Photo credit: Carlos Guerrero, The Daily Democrat. Taken March 10, 2020.

On the anniversary of WJUSD’s first emergency board meeting to discuss COVID-19, I wanted to share some of my first-hand thoughts, experiences, and reflections looking back on the past year as a school board member thrust into the middle of our local response to a global pandemic.

March 10th, 2020, 10:00am. Unexpectedly, the Woodland Joint Unified School District’s Board of Trustees were called into an emergency meeting to review a draft resolution “Cancelling all Nonessential Student Activities.” We had no idea the gravity of the situation that was unfolding, one which would result in prolonged school closures in our community…


Photo editing credit to Reddit user u/MrSecretpolice.

At least, according to Donald Trump and Fox News.

JANUARY 20, 2021 — President-elect Joe Biden, having spent the last four decades preparing for this moment, stuns the crowd by walking out on to the stage of his inaugural address wearing a studded leather jacket and black skinny jeans instead of the traditional suit. His signature aviator sunglasses complete the ensemble. Brian Williams, commenting live on MSNBC, is beside himself with grief. “How could we have been led so far astray by someone who, by all accounts, was an honest, decent, God-fearing capitalist?”

Chief Justice John Roberts, clearly uneasy with…


With demands for criminal justice reform gaining traction, it is imperative that we translate that energy into specific policy demands that re-align funding priorities.

Central Premises

  • Public health issues, such as mental illness and addiction, should be separated from the criminal justice system as much as possible. Police Officers and Prosecutors are not trained to be Social Workers, and the demands placed on them to serve as the primary response system for socioeconomic problems is a significant contributing factor to why our criminal justice system is dysfunctional.
  • Criminal justice interventions, whether through diversion or traditional sentencing, should focus on addressing…

This week, calls to “defund the police” began gaining traction as part of the larger protest movement against police brutality and systemic racism that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s senseless murder on the streets of Minneapolis. Make no mistake, the media moguls at Fox News and Breitbart are having a simultaneous collective orgasm. This is exactly what they want: a catchy phrase that scares the bajeezus out of conservatives and people predisposed to value law and order above all else.

However, the core underlying concept is something that shows promising results. It is called “criminal justice reinvestment” in…


With the end of Bernie Sanders’s quest for the presidency, a new generation of political activists must now chart a path forward to continue building the movement that he inspired.

For many young people across this country, their enthusiastic support for Bernie Sanders was their first moment of political consciousness. His campaign inspired an awakening for a new left-wing movement and a reckoning with the corporate-friendly consensus that dominated both the Democratic and Republican parties. Keep that same energy! Your country, your future, your children, and the world depends on it.

This new generation of activists now confronts a post-Sanders…


A Neighborhood Court restorative justice circle. Photo credit: Davis Enterprise.

By: Jeff Reisig, Jake Whitaker, and Nicole Kirkaldy

Originally published in the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Journal, Spring Edition 2019.

Imagine a conference room full of seasoned police officers discussing crimes in their jurisdiction, a normal, routine gathering. Next, imagine their reaction to a suggestion from that jurisdiction’s chief prosecutor that instead of going to court to obtain justice for certain types of crimes, the chief prosecutor wanted to let citizen volunteers resolve these issues outside of the normal court process. Also, the chief prosecutor suggested that jail time and other types of traditional punishment would never be used…


What would happen if you gave two teenagers the Twitter account of a notoriously cantankerous ex-Senator and gave them permission to run a Presidential campaign? Mike Gravel’s 2020 protest is a fascinating political science experiment unfolding in real-time. Are you tired of watching the contenders play nice and dance around questions about each other’s shortcomings? Mike Gravel and his social media team are ready to take a blowtorch to the rest of the field, with the goal of moving the party to the left. Will their aggressive strategy be able to accomplish this goal?

Amy KlobucharElizabeth Warren


Joe Biden is signaling the possibility of naming Stacey Abrams as his Vice Presidential nominee right out of the gate. How would that dynamic play out over the course of a two-year long campaign? Is this move the best option for Abrams to advance her own career? Would her presence on the ticket give Biden the juice he needs to win the Democratic nomination?

Amy KlobucharElizabeth WarrenJulian CastroCory Booker
Bernie SandersTim KaineSherrod BrownBeto O’Rourke
Joe Biden (Stacey Abrams) • Pete Buttigieg

How Abrams would Help…


Step aside, Generation X. There’s a new Mayor in town, and his name is Pete Buttigieg (pronounced: boot-edge-edge). Although he is a dark horse candidate, Mayor Pete has the potential to vastly exceed any reasonable expectations that could be placed on a 37 year-old candidate for the White House. Will Buttigieg get an opportunity to prove his worth on the national stage?

Amy KlobucharElizabeth WarrenJulian CastroCory Booker
Bernie SandersTim KaineSherrod BrownBeto O’Rourke
Joe Biden (VP Stacey Abrams) • Pete ButtigiegMike Gravel

A New…


After passing on the opportunity to run against Hillary Clinton in 2016, former Vice President Biden seems poised to mount a comeback in 2020. Will his decades-long branding as a scrappy fighter for the middle class resonate in a field crowded with candidates who embrace more progressive policy positions? Is this the moment Joe Biden has been waiting his entire life for, or has his moment in the spotlight already come and gone?

Amy KlobucharElizabeth WarrenJulian CastroCory Booker • Bernie Sanders • Tim Kaine • Sherrod Brown • Beto O’Rourke • Joe Biden…

Jake Whitaker

Trustee (Area 2) for the Woodland Joint Unified School District. Former Legislative Aide/Policy Analyst. Change is a process, not a conclusion.

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