November Election 2022

I'm going over my ballot for this November, and I thought writing a voter guide might be an excellent way to get my thoughts in order about the election. This post is 100% inspired by/blatantly aping David Glasser's awesome voter guides. I stole a lot of his format.

I have to confess a certain amount of hopelessness about national politics. Republicans are maneuvering to take the vote away from anyone who isn't white while simultaneously pushing to make political gerrymandering legal and irreversible. If they have their way, this election might mark the end of the American experiment. Trumpism is flourishing! The former president's outright treason is going unpunished, while fascism and political violence are prevalent. I always used to scoff when people of my parent's generation told me Gen-X would fuck up the country! But here we are, and they were right.

Still, California will remain solidly progressive. Our federal representatives are going to be Democratic. The statehouse party supermajority is isn't threatened. That makes this election mostly about local races and ballot initiatives.

Voter Guides I Used

How I'm Voting

RaceMy Vote
GovernorGavin Newsom
Lieutenant GovernorEleni Kounalakis
Secretary of StateShirley Weber
ControllerMalia Cohen
TreasurerFiona Ma
Attorney GeneralRob Bonta
Insurance CommissionerRicardo Lara
State Board of Equalization, 2nd DistrictSally Lieber
United States Senate (Through 2023)Alex Padilla
United States Senate (Through 2029)Alex Padilla
12th Congressional DistrictBarbara Lee
State Assembly 18th DistrictMia Bonta
Supreme Court JudgesYes (All)
Court of Appeals JudgesYes (All)
State Superintendent of Public InstructionTony Thurmond
AUSD Governing BoardRyan Lalonde
Gary Lim
Alameda County SupervisorRebecca Kaplan
Alameda County District AttorneyPamela Price
City of Alameda MayorMarilyn Ezzy Ashcraft
City of Alameda City CouncilHannah Groce
Paul Beusterien
AC Transit District Director At-LargeAlfred Twu
AC Transit District Director, Ward 3Sarah Syed
Measure 1 (State constitutional right to abortion)Hell yes
Measure 26 (Expand gaming allowed on tribal lands)Yes, I guess.
Measure 27 (Allow online gambling)No
Measure 28 (New tax for arts in schools)Yes
Measure 29 (Kidney dialysis again)Yes
Measure 30 (Tax on $2M+ income to fund electric cars)Yes
Measure 31 (Keep law banning flavored tobacco)Yes
Alameda County D (More buildings on agricultural land)Yes
City of Alameda E (City council pay increases)HELL YES
City of Alameda F (Raise hotel taxes)Yes

Partisan Races

Democrat down the ticket. I've not consistently voted Democrat over my lifetime. But the modern Republican party has embraced fascism and political violence. Until they repudiate these stances, I never see myself voting for the party again.

People are not their politics! I know many shithead progressives and Republicans that would give you the boots off their feet. I don't hold that all Republicans are bad people, but these days I do start from that assumption until they prove themselves otherwise.


Yes to all. These are up-or-down votes about keeping judges in office. As David pointed out, the League of Pissed-Off Voters recommends voting yes on everybody. Honestly, that's good enough for me.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Thurmond. I'll quote David Glasser here:

This one doesn’t say “Democrat vs Republican” on the ballot, but it is. Thurmond has apparently not been as great as hoped for in office. But Christensen is a Christian supremacist who wants to bring staff-led prayer to public schools. Vote Thurmond!

County Supervisor

Rebecca Kaplan. This is a tragic race. In a significant loss for the region, the incumbent, Wilma Chan, was struck and killed by a motorist about a year ago. She was an Alameda local and I met her a few times. By all accounts she was a good person and public servant.

The good news is that we have an embarrassment of riches in choosing her successor: Lena Tam was an excellent vice-mayor for Alameda, and I loved being her constituent. I've voted for her before; she'd do a good job. Kaplan was vice mayor of Oakland and is a single-issue candidate focused on homelessness. That's very attractive, and she's proposing innovative solutions. We won't go wrong either way.

District Attorney

Pamela Price. David has written glowing recommendations for Pamela Price in the past. Pamela has the criminal reform endorsements, and Terry Wiley has the political machine endorsements. I don't think either will be a disaster, but David's considerable enthusiasm tilts me toward Pamela.

AUSD Governing Board

Ryan Lalonde & Gary Lim. 

Update: Ryan Lalonde reached out to me directly (validation endorphins!) with corrections. I was completely wrong! This is totally a maskers vs anti-maskers race, and one of the anti-maskers told the league of Women Voters that she opposes LGBTQ curriculum. Local blogger Lauren Do also had choice things to say about the race.

I mainly want to ensure this wasn't one of those races where the Trumpists are trying to get some COVID-denier shithead onto the school board. Fortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case.

All the candidate information online is pretty milquetoast, so in the end, I went with the California Teacher's Association endorsements.

AC Transit Races

Alfred Twu & Sarah Syed. David has glowing recommendations for Alfred Twu, and Sarah Syed's credentials and experience are extremely impressive. These both seem like no-brainers.

City of Alameda Mayor

Marilyn Ashcraft. No on Trish. Marilyn Ashcraft has been an excellent mayor of Alameda. Between COVID and the state legislature entering into a "pro-growth-or-else" posture toward city governments, she's done a fantastic job.

Ashcraft brought us through the COVID emergency while minimizing the economic impact on local business. She has shepherded the city through creating a compliant California Housing Element, and the city transit plans designed under her leadership emphasize bicycles and pedestrians over cars. In addition, city council meetings once again run smoothly on her watch. It's been a harder time than usual to lead a city in California, and Marilyn Ashcraft has been a formidable wartime mayor.

On top of that, Ashcraft has been pro-tenant in a city where more than half of residents are renters. That's a big deal, even for homeowners like me.

I love all of that, but in the end I'm a single-issue voter in Alameda city politics, and that issue is whether the owners of the Harbor Bay Club will be allowed to redevelop their site into housing. Earlier this year, these jackasses proposed bulldozing the run-down tennis club next to my house and replacing it with an apartment tower featuring a 600-space parking garage. They wanted to build it about 60 feet from my home, with the parking garage entrance pointed directly at my front door. That proposal was ultimately defeated, but it's hardly the last attempt at redevelopment by the people who own the site. Ashcraft hasn't precisely committed to opposing such a plan, but she's spoken in that direction:

According to Planning, Building & Transportation Director Andrew Thomas, "It is not an unreasonable request" to change the current zoning of the Harbor Bay Club (HBC) to make it consistent with the site's General Plan designation which is "Commercial Recreation" and would preclude housing. Mr. Thomas also noted significant concerns with the HBC site, including the need to address sea level rise. I have worked with Mr. Thomas since 2006 when I was appointed to the Planning Board and find his reasoning thorough and persuasive.

That's not an "I would definitely oppose development there," but it's good enough for me.

All that said, I wasn't in love with how her government handled multiple police scandals, including the murder of a man in custody. On the contrary, I'm disappointed by the lack of consequences for the officers involved. But I voted for Ashcraft once, and I'll do it again.

By contrast, her opponent Trish Spencer is a trash fire of a candidate. Spencer was the incumbent ousted by Ashcraft, and her time as mayor was chaos. Multiple scandals. Alameda-sized scandals, but still. Council meetings ran long. Police quit in droves. People in city hall found her difficult.

Spencer's been on the city council since losing the mayoral race, and her time on the city council has been characterized by obstruction and NIMBYism. I am relieved that I do not have to vote for Trish to protect my home.

Vote yes on Ashcraft. But just as important, vote no on Spencer.

City of Alameda City Council

Hannah Groce & Paul Beusterien. The Alameda City Council race is crowded this year, with six candidates vying for two open positions. The election determines whether we'll have a progressive vs. moderate majority in the city council. The progressives will continue to push alternatives to cars in our transit plan and favor renter protections. Moderates will go hard to reverse existing tenant protections, oppose building more housing, and will likely continue the typical California NIMBY tactics to slow growth.

I favor Hannah Groce (progressive) and Paul Beusterien (moderate). Tracy Jensen is also a great candidate and my alternate to Paul B.

It seems like I don't need to explain my choice for Hannah Groce very much. She's got the progressive bona fides; she'll do great.

I favor Paul Beusterien for two reasons. First, we don't have anyone representing my neighborhood on the city council, and Paul's from Bay Farm. More than that, he serves on the master HOA board that covers nearly 4000 households and does so well. If you'd like to check for yourself, his voting record as part of that HOA board is an open record. I think he's ready to level up to full city council.

But that's not enough to get me behind him entirely in a race that has this many candidates. What pushes me over the line is that I am confident that Paul will be on my side in the fight against the redevelopment of the Harbor Bay Club site. Paul actually came to our neighborhood, talked with us about the issue, and listened. No other candidate has done so.

Paul generally favors solutions that protect the tennis club site as commercial recreation and wants to find ways to restore it to vibrancy. I prefer non-commercial solutions myself, but this is close enough. He has my vote.

Measure 1 (legal abortion)

Hell yes. This measure will enshrine the right to abortion, birth control, and the right to refuse birth control into the state constitution. With forced birth now the law of the land in half of the United States, the country needs California to lead here. It's a no-brainer.

Measure 26 (expand tribal casinos)

I guess yes. I dislike gambling; I've seen it ruin too many lives. But I favor tribal sovereignty and dislike prohibitions. So I'll hold my nose and vote yes.

Measure 27 (online sports betting)

No. Another gambling proposition. Again, I dislike prohibitions, but Measure 28 is designed as a corporate end-run around the California state legislature, who could pass laws legalizing this type of betting if they wanted to. They don't want to, so well-funded predators are trying to capture business from the tribal casinos via ballot initiative. Fuck these people.

Measure 28 (arts in schools)

Hell yes. It sucks that we have to do all this dancing around Prop 13 to get our schools funded, but that's life. Every kid in California should have the opportunity to make art, and underfunded schools deserve arts programs.

Measure 29 (Dialysis Clinics Again)

Yes. Unions have been trying to protect the workers in California dialysis clinics for a long time, and powerful medical lobbies have effectively shut them out. The unions have put worker protections on the ballot in the last few elections, and every time they get outspent ten to one and lose. The clinics claim all their patients will die because they'll all close down if they had to treat their workers like human beings.

The unions are trying again this year, and the (wildly profitable) dialysis clinic companies are trotting out ads featuring old ladies begging us not to murder them. It's sick.

I doubt any clinics will close if this passes, but it won't. I'm pro-union, so I'm voting yes anyway.

Measure 30 (Tax the rich to fund electric cars)

Yes. So Lyft will save some money, so fucking what? We're in a climate emergency, and the rich don't have to pay federal income taxes. Make their accountants earn those fees by dancing around this tax too. The worst case scenario here, if it passes, is that we get more electric cars, and billionaires don't buy their way out of future taxes at the ballot. Tax the rich! What's controversial about that?

Measure 31 (Keep law banning flavored tobacco)

Soft yes. Measure 31 is a big company trying to buy a veto around the state legislature via a ballot initiative. Again, I don't like prohibitions, but I dislike big corporations trying to buy their way past the state legislature even more. Fight it in the state house, not at the ballot initiative, and support representative democracy.

Alameda County D (buildings on agricultural land)

Yes. This one is deep policy wonk stuff. Alameda County prohibits building on many agricultural lands; this allows limited development for equestrian and agricultural buildings. The county supervisors proposed and support it, and the Sierra Club has no opinion, so I will trust the supervisors to do their jobs.

City of Alameda E (City council pay increases)

Hell Yes. Serving in elected city leadership in Alameda pays jack shit. City council members make $1200 a year, and the mayor makes $3600 a year. True, city leadership is a part-time job in a city structured in a weak-mayor, strong-city-manager way, but those numbers are too low. We're asking our elected officials to work for free, which cuts everyone out of the candidate pool who can't afford to do that.

If this passes, the city council's pay will jump to $25,000 in 2023. Future pay increases would be based on a formula not to exceed 30 percent of the median Bay Area annual salary, which is... weird? But not unreasonable. They haven't had a raise since the 1970s; we should do it.

If you want professionals in the job, pay them like professionals.

City of Alameda F (Hotel taxes)

Yes. This increases the hotel tax to 14%, in line with other cities in the area. It sucks because it's a direct voting tax, not something the city council can set itself. But that's life in California for you. But I don't see a downside beyond entrenching our existing government dysfunction.