Support Janani Ramachandran for State Assembly’s District 18 Seat

Support Janani Ramachandran for State Assembly’s District 18 Seat

Dan Wood and Robert Raburn

The City of Alameda Democratic Club (CADC) endorsed Janani Ramachandran, a Democratic Social Justice Attorney, for the upcoming 18th Assembly District Special General Election on Tuesday, Aug. 31, Cheri Johansen, 2021 President of the Club, said of the vote, “The Club requires an endorsed candidate to achieve 60% of the vote of the participating members, which is a very high bar. In the Club forum, Janani spoke to the issues: climate change, housing, police reform and inequality. The members, with their vote, believe she is the best candidate to represent them in the Assembly.”

Janani’s exemplary performance in Alameda was not a fluke. She impressed in other endorsement forums and voters elevated her from a slate of nine candidates on the primary ballot to be one of two whose name appears on the August 31 ballot. She surprised many, but close observers saw Janani as a smart grassroots candidate. That’s why she’s supported by so many grassroots organizations such as Alameda Progressives, Indivisible East Bay, and the Sunrise Movement.

Janani served on Oakland’s Public Ethics Commission and her call for good government reflects the public will — not corporate interests! She is a bold advocate who is not bought by corporate interests. That’s a gutsy claim so here’s some data to back that up.

A quick look at the Secretary of State’s website shows that the 2021 Mia Bonta campaign has raised $686,210.04 so far. This includes nine maxxed-out $9700 PAC contributions; 89 maxxed-out $4,700-$4,900 contributions from casinos, pharmaceutical companies, investment management firms, waste disposal companies, beer distributors, and 93 other contributions of $1000 or more. Wow. And looking at the sheer number of these big contributions coming from the casino industry is more than a little disconcerting.

Janani’s 2021 campaign, on the other hand, has raised a respectable $124,141.31. But contrast to Bonta: She received only thirty contributions of over $1000 — and none from corporations, PACs, or casinos. This means that the bulk of her donors were contributing small amounts of $100 or even less. That’s grassroots support.

In Alameda we can’t ignore the climate crisis any longer. It was only Janani who cited Climate Change at the CADC’s forum. We need this kind of leadership in Sacramento.

Another example why Janani’s principled voice is needed in the State Legislature is police reform. Following the George Floyd shouting, cities across the US erupted last summer in sustained calls for racial justice and police reform. In Sacramento, however, a bill to decertify officers who commit misconduct was not even given a hearing. California remains one of only four states that do not have a decertification process.

You might ask how can the Democratic Party majority in Sacramento not offer the leadership to pass progressive bills that Alamedas — and so many Californians — want? The answer is that the Legislature is heavily influenced by corporate and police union contributions. Other legislative bodies may cite “gridlock” as the excuse for why nothing can get done, but Sacramento’s Democratic supermajority continues to be ineffective. You can’t claim gridlock when the cars are supposedly going in the same direction! If we just elect those who are more interested in their big donors than the people they represent, we’ll never fix our broken system.

Janani is looking forward to serving the public in Assembly District 18. As the numbers show, she will be outspent by an opponent who we fear would be beholden to large donors. Please join us in voting for Janani; she has invested her Stanford and Berkeley training to vigorously defend the community. We trust she can become a game-changer in Sacramento to combat corporate influence.

Dan Wood is a member of Alameda Progressives and multi-term elected delegate to California Democratic Party. Robert Raburn represents Alameda on the BART Board of Directors