Jim Beall's experience is showing.
As a state senator, he has risen to leadership on transportation and housing, top priorities for Silicon Valley, while continuing his longtime advocacy for the mentally ill, the disabled and foster children. For his work on behalf of cities -- the front line of interaction between residents and government -- the League of Cities named him 2015 Legislator of the Year.
Beall, D-San Jose, has richly earned another term in Senate District 15, and the district needs him to finish the good work he has started.
Democratic Assemblywoman Nora Campos filed to challenge Beall at the last minute. She had begun raising money for a District 15 run in 2020, when Beall terms out, and probably jumped in now to build name recognition in the district's West Valley cities. It is a purely self-serving run. We recommend Beall.
Jim Beall, 2016 (Sarah Janigian, San Jose Library Foundation)
Beall is chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing committee. He's working on a bipartisan plan to rehabilitate freeways, county roads and city streets with a mix of funding that will loop in all users, including drivers of electric cars who don't pay the gas tax. California roads are among the worst in the nation -- motorists are paying an average of $700 a year in car repairs -- and catching up since the recession is much more expensive than routine upkeep. Road conditions are bad for the economy. Beall's on it.
He's also fighting for affordable housing. When California closed out redevelopment agencies in 2011, there was no plan to replace the millions a year in redevelopment revenue that cities had used for housing. It's one reason affordability has become a crisis here.
Beall pushed for state funding and last year won nearly unanimous approval in the Legislature for a simple bill to make federal tax credits available to developers, at no cost to the state. Brown vetoed it, along with other housing bills. Now Beall is working with State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on a housing package, including bringing back the tax credits. He's optimistic this time around.
Beall continues to work on improving care and protection of the mentally ill. And with a few other key leaders, he has sponsored bills to stop the over-drugging of foster children, an outrage exposed by Mercury News reporter Karen de Sá in a multimedia series over the past several years. Having won greater oversight over prescribing last year, Beall says this is the year to pin down enforcement, an element that met with lobbying resistance in 2015.
Also running against Beall are little-known Republicans Anthony Macias and Chuck Page. Democrat or Republican, there is no good argument for replacing Jim Beall. Vote for him on June 7.