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Recall Target City Councilmember Cecilia Iglesias

According to our analysis, Santa Ana’s City Council recall election is a complicated race that has sparked strong debate among local residents.

About the Race

Local sources and reporting tell us that this special recall election was organized by the Santa Ana Police Union, which gathered and filed the signatures to initiate the recall and has also spent hundreds of thousands to influence the outcome of this election. The trigger was a no vote by two councilmembers on a $25 million budget increase to provide raises to the police. The money for the raises comes from a recent $60 million sales tax increase, which was originally described on the ballot as a “Homeless Prevention” measure.

The recall effort originally targeted both Santa Ana City Council members who voted against the raise for police officers. Despite their no votes, the raises were approved by the city council and local sources allege that the city is on the verge of bankruptcy largely as a result. One local source suggests that there may have been a behind-the-scenes deal that led to the dropping of one target, Councilmember Juan Villegas, who has historically been supportive of the police. Local reporting estimates the cost of this election at $650,000.

There are two questions on the ballot. The first is whether to recall Cecilia Iglesias and remove her from her seat on the city council. The second is to pick a replacement candidate if the recall is successful. Residents will be able to vote on both questions, regardless of whether they vote in favor of the recall or not.

About the District

City council members serve at-large. The winner of this recall election will continue to serve at-large until November, when the position will transition to a districted position, although in Santa Ana the naming convention for districts is wards.

About the Vote to Recall

Local sources say progressives are split on supporting the recall. Historically, the local police unions have had immense power and influence in city council elections. Progressives appear to agree that the police union’s action is unwarranted and not a trend they want to see continue. However, it is also an opportunity to elect a more progressive member to the city council.

About the Candidates

There are four candidates on the ballot, including the recall target.

  • Recall Target City Councilmember Cecilia Iglesias is described as a conservative whose philosophy is to “keep government small.” She is known to be a Republican.
  • Thai Viet Phan is an attorney and city planning commissioner who was appointed by Councilman Phil Bacerra. Thai is described as progressive by mainstream establishment Democrats, who are supporting her campaign. Her progressive credentials appear to be questioned by some local progressives, who question whether she will join a centrist voting block on the city council that doesn’t align with local progressive priorities. She also gave a noncommittal answer about a vote to create a community oversight commission for police. She is a lawyer, an immigrant, Asian-American, and married to a veteran. She has endorsements from the Orange County Labor Federation and SEIU among other unions, the Democratic party, the Young Dems, and local elected officials as well as Asian Americans in Action and the National Women’s Political Caucus – OC.
  • Nelida Mendoza is a Rancho Santiago Community College District board member who previously ran in 2018 on a slate backed by former councilman and mayoral candidate Sal Tinajero. She is a Democrat and has the backing of Congressional Rep. Lou Correa, who more often than not was on the wrong side of progressive votes during his time in the state Senate from 2006 to 2014. She has stated that she will take financial support from the Santa Ana Police Union. However, she also supports a vote to create a community oversight commission for police.
  • Angie Cano is a planning commissioner who is close with Iglesias and has advocated against the recall despite her becoming a candidate. She is expected to follow the same agenda as Iglesias.
How to Vote in this Election

The May 19 election encompasses only the city of Santa Ana and is being administered by the Registrar of Voters in Orange County. To be counted, completed ballots must be received at your County Registrar of Voters office no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, or be postmarked on or before Election Day and received no later than three days after Election Day. Voting by mail is the only way to vote in this election. Information about this election can be found at https://www.ocvote.com/vc/web/elections/2020-santa-ana-special-recall-election

Each voter in the City of Santa Ana will be mailed a ballot beginning on April 20, 2020. Voters will have the following options for returning their vote-by-mail ballot:

1) Mail their ballot (postage is pre-paid) so that it is postmarked by Election Day, May 19, 2020.
2) Drop off their ballot at the Registrar of Voters’ ballot drop box, open 24-hours per day, no later than 8 p.m. on May 19, 2020 at 1300 South Grand Avenue, Santa Ana.
3) Drop off their ballot at other ballot drop box locations in the City of Santa Ana, open 24-hours per day, at the following locations no later than 8 p.m. on May 19, 2020:

  • AltaMed, 1400 North Main Street, (Btwn 17th St. & Washington Ave.)
  • County Administration South, 601 Ross Street, (Btwn Santa Ana Blvd. & Civic Center Dr.)
  • Goodwill Computer Works, 412 North Fairview Street, (Btwn 1st St. & 5th St.)
  • Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal, M.I., 1025 West Memory Lane, (Btwn. Bristol St. & Flower St.)
  • Johnson Chapel A.M.E. Church, 1306 West 2nd Street, (Enter on Hesperian St.)
  • OC Health Care Agency, 1725 West 17th Street, (Btwn. Bristol St. & English St.)
  • Orangewood Foundation, 1575 East 17th Street, (Btwn. Grand Ave. & Cabrillo Park Dr.)
  • Santa Ana Reg. Trans. Cntr., 1000 East Santa Ana Boulevard, (Btwn. Grand Ave. & Santiago St.)

Accessible Voting

The Registrar of Voters’ Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail ballot system provides voters with disabilities and those with medical impacts related to COVID-19 the option to request a vote-by-mail ballot to be delivered electronically. The electronic ballot can be downloaded to the voter’s computer, marked using the voter’s own assistive technology and then printed. Voters should follow the return instructions included with the electronic ballot. To request a Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail ballot, voters can:
Complete the postcard with pre-paid postage located on the back of the Voter Information Guide

  • Visit ocvote.com/myballot
  • Call the Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600
  • Email myballot@rov.ocgov.com

Voters with disabilities or particularized needs, who are unable to download or cast an electronic ballot, should call the Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600 no later than May 15, 2020 to discuss additional options for casting a ballot in this election

Register to Vote

You must register to vote by April 27, 2020 to receive a Vote By Mail ballot in the mail.

Emergency Ballots

Emergency ballots are issued during the last six days prior to an election and on Election Day. These ballots cannot be issued by mail. To obtain an emergency ballot, a voter may request in a written statement, signed under penalty of perjury, that a ballot be delivered to him/her. Download the PDF form to request an emergency ballot.

Same Day Voter Registration

After the April 27th deadline, you can still register and vote under Conditional Voter Registration (CVR), also known as Same Day Voter Registration. Contact your county elections office to learn more about CVR.

Website

Orange County Elections Website: https://www.ocvote.com

 

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San Diego, Measure B

Both Measures A and B on the San Diego County March ballot deal with housing development in the county’s unincorporated areas. While Measure A is designed to increase public oversight and approval over any large development project in San Diego County, Measure B reaffirms the approval of a specific large development project called Newland Sierra by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 

San Diego County’s Measure B would uphold the approval of Newland Sierra, a planned high density development just north of Escondido on land currently zoned as rural or semi-rural. The Newland Sierra project would build 2,135 homes on land previously zoned for 99 residences, as well as the development of about 2 million square feet of commercial space. In addition to approving the land rezoning, the San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the county’s development guidelines specifically for Newland Sierra.

The Supervisors have failed to set in place any long-term action plans on affordable housing or climate for the county, which is how Newland Sierra was approved with no affordable housing guarantees in part of the county identified by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as an area of severe fire danger. 

Proponents of Measure B argue that a legal agreement signed by the the developer of the project guarantees affordable housing be included in the project, and that the project will help alleviate the housing crisis in the area. Opponents of Measure B, have pointed out that the signed legal agreement can be changed at any time by the developer and is therefore not enforceable by the county or the public. This is a strong example of how developers are often irresponsible stewards of our responsibility to build and expand affordable housing, while making sure that this housing is built in areas safe from excessive wildfire danger.

We recommend a NO on Measure B. 

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B
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General Plan Amendments for Newland Sierra Project
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Vote NO on Measure B
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San Diego, Measure A

Both Measures A and B on the San Diego County March ballot deal with housing development in the county’s unincorporated areas. While Measure B is related to the future of a specific development -- the one that inspired both of these measures -- Measure A would address the approval process for all developments in the unincorporated lands around San Diego. 

Dubbed by advocates as the “Save Our San Diego Countryside Measure,” Measure A would require a countywide vote on any major projects granted a General Plan amendment. (The county’s General Plan covers zoning and land use was last updated in 2012. Large housing developments generally require an amendment in order to proceed.) Developers rarely fare well in these kinds of public votes, but proponents of the measure believe residents should have a greater voice in any changes that involve building in the fire-prone areas in the outskirts of the county. They also note that the county government is too easily bought off by donations from the building industry and developers. 

The opposition, unsurprisingly, comes primarily from those very people -- the building industry and developers. Opponents claim it’s being financed by the ultra wealthy and primarily designed to save properties like the Golden Door Spa, the luxury retreat funding the opposition to Measure B, from development despite the fact that over a dozen environmental groups support the measure. They reiterate the conservative claim that Measure A would stymie new housing projects due to the expense involved in putting anything before a public vote.

Developers often are irresponsible stewards of our responsibility to build and expand affordable housing. Measure A would ensure that the public's voice is heard when it comes to amending the General Plan, which impacts both affordable housing and safety. It would prevent elected officials from changing the General Plan without justifying those amendments to voters in order to appease developers. While it might be well-meaning to build more housing in an attempt to address the housing crisis, if it's done in high-risk areas where families may lose their homes and potentially their lives down the line, it is misguided -- as we've seen with the countless wildfires throughout the state that have devastated various communities in fire-risk areas. 

Vote YES on Measure A.
 

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Voter Approval for Land Use Amendments to County General Plan
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Vote YES on Measure A
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San Francisco, Initiative, Prop E

Prop E is a measure that provides part of the solution towards San Francisco’s housing crisis. Sponsored by Todco, a nonprofit that manages affordable housing developments, the measure ties the city’s ability to approve new office development plans to the creation of affordable housing. Prop E would modify an older law, Prop M, which imposed an annual limit on office development. Prop M passed in 1986 after a number of tall towers abruptly changed the city skyline. Prop M limits the city to only 875,000 square feet in new large office projects per year, and Prop E would limit that growth further, reducing it by whatever amount the city falls short on its state-mandated affordable housing goals. 

Advocates of Measure E -- which include numerous progressive allies of Courage California -- believe that the growth of commercial space is part of what is driving up the cost of housing and has to be slowed unless affordable housing is added, as well. While more and more businesses flock to the city of San Francisco, creating jobs, there is no where for the employees to live. It is not unusual to hear of SF employees commuting in from as far as Merced -- spending the majority of their day getting to and from work. 

The measure’s opposition includes developers and city officials. Together they claim Prop E will simply raise the cost of commercial space and limit job growth in the city. The city controller’s analysis expands upon that claim by estimating that Prop. E. would cause the city to lose out on 10 million square feet in office space, 47,000 jobs, and 8.6 percentage points in economic growth in the next 20 years. However, considering that office development is increasing while affordable housing development is stagnating, it is unclear who those jobs and city’s funds will go to when only the super rich can afford to live in San Francisco. When we consider that, plus the fact that the measure is supported by Courage’s closest allies that work daily on affordable housing issues, it leads us to recommend you support the measure. 

Vote YES on Prop E.
 

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E
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City Office Development Limit Initiative
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Vote YES on Proposition E
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Santa Clara BOS District 3

Submitted by deepthi on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 12:22

There are three well-qualified candidates in this race who have received broad support from progressive advocates: Kansen Chu, Magdalena Carrasco, and Otto Lee. After extensive research, we believe they are all good choices. Read the full descriptions below to find the candidate which best fits your values and priorities for Santa Clara Board of Supervisor, District 3.

Santa Clara BOS District 3

Submitted by deepthi on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 12:10

There are three well-qualified candidates in this race who have received broad support from progressive advocates: Kansen Chu, Magdalena Carrasco, and Otto Lee. After extensive research, we believe they are all good choices. Read the full descriptions below to find the candidate which best fits your values and priorities for Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor, District 3.

Photo Credits

Submitted by rumeal on Sat, 02/29/2020 - 18:36

Photo Credits

Monterey, Santa Barbara

Photo by Darpan Dodiya on Unsplash

San Benito, Santa Cruz

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

San Luis Obispo, Ventura

Photo by JC Dela Cuesta on Unsplash

Butte, Fresno, Merced, Sacramento, Sutter

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

Myanna Dellinger

Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: NOT QUALIFIED

Myanna Dellinger is a professor of law focused on international law and climate change. She is an Associate Law Professor, University of South Dakota School of Law.

Dellinger was born in Denmark and has lived in southern California for over 20 years. She received her J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. She contributes often to law journals and outlets, and hosts the podcasts "The Global Energy and Environmental Law Podcast" and "Dellinger on the Law." 

She signed an open letter to Congress opposing strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) laws in 2015. SLAPP laws are intended to intimidate or deter objections to public discourse with the threat of massive legal lawsuits that would exhaust the resources of individuals or organizations. Before teaching at the University of South Dakota, she was an associate professor at Western State University College of Law.

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Vote YES on FD Los Angeles

Measure FD would add a parcel tax of 6 cents per square foot on residential and commercial buildings in the unincorporated areas of LA County as well as in the 58 cities that contract with the county for fire protection and emergency services. (This does not include the city of Los Angeles, but does include many of the smaller cities in and around the city limits.) The parcel tax would cap out at 100,000 square feet and the money would be used to by the Los Angeles County Fire Department to hire more firefighters and paramedics and upgrade its equipment.

In a region famed for being prone to natural disasters, fires are among the most frequent large-scale crises we face. Climate change is making matters worse. All over the state, fire departments are being stretched by the increasing frequency with which they’re dispatched to battle major fires, and, as we learned in 2018, this means reinforcements and resources from elsewhere are not always available when they’re needed. LA County’s fire department also operates paramedic services, which are concurrently seeing an increase in demand. Both of these functions are vital to protecting the health and property of LA County’s citizens and worth funding. 

LA County’s fire department is funded entirely via property taxes -  it doesn’t receive any money from the county’s general fund. Because of this unique funding scheme they periodically have had to go to voters to pass parcel taxes for additional funding. The last time they did this, however, was over twenty years ago in 1997. Though the department has been late in getting their overtime report to voters, meaning they have not done everything they could have to document the need for this tax, it’s still worth voting YES. Too much rides on the fire department’s ability to provide quick, efficient service.

This measure requires a two-thirds vote to pass and the resulting tax would only apply in areas where the L.A. County Fire Department does its work. 

Vote YES on Measure FD.
 

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Vote YES on FD Los Angeles
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Vote YES on Measure FD, LA County Fire District Parcel Tax
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