Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2018  
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  My June 2018 Ballot Recommendations
June 3, 2018

By popular request, I am republishing this from May 7.

Here are my recommendations:


  • Congress, District 11: Mark DeSaulnier. Mark has done an outstanding job representing our district since taking over George Miller’s seat, and has represented Richmond well.
  • California Assembly District 15: Buffy Wicks. There is an unusually good slate of candidates, but for me Buffy Wicks rises above. Having worked in both the Obama campaign and in the White House, she has the unique advantage of political experience on the national level as well as a solid working relationship with California leaders throughout the state – a good jump start for an effective Assembly member. Her activist and progressive credentials are as solid as any competitor, and she showed rare initiative by collecting all her filing signatures rather than just paying a fee.
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond. Tony was once my seatmate at the Richmond City Council, and I watched him grow from a fresh city council  member to an unusually effective California Assembly member. He knows public education, and he knows how to lead us to a better tomorrow. He is truly dedicated to the success of the public school system.
  • County Superintendent of Schools: Lynn Mackey. As current deputy superintendent, Lynn has a proven track record and is ready to step up to lead an organization that has critical responsibilities beyond what most people know.
  • Supervisor District 1: John Gioia. Running unopposed, no one works harder than John in representing our local district at the County level while also serving on important state and regional bodies such as the California Air Resources Board, the BAAQMD, BCDC and others.
  • Richmond Measure E: Yes. This is part of a three-part plan to increase funding for kids.
  • Richmond Measure K: Yes. This is the second part of a three-part plan to increase funding for kids. There third part is a soda tax on the November ballot to pay for Measure E.
  • Contra Costa County Assessor: Gus S. Kramer. An experienced incumbent.
  • Contra Costa County Auditor-Controller: Robert Campbell. An experienced incumbent.
  • Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder: Joseph E. Canciamilla. An experienced incumbent, running unopposed.
  • District Attorney: Diana Becton. A former judge and appointed district attorney will clean up a long time blemish on Contra Costa County.
  • Sheriff-coroner: Unfortunately, David Livingston is running unopposed. I cannot recommend voting for him because of the contempt he has for Richmond.
  • Treasurer-Tax Collector: Russell V. Watts, an experienced incumbent.


  • Regional Measure 3 (RM3): Yes. Everyone knows that mobility on the Bay Area is severely challenged largely due to the continuing economic boom. This measure, funded by bridge tolls, provides comprehensive relief for every commuter.


  • Governor: Gavin Newsom. The most prepared and experienced candidate. On a wide range of topics including same-sex marriage, gun safety, marijuana, the death penalty, universal health care, access to preschool, paid family leave, technology, criminal justice reform, sugary drinks, and the minimum wage, Gavin stuck his neck out and did the right thing, which often led to sweeping changes when his policies were ultimately accepted, embraced, and replicated across the state and nation.
  • Lieutenant Governor: Jeff Bleich: A progressive California lawyer with a civil rights background who served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations with distinction, capped by serving as ambassador to Australia.
  • Secretary of State: Alex Padilla: A former Los Angeles City Council member and state senator, Since taking office, Alex Padilla has made remarkable strides in making it more convenient for eligible Californians to register and vote.
  • Controller: Betty T. Yee: Experience matters. Betty will continue to build on her record of toughness, fairness and integrity, as Controller, while maintaining her commitment to transparency and accountability.
  • Treasurer: Fiona Ma
  • Attorney General: Xavier Becerra: Xavier Becerra is the the 33rd Attorney General of California, and the first Latino to hold the office in state history. A staunch advocate for hardworking families, Xavier has brought decades of experience to defend the rights of nearly 40 million Californians. Since taking office in January, Becerra has taken the Trump Administration to court to defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He’s led the fight against the discriminatory Muslim travel ban, the EPA’s illegal delay of air quality standards, and the ill-conceived wasteful plan to build a wall along the California border.
  • Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara: As California's Insurance Commissioner, Lara will  represent the great people of California, not the corporations, the billionaire class, the pharmaceutical or the insurance companies. Lara will work with anybody who is willing to come to the table, but is allegiance will always be first and foremost to the consumers, the patients, working families, and our most vulnerable communities in our Golden State.



  • United Sates Senator: Diane Feinstein.


  • Proposition 68: Yes. Proposition 68 was placed on the ballot by the California Legislature (SB 5) and Governor Jerry Brown to invest $4 billion for environmental protection, flood protection and water infrastructure projects, as well as for state and local parks. A broad coalition of water experts, park advocates and conservation groups support the California Clean Water & Safe Parks Act campaign.
  • Proposition 69: Yes. Proposition 69 would require that revenue from the diesel sales tax and Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) be dedicated for transportation-related purposes Proposition 69 was part of a legislative package that included Senate Bill 1 (SB 1). Without SB 1, Proposition 69 would not affect anything. SB 1, which was also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, enacted an estimated $5.2 billion-a-year increase in transportation-related taxes and fees, including a $0.12 cents per gallon increase of the gasoline excise tax, a $0.20 cents per gallon increase of the diesel excise tax, a 4 percentage points increase of the diesel sales tax, an annual $25 to $100 Transportation Improvement Fee, and an annual $100 zero-emission vehicles fee.
  • Proposition 70: No. Proposition 70 is a corporate-led attack on climate action in CaliforniaIf passed, it would seize funding that is currently used to fight pollution and improve community health. It would subject this funding to a two-thirds vote in 2024, and by doing so, it would hold these climate investments hostage to the lobbying of corporate interests. Prop 70 would lead to budget gridlock, undermine California’s progress on climate change and clean air, and increase the power of corporate interests.
  • Proposition 71: Yes Proposition 71 is a simple common sense update of our elections laws, which will ensure accurate results following the approval of a ballot measure by voters. This is a non-controversial constitutional fix with bi-partisan support.
  • Proposition 72: Yes. Yes on Proposition 72 will prevent a property tax increase on homeowners who install rainwater recycling systems that benefit our entire state.