Rudy Espinoza Murray

Rudy Espinoza Murray

A once-in-a-10-year opportunity is cycling through San Mateo County, and sadly it seems like very few people know about it or recognize its importance: redistricting. 2020 Census data shared across the country impacts everything from the Electoral College, Congress and even our own county supervisor districts. County staff has worked diligently to reach out to diverse communities across San Mateo County to create awareness and engagement in the District Lines Advisory Commission. 

I’ve been one to speak up about the fact that we don’t need to have an all-white, mostly-male Board of Supervisors in a county with over 62% people of color and over half are women. It’s embarrassing — mainly because of how progressive our county is (i.e., Newsom recall results).

Why is the redistricting process important? There are multiple reasons why redistricting matters. It impacts who may end up representing you, how they respond to your community needs and access to resources (each district has discretionary funding), and if your community is kept together within the same district. Some say, “so what that it’s all white guys, they ran and got elected — more people of color and women should run.” It’s easy to say that, however, in reality, people of color and women experience far more significant challenges because, historically, people of color and women have been left out. And, I commend the Board of Supervisors and city councils across the county that are making an effort to get more people of color and women on boards, commissions and committees. It’s a step in the right direction; however, if the districts are not designed to level the playing field, it only makes it that much harder. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the process, please go to smcdistrictlines.org to find out how you can take part in the process. 

***

Now that the gubernatorial recall is over, can we talk about the takeaways? 

California is pretty clear on its values — we don’t tolerate Trump-like rhetoric and policies (or lack thereof). Sad it cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but glad Newsom supporters have sent anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and anti-science folks a clear message. We Californians voted for truth and logic. 

Organizations like Swing Left, San Mateo County Central Labor Council, Peninsula for Everyone, San Mateo County Democrats, San Mateo County Latinx Democratic Club and South Asians for America banded together for Newsom. In San Mateo County alone, volunteers were in the thousands knocking on doors and making phone calls in English, Spanish and multiple Asian languages supporting the governor. Pretty impressive if you ask me. 

Another takeaway: Democrats are organized and emboldened in California. They have the people, the money and, hopefully, the right message. I hope the Dems remember to reach out to the Latinx population early — they make up the second largest voting bloc in California.  

The 2022 midterm elections are looking grim for Republicans in California. It appears that the recall led to even more Democrats than Republicans registering to vote. What happens with those races here will impact Congress. Those U.S. House electeds that converted their districts blue to red in 2020 need to worry because the Dems are coming for you.

Rudy Espinoza Murray is a Redwood City resident and community organizer on housing, gun violence prevention, LGBTQ+ and Latinx issues. He is a co-founder and lead of the San Mateo County Farmworker Affairs Coalition.

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(9) comments

Ray Fowler

Hello, Rudy

Thanks for another op-ed piece.

I am not an anti-vaxxer... I got my Pfizer booster yesterday, I am not anti-mask... I wear one without complaint when I'm in public and go inside. I am not anti-science... even in the face of our top health officials changing their advice about preventative measures and contradicting earlier advice that was "based on the science."

But I voted for the recall after watching our governor fail in his role as a leader. There was an opportunity for him to change my mind about the recall, but he did not address the serious problems all Californians are facing. Instead, we got anti-Republican rhetoric straight from the DNC's playbook.

You're probably correct about Dems doing well in the 2022 midterms. With nearly a two to one advantage in registered voters, why would you predict any differently? Would you like to hazard a guess about how well Dems will do nationally in 2022?

Our governor survived the recall. I wonder what the 15 million Californians living at or near the poverty level think about the governor signing SB-9 and SB-10 not too long after the polls closed last month?

Rudy E

I always appreciate the decency and openness in your comments. Thank you!

On your first comment: I didn’t say all that voted yes on the recall are anti-vaxxers and the like, however, it was very much organized and funded by those esteemed groups (there is a court case that demonstrates this to be fact).

I’d love to hear how the Governor has failed. Clearly no man is perfect, but California has the highest vaccination rates and lowest infection rates… he allocated billions to rescue people… got housing for thousands of homeless folks… and protected renters like no other state has. I’m interested to know where he failed that justifies a recall versus voting him out in a general election if he truly has failed us.

On the House races: the races in question don’t posses a 2:1 ratio of Dems versus Republicans. It’s more like 50-50 if we look at the past two cycles…

And to answer your question on the new laws, as a low-income person in SMC myself, I could not be more thrilled that he signed SB 9 and SB 10. And, with proper enforcement of the RHNA process, we may actually see housing supply increase assuming the HCD does their job :)

Ray Fowler

Thanks Rudy for a thoughtful response...

The recall was organized by Orrin Heatlie and his group known as the California Patriot Coalition. It was not a "Republican recall" as described by the DNC. Oh, I'm sure there were anti-vaxxers... a lot of them...working with Heatlie, but the recall petition was presented before the COVID lock down and it was not listed as one of the initial reasons for recalling the governor.

Gavin has been in Sacramento for more than a decade... 8 of those years as lieutenant governor. In that time, we have seen taxes, gas prices, crime, homelessness, and poverty all increase. That's a failure of leadership, and let's not forget our failing schools. Dumping money on these issues is not leadership.

I'm sorry I was not clear about the 2022 midterms. I agree with you. It would not surprise anyone that Dems will do well in California. I was interested in whether you think they will do well nationally. It's looking like the Dems will lose their advantage in Congress due in part to a failure of leadership.

If you are able to personally benefit from SB-9 and SB-10 with an increase in affordable housing in our county, that's a positive outcome. While those bills will prove to be very lucrative for developers, they will not really help the 15 million Californians at or near the poverty line.

Coming full circle... you are embarrassed that our county's Board of Supervisors is all white and mostly all male. The recall was an opportunity to replace a white male governor with a person of color.

Terence Y

Ray, I’d be afraid to bowl against you.

Terence Y

Mr. Murray – would it help if any, or all, of the all-white, mostly-male Board of Supervisors decides to identify themselves as people of color, or as women? Maybe anybody attempting to join boards, commissions, and committees can also decide to run as people of color, or as women, after self-identifying as such so they can meet this racist-driven “quota.” After all, the Olympics allowed a biological man to identify, and compete, against women. A number of biological men have competed against women in track events across the country, after self-identifying as women. In recent times, there have been a number of non-people of color identifying as people of color, too. Or would that be embarrassing, even though it falls within the progressive narrative?

wlydecker

What a racist rant!! It's always been about money - until now. Today to be a white male is a minus. Witness this column. The writer fails to note that mass media is what counts today. In the past rich white guys had the money to buy PR and control the flow of news. The operative word is "rich." Today we live by government by tantrum. Who stirs the pot gets the ink. Keep it up, Rudy. You have friends in high places.

Tafhdyd

wlydecker,

What part of the truth and facts is racist? Mr. Murray said “Some say, “so what that it’s all white guys, they ran and got elected — more people of color and women should run.” It’s easy to say that, however, in reality, people of color and women experience far more significant challenges because, historically, people of color and women have been left out.” That statement is a fact. When is the last time you checked the pay gap for gender? In 2020 Women in general earned 82% of men. When race and color enter the picture the differences are greater. Compared to white men with the same education, Black and Latina women with a bachelor’s degree earn only 65%.

There is also a date called Equal Pay Day from the Department of Labor. In 2020 the day was March 24, the day women, on average, had to work until to earn the same as men, on average. For women of color it is even later. For Black women it was August 3, for Native American women it was September 8 and for Latinas it was October 21.

Ray Fowler

Tafhdyd

Typically, the differences mentioned in your comment are just a comparison of the average of all men's wages and the average of all women's wages. There are variables... things like the the type of occupation, how long a person has worked at a particular job and how many hours worked per week. A lot of those differences are tied to decisions made by men and women about where they want to work and how much time they want to spend on the job. According to the Department of Labor, when you start making adjustments, the pay gap shrinks to about .07 cents on the dollar. But there is one often overlooked aspect of the equal pay debate... and that is job fatalities. We're kinda back to personal decisions... men take jobs that are more dangerous and those jobs can pay more. Women can pursue those jobs, too, but you're more likely to find more men working in the trades and industries where the pay and risks can be higher. As a result, about 92% of work related fatalities are men.

When is the last time you saw oil riggers marching next to SEIU members?

wlydecker

Taf: when people are defined by the color of their skin it's "racist."

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