2018 California Primary Endorsements

Posted in News and Politics

Several people have messaged me asking me for my recommendations for the upcoming election. Here’s my slate so far:

Delaine Easton for Governor. She’s the only candidate in the race who supports high speed rail + universal healthcare AND has realistic proposals to pay for them. She’s also a long time advocate for education and for kids in general, which I like.

Gayle McLaughlin for Lt. Governor. She is the former mayor of Richmond, a strong progressive and an independent, endorsed by both DSA and Our Revolution + lots of other progressive groups.

David Hildebrand (self-identified Libertarian Socialist) for Senate. He has solid positions on most of the key issues and a host of progressive endorsements.

I’m seeing good stuff about Pamela Price for Alameda County DA but haven’t done enough research to explicitly endorse her.

Jovanka Beckles is a strong candidate for State Assembly District 15 if you’re in her district.

No other candidate endorsements from me.

Prop 68 is a No – we should not be issuing Bonds to pay for Park maintenance. This is an absolutely terrible way to finance normal maintenance and unnecessarily adds to the State’s debt.

Prop 69 is a No – tying the legislature’s hands about where to spend tax revenue serves no purpose except to guarantee wasteful spending in some areas while other lower profile programs are under-funded.

Prop 70 is a hard No – this is another republican effort to cripple the legislature by requiring a 2/3 majority before spending revenues from cap and trade.

Prop 71 – No endorsement

Prop 72 is a Yes – People should be able to add rainwater capture systems without their property taxes going up. Especially in urban areas most rainwater drains directly to the ocean and is wasted. Catching and storing that water instead helps the whole State weather droughts more easily and should be encouraged.

Measure D  in Oakland is also a Yes.  This is a Parcel tax to fund libraries here in Oakland.  Even if you never set foot in a Library they provide critical services – everything from free meeting space for community groups to internet access for low-income people to, you know, books.

Thoughts on Trump’s election and California’s partisan divide

Posted in News and Politics

Like many Californians who grew up here, I have always considered myself a Californian more than an American.  In my 20’s I spent years travelling back and forth across the United States as part of various environmental and social justice campaigns and that feeling only deepened.  When outside the US I always tell people who ask that I am a Californian when they ask my nationality.  My daughter is a ninth generation Californian and there is nowhere else in North America I would even consider living.  As I have said for years – long before becoming involved in the independence movement – I am a Californian by birth, culture, and inclination and an American because they conquered us. As you might expect, identifying as a Californian first has an impact on how I view American politics.  

A tremendous amount of ink has been spilled about the recent American elections.  As tempting as it is to rant about everything the Democrats did wrong along the way, I’ll save that rant for another day. Instead, I want to talk a bit about why Californians voted the way they did and what that means for our future. Continue reading

A bag of Avocados

Posted in News and Politics | Tagged ,

I was working on an article on the US presidential elections for another website earlier today and made an offhand remark that if the Democrats nominated a bag of Avocados for the presidency that California would faithfully line up and vote for it.  And then it hit me – a bag of Avocados would actually be a better nominee than either American party’s candidates.  Here’s 10 reasons you should join me in writing in a bag of avocados on your presidential ballot this fall.  Continue reading

Walled Gardens

Posted in News and Politics, tech | Tagged , ,

Yesterday I put up a new post  on how to optimize your mobile app’s URI scheme.  The post is mostly technical but touches on a few important points – notably the fact that the mobile app ecosystem is a fragmented series of walled gardens.  This is in sharp contrast to the free and open web where anyone can add content and anyone can access it.

If you feel the way I do about free speech, feel free to insert your own rant here about the privatization of the (virtual) commons.  This is the digital equivalent of town squares where free speech was legally protected being replaced by malls where a rent a cop will firmly escort you off the premises if you try to do any sort of outreach. Continue reading

To be a man

Posted in Feminism and Men's Liberation, News and Politics | Tagged ,

I’ve self-identified as a feminist since my late teens and have been very vocal about it, sometimes to my own detriment.  Not that I’m some sort of knight in shining armor, I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way despite my best intentions and I can’t claim to be motivated entirely by altruism.  While I am very much interested in equality and women’s issues in their own right, I’ve always been at least as interested in what Feminism could potentially do for men. Continue reading

A Parcel of Rogues

Posted in News and Politics | Tagged ,

It’s Sunday after the vote and I’m sitting in a park in Edinburgh, killing time.  I had intended to stay in Scotland another week to do more interviews about what’s next but now, with a 10 point spread on a No vote, I find myself too brokenhearted to continue.  Especially since Maia left for California this morning and I am once again traveling alone.  I’ve re-booked my flight but unfortunately the first available seat does not leave until Monday.  I shout out on Twitter and Facebook that I am here for another day and would like to talk about what’s next.  A few people re-tweet the message, but no one local replies.  They’re busy picking up the pieces and mourning.  I understand. Continue reading

Into the Highlands

Posted in News and Politics | Tagged ,

Sunrise came far too early and it’s off again. Today I am 34 years old and Scotland has a real chance at independence for the first time in over 300 years. My phone chimes repeatedly when I turn it on with birthday wishes from friends, coworkers, and clients. Today feels like a good day.

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After about an hour and a half of driving we arrive in Elgen, the road sign count has shifted back strongly in favor of Yes and we see a fair number of stickers and a few big flags as well. There doesn’t seem to be an actual Yes office in town, though there have apparently been a good number of events and the day is getting on by the time we get breakfast in our bellies so we decide to head on to Inverness (dubbed InverYESs by local activists).

We’re deep in the highlands now and there are no longer any No posters or signs anywhere in sight and big home-made Yes signs appear regularly.

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We make a stop along the way at the site of the Battle of Culloden, where my mothers Clan (The Ritchie’s) were almost wiped out holding the center of the Jacobite line. Culloden and the Jacobite’s conjure decidedly mixed feelings for me. On the one hand Prince Charles wanted absolute monarchy and was, in historical terms, little more than a pawn of the French whose army was financed with money from the French slave trade. But the Ritchie’s and others joined him out of the belief that he would restore the Scottish Parliament and give them back home rule – and because he promised religious tolerance.
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History is full of good people betrayed by their leaders and walking the battlefield I find myself in tears. I gather a few wildflowers and press them into a notebook to take home. To be here, today, gathering flowers on the day Scotland gets to finally vote on the act of union these men died to undo seems entirely appropriate. Continue reading

From Arbroath to Aberdeen

Posted in News and Politics | Tagged ,

Arbroath is a pretty little town on the east coast of Scotland, just to the east of Dundee.  Driving past, you might not think much of it, but way back in 1320 a group of Scottish nobles signed a declaration that they would never under any circumstances allow themselves to be subjugated to rule from England and that they fought “not for wealth or position but for liberty, which no good man gives up except with his life.”

The document is incredibly important to world history because it was the first declaration of its type to establish the concept of popular sovereignty – that Scotland belonged to her people and a king was only worth supporting if he could protect and defend them.  This was at least as revolutionary as their desire for independence.  American school children are taught about the Magna Carta because it was accepted as a legal document by the English political system, but the Declaration of Arbroath was a far more important touch stone for the American founding fathers and directly inspired the American Declaration of Independence. Continue reading

Perception and Possibilities in Perth

Posted in News and Politics | Tagged ,

I’ve just arrived in Perth, about an hour north of Edinburgh.  The drive up was pretty enough – rolling green hills and trees dotted with houses under a foggy Scottish sky.  Along the way we saw 3 Yes signs and the first No lawn sign I’ve seen so far on the trip.

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We’re heading to the Perth / Kinross Yes campaign HQ. I saw online that a bunch of activists will be meeting there to go leaflet around noon and I’m hoping to get some interviews in. We find parking not too far off and duck into a the first restaurant we see in search of breakfast but they don’t open until noon. The lady is tired having just flown from California via Toronto and desperately wants hot food and beer, I promise her an epic lunch and she munches on the remainder of a grilled cheese with a look on her face like a kid who just lost her favorite baseball over the fence.

Perth has the feel of a relatively bourgeois suberb with big yards and flowers everywhere. I’m wondering if the campaign here will be different from the bigger cities to the south which were very much driven by the culture and ethos of recently de-industrialized workers who feel betrayed by the Labour party and hope for a better future in an independent Scotland. Continue reading