Voters’ Guide

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read this! We are the Silicon Valley chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. We promote democracy in not just our political system, but also within our economic system. We ultimately wish to see the dispersal of the hierarchical capitalist system we currently inhabit and to institute a more democratic, more co-operative, and less exploitative economic and political society. We are working on various projects centered around environmental justice, criminal justice reform, Medicare For All, intersectional feminism, and now electoral reform and advocacy.

Join Silicon Valley DSA today!

This document is our voter guide for the 2022 primary election. This document was vetted and written by the Electoral Working Group, the chapter’s team of election watchers. We make our decisions and recommendations through the lens of our ideology, and thus choose the more progressive or socialist-leaning candidates and positions.

Please note that even though we will recommend a number of Democrats, we are not part of the Democratic Party nor an affiliate of the party. Also please note that recommendations are not endorsements; endorsements are voted on by the chapter whole (with a 75%-in-favor requirement) to allow chapter resources to support, whereas recommendations are just “better out of a mixed bag.”

A quick reminder: Santa Clara County and San Mateo County have both switched over to a vote by mail system in which every voter will receive their ballot in the mail. For questions about this process and how people are to vote, please contact your county’s Registrar of Voters office if you have questions or take a look at their handy FAQ: Santa Clara County | San Mateo County.

If you have not registered to vote or wish to change your registration status, you have through May 23 to do so. To register, please visit the CA Secretary of State website at registertovote.ca.gov.

Thank you again for your time! Hopefully this guide will be a help to you. Remember to vote!

Statewide Races

Governor

We recommend Joel Ventresca or Luis Rodriguez.

Joel Ventresca is a self-described “Berniecrat” who supports single-payer health care, increasing tenant protections and the minimum wage, free public transit, and aggressive climate policies.

Luis Rodriguez is LA’s former Poet Laureate and an indigenous rights activist who is running on a social justice platform. He supports single-payer health care, a Green New Deal for California, and an end to militarized policing and mass incarceration. He also supports proportional representation and ranked-choice voting. He is running as a hybrid Green Party/ Peace & Freedom Party candidate.

Incumbent Gavin Newsom has repeatedly acted to protect large corporations at the expense of Californians’ health and safety. Most notably, he has acted to shield PG&E from liability for its actions which led to multiple devastating wildfires throughout the state, he has continued recklessly issuing oil and gas leases, he spearheaded a state-level effort to prevent local cities and counties from extending COVID-related renter protections, he vetoed a bill that would have made it easier for farm workers to unionize, and he has completely and shamelessly backed away from his 2018 campaign promise of enacting single-payer health care, speaking unfavorably of both efforts to enact such a system.

Lieutenant Governor

We recommend Mohammad Arif.

Secretary of State

We recommend electing Shirley Weber for Secretary of State. As the most high profile job of the Secretary of State is to oversee state elections, it is important to have an official who is able and willing to fairly run the election process. Almost all of the other candidates have embraced or flirted with the various conspiracy theories around debasing election integrity, so it is imperative that we choose the reasonable option over the terrible options.

Controller

We recommend Malia Cohen or no one.

We find ourselves in a bind over the Controller’s race. Only one Republican, Hoover Institution staffer and LA Times-endorsed Romney 2012 alum Lanhee Chen, is running, with four establishment Democrats: anti-union political consultant Steve Glazer, incumbent LA City Controller and noted cop-lover Ron Galperin, self-funding anti-choice opportunist and Monterey Park City Councilmember Yvonne Yiu, and Board of Equalization member and SF Police Commission President Malia Cohen.

Mathematically, this primary is a question of “which Democrat gets to beat Lanhee Chen.” Yiu ducked a symbolic vote for a resolution supporting abortion rights in Monterey Park, Galperin wants more sworn officers on the street, Glazer called for the Legislature to ban strikes by BART and other transit workers before running for Senate, while Cohen, while moderate in her own city, still led the successful effort to make City College of SF free. We don’t have good choices here, folks, but Cohen’s the best of a very bad lot.

NOTE: The text for this recommendation was taken from the 2022 DSA-LA Primary Voter Guide.

Treasurer

Recommendation forthcoming

Attorney General

Recommendation forthcoming

Insurance Commissioner

Recommendation forthcoming

State Board of Equalization, Dist 2

We recommend Sally Lieber. She is running a corporate-free campaign and has previously sought and received SV DSA’s endorsement for other races, including State Senate in 2020.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

We recommend Marco Amaral.

In 2018, the race for this office was a big battle between the pro-Charter school lobby and public school backers. Narrowly, the public school side won out, electing Tony Thurmond. Now, the charter lobby is largely absent from this race, and all the right-wing, reactionary candidates in this race are deeply unviable (and some are… very strange). Thurmond’s tenure has largely dealt with administering public school in the time of a pandemic, where most of the calls about masking, vaccines, etc. have been made by Governor Newsom’s office anyway. Policy-wise, Thurmond’s tenure has been mostly inoffensive, albeit that it was reported that his office was a “toxic” place to work and his deputy superintendent did not actually live in California.

While Thurmond has the benefit of incumbency, endorsements, and name-recognition in this race, Marco Amaral is running on a progressive, working class centered platform. He believes that education workers should be paid a $25 per hour minimum wage, removing school police from campuses, free public college and trade schools, and recognizing that public education is tied to our fight for a Green New Deal. With no danger of tipping the scales to a privatizer, we think you should vote for Marco Amaral, a Special Education teacher who will stand up for public schools, students, and our teachers.

NOTE: The text for this recommendation was taken from the 2022 DSA-LA Primary Voter Guide.

Congressional Races

Senate

NOTE: You will need to vote twice for US Senator: once for the new term beginning January 2023 and once to fill the remainder of what was Kamala Harris’ term through the end of 2022, currently being filled by Newsom appointee Alex Padilla. There are more candidates for the new term than there are for completing the current term.

Recommendation forthcoming

District 15

David Canepa is the only candidate in this race who supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, and he is the only candidate who is not accepting corporate PAC money, making this an easy choice. In his current role on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, he has also been an advocate of free community college.

District 16

We recommend Ajwang Rading for this race. He supports Medicare for All, universal Pre-K education, and cracking down on real estate investors who leave housing vacant. While many aspects of his platform do not go as far as we would like, Rading is the clear progressive in this race, and he is significantly better than the alternatives.

The incumbent, Representative Anna Eshoo, is the number one career recipient of pharmaceutical corporation money in the U.S. House of Representatives. Representative Eshoo also touts her “highest approval” from the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the largest biotechnology trade organization in the world with an extensive lobbying operation. Recently Representative Eshoo, in her role as the Chairwoman of the Healthcare Subcomittee, frustrated efforts to hold a fair hearing on the Medicare for All Bill of 2019. Instead, Representative Eshoo called a hearing on all current congressional bills on healthcare reform no matter how obscure they may be and only called an advocate for Medicare for All after national push back. Eshoo was also one of the main congressional backers for the monopolistic Verizon-T-Mobile merger.

Rishi Kumar has previously portrayed himself as the progressive alternative and sought the endorsement of SV DSA in 2020, which SV DSA rejected. Rishi Kumar’s political stances are mercurial and his time on the Saratoga City Council suggests non-progressive views. Most concerning is Rishi Kumar’s questionable ties to the BJP, the Indian Hindu Nationalist Party that is currently in the process of destroying India’s multi-ethnic democracy.

Greg Tanaka is a self-described “pro business” candidate whose policies are all market-based.

District 17

Ro Khanna is a major booster of single payer healthcare, co-founded the NO PAC Caucus- an anti-corporate-money Congressional caucus; and endorsed the Green New Deal. Khanna is a reliable ally in the global fight against fascism and his foreign policy is sound. We recommend that voters re-elect him.

District 18

Zoe Lofgren has co-sponsored the Green New Deal and Medicare for All bills in the previous two Congressional sessions. While there are positions we disagree on with her, her opponents are a Republican and a guy with minimal information we could find on.

State Assembly Races

District 21

SV DSA has endorsed James Coleman, a democratic socialist whose campaign is 100% grassroots funded. James is currently a member of the South San Francisco City Council, and his platform includes support for many of our top priorities, including

  • Universal healthcare via a single-payer system
  • A tax on extreme wealth
  • Strengthening tenant protections such as rent control and limits on evictions
  • A vacancy tax on purposefully underused housing
  • Aggressive climate action

His Democratic opponents, Giselle Hale and Diane Papan, have both tried to portray themselves as progressive but are awash in corporate cash and have a history of opposing our priorities. As a member of the city council in Redwood City, Giselle Hale has repeatedly ignored or outright rejected public calls for more robust COVID response, police defunding/descoping, and providing more robust public services and assistance. She also has ties to Facebook and has served as a rubber stamp for speculative developers without making meaningful efforts to ensure affordable housing.

Papan has been a staunch opponent of renter demands for rent relief. In 2018, she voted against both a temporary cap on rent hikes and consideration of rent control for San Mateo. In the current race, she has received support from a PAC using Chevron and PG&E money, which sent a mailer out to voters touting her leading the fight against AB1763, the state bill that placed new requirements on localities to construct affordable housing. 

District 23

We are choosing to not recommend in this race, as we do not support Marc Berman but cannot support his opponent either. He has publicly claimed to support the concept of Medicare for All, but he failed to support or advocate for SB 562 (2017), the California Medicare For All bill. Berman has spoken positively about charter schools, and the “education reform” Super PAC EdVoice spent almost $2 million to get him elected in 2016. His only opponent is a Republican.

District 24

We recommend re-electing incumbent Alex Lee, a democratic socialist whose election in 2020 was endorsed by SV DSA.

District 25

We recommend Ash Kalra, the Democratic incumbent. He co-authored SB 562 (the Healthy California Act) and its successor, AB1400 (the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act), which would have established a single-payer healthcare system in California. He also advocates for the protection of Juristac (aka Sargent Ranch) near Gilroy, an open space upon which the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band for thousands of years has held sacred ceremonies, from corporate mining interests.

District 26

We are choosing to not recommend in this race, as we do not support Evan Low but cannot support his opponents either. Evan Low does not support the Green New Deal or Medicare For All, and, at a town hall, ridiculed the idea of eliminating health insurance companies via legislation. His Democratic opponent, Long Jiao, has not stated any significant policy positions and is running on a “Democracy 2.0” platform in which he says he will have his constituents vote to determine his position on every bill that comes before him. The only other candidate in this race is a Republican.

District 28

We recommend Joe Thompson, a labor activist who helped lead the successful unionization of two Santa Cruz Starbucks locations and is a strong supporter of single-payer healthcare. They have also fought to protect unhoused and at-risk community members in Santa Cruz.

State Senate Races

District 10

We recommend Aisha Wahab. She is running on a housing affordability platform, with a focus on increased renter protections, first-time buyer assistance, and permanent, stable housing for unhoused Californians. Wahab also spearheaded Hayward’s move to remove police from mental health responses and assign these to paramedics and clinicians instead. While not all of her positions align with ours, we believe she is the better choice in this race. She has been endorsed by the Working Families Party and Our Revolution.

San Mateo County Races

NOTE: We are not listing races in which a single candidate is running unopposed or that are outside of the area served by Silicon Valley DSA. As a result, many of the San Mateo County races do not appear in this guide.

Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

We recommend David Pollack. Pollack’s platform includes increasing outreach to and participation by marginalized communities—both in voting and in running for office—and he is endorsed by AFSCME Local 829, the San Mateo County public employee labor union. He also supports current and former SV DSA endorsees such as James Coleman and Alex Lee. The incumbent, Mark Church, is an establishment politician who has had an unremarkable tenure in office.

Sheriff

We are choosing to not recommend in this race, as we strongly oppose the re-election of Carlos Bolanos but cannot support Christina Corpus either. Bolanos opposed ending San Mateo County’s cooperation with ICE and has held campaign events that were hosted by local right-wing activists and participants in the January 6, 2021 right-wing storming of the US capitol. His opponent, Christina Corpus, has recommended moderate department reforms that are unlikely to make a serious difference in how the Sheriff’s Department operates. As an abolitionist organization, SV DSA believes that the police are a fundamentally harmful and irredeemable institution that exists only to protect the power and comfort of the wealthy, and they present a danger to our communities as well as a massive waste of public resources. For these reasons, it would be inconsistent with our principles to recommend any candidate who was not proposing at minimum a net reduction and descoping of police forces.

Santa Clara County Races

Assessor

We recommend Andrew Crockett or no one.

https://sanjosespotlight.com/cpa-latest-to-challenge-santa-clara-county-assessor/

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/02/15/larry-stones-27-year-run-as-assessor-faces-stiff-test-in-primary/

https://www.sccassessor.org/index.php/about-us/about-our-accessor/assessor-profile 

District Attorney

We recommend Sajid Khan. He is a public defender who advocates for supportive alternatives to incarceration, as well as aggressive responses to police misconduct.

Sheriff

We are choosing to not recommend in this race. As an abolitionist organization, SV DSA believes that the police are a fundamentally harmful and irredeemable institution that exists only to protect the power and comfort of the wealthy, and they present a danger to our communities as well as a massive waste of public resources. For these reasons, it would be inconsistent with our principles to recommend any candidate who was not proposing at minimum a net reduction and descoping of police forces.

County Supervisor, District 1

We recommend Claudia Rossi.  Rossi currently sits on the County Board of Education and is a practicing nurse.  As the majority of the County’s budget and operations focus on public safety, public health, and education, it is important that an advocate for the underprivileged who knows what resources and initiatives are needed is elected.

County Supervisor, District 4

Susan Ellenberg is running unopposed.  She has been a strong advocate for working families and policies through the pandemic and voters should continue to support her and her work.

San Jose City Council Races

Mayor

Recommendation forthcoming.

District 1

We recommend Rosemary Kamei.

District 3

Recommendation forthcoming

District 5

We recommend Peter Ortiz

District 7

We recommend Maya Esparza.

District 9

We recommend no one, as Councilwoman Pam Foley is running unopposed and does not align with our values.

Ballot Measures

Measure A, Santa Clara Valley Water District

We recommend voting no because of the dishonest and misleading language used to extend the term limits of officials who are otherwise about to term out.

Measure B, San Jose

Silicon Valley DSA has endorsed Measure B and encourages voters to support it as well.  The primary objective of this measure is to move the San Jose mayoral race to coincide with the presidential primary.  As the goal of the measure is to increase turnout and awareness of San Jose mayoral and city council races, we believe that this will be a good action to support.

Measure D, Santa Clara

Recommendation forthcoming

Measures E, G, H, & I; C, E, G-J

These measures are for issuing bonds or renewing parcel taxes in school districts across Santa Clara and San Mateo County, respectively. We recognize that the way these measures generate funds are not the best way to fund our education system and that these are ultimately regressive and affect everyday people more so than the rich or business communities. However, given how under-supported our education funding is in California, these measures are the only viable ways to maintain current school funding.

We recommend that everybody vote yes on their respective measure, then call Governor Newsom, Lt. Governor Kunalikis, Superintendent Tony Thurmond, your local state representatives, and your local school board trustees to demand that they develop plans to properly fund education in California.