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 is our voter guide for the 2022 general 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. That does mean we will not recommend any Republican or Libertarian candidates, as they are opposite of our ideology.
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 “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 October 24 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!
Note: For the first time in a few years, all of the state executive races feature a Democrat versus a Republican. The Democrats cover a spectrum of liberal ideologies and some are more progressive than others. The Republicans are generally Trump-aligned but a couple are not. As we do not support Republicans at all, we will ultimately recommend that everyone vote for the Democrats as they will not work to degrade our society and harm our people.
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.
We recommend no one.
The incumbent, Representative Anna Eshoo, is the number one career recipient of pharmaceutical corporation money in the U.S. House of Representatives. She proudly 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, she called a hearing on all current congressional bills on healthcare reform and only heard 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.
Ro Khanna is a major supporter 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.
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, we see no better alternative to her in Peter Hernandez.
State Assembly Races
With Giselle Hale suspending her campaign and dropping out of the race, Diane Papan (unfortunately) will win by default.
We are choosing to not recommend either candidate in this race, as we do not support Marc Berman but cannot support his opponent either. Berman 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.
We recommend re-electing incumbent Alex Lee, a democratic socialist and member of our chapter whose election in 2020 was endorsed by SV DSA. Since being elected, Assemblymember Lee has shown leadership by introducing bills on social housing, reforming the rules that allow landlords to evict every tenant in a building in order to maximize their profit, and has championed efforts to strengthen statewide labor laws. We’re excited to see what’s next.
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.
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. The only other candidate in this race is a Republican.
We recommend Gail Pellerin. Pellerin’s experience as an election officer means a veteran of electoral policy will be present in the Assembly to advocate for accessible, modernized electoral reforms. Pellerin’s longtime local connections will also help to bring more resources to the area to solve local problems like homelessness.
State Senate Races
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.
Santa Clara County Races
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 Sylvia Arenas. As San Jose city council member, Arenas focused on programs to increase access to early education, after-school programs, safe housing and paid family leave. She has a dual endorsement with Claudia Rossi from the South Bay Labor Council. Her pro-business opponent Johnny Kamis consistently voted further right than his fellow city council members. Juristac is located in District 1, so the outcome of this race will have a major impact on the fight to protect this ecologically important and sacred land of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band from a proposed mining operation. Khamis seems virtually guaranteed to support the developer’s side in this fight.
Board of Education, Trustee Area 6
Maimona Berta Afzal is recommended because Carrasco is currently supported by charter schools.
Board of Education, Trustee Area 7
Raeena Lari is recommended and is running against a Republican and a charter school board member and advocate.
San Jose City Council Races
Cindy Chavez is recommended because she is clearly the better option over the business-aligned Matt Mahan. Additionally, she is supported by the South Bay Labor Council.
We recommend Omar Torres who is also endorsed by the South Bay Labor Council.
We recommend Peter Ortiz. Ortiz is running a localized campaign that advocates for universal childcare, affordable housing, and investment in community buildings and programs instead of police patrols. Nora Campos is a longtime corporate crony and there is no need to re-empower the Campos political dynasty.
We recommend Maya Esparza who is also endorsed by the South Bay Labor Council. 9
We recommend J.R. Fruen for Cupertino city council. Fruen has a vision to rebuild the Cupertino community by supporting affordable housing for teachers and residents and reconnect communities by advocating for more public transit options and public participation in civic events. The Better Cupertino slate is just irritable NIMBYs who hide behind “neighborhood character” platitudes.
We recommend voting for Justin Wang in the 3rd District and Richard Mehlinger in the 5th District. Both candidates seek to continue the development of Sunnyvale’s public transportation systems, expand bicycle and safety measures, expand affordable housing and tenant protections to all residents, and forge ahead on fighting the local effects of climate change.
Mountain View has three open seats, three incumbents, and two challengers. One challenger is actively dangerous: Li Zhang plans to pursue the anti-homeless policies of her associate Margaret Abe-Koga. The other challenger is unserious, saying he will not serve and will delegate his votes via an app that does not exist. The three incumbents are the best candidates, and we recommend Alison Hicks, Lucas Ramirez, and Ellen Kamei.
Palo Alto is a hostile territory to good candidates: 2020 saw a clean sweep of the open council seats by the classist and xenophobic voter bloc. We now have 7 new candidates for 3 seats in 2022, and some are better than others; please steer clear of the realtor candidate (Comsa), the planning commissioners (Summa and Lauing), and tenant-hostile NIMBY (Hamacheck). We recommend Julie Lythcott-Haims, Lisa Forssell, and Vicki Veenker, who have stated support for integrating housing towards high-resource neighborhoods instead of industrial sites, and expanding renter protections.
Redwood city has three council seats open this election; for Districts 5 and 6 we have no recommendation. For the 2nd District, we recommend voting for Alison Madden. We believe she will be a strong voice from tenant protections in the city and she represents the rare opportunity to put an actual renter on the city council.
In the mayor’s race, we recommend Rich Constantine. Although he does not have a strong message for this re-election campaign and does not have a record of bold, pro-worker policies in office, his opponents would be much worse for the people of Morgan Hill. Mark Turner is strongly pro-business, pro-police, and endorsed by former San Jose council person Johnny Khamis. Larry Carr describes himself as a “champion for school resource officers”.
For council district B we recommend Yvonne Martinez Beltran. She has been endorsed by the Democratic Party and her opponent opposes high-density housing while supporting police.
For council district D we have no recommendation. The incumbent, John McKay, is running against defunding the police and his opponent, Marilyn Librers, wants to see a population cap for the city.
There are three open council seats and six candidates running for them. We recommend Jan Bernstein Chargin, Joseph Robinson, and Ronald Robinson Jr. All three of these candidates have been endorsed by the Democratic party. The other three candidates are all endorsed by a mixture of downtown business groups, police officer’s associations, and the Republican Party.
We recommend voting yes on Proposition 1, which enshrines the right to reproductive freedom explicitly in California’s state constitution. Prop 1 prohibits the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive decisions. This includes whether or not to have an abortion, and whether or not to use contraceptives. California law upholds the right to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability or to protect the pregnant person’s health, and Prop 1 protects against future legal challenges that could threaten the reproductive rights of Californians.
We recommend voting no on Proposition 27, the online sports-betting measure. We, in general, are opposed to corporations using the initiative process to open up business opportunities for themselves, in this case the online gambling lobby. In particular, this proposition came out of failed negotiations in the legislature, which is where these discussions should occur. While it provides some funding to potentially useful purposes, we are doubtful that the funding would be significant.
Historically, when schools have had to implement budget cuts, the elective programs have been some of the first classes to be cut. Arts programs have been a gateway for students to find and express themselves and they have remained some of the most popular and beloved classes in schools across California. We encourage voters to vote yes on Prop 28 to maintain our excellent and beloved arts programs.
Proposition 30 is one of the more confusing ballot measures we have this fall; it contains a mixture of obvious good (a progressive income tax on multi-millionaires), and obvious bad (the campaign is financed almost entirely by Lyft, no doubt to see this money used exclusively for automobiles and not transit). We see support divided along rather unpredictable lines: Barbara Lee is in support, whereas the CA Teachers Union is in opposition. Though it clearly has some positive impacts, we recommend to vote no on Prop 30, as the unsavoriness of the corporatist and anti-transit angle seems to tip the balance.
Prop 31 is a referendum on 2020’s SB 793 which would have prohibited the sale of most flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes. SB 793 was overwhelmingly passed by the legislature on a bi-partisan vote (58-1 in the Assembly, 34-0 in the State Senate) and signed by the Governor on August 28, 2020. It would have gone into effect January 1, 2021, except that the tobacco industry collected signatures to force it to this November’s ballot. (The signature collection was funded primarily by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and its affiliates and Philip Morris USA Inc. and its affiliates. They are also the primary funders of the referendum campaign.)
While SVDSA respects the rights of adults to consume tobacco products in whatever form they desire, and existing law does prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21, it is well-known that the tobacco industry attempts to addict new customers to its products while they are under age. Their use of cotton candy, chocolate, strawberry, and minty-menthol flavors (all of which are prohibited by SB 793) is clearly designed to get kids addicted to nicotine before the judgment centers of their brains are developed enough to understand the long-term impacts of such addiction. In addition, by spending millions of dollars to force SB 793 to the ballot, and even more millions on the campaign to defeat it, this referendum is yet another example of our democracy being corrupted by wealthy corporations who have the money to defeat a law not to their liking. For these reasons, SVDSA recommends voters vote yes on Proposition 31 so that SB 793 will go into effect as the legislature intended.
Local Ballot Measures
Measure H, Santa Clara
We recommend a yes on this measure. Measure H will increase taxes on businesses and landlords in the city to fund city services.
Measure I, San Jose
We recommend yes on Measure I. This measure came out of the Charter Review Commission, who held public discussions on improvements to city processes. This measure ensures that San Jose’s campaign finance investigation body cannot be dissolved by council. This measure also allows the undocumented and other non-voters to be eligible to sit on various important commissions, including the Planning Commission that helps administer land use decisions.
Measure K, Palo Alto
Will be a tax on square footage, with exemptions for small shops. Will generate something like $20M a year, not nearly enough to pay for the affordable housing Palo Alto needs to build, but something. There are more progressive taxes that are theoretically possible, but this is better than a sales tax, so no real complaints. The real question is whether businesses will just move one city over to avoid the tax: a standard problem of our stupid fragmented governance. At any rate, we recommend voting yes.
Measure L, East Palo Alto
This is a tax to increase taxes on landlord revenue in East Palo Alto. It’s endorsed by the entire city council and the rent board. We enthusiastically recommend voting yes.
Measure V, Menlo Park
We recommend no on Measure V. This is a measure that started when homeowners objected to a teacher housing project in their neighborhood, and this measure would require a ballot measure anytime there’s a potential change in a single-family zone. In a time of high housing costs, it is bad to direct the government to take the legal responsibility and liability to protect these single-family neighborhoods, to the extent that the fire district would need to go to the ballot to rebuild their fire station.
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 undersupported 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.