Patch Election Guide for El Cerrito & Kensington

El Cerrito Patch offers this election guide for important decisions faced by El Cerrito and Kensington voters on the Nov. 6 ballot, including the school board race, measures for school funding, Kensington's governing board and state propositions.

With Election Day looming on Tuesday, voters are besieged by a mounting volume of political mailers, signs and robocalls.

Not sure how to vote?

Here's an El Cerrito Patch election guide for key choices facing El Cerrito and Kensington voters on the Nov. 6 ballot. (If you're wondering why the El Cerrito City Council race is not included, it's because only three candidates for running for three seats.)


School board race

Four candidates are vying for two seats on the school board of the West Contra Costa Unified School District. Key issues include funding, class size, school bonds and how to balance academic enrichment for advanced students while increasing help for those who are struggling.

The four candidates are:

  • retired school principal Randall Enos
  • parent volunteer Todd Groves
  • incumbent Antonio Medrano
  • parent volunteer Robert Studdiford

Each candidates' platform statement can be found here.

Patch articles related to the school board race:

  • In Their Own Words: School Board Candidates
  • School Board Hopefuls at Forum Thursday
  • Reports on School Board Candidates Forum at Harding
  • School Board Candidates Forum Draws Dozens
  • School Board Candidates at Harding School Monday Night
  • School Board Candidates Show Much Common Ground in Forum
  • Thurmond Not Running for Re-Election on School Board

Measure E

Measure E is a $380-million, long-term bond program to replace or upgrade aging school facilities. It would add an estimated $48 in property tax per $100,000 of net assessed valuation. It requires 55 percent of the voters to pass and would be added to existing taxes on West County property tax bills from five previous school facility bond measures passed by voters since 1998.

Cumulatively, the five previous school bond measures currently total $215.70 in property tax per $100,000 of net assessed valuation. In addition, West County property owners pay a flat "WCCUSD Assessment" property tax of $72 per household, plus a parcel tax to WCCUSD of 7.2 cents per square foot of building area. This parcel tax would be extended by another measure on the Nov. 6 ballot, Measure G. (See below.)

Measure G

Measure G is an extension of the current parcel tax – 7.2 cents per square foot of building area – that funds academic programs in schools. It requires a two-thirds yes vote to pass. Measure G would extend the tax to June 30, 2018.

The school board voted in July to place Measure G, along with Measure E, on the November ballot after the narrow defeat of Measure K, a parcel tax measure on the June primary ballot. Measure K received 65.52 percent approval, short of the necessary two-thirds. It would have both extended the current parcel tax and increased it to 10.2 cents per square foot of building area. Measure G would maintain the current rate of 7.2 cents per square foot.

Patch articles related to Measures E and G:

  • Letter: Plea for Measure G from PTA Leaders
  • Council Tones Down Anti-Prop 32 Measure
  • Get a Jump on Election: Read the Ballot Language for WCCUSD Measures
  • New Ballot Measures for West County Schools OKed
  • School Board Eyes New Ballot Measure – Special Meeting Monday
  • School Board Takes Step Toward New Parcel Tax Measure in November
  • Support Parcel Tax at School Board Meeting Tonight
  • School Board Candidates Show Much Common Ground in Forum

Kensington Governing Board

Among the most heated local contests is the race for two seats on the five-member board of the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District.

The chief issues are the performance of the police chief and the board's oversight of spending by the chief and by the police department. Related topics include accusations of improper airing of personnel matters in public meetings and of refusals to disclose information about board issues and district finances.

Details of the issues can be found in the several articles, letters to the editors and guest columns listed below.

The candidates are:

  • labor/employment lawyer Patricia Gillette
  • retired teacher Jim Hausken
  • incumbent Cathie Kosel
  • incumbent Chuck Toombs
  • IT consultant Kim Zvik

Gillette and Toombs are running together on a slate, while Kosel and Hausken are running mates. Zvik is running independently.

Patch articles related to the KPPCSD board election:

  • Kensington Election Clash over Crimes 'Solved'
  • Letter: Kensington Candidate Zvik Responds to Questions
  • Toombs and Koosed – Deliberate Lies?
  • View: 'Big Lie' About Kosel-Hausken Stand on Police
  • Letter: Paper's Kosel-Hausken Endorsement Ill-Informed
  • View: Kensington Board's Failure to Disclose Information
  • View: Should Kensington "De-Contract" the Police Chief?
  • Letter: Fiction vs. Facts in Kensington Election
  • Perry Mason in the Outlook?
  • Letter: Candidate Kosel Throws Darts to Hide Poor Record
  • Letter: Kosel's Position on Kensington Police a "Lie"
  • Letter: DA Findings Show Kosel Shouldn't Be Re-elected
  • Letter: "Misrepresentation" from Toombs-Gillette Slate in Kensington
  • Letter: "Falsehoods" in Kensington Candidate Kosel's Letter
  • Some Barbs Tossed at Candidate Endorsement Forums

State Propositions

There are 11 statewide ballot measures in California covering a gamut of issues, including proposals to ban the death penalty, genetically modified foods and payroll deductions for political funds. Two other, competing measures would raise taxes to boost state revenues.

The nonpartisan websites below contain summaries and in-depth analyses of the propositions. Some also include chief funders, endorsers, latest polls and links to news coverage.

Nonpartisan Online Sources of Election Information:

  • Ballotpedia
  • California Choices – includes an endorsements table featuring where non-profits, newspapers, unions and political parties stand on each proposition
  • KQED
  • Smart Voter – from the League of Women Voters
  • Maplight.org - includes in-depth campaign spending information

Below are summaries of the propositions from California Choices, a nonpartisan collaboration by UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies, UC San Diego's Department of Political Science, and Next 10, an independent nonpartisan organization founded by venture capitalist and philanthropist F. Noel Perry.

Prop 30 – temporarily increases the state sales tax rate and the personal income tax rates for taxpayers with incomes above a certain level. The revenues generated would be used to fund schools and public safety programs. The state’s 2012-13 budget plan—approved by the Governor and the Legislature in June 2012—assumes passage of this measure.

Prop 31 –  establishes a two-year state budget, and changes certain fiscal responsibilities of the Governor and the Legislature. State and local budgeting and oversight procedures would be changed. Local governments that create plans to coordinate services would receive funding from the state and could develop their own procedures for administering state programs.

Prop 32 – prohibits unions, corporations, and government contractors from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees, and government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.

Prop 33 – would change state law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company. Companies would be allowed to give discounts to drivers who had prior coverage. Drivers who have not had continuous coverage could be charged at higher rates under the measure.

Prop 34 – would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Persons currently sentenced to death would have their sentences converted to life imprisonment. The measure would create a $100 million fund for law enforcement efforts to combat violent crime.

Prop 35 – would increase prison sentences and fines for human trafficking. A person convicted of human trafficking would be required to register as a sex offender. Registered sex offenders would be required to disclose Internet activities and identities.

Prop 36 – would alter California's "Three Strikes" law by imposing a life sentence only when the crime committed is a serious violent crime. Some offenders with two prior serious or violent felony convictions who are currently serving life sentences for many nonserious, non-violent felony convictions could be resentenced to shorter prison terms. Life sentences would remain for felons with a non-violent third strike if the prior convictions were for murder, rape, or the sexual abuse of children.

Prop 37 – would require labeling of any raw or processed food that is made from plants or animals which have had their genetic material altered. The measure would prohibit marketing genetically engineered food as "natural". Certain foods are exempted.

Prop 38 – would increase the state income tax rates for most Californians on a sliding scale, resulting in increased revenues of about $10 billion a year. Revenues would go to K-12 schools and early childhood programs, and to repay some state debt. The income tax increase would end after 12 years, unless voters reauthorize it.

Prop 39 – would repeal an existing law that allows multistate businesses to choose a tax liability formula that provides favorable tax treatment for businesses with property and payroll outside California. It would require require multistate businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California. Some of the increased revenues would be used to fund projects that create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs.

Prop 40 – is a referendum on the California State Senate redistricting plan approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. A "Yes" vote approves, and a "No" vote rejects the new State Senate districts. If the proposition does not pass, the districts will be adjusted by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court.

Patch articles related to the state propositions:

  • Nonpartisan Info – Plus Endorsements Lists – on State Ballot Measures
  • Voters Need to Know
  • Props 30 and 38 Explained. Which Do You Support?
  • Nancy Skinner Offers Thoughts on State Propositions
  • Council Tones Down Anti-Prop 32 Measure
  • Council Ponders Vote Against Prop 32

The complete El Cerrito Patch archive of election-related articles can be found under the elections tab on our homepage.

John Stashik November 04, 2012 at 03:14 PM
The San Francisco Chronicle has an article on this measure. Prison realignment and health care are also tied into the tax hike. Brown only mentions schools, dumbing it down to keep it simple for voters.
Dave Francis November 04, 2012 at 06:57 PM
While you about it, demand from all reluctant politicians that they vote for “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” That will make E-Verify a mandatory federal law that will begin the repatriation of illegal workers. If this law is passed from Washington, instead of a muddled mix of E-Verify across the 50 states, then people here illegally will begin to self deport. If ICE enforces this law with prosecutions of huge fines and prison, the unconcerned employers will be very leery of hiring foreign labor. Remember that the TEA PARTY is for both of these laws and will vote for them in the Congress. Unlike what the Liberal press declares the TEA PARTY is alive and well, with a growing membership of 41 million voters. They have crafted their agenda by gaining recognition in the Republican Party and as a moderate Conservative foundation, will have momentous influence in the coming four years. In both the Senate and House of Representatives they will not accept the tax and spend of the democrats, and will revise the rulings of the U.S. Constitution.
Dave Francis November 04, 2012 at 06:57 PM
When California or any other state is demanding more money from taxpayers to pay for education of the influx of foreigners, then we should adamantly say NO to either measure 30 or 38. This situation is incredulous that illegal aliens can come here, with their offspring, whether conceived or not and the courts say we must be taxed, to pay for their welfare? The insurmountable problem is that this enigma is sees no light at the end of the tunnel. More taxes to pay for more Teachers. The Tea Party has a straight forward answer and that is a simple amendment to the 14th Amendment? THAT NO CHILD BORN TO A PARENT WHO IS NOT AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, CAN NO LONGER BECOME A U.S. AUTOMATICALLY. This will save the taxpayer over a hundred billion dollars annually and justifiably stop the never ending drain on state treasuries. With no foothold baby the parents can then be deported out the country, with the child and the schools can get down to educating our own. ALL PRUDENT AMERICANS SHOULD GET BEHIND “THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP LAW” and save billions of your tax dollars.
Dave Francis November 04, 2012 at 06:58 PM
California is really in crisis with their public school system, because of the never ending unfettered influx of the children of illegal alien parents. It’s like talking to a brick wall in the Sacramento assembly. As usual they want more money for schools, because the schools are overcrowded with illegal alien kids. It’s just an endless conveyor belt of more taxes, to pay for the free education through K-12. I took my son out of the system because his class size was enormous and he wasn’t learning anything. The teacher’s attention was mainly on the progeny of children where English was a second language. I eventually left the state, because the state was overtaxing small business and the California debt was still rising. Once again Los Angeles and the whole state are being held financially hostage by the Democrats in the Capitol. State measures as the so called temporary taxes as 30, for public safety and education are just an absolute travesty. In a similar measure are 38 to fund education and early childhood programs. The California public school system is dominated by a Teachers Union, which votes of corrupt lawmakers in the state assembly. California once had a education second to none, but now it is riddled with rot and 47 in performance. Once a model for all of America, the whole of the illegal alien “Sanctuary State” genuflects to the unions, which has devastated the structure.
Dave Francis November 04, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Of course the state government wants more money, because pregnant illegal alien Mothers smuggle their unborn in through unsuspecting airline routes and across large areas of open borders? Every year this country has to pander to hundreds of thousands of illegal entrants, adding to the 20 million plus already settled here. Forced by the courts we have to pay their living expenses for their children, because of automatic citizenship. President Obama has already condemned us to a rise in his taxes, as his administration will on his arrival back in the Capital will enact a full blanket amnesty for every individual that resides here illegally. I am not going to repeat the costs of the money paid in taxes to keep illegal aliens healthy, to educate their children, to put a section 8 shelter over their heads. The courts have determined that we should keep paying for foreigners, whether we like it or not. As yet there has been no attempt by any administration, in placing this illegal migrant or immigrant before the Supreme Court.
janet enos November 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Just wanted to commend the Patch for being on the cutting edge as a viable source of reliable information for us voters. Best of luck to all four WCCUSD School Board candidates. Let's get prop 30 passed so they have some importantant fiscal decisions to make for our GREAT kids.
Sharpie November 05, 2012 at 07:39 AM
On the ballot for the Presidency, Gov. Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Dr. Jill Stein (Green). Make a special note to remember to watch the Free and Equal Election Debate between third party candidates, Gov. Gary Johnson and Dr. Jill Stein to be aired tonight on Monday evening, Nov. 5th from 9:00 - 10:30 pm Eastern Time. Perform a worthwhile civic duty, and be certain to listen in on this historic debate so that you can make an informed decision on voting day. Third party candidates who will be on the ballot in most states deserve to be heard. http://freeandequal.org/?v=1
Sharpie November 05, 2012 at 07:30 PM
MUST read: "Support for Kill List and NDAA make Obama and Romney Unfit for Office" http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/reawakening-liberty/2012/nov/2/support-kill-list-and-ndaa-make-obama-and-romney-u/ Make a special note to watch the Free and Equal Election Debate between third party Presidential candidates, Gov. Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Dr. Jill Stein (Green) to be aired tonight on Monday evening, Nov. 5th from 9:00 - 10:30 pm Eastern Time. Perform a worthwhile civic duty, and be certain to listen in on this historic debate so that you can make an informed decision on voting day. Third party candidates who will be on the ballot in most states deserve to be heard. It is a violation of the 1st Amendament rights of third party candidates, and a violation of the free speech rights of every American, for their voices to be silenced. http://freeandequal.org/?v=1


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