There are plenty of important races and issues on the ballot in the East Bay. Here are our endorsements for Berkeley and Oakland
Conventional wisdom says Desley Brooks is almost certain to get reelected to this seat. Her only competition comes from Nancy Sidebotham, whose platform is all cops all the time, and Jose Dorado, a bookkeeper with little political experience. Brooks is a fierce advocate for her district and has been tough on banks and good on pushing local hiring, but has too many ethical problems to merit our endorsement. She has never denied that she kept her boyfriend's daughter on as a $5,000-a-month aide while the young woman was a full-time student at Syracuse University in New York. When San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson challenged some of her ethical lapses, she sued him for libel (the case was dismissed).
Dorado is a neighborhood activist who is running a grassroots campaign and, while he needs more experience, he's raising good issues (like public financing of elections). And unlike Sidebotham, he's supporting the revenue measures on the ballot.
East Bay Ballot Measures
BERKELEY MEASURE H
SCHOOL FACILITIES TAX
The East Bay cities have done a much better job than San Francisco at using parcel taxes — a poor substitute for property taxes but still a relatively progressive form of revenue — to support schools and other public services. Measure H would continue an existing tax on residential and commercial buildings — 6.3 cents per square foot on residences and 9.4 cents on businesses — to pay for maintenance on public school buildings. Vote yes.
BERKELEY MEASURE I
Measure I is a $210 million bond act to expand and upgrade the public schools. Vote yes.
BERKELEY MEASURE T
Measure T is on the ballot as part of Berkeley's effort to implement Prop. 19, the statewide pot-legalization measure. Berkeley and Oakland are both ahead of San Francisco in planning for legal marijuana. Prop. T would allow six medical cannabis clinics with cultivation permits, but restrict future industrial pot uses to industrial districts. Vote yes.
OAKLAND MEASURE L
Another parcel tax for schools, this one $195 a year for 10 years, essentially to offset state cuts. There's an exemption for low-income taxpayers. Vote yes.
OAKLAND MEASURE V
If Oakland goes ahead with its plans to allow large-scale cultivation and passes this tax hike on pot sales (to $50 per $1,000 of gross revenue for medical pot and $100 per $1,000 for recreational pot) the city could take in as much as $30 million a year — almost enough to offset the budget deficit. Vote yes.
OAKLAND MEASURE W
PHONE LINE TAX
Another creative — if imperfect — way to raise some revenue, Measure W puts a modest $1.99 a month tax on phone lines to raise money for the general fund. Vote yes.
OAKLAND MEASURE X
POLICE PARCEL TAX