WatchSonoma Watch

Allen to move to Marin County to seek re-election

Michael Allen


Unwilling to face one of his fellow Democratic legislators in a 2012 election, Santa Rosa Assemblyman Michael Allen announced Thursday that he will move to Marin County and run for re-election next year in the new 10th Assembly District.

The district encompasses all of Marin County and parts of southern and western Sonoma County, including a portion of Santa Rosa. It resulted from changes approved in July by the state’s Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Those changes posed perhaps the greatest dilemma for Allen, 64, one of several North Coast Democrats searching for a new seat amid the state’s redrawn political lines. His current 7th District was effectively split in two by the changes.

The commission lumped most of his territory, including portions of Sonoma and Solano counties and all of Napa County, into a new district that also encompasses Lake and Yolo counties. His house in Oakmont, meanwhile, was placed in a district spanning the coast from Santa Rosa north to Oregon.

A run in either area would pit him against fellow Assembly Democrats, including Mariko Yamada of Davis to the east and Wes Chesbro of Arcata to the west. Yamada had announced her run for re-election and Chesbro is expected to do so within the next few days.

Allen on Thursday defended his move south, into a redesigned district where the incumbent, Assemblyman Jared Huffman, is termed out in 2012 and is running for Congress.

“I did not want to run against another Democratic party incumbent,” Allen said. “The (7th) District left me, not vice versa.”

A long-time Santa Rosa resident, Allen touted his four decades living in the North Bay, and said the Marin-centered district was a good fit for his liberal politics. He said the move would help, not hurt, his election chances next year.

“I could have just moved a couple of miles” into the district, he said, adding that the move into Marin — likely to San Rafael — would prove he was committed to serving the area in state office.

“You can always learn more by being in the community,” he said.

Allen’s announcement immediately qualified him as the frontrunner in the District 10 race, political observers said.

The only official challenger so far is San Rafael Councilman Marc Levine. San Rafael Councilman Damon Connolly and Petaluma Councilman Mike Healy have said they are considering a run for the seat.

Healy conceded that Allen’s move would make waves in the race, though he denied it would affect his own decision.

“Everyone was waiting to see where he would land, obviously,” Healy said.

Political watchers said Allen’s strengths continue to be his ties to organized labor — he has led both the area’s largest public sector union and the largest labor coalition, the North Bay Labor Council.

His work as district director for former Sen. Pat Wiggins and his current role as assistant majority leader in the Assembly also give him heft in the local Democratic Party.

That influence could clear the deck of major contenders, said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist. “I would assume that if Allen is running for that seat that he has the blessing, to avoid Democratic fratricide.”

Still, despite his years on the local political scene and roles on regional bodies such as the Citizens Oversight Committee for the SMART train, Allen remains a relative unknown in Marin, said Dick Spotswood, a political columnist for the Marin Independent Journal.

Allen’s union alliances could also hurt in an election year when public-sector pay and benefits could figure as a hot-button issue.

“He’s the favorite,” Spotswood said. “But Allen will be perceived as a union-oriented Democrat. I don’t think that’s the strongest position to be marching into an election with in Marin County.”

47 Responses to “Allen to move to Marin County to seek re-election”

  1. Joseph says:

    “For the first time in
    history does a nation have complete gun registration. Our streets will be
    safer, our police more efficient. The world will follow our lead in the
    future.” – Adolph Hitler, 15 April 1935, in address to the Reichstag before he confiscated
    guns from Jews.
    I expect this speech will be heard on the state assembly floor soon. It is amazing how closely we are following in the footsteps of the NAZI regime.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Haters Never Proper-you’re absolutely right. Michael went to the legislature and started right in on legislation protecting Sonoma County workers. I guess there are some workers in this county that just don’t want real representation or job protection. Personally I appreciate that we actually HAVE A LABOR REPRESENTATIVE in the legislature who knows the ins and outs of labor and doesn’t make wrong assumptions. And he can’t be bought or fooled by the blowhard rightwingers.

    I’m just upset he may no longer be in my district so I can vote for him again. You Marin County workers-you can’t have a better man looking out for your interests.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  3. Haters Never Prosper says:

    And the beat-down goes on… Every time Michael Allen is mentioned in the PD, the haters crawl out of the rock they live under. But the large majority of the citizens of the North Bay are glad to have a principled progressive like Allen representing them. That’s whose opinions matter.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  4. Chris J Seamans says:

    Mr. Allen,
    You don’t have my vote. Your a careless person who only cares about one thing…YOURSELF. So I hope that voters will see through your ways and not elect you.
    Now if we can only get rid of Pelosi and Boxer…we’d be a happier group!

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 7

  5. Joseph says:

    I do not believe there is a single Bigot or racist person in law enforcement in Sonoma county. I also believe they came to law enforcement to help people as a general rule. That being said 88% of the car impounds belong to the Latino community, that is not racist, that is a stat. That makes them not the only problem, just the biggest.
    If you focus on the numbers, then maybe you can avoid the hard feelings.
    Race has nothing to do with it, the immigrant community made it a racial issue in their October 2009 protests.
    Who is the real racist?

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4

  6. Eric Newman says:

    Setting the Record Straight
    on Michael Allen and Immigration Reform

    Well, I can’t speak for Assemblyman Allen, because I’m not on his staff, but I have heard him speak on this topic. Here’s what I heard: Allen supports comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, so that millions of people who came as economic refugees from Latin America to escape the collapse of the peasant economies under the weight of NAFTA and CAFTA can get their status resolved, one way or another. There are good ways to create meaningful paths to citizenship or to provide economic assistance to Mexico to help reduce the powerful incentives for migration. This has to be done at the Congressional level.

    Allen did support the California Dream Act, which was a humane effort to open a path in life through access to higher education scholarships from private sources for the hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought here by their immigrant parents. We will have to come to terms with this problem in rational and respectful manner. That’s all that’s going on here. Allen has my support in trying to solve this painful and difficult problem.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 19

  7. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Joseph-the issue I was pointing to is not that they were unlicensed because licensed driver have car wrecks too and also drive unsafely. Just go out of the road and everyday you will see drivers doing crazy things on the road and NOT PAYING ATTENTION. It’s that NOT PAYING ATTENTION OR DRIVING IMPAIRED that’s the problem. But people on this post keep pointing fingers at the unlicensed hispanic drivers like they are the only problems on the road. That’s racist.

    Lots of people have driver’s licenses and get into issues on the road because they drive unsafely. To single out Hispanics, like the people on this post keep doing, is racist. Not only that, but hispanic drivers without licenses are more likely to obey the law because they DON’T WANT to have their cars impounded.

    Those drivers who lose their licenses because they have DUI’s are the ones I’d worry about. Because they do it over and over again. And many of these accidents are because of drunk driving or doing everything in your car while driving except paying attention to the road.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 15

  8. Anderson says:

    Anyone remotely surprised at Allen’s move has not been paying attention. He fits perfectly into the kind of self-serving leeches that have represented the North Bay at the state and national levels for more than two decades.

    What a sad commentary that this kind of political hack could be supported by a majority of people in Sonoma County. And what kind of de-evolution have we experienced here in the past 40 years that people are blind and ignorant enough to vote for him?

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 6

  9. Commonsense says:

    Well, this is one marin voter who will not be voting for Mr. Allen. I disapprove of his record thus far and I will show that disapproval in the voting both, as will my husband and most of my other family members who live in Marin.
    The passage of the Dream Act was a failure on the part of this state to treat all students with equity. That act allows those in this country illegally an easier path to public education then those here legally. In fact, I hope someone has the guts and resources to sue, as I believe that the California Dream Act may have both state and federal constitutional issues (allowing non-citizens to claim in state tuition, while other out of state US citizens pay out of state tuition may have some “equal treatment/similiarly situated parties issues).
    The DUI checkpoint/impoundment bill is another failure in my opinion, it’s an amendment of existing law, for the sake of politics, not public safety and again puts one group in a better situation then others, if enforced purely on immigration/race issues (which appears to be the motivating factor behind it).
    I could keep going, but that would take up way to much space.
    And for those who will cry racism or tea party radical, I’m neither, and could care a less about party affiliation (it’s called being an independant), but I’m sure the accusation will be made anyway.

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 5

  10. Joesph says:

    If you look at the numbers, 10% of the drivers on the road driving with out a license. Another 4% to 6% driving on a suspended license. Then look at the fact that 88% of the car impounds at from the latino community. Well we have a real problem with one segment of our community.
    An Unlicensed driver, based on studies by the commision on trafic safety tells us that an unlicensed driver is 4.9% more likely to be involved in a fatal collision on our highways.
    This is a serious problem, one that is best solved withen the latino community.
    However playing the race card does not solve the problem.It is what we call a RED HERRING, it only serves to distract one from the real issues, and that is saving lives.
    The number one rule in equipment safety is, if you have not been trained on the machine, you are not to touch it, period.
    Driving unlicensed is a fundemental violation of that simple rule.
    Focus on the numbers and think of ways to educate the community.
    I live my life without a license, it is not that difficult to do that I have to risk killing someone.

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

  11. Stephen Anthony says:

    Assemblymember Allen has proven himself to be a great legislator who cares about job creation (he sponsored a tax credit for small businesses) worker safety (he’s investigated and worked to stop safety violations at Napa State) and environmental and education issues as well. The reasons that the tea party haters on this site can’t stand him is that he’s popular with the voters in spite of their incessant smears and attacks like the ones below. Keep up the great work Michael and I can’t wait for you to represent me in Marin!

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 18

  12. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    As long as it’s legal to move and run in a race, then NONE of you has the right to complain. When districts are “remodeled” it changes who lives in them anyway, whether people move or not. Besides, Michael’s politics represent the majority in Marin County as well as Sonoma County.

    It happens ALL THE TIME. Efren Carrillo moved and ran.

    There is still the misconception that it’s only illegal drivers who run over people in this county. There are lots of LEGALS in this county without licenses who run over people AND who drink and drive.

    I believe in the Dream act. Some of these children not born here DON’T EVEN SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF THEIR COUNTRY OF BIRTH. I’m one, though my dad was in the military so I’m LUCKY TO BE A CITIZEN. My mom is a naturalized citizen. These children who are working for America either in the military or through getting an education and staying out of trouble deserve a change to become citizens.

    I wonder if you all are so upset with the Canadians who live here and take out jobs. Or other people who are not hispanics living and working here illegally. Probably not. And, yes, I’m talking about racism.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15

  13. Kevin says:

    Allen has rejected the enforcement of immigration law. He is on the side of the border jumpers and those who employ them. He turns his back on legal American workers and gives their rightful future away to a bunch of criminals. This is NOT a man we want in public office. This is a man we want in jail.

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 7

  14. Billy C says:

    If you want someone in In Sacramento to
    Support rights and benefits for illegal
    aliens, get higher pay and benefits for government workers,promote”SMART” development,levee more taxes for the working and close the state parks.
    Mike is your kind of guy. California and Sonoma County have gotten to where we are now due to people like him.

    Happy ?

    Thumb up 43 Thumb down 9

  15. Kim says:

    “Please people, don’t just vote for someone who has a D after their name. Look at their record and positions on the issues.”

    Amen Jason! I’ve been sayin’ that for years!

    In the PD today was an article that denoted the passing of the California Deam Act, all passed and signed by the “D’s”. If this were a statewide ballot measure, it most likely wouldn’t have passed. My sincere condolences to the American kid that is going to be denied entery into college so that an illegal can take his/her place.

    Thumb up 31 Thumb down 8

  16. Juvenal says:


    “Fear career politicians!”

    Maybe Bill hasn’t heard that there are term limits in the State of California. I guess no one is too ignorant to post on this site.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 26

  17. Jason Valez says:

    The voter approved redistricting becomes a joke when politicians move to avoid its effects. I will not vote for any politician who moves to change their district.

    Even if Allen moves, he cannot run away from the fact that he was caught in a conflict of interest violation and fined $3,000 by the FPPC, the Fair Politiacal Practices Commission. Anyone running against him can certainly exploit this no matter where he moves to. We don’t want to elect anyone who takes money for their votes or influence. Allen was caught doing these things, what else do people need to know about him. His support for illegal aliens won’t help him either.

    Please people, don’t just vote for someone who has a D after their name. Look at their record and positions on the issues.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 9

  18. A Teachable Moment says:

    @ John Thompson

    Sorry, the stuff mentioned in the article could have be done and often is by a student intern on a very part time basis.

    The question still stands, what has Allen done except answer the phone and hauled the food trays into the office for lunch with his old comrades in arms in SEIU in his time in the Assembly?

    Thumb up 33 Thumb down 8

  19. DINO says:

    Norman Solomon moved from Oregon to Marin County to replace Lynn Woolsey. His second step was to reregister as Democrat In Name Only.

    Thumb up 33 Thumb down 7

  20. Not A Chance says:

    @Money Grubber

    Can we please have a round of applause for this genius!? today’s lesson, WSC, will not be on history, it will be on simple mathematics, I do hope Money Grubber pays close attention…

    A “lifer” politician in my view would be someone who has made most of their wealth from a political office, having spent most of their career in political office, drawing paychecks from the government. (Allen was a nurse, then a lawyer, then a union president, dislike his careers all you want, but recognize that he spent well over 30 years outside of politics)

    Because of the brilliant labeling by Money Grubber of Mr. Allen as a “lifer” politician, I must correct you with the simple Math I mentioned earlier…

    If Mr. Allen is 64 years old he must have been elected sometime in the 90′s in order to fit Grubbers label, right? Oh wait, whats that? Michael Allen has been elected to political office for eight MONTHS. so if you subtract .8 years from Mr. Allen’s life that would leave 63.4 years out of elected office.

    Now I don’t know about you guys but 63.4 years out of elected office compared to .8 years in strikes me as less of a lifer politician than just about every other elected official in the area. (Also: Huffman moved from Missouri to run for office in Marin, Allen will still be representing his hometown in his new district)

    If you’re going to lie, which you are, try to make sure you aren’t 99% wrong.

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 29

  21. John Thompson says:

    “A teachable moment”,

    You asked to name one thing he has done while in office? Here. This is from a REAL newspaper from an area he represents that I think illustrates how the constituents he has represented see him.


    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 26

  22. Ike says:

    Now we know what Allen and his employees do all day in Sacramento. They sit at their computers on the the taxpayer dime writing up comments for “Watch Sonoma County” to tell us how much they love their boss.

    One one them—-Allen?—says he is moving to Marin in October so there will not be an issue with residency. But what about the Primary in June?

    Thumb up 30 Thumb down 10

  23. Money Grubber says:

    “Lifer” politicians like this clown are exactly why our entire state and community are in the cesspool.

    If you want more unemployment and more chaos in our local economy, just keep re-electing clowns like this who flap their lips but don’t know how to do anything except smile that ugly used-car-salesman smile.

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 11

  24. Stephen A. O'Leary says:

    Michael Allen is a real leader. The people of Marin are lucky to get him as are the people in Napa who have him fighting for them for the rest of his term. What we DON’T need are people who can’t read a news article and reason logically of, which there are a great many here. His district was eliminated do to redistricting. Why don’t some of the Tea Partiers focus on getting rid of politicians in the GOP who have signed a pledge to not even allow us to vote on taxes in loyalty to Grover Norquist? (who is not a citizen of California) These GOP “legislators” have been getting paid to do nothing.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 41

  25. A Teachable Moment says:

    Can anyone name something useful this guy has done in the State Assembly?? Anyone???

    Thumb up 32 Thumb down 10

  26. bill says:

    This politician is exactly what we do not need. Career politicians who need to move around to continue to stay in public service are suspect.

    Words from his mouth are not nearly as noticeable as his deeds.

    Fear career politicians!

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 12

  27. Political Pundit says:

    From the Napa Valley register: “To introduce himself to new voters, Allen said he will be making the move to Marin County in October. During that time, he’ll continue advocating for issues relevant to Napa County and the 7th Assembly District, which he’ll continue to represent through 2012.”

    I hope that eases your worries, Steve Guy.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 28

  28. @ Steve Guy says:

    Allen is not qualified to run as a candidate in the 10th District.

    The state constitution contains a residency requirement of 1 year for anyone seeking to represent an Assembly District. Per the California Constitution, Article IV, Section 2 (c) “A person is ineligible to be a member of the Legislature unless the person is an elector and has been a resident of the legislative district for one year, and a citizen of the United States and a resident of California for 3 years, immediately preceding the election.”

    In the past the Legislature has treated this Constitutional residency requirement like the requirement to complete the budget timely, they ignored it. But this year things have changed because the Supreme Court has already ruled that such residency requirements are constitutional.

    If Allen ignores the law he runs the risk of later being removed from office.

    Allen and all legislators took an oath when sworn in to uphold the Constition. Will he?

    At least one of the potential opponents mentioned in the article is an attorney.

    Thumb up 39 Thumb down 11

  29. Eric Newman says:

    Well, I regret that I won’t be able to vote for Michael Allen now, but I am sure that once the folks in the new district get to know him, they will vote him in in a landslide. Allen is a true- blue progressive, who has the interests of working people engraved on his heart. He is smart, funny, and intellectually active. Everyone who has ever worked with him has come away impressed by his decency, honesty, and work ethic. He will be a benefit to Marin, and to the state of California.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 49

  30. John Cheney says:

    John Cheney
    Michael Allen, is a low life politician who I believe sold his soul to the rich wine growers of Sonoma and Napa Countries. His bill and the actions of the Santa Rosa police gave free pass to the killer of a little boy and I pray that this death haunts him every day of the rest of your life.

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 13

  31. Puhlease says:

    Carpetbagger? Did anyone caret that Efren Carrillo and Ernesto Olivares moved? Olivares even changed from a Rethug to a Dem. No outcry.

    “Well, this is one way in which he can avoid the public’s outrage over the deaths on our roads due to unlicensed drivers.”

    Why don’t you take your misplaced outrage to the companies that hire these people? Jobs are what bring them here and keep them here. Blame them.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 32

  32. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Time for him to find a new nest to fowl.

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 10

  33. Move further says:

    I do not support any candidate who helps ILLEGAL aliens–who break the law again by driving illegally–get off easier!

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 10

  34. Unemployed College Grad. says:

    He lives within the city limits of Santa Rosa, Oakmont I believe, as far as I’m concerned he has represented this area for the last 8 months. He didn’t ask for the lines to be drawn, he will continue representing SR to a degree so I find Carpet Bagger to be a harsh and typical response from the ever bright WSC posters.

    Mr. Allen’s got my vote; after I saw one of his bills was adopted as a large portion of the Governor’s jobs plan and that he is actually sponsoring the bill in the assembly I realized he actually cares about JOBS. Had to read that in the LA Times.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 38

  35. Not a Fan says:

    Comrade Allen is another one of those party hacks who worked his way up from the ranks of SEIU. His agenda is totally left. He is in his first and hopefully last term of office.

    His most significant legislation in the State Assembly has been his efforts around unlicensed drivers and DUI.

    Hopefully the voters will retire this lefty and send him packing after one short term.

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 14

  36. doodles says:

    Good riddance.

    Thumb up 34 Thumb down 12

  37. Say it ain't so says:

    Disaster! This is the last person I will vote for other than Allen’s best friend, Noreen Evans. We need someone similar to Huffman, someone who truly cares about ALL their constituents!

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 20

  38. Stephen Anthony says:

    Great News for Marin, Bad news for Napa. I know the Press democrat and the Tea Partiers on this site hate Michael Allen(which in itself is reason enough to like him) but he is truly one of the hardest working elected officials ever. The work he has done in protecting nurses at Napa State and advancing tax credits for small businesses reflects well on him as an Assemblyman. He’s done more work in one year than a lot of politicians do in a whole term. Thanks Assemblyman Allen and ignore the haters and keep doing what you are doing!

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 47

  39. Ron says:

    I hope I can still vote for him, as he is a great representative to have in Sacramento. He is accessible to average voters, and not afraid to meet with and discuss issues, and not just with deep-pocket contributors.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 47

  40. Kim Schafer says:

    Carpet bagger? Jesus Christ some people are hard to please. This new district is Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotate, and Marin County. I would much rather have someone from Sonoma County represent it. How far out of the district could he possibly have lived? He lives IN Santa Rosa somewhere.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 33

  41. George Washington, where are you? says:

    The people wanted to make George Washington king. He refused, served his time, and returned to his real job. Michael Allen and every other politician should take a cue from this. Go get a real job. And take Noreen Evans with you.

    Thumb up 53 Thumb down 24

  42. Steveguy says:

    Run against Chesbro.

    This idea of ‘moving’ to stay in office sickens me. This is the 3rd or 4th so far speaking of ‘moving’.

    Represent your own area. This reeks of reek.

    Thumb up 48 Thumb down 19

  43. Jay says:

    Union Thug ! and Wiggins on his resume tells the rest.

    Good luck Marin, you’ll need it if you stoop this low.
    Oh and watch out for unlicensed uninsured drivers, he loves to coddle law breakers.

    Thumb up 51 Thumb down 21

  44. Average Joe says:

    Carpet Bagger.

    Thumb up 46 Thumb down 21

  45. Skippy says:

    What does it matter which Democrat runs/lives/rules from whatever district?
    The result is the same.
    Crony capitalism, Big Govt. Public Employee Union giveaways and corruption, and State bankruptcy.
    California will continue to decline/devolve/degenerate until the addiction to Big Govt. ends.
    Till then, who really cares who is on the bridge of the SS Titanic California Govt?

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 24

  46. What a loss says:

    This is a huge loss for Napa county, as representative Allen has done a great job working to fix the state hospital system. I can only hope he keeps up that fight from a new district.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 50

  47. Joseph says:

    Well, this is one way in which he can avoid the publics outrage over the deaths on our roads due to unlicensed drivers.

    Thumb up 54 Thumb down 20

Leave a Reply