Some officials decline endorsing certain state propositions, local measures

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An endorsement of “its a personal decision” or “neutral” isn’t usually what voters expect when turning to local officials for election guidance, but that’s what some might find when checking public opinions before voting this Tuesday.

As local and statewide campaigns head into the final stretch Tuesday, one place undecided voters can turn to for guidance on contentious propositions and ballot measures is the endorsements of local groups and officials — but not always, for controversial election issues.

A California Democratic Party pamphlet sent to voters by mail featured endorsements on local to national issues, including a list of opinions on Berkeley ballot measures. However, the pamphlet remained mum on the contentious ballot Measure S — which would prohibit sitting on sidewalks in Berkeley’s commercial districts from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Berkeley City Councilmember Linda Maio also shied from an official endorsement on Measure S, referring to the ordinance as “a personal decision” on her Facebook page. She listed her other election choices in the same post.

“S is a personal choice,” Maio said in an email. “It is one that people have to make for themselves.”

City Councilmembers Max Anderson, Jesse Arreguín, and Kriss Worthington have all endorsed the “No on S” campaign and Councilmembers Susan Wengraf, Laurie Capitelli, Gordon Wozniak and Mayor Tom Bates have spoken out in favor of the ballot measure.

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner urged voters to make their own choices instead of sharing official endorsements on two particular state issues. She encouraged voters to do more research on Propositions 35 — a measure to tighten punishments of sex traffickers — and Proposition 37, an initiative to require labelling of genetically modified foods in California. Skinner said she supports both propositions personally.

The California Democratic Party supports Prop. 35 and 37, but claimed neutrality on Proposition 39, which would increase the income tax on out-of-state businesses. The California Republican Party does not support the initiative.

Election day will ultimately reveal voters’ choices on issues of national, statewide and local importance — with or without the help of official endorsements.

Contact Libby Rainey at [email protected]