DAWN Revokes Endorsement of State Senate Hopeful Ann Ravel

Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN) voted to rescind its endorsement of State Senate candidate Ann Ravel on Wednesday night over her opposition to Proposition 15 and refusal to give back campaign donations from South Bay attorney Jim McManis

Last year, the advocacy group endorsed both Ravel—who is running for the open District 15 seat—and her opponent, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. In a statement, the organization’s executive board said that since giving Ravel their endorsement last fall, “new information about [her has been] revealed,” that led them to reconsider.

“For over 20 years, DAWN has focused on electing and supporting pro-choice progressive women candidates and leaders,” the organization’s executive board said in a prepared statement today. “As a respected mission-driven, values-based organization, our endorsements matter. ... Because of publicly stated opposition to Proposition 15 and unwillingness to oppose corporate power grabs, the DAWN Executive Board rescinds our endorsement of Ann Ravel for State Senate.”

Over the last few months, Ravel has publicly stated her opposition to California Prop. 15, which if passed would require commercial properties to be assessed every three years and taxed at its current fair market value.

“As I mentioned to [DAWN], it makes me realize more and more how people are so polarized over what they think are litmus tests when in fact the reason that am concerned about Prop. 15 is that it is going to impact minorities in much greater numbers than it will help,” Ravel told San Jose Inside. “Those are the people who are going to lose their jobs, are going to lose their business and that’s who I’m worried about.”

The former Federal Election Commission chair also noted that the California NAACP also opposed Prop. 15 for the same reasons.

Although not mentioned in the statement provided to San Jose Inside, DAWN President Linda Alexander said that Ravel’s refusal to return campaign donations from McManis also factored into the decision.

The well-known attorney of the law firm McManis Faulker where Ravel currently works, represented Judge Aaron Persky during the successful 2018 campaign to recall him from the Santa Clara County Superior Court bench. Two years prior, the now-former county judge made national news after he sentenced ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to just six months in county jail for raping Chanel Miller behind a campus dumpster.

During the recall effort, McManis made a number of public statements about Miller—who is now a best-selling author—including one where he accused her of not writing her own victim impact statement. In a May 2018 Vogue story run days before the election, he was quoted saying he believed Miller was not attacked and attempted to excuse the rape by stating she “had been drinking before she arrived at the fraternity party.”

Ravel, who opposed the recall effort, made a public apology last year for supporting a campaign, which she said was full of “victim blaming and negativity.” But when asked last month by women from the Recall Judge Persky campaign to return his $2,000 check, as well as another $7,000 from his colleagues, she demurred and said the he was acting in his capacity as a legal representative for Persky.

“There are people who represent murderers and they’re doing what they’re supposed to do under the law and under our system of justice,” Ravel said at the time. “What [the Recall Persky campaign is] arguing is clearly showing a lack of understanding of the importance of the justice system.”

A DAWN executive board member told San Jose Inside that Ravel was asked once again if she would return the campaign donations. She told them she wouldn’t.

“Victim blaming is never OK,” the executive board member said. “Ann Ravel defended him and I think for any woman that’s insulting and offensive.”

Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber, who led the Recall Persky effort, said the campaign leadership is “gratified” that DAWN withdrew the endorsement.

“She was silent while Perksy’s campaign spokesman Jim McManis engaged in rank victim blaming against Brock Turner’s victim,” Dauber said. “She continues to accept thousand of dollars in campaign contributions from McManis and refuses to distance herself from him. Ann is standing with victim blamers instead of victims. She cannot be trusted to advocate for survivors in Sacramento.”

In an interview, Ravel repeated her previous argument that McManis was “defending his client.” “Even if I don’t agree with what I argued, that’s his job,” she said.

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

8 Comments

  1. I am a Democrat and a Pro life woman. I support DAWN decisión! Ravel lacks character. All she wants is to win.

  2. In justifying her opposition to Proposition 15, Ann Ravel hides behind the position of California NAACP State Conference President Alice Huffman who also opposes 15 (https://calmatters.org/politics/2020/09/california-naacp-president-helps-corporate-ballot-measure-campaigns/). Huffman, it should be noted, is also a member of the California Democratic Party Executive Committee and the Democratic National Committee (see http://acpublicaffairs.com/?page_id=39).

    For years, Huffman has been engaged in selling the services and the reputation of the NAACP to the highest bidder despite the demonstrable harm her clients inflict on poor and working poor people, including Black ones. It is essential in this deep blue Democratic state to spotlight the “legal” corruption that passes for business as usual. In this case, Democratic Party (and NAACP) official Huffman is parlaying her identity to “blackwash” a campaign spearheaded by the California Business Roundtable, the California Business Properties Association and the California Taxpayers Association, the main funders of No on Prop 15.

    The remarkable Black anthropologist and literary figure of the 1920s-1950s, Zora Neale Hurston, popularized the saying “All my skinfolk ‘aint my kinfolk,” a way of indicating that shared race or ethnicity does not necessarily imply shared values or outlook (http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2020/02/what-african-american-saying-all-my_15.html). Dr. Martin Luther King said it in a different way: people should be judged on the basis of the content of their character–not the color of their skin, nor the identity they choose for themselves.

    Regardless of the color of their skin or their identities, as servants to wealthy elites, both Ann Ravel and Alice Huffman are ethically and morally corrupt. The obvious conclusion here is to vote yes on 15 and vote for Cortese rather than Ravel.

  3. Grace, why don’t you say it “seems” like Brock Turner committed “rape” as you did in the Rowena Turner story? He was convicted of some degree of assault, but specifically not rape. Also, why blame McManis for pointing out that the victim was drinking when the local Court of Appeal quoted her testimony that she set out that night to get blotto?

    As for DAWN, those chicks seem miffed that their fave homegirl for state senate, Darcie Green, didn’t perform in local elected office and doesn’t appeal to the electorate.

  4. Vaquero you are a piece of sh!t. I have never had an alcoholic drink in my life. It is absurd to hear you implying people who are drinking contribute to their rape! McManis is a big piece of sh!t too! [email protected] you all! McNanis and Persky are much worse than the Stanford rapist Turner!

  5. As a feminist, Democrat, and caring individual, I’m voting for Ann Ravel.

    Michelle Dauber and her lynch mob lied about Judge Persky’s cases so that the uninformed public would vote him out of office. The lynch mob also relentlessly persecuted Brock Turner, who is now known worldwide as a rapist (even though he was convicted of sexual assault) and he is serving a lifetime sentence as a sex offender registrant.

    Mr. McManis has every right to speak the truth. Chanel Miller had a drinking problem, for which I hope she has received treatment.

    Dauber and her lynch mob members will attack anyone with whom they don’t agree. They have no compassion for anyone and they didn’t think twice about destroying the lives of Judge Persky and Brock Turner. They’re still persecuting the two men even almost 6 years later.

  6. As for Persky, anyone having lived the unpleasantness of opposing corporate money in a Superior Court located Santa Clara County knows about the deep crooked bench there.

    Persky took a hit for the Judicial Team: if you can’t recall the one who wronged you, recall a proxy (or a Persky).

    We’ll see more recalls, I’m guessing, as long as people are subjected to judicial decisions that bury the facts in service to power.

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