#HoodDigest Vota Vato November 2020

@doggface208 art by @soni_artist

Presidential & Existential Election

We are officially living through some biblical times. Not to get too religious on that ass, but since the separation of church and state in today’s America is thinner than Snoop Dogg’s arms – roll with me for a second.

I imagine that some crazy 2020-type shit happened 2,800 years ago with floods, fires, disease, and famine. Then some poetic ass vato wrote about it. Back then, shit was simpler – so whatever that vato wrote down ended up as the word of God, blam! 

Well, times have evolved and we’ve studied enough to know that disasters aren’t always the Supreme Being’s punishment for us eating meat during Lent – though they are precipitated by the exploitation of natural resources stemming from corporations pimping Mother Earth for our purchasing pleasure.  

Praying the Rosary ain’t gonna save us and voting won’t automatically reverse these trends. However, we should consider that Republicans are running this country like we were reliving the Jim Crow era. 

Still, some of the homies have taken to social media to denounce voting all together.  They make big statements about how revolutionary they are for refusing to walk into a voting booth and punching a little black dot on the ballot! 

Listen, fam, we know this shit is exhausting! Voting isn’t the end all be all, but we gotta look at the big picture. 

Electing people won’t automatically make things better – but it could make things a lot worse. 

That’s what those revolutionary homies need to understand. While they sit at home masturbating to Pedagogy Of The Oppressed – feeling indignant that people would ask that they step down from the pedestal upon which they judge society – shit is worse than their hardened pride will allow them to realize. 

I’m not saying they’re blind – but that pretentious ass book does give you the same effect as putting on a face mask while wearing glasses.  

This goes for anyone who doesn’t feel the urgency or is utterly cynical about the significance of something as basic as casting a ballot. Just know that there are undocumented activists who wish they had your voting privilege.

There are women whose physical, prenatal care, and abortion rights are depending on your vote. So are the thousands of families that are trapped in cages as their children get lost by this inhumane immigration system.

LGBQ and especially Trans people, the elderly, sick, incarcerated, the unemployed & those whose labor is exploited for minimum or below minimum wages, and yes, your own family members are all waiting for you to get off your ass and just vote.

Alas, like Jesus told the metiches judging homegirl for having a sancho in John 8:7, “Let him that is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone…” 

So we ain’t gonna harp on the homies too hard. Plus our people got mad contradictions. It’s like my friends who are low-key atheists and still baptize their kids…. pew, pew!

Afuera Satanas!

What was I saying about the current state of affairs in the nation? Oh yeah, White Supremacy is winning and poor White people are losing. The rest of us ain’t even in the game anymore – we are on the menu. 

Anyhow, you came here for a voter guide, not a sermon. Remember to cast your ballot ASAP – ideally by mail – and definitely way before November 3. Here’s all you need to know about how to do all that. You can sign up and track your personal ballot here!

Now let’s get this #VotaVato voter guide poppin’!

FEDERAL 

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Joe Biden & Kamala Harris – Yes! I agree neither of the tickets is exciting. Voting for Joe Biden & Kamala Harris is like chewing cinnamon gum. 

But, you gotta admit that Donald Trump is a fucking conman. He’s almost as bad as the people who sell timeshares for a living. 

As if you need further proof of how inept and dangerous he is to the planet, just look at his performance during the debate where he gave an even bigger platform to White Supremacists and failed to provide a coherent plan for getting us out of this pandemic, economic crisis, and never-ending wars.

Since then, he has contracted COVID-19 and has shown that he is as irresponsible about his personal health as he is about the nation’s health.   

There are two things that make Trump such a dangerous President:

1. Один (pronounced a-deen), he’s not smart enough to understand the national and international policy, which prevents him from making educated decisions. He’s basically influenced by the people he tolerates and those who advance his own financial gains.

2. Два (pronounced “deh-vah”), he doesn’t care enough to comprehend the human pain and suffering resulting from his decisions!

You can tell from hearing him speak – or better yet – mumble his way through conversations. I mean, this muthafucka sounds worse than a man trying to backpedal his way out of a lie. 

I wonder if White people see the mamadas that Donald Trump, Bitch McConnell, and the rest of the Conservative crusaders pull and realize that this is how America has treated People Of Color since forever. The double standards and bullshit they get away with are what we put up with at school, place of employment, housing, banking, shopping, etc.

We then watch liberals stay silent because it benefits their status and privilege. I mean sending Black Lives Matter emails to your listserv is cool, but we don’t need another Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) training. Give us the title, pay, and power! 

America is fortunate that so many People Of Color work in nonprofit & government – and that we are pacified by our professions – cause we woulda burned down the U.S. Supreme Court by now, not just a couple of cruisers and police stations.

They’re now both on the same bus!

Look, Joe Biden was not on my top 20 list from the 27 Democrats who ran for President. Kamala Harris was not my top choice for Vice President. But, they give a shit and are smart enough to make more educated decisions.

PLUS! That same fervor with which we’ve taken to the streets since 2016 is the energy we need to pressure the Democrats to thug it out with the GOP in Washington D.C. Let’s not back down the way we did when Barack Obama was President. The immigrant-rights movement had it right then – and we all need to roll with that same passion if Joe Biden gets elected. 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

27th District: Judy Chu

28th Congressional District: Adam Schiff has been front and center in efforts to get Trump out of the oval office and keep him in check while he remains in it. We need that type of courage in the Democratic Party.

29th District: Tony Cardenas

33rd District: Ted Lieu

34th District: Jimmy Gomez

37th District: Karen Bass was my favorite pick for Vice-President on the Joe Biden ticket, but we are too conservative a nation to have a champion for social and economic justice in the top office. So, we are just gonna have to keep electing Karen Bass to Congress. 

40th Congressional District: Lucille Roybal-Allard.

43rd District: Maxine Waters: One of the most consistent and fierce fighters in Congress.

44th Congressional District: Nanette Barragan. 

CALIFORNIA

District 39: Luz Rivas is intelligent and well-grounded.

District 53: Godfrey Santos Plata is sharp and focused on building up communities of color. We need more courage in Sacramento to stand up for students of color in Los Angeles. I wanna see more dope Filipinos in Office. 

Assembly District 54: Sydney Kamlager is a thoughtful and practical leader with strong values. She has already demonstrated that she is courageous and stands with communities of color in Sacramento, especially around criminal justice and law-enforcement reform!

District 59: Reginald Jones-Sawyer has been leading some of the most important efforts to decriminalize boys and men of color in California. We need more of what he brings to Sacramento.

District 62: Autumn Burke

CA STATE MEASURES

Prop 14: YES: This would authorize $5.5 billion to continue STEM cell research. This is helpful in finding cures to keep our asses alive longer so we can keep destroying the planet. So, I guess it’s a fair trade. 

Prop 15: YES: I’ve been waiting on this proposition for 25 years! All the candles I lit are finally paying off. This proposition would update the very outdated and dreaded Prop. 13 which is the reason why schools are broke. It would generate $12 Billion for public education and make sure corporations cut the check.

Can you believe Disneyland still pays the same amount of property taxes today than they did in 1978? I wish their fucking tickets had 1978 prices too! This would NOT impact homeowners, renters, or small businesses! 

Prop. 16: YES: This would bring back Affirmative Action, which we need desperately. Affirmative Action is the very distant cousin to Reparations.

So, for anyone who tries to say some stupid shit like, “Affirmative Action is reverse discrimination” or “it allows People Of Color to get into college and jobs because of their race!” You can respond with, “So what, bitch? Your ancestors brought over diseases and enslaved my folks.”

“You’re lucky I’m only asking for a slot at UCLA and an entry-level job in your firm instead of sacrificing you to the Mayan goddess of cafe con Leche de Avena!”  

Prop 17: YES: Gives the homies the right to vote after they’ve completed a prison term. This means that after you throw them that welcome home carne asada – with a jumper, taquero, masks, and social distancing – you can slide them a voter registration form and tell them to peep the #VotaVato! 

Prop: 18: YES: Allows 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they’re gonna be 18 years of age by that upcoming general election. We need this so badly cause Gen Z is gonna save us all.

Cause Boomers are still learning how to log onto Zoom, the Gen Xers are trying desperately to fit into skinny jeans and wear the same heels they did at Florentine Gardens, and the Millenials are home taking naps because they don’t get enough self-care while posting on Twitter.

Prop. 19: NO: it would allow homeowners older than 55, disabled folks and victims of natural disasters to move anywhere in the state, up to three times, and pay the same taxes as they did on their old property.

That shit sounds great, except that this would just continue to further destabilize the real estate market. It would skew tax breaks further away from people who don’t own a home or who may be struggling to buy one.

Prop. 20: NO: This is the kind of law that Democrats would have gladly campaigned for in the 90’s while using slogans like “Tough on Crime” & “Super Predators”, which are now coming back to bite them in their wrinkled asses.

This would turn misdemeanors into felonies and keep fewer homies from having welcome home carne asadas and reading the #VotaVato. Fuck that! Let’s promote less prison spending, less punishment, and less family separation.    

Prop. 21: YES: gives local governments the authority to enact more rent control. 

Prop. 22: NO: This proposition would exempt Lyft, Uber, and other app-based delivery companies from providing drivers a minimum wage or benefits. Prop. 22 is the equivalent of sweatshops on wheels. 

Prop. 23: YES: This requires that state dialysis clinics have a licensed physician or nurse on-site during treatments. I don’t know about you, but I’m cool taking my car to my padrino for my regular oil changes, but when it comes to dialysis, you need a real doctor under that engine.

Yes, I know that comparison doesn’t make any sense. Shut it!

Prop. 24: NO: It would allow businesses to charge customers for privacy. That means that if you are unable or unwilling to pay for the extra fees, you’d have fewer protections.

The risk here is that this proposition could weaken privacy by adding more bureaucratic bullshit for us consumers to prevent Facebook and Amazon from selling their confidential data. 

Prop 25: NO: this would replace the money bail system with an algorithm that is supposed to be objective, but actually gives judges a lot of power and bias to keep people locked up – which defeats the whole purpose.

INGLEWOOD 

Inglewood Measure I: YES: only people who live within Inglewood boundaries are impacted by this one. This would generate $240 Million in bond funds to repair and upgrade classrooms, including instructional technology, vocational/career education, roofs, plumbing, security/fire safety, remove asbestos, etc. 

L.A. COUNTY 

Measure J: YES: Redirects LA County money to spend on programs that keep people out of jail and prison including jobs, rent assistance, and youth services.

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

District 2: Holly Mitchell has something that her opponent, Herb Wesson, doesn’t have, integrity. She also has lots of courage and the right set of politics.

Holly Mitchell is strong, independent, uncompromising in her stance with working-class people including criminal justice & police brutality reform, healthcare and foster care services, and racial – before this was all trending on your social media feed. 

Herb Wesson is the stereotypical politician who likes to cut deals out of the public’s eye, leans towards the higher bidders, and only responds to public pressure when it advances his own political career.

L.A. COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

George Gascón brings a noteworthy history of working to decriminalize people in California by decreasing charges for things like drug possession and petty theft from felonies to misdemeanor status. Others include expunging marijuana convictions and opposing the death penalty. 

It’s time for Jackie Lacey to go – a chant that BLM Los Angeles has long been leading. She has failed to prosecute killer cops, decriminalize poor people, and she hates marijuana. Need I say more?

L.A. CITY COUNCIL

District 4: Nithya Raman is an urban planner and unrelenting homeless advocate. She is campaigning on building more affordable housing and getting big developer influence out of City Hall.

District 10: Mark Ridley-Thomas: Has been a long-time household name in Los Angeles politics, serving previously in the L.A City Council, State Legislature, and presently on the LA County Board of Supervisors.

No one can argue that he brings decades of experience and a tough (even hard-headed) attitude. His values lean progressive even if his financial dealings don’t.

LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (LAUSD)

Measure RR: YES: (only people who live within LAUSD boundaries are impacted by this one)

This would generate $7 Billion for school construction and repairs in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). This is not an additional property tax – instead, it would serve as an extension of another bond that is set to expire. The schools need it, especially now that internet infrastructure is badly needed.  

DISTRICT 3: Marilyn Koziatek: is new to politics but not to education. She is a mom of two elementary-school-aged kids and she’s part of the leadership team at Granada Hills Charter High School. She would bring a fresh perspective and a more proactive approach to governing in the exhausting and often toxic LAUSD school board.

Her opponent, Scott Schmerlson, is the only Republican on the LAUSD board and one of its most dysfunctional members. The current state is that teachers and principals call the shots on that board, which is great for many elements of the school distriuct.

It’s also equally important that parents, students, and community groups play a stronger role in the direction of the district – after all, students and their families are ultimately the ones who live with the consequences of the quality (or lack thereof) of the education they get in schools. 

District 7: Tanya Ortiz Franklin is the most knowledgeable and experienced candidate running to represent an area that is responsible for educating poor Black and Brown students in Watts, South Central, Harbor Gateway, Wilmington, and San Pedro.

The district boundaries also include some very powerful and influential affluent (read White) communities, which are the only people the outgoing board member ever seemed to care about or listen to.

Tanya is a former teacher who attended law-school after she lost her job due to budget cuts – which is what the current rules say has to happen to great, energetic teachers – simply because they are new to their jobs. Tanya has a longstanding history of working to improve school culture and climate in some of LA’s poorest schools. 

Her opponent, Patricia Castellanos, has zero experience in education and hasn’t bothered to show up to education forums, town halls, or debates during the primaries or now. This says a lot about the way that she intends to govern – which closely resembles the way the outgoing board member did.

Patricia has a background in community organizing and government but is a novice to the highly politicized world of public education.

We need more warriors for parents, students, innovative educators, and community on the LA board of education – not just a rubber stamp for those who wanna prevent the system from being accountable for educating poor Black & Brown kidsespecially during a goddamn pandemic!    

LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT

Seat 1: Andra Hoffman has fought for LGBTQ and undocumented students and supported job training initiatives.

Seat 3: David Vela: despite being appointed under controversial circumstances, which were of no fault of his own, David has received the support for being a consistent voice on the Community College Board for the rights of LGBTQ and undocumented students.

Seat 5: Nichelle M. Henderson comes with a firm grip on education issues as well as social and economic issues plaguing the vast number of students enrolled in LA’s community colleges.

Seat 7: Chris Han is a lawyer and adjunct instructor in business law at L.A. Mission College. We need someone with courage, vision and perspective on community college issues.

Incumbent Mike Fong is a nice guy. But, nice doesn’t get our students the education and support they desperately need!

SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES

The rule of thumb when selecting judges is not to vote for candidates that have titles like “Prosecutor” and “Assistant District Attorney” or saying shit like “Tough on Crime”.

Not all people who have these titles are bad, but if they proudly brag about being tough on crime, that means they love sending our family and community members to jail – for a long ass time. 

Office 72: Myanna Dellingerlaw professor/attorney supported by many progressives.

Office 80: Klint James McKayadministrative law judge, California Department of Social Services.

Office 162: David Diamond is a criminal defense attorney who represents indigent clients setting him light-years from the prosecutor Yang who is endorsed by two police associations.

THE ONLY VOTER GUIDE THE HOOD TRUSTS

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