How We Can Raise the Minimum Wage in Berkeley, Oakland, or anywhere else. Now.


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Here’s a great story about how we can make elections matter and how in the last three weeks we got quick and important victories on the road to raising the wages of working people in the East Bay. Tonight I … Continue reading

Why the November elections matter… YES on Prop 30 and San Jose’s Measure D; NO on Prop 32

Why does the election matter this November in California? Because the real problem with our economy is that the richest 1% have steadily been robbing the rest of us by reducing the amount they pay in taxes while pulling in an ever greater share of all of the income earned in this country. In 1977, the top 1% was taking home about 7.5 % of all of the income in California. They were doing pretty well and many were working hard. So maybe good for them.
But, by 2007, this same 1% was taking home closer to 24% of all of the state’s income. Now, I’m a real believer in work hard and earning rewards, but it’s not like the top 1% were working especially harder than the rest of us in 2007 and at the same time, their taxation rates didn’t go up at all. In fact, on both counts it’s been the opposite as working people picked up multiple jobs just to make ends meet while tax rates on the wealthy fell dramatically.

The graphic here demonstrates just one way in which we can understand the decline in our country’s tax base and why we are having so much trouble paying our public bills for schools, pensions, parks and social services.

Right here in the Bay Area, we can now do something about this problem. Vote YES on Nov 6 for CA’s Prop 30. This will raise billions in taxes to pay for schools, social services and public safety, almost all from people in the top 1%. Vote YES on San Jose’s Measure D. This will raise the city’s minimum wage from $8 to $10 per hour, raising the standard of living for tens of thousands of San Jose families.  Finally, Vote NO on Prop 32, another millionaire power grab aimed at silencing the voices of working people and giving millionaire’s free reign to pour $ billions into elections without being challenged.

Yes, we can!

Re-Election Campaign Kick-off, Friday July 27th



Friday, July 6 2012.
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm


Home of Shiloh Ballard
120 South Morrison Avenue
San Jose, CA


The Growing List of Notable Co-hosts

Organizations listed for identification only

  • Hon. Paul Fong (State Assemblymember)
  • Cindy Chavez (Executive Director of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council; former Vice-Mayor of San Jose)
  • Hon. Ash Kalra (San Jose City Council)
  • Shiloh Ballard (VP of Housing & Community Development for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group)
  • Hon. Evan Lowe (Campbell City Council)
  • Hon. Michael Chang (former Mayor of Cupertino)
  • Hon. Dolly Sandoval (former Mayor of Cupertino)
  • Rosa DeLeon (Lead Organizer, Californians for Justice San Jose Office)
  • Leila McCabe (Organizer of the San Jose State Living Wage Campaign)
  • Brian Murphy (President, De Anza College)
  • Karen Chow (De Anza College Academic Senate President)
  • Scott* and Diane Myers-Lipton (Sequoia Center, *Professor of Sociology, San Jose State University)

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A Win for Equality and Solidarity at Peralta!

I’ve been on the Peralta Board for over 7 years now. I’ve worked on many issues on many fronts– often successfully, and sometimes with less progress.  One issue, however, that I have always come back to is fighting to give all of the students in our District an equal chance at a good education regardless of which campus they attend.

When I was first elected in 2004, I found that the funding per student at both Laney College and Berkeley City College (BCC- but then called “Vista College”) was significantly lower than the district average. This meant much longer lines for financial and counseling, more difficulty getting classes from core faculty members, and dramatically bigger work-loads for the employees on each of these two campuses. Continue reading

Reflections on the Walker Recall from Berkeley, California

I’m happy to report that the Huffington Post picked up this blog. Here’s the link:

I’m sitting here in Berkeley, California feeling very mixed about the results of Tuesday’s election. On one hand, I am incredibly elated that our local voters in Alameda County generously decided to approve a parcel tax that will help local community college students have a chance at a real education. This generosity of spirit and genuine commitment by a community to invest in its own future is inspirational.

And, at the same time I am deeply saddened and confused by Wisconsin. The Billionaire coalition outspent us better than 7 to 1. The results? The very voters who elected an ultra-conservative, anti-worker governor a year ago then re-affirmed him in office, even after he demonstrated his complete commitment to cutting public programs that benefit the average citizen AND his commitment to destroying the power of working people and engaging in the worst kind of divisive and destructive politics.

So, in the midst of all of these thoughts, I’ve decided that I’m still feeling optimistic. Why? Because the results in the Bay Area tonight tell me that we can act, organize for power, and win. In fact, if we look at a different moment in history, one region of our country—the upper Midwest—elected progressive political heroes like Senator Russ Feingold and Senator Paul Wellstone. So, I’m feeling optimistic because nothing is settled. Even when things are hard, we have already proved we can win. Continue reading