Margarita Lacabe

May 062016

election2016jpgA voter contacted me asking for more information on the the different candidates running for Alameda County Central Committee.  To make it easier on voters, here is a list of the candidates, with whatever information I know about them as well as links to public information on them.  If you know of other resources, please share them.

Committee members decide on which candidates for local office will get the Democratic endorsement and they pass resolutions on issues of local, state and national interest. They are also members of the California Democratic Central Committee and vote on state-wide and national endorsements.

Names in *ALL CAPITALS are those I recommend, (i) denotes incumbency (B) denotes a Bernie Sanders supporter while (H) denotes a Hillary Clinton supporter.  They are listed in the order they appear in the ballot.  Please feel free to e-mail me if you want more information about any of the candidates.  You can read more about my recommended candidates here and see my whole Alameda County Voters Guide here.


AD 15 (Emeryville/North Oakland north to Berkeley – vote for no more than 9)

Sharon Ball (i)

Sharon Ball has been a member of the ACDCC since 2008 and is active in the Women’s Caucus.

Voter’s Edge Page

Brett Badelle (B)

Brett Badelle currently works in the government relations department at BART. He is a founding member of the Black Young Democrats of the East Bay and is an alternate on the Alameda County Central Committee. He was Jean Quan’s Senior Policy Advisor on Public Safety and was campaign manager for Tony Thurmond.  He’s a member of the Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club and the Wellstone Democratic Club.  He’s running on a slate with three others.

Slate Facebook Page


Michael Barnett is a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley Labs. He is a long time member of the ACDCC and the author of the CA Democratic platform sections on education and criminal justice. He lives in Oakland.

Mike Barnett’s Campaign Website

Voter’s Edge Page

Jamila A. English

Jamila English is Senior Policy Analyst and Community Liaison for Oakland Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington. She is an alternate at the ACDCC. She managed Elizabeth Echols’ campaign for Assembly.

Voter’s Edge Page

Elizabeth Echols (i)

Elizabeth Echols was appointed by Gov. Brown to  direct the California Public Utilities Commission’s Office of Ratepayer Advocates.  Previously she was appointed by President Obama to direct the Small Business Administration for the Western region and prior to that she was Policy Director at Google.   She ran unsuccessfully for State Assembly in 2014. She lives in Berkeley.

Voter’s Edge Page

News articles on Elizabeth Echols

Kathy Neal (i)

Kathy Neal is a business consultant and long term Democratic Party activist and ACDCC member.

Voter’s Edge Page

Kathy Neal’s professional biography

David Shiver

David Shiver is an urban economics/planning consultant. He is a former member of the ACDCC and the current president of the Berkeley Democratic Club.

Voter’s Edge Page

David Shiver’s professional biography.

Karen Weinstein (H)

Karen Weinstein serves on the Berkeley Commission on the Status of Women, and is an activist and a grassroots organizer long-involved in the struggle for women’s rights, labor rights, and health care.  Karen is a health educator, former member of the ACDCC and current vice-president of the Berkeley Democratic Club.  She’s a strong Hillary Clinton supporter.

Karen’s campaign page

Voter’s Edge Page

Karen Weinstein’s Biography

Bonnie Wheatley (i)

Bonnie Wheatley is a healthcare consultant. She has been a member of the ACDCC since 2008 and is the Chair of the Alameda County Commission on Status of Women.

Voter’s Edge Page


Vincent Casalaina is a cinematographer  and longtime progressive Democratic activist. He is the Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party and in the leadership of Democracy for America and the Wellstone Democratic Club.  He is a Sanders supporter. He is running in a slate with 3 other Wellstone members. He lives in Berkeley.

Vincent Casalaina’s Slate Facebook Page

Voter’s Edge Page


Andy is a young Democratic activist. He is active in East Bay Young Democrats and used to work for Democracy for America.  He is a Sanders supporter.  He has served one term in the ACDCC but was involved as an alternate before that.  He lives in Oakland.

Andy Kelley for ACDCC

Andy’s Voter’s Edge Page

Floyd Huen (B)

Floyd Huen is a physician and member of Wellstone Democratic Club. He’s running in a slate with three other candidates. 

Slate Facebook Page

Voter’s Edge Page

Three Questions for Dr. Floyd Huen (2011 interview)

Kate Harrison (B)

Kate Harrison is a policy consultant and member of the Wellstone Democratic Club. She is running in a slate with three other Democratic activists. She lives in Berkeley.

Voter’s Edge Page

Slate Facebook Page

Kate Harrison Consulting (her business website)

Dianne Martinez (B)

Dianne Martinez is the current Mayor of Emeryville.  She was elected to the Emeryville City Council in 2014. She is a TV producer.

Dianne’s Voter’s Edge Page

Interview with Dianne Martinez (when she was running for council)

Beverly Greene (i)

Beverly Greene is a long-time member of the ACDCC.


Ces Rosales is a committed Democratic activist. She’s been an associate with the ACDCC for the last six years and has had a variety of roles with the party. She was student leader in the Philippines and came to the US to escape persecution by the brutal Marcos regime. She is a Hillary supporters, but I’m giving her a pass.

Ces’ Campaign Webpage

Voter’s Edge Page


Len Raphael is an accountant, community activist and treasurer for the Coalition for Police Accountability. He ran unsuccessfully for Oakland City Auditor in 2014.

Len Raphael’s campaign website

Voter’s Edge Page

AD 18 Candidates (San Leandro, Alameda and parts of Oakland – vote no more than 10)

Corina R Lopez (i)

Corina Lopez was elected to the San Leandro City Council in 2014. Previously, she served 2 years in the San Leandro School Board. She was elected to the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee in 2012. Corina grew up in Soledad as the daughter of farm workers, made her way to Princeton and now runs an IT company with her husband.

SLT articles tagged Corina Lopez

Corina’s Council website

Answers to APA Caucus Questionnaire (for Council race)

Smart Voter page for Council Race


That would be me. I’m a human rights activist, working specifically for human rights and against impunity for human rights violators in Latin America, and for the memory of victims of gross human rights violations.  I was elected to the ACDCC in 2010. I’m committed to standing up for human rights and against corruption and self-dealing in the party. I’m also  Sanders supporter.

Why I’m running for Central Committee

e-mail me with any questions.


Guillermo is a community activist, working specifically on renters’ rights.  He has very strong progressive views which almost always mirror mine and has been an ally fighting for civil rights in San Leandro.  He was an active volunteer for Obama and is now for Bernie Sanders.

Guillermo’s website.

Voter’s Edge page

SLT articles tagged Guillermo Elenes.

Howard Egerman (i)

Howard is a union activist with the American Federation of Government Employees. He has been a member of the ACDCC for many years.  He lives in the Fruitvale district of Oakland.

Voter’s Edge page

Mario Juarez (i)

Mario Juarez is a realtor and business owner in Oakland. He ran unsuccessfully for Oakland City Council in 2008 and 2012.  He has been a member of the ACDCC since 2010 and is the current Committee Vice-Chair for AD 18.  He lives in Oakland.

Smart Voter page from his 2012 ACDCC race

Mario Juarez’ Professional Biography

Mario Juarez Real Estate

Jim Oddie (i) (H)

Jim Oddie is Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s District Director.  At the ACDCC, he votes as Bonta indicates he should vote.   He was elected to the Alameda County City Council in 2014.  Since his election to City Council, Oddie has seldom attended ACDCC meetings. He will be a delegate for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.

SLT articles tagged Jim Oddie

Jim’s Council Website

Smart Voter page for Council Race

Articles tagged Jim Oddie, Alameda Merry Go Round

Robin Torello (i) (H)

Robin is the Chair of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee and has been so for many, many years.  She will be a delegate for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.  She lives in San Leandro.

SLT articles tagged Robin Torello

Voter’s Edge Page

Pamela A. Drake (i) (B)

Pamela is a community organizer and blogger from Oakland. She has a long political history, is an active member of the Wellstone Democratic Club and was elected to the ACDCC in 2012. She is a Sanders supporter.

Voter’s Edge page

Drake Talk Oakland – Pam’s blog

Pam’s comments on East Bay Express articles

Malcolm Amado Uno

Uno is Political Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network  He was recruited to run in a slate with the incumbents in the race (save for me).

Voter’s Edge page

Malcolm Uno’s bio


Mike is a human rights activist specializing in privacy rights.  He runs the Center for Human Rights and Privacy and investigates the use of mass surveillance by law enforcement within the US.  He was in the San Leandro School Board from 2006 to 2014.  He is a Sanders supporter.

SLT articles tagged Mike Katz-Lacabe

Voter’s Edge page

News articles quoting Mike on civil liberties

Randy Reynaldo Menjivar (B)

Randy is a graduate student at the University of San Francisco.

Randy’s Voter’s Edge page

Peggy Moore (H)

Peggy was California Political Director of Obama for America from 2008 to 2012 and is currently Hillary Clinton’s California Political Director.  In the interim she managed Libby Schaaf’s successful campaign for Oakland Mayor and served as her senior special advisor.

Peggy Moore’s biography


Marlon is an elected member of the Alameda County Board of Education, now running for re-election. He was appointed as member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee to fill a vacancy in 2013.  He lives in West Oakland.

Voter’s Edge page

Linda Perry (i)

Linda Perry is the current treasurer of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, and thus an Executive Board member,  and a long-time member of the ACDCC. She is a former San Leandro School Board and City Council member.  Linda works as treasurer for political campaigns, including those of candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement.

SLT articles tagged Linda Perry

Voter’s Edge page

Diana Prola (i) (B)

Diana is a long time member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee.  She is a retired teacher and member of the San Leandro School Board. She supports Sanders.

SLT articles tagged Diana Prola


Pamela Price is an Oakland based civil rights attorney.  She ran unsuccessfully for Assembly in 2014.

Elect Pamela Price website

Pamela Price for ACDCC FB page

Voter’s Edge page on Pamela Price

Oakland Tribune endorsement of her Assembly run.

AD 25 Candidates (Newark & Parts of Fremont – vote for no more than 3)

Mike Bucci

Mike Bucci was elected to the Newark City Council in 2014.   He is (or was) a Project Manager for Millwrights Local 102.

City Council Facebook page.

Nancy Thomas (i)

Nancy Thomas has been an ACDCC member for a long time and she also sits in the Newark School Board.

Voter’s Edge page


Paul Sethy is an IT manager and  has been a member of the ACDCC for the last four years and is a Director of Alameda County Water District.  He lives in Fremont.

Paul Sethy’s biography


Raj is a veterinarian who lives in Fremont. He has been an alternate at the ACDCC for a number of years. He served a 2-year appointed term in the Fremont City Council.

Voter’s Edge page

Raj’s web page for his City Council race

Articles on Raj Salwan

Raj Salwan’s professional biography

Patricia “Pat” Danielson (i)

Pat Danielson is a Health Information Manager and member of the Washington Hospital Healthcare System Board. She lives in Fremont and has been a member of the ACDCC since 2008.




Apr 192016


Plus: Who Else to Vote for in AD 15, AD 18 & 25

Update: I was re-elected to the Committee. Thanks to everyone who voted for me.

Once again, I’m running for re-election to the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee.  I’m running for one of the ten seats in AD 18.

I am an unapologetic bleeding heart liberal, committed to pushing the Democratic party towards adopting an agenda that includes the respect and promotion of all human rights: civil, political, economic, social and cultural.  I am fully committed to cleaning up the Democratic party from the corrupting influences of money and cronyism.

Currently, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee is suffering from a numbers of ills.  One of the main jobs of the  Committee is to give the Democratic endorsement to candidates for non-partisan local races.  Unfortunately, several Committee members are either paid campaign consultants themselves or have close relationships with such people – and they take advantage of their position in the Committee to lobby to get their clients the Democratic endorsement.  This has resulted in the Democratic endorsement being given to candidates who do not have particularly progressive ideas.  Indeed, the Committee has endorsed candidates that support the militarization of police,  the widening of the school-to-prison pipeline, mass surveillance and impunity for police brutality.   While as one of the few liberals in the Committee, my effect over the last four years has been limited, I have been able to stop the Democratic endorsement from going to at least some of the worst candidate – including one that wanted to raise the Chinese flag over San Leandro City Hall paying homage to a government that has imprisoned and disappeared countless critics, members of religious minorities and human rights defenders, while brutality occupying Tibet and other lands.

My other main reason to run for re-election is that I believe that if Bernie Sanders manages to win the nomination and then the presidency, he will need supporters working at all levels with the Democratic party in order to push his agenda forward.  If he doesn’t win, and instead decides to lead a revolution from the Senate, then the support of Democratic grass root activists is even more important.  But let me be clear: as a liberal Democrat I cannot support Hillary Clinton and her neo-liberal/neo-con agenda which imperils America and the world.

Over the last four years, I’ve written from time to time about my experiences as a Committee members, please read further if you want to know more about me and my candidacy.  Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments.

In addition to me, I encourage you to vote for the following candidates:

Other candidates I support running for ACDCC in AD 18 (Oakland flats, Alameda & San Leandro – 10 seats available):

Pamela Price, a civil rights attorney

Mike Katz-Lacabe, my husband and a privacy rights advocate.

Guillermo Elenes, a housing rights organizer and staunch liberal

Marlon McWilson, an appointed incumbent and County Board of Education trustee


In AD 15 (Oakland Hills & North Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley and Albany – 9 seats available) I recommend you vote for the following candidates.

Vincent Casalaina: Vincent is very progressive grassroots activist, he is with PDA and was an early Bernie supporter. Vincent is running in a progressive slate with Brett Badelle, Kate Harrison and Floyd Huen

Andy Kelley: Andy sometimes plays politics to his own detriment, but his heart is in the right place and he is also committed to a progressive agenda.

Len Raphael: Len is intelligent, thoughtful and has an insurgent streak. I think he would bring a much needed non-establishment perspective to the Committee.

Ces Rosales: Ces is a very progressive LGBT and feminist activist in Berkeley.  We don’t always back the same candidates (she’s a Hillary supporter), but I respect Ces’ independent streak.

In AD 25 (Newark & parts of Fremont – 3 seats available), I recommend you vote for

Raj Salwan: He has been an alternate for a number of years and is the most progressive candidate running in that district.

Relevant articles:

(Edited to add list of people I’m supporting and to add my stand on Hillary Clinton).

Aug 042014

A couple of weeks ago I pulled papers to run for San Leandro School Board (see below).  After much consideration, I’ve decided that I will not be running for the office.

I have several reasons, but they all come down to the fact that I don’t really want to do it.    A friend of mine, campaign manager Charles Gilcrest, told me once that if you had to chose between two equally good candidates, you should go for the one that has the fire in her belly.  I don’t feel fired up when I think about serving in the School Board.

My children still have many years in the San Leandro School District, and I am concerned about the quality of the board members that will be joining the board – though I’m excited at the possibility of Evelyn Gonzalez winning the at-large seat.  Still, I have great confidence on the Superintendent, and I know that my actual strengths lie as an activist.  I work better outside the system, not inside it.  And that, I will continue doing.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to run.

Jul. 18, 2014

I’ve Pulled Papers to Run for School Board

I have just pulled papers to run for the San Leandro School Board Area 4 race.  At this point, it’s not my intention to file to run.  But I want to make sure that there is at least one candidate in that race I can get behind.   So far, I’m not impressed by the other candidates that have puled papers – if for no other reason that they have not reached out to Mike Katz-Lacabe, the incumbent.  In general, the first thing you do when you think about running for a seat is to reach out to the incumbent to learn about their experiences and challenges on the seat.  Anyone who runs blindly, will likely serve blindly as well.

As I wrote in my letter to the San Leandro Times, I’m looking for a candidate who understands technology and can be a champion for turning the 9th grade campus into a High Tech campus.   I want someone who is intelligent, analytical, and makes data and research-oriented decisions.  But I want more.

I want someone who will fight to educate our students, rather than have them score well on standardized tests.  SLUSD’s focus on testing at the expense of education has pushed many high-achieving students away from our schools, I want to have them back and I want us to provide them the educational challenges they deserve.

I want someone who will also fight to embrace the diversity in our student body and make sure all students have the same opportunities to thrive without compromising their own selves.

I want someone who is forward thinking, who has a vision for the district in five and ten years, but also someone who is accessible to the community and who can act as a true representative for the concerns of parents /and/ students.

In other words, I want someone great – or, at the very least, better than me (not too hard, eh? 🙂  I think our kids deserve that.

My plan right now is to meet with any declared or potential candidates to this office.  If you are one, I urge you to contact me to arrange a meeting/conversation.  If I find I can get behind one or more candidate, I won’t file.  Otherwise, you’ll see me on the ballot 🙂

Oct 212013


It’s Confirmed: I’m the Subject of a Police Investigation

Update: Today, Nov. 18th, I received the response to the California Public Records request I filed on my name.  The turned in some records, “forgot” others, and specifically declined to turn in others.  Here are the reasons they gave for not turning in those records:

1)      The records reflect the analysis or conclusions of an investigating officer and are exempt under California Government Code section 6254(f).

2)      The records contain attorney-client communications, “the disclosure of which is exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law… relating to privilege” under California Government Code Section 6254(k).  Thus, pursuant to Government Code Section 6254(k), the records are exempt from disclosure as attorney-client privilege pursuant to California Evidence Code section 954 as it applies to those portions of the records requested containing confidential communications between the City and its legal counsel.

3)      The records contain personal contact information and are exempt pursuant to the public interest exemption under California Government Code section 6255.  The public interest served by withholding the record outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

So that we are clear, reason 1 only applies to investigations by law enforcement agencies.  A record of an investigation by some other part of City Hall, would not be included.  This means that my name appears in an SLPD investigatory report.  Moreover, as I have never been interviewed by SLPD nor do I have any personal knowledge of anything that would relate to a personal investigation – there is no reason whatsoever for it to appear in such an investigative record except if I was the subject of the investigation.

I was a little puzzled about reason 3, because a lot of the records they did disclose included personal contact information.  However, a friend in law enforcement mentioned that if they had used a Confidential Informant on my case, they would not want to disclose the information.  In his opinion “A confidential informant has made up lies about you, which means someone asked that CI questions about you, which means you have been investigated for some reason or another.”

Whatever reasons they were, it would seem by answer 2 that the City Attorney was involved.

So, the far I expressed a few weeks ago, that the SLPD is investigating me – or, more likely, trying to frame me for something to silence my criticisms – seems to have been justified.

Original posting from 10/21/23

This morning I woke up to a new concern: Is the  San Leandro Police Department working hard to frame me for something?

As their most outspoken critic, I’ve certainly given them plenty of reasons. And it’s not like they don’t have a history of malicious arrests and prosecutions: the City just settled the lawsuit brought by the two men that were arrested last year in a sting operation directed against gay men.  And then there is High School teacher Rick Styner, who is facing false charges of “panties burglary” and possession of child pornography because he did something to piss off former San Leandro High School Principal and cop darling Amy Furtado.

I don’t think I’m paranoid in thinking I’m next on their list. If they silence me, others may be less willing to speak out against police misconduct.

Of course, using the resources of the Police Department to persecute critics is exactly the sort of thing you see in a police state, and that’s what my warnings have been about. Surveillance is of little use if you’re not planning to do something with it.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I don’t actually have any concrete reasons to believe the SLPD is investigating me.  All I have is the knowledge that City Hall is trying to hide information concerning me, from me.

About six weeks ago I made a California Public Records Act request for any records of communications that included my name. I figured with all my public criticism of the police and City Hall, it’d be interesting to see if they were talking about me.

Apparently they are. Today I got word that they’ve compiled all the records with my name but need three more weeks “to cull the responsive non-exempt documents from the documents exempt from disclosure.”

Trouble is, no record that has my name should be exempt.

Exempt records tend to be things where there is a big need to protect the privacy interests of someone else. For example, personnel and medical records are exempt, as are records with private information citizens are compelled to submit. Litigation records are exempt, but only during the litigation. There is no legitimate reason for my name to appear on any legal records, anyway.

Now, it’s true that the City may try to use the “draft” exemption, and claim that any document that has my name that they don’t want to release is a mere draft. However, such situations require a balancing act of the public interest of disclosure vs. non-disclosure. I’m pretty sure that any Court would agree that they fall in my favor. Plus, in the past, the City has not used this excuse to not provide public records. If it did now, we’d know it definitely has something to hide.

In reality, the only exemptions that the City could legitimately invoke to deprive me of records containing my name is the “investigative” and “intelligence” exemptions. That means that if the SLPD is investigating me, the City doesn’t have to give me those records. It will, however, have to tell me the reason why it’s not giving me the records. I’ll have to wait three weeks to know.

I do know that I have not committed any crimes. I should qualify that by saying “knowingly”, because experts say that the average person commits three felonies a day.  Our system is set up so that if the powers that be want to go against someone, they can use the “law” to do so.  And unless we stand up against it, it will become even more so.

Ultimately, regardless of whether I’m being investigated or not, the mere fact that I am concerned about police retaliation for exercising my first amendment rights to free speech and petition, speaks greatly of how repressive our system is becoming.

Update: The City had said it’d fulfill my CPRA request by Nov. 11th.  I inquired about it on Nov. 12th and was told it’d be ready sometime this week.  I inquired about it again today, and now they say it’ll be sometime in the week of Nov. 15th.

Aug 202013

angry-womanAccountability Starts Here!

Tell me how I’m wrong.

Really, this is your chance.

In a Facebook thread, Councilmember Diana Souza accused me of making assumptions and “twisting things”. I’ve been very critical of Souza’s 7 years in the Council, so it’s not surprising that she feels that way. But is she right? I demand accountability from my elected officials,  surely my readers have the same right to demand it from me.

I do make assumptions. I have to. When the City – or its officials – fail to be transparent, the only way to fill in the gaps is to guess what they are hiding.   And I also make a lot of predictions – what will happen if the City stays in this cause of action. I, of course, remember the ones I get right (the demise of Fresh & Easy and now the Patch, the Supreme Court rejecting the city’s RLUIPA’s claims – though the lawyer for the City took a different approach than I predicted), but surely I’ve gotten some wrong too.

So let’s hold me accountable. What have I gotten wrong, and what have I “twisted”, to use Souza’s words?

Please, be specific enough that I can understand and answer your claim, if need be.

Everything I’ve said is on the record.   Here are all my regular blog posts, short notesDemocratic politics postings and everything I’ve written on the Patch.   I don’t relish the idea of searching through my Facebook wall or twitter feed, but feel free to look through those to.  There is a lot of writing.

Comment here or on Facebook.