Keeping the Progressive Voice Alive

Dear Speak Out California Readers,
Like most progressive, non-commercial organizations, we rely on the support of our friends and readers like you to provide the straightforward information you want and deserve. Although we’ve encouraged you to help out in the past, we’ve decided to come right out and ask for your help now. So as we enter the windy month of March, we’re making it our fundraising campaign month.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our weekly updates over the past many months, used our Voter Guides to help sort through the complex and confusing ballot initiatives and campaigns we’ve had in California during the past three years, and been challenged and motivated by our stimulating and thought-provoking blog offerings since we began Speak Out California in 2005.
If you have, we hope you’ll help us continue to provide the most comprehensive, knowledgeable and independent progressive California political news and commentary on the web. If we’ve become part of your Sunday or Monday back-to-work look at the State’s political goings-on, we hope you’ll realize the value Speak Out California has been providing to you.
We’re anxious to keep going and keep alive the commitment to a progressive and successful future for our state. In order to do that, though, we need your help. We don’t take contributions from any corporate sponsors, and operate almost exclusively on the contributions of our friends and readers. That’s why we’re asking you, today, to contribute to our work.
Please click here to keep Speak Out California’s unique, independent and insightful work coming to you and other Californians anxious to get the straight and honest take on what is going on in Sacramento. We are a non-partisan, progressive organization unlike any other on the web. We hope you’ll see the benefits to the progressive political infrastructure we provide. Help us continue doing this important work
Click here to help us continue bringing you the information you need to make the best progressive political decisions. Efforts like ours are starting to pay off in the state and national political landscape. Help us keep the progressive dream alive. Help us create the future we are all hoping for.
Thanks for your support.
Hannah-Beth Jackson and the rest of the Speak Out California Team

Speak Out Wants to Reach Out

Speak Out California is proud to be able to assist progressive Californians by providing information like our voter guides, articulating arguments to use when discussing issues and by always promoting progressive values. It’s what we are here for.
We feel that it is important that Californians hear about alternatives to cutting police, schools, road maintenance, and the other important things we use our tax money for. And we feel that it is important that Californians learn about democracy, community and the common good. If you feel the same please click here to contribute to Speak Out California.
Here’s the thing. You’re reading Speak Out California so it is likely that you probably understand and agree with a lot of what is written here. But most of the people in the state do not have the time or inclination to dig into the details of issues. There are few outlets for a progressive viewpoint. At the same time, everywhere Californians go they hear a conservative perspective.
That’s why we need to counter this. We need to reach all Californians with a progressive perspective as well. Californians need and deserve to hear both sides.
Speak Out California wants to reach out past the Internet to the general public of the State of California.
We want to explain the benefits to them of progressive values and ideas. This will help create understanding and acceptance of progressive policies and candidates statewide.
We have plans to begin to do that, but we need your help to make this happen. Will you help make this happen with a contribution?-Just click here
How are we going to reach out to Californians? Let us count the ways…
– Imagine if we could develop TV and radio ads promoting the benefits of progressive values to Californians.
– Imagine if we could conduct ongoing testing of the impact of messages to learn what resonates with diverse groups, helping people understand why progressive values benefit them.
– Imagine how our state would improve if Speak Out California could reach out across the state and create lasting demand for Progressive candidates and policies.
If you can imagine how outreach activities like these would help us all, please click here to help us reach California by contributing to Speak Out California.
How does this help progressives?
A few dollars sent our way creates more change than lots of dollars later.
Here’s how: As more people learn the benefits of a progressive approach they realize they share our our progressive dreams for California. This creates a lasting favorable progressive environment.
Speak Out California — explaining to people the benefits of progressive values and ideas. Creating demand for progressive policies and candidates. Providing information about the issues. Helping create progressive change. All year, every year.

The 2008 Primary Election Voter Guide

Our 2008 voter guide is up. Click here for SOCA’s analysis of the issues.

Note – This voter guide has been updated since it first appeared.

The February 5th California primary is upon us. Our top rated progressive one stop voter guide for this election focuses on the ballot initiatives and includes links to the independent and highly regarded California Legislative Analyst’s Office’s analysis of each proposition. The seven measures that actually made it on the ballot are primarily about money, and how it should be allocated. The one measure dealing with state governance is the so-called Term Limits initiative. While each of these is important to a particular interest group, none of them really incorporate progressive values nor do they serve to advance or impede the progressive agenda. For that reason, Speak Out California has not taken a position on any of them, but we have tried to distill each measure down to its basic parts so you can decide how you wish to vote on each of them.

For more details on each group’s endorsement, click on the name of the group in the table, and for details about the ballot campaigns, click on the proposition link on the left hand side of the table for a comprehensive research analysis and scroll down to read our summaries.

For updated endorsement coverage be sure to checked back to this page as additional endorsements come in. Make sure everyone you know votes February 5th, but with our values and state under such relentless attack, we all have to do more than vote. Freedom is a constant struggle. One way you can help is by making a donation, or by joining Speak Out California and forwarding this voter information to your friends!

The 2008 Primary Election SOCA Voter Guide

It Is Time to Undo Past Tax Cuts

California faces a large budget deficit, and the Governor has declared an emergency. The Governor has proposed “across-the-board” spending cuts — which means cutting all state services by an equal amount.
This inability to prioritize the importance of any particular spending cuts should be taken as a de facto declaration that there is no waste or unimportant spending left to cut — that all spending is equally crucial. Driving home this point, the Governor is asking for the release onto the streets of prisoners.
If we don’t want prisoners released onto our streets the legislature must raise revenue.

Continue reading

And A Progressive New Year!

This is the final Speak Out California post for 2007. We’re taking the rest of the year off to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for. And we wish everyone a healthy, prosperous and progressive year ahead!
2007 has been an … uh, interesting … year for progressives. There was…progress (sorry – a little progressive humor for the holidays,) and there was disappointment. At the very least I think we all have a better understanding of the effort that will be required to restore our vision of progressive, citizen-oriented policies in the state and country. While recent elections have shown clearly what the people want, overcoming the corporate-backed conservative stranglehold on our political process is an ongoing struggle.
In the coming year progressives can expect a tough election season. Progressives have the people, the right ideas and policies, along with truth, justice and the American Way on their side.

Continue reading

The Year At Hand

The 2006 Election was truly historic. The American people elected a Democratic majority in Congress, making Nancy Pelosi the first-ever woman Speaker of the House.
But in California, progressives can do better. This past year saw our great success in reaching California’s voters with key information about candidates and issues important to us. With over 2 million hits during the primary and general election campaigns, our voter guide has now become a leading source of information for progressive voters on state issues. But there are still too many progressive voters not engaged in state politics at all, and Speak Out California has been working to reach them as we move forward in reforming health care, addressing climate change, cleaning up the political process and creating critical new infratructure in our state.
Defining and advancing what it truly means to be a progressive, and organizing as many people as possible around those principles, becomes critically important as we head into 2008. Republican candidates for President in the same vein as Schwarzenegger — claiming to be what they aren’t — will be competing for our state’s 55 electoral votes.
With the help of our strong relationships with progressive members of the Legislature, Speak Out California continues to keep progressives informed on important state issues that will be advanced during the course of the legislative session. And of course, we are watching the Governor very carefully to expose the wide gap between what he says and what he does in the second term of his governorship.
With lots of speculation about his political ambitions, we will insure that Californians know just exactly what he’s doing as opposed to positioning himself for a run at higher office with larger than life photo-ops and political proclamations.

The 2006 General Election

The November 2006 election is going to be an epic battle for defining the future of our state, pitting the brilliant and dedicated Phil Angelides against accidental Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although the Governor has tried to tack left recently, Mr Angelides is the obvious choice on issues progressives care about the most:

    Education. Governor Schwarzenegger has bizarrely attacked teachers, including during last year’s special election boondoggle. Phil Angelides will work with teachers in improving our schools, not against them.

    Budget. Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed more bash, break and borrow, protecting President Bush’s tax cuts for the rich over fixing problems like the millions of uninsured children in our state. Phil Angelides will balance the budget honestly so the state can do what it needs to do without passing the bill to our grandkids.
    Immigration. Governor Schwarzenegger has praised racist border vigilantes as “doing a terrific job.” Mr Angelides supports a moderate, balanced approach, including a path to citizenship.
    Environment. Mr Angelides, whose innovative Green Wave inititative is jumpstarting our state’s green economy, has a detailed, workable plan to reduce California’s oil consumption by 25 percent over 10 years. Governor Schwarzenegger can’t do much on this issue besides talk, having taken more than $2 million in campaign contributions from oil companies. At least that helps keep the eight full-size Hummers he owns running.
    Traffic. Governor Schwarzenegger’s approach to traffic is solely building more sprawl and more roads, which is like trying to lose weight by letting your belt out. Mr Angelides will encourage transit and smart growth, preserving open space and agricultural land at the same time.

If you’ve been waiting for a big statewide election where there would be a clear choice between the candidates, this is the one. Working together, we can send a real pragmatic progressive to Sacramento.

The 2006 Primary Election

Not sure who to vote for in California’s Primary election, coming up June 6, 2006?
Check out our 2006 Primary Voter Guide for more information on statewide races and a few key State Senate contests around California, including the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Gov. Schwarzenegger this fall. Primaries are historically low turnout elections, so help do your part to get people involved by reminding them of the election, and pointing them to Speak Out California as they make their ballot-box decisions.
In addition to the voter guide, Speak Out California will be publishing the results of candidate questionnaires, as well as following the money — particularly what comes in late from big oil and development interests — on the weblog.


The 2005 Special Election

We won! The results of the 2005 California special election are in, and progressives have sent a strong message that they do not agree with the conservative policies Gov. Schwarzenegger tried to push on them in this off-election year. All six of the measures the governor was backing were defeated Tuesday. Official Secretary of State election returns can be found here.
Defeating this special election was the first step toward getting our state back on track. Speak Out California is in the process of developing a plan for 2006. Read our post-election message and send us your ideas!