Endorsements 2008: National and state races - Page 2

Obama for President, Sheehan for Congress, and more

Pelosi pushed the Wall Street bailout and privatized the Presidio.

Sheehan wants a fast withdrawal from Iraq, opposes any bailout for the big financial institutions, and is a voice against business as usual in Congress. This is a protest vote, but a valid one.

Congress, District 13


After 32 years, Pete Stark has become in some ways the most radical member of the Bay Area congressional delegation. He's furious with the war and shows no patience for the Bush administration's nonsense. He is the only member of Congress who admits he's an atheist. We just hope he doesn't decide to retire any time soon.


Superior Court, Seat 12


It's unusual to see contested races for judge in San Francisco. Most of the time, incumbents retire midterm to allow the governor to appoint a replacement, and almost nobody ever challenges a sitting judge. So the San Francisco bench has been shaped more by Republican governors than by the overwhelmingly Democratic electorate.

So we were pleased to see Gerardo Sandoval, a termed-out supervisor and former public defender, file to run against Judge Thomas Mellon. A conservative Republican appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1994, Mellon has a lackluster record, at best. California Courts and Judges, a legal journal, calls him unreasonable and cantankerous. In 2000, the San Francisco Public Defender's Office sought to have him removed from all criminal cases because of his anti-defendant bias. He needed a challenge, and he's got one: in the June primary, Sandoval came in well ahead, but because there were three candidates, this contest has gone to a November runoff.

Sandoval has been a generally progressive member of the Board of Supervisors, although we were critical of some of his votes. But he would bring the perspective of a public defender to a bench dominated by former prosecutors and big-firm civil lawyers. Vote for Sandoval.


State Senate, District 3


The drama in this race took place back in June, when Leno beat incumbent Carole Migden and former Marin Assemblymember Joe Nation in the Democratic primary. Like most Bay Area Democrats, he's a shoo-in for the general election. But it's worth noting that Leno has an extensive record in the Assembly and has demonstrated an ability to get things done. Long before the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the state, Leno got both houses of the Legislature to approve marriage equality bills (which the governor then vetoed). He got the Ellis Act, that terrible law that allows landlords to evict all their tenants and sell their buildings as condos, amended to protect seniors and disabled people. And while we were worried in the spring that Leno might be too close to Mayor Newsom when it came to local endorsements, he's shown both independence and progressive leanings. He has been a strong, visible and effective backer of Prop. H, the Clean Energy Act and has endorsed Mark Sanchez for supervisor in District 9, breaking with Newsom (and the moderates) who backed Eva Royale. We expect Leno will go on to a stellar record in the state Senate and we're happy to endorse him.

State Senate, District 9


A part of Berkeley politics since she first ran successfully for city council in 1971, Lori Hancock has spent the past six years in the State Assembly. She defeated Wilma Chan in a heated primary for this State Senate seat and faces little opposition in November. She's one of the most experienced progressives in California and has a solid grip on the state's budget issues.