Category: Alameda

Buffy Wicks, Former Obama Aide, Running For California State Assembly District 15 2018

Buffy Wicks is someone I’ve known since 2007, and because of her job as field organizer with the Obama For America campaign. After the successful 2008 Presidential Election, Buffy landed a position in the White House working for President Obama.

I interviewed Buffy at the 2012 Democratic National Convention:

After the unsuccessful 2016 Presidential Race ran by Hillary Clinton, for which Buffy was, again, a field organizer, she took time off with her family in Oakland, then issued this letter moments ago, today, announcing her run for the California State Assembly District 15 Seat currently held by Eric Swalwell:

Advocate and Activist Buffy Wicks Launches Campaign For State Assembly

OAKLAND — Today, in an email and video message to supporters, advocate for kids and families and longtime grassroots activist Buffy Wicks officially announced her candidacy to be the next Assemblywoman from California’s 15th District.

“We live in scary times, but here’s the thing: we don’t have to let what’s happening in Washington define us,” Buffy said. “California has the unique opportunity to achieve bold, progressive goals that reflect our shared values and actually help people: economic security for all women and families, equity for all people, and clean air and water for all our kids. The next Assemblywoman from our district should be leading this fight, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Buffy is a community organizer, an advocate, and a grassroots leader with experience at the local, state and federal level. A California native, she got her start in community organizing when she moved to the Bay Area to organize against the Iraq War. She’s been an organizer ever since.

Buffy became a grassroots organizer for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, then joined the United Food and Commercial Workers and led the campaign to fight Wal-Mart for better wages and health care for its employees. In 2007, she was one of the first hires on then Senator Obama’s campaign for President, innovating the campaign’s national grassroots organizing model and serving as one of the senior staff for the California primary. Following the President’s election, she was asked to serve in the Obama White House organizing support for the eventual passage of the Affordable Care Act that has provided more than 20 million Americans with health care, including 5 million here in California.

Buffy’s passion is fighting for equity, equal opportunity, and economic security – with a particular focus on policies affecting women and children. She served at the Center for American Progress as a Senior Fellow, where she launched a national policy initiative, with Planned Parenthood and SEIU, fighting for economic security for women and families. Currently, Buffy is leading a statewide campaign to empower parents to advocate for better opportunities for their kids. Buffy hopes to continue advocating for California’s parents and kids as an Assemblywoman in Sacramento, where only 22% of our state legislators are women and just a handful are mothers to young children.

Buffy lives in Oakland with her husband Peter and her 6-month old daughter, Josephine.

Tony Thurmond, Rob Bonta, And The Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Tony Thurmond, Rob Bonta, And The Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Looks like it’s up to California Assemblypersons Tony Thurmond (D 15th District) and Rob Bonta (D 18th District) to make sure that MTC won’t become its own, self-serving mini-empire once the “merger” with ABAG goes through and all the planners in that formerly once-respected agency are let out to pasture – or, more likely, onto the street.

The promise of more efficient and fairer Bay Area-wide governance depends on what kinds of checks and balances the Thurmond-chaired Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning manages to put into place, otherwise the already-painful elitism of a superagency like MTC will continue on its psycho path of funding special interests while throwing mere crumbs into public transit and other needed infrastructural improvements.

Think not? How bizarre that so much public money ($250M+ and already $90M over budget!) should into the purchase and remodel of the new, not-at-all necessary MTC HQ in SF, an exercise in power that some malcontents have already tagged the Taj Mahemminger. Well, it is a more worthy address than crudball Oakland, no? Plus it just happens to be farther from BART (so the hoi polloi will have an increasingly difficult time accessing the new building and actually coming into contact with MTC personnel?).

Plus, we get a new Emperor out of all this! There’s suddenly just one supreme head of post-merger MTC to direct staff when it comes to the usual monthly buffalo session for Commissioners, where staff-prepared reports that are too big for even Paul Bunyon to digest in a single sitting are piled high like pancakes, topped with the syrup of public money, and a yea vote expected.

Our recent Bay Bridge Bolts Boondoggle could soon be seen as this decade’s construction highlight if Rob and Tony don’t ride to the rescue here and allow for the healthiest possible oversight process to be in place when the next round of abuses hits the headlines. This is, after all, the ultimate regional government we’ll all be left with when our Bay Area-wide megalopolis finally coalesces into a single entity to manage one of the strongest economies in the US, if not the entire world.