- Statement about: Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin
- For these candidates: I support a strong endorsement with a commitment to "boots on the ground" support from DSA.
- Summary: As a former candidate for the 15 AD, I strongly support Jovanka and Gayle as candidates with proven anti-corporate, pro-people records.
Written by East Bay DSA member Eugene E. Ruyle
I support endorsement of Jovanka and Gayle for all the reasons already given by other respondents, but want to add more from my personal experience.
First, I have worked closely with Jovanka and Gayle and the RPA as a member of the Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression in our continuing three-year struggle to gain justice for Pedie Perez, an intoxicated but unarmed and non-aggressive 24 year old white man, killed by Richmond Police Office Wallace Jensen on September 14, 2014. The cover-up began immediately, spearheaded by Police Chief Magnus and the entire law enforcement community. The DA called it "justified homicide," ignoring evidence and eyewitness testimony that contradicted the police narrative. After the Perez family appealed to the Richmond Police Commission, the City Attorney intervened and ordered the RPC to stay out of the case. In response, the City Council, including Councilmembers Jovanka Beckles and Gayle Mclaughlin, re-wrote the municipal code and directly ordered the RPC to hire a special (non-police) investigator to conduct an independent investigation and report the results publically to the City Council, a very unusual but potentially groundbreaking procedure. The case is not over, since the City Attorney is refusing to allow the results to be made public, apparently more loyal to the Richmond Police Officers Association than the elected City Council. Stay tuned.
Secondly. I was the Peace and Freedom candidate for this same Assembly District 15 in 2014 and got 25,000 votes, or 13% of the total. This was the most successful of my five campaigns for Congress and State Assembly since 1982. I’ll note that this was after Prop 14, or "Top Ten" was passed, and no one else challenged the incumbent Nancy Skinner of the "Berkeley Mafia." So I ran as a write in, for free, got 105 votes, which meant I came in second and appeared on the November ballot as the only alternative to the Democratic incumbent. Our political system works in strange ways, but this route is not possible in 2018, with perhaps a dozen candidates already declared.
Remember, not only are there real benefits in supporting and working with the only Bernie-supported, anti-corporate, working class candidate in the 15 AD, there is a real cost to NOT doing so in the mistaken belief that they represent the status quo and that we can build a working class party in three months. Been there, done that. Now is not the time or the place.
Let's not miss the opportunity to endorse these candidates Jovanka has a real chance to win, and that would transform local politics.
I have already endorsed Jovanka and plan to work with both campaigns I have already scheduled a House Party for late November.
The statement above is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of East Bay DSA, its local council, or its members.