California Greens keep winning
Green candidates take 23 seats in fall 2014 elections
by Mike Feinstein, Green Party of California
Bruce Delgado re-elected as mayor of Marina, California, with his wife Natalie.
Voters in California voiced their strong approval of Green leadership by re-electing the majority of Green office holders. Led by three present/former Green mayors, 23 candidates were elected across California in November elections. This brings the number of Greens holding elected office statewide to 64, up from 60 in June 2014. Eleven of 13 Green incumbents were returned to office in 2014 overall.
Combined with spring results, 33 of 67 Greens (49.3 percent) were elected in 2014. Subtracting state/federal office, where ten Greens ran in the June primary, California Greens won 33 of 57 local races (57.9 percent). This voter support for Green candidates betrays the negative logic of the Top Two system. Since Top Two came into existence, it has blocked Green state and federal candidates from being on the general election ballot in either 2012 or 2014.
An anti-McLaughlin billboard, funded by Chevron, looms over San Pablo Avenue, criticizing her travel history. Photo: Brett Murphy
In Richmond (Contra Costa County), Gayle Mclaughlin was elected to the city council despite indirect attacks from the Chevron Corporation who injected three million dollars in support of her opponents. Mclaughlin was a target of Chevron because she has led efforts as Richmond’s mayor to hold Chevron accountable for its negative local environmental impacts and to pay its fair share in taxes to the community. She has also led efforts for Richmond to use eminent domain to prevent homeowner foreclosures. Mclaughlin was elected in 2014 as part of Team Richmond a slate of three successful city council candidates, with support by the Richmond Progressive Alliance. From 2006-2014, Mclaughlin served as mayor and then had to step down because of term limits. She previously served on the city council before becoming Mayor.
In Marina (Monterey County), Green Mayor Bruce Delgado was elected to his fourth consecutive two-year term with 64 percent of the vote, running on a platform of a safe and healthy environment, more parks and greenways, public safety, and a balanced, fiscally conservative budget. Delgado also served a four-year term on the city council from 2000-2004, as well as on the Transportation Agency of Monterey County the Monterey Regional Waste Management District, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
In Marin County, Fairfax town council member and former mayor Larry Bragman won a seat on Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors, highlighting the stewardship of the Mt. Tam watershed and preservation of its near-pristine water, as well as, water conservation and protecting rate-payers. Bragman was first elected to the town council in 2003 and has been part of a Green town council majority in Fairfax since 2009. He and re-elected incumbent Jan Shriner, Marina Coast Water District Board of Directors (Monterey County), are two of five Greens currently serving on water district boards statewide—an increasingly critical post in time of drought.
Three other Greens were elected to city council seats, increasing the number of sitting Green city council members statewide to seven: appointed incumbent Deborah Heathersone was re-elected (Point Arena, Mendocino County); as well as Paul Pitino (Arcata, Humboldt County) who previously served on the city council (2004-2008); and first-timer John Keener (Pacifica, San Mateo County).
Long time Napa Green Amy Martenson also won her first run for elected office, defeating a long-term incumbent to win a seat on the Napa Valley College Board of Trustees. Her platform advocated increased funding at the state level through an oil severance tax and closing corporate tax loopholes in proposition 13, expanding vocational training options for students to include the two-year programs that lead to the highest paying jobs, and increasing community participation in board meetings and decision-making. Martenson joins already elected Green Student Trustee April Clary on the board. On the local school board level, eight Greens were elected, growing to 20 the number statewide. Winning very competitive races were Heather Bass (Gilroy Unified School District, Santa Clara County), Adriana Griffin, Red Bluff Union School District, Tehama County) and Kathy Rallings (Carlsbad Unified School District, San Diego County).
Counties with the most elected Greens were Contras Costa (4), Alameda (3), San Diego (3), Monterey (2), Napa (2), and Santa Cruz (2). One Green, Jeff Davis, was elected in two counties—to the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District Board of Directors.
The Green Party of California awards campaign support funds to candidates endorsed by their county Green Party based upon this criteria.