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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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State

Al Muratsuchi

Al Muratsuchi has lived in Southern California for nearly 25 years. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2016. According to campaign materials, he is for re-election to bring good jobs and quality education to his district, as well as improve environmental protections and veteran services. 

In the Assembly, Muratsuchi has advanced legislation to keep aerospace jobs in the state, increase funding for public education, oppose oil drilling throughout California’s coastlines, and to improve the services provided to homeless and disabled veterans. Muratsuchi currently sits on the Budget Committee, Environmental Safety and Toxins Materials Committee, Natural Resources Committee, Utilities and Energy Committee, and the Veteran Affairs Committee. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he served as a Torrance School Board member and as a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice.

Muratsuchi is a supporter of progressive economic policies and environmental protections. Our environmental justice allies work with him closely in advancing environmental priorities. That said, he has a clear history of casting bad votes on criminal justice reform measures. In 2019, he scored a 64 out of 100 on Courage Score, and has a lifetime score of 58, mostly due to his continued unwillingness to support progressive justice reforms. His district is somewhat purple, but his constituents have consistently voted in support of reforming our racist, broken criminal justice system. It is deeply troubling that Muratsuchi refuses to join them.

Muratsuchi is running against Angelica Scherp (D), Connie Sullivan (D), Richard Vaugh (D), Margie Hoyt (D), Stacey Golden (D), Cathy Familathe (D), Sara Deen (D), Donald Dear (D), Bobbi Buecher (D), Thomas Brewer (R), Janice Webb (R), Peter Michel (R), Martha Logan (R), Johnny Lauro (R), Williams Valladares (R), Eric Schuchman (R), Frank Scotto (R), Arthur Schaper (R). Though we disagree with Muratsuchi’s stances and votes on criminal justice reform, his local support and relationships with community leaders support progressive momentum and make him a strong choice in this race. That said, a viable progressive challenger would deserve a close look.
 

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https://www.alforassembly.com
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Toni Atkins


Toni Atkins is from Virginia and has lived in San Diego for over 30 years. She is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2016. According to campaign materials she is running for re-election to continue to champion issues of equity, including affordable housing, healthcare, women’s rights, and LGBTQ protections.

In the State Senate, Atkins passed legislation that created a permanent source of funding for affordable housing. She currently serves as the President pro Tempore of the Senate, and is the first woman and first openly LGBTQ person to hold that position. Atkins is on the Rules Committee and three additional committees. Prior to her election to the State Senate, she served two terms in the State Assembly where she instituted a $7.5m water bond, and established the state’s first Earned Income Tax Credit. Atkins also served as the Director of Clinic Services at Womancare Health Center before being elected to the San Diego City Council, and briefly acting as the interim Mayor.

Toni Atkins is running unopposed. She scores a lifetime 99 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting record. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Senator Atkins has consistently shown great courage advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.

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

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https://www.toniatkinsforsenate.com/
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Josh Newman

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.

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https://www.newman2020.com
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Henry Stern


Senator Henry Stern is a sixth-generation Californian and native of this district. He is the incumbent, having served in the State Senate since 2017. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to continue to be a voice for common sense policy that uplifts families and neighborhoods through community-driven, local policy solutions.

In the State Senate, Senator Stern has pushed for community-based resilience solutions that protect families and has authored legislation to empower communities to take a local approach to fight human trafficking. He currently chairs the Senate Elections Committee. Prior to his election to the State Senate, he worked with businesses to construct clean energy projects, co-founded a technology incubator, and taught civics classes.

Senator Stern is being challenged by Houman Salem (R). Based on our Courage Score analysis, Senator Stern has consistently shown courage advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.

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

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Anthony Portantino


State Senator Anthony Portantino is from Long Branch, NJ. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2016. According to campaign materials, he is running for reelection to continue to represent the needs of the foothills community in the State Legislature.

As a State Senator, Portantino has advanced bills to address public health issues, increase access to higher education, and improve senior citizens’ services. Prior to his election to the State Senate, Portantino served on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council, as Mayor of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Committee, and as President of the League of California Cities Mayors and Councilmembers Department.

As Senate Appropriations Chair, Portantino took actions that resulted in various progressive bills being tabled. Even though we don’t agree with all of Portantino's actions as Appropriations Chair, his position of power in the State Senate, his support of inclusive education and health policies make him a strong choice in this race.

Portantino is running uncontested for reelection. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Portantino has often shown courage advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.
 

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https://www.anthonyportantino.com
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Monique Limón

Monique Limón is a lifelong resident of Santa Barbara. According to campaign materials, she is running for State Senate because she understands the values of the region and will use her public service experience to advocate for environmental protection, educational reforms, and improved healthcare access.

Limón is a member of the California State Assembly, where she uses her understanding of her community to establish meaningful legislation to positively impact educational outcomes and environmental protections. She acted as the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Natural Disaster Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding, and worked to improve emergency communication and fire prevention. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Limón served two terms on the Santa Barbara Unified School Board, and acted as the Assistant Director for the McNair Scholars program at UCSB.

Limón is running for this open seat against Gary J. Michaels (R), and Anastasia Stone (NPP). In 2019 she scored a 90 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records. According to recent election results, Democrats can win this seat but it's often a close race. Limón is the most progressive choice because of her track record of championing education reform, working toward stronger environmental protections, and pushing for improved emergency responses.

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

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https://www.moniquelimonforsenate.com/
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John Laird


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.
 

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https://www.lairdforcasenate.com/
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Josh Becker


Josh Becker has lived in Menlo Park for 20 years. According to campaign materials he is running for State Senate because he hopes to build on his extensive track record leveraging the intersection of technology and public policy to create community systems and social change.

Becker is an attorney and public policy innovator, which allows him to invest in community organizations that are working to support public infrastructures like healthcare, education, and environmental sustainability. He was appointed and served five years on the California Workforce Development Board, and acted as the CEO of Lex Machina where he supported efforts to create more transparency in the law. Becker has also co-founded several companies and organizations focused on social responsibility: Full Circle Fund, New Cycle Capital, Stanford Board Fellows, and a cancer research biotech company.

Becker is running against Shelly Masur (D), Sally Lieber (D), Mike Brownrigg (D), Annie Oliva (D), Alexander Glew (R), and John Webster (L) for this open State Senate seat. Shelly Masur presents a strong progressive challenge to Becker’s campaign. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Becker is a notable progressive choice because of his proven track record of creating infrastructures to support social innovation.

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

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https://joshbecker2020.com/
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Bill Dodd

Senator Bill Dodd (D) is the incumbent, having served as Senator for the district since 2013. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Senator Dodd has shown that he does NOT advocate for the needs of constituents or face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. Dodd scored a shocking 57 out of 100 on this year’s Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records.
 
Senator Dodd is running unopposed. Courage California encourages you to write in a candidate of your choice to show support for progressives in this district. Keep reading for progressive recommendations in other key races and on ballot measures where your vote can make a critical difference.

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http://www.billdodd.com/
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