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Monday, September 19, 2016

CGP endorses strong progressive leaders


This November, voters in the Bay Area and beyond have clear choices. Some candidates are funded by the corporate establishment, and some are supported by labor and environmentalists -- and people like you and me.

Our environment, our privacy, our healthcare, and our Constitution are under relentless assault from corporate “business as usual” legislators -- and the time is now to elect candidates who will defend us in those crucial realms. After careful assessments, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has made endorsements in these crucial races:

In Sonoma County:

Julie Combs, incumbent running for her second term on the Santa Rosa City Council

As a voice for progressives on the Santa Rosa City Council for the past four years, Julie has made homelessness and affordable housing one of her top issues, and calls for local jobs paying a living wage. She recently led the charge to pass a “just-cause eviction” ordinance in the city, standing up to landlords’ organizations such as the California Apartment Association. In the wake of the shooting of Andy Lopez, she worked with then-State Senator Noreen Evans on “A Toy Should Look Like a Toy” legislation, strengthening controls on toy gun manufacturers. One of her top priorities is making Santa Rosa government open and transparent.

Noreen Evans, for Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor

During her public career, serving on the Santa Rosa City Council, as a member of the California Assembly, and as a member of the California State Senate, Noreen has always represented various parts of Sonoma County’s 5th District. She knows the important issues of the district and is committed to continuing to speak up in support of urban growth boundaries, protecting fisheries and rivers, addressing the growing problem of income and wealth disparities, promoting local and sustainable organic farms, and the challenges we face due to climate change. Noreen’s opponent, camouflaged behind the term “organic farmer,” is funded by Sonoma County’s ever-expanding wine industry, the commercial real estate development industry, and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Wolpert for Petaluma City Council

In his ten years as a Petaluma City Planning Commissioner, Wolpert has made it his mission to improve the carbon footprint of the city by improving the city’s energy efficiency, encouraging greater use of solar panels and increasing the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. Endorsed by Sonoma County Conservation Action and the Sierra Club, Wolpert is running for one of three seats currently held by councilmembers who are financially supported by real estate developers and construction companies who have projects before the council.

Mariko Yamada, for the open seat in California State Senate District 3

Yamada’s opponent in this race, while in the Assembly this year, voted “no” not once, but twice, on a bill that would pay farmworkers overtime after eight hours worked. Yamada has a clear record on fair pay for farmworkers while she was in the Assembly, and would have voted “yes” had she been in office this year. Her opponent’s campaign is funded by Chevron, big oil, tobacco, and corporate special interests. Yamada is supported by labor, nurses, and environmentalists.

Roni Jacobi for California Assembly District 10

Jacobi is running against an entrenched incumbent who is deeply aligned with commercial real estate developers, big agriculture, and resource-extractors. Her opponent voted “no” on the farmworker overtime bill in June, and then sat out the vote on the revised bill in August, which had the same effect as a “no” vote. Roni’s passions include protecting our coast and our environment, affordable housing, and green jobs to help restore the economy.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area:

Richmond City Council, three seats, three incumbents running, six challengers. CGP endorses these two challengers:

Melvin Willis for Richmond City Council
Ben Choi for Richmond City Council

Like Mariko Yamada in the Senate District, Melvin Willis and Ben Choi are running against the influence of Chevron. That corporate energy giant is doing all it can to buy the Richmond City Council.

Willis is a former Richmond Planning Commissioner, and is the 2013 recipient of the Mario Savio Young Activist Award. He has worked as a Community Organizer with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), which defends homeowners from the greed of banks and speculators and helps tenants whose rents are skyrocketing. ACCE wants health care for all residents and mobilizes communities of color to benefit from local developments, advocating that work be done by unionized labor. Willis opposes Chevron’s pollution, and supports the preservation of open shorelines.

Choi is campaigning on a platform of community policing, environmental protection including alternative energy, fair and affordable housing including rent control and just-cause eviction, and living wages. He is a three-term member of the Richmond Planning Commission. He pledges to lead Richmond beyond the “two dimensional thinking” of “either clean air or jobs.”

Both Choi and Willis refuse to accept corporate campaign donations. Their campaigns, with the Richmond Progressive Alliance, are prime examples of getting money out of politics by putting the people back in.

Mike Honda for Congress in California District 17

Sometimes called an old-school liberal because he wanted to repeal tax cuts to the rich from the Bush administration, Honda is facing a challenge from a Wall Street Democrat. According to Open Secrets, Honda’s opponent has received more money from the securities and investment industry than anyone else running for a House seat, while Honda’s top donors are unions and human rights groups. This was a very tight race in the primary, and Honda can use our help.

No matter who is elected President in November, we need strong and determined progressives representing us at the local level. The results of these elections are crucial for the future of the greater Bay Area. Please connect with these campaigns and lend your support.

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is an independent community-based political action committee for progressive change. Our work is only possible with your financial support. The best way you can help is to become a recurring, monthly donor. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way; please consider a donation of any amount to CGP today.

In solidarity, Alice Chan and Anna Givens for the Coalition for Grassroots Progress


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