Vote for Nancy Skinner and Bryan Parker on June 7

Also, we support Measure AA and Proposition 50, and we oppose Richmond measures N and O.


Nancy Skinner.

East Bay voters will have some difficult choices to make on June 7, and perhaps the toughest decision will be in the race for the state Senate District Nine seat, which stretches from Richmond to San Leandro. The top two candidates in the contest to replace termed-out state Sen. Loni Hancock are former Assembly members Nancy Skinner and Sandré Swanson. They likely will square off again in November—and for good reason: They’re smart, experienced, and well qualified for the job.

But as much as we admire and respect Swanson, we’re endorsing Skinner this year. In fact, we think she’s one of the most skilled, passionate, and effective politicians that Northern California has to offer.

As an Assembly member representing Richmond, Berkeley, and North Oakland, Skinner put together a formidable record. For example, her internet tax bill, which required online retailers like to start paying sales taxes like brick-and-mortar retailers, is now generating about $1 billion a year in much-needed revenue for the state. It also has made it easier for small businesses to compete.

Skinner was also a leader on expanding rooftop solar power, tightening gun control laws, and ensuring that law enforcement officials finally started clearing up the state’s backlog of rape kits. We also agree with her support for legalizing cannabis for adult use in California and her opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant water tunnels underneath the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

During our endorsement interview last week, Skinner displayed an impressive command of state and regional political issues. It was also clear that she’s acutely aware of how to get things done in Sacramento.

Swanson, meanwhile, is also a good candidate, and we admire his honesty and clean record in office. But we think that in the Assembly, representing Alameda and most of Oakland, he too often was concerned with taking a principled stand instead of hammering out real solutions to the state’s problems.

Bryan Parker.

In another East Bay race that looks to be tight, we’re endorsing former Oakland Port Commissioner Bryan Parker over longtime incumbent Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley. We think the district, which runs from East Oakland through Castro Valley to Pleasanton, needs new leadership.

Parker, a former healthcare company executive, is an intelligent and energetic candidate who will bring fresh ideas to the board of supervisors.

Miley, meanwhile, deserves recognition and gratitude for his long career in public service: He’s been on the county board of supervisors for 16 years, and before that, he served on the Oakland City Council for 10.

But, frankly, his record over the years has been underwhelming. In fact, during our endorsement interview, he had difficulty pointing to specific accomplishments during the past decade—other than his effort to ensure safe disposal of prescription drug medication in the county.

We’ve also been concerned over the years about his involvement in pay-to-play politics in the East Bay. We’re especially troubled by the large campaign donations he received from Corizon Healthcare, a private company that has repeatedly failed to provide adequate healthcare to county jail inmates.

As we said, it’s time for a change. The top vote-getter in the June 7 primary wins the election—there’s no November runoff in this race.

In terms of ballot measures, we strongly support Measure AA, a $12-a-year parcel tax that will generate about $25 million a year and help pay for wetlands restoration around San Francisco Bay.

We also endorse Proposition 50, a statewide measure that would allow California lawmakers, on a two-thirds vote, to suspend legislators without pay when they’ve engaged in wrongdoing. Currently, legislators must still receive their pay when they’re suspended.

In Richmond, we oppose Measures N and O. Both are sponsored by developer Richard Poe, who wants to change the zoning on Richmond’s waterfront so that he can build high-priced single-family homes rather than apartments or condos. We think the city council was right to zone this part of this city for high-density housing, because it will be right next to a new ferry terminal. That’s precisely the type of smart growth that the Bay Area desperately needs.

Measure O, which is also backed by Poe, would dramatically slash the salary of Richmond’s city manager. It’s an obvious attempt at retribution against Bill Lindsay, one of the best city managers in the Bay Area, for his opposition to Poe’s luxury housing plan.   


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