Kate Slate – November 2, 2010

Posted: October 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Elections, Kate Slate | Tags: , | Comments Off on Kate Slate – November 2, 2010

Dearest Kate Slate reader,

I am really happy to share my research and thoughts on the issues, especially when you send me a quick thank you and let me know that it matters to you that I did it. This year I even got to read a spin-off from a Kate Slate reader–and I am proud that others have been motivated to write their own slate. That is why I continue to do it. Feel free to forward it to friends (hi friend, please say hi back if you end up reading or using this to help you navigate the ballot).

I am increasingly frustrated that it takes more and more time to wade through the ballot, and every election my community seems to be more and more alienated from the process, and the issues and the way they are written on the ballot more and more convoluted. Now more than ever it seems imperative for me to research the issues just so people can figure out what will happen when they vote for or against “Rainbow flying bunnies bond initiative to fund tsunami retrofits.”

So here is the drill: The top part is just the items on my ballot and how I plan to vote, and then below that I go through each candidate and issue, one by one. Operative word: plan. I keep flip flopping on 21, and I was absolutely tortured over the past weeks on 19, but I think I am settled now.

The goal of the Kate Slate is, while I navigate the ballot myself, for me to provide you with some basic info about what is on the ballot, and taking you through my thought process. I tend to lean towards the radical left on social issues, but when it comes to the ballot I go issue by issue, and sometimes end up voting against something that seems right up my alley. I hate poorly written legislation, and tend to vote against it, even if I support the basic premise. I also tend to run from ballot box budgeting (inflexible!) and bond measures (expensive!). And, I think policy statements are a waste of time and money since they are nonbinding.

Finally, my Slate is not a product of my employer’s endorsements, and no one lobbies me for a specific endorsement, though I do have thoughtful engaging conversations with friends who sometime shed light on aspects I hadn’t considered.

In the end, we have to think for ourselves. You probably won’t agree with me on everything, and that is okay. In fact, that’s what my high school government teacher had me convinced democracy was.

Thanks for reading, bonus points for voting!

Kate

Candidates

State

Governor – Jerry Brown

Lieutenant Governor – Gavin Newsom

Secretary of State – DEBRA BOWEN

Controller – John Chiang

Treasurer – Bill Lockyer

Attorney General – Peter Allen

Insurance Commissioner – Dave Jones

Member of the State Board of Equalization, District 1 – Betty Yee

United States Senator – Barbara Boxer

United States Representative – Nancy Pelosi

Member, State Assembly, District 13 – TOM AMMIANO

State Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tom Torlakson

California Judicial Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Tani Cantil-Sakauye – yes

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ming Chin – NO

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Carlos Moreno – YES

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 1 Kathleeen Banke – skip

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 1 Robert Dondero – yes

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 2 James Lambden – yes

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 3 Martin Jenkins – yes

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 3 Peter Siggins – no

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 4 Timothy Reardon – yes

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 5 Terence Bruiniers – skip

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 5 Henry Needham Jr – skip

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District 8 – Bert Hill

County of San Francisco

Judge of the Superior Court – Michael Nava

Board of Education (vote for three) – Margaret Brodkin, Kim-Shree Maufas, Natasha Hoehn

College Board (vote for three) – John Rizzo (yes, I only picked one)

City of San Francisco Assessor Recorder – Phil Ting

Public Defender – skip

District 2 Supervisor – Janet Reilly

District 4 Supervisor – Carmen Chu

District 6 Supervisor – Debra Walker

District 8 Supervisor – Rafael Mandelman

District 10 Supervisor – Eric Smith

Propositions

State

19 – Legalizes Marijuana under State but not Federal law – Yes

20 – Redistricting of Congressional Districts – No

21 – Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to help fund State Parks and wildlife programs – Am I an asshole if I say no?

22 – Prohibits the state from borrowing or taking funds used for transportation, redevelopment or local government projects and services – NO

23 – Suspends implementation of air pollution control law (AB32) requiring major sources of emissions to report and reduce greenhouse gases emissions that cause global warming until unemployment drops to 5.5% or less for a full year – NO NO NO NO

24 – Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability – YES

25 – Changes legislative vote requirement to pass budget and budget-related legislation from 2/3 to a simple majority, retains 2/3 vote requirement for taxes YES!!!

26 – Requires that certain state and local fees be approved by a 2/3 vote NO NO NO

27 – Eliminates state commission on redistricting – NO

County of San Francisco

AA – $10 vehicle registration fee to fund transportation projects – yes

City of San Francisco

A – Earthquake safety retrofit deferred loan and grant program general obligation bonds – no

B – Increase City employee contributions to retirement benefits, decrease health benefits for employees, changes rules for arbitration proceedings about City collective bargaining agreements – No

C – Require the Mayor to appear monthly at Board of Supervisors’ meetings – no

D – Allow non-citizen residents of San Francisco who have children living in the San Francisco Unified School District to vote in School Board Elections – YES

E – Establish Election Day voter registration for municipal elections – yes

F – Reduce Health Service Board elections to two elections every five years instead of four – no

G – Eliminate minimum Muni operator salary formula, instead set by collective bargaining and binding arbitration, adds rules to bargaining proceedings, and changes terms of employment for MTA employees – No

H – Prohibit City officials from serving on San Francisco political party county central committees – no

I – Open polling places the Saturday before the November 2011 election if private donors fund it – no

J – Increase the hotel tax rate from 14% to 16% for next three years and define permanent resident – no

K – Keep the hotel tax rate the same and define permanent resident – yes

L – Prohibit sitting or lying on a public sidewalk from 7am to 11pm – NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

M – Require the Police Commission to adopt a community policing policy and establish a comprehensive Foot Beat Patrol program, and not prohibit sitting or lying on sidewalks – YES YES YES

N – Increase its real property transfer tax rate to 2% for sales and longtime leases valued at $5 million to $10 million, 2.5% for those valued above $10 million – Yes

Candidates

State

Governor – Jerry Brown

One of the worst decisions to ever have to make: Meg Whitman, former E-bay CEO, versus former Governor-Mayor of Oakland and State Attorney General Jerry Brown. Our choices are so dismal.

I would go for a third party if Meg Whitman hadn’t totally undermined the concept of democracy by dumping millions of her personal wealth into her campaign, increasing the possibility she might actually win. She is corrupt, has a horrible record as a CEO, and wants to strengthen penalties for illegal immigration after having employed a maid who was “illegal”.

She sucks so bad, I have no choice but to save us all from her by voting for Jerry Brown. He is no gem himself, a lackluster, unproductive, career politician. Though, he does have the best official gubernatorial portrait hanging at the state capital. But I digress.

Lieutenant Governor – Gavin Newsom

San Francisco is so ready to say goodbye to our Mayor, I’d like to pawn him off to the state in a position where he can do as little as he does here in San Francisco. That is, as long as there is no “Do Not Resuscitate” Order for Jerry Brown. Oh, that was mean.

Secretary of State – DEBRA BOWEN

She has been super awesome doing tough research on the security of electronic voting systems, and has been working to ensure integrity of California ballots. Hallelujah!

Controller – John Chiang

He is the incumbent and has had a lot of success uncovering corruption by our fine state politicians, standing up to the Governor for what is legal and right (like when Arnold said he would only pay legislators minimum wage until they passed the State budget, but that was actually a little bit of illegal bull). Seems like he is doing brave work that other politicians aren’t willing to do, and I am feeling pretty good about him.

Treasurer – Bill Lockyer

Another incumbent and career politician. He has done some okay environmentally-friendly work, though, especially on funding for climate initiatives.

Attorney General – Peter Allen

Peter Allen is a post-partisan die hard with a good head on his shoulders: supports the end to the dealth penalty, is a massive supporter of public education, and believes that automobiles should bear the true cost of driving to fund public transportation. YES!!!

Insurance Commissioner – Dave Jones

Dave Jones is another champion of environmental causes and introduced the Green Insurance Act of 2010 that establishes environmental standards and protections in the insurance business, and provides incentives and tax credits for offering green insurance and making green investments. And, he is endorsed by John Chiang, which, if he emulates Chiang’s T.C.B. (takin’ care of business) attitude to being a politician, would be exactly who we want to be insurance commissioner.

Member of the State Board of Equalization, District 1 – Betty Yee

She is the incumbent, and a native San Franciscan who has enacted property tax equity for registered domestic partners, among other decent things any good member of the State Board of Equalization would do. Currently, she serves on the Board as a Democrat with only Republicans.

United States Senator – Barbara Boxer

I actually have been pretty okay with Boxer as Senator, but the threat of Fiorina, a fired H-P executive (because she was corrupt), has me underscoring just how important it is to vote for her again.

United States Representative – Nancy Pelosi

I am less impressed with Pelosi, but she isn’t going anywhere this election, whether you love her or not.

Member, State Assembly, District 13 – TOM AMMIANO

I feel embarrassed to admit that I am a fan of a politician, but… One of my favorite all-time politicians, my former District Supervisor, and the first San Francisco Supervisor to bike to work on my biggest project, Bike to Work Day. I really do love him. Go Tom, with your bad-ass self.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tom Torlakson

I endorsed him in the June primary, and I still think he has the right idea about the public school system. I like that he is ready for the fight for funding, that he favors neighborhood schools, and supports a healthy school environment including access to healthy foods, physical education and health care. While that might not seem like a primary educational focus, I promise you that after four years of teaching middle school in East Oakland, I discovered they are crucial social justice issues to address in education.

California
Judicial (yeah, I did research on all these people so you don’t have to!)

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Tani Cantil-Sakauye – yes

She would be the first Filipina Supreme Court Justice and establish a female majority for the first time ever. And though she is a moderate Republican (she WAS appointed by Schwarzenegger, c’mon), she leans liberal on women’s issues, which I like.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ming Chin – NO

He was in the DISSENTING minority in the 2003 decision legalizing same-sex marriage in California. Boo.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Carlos Moreno – YES

The antidote to Chin, he was a DISSENTING vote on Strauss v. Horton, aka when our dumbass Court ruled that the Prop 8 vote (that banned same sex marriage) was valid. He stood by his decision when he was nearly nominated to the Federal Supreme Court, and Obama got scared and nominated someone else. Moreno has a strong record on LGBTQ rights.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 1 Kathleeen Banke – skip

I mean, she is going to be approved no matter what I say. But, I could find only very little information about her, except her facebook page says she loves jesus, and that being in a church no more makes you a Christian than being in a garage makes you a car. It’s not enough to compel me one way or the other.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 1 Robert Dondero – yes

Former San Francisco Deputy District Attorney, he has won awards for investing his time in legal outreach and social needs for the community.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 2 James Lambden – yes

He left his role as a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America (after 35 years!) because he felt his professional ethics were in conflict with the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy of discrimination, and he seems reasonable and sound.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 3 Martin Jenkins – yes

A former federal judge who returned home after his mom went ill, he seems to stick to the letter of the law, trying to do what is right by it. He is heavily involved in the community and even coaches high school football (and is a former Seattle Seahawk).

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 3 Peter Siggins – no I just read a paper that he wrote that ultimately said that we all have to get used to increase government intrusion and invasion of privacy for the sake of national security. Ummm, no thanks, dude.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 4 Timothy Reardon – yes

This guy is supposedly a justice without ideology (huh? doesn’t everyone have a personal bias?) whose “opinions are seldom flashy or intellectual; they just state the facts and the law and reach a conclusion.” Sounds like what he should be doing.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 5 Terence Bruiniers – skip

I can’t find enough info on this guy from the interweb. How do you get nominated to the bench without having a ton of info all over the internets?! Seriously.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 5 Henry Needham Jr – skip

I can find almost no information about Needham, either. Except that he was part of a majority opinion denying the appeal of a gang member who shot someone in a car because of the color of that person’s hat. Not enough for me to make a decision.

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District 8 – Bert Hill

(Full disclosure: I know Bert personally) Bert is an all-around good guy. He is the face that launched 1,000 bicyclists as one of San Francisco’s most dedicated bicycling educators. I think that his sustainable transportation voice will be great to add to the BART Board of Directors.

County of San Francisco

Judge of the Superior Court – Michael Nava

An advocate for diversity in the legal profession and the judiciary and he wrote a book about the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians.

Board of Education (vote for three) – Margaret Brodkin, Kim-Shree Maufas, Natasha Hoehn

Margaret Brodkin has a community approach to education and established San Francisco’s $50 million dollar children’s fund.

Kim-Shree has been effective on the school board, changing the high school requirements for graduation so all San Francisco public school graduates will meet the requirements to attend the University of California, among many other accomplishments.

Natasha Hoehn was an eighth grade teacher (my former job, too) with sound ideas about how to provide a good education to children, including experiential education, for which I am a proponent.

College Board (vote for three) – John Rizzo (yes, I only picked one)

Why can’t we get an awesome College Board? Because we only have three candidates for three open spots. Puh-lease. Anyway, John Rizzo is the only one worth voting for. He has made green jobs training a priority and worked on City College’s first LEED certified building, its only recent building project that was both on time and on budget.

City of San Francisco

Assessor Recorder – Phil Ting

Phil Ting is leading the fight to close the “Prop 13 loophole” that allows corporations and commercial property owners to skip out on paying their fair share of taxes, also called the “third rail of politics.” He also rides his bike every year on Bike to Work Day, and his wife is on my organization’s Board.

Public Defender – skip

Why bother? He is running unopposed and he is behind Prop B that would decrease health benefits for City employees.

District 2 Supervisor – Janet Reilly

Man, Alioto-Pier’s district isn’t looking like we are going to get much of an improvement now that she is termed out. Like the gubernatorial election, this is just picking the lesser evil.Alioto-Pier endorses Farrell, which is all the endorsement I need not to support him. And, dummy-head Simmons supports Sit-Lie.

District 4 Supervisor – Carmen Chu

She has been a champion of Sunday Streets. While I didn’t love her initially, she seems like she is “getting it” while she matures in office. But, it is admittedly a slow process. I wonder what she will do if/when Newsom is Lieutenant Governor since she almost always seems to support his views.

District 6 Supervisor – Debra Walker

I would say it is between her and Jane Kim, but Jane Kim moved to D6 after saying it would be easy to win. In the press! And, Debra Walker seems just as good, if not better. As an artist in a city of artists, I think her voice will be great on the Board of Supervisors. Just this morning I had the opportunity to watch her interact with her constituents. We happened to be outside an SRO (Single Resident Occupancy–or hotels that are used to house homeless and/or recently incarcerated folks). She interacted with folks so genuinely and with such kindness, I was in complete awe of her humanity.

Since this is rank choice, I would go Debra, then Jane, then Glendon Hyde. Beware of Theresa Sparks.

District 8 Supervisor – Rafael Mandelman

(Full disclosure: I know Rafael, too, and he even hugged me today.) Rafael, besides being a really nice guy, is also a great progressive. He supports tenants rights, immigrant rights, bicycling, and the environment. He is my favorite San Francisco candidate this election. I told him today that he better win. And, I hope that if you can, you will help him win. He could be the best representative for the Castro since Harvey Milk. Seriously.

District 10 Supervisor – Eric Smith

Eric Smith is behind all sorts of green efforts including green jobs, converting San Francisco’s auto fleet to biodiesel, and he is on the Board of one of my favorite community organizations, Literacy for Ecological Justice. He also has a very loud voice.


Propositions

State

19 – Legalizes Marijuana under State but not Federal law – Yes

I am torn on this one, even as a hardcore supporter of the legalization of marijuana. I wonder if this is a “step in the right direction” when our Governor just decreased possession of small quantities to an infraction. I worry that since regulation is in the hands of local governments, it could make it so small growers will still face the same penalties they do now, while granting permission to those growers who can afford it, commercializing our pot industry in the wrong (read: corporate) way.

I also worry about the Federal government’s promise to continue enforcing their “drug” policy in California even when/if it passes. On the other hand, the more legislation that passes in favor of legalizing marijuana across the country, the more likely it will come, too, on the federal level. At least I hope so.

20 – Redistricting of Congressional Districts – No

This would do the redistricting to federal districts what votes did in 2008 to state districts, giving the redistricting commission established in 2008 the power to redistrict the federal districts as well as the state districts. While I like the tenor of this proposition, the redistricting commission was just barely established and we haven’t had time enough to see if it was an effective reform. I don’t want to overburden this same redistricting commission with another big job, redistricting federal districts, until they have had a chance to demonstrate effectiveness with the state redistricting.

Also, see Prop 27 that would actually eliminate this redistricting commission before it even really gets a chance to start.

21 – Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to help fund State Parks and wildlife programs – Am I an asshole if I say no?

I hate this one.

If we say yes to this, State Park funding could be cut from the General Fund. Items in the General Fund are perennial, and even if their overall funding is decreased, they are still in the budget to be considered for funding year after year. I worry that this vehicle registration fee will be used to replace our state parks’ important place in the General Fund, which this proposition allows. Why do I worry about this? Because this sets up our parks funding in the long term to be reliant on car consumption, which is in massive decline everywhere but China. And, if another Governor like Schwarzenegger comes along again (like maybe Meg Whitman) and eliminates the vehicle registration fee, what will we do to fund our parks then?!

And, this also allows most California-registered cars into the parks free, which sets them up as an automobile destination, and I personally like to be in places “where no cars go” (as Arcade Fire would say). I think limiting car access to parks is important, but what happens if parks are tied to cars? Do they build more roads to accommodate more cars? In our parks?

On the other hand, our parks DID get underfunded in the General Fund, and now they are being shut down, and services limited, and it sucks! Even though cars are on the decline, they aren’t going away any time soon, and this is a quick fix to a problem I see as dire.

But isn’t there a better way? And isn’t this just the usual ballot box budgeting? What if I vote yes, secretly hoping voters aren’t lamenting about this as I am, and just pass it, because parks rule. And then, what if they don’t?! What happens to our parks then?! The dilemma is driving me crazy!!!

22 – Prohibits the state from borrowing or taking funds used for transportation, redevelopment or local government projects and services – NO

Don’t be fooled. This one is tricky, and it is bad. It would have dire consequences on school funding. Right now, property taxes raised by the local government but the state has the authority to allocate them. It’s like when you were a kid baby-sitting or mowing lawns, and you raised the money, but your mom tells you to buy something more sensible than saving up for those ridiculous yet awesome shoes.

One of the main things these property taxes are allocated for by the state government with the local government’s property taxes, is public school funding. So, if the state cannot “borrow” from the local government, where is the cash-strapped state going to get the money for our local schools?

23 – Suspends implementation of air pollution control law (AB32) requiring major sources of emissions to report and reduce greenhouse gases emissions that cause global warming until unemployment drops to 5.5% or less for a full year – NO NO NO duh

I kind of love that they actually put what will happen in the title, since it is so obviously a bad idea! We need to decrease our emissions no matter what the unemployment rate is. This is stupid stupid stupid. It was initially backed by Meg Whitman, and now she is even trying to distance herself from this extra-dumb proposition.

24 – Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability – YES

Repeals loopholes for big business that are starving California of tax revenue it so desperately needs!

25 – Changes legislative vote requirement to pass budget and budget-related legislation from 2/3 to a simple majority, retains 2/3 vote requirement for taxes – YES!!!

Yayyyyy, it will make it easier to pass a budget with our stubborn legislators. Also, if those guys at the capital don’t balance the budget by the deadline, they forfeit their pay until it is passed! Their problems with the budget are causing statewide furloughs and impacting the whole state. It is their job to balance the budget on time.

PS 2/3 majority requirements are a trick to keep the majority in control and the minority powerless, but a simple majority is still democracy, people. The 2/3 vote requirement was a conservative trick put in place years ago to limit taxes. Thanks guys, but I thought some government services were important to fund through taxes.

26 – Requires that certain state and local fees be approved by a 2/3 vote – NO NO NO

See my PS above? Not only is a 2/3 majority usually a trick, this is a conservative trick to expand the definition of a tax and then require a 2/3 vote to make it really hard to pass any new fees.

27 – Eliminates state commission on redistricting – NO

As I mentioned in Prop 20 above, this eliminates the redistricting commission that voters supported in 2008 before it has had a chance to prove its effectiveness. The redistricting commission was established to redistrict for state elections, and has clear definitions of who can be a part of the commission in order for redistricting to be done in a fair, non-partisan way (hopefully).  Since it just barely was established and I voted for it, I sure hope it gets a chance to succeed or fail before getting scrapped.

County of San Francisco

AA – $10 vehicle registration fee to fund transportation projects – yes

This basically kinda restores what Schwarzenegger undid with his first executive order as Governor abolishing the vehicle license fees–rather than a state-level fee, though, it is a local fee.

They have these already locally all over the Bay Area, and this is the least-strong legislation in the Bay Area, but it still generates some good hard cash for sustainable transportation projects. Yay.

City of San Francisco

A – Earthquake safety retrofit deferred loan and grant program general obligation bonds – no

This pulls at heartstrings, whenever you hear about Earthquakes and low-income housing. But, this isn’t cheap money–it is bonds–which are very expensive and dig us deeper into a hole. And, this isn’t PUBLIC low income housing, it is privately owned low income housing that the government already subsidizes. So, we are going to go in more debt to give private landlords who happen to offer some low income housing loans so they can retrofit? Ummm, I thought that was what banks were for.

B – Increase City employee contributions to retirement benefits, decrease health benefits for employees, changes rules for arbitratrion proceedings about City collective bargaining agreements – No

You know, when we are trying to get to a better spot wherein affordable healthcare is available to all, it is really awful to think we would take this giant step backwards and force middle class workers to cover their potentially financially prohibitive health insurance costs. This is not a way to balance the budget. Why do we always put the onus of saving the budget on the middle class?

C – Require the Mayor to appear monthly at Board of Supervisors’ meetings – no

This is the third time us citizens have voted for this (once a policy statement–non binding–that we supported, the second was when Gavin launched a huge well-funded campaign against it, so it lost). Should the mayor appear at Supervisors’ meetings? Yes, he should. But not because it is a law, because the Mayor should occasionally do it anyway, because that is what a good mayor should do.

Of course, this is rooted in the battle between the Gavster and Supervisor Chris Daly. The Gavster never showed up to Sups’ meetings, and Chris Daly is accused of pushing for this legislation for the sake of political theater. But, with both on their way out–the Gavster to Lieutenant Governor, and Chris Daly termed-out, it is up to you. Do you want to require the mayor to attend the Sups’ meetings monthly? Historically, we managed to make it this far without this law, and with these two guys and their little spat on the way out, I am not sure we do need it.

D – Allow non-citizen residents of San Francisco who have children living in the San Francisco Unified School District to vote in School Board Elections – YES

If you are a parent of a child in the SFUSD, you should be able to vote in their Board Elections. In fact, it is more important for parents with kids in the school district to be voting in a School Board election than me, since I don’t have kids.

E – Establish Election Day voter registration for municipal elections provisionally – yes

Progressives seem to like this a lot. Since I have spent about 20 hours so far on this election learning the issues so I am prepared to vote (it really shouldn’t be this convoluted), I feel wary about people who aren’t actually prepared to vote voting (ie. didn’t manage to register by the deadline two weeks prior to the election). But, I am now thinking of a few of my friends who maybe didn’t put registering to vote at the top of their to-do list, and they are smart folk. And what if they read this slate and were just stricken that they hadn’t registered and it was too late. It doesn’t apply to state or federal elections. And, their votes aren’t counted until their eligibility is confirmed.

F – Reduce Health Service Board elections to two elections every five years instead of four – no

The less regular elections are, the more detached voters become from the issues. It won’t actually save much money to decrease the frequency of Health Service Board elections, so I say no.

G – Eliminate minimum Muni operator salary formula, instead set by collective bargaining and binding arbitration, adds rules to bargaining proceedings, and changes terms of employment for MTA employees – No

This won’t end Muni’s funding problems, and it would impact only one type of MTA employee–Muni operators, and their salaries. This isn’t the holistic funding solution we actually need.

H – Prohibit City officials from serving on San Francisco political party county central committees – no

This was introduced to limit the influence of City officials in the political parties. But, politicians should be able to participate in their party county central committees and have influence in them–after all, they are elected officials representing their political parties!

I – Open polling places the Saturday before the November 2011 election if private donors fund it – no

Anyone can vote any day they want right now if they vote absentee, including Saturday. I do. I can vote in the bathtub if I want to. I highly recommend the luxury of absentee voting.

At the same time, other countries have elections on weekends and have far higher voter turnout. But, I have concerns about ballot security and how exit polls would be done if this passes, and there doesn’t seem to be any plan outlined to address those concerns in the proposition. Furthermore, even if it passes, private donors would have to fund it, which remains to be seen, and it is only a one year trial anyway. Eh.

J – Increase the hotel tax rate from 14% to 16% for next three years and define permanent resident – no.

K – Keep the hotel tax rate the same and define permanent resident – yes

Both Prop J and K would end the travel website loophole (wherein they pay a hotel one rate for the hotel room, pay the taxes on that rate to the hotel, then charge consumers a higher rate, collect taxes on that higher rate, and pocket the cash). But, J increases the hotel tax rate for the next three years and K does not. I was going to vote yes on J, and stick it to the tourists to generate some tax revenue for the city, until an event organizer reminded me that when conferences are considering where to host their event, a 14-16% increase could be thousands of dollars that would be the difference between them choosing SF and going to another city with their event.

I realize that the Gavster added K to the ballot after J was put on, but the city really depends on the revenue from these big conference events, and I think it is important for us to be able to continue to benefit from them coming to SF to create and maintain jobs, and give us money, rather than in some other city.

L – Prohibit sitting or lying on a public sidewalk from 7am to 11pm – NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

I really cannot believe it could be made illegal to sit outside on a sidewalk. REALLY????

Almost every behavior I can think of that is done on a sidewalk that is annoying is pretty much already illegal. Smoking crack is already illegal. Aggressive panhandling is already illegal. Assaulting someone is already illegal. Even disturbing the peace is already illegal. They just aren’t enforced. Don’t make sitting illegal.

Proponents even suggest that profiling will be used to determine whom to apply this law to. Really? I thought there was general agreement that profiling is bad.

Please, I beg you. This won’t actually change whether cops will enforce laws more, it will just increase the number of people they can harass at their whim. NO NO NO NO NO NO

M – Require the Police Commission to adopt a community policing policy and establish a comprehensive Foot Beat Patrol program, and not prohibit sitting or lying on sidewalks YES YES YES

Yay for Community Policing, which actually works! And yay for foot patrols that allow you to build rapport with your local cop and change the community dynamic. Also, this is a poison pill for Prop L so if it passes, I don’t have to worry about getting harassed for sitting in public. YES YES YES YES.

N – Increase its real property transfer tax rate to 2% for sales and longtime leases valued at $5 million to $10 million, 2.5% for those valued above $10 million – Yes

Only affects the very wealthy, and will generate money for the budget. Yay.


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