hilary crosby for state party controller 2009


About Hilary Crosby

I am a lifelong Democrat. I remember going into the curtained polling booths in New York City and watching my mother pull the lever to vote the straight Democratic ticket. My first political act was making a papier mache head of Adlai Stevenson to be the cash receptacle at a house party my parents were giving in 1956.

hilary in the booth

July 4th, 2006 in the El Cerrito Democratic Club booth (photo by Al Miller)

The only other time I used papier mache for politics was the “Smash Reagan” piñata we had at our 1980-81 New Year’s Eve party. It was great when the candy, condoms and “Question Authority” buttons rained down on the celebrants, and Ronald Reagan’s symbolic presidency was crushed by the stiletto heels of our guests.

I stuffed envelopes and sold bumper stickers for Kennedy, got it together for Gene, and voted the first time for McGovern. I walked precincts for Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson, and have voted in every regular, special and primary election since I turned 21. And I’ve always voted for the Democratic candidates - never a Peace and Freedom candidate, never a Green.

When I graduated from college in 1971 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Ancient Greek, I was not prepared for any particular profession. I was thrilled to get a job the week after I graduated at a bookstore. Imagining myself discussing literature with the customers, and perusing books on my breaks, I was startled to find myself counting out the cash registers, preparing the bank deposits, and gathering the publishers’ bills for payment. In order to keep my job at the bookstore, I took accounting classes. I learned to read the story in the numbers - the books. The part I love the most are the books of original entry - the cash receipts and cash disbursements, the invoices and bills, and the general ledger. To me, financial transactions are like the pebbles Hansel and Gretel dropped behind them to find their way home. They are the trail we leave behind us as we move through the world.

I got a better job as the full charge bookkeeper of a small research and development company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and eventually owned a small fast food restaurant in Harvard Square.

I met my husband Kip while I was an undergraduate at Boston University - majoring in Ancient Greek of all things! He was born with cerebral palsy, and perhaps I was able to see the person behind the crutches because I grew up with a mother who survived the 1954 polio epidemic and copes with the consequences to this day. The snow and ice, and outdated attitudes towards people with disabilities, motivated us to move to California in 1978. Our son was born at Oakland, Kaiser in 1982, and all three of us have benefited from the CSU and UC systems. We are determined to restore our state to its historic prominence in education, and work to bring comprehensive, single payer health care to all Californians.

When I moved to California, I got my first political job: I was the bookkeeper for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. Like the thrill of finding accounting, the discovery that accounting could accomplish political action gave my life shape and meaning. I could do work I loved and serve my politics at the same time.

hilary and friends

I have kept books for Take Back Red California, the San Francisco Women’s Centers/the Women’s Building, Rape Trauma Services, the Harding School PTA, and the Coalition Against the Marcos Dictatorship. I’ve used triple carbon posting journals, dos accounting programs, and QuickBooks. I’ve filed 1099’s, 990’s, and FEC and FPPC reports. Wherever my activist colleagues have raised and spent money, I have helped keep track of it. It’s what I know how to do, and I treasure having something to contribute.

In 1990 I got my Masters of Nonprofit Administration degree from the University of San Francisco, and in 1994, I became a certified public accountant. In 1995, Adele Kaneda and I formed Crosby & Kaneda, Certified Public Accountants. Our motto is “Dedicated to Nonprofit Organizations.”

Crosby & Kaneda is a public accounting firm. All our clients are nonprofit organizations. We perform audits and reviews, and complete the IRS informational form 990 returns for over 100 nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco bay area. We work with arts and social service organizations, research centers, environmental justice groups and legal services organizations. Our clients are progressive problem solvers - engaged in the environmental, economic empowerment, peace and social justice movements.

We Democrats are baffled by the Republicans’ inability to learn from the past. We recognize that we must learn from history, or we are doomed. Financial transactions tell the story of where we’ve been and what we’ve done - it’s a story we have to know. I want to share that story with you. Let’s use what the numbers tell us to plan for a brighter future.