NBLC Election 2020 Wrap Up

Now that it’s been over 3 weeks post Election Day and County Registrars are beginning to certify their election results, I thought this would be a good time to talk about some of the highlights. We really should be proud of what we accomplished this election cycle.

FEDERAL

The announcement made Saturday, November 7th that Biden/Harris had won Pennsylvania, putting us over the top with more than 270 electoral votes, was incredibly sweet. I have to say, the AFL-CIO really got it right. They told us we would know by “Saturday-ish.” Trump and his sycophants will not let go and are carrying on about how the election was riddled with fraud. No surprises there.

County Registrars have until December 3rd to certify elections. The next date to watch is December 8th when electors are chosen and December 14th, the electoral college will cast its votes and will officially choose the president. We’re already hearing about attempts to mess with electors, that said, nothing they’ve done so far has had any merit or helped them gain any ground. Not saying we can let our guard down, but we should also stay calm and not engage with any trumpers. They’re goal is to cause chaos and violence so they can declare martial law. We need to not help them go there.

For now, all eyes are on Georgia. It won’t be easy but with two runoff races for Senate, we could actually still pull this off and there’s evidence that these races are winnable. If you’re interested in getting involved in these Senate races, here are some organizations to reach out to.

Fair Fight

The New Georgia Project 

Black Voters Matter

The AFL-CIO has also put together a plan to add to what those organizations are doing. Reach out to me at [email protected] if you’re interested. There are phone bank and text bank opportunities so you can help without ever leaving home.

Here’s a great article that discusses all 3 previously mentioned (as well as other) organizations in the area doing good work and of course you can always reach out to the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns directly. In addition to voter contact there are all the usual ways to donate money. It’s important to donate to the campaigns but don’t forget the organizations who do so much of the work also needed for success.

STATE

On the state level, Proposition 22 (gig companies carving out their own Labor Laws) was a huge disappointment. The most recent Secretary of State report puts Prop 22 at 58.6% Yes - 41.4% No. This is truly heartbreaking. Those huge gig corporations spent more than $200 million (breaking all records) to buy themselves a carve out. Yes, we lost but honestly, we were outspent more than 20 to 1. The fact that we could actually get more than 41% under those circumstances is totally amazing.

Just for the record, the North Coast did us proud (mostly). Humboldt, Mendocino Marin, Alameda and San Mateo counties defeated Prop 22 solidly. Sonoma County came close but ultimately Prop 22 won here by less than a percentage point. And little Alpine County on the state’s eastern boarder went No on 22 by 12 percentage points. There are only 5 precincts in the entire county. With all 5 reporting (that doesn’t mean counted but reporting) on election night, it was 395 votes No to 309 votes Yes and holding. We’ll see what happens there.

Our brother Mark Malouf put so much of his energy and passion into defeating Prop 22. He was a No on 22 machine. If Mark couldn’t do it, it just couldn’t be done. Great job Mark. You are one amazing brother.

Looks like we lost Prop 15 (property tax to fund schools and government services) by 4 percentage points. It was looking too close to call on Election Night but by November 10th it was pretty clear, we’d lost. Most of the same counties that went No on 22 went Yes on 15, including tiny Alpine County and a few immediately to our south and then some Southern California Counties came with us on this one.

Proposition 19 (changes to some property tax rules generating funds for fire protection, schools and natural disasters) was in that too close to call category for several days but it pulled ahead and was finally called for the Yes side on November 11th. This is good news.

SONOMA COUNTY CITY COUNCIL & SCHOOL BOARD RACES

Locally we did exceptionally well with our Labor Council endorsed candidates and measures. The North Bay Labor Council made a total of 61 endorsements (56 candidates and 5 local measures). All 5 measures were passed and 46 of our 56 endorsed candidates won their elections. Natalie Rogers, our candidate in the Santa Rosa City Council, District 7 race was in that “too close to call” category for over two weeks post election, but she pulled through and it was called for Natalie on November 21st making her the first Black woman to serve on the Santa Rosa City Council. Truth is, Natalie was always ahead. The gap never closed enough for her closest opponent to catch her. I kind of knew we were done after the first 10 days.

With those results, we achieved an 84% win rate. Last election cycle, we had a 67% win rate. 67% is fine… but I like this much better. And remember our Candidate Training we held last September? 10 of our winning candidates attended that training. THAT…is pretty exciting.

We had a few clean sweeps, but none more exciting than the one in Rohnert Park. Jackie Elward, Willy Linares, and Gerard Giudice really cleaned house with decisive wins. Elward and Giudice running against long time, entrenched incumbents finished with double digit leads. What a great job they and their teams did. So proud we stood with all three of them in this fight. Looking forward to working with this new council.

Ever Flores accomplished a very exciting and decisive win with a better than 26 point spread between Ever and his incumbent opponent. The gap just seemed to widen with every update. What a great candidate, and what a great school board member he’ll be. Ever will be a true inspiration to the BIPOC community for both students and parents in that district and beyond. I expect great things from our brother Ever.

There were a couple of really thrilling wins in the SRJC Board of Trustees race. Incumbent Mariana Martinez handily won re-election and Caroline Banuelos easily overtook all other candidates for the second open seat in that district. In fact, there’s less than a percentage point between our two endorsed candidates and more than 13% between Caroline and her nearest opponent, who by the way, was the other incumbent in this race. This one feels really good. Congratulations to both Caroline and Mariana.

We now have two new progressives on the Petaluma City Council. Brian Barnacle and Dennis Pocekay are safely in first and second place respectively. The 3rd open seat on that council appeared to be up for grabs but ultimately Mike Healy will hold on to his seat. So here again, two of our endorsed candidates beat two long term incumbents.

A huge heartbreak is Dianna MacDonald’s loss in the Sonoma County Office of Education trustee race. It’s often hard going against an incumbent, that said, Dianna was such a deserving candidate and head and shoulders above her opponent. We were more than proud to stand with Dianna and will do all we can to encourage her not to go away. We need people like Dianna to stick around and be part of our movement forward. She truly has a desire to make things better, especially for working people. I know and hope we haven’t seen the last of Dianna.

Overall, it wasn’t a good year for incumbents locally. In Sonoma County alone, a total of 36 incumbents ran for city council or school board seats they currently held and a little less than half of them were not re-elected. Seven of those were replaced with our endorsed candidates.

And here are some interesting stats. Of the candidates we endorsed for City Council or School Board who were successful, in all 4 counties:

  • 21 are women
  • 15 are BIPOC, 9 of whom are women
  • 19 are either past or present union members or live with a union member

All of this bodes well for all we need to accomplish locally for working people. I think we can be proud of what we accomplished here and look forward to working with these new councils and school boards.

LOCAL MEASURES

Wining all 5 of our local Measures was just so much fun to watch. There were actually 19 measures on the Sonoma County Ballot, many of them were tax measures. The Santa Rosa Metro Chamber, Sonoma County Farm Bureau, North Coast Builders Exchange and the North Bay Leadership Council formed a coalition and launched a tax moratorium effort coming out against any new or extended taxes. They called it “No Not Now on Taxes.” They actually spent some money on it too. Well, the end to that story is that this coalition had no effect on these measures.

Measure O, a sales tax measure to help fund behavioral health services passed with more than two thirds of the vote. Measure U, Petaluma’s sales tax and Measure DD, a ¼ cent county sales tax for transportation all passed…as did every other tax measure on the ballot. The ‘just say no’ coalition, post-election statement was about how pleased they were that Sonoma County expressed such faith in our economic future. I really don’t mean to gloat but perhaps they should also look at how relevant they really are – or aren’t – in a county with smart and engaged voters.

Measure W, the city of Sonoma Urban Growth Boundary passed by a huge margin.

Rounding out our endorsed measure wins is, Measure P, the Evelyn Cheatham Effective IOLERO ordinance. It was amazing to watch this resoundingly victory unfold. Measure P garnered over 63% of the vote. This is a powerful statement about the need for police oversight. Finally, IOLERO will have the resources it needs to get the job done. That said, there may be some legal challenges ahead so let’s keep our eye on this. Great work by Jerry Threet and his team. This was Jerry’s baby and we were more than proud to back this measure.

MARIN COUNTY

Moving on to Marin County, our very own Paul DaSilva won a seat on the College of Marin Board of Trustees. Not only did he win but he was the highest vote getter, with 4 seats open and Paul being the only non-incumbent. That’s quite an accomplishment. Paul is a North Bay Labor Council delegate and a recent College of Marin Professor. He is going to be dynamite on that board.

MENDOCINO COUNTY

There are two new Supervisors on Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Welcome Maureen “Mo” Mulheren in District 2 and Glenn McGourty in District 1. We look forward to working with you both. And our endorsed candidate for Ukiah City Council, Steve Scalminini won his re-election bid to the Ukiah City Council.

LAKE COUNTY

In Lake County, Jessica Pyska defeated her opponent in the runoff for the Lake County Board of Supervisors, District 5. This is a huge win since this seat has been held for decades by an ultra-conservative. Jessica is a welcome new, progressive face on the Lake County Board of Supervisors.

And our own Natalie Higley won a seat on the Kelseyville School Board. We’re so proud of Natalie for throwing her hat in the ring and winning her election.

All in all, it was a great year for Labor endorsed candidates. This is good news for working people everywhere. We will stay involved with these elected officials and make sure they have what they need – both information and support – to serve the working people of the North Bay.

Onward to 2021!