By Champagne Brown and Judith Tannenbaum
Although the filing period to elect the Contra Costa Sheriff hasn’t even opened yet, some local Democratic representatives have already endorsed incumbent Sheriff David Livingston in his re-election bid. This is the Sheriff who:
- has a contract with ICE to hold immigrant detainees at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond;
- has been charged with mistreatment of immigrant detainees at that facility;
- was one of six California sheriffs to meet with U.S.Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February 2017;
- successfully pushed for a jail expansion project that will cost $25 million in one-time county funds, plus an additional $5 million annually;
- punished El Cerrito for its opposition to the jail expansion by backing out of a five-year deal to provide police dispatch service to the city;
- publicly asked the Board of Supervisors to disqualify Judge Diana Becton in her bid for appointment as interim District Attorney.
Several groups working on criminal justice and immigration issues, including Together We Will, are concerned about Democratic representatives supporting Sheriff Livingston’s re-election. They also ask what effect the endorsements, made before the February 12 to March 9 filing period, will have on any potential progressive candidate who might consider running.
Although it’s sadly likely Sheriff Livingston will run unopposed, we must speak out against his record and make sure none of our Democratic representatives supports him. Check the current list of endorsers on Livingston’s website to see whether any of them represents you (find your state representative here; find your Member of Congress here). If so, please call and demand that they retract their endorsement of a candidate who does not represent the values of their constituents or party. If your representative has not endorsed Livingston, please call to thank them and to ask that they NOT endorse him. See below for sample call scripts and contact info for both situations.
Endorsers as of January 23:
- Congressman Mike Thompson (CD 5): DC (202) 225-3311; Napa (707) 226-9898
- CA Senator Steve Glazer (SD-7): Sacto (916) 651-4007; Orinda (925) 258-1176
- CA Senator Bill Dodd (SD-3): Sacto (916) 651-4003; Vallejo (707) 551-2389
- CA Assemblymember Jim Frazier (AD-11): Sacto (916) 319-2011; Fairfield (707) 399-3011
- CA Assemblymember Timothy Grayson (AD-14): Sacto (916) 319-2014; Concord (925) 521-1511
- Contra Costa Supervisor Candace Andersen (District II) (Republican): 925-957-8860
What to say:
Hi. My name is ___, my zip code is ___. I’m calling to express my disappointment that _________ has endorsed Sheriff Livingston for reelection. It’s shocking to me that _________ would endorse a candidate for Sheriff whose record doesn’t align with the values of their constituents or party. It’s especially shocking that this endorsement appears before the filing period has even opened. I ask that ____________ retract their endorsement immediately. Thank you.
If none of the endorsers represents you, call your Member of Congress and state representatives (use the links above to find them if you don’t know them; contact info below as well).
What to say:
Hi. My name is ___, my zip code is ___. I’m shocked at the local Democrats who have already endorsed Sheriff Livingston for re-election, even before the filing period. Please don’t endorse Livingston. I hope that instead you’ll encourage progressive Democratic candidates to run against the Sheriff. I also ask you to speak with Congressmember Mike Thompson, State Senators Glazer and Dodd, and State Assemblymembers Frazier and Grayson to urge them to retract their endorsements.
Members of Congress
- District 9: Jerry McNerney: 925-754-0716
- District 11: Mark DeSaulnier: 510-620-1000
- District 15: Eric Swalwell: 510-370-3322
- State Senate District 9: Nancy Skinner: 510-286-3885
- State Assembly District 15: Tony Thurmond: 510-286-1400
Contra Costa County Supervisors
- District 1: John Gioia: 510-231-8686
- District 3: Diane Burgis: 925.252.4500
- District 4: Karen Mitchoff: 925-521-7100
- District 5: Federal Glover: 925-335-8200
Champagne Brown is a Social Service Worker and Community Activist who is a member of the Contra Costa Racial Justice Coalition and Black Women Organized for Political Action, where she serves as the Political Education Chair.
Judith Tannenbaum is a writer and teacher. Her books include “Disguised as a Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin.”
Graphic © Together We Will Contra Costa