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Vote YES on Cupertino Union School District Measure A

Vote YES on Cupertino Union School District Measure A to provide increased local funding support to public schools.
Measure A asks voters in Santa Clara County to support local school funding by replacing the existing parcel tax with an increased annual parcel tax rate. If the measure is adopted, parcel owners would see an increase of $148 annually as the rate is raised from the current $250/year to the newly approved $398/year. This local funding stream will provide $14 million annually for the next 8 years to the Cupertino Union School District, and would include independent community oversight, exemptions for senior citizens, and a guarantee that all collected funds would go directly to benefit local schools. These funds will not be used to cover administrative salaries, but will be focused on retaining high-quality teachers, providing competitive compensation rates for teachers and instructors, keeping schools open, ensuring fiscal solvency across the district and supporting the social and emotional wellness of students. A similar measure was included on the March 2020 primary ballot, but failed after gaining only 60% voter approval. This measure requires a two-thirds supermajority voter approval to pass.

Why voting YES on Measure A matters:

  • Cupertino Union School District currently serves 15,000 elementary and middle school students, which is down from nearly 19,000 in 2013. This steady decline in enrollment has created significant financial challenges for the district. State funding, which is allocated on a per-pupil basis, has decreased while the fixed cost of operating and maintaining school buildings has not changed. Without a change to the school funding mix, it is expected that the district will have to move forward with consolidating school buildings for low enrollment, freezing teacher salaries, and staff layoffs. Measure A will provide the district with a reliable fixed stream of annual income, allowing school leaders to strategically budget and maintain all existing school locations in the district.  
  • With these funds, Cupertino Union School District is planning for ambitious improvements to social and emotional learning, core academic programs, library collections, and classroom technology. To ensure that these dollars are properly allocated, the district has committed to appointing an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee and undergoing mandatory annual audits. None of the raised funds will be spent on district administrator salaries, but there will be an effort to make teacher and instructor salaries more competitive and to build annual increases into the compensation system. Measure A will require that the district provide taxed citizens with oversight and public accountability, and that the raised funds will be concentrated on improvements to classroom learning and student success. 
  • The decreases in student enrollment is partially tied to families moving out of the district over the last decade. Approving this local investment in public education could have larger community benefits, like improving and stabilizing property values over time and attracting young families to move to the area and enroll their children in the public-education system. Measure A will provide a long-term investment in local schools that will revitalize public education, and it could also have positive implications for the local economy and the housing market. 


Top Funders
The committee in support of Measure A, Citizens for Great Cupertino District Schools, has raised more than $56,000 for the ballot initiative through both individual and organizational donors. Donations include $10,000 from Vallco Property Owner, LLC, $5,000 from SEIU Local 521 Issues PAC, and $3,000 from McKim Design Group. Measure A has also received the endorsement of several local progressive elected officials, including Assemblymembers Evan Low, Alex Lee, and Josh Becker. 

There is no prominent misinformation about Measure A.

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.

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.

Otto Lee

Otto Lee is from Hong Kong and immigrated to California at 15 years old with his family. According to campaign materials, he is running for Santa Clara Board of Supervisors to continue his public service and to use his experience to address challenges his community faces, such as the increased cost of housing and traffic congestion. 

Lee is an intellectual property attorney, where he fosters economic development by protecting the rights’ of innovators. Lee has served on the Sunnyvale Planning Commission, the Sunnyvale City Council, and as Mayor, where he championed environmental issues such as banning single-use plastic bags, successfully promoting solar energy, and ensuring that development projects are environmentally sustainable. He has also served as a Democratic National Committee member and in the US Navy, where he received the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal for his honorable service. 

Otto Lee is running against Kansen Chu, Magdalena Carrasco, and John Leyba for the open Board of Supervisors seat. Lee stands out as a progressive choice because of his strong environmental track record and his vision to address issues that directly impact his community, such as the rising unhoused population and the need to invest in sustainable infrastructure. 

According to our analysis, Lee is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.

Magdalena Carrasco

Magdalena Carrasco grew up in San Jose, CA. According to campaign materials, she is running for Santa Clara Board of Supervisors to be a voice for the voiceless and strengthen her community.  

Carrasco currently serves on the San Jose City Council, which she does to improve the quality of life for the residents of East San Jose and the rest of the city. She has helped to pass the city’s Women’s Bill of Rights, which increased resources to support survivors of domestic abuse, as well as improved policies to combat human trafficking, and increased access to economic opportunities. Also, while on the city council, she has developed clean energy programs, promoted infrastructure improvements, increased access to affordable housing, been a champion for labor rights, and increased access to educational opportunities. Carrasco has also served as Vice Mayor of San Jose where she focused on increasing representation of women and people of color in all levels of government. 

Carrasco is running against Kansen Chu, Otto Lee, and John Leyba candidate for the open Board of Supervisors seat. Carrasco stands out as a progressive choice because of her track record of successfully advancing progressive initiatives and increasing political representation in all levels of government. 

According to our analysis, Carrasco is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.

Kansen Chu

Kansen Chu is from Taiwan and moved to the United States in 1976. According to campaign materials, he is running for Santa Clara Board of Supervisors to bring government, business, local community leaders, and organizations together to solve critical issues. 

Kansen Chu currently serves in the State Assembly, where he works to promote economic development, increase access to quality education, and advance environmental preservations. While in the State Assembly, Chu has used his position as Chair of the Health and Human Services committee to ensure vulnerable communities have access to efficient support services. Chu has fought to improve child welfare programs, the foster care system, and other support services such as Cal-Works and Cal-Fresh. Chu has also worked as an electronics engineer and served on the San Jose City Council and Berryessa School Board. 

Kansen Chu is running against Magdalena Carrasco, Otto Lee, and John Leyba for the open Board of Supervisors seat. In 2019, Chu scored a 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Kansen Chu has consistently shown great courage in standing up for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. 

According to our analysis, Kansen Chu is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.