Goodwill Disputes Minimum Wage Ballot Argument That It Will Cut Jobs

by Peter Jon Shuler

Goodwill of Silicon Valley is trying to disentangle itself from a political battle in San Jose.

The city’s Measure D would raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10. In their ballot argument, opponents say Goodwill expects to cut 100 job-training positions if the measure passes.

Mike Fox, Jr. of Goodwill says his board voted to remain neutral on the measure.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve been caught up into this controversy through no wish of our own,” Fox said. “We didn’t ask to be. We didn’t give permission to use our name. It just got pulled in. There’s nothing I can do about that other than just correct the record.”

Fox says Goodwill has no intention of cutting 100 jobs, no matter the outcome of the election. He says he has no idea where the opposition campaign came up with the figure.

Berkeley Election: Mayor’s Race, Sit/Lie Ban, and Vandalized Signs

by Cy Musiker

Man asleep in downtown Berkeley. (SF Homeless Project: Flickr)

Man asleep in downtown Berkeley. Measure S, which would restrict lying down in public, is a contentious topic in town. (SF Homeless Project: Flickr)

With the election less than two weeks away, we’re diving into local races. On Tuesday we highlighted San Francisco, and now we’re focusing on Berkeley, where the politics are always passionate.

Incumbent Mayor Tom Bates is running against five challengers. There’s also a no-sitting measure on the ballot and a plan to allow more commercial development in West Berkeley.

Frances Dinkelspiel is a co-founder of the website Berkeleyside, one of our KQED News associates. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview Thursday:

CY MUSIKER: Tom Bates is one of the most familiar faces in Bay Area politics. He’s been mayor since 2002, and before that he was in the state legislature. Tell us about his opposition.

BERKELEYSIDE’S FRANCES DINKELSPIEL: Bates is facing five challengers, only one of whom has any significant political experience.

His strongest challenger, probably, is Kriss Worthington, who’s sat on the city council for 16 years and is in many ways Bates’ nemesis. He’s much more progressive than Bates and often leads the pack that is in opposition to Bates’ slate on the council.

The second strongest contender is a woman named Jacquelyn McCormick. She doesn’t have a lot of experience, but she’s pounding Mayor Bates over the city’s fiscal situation.

Continue reading

Oakland: De La Fuente Trying to Unseat Kaplan For Councilmember At-Large

by Caitlin Esch

After 20 years representing Oakland’s District 5, City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente is giving up his position to run for Councilmember At-Large. De La Fuente is hoping to unseat popular incumbent Rebecca Kaplan.

De La Fuente is known for his tough-on-crime attitude. But in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, bookkeeper Jose Dorado says support for De La Fuente among many merchants is eroding as crime in the neighborhood continues to soar.

“The kinds of efforts that Mr. De La Fuente has put forth to deal with that has not been anywhere near even adequate in our opinion,” said Dorado.

“I absolutely understand their frustration,” De La Fuente said. “The reality—it is true: crime going up, our inability to deal with that, absolutely has increased. That’s the reason why I have tried so hard to give the police the tools to do their job.”

De La Fuente strongly supports gang injunctions and youth curfews. But At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan criticizes him for voting to cut police staffing to balance the budget.

“If he keeps cutting the police force, it’s not gonna work to just say, well this smaller number of cops should do more other things.”

Kaplan voted against the layoffs and says OPD doesn’t have the resources to enforce curfews.

San Francisco Propositions, Local Races

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Downtown San Francisco (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Below is an edited transcript.

HOST CY MUSIKER: Over the next few weeks, we will be talking about local elections, including races in Oakland and Berkeley, plus partial taxes and school bonds around the Bay. Today we are looking at the most critical races in San Francisco and we are talking to Corey Cook. He directs the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco. And Corey, let’s start with a couple of propositions on the ballot, the highest profile involves the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite Park and no pun intended because it’s around 4,000 feet. Measure F requires the city to study how to drain Hetch Hetchy and replace it as a source of hydropower and water for more than two million people living in San Francisco, the Peninsula and the East Bay.

COREY COOK: Right. In sum, it is a fairly small initiative and it all it does is fund a $8 million study and on one hand, it is really a small scale. On the other hand, the plan is then put on the ballot in San Francisco, an initiative that would ultimately drain Hetch Hetchy, which as you know, it would affect 2.5 million people, it would be enormously costly and as a result you really see this. Every member of the Board of Supervisors and the mayor united in opposition to this measure.

MUSIKER: Mayor Ed Lee and others are backing a Measure E. That is the next measure we are going to talk about. That would convert the city’s chief business tax from one taxing payroll size to one taxing business receipts. And that’s getting a rare consensus again of everybody on the supervisors but also labor and business, progressives and conservatives, why is that?

COOK: Well, in this case, yes, everybody is basically on the “yes” side and for three reasons. One is that the existing payroll tax has been called a job killer because, effectively, it taxes hiring. It taxes payroll. So as the tax on payroll, it’s been unpopular for business, it’s been unpopular for supervisors and with the Mayor certainly for a long time. But it is revenue positive and so certainly, labor is in favor and some of the more progressive voices in the city are happy because it de-rate $28.5 million annually, and it exempts small businesses. So it serves something for everybody. This is this grand compromise that did unite these different fractions in San Francisco. Continue reading

Election Road Trip: Maldonado Trying to Get Latinos to Go Republican

Democrat Lois Capps and Republican Abel Maldonado at a September debate sponsored by san luis Obispo times

In the Central Coast’s 24th Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Lois Capps is challenged by Republican Abel Maldonado. Here, both candidates are at a September debate sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Times. (Photo: Scott Shafer)

For the past two decades California has been tough political terrain for Republicans, in part because the state’s growing Latino population overwhelmingly supports Democrats.

On the Central Coast, Republican Congressional candidate Abel Maldonado is hoping his Mexican heritage will help bridge that divide by appealing to Latinos and independent voters. Maldonado, a former lieutenant governor, is the kind of candidate the Republican Party covets these days.

“My father and mother came to this country with nothing,” Maldonado says.

He’s the oldest son of migrant workers — Maldonado’s father came from Mexico in 1965 as a guest worker, eventually starting his own farm and growing it into a family business.

“The Republican Party has not done a good job of communicating with the fastest growing population in America, which happens to be Hispanics.”
At the age of 26, after a long battle with local bureaucrats over a permit for a refrigerated warehouse on the farm, Maldonado was elected to the Santa Maria City Council. He rose to higher office, in the Assembly and Senate, and was eventually appointed lieutenant governor by Arnold Schwarzenegger when the office became vacant.

“So just imagine me sitting next to my mother picking strawberries in the fields and becoming California’s 47th lieutentant governor,” the boyish 45-year-old says.

Maldonado lost his bid to remain Lieutenant Governor in an election against Gavin Newsom. But now he’s running in the 24th Congressional District against incumbent Democrat Lois Capps. The newly drawn seat is much more competitive than it was before redistricting. It would seem tailor-made for a moderate Republican businessman like Maldonado. Continue reading

Attack Ad Says Eric Mar is From Mars, David Lee is From San Francisco

Here at the Election Funhouse, we’ve seen a lot of over-the-top political ads. But this one paid for by the San Francisco Association of Realtors in support of District 1 supervisorial candidate David Lee — and distinctly not in support of incumbent Eric Mar — may be over the top and back around to the other side.

You don’t need an advanced degree in semiotics to get the drift of the message: that Eric Mar is an alien life form sent to the San Francisco Richmond district in order to ruin the lives of kids to the point they have been forced into the streets in roving, dirty-faced packs, suitable as extras in the children’s version of “The Road Warrior.”


The left-leaning Bay Guardian, which has endorsed Mar with some reservations, has published a series of articles about this, with Executive Editor Tim Redmond suggesting the ad is homophobic, among other things…

The voice-over announces that Mar is famous “for suggesting that his meetings be held in the the hot tub of a local YMCA” — while a photo shows three apparently naked men cozying up around a big flume of steam. Ah — Mar is linked to a steamy male bath scene! Eeew.

Continue reading

Find Where to Vote Early County-by-County

SAN FRANCISCO (Bay City News and KQED) Early voting has started all around the state. In San Francisco, residents eager to cast their ballots for the November election can now take part in early voting at City Hall.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Voters can go to the Department of Elections on the ground floor of City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays to fill out a ballot.

The department is also setting up weekend voting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the two weekends prior to the Nov. 6 election, which includes the presidential race as well as other federal, state and local contests.

City election officials have also started sending out more than 200,000 vote-by-mail ballots and recently finished mailing voter information pamphlets to registered voters.

People wishing to vote by mail must send a request to the Department of Elections by Oct. 30.

More information about early voting or vote-by-mail ballots can be found on the department’s website at or by calling (415) 554-4375.

Here are addresses county-by-county where you can now vote in the Bay Area:


  • Alameda County: Registar’s office at 1225 Fallon Street, Rm. G-1, in Oakland.
  • Contra Costa County: 555 Escobar Street, in Martinez
  • Marin County: Marin Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 121, in San Rafael
  • San Mateo County: 40 Tower Road, San Mateo, or 555 County Center, First Floor, Redwood City
  • Santa Clara County: 1555 Berger Dr, Building 2, San Jose. Office hoursvary as the election approaches.
  • Sonoma County: Registrar of Voters, 435 Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
  • Solano County: Registrar of Voters, 675 Texas St. Suite 2600
  • Napa County: Carithers Building, 900 Coombs Street, Suite 256, Napa. Starting the weekend before the election, Napa County will also set up satellite voting assistance centers, where voters can drop off their ballots or receive new ones if they have lost or spoiled them, or if they need a new envelope.Satellite offices:-Calistoga – Tubbs Building, Fairgrounds Gate 3 – Oak Street-Saint Helena – Stonebridge Apartments Community Room – 990 College Avenue
    -Yountville- Library Reading Room – 6516 Washington Street
    -American Canyon – Public Safety Bldg – 911 Donaldson Way, East of Hwy 29
    -Fairgrounds – 4th and Burnell Streets – Enter on Burnell

Debating Berkeley’s Sit-Lie Ballot Measure

Man asleep in downtown Berkeley. (SF Homeless Project: Flickr)

Man asleep in downtown Berkeley. (SF Homeless Project: Flickr)

The city of Berkeley has a storied history of tolerance. But that attitude is being tested by Measure S, in which the tension between tolerance and notions of quality of life is coming to a head.

The ordinance would prohibit sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts between 7am and 10pm. There are certain exceptions — most notably for medical emergencies and people in wheelchairs — and a warning must be given first. After that, violators would have to pay a $75 fine or perform community service.

On KQED’s Forum show on Friday, both the Measure S supporter and opponent were clear that they are sympathetic to the homeless and their need for services. But they strongly disagreed over whether Measure S would help those in need to get food, shelter or other services. Continue reading

Rallying the Afghan Vote in Fremont

By Francesca Segre

Most Afghan-Americans came here as refugees — fleeing war, invasions and political repression. Yet many don’t exercise their right to vote in U.S. elections. The nonprofit group The Afghan Coalition is trying to change that dynamic, and they’re rallying voters in the heart of California’s Afghan population — Fremont.

Francesca Segre/KQED

The group organized a forum recently for Afghan-American voters to meet the four candidates running for mayor of the city. At the event, candidates fielded questions about immigration and how to combat Islamophobia. Aziz Akbari, an 18-year-old Muslim and one of the mayoral candidates, tried to warm up the crowd by introducing himself in Farsi. But the candidates know it’s complicated to encourage Afghan voter turnout.

Many Afghans are reluctant to vote because they were never given a chance to in their homeland. Continue reading

Election Road Trip: Central Coasters Hungry For Substance, Sick of Campaign Negativity

The election is just over a month away now, and unlike in the past, California has multiple Congressional seats — nearly a dozen, in fact — where the outcome is truly up in the air. As part of our election series “What’s Government For?” we’re out to hear what voters say they want from their elected officials.

Lois Capps and Abel Maldonado at a debate (Scott Shafer/KQED)

We’re hitting the road, or should I say the beach, on the Central Coast, where a hotly contested congressional race is under way. The new 24th Congressional District includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, plus a small part of northern Ventura County. One person told me that living here is like being in a National Geographic Magazine — it’s that beautiful.

As I walk along the beach near Morro Bay, I come across two people, Gary Ubaldi and his wife Gail. They both say they’re registered Democrats, but he says they’re open-minded.

“I believe I’m very open-minded,” Ubaldi says. “I know my wife is. I mean she listens to both sides of every argument and would vote for who she felt was the best candidate, period. Regardless of party.” Continue reading