Kate Slate – November 8, 2011

Posted: October 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Elections, Kate Slate | Comments Off on Kate Slate – November 8, 2011

Well, SF elections never cease to get weird, do they? This year is filled with scandal and MC Hammer and Brian Wilson ads, not to mention politicians vying for the spotlight at the Occupy SF protests, never a dull moment.

As I do every year, I present my Kate Slate. This is all me. This slate is independent of any employer past or current, friends or family and should not be mistaken for or misrepresented as anything but the humble opinions of me and only me. I write it as I study the ballot and I share my slate with friends.

As always, I hope you find it useful. Let me know if you found it helpful, it always motivates me for the next election when the slate could go on for miles, like last year. Don’t forget that if you don’t know your polling place you can always vote at City Hall, as long as you are registered, even if you moved!

Happy voting!
Kate

Mayor – #1 David Chiu #2 John Avalos #3 Dennis Herrera
District Attorney – #1 David Onek, #2 Sharmin Bock
Sheriff – Ross Mirkarimi
Prop A – yes
Prop B – YES YES YES
Prop C – Yes
Prop D – [Blank]
Prop E – NO WAY DUDE
Prop F – NO
Prop G – yes
Prop H – no

Mayor
#1 David Chiu
#2 John Avalos
#3 Dennis Herrera

Full disclosure: I have flip-flopped on this race since the beginning. Damned you, ranked-choice voting!  Since there are so many candidates to split the votes, it is hard to know if your ballot would be exhausted before any candidates got more than 50% of the vote.

And, if we hadn’t voted to move towards Ranked-Choice Voting, then we would probably have run-off elections into the foreseeable future with a pool of candidates so large. At the same time, if we had had run-off elections, you know I would vote in each of them. Hence the dilemma of wanting to make all my votes count, while also wanting the best candidate to win.

I found this voting simulation very helpful: http://www.baycitizen.org/data/rankedchoice/bay-citizen-usf-mayoral-poll/. Basically, you have two chances to vote for your gut, and then you have your third vote to select a front runner–say, the lesser of two evils–if your first two choices aren’t already the front runners. Let’s face it folks: with so many candidates and a new scandal every day the polls can hardly keep up, so it is any one’s guess who the true front runners are. My third choice comes down more to who I wouldn’t want to win rather than voting who I do want to win.

So the candidates. Chiu has been my favorite since I knew he was going to run, which was back before Gavin Newsom vacated the mayoral seat allowing for the Supervisors to appoint an interim. Until that moment, Chiu was awesome for us progressives, especially those big on sustainable transportation. He won our heart as Board President, and when we’d see him pedaling on Market Street. He was an easy choice for me. He made a lot of strong moves as Board President and I felt very confident.

Then the mayoral appointment happened, when Gavin won the Lieutenant Governor’s seat. It seemed clear that Chiu had made some backroom deal to support Ed Lee for Mayor (remember this is when Chris Daly famously shouted that it was “on like Donkey Kong”).

Now I speculate that Chiu flipped his vote and went against the progressives for Ed Lee because he had made a deal with certain political power brokers that he would support Ed Lee for interim Mayor in exchange for their support for Chiu as Mayor in November 2011, the current election. And I further speculate that Chiu was duped! Those same power brokers seemed to have perfectly planned for Ed Lee to run as incumbent for Mayor, allowing his first six months in office to serve as a platform for his candidacy, while said power brokers launched a “Run Ed Run” campaign. At this point, Lee almost completely squashes Chiu’s chances of winning.

So. I was really mad about Chiu flipping his vote during the appointment process. And so is basically every hard core progressive. They won’t even run a ranked choice agreement for their Mayoral campaigns (too bad for both) because they are so mad at Chiu. I could see this happening like watching a slow motion train wreck.  Alas.

But, next to Avalos, Chiu’s actions as a leader (Board President) really speak louder than Avalos’s words. Yes, Avalos does come out on paper as the most progressive, and he does hang out with the Occupy folks, but to me he hasn’t come off as bold a politician as Chiu as he has served as supervisor–he doesn’t put his neck out for bold legislation (and yes, he will vote on others’ legislation in a progressive manner, but that isn’t my point). So, I’ve decided to rank Chiu first, then Avalos. It is a tough call, and I have to vote tomorrow, so give me a break.

As for numero 3. I have been trying to find all the latest and greatest polls. I don’t really see anything new or provocative. But, doing this has me really looking at who I don’t want to win with an “anyone but that one for #3” mentality. Which leaves me with only one viable choice (unless I want to exhaust my ballot too say “fuck you!” to the world by picking Terry Baum or writing in Mat Honan, but I kinda don’t see the point of doing that. I mean, who am I even saying “fuck you” to, anyway?)

So anyway, the remainder is: Dennis Herrera. Could I live with him as Mayor? Probably. I don’t think he has strong political will (see why I chose Chiu over Avalos), which is required to be a good politician, but he also probably won’t make too terrible a mess of anything. Or so I hope. #1 David Chiu, #2 John Avalos, #3 Dennis Herrera.

District Attorney
#1 David Onek
#2 Sharmin Bock

Onek has a really unique approach to justice that seems pretty great–and when he was a police commissioner he advocated on programs focused on youth and limiting repeat offenders. Good.

A drawback is he doesn’t have courtroom experience, but neither does Gascón (who was just appointed by Newsom before gallivanting off to Sacramento as Liutenant Governor) has a major conflict of interest being former police chief (watch crime shows much?) So Gascón absolutely gets none of my ranked-choice votes, which brings us to Bock.

Bock has experience, and I imagine plenty, at the Alameda County DA’s office where she was on the team that took down the Oakland Riders.

Also, I won’t vote for Fazio because he is all over the place: used to support the death penalty (1999) though he now says it is a terrible mistake, and said that prosecuting the cops in Fajitagate was ridiculous (kind of a red flag for a DA).

Anyway, #1 Onek, #2 Bock, #3 [blank]

Sheriff – Ross Mirkarimi

I am a fan of Ross Mirkirimi, the orator. So, I was surprised to find out that he actually has decent credentials for the office of Sheriff, like going through the SF Police Academy while working as an investigator for the DA’s office. And, he both has a unique opportunity as a police force outsider and the endorsement of Sheriff Hennessey, and a set of cost-saving ideas, too.

Prop A – yes

Apparently many schools in the southeast sector of the city are in dire need of repair. And since there are no alternate funding sources to secure a similar amount of money, and the type of projects are fairly clearly defined, I say yes.

Prop B – YES YES YES

Is this a bond measure? Yes it is. Why am I supporting a bond measure (or should I say another one, see Prop A)? Because it would take years for SF to go through the bureaucracy it would take to establish a sustainable funding source for road maintenance and repair (which, by the way, it should still be doing, regardless if this passes), and we just simply cannot wait any longer for there to be money to fix our broken streets. Have you seen our streets?! They are terrible. They cause wrecks and injuries.

This Prop requires a super-majority–66%–to pass. So I am hoping everyone and anyone who votes sees the imperative nature of Prop B passing and votes yes.

Prop C – Yes and Prop D – Blank

Props C and D are competing measures and contain poison pills for the other. What this means is that if both C and D pass, the one with more votes actually wins. This means that you first need to figure out if you want pension reform or not. If you DO want pension reform so that the city doesn’t go bankrupt (that is a YES for me), then you want C and/or D to pass.

Then it comes down to C or D, and which is better; whether you would settle for either, or if you really prefer one over the other. Both come with a sort-of-silver lining in that they are both likely to face a legal battle in court that will in some way adjust, if not improve its version of pension reform. For me, C is the obviously better one.

Prop C came about from consensus-based approach and it more comprehensively addresses the pension issues. D was put together privately without the input of key stakeholders, but isn’t tremendously different–it actually saves more money but is less comprehensive.

Since I favor pension reform, and I prefer C pass, I am going to vote yes on C. And since, I prefer C over D, but I wouldn’t be unhappy if D passed, I am going to leave D blank rather than vote no on it.

Prop E – NO WAY DUDE

This allows for Supervisors to appeal or amend initiatives approved by voters, which right now can only be done by a vote of the people. For me this is “we like democracy, kind of” legislation. I get the idea of initiative reform, but this one I think is problematic.  Say a super-awesome Board member puts something on a ballot and it is great, and then a super-evil villain Board member later amends it? Not so great.


Prop F – NO

The problem with this one is that while it changes some reporting for political consultants, it also makes it so that the Ethics Commission can make further changes without voter approval. And since the Ethics Commissioners are appointed and therefore don’t serve the voters, my thinking is that they would be more loyal to the politicians that appoint them, and to the political consultants that get those politicians elected. So, I wouldn’t want to give them power to make further changes on political consultant policy without voter approval. Vote no.

Prop G – yes

This raises the sales tax back up .5% after the California State Sales Tax just dropped to 8.5% and allocates it to SF specifically. It was just at 9.5% before the state dropped it to 8.5%, so it will still be less than it was just a few months ago. Some people are worried that in 2016 when the state can restore the 9.5% sales tax, SF will be paying too much at 10%. At the same time, I support sales tax as a taxing method that is pretty egalitarian, and I support tax-funded city services.

Prop H – no

I really hate policy statements because they give special interest groups a foot in the door on legislation: pass a policy statement this year, use that policy statement next year as a way to indicate voter support for real binding legislation that sucks for everyone but your special interest group.

So it is not surprising that this one was brought about by some disgruntled parents right after the SFUSD implemented a brand new school placement methodology in 2011. The new methodology takes into account many variables and was researched for years before implementation. Besides it not really having a chance to succeed or fail (yet), this policy statement doesn’t really DO anything it is just a statement of policy that the school district “should” assign students based on specific criteria–not that it has to. Vote no.


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