, and Santa Margarita, as well as portions of Templeton and San Luis Obispo. While this is a non-partisan race, this seat has been referred to as the “swing seat” on the board, as this district is the most evenly split in the county, with roughly 1,100 more registered Republicans than Democrats. Beraud is a registered Democrat and the incumbent, Arnold, is a registered Republican.
Based on her track record of public service, commitment to address the housing and homeless crisis, and progressive stances on a range of issues, Beraud is the strongest choice for this office.
Last updated: 2020-03-02
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.
Last updated: 2020-03-02
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