Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 15

Photo of Ben Bartlett

Ben Bartlett

Berkeley City Councilmember
3,949 votes (3.3%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Address the housing crisis head-on through the production of new homes, protection from displacement, and preservation of existing housing.
  • Advocate for our poorest communities through decriminalization and ending private prisons.
  • Supporting women's economic well-being through paid family leave, affordable childcare, ending workplace harassment, and advancing pay equity.



I received my Juris Doctorate from UC Hastings College of the Law where I was a member of the Black Law Students Association and had the honor to serve as class president. I’ve worked with the California Clean Energy Fund to advance clean energy and social equity, consult with the Bay Area Council where I drafted a Clean Technology trade and investment agreement between California and China, and I currently serve as Vice Mayor of Berkeley, CA.

I originally ran for City Council after my mother, a Berkeley native, was subjected to elder abuse and displaced from her housing along with 20 other seniors from the community. Since being elected to City Council, I have dedicated myself to addressing issues pertaining to housing, well-being, and equity.

On the Berkeley City Council, I have passed ground-breaking initiatives to:

• Create the nation’s first Anti-Displacement Public Legal Advocate

• House the homeless in prefabricated modular micro-units (Step-Up Housing Ordinance)

• Increase Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

• Streamline affordable housing

• Introduce equity into city contracting (Berkeley Opportunity Index)

• Paid Family Leave Ordinance

 And I have actively supported policies that are working to:

• Protect tenants from harassment and discrimination

• Promote gender and racial pay equity

• Protect our oceans and drinking water

• Protect the rights of immigrants

• Fund supplies for low-income school children

Who supports this candidate?

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (4)

What do you think the State should do to encourage affordable housing for all Californians?
Answer from Ben Bartlett:

  Currently, California is in need of 3.5 million new housing units to stem the state’s housing problems. To solve this crisis, my housing plan calls for the 3 P’s—Production, Preservation, and Protection—which addresses how to fund the production of more affordable housing, preserving structures and housing units that are already built, and ensure stronger protections for tenants. California has seen a trifecta of population explosion, severe underproduction, and racist housing policies - and the solution is to radically address all three.

My housing plan calls for a cap and trade style mechanism, a carbon tax, and the creation of a state bank to fund affordable housing. The cap and trade mechanism would require counties and cities that are under-producing affordable housing to pay into a regional housing trust fund that would be used to fund housing production in areas that are willing to meet their affordable housing obligations. Furthermore, a carbon tax would be placed on land zoned for single family homes.

Single-family homes contribute to a car-centric culture that increases sprawl and pollution and removes land that would otherwise be available for denser affordable development. Cities can choose to keep their R1 and R2 neighborhoods, but they would be obligated to pay a carbon tax and the revenue generated would be used for affordable housing initiatives. The carbon tax proposed would provide exemptions and other safeguards to prevent putting an undue burden on seniors, low-income families, and those living on fixed incomes. Lastly, I call for the creation of a new, public, California State Bank. Rather than depositing the hundreds of billions of dollars of California’s annual local and state tax revenues in private banks, California would create its own bank and put those funds to work for Californians by financing socially responsible projects and partnering with private lenders to drive down the cost of borrowing.  More about my housing plan can be read in detail here: 

Question 2

According to a "Civility In America” survey, 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem. If you are elected what will do to address this?

No answer provided.
Question 3

Climate changes, and the shifting between very wet weather and drought, worry Californians. What strategies would allow that your district to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific.

No answer provided.
Question 4

What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of the youngest and most poverty stricken Californians?

No answer provided.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $198,920

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Employees of Quadric Group
Employees of All in Bits, Inc.
Employees of Block Notary, LLC
CB & CB Processing, LLC
Employees of Depot Global Inc.
Forest Hill Management Services, Inc.
Employees of Jay Freeman
Employees of JC Metal Specialists, Inc.
Employees of Kay & Merkle
Employees of Olivia Wheat
Employees of Sustany Capital
Employees of Take-Two Interactive Software
Employees of University of California
Employees of

More information about contributions

By State:

California 92.78%
Maryland 3.40%
Virginia 0.97%
Nevada 0.91%
Other 1.94%

By Size:

Large contributions (97.16%)
Small contributions (2.84%)

By Type:

From organizations (17.88%)
From individuals (82.12%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Five generations ago, my family escaped slavery and found refuge in the East Bay. But today, seniors, students and families are becoming refugees from their own communities as they are driven out by skyrocketing housing costs.

Because everyone deserves an affordable home – my plan starts with building 3.5 million new housing units in California and a carbon tax to fund affordable housing.

My single mom and I slept in a homeless shelter my first summer after high school. It was that memory that drove me to act boldly on the city council to unite labor, homeless advocates and developers to launch a pre-fabricated housing market for the homeless.

An original Black Panther, my mom fed breakfast to hungry kids when government refused. She’s a hero – but as a woman, she’s still treated as a second-class citizen. That’s why I’ve worked to pass paid family leave and advance pay equity. In the Assembly, I’ll fight for affordable childcare and ending workplace harassment.

As an environmental lawyer, I united government, industry and labor to fund electric vehicle charging stations statewide, built by workers returning from prison. In the Assembly, I’ll fight to end private prisons.

My wife is a Muslim immigrant personally targeted by Trump supporters. That's why I passed laws to divest from businesses building Trump’s border wall and reaffirm Berkeley as America’s first sanctuary city and the center of the resistance.


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