.Hero & Zero


Samantha Tradelius won Supervisor Judy Arnold’s 2019 Look Who’s Getting it Done Award. The Novato resident is founder and director of Sparkle Foundation, a volunteer organization serving single moms and their children.

Last December, more than 300 Sparkle volunteers in Novato assembled gift baskets for Bay Area families in need. Sparkle also provides back-to-school backpacks and supports children in enrichment programs throughout the year.

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Congratulations to Samantha for getting it done with her can-do attitude and boundless energy.


Bernie lost at least one vote yesterday, due to a wrinkle in the vote-by-mail system for independent voters. For folks that haven’t heard, independent voters may vote in the Democratic primary.

Ann, an independent, has voted by mail for 20 years. The San Anselmo resident looked forward to casting her ballot for Bernie Sanders.

“Imagine my shock when I opened my election packet only to find that I needed to request a special ballot to vote by mail in the primary and that it was too late to do so,” said Ann.

Why the extra step? In California, an independent voter must request a Democratic ballot to vote for a Democratic nominee. Ditto for Libertarian or American Independent ballots.

Ann’s options were to vote early at the Civic Center or at her polling place on Election Day. Neither worked for Ann, which is why she votes by mail.

She didn’t vote in the presidential primary. We doubt she’s the only one. More than 25 percent of California voters have no party preference and 67 percent voted by mail in the last election.

“It would be very easy to enclose an additional ballot with instructions to vote for only ONE candidate in the primary of our choice,” said Ann.

We agree. California should simplify the process and drop the extra step.

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Nikki Silverstein
Nikki Silverstein is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Pacific Sun since 2005. She escaped Florida after college and now lives in Sausalito with her Chiweenie and an assortment of foster dogs. Send news tips to [email protected].


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