Why I'm voting for Luz Gomez and Sabina Zafar
Hi San Ramon residents! If you haven't thought about voting yet, it's not too late! You can find out how to vote right here.
If you're already registered to vote, and maybe already have your ballot in hand because our fabulous Secretary of State Alex Padilla was on it, know that I'm celebrating with you!
And if you know which box you'll fill in for President of the United States but don't know about the rest of the ballot, you are in good company.
As always in California, we have a plethora of ballot initiatives and local races to consider. Here, I'll provide a quick overview of my thinking behind some of my choices to help you make your own. This isn't meant to be an overwhelming comprehensive deep dive-- the voter guide provides that. This is meant to offer you a place from which you can start conversations with friends or family, or with me via email or social media. Before this post gets as long as the voter information guide itself, let's dive in.
CITY OF SAN RAMON, MAYOR: Sabina Zafar
As a longtime San Ramon resident, I've seen a lot of change in this city. <looks off into hazy distance down Bollinger> I remember when Dougherty was a barely-two lane road with cows and rolling hills on either side. When Cal High was the only high school in town (with the reputation of being "too diverse" -- really). When there were basketball courts at Central Park. (That only feels like a lifetime ago.)
When large corporations swept in and as Bishop Ranch developed and re-developed, we saw major changes in infrastructure and demographics. Greater population density and diversity brought so many improvements to education in our schools, libraries, and recreation programs, not to mention our restaurants. We even benefited from an autonomous vehicle route within Bishop Ranch (let me know if you've ridden it). There's also been, of course, increasing traffic congestion and demands of EBMUD, among other public utilities.
With these changes, it became clear to me that San Ramon was in need of fresh leadership. The council included leaders who had been in power for several years, even decades. They had overseen strong positive change, but it was clear to me that to take us into the next era of progress, we were in need of leaders who would actively listen to the communities (plural) that make up the city and would represent their interests.
Sabina Zafar was that person. In 2018, she became the first woman of color to be elected to San Ramon's city council. I hosted a house party for her that fall, where she came and spoke to a group of 15 or so of us, listening to concerns ranging from school safety and child wellness to land development and beyond. Sabina didn't just listen-- she translated the ideas she heard into action. We now had a city council representative who actively stood up for youth, for the environment, for sensible development goals and plans.
I watched her in action during city council meetings when we could attend in person. Sabina consistently stood out as the city councilmember who would respect her constituents, who would listen, and who would actively bring their ideas into discussion. That's the kind of representation I'm looking for. I'm proud to cast my vote for Sabina.
CITY OF SAN RAMON, DISTRICT 1: Luz Gómez
The good work and candidacy of Luz Gómez came to my attention via the former El Cerrito mayor, land use and transportation policy superstar Ann Cheng (who also happens to be a dear friend from our Cal High days). Ann's timing was impeccable as she endorsed Luz, a clean air expert, just before the fire season started.
In email exchanges and an hour-long phone call, Luz took time to share with me her personal history in San Ramon as well as her professional background that will serve us well on the city council. I encourage you to read her site to get a sense of her priorities and the way she'll represent District 1. I'm especially impressed with her commitment to listening to and interacting with residents, something we haven't seen enough of through the years (though I've been heartened by what seems to be better council-resident communication via Zoom during the pandemic). I believe Luz will be a strong voice for District 1 and a valuable addition to our city council.
VOTE YES on 16. I remember when Prop 209 passed. It was so disheartening to see the lack of reasoning and good analysis from its proponents. It's late now and I want to publish this so I'm not going to get into it, but the same weak arguments are put forth today in the No on 16 campaign. Vote YES on 16 to further strengthen this beautiful state and lead the way forward.
That's it for now; there's more on the ballot and I'm happy to discuss one on one with friends and family who may read this. For internet strangers who took the time to read this, thank you and I hope you talk about voting with your circles. Democracy works best when we're all involved.
And keep in mind:
"“Election results may not be available on election night.” There will likely be more mail/absentee ballots this November than ever before and accurately counting them takes time. All races will be affected, including the 6,000 state legislative races, and voters should be prepared to go to sleep on election night without knowing the final results up and down the ballot." ~ National Conference of State Legislatures