On the Issues

Better Schools:

As a parent of three, I believe we have to give voices to our children who are unfairly burdening the most from state budget cuts.

That’s why my two daughters Reina and Iliana Bonta are plaintiffs with other families along with the State PTA, California’s School Boards and School Administrators in the Robles Wong vs. California lawsuit, which challenges the state of California’s public school finance system.

Education is a fundamental right of every child in California. While California has set clear requirements for what schools are expected to teach and what students are expected to learn, the state refuses to provide them to tools to do so.

Our lawsuit asks the state to remedy this problem and to ensure that children in the East Bay and throughout the state receive the financing they need to meet the standards of a high quality education.

I am a product of California’s public schools, and was able to attend Yale College, Oxford University, and Yale Law School. I had a dream to go to the best universities in the world and I was able to realize that dream because of the strength of California’s public schools.

I worry that my children and their generation will not be able to fulfill the same dream. I have seen firsthand increased class sizes, fewer instructional days, teacher layoffs, programmatic cuts, and the shortage of basic supplies in the classroom. California has gone from being one of the top 10 states in the country in per pupil funding to one of the bottom ten states.

As a member of the Assembly, I will continue this bold action to force the state to fully fund what its Constitution says is a fundamental right of children.


Safer Streets:

A kindergarten student at the elementary school both of my daughters attended was recently shot and killed in front of his parents’ food truck in Oakland. Last year, I attended the candlelight vigil in Oakland of a 3-year old child who was shot and killed in crossfire while in a stroller with his parents in the middle of the day in a bustling retail district. This has to end.

Our first priority must to be to get teenagers and young adults to choose schools or work over violence and gangs. That is why as Vice Mayor I supported no cuts to street level services for police and firefighters and will continue to fight for safer communities.

As Assemblymember, I would leverage the resources of the state to ensure sufficient, visible and proactive community policing in neighborhoods to deter and stop crime.

I am proud that every organization of police, firefighters and deputy sheriffs in Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro have endorsed my campaign for Assembly.


More Prosperous Communities:

The State of California continues to do two things to undercut the prosperity of its own communities: Cut education and treat big corporations better than small businesses.

Without an educated workforce and with the decks stacked against innovation and entrepreneurship, we can’t create the jobs necessary to get people back to work in new, dynamic industries.

As the Chair of the City’s Economic Development Commission and as Vice Mayor, I have promoted job creation and economic revitalization, and fought to attract new businesses and jobs while retaining and supporting existing ones.

I also helped successfully work with the Obama administration to set aside the 918-acre former Naval Base at Alameda Point at no-cost, clearing the way for the creation of thousands of jobs and massive economic revitalization for the East Bay.

But there are still too many unemployed and underemployed people here in the East Bay. The rates are higher for African Americans, Latinos and Asians.

As your Assemblymember I will fight for full funding of public schools and demand small businesses get their own special treatment from government. As for the big corporations, if they aren’t creating jobs then their tax breaks come to an end.


LGBT Equality:

I am a strong supporter of full LGBT marriage equality. In fact, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where I have served as a Deputy City Attorney for approximately the last decade, has been at the forefront of the legal battle for marriage equality in California. My office was the first government entity in American history ever to sue to invalidate discriminatory marriage laws, and it is the only law office to be involved as a party in every aspect of the legal fight since 2004: (1) From defending Mayor Newsom’s issuance of same-sex marriage licenses; (2) To successfully suing to strike down the anti-gay marriage exclusion in the state courts; (3) To challenging the discriminatory Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court, and now as co-plaintiff in the federal courts.

I worked with the Alameda Theatre to host a free community screening of the film BULLY back in May. Following the screening, I moderated a lively panel discussion on the topic of bullying. This event will helped support the many programs and activities to help educate and inform our youth and their parents regarding bullying issues in our East Bay schools and in the community. Education, training, and programs dedicated towards increased sensitivity and awareness are critical to reduce the number of LGBT suicides, as are anti-bullying efforts.

As a private citizen in Alameda, I spoke out in favor of the Alameda Unified School District’s implementation of an anti-bullying curriculum (LGBT Lesson #9) that teaches students, kindergarten through fifth grade, about all families including those with LGBT/same-sex parents. I served for three years on the City of Alameda’s Social Service Human Relations Board (SSHRB), including serving as Board President, a role my colleagues on the SSHRB voted me into. On the SSHRB, I supported and worked with the SSHRB subcommittee Alamedans Together Against Hate (ATAH) to promote tolerance, including for the LGBT community, and ensure that people can live, work, play and worship in Alameda free of discrimination.