Criminal Justice Races

Last month, CDT-endorsed Chesa Boudin was elected as San Francisco’s District Attorney (link is to an interview with Chesa from the Political Breakdown podcast). CDT partner SF Rising Action’s Director, Emily Lee, reflects on their voter engagement strategy in new majority communities and looks ahead to co-governing with Chesa. “This is where the real work begins, right? The job is not electing the person. The job is, once they’re elected, how is Chesa going to be able to carry out the reforms and the agenda that he set forth, and how do we as the public and the community help hold him accountable, but also support him so that he can do his job because he’s one person, he’s not going to change it. There needs to be a much larger movement around what he’s trying to do to make it reality, and I think we go in with eyes wide open, about what it means to go into that seat and go into that system to really change things.” 


Former public defender Rachel Rossi declared her candidacy for the Los Angeles District Attorney race, joining George Gascon in challenging enforcement-backed incumbent Jackie Lacey. Criminal justice reformers and progressives will need to keep Jackie Lacey below 50% in the primary election to force a run-off in the general election. CDT will continue to support building the power of new majority partner groups in Los Angeles to lead voter engagement and co-governance strategy in this race. 


In 2018, CDT-endorsed candidate Duke Nguyen lost the Orange County Sheriff race to then-Undersheriff Don Barnes. Barnes is now under fire for leading a department that has grossly mishandled evidence over the last two years. He will be up for re-election in 2022, and CDT will track the race closely with our partner Orange County Civic Engagement Table Action. 


2020 Elections

Governor Newsom declared that special primary elections for CD25 (Katie Hill’s vacant seat) and SD28 (Republican Jeff Stone’s vacant seat) will be held on March 3 to coincide with the statewide primary election. If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, the special general elections will be May 12. 


Representative Duncan Hunter pled guilty in his campaign finance violations case, though he has yet to declare outright if he will resign from his CD50 seat. Hunter will be sentenced in March 2020. CDT is supporting Ammar Campa-Najjar in his bid to flip this seat he narrowly lost in 2018. 


Roll Call updates their house ratings, moving 12 races in greater favor to Democrats, including CD25, Katie Hill’s vacant seat (previously held by Republican Steve Knight), from “Likely Democratic” to “Solid Democratic.” 


Capital & Main profiles how the Schools and Communities First ballot initiative will reduce inequality and how corporations will spend big to influence elections and continue to widen the wealth gap. SCF has been widely endorsed by many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. 


2020 election materials will now be available in 14 Asian languages — Bengali, Burmese, Gujarati, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Lao, Mien, Mongolian, Nepali, Tamil, Thai, Telugu and Urdu — and reach an additional 57,000 residents throughout California.


Central Valley

The LA Times does a deep dive into the long history of segregation and access to water, tracing back to the late 1800s when Black farm workers migrated to the San Joaquin Valley. “It was precisely the lack of water which made it possible for black people to buy property and homes in places like Teviston. Nobody else wanted to live there. … But even as questions about water infrastructure and segregation resurface, black families have largely moved on from these rural California farming communities and Latinos have taken their place. The infrastructure isolation continues as new families move in.”



Environmental Justice

Governor Newsom imposed new regulations on fracking. Per CDT partner California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), “Governor Newsom’s announcement demonstrates an unprecedented willingness to protect the public’s health and safety from the dangers of the fossil fuel industry. Previous administrations, while active on climate policies, neglected to meaningfully regulate the oil and gas industry, allowing it to operate at a grave cost to public health, the environment, and our climate. The actions outlined by the State set an important foundation to correct-course to protect people and phase out destructive fossil fuels.


Environmental justice communities are living with the devastating health impacts of oil and gas production daily. We were pleased to see the administration’s commitment to address these impacts when Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, and other key officials visited with frontline communities in Kern County and Los Angeles this summer to learn firsthand about the impacts of oil operations in close proximity to homes and schools. We have never been more hopeful that California will heed the calls of science and environmental justice communities to address the issues posed by oil and gas extraction in our state – we cannot call ourselves a climate leader until we confront this complex, but critical issue.”


Immigrant Rights

Starting in January, Medi-Cal will expand to include undocumented young adults, but some fear that they will not enroll due to fears of being penalized later by federal immigration policies.


ICE is expanding private detention centers in California — from more than 4,000 detention beds to 6,750 — before the new law that would ban new private prisons takes effect January 1, 2020. 


Immigration judges in San Diego are “quietly disrupt[ing]” the federal administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy by terminating such cases at a higher rate — 33% — than any other court. “Such a decision doesn’t mean a migrant is allowed to stay in the U.S., even if they show up for their court hearing. Instead, it saves them from being banned from coming to the country for 10 years and makes it tougher for the government to charge them with a felony if they cross the border illegally in the future.”



PRRI and AAPI Data, led by CDT ally Karthick Ramakrishnan, released a study that found that almost a quarter of California AAPIs are working and struggling in poverty.


The Public Policy Institute of California released a report forecasting the next economic downturn and outlines how lawmakers can act to preserve safety net programs.