Original text from before I was sure who I was going to vote for: I love Liz Warren and wish I could wave a magic wand and make her president. But it's not clear at this point she'll hit the level of support to win any delegates in CA, in which case a vote for her just disappears into a black hole. I also am concerned about polling that suggests she performs more poorly in swing states against Trump than some other candidates. Most likely if it looks like a race between Sanders and some moderate-lane candidate, I'll go for Sanders. (I definitely prefer Sanders over Biden. I'm persuaded that Sanders would've been the better choice in 2016, given the map and the post-mortem polling, and nominating Biden seems like a re-run of that choice, but possibly even worse. I'm more torn with respect to Buttigieg or Klobuchar. The question is whether you believe Sanders raises the Dem vote tally more by having some dedicated supporters who won't vote, or more importantly canvass, for anyone else; versus whether you think he inspires enough fear to bring out marginal Republicans who might stay home if the Dem is a moderate. And honestly, I have no clue, and I don't believe anyone else does either. In the absence of certainty about that, I figure vote for the person who I think will at least fight harder for policies I like, even if I think he's being dishonest about the chance of winning. *shrug* I think Buttigieg at least has some of Warren's acumen about how to use whatever tools come to hand to advance good policy, so I'm maybe open to swinging to him. He has other weaknesses, though, that I'm sure any engaged reader is aware of.)
San Mateo County Democratic Party Central Committee, Supervisor District 1: Akers, Evans, Lang, Burruto. I've known Burruto for ages. The other three are recommended to me by various activist friends, and have good endorsements (e.g. from Jackie Speier or Dave Pine).
US Rep: Speier. She's been a solid congresswoman.
State Senator: Masur or Becker. I actually haven't marked this down yet, and I'm offering a split endorsement. I'll add, also, that Lieber and Brownrigg are also both smart, hard-working, and have good values; either would be a good State Senator, I just believe Shelly or Josh would be better. Josh Becker understands Silicon Valley in a way that nobody representing us in Sacramento does, or ever has. He would be a strong voice for smart tech policy, including on the side of effective regulation of some of the excesses. He also has been a trustee of UC Merced since its founding, and would be a voice for the UC system, which has historically been one of the forces that built the California economy, including the tech sector. He's spoken about how a good rail link between Merced and the Bay Area could help our tech and biotech companies build new offices that could recruit STEM graduates from Merced, helping to reduce the demand-side pressure on housing in the Bay Area, and create a new economic cluster in an area that has been struggling over the last few decades. Masur, on the other hand, has more depth of knowledge on the primary school system, and, more importantly for me, she's the only candidate in the race with the backbone to be publicly right about the housing crisis. Shelly was one member of a group from the California League of Cities that hammered out revisions to SB50, including allowing cities to be fully exempt from its rules if they can show that they have a plan in place to produce equivalent numbers of units at the various levels of affordability, and are making progress on that plan -- I believe that represents the ideal. My first choice would be for our cities to produce adequate housing, on their own terms, with local control over the details. (Fun fact: the Courage Campaign Progressive Voter Guide made the same endorsement.)
State Assembly: Mullin. Incumbent, nobody else serious is running.
Member, Board of Supervisors, 1st District: Pine. He's the only candidate running, and he's a great guy. I just talked with him at a meeting of our local school board last week.
Prop 13: Yes. This is primarily about issuing a bond, with the pool of funds coming from it being made available to schools in the form of matching funds; poorer districts get to come up with a smaller portion of the funds. Pete Stahl makes a strong case for it. The arguments against this are mostly just the typical Jarvis anti-tax BS. There is one more interesting thread of argument, typified by the SM Daily Journal's anti-endorsement -- the detail that they single out is that Prop 13 temporarily (until 2026) limits impact fees that can be imposed on multi-family projects, especially those near transit. (It fully eliminates those fees for projects within half a mile of major transit stops -- rail, ferry, and buses that run above a certain frequency. It also knocks 20% off impact fees for all multi-family projects in other locations, as compared to other types of residence, such as new single-family home subdivisions.) The argument here is that it gives money to schools with one hand, while taking it away with the other. However the consensus of experts on the CA school system, including the excellent Tony Thurmond, whom we elected as the State Superintendent in 2018, is that the amount of the reduction is small relative to the bond. From my perspective, cutting the cost of building transit-oriented development (from 3- and 4-plexes up to apartments), relative to building more more SFHs, is a good thing. And nothing in the law prevents cities from negotiating public benefit payments (such as the $10M that was on offer with the recent controversial Mills Park Plaza project) and then handing off part of that to the local schools. The other complaint about it is that it pushes a preference for union labor. I consider this a feature, not a bug. The thing that Dave Pine came to speak about at the school board the other day was on an issue where San Bruno Park was adopting a similar measure. Mr. Pine was there to report on the fact that when he had served with the San Mateo Union High School district, they had adopted a similar rule, and while it was contentious at the time, they actually experienced lower long-run costs because labor quality matters -- they basically never had problems with sub-par construction requiring re-work.
Measure L (School Bond): Yes. The arguments on this are basically the standard-issue left/right arguments. If you agree that investing in school infrastructure is needed, you should probably vote yes. The Daily Journal notes that the San Mateo Union High School District hasn't issued a new bond for a full decade.