The Kate Slate – November 3, 2015

Posted: November 3rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Kate Slate – November 3, 2015

KateSlateThis year’s slate is San Francisco races only, and this year’s ballot reflects the challenges our City has been facing with new tech companies, regulation, and affordable housing.

I write my “Kate Slate” for every local election, and have been for almost as long as I have been able to vote. When I first voted, I found myself in the voting booth surprised that I didn’t understand the issues or candidates on the ballot before me, even though I was a citizen engaged in politics and I followed the news.

I did the best I could with my ballot leaving several blanks. The next year I would be more prepared. So, I studied the ballot before the election writing my notes about the slate, and shared the Kate Slate with friends.

Also, for the past nine or so years, co-host Sacha Ielmorini and I have held a Slate Party in advance of my writing of the “Kate Slate”. (Our every-election tradition is a mellow, civilized discussion among friends, who agree to disagree, for the sake of feeling confident about our own voting. If you are interested in being invited to the slate parties, let me know.) The Slate Party has been a big informer of the Kate Slate.

For the Kate Slate, I go race-by-race, issue-by-issue, and sometimes end up voting against something that seems right up my alley if it has some fatal (to me) flaw. And, I will let you know if I think it does and why.

My opinions in the Kate Slate are my own, and in no way should be thought to represent any views of anyone other than myself. I have thoughtful engaging conversations with well-informed friends who sometime shed light on aspects I hadn’t considered, I get the tacky expensive mailers you get (the most ever this year!), and cool people like yourself send me other peoples’ slates who apparently aren’t waiting until the last minute to write it up like I am. And, I am not affiliated with any party.

Feel free to forward the Kate Slate to friends (and friends, if someone other than me–Kate–sent this to you feel free to drop me a line if you end up reading it, I like to hear who this made its way to, and I can add you to the email list for the next Kate Slate).

You probably won’t agree with me on everything, and that is okay!

Even if you don’t know your polling place, or where you were last registered to vote, you can always go to City Hall tomorrow 7am-8pm to cast a provisional ballot. Though, if you can, it is always best to cast your own ballot at your own polling place.

If you have an absentee ballot, you can surrender your absentee ballot for a live ballot at your polling place. The poll workers will destroy your absentee ballot and give you a live ballot. This assures you that your ballot is read and counted as you intended it. (ie. When you vote absentee, if a machine rejects your ballot, the machine depends on a human to interpret your absentee ballot. I am not trying to be all conspiracy-theorist here, but feeding your own ballot into the machine and hearing it beep is the best way to ensure your ballot is interpreted as you intend it to be.)

As always, thanks for reading, bonus points for voting.

Grab and Go (details below):

Mayor – Abstain
Sheriff – Mirkarimi
City Attorney – Dennis Herrera
District Attorney – Abstain
Treasurer – Cisneros
Community College Board – Tom Temprano
A – San Francisco Affordable Housing Bonds – Yes
B – Charter Amendment for City and County Staff Parental Leave – Yes
C – Lobbyist regulations – yes
D – Mission Rock Development approval – No
E – Changes to City meeting rules – NO
F – Short-term rental regulations – Yes
G – Renewable energy definition and CleanPowerSF regulations – NO
H – Renewable energy definition and CleanPowerSF regulations – YES
I – Development moratorium in the Mission District – Yes
J – Establish a Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund – Yes
K – Expand allowable use of surplus City property – YES

Mayor – Abstain
With the huge boom and its new technologies, we need a leader that is going to defend the City in the face of these changes on behalf of its citizens. Instead, our Mayor is assisting businesses skirting regulations and taxes, while wavering on affordable housing and transportation issues that we need to manage all these changes in San Francisco. After his first term, I lack confidence in Mayor Ed Lee.

And, since Ed Lee will win with no strong candidate against him, some people are suggesting voters should make a statement by a “Vote 1-2-3” endorsement of alternate candidates Amy, Francisco, and Stuart. But I also lack confidence in these candidates and I take the Mayor’s office seriously. So, in the absence of a qualified candidate I am going to abstain from voting for Mayor this election.

Sheriff – Mirkarimi
Mirkarimi the Sheriff has done some good stuff: He got the Sheriff’s Department certified to assist with foot patrols to help supplement the SFPD’s work, and he made it so that inmates would be housed according to their self-identified gender. This year he has also been criticized because a person who was released from custody according to Sanctuary City policy later murdered Kate Steinle. This is misleading for several reasons; there is not a direct correlation from the sanctuary city policy to the murder, just a shared plot line. And, I proudly support the Sanctuary City policy and it has been a law since 1989–this was nothing new, but the headlines because it related to Mirkarimi.

And of course there is the issue with his legal troubles and domestic violence problems. He isn’t always a great guy all around. I don’t want to dismiss violence and abuse. I also think that people have profound personal failures can still deliver successful work. I think he is the best candidate on the ballot for this office right now.

City Attorney – Dennis Herrera
Dennis Herrera is running unopposed so I won’t spend much time on here, but he’s done great work for the City (he is one of the champions who helped legalize marriage).

District Attorney – Abstain
Gascon is running unopposed and I have never been impressed with his leadership. Right after he was appointed Chief of Police by Gavin Newsom he was a big supporter of the Sit-Lie law allowing police to heckle people who are sitting in public (note that police can heckle people who were breaking the law already, no need to expand their power to heckle law abiding folks who are simply sitting). Some people also think that him moving from Chief of Police to DA is a conflict of interest, and with the current state of the SFPD, I wish we had someone else in this office.

Treasurer – Cisneros
Again, running unopposed, so not too much to say. Progressives like him for making AirBnB pay hotel taxes. He also launched the Bank on San Francisco program that helped thousands of low income families with free bank accounts and financial education.

Community College Board – Tom Temprano
The Community College Board has some serious work to do with City College’s accreditation issues and massively dropped enrollment. Tom Temprano is a local leader with lots of great experience and strong ideas for addressing the enrollment issues including stronger outreach and rebuilding the relationship the school has with SFUSD.

A – San Francisco Affordable Housing Bonds – Yes
$310 Million in SF’s housing market is a joke. This is a drop in the bucket for what we actually need to support affordable housing in SF, but I guess it is something.

B – Charter Amendment for City and County Staff Parental Leave – Yes
Full disclosure: I am a City employee, but not a present or future parent. The City needs to be able to be competitive to attract top talent and parental leave time is pretty low hanging fruit. This is a sensible HR policy that will allow city/county employees who are parents both take up to 3 months of parental leave when establishing their family. We have to vote on this silly HR decision due to the City Charter. Currently two city/county employees starting a family would have to split that leave time. It also allows parents to keep a week of sick time if they go on leave.

C – Lobbyist regulations – yes
More disclosure: I serve on two nonprofit boards of directors that do lobbyist work.

Though I realize that this may mean that these important tiny organizations would have to register as lobbyists and submit monthly reports (read: cost precious resources of time and money that could be going to their crucial advocacy work). The issue for me is that the same goes for the big guys. And if the small orgs that I trust don’t have to file the reports, this also means that the big guys also don’t have to be transparent. And, I want to know what the big guys are up to.

And, our smart and savvy small orgs will figure out quick and efficient ways to file their reports and pretty soon we will forget it is a thing.

So, forgive me, my fellow board members who disagree with me on this one, but I am voting yes.

D – Mission Rock Development approval – No
OK This is on the ballot because voters previously said they wanted to vote on any new building on Port property that would exceed existing height limits. And here we are with a proposal from the Giants that would be built on Parking Lot A.

The development has some cool features. And yes, the affordable housing percentage of 40% is good. But what is not good is a 10-story garage on the waterfront. And worse even is that parking taxes that should go to the City (parking taxes) are split 80-20 to fund transportation work and senior services, the SF Giants will get to use the money as they please on transportation projects. What transportation projects? Parking?! I don’t know about you, but I rather the money go to the City transportation agency so that it can go to where it’s needed on our City’s transportation network, not to the Giants. Stick to baseball, guys.

E – Changes to City meeting rules – NO
This proposition would make a mess out of the public process by allowing pre-recorded and remote public comment to be required for every commission and board. I am imagining a company with a campaign that submits a bazillion comments that don’t reflect actual public opinion. Then combine that with the mystifyingly contradicting part of this proposition that would require that agenda items be time-set. So, for example, the Board will address item C on the agenda at 5:05pm. I have no idea how these two parts of the legislation are supposed to work in concert since allowing prerecorded and remote public comment would make time-set agendas practically impossible, but the moral of the story is that I am voting No on this giant mess.

F – Short-term rental regulations – Yes
Here’s the thing about F: It isn’t great legislation. Here’s the thing about voting No on F: Our city leaders have failed to do their job regulating AirBnB, so here we are voting on regulations for AirBnB and other short term rental companies.

We have a housing crisis and we are allowing a corporation to skirt accountability for its impact on our city, and it is not okay. So I am voting yes even though I don’t like everything about it. For example, I think the restriction on short term rentals of in-law units is silly–especially since there would be a 75-day cap on short term rentals. And, I think the notification requirement to notify all neighbors within a 100’ is a little heavy handed. But, these complaints are not enough.

G – Renewable energy definition and CleanPowerSF regulations – NO
H – Renewable energy definition and CleanPowerSF regulations – YES
G and H go together. A PG&E union wrote G defining categories of “renewable energy” for CleanPowerSF. But then the G proponents negotiated H that was then put on the ballot by Supervisors Avalos and Breed and defines that renewable energy will be counted according to state law. The proposition with more yes votes will win, but everyone agrees that your yes vote should be on H.

I – Development moratorium in the Mission District – Yes
This is another drop in the bucket initiative, wherein I think its actual impact will be minimal but it is a nice thought. It rehashes a Board of Supervisors’ fight over whether or not to have a housing development moratorium for 18 months (unless it is 100% affordable housing) in the Mission District so that a funding plan can be put together for the City to purchase the tiniest amount of available property so that it can be used for affordable housing. Ultimately it won’t save the Mission, but the funding plan and investment in this work is good policy.

J – Establish a Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund – Yes
We already have a legacy business registry, but this would tighten the restrictions slightly and includes a way for these legacy businesses to apply for grants, with priority given to those at risk of being displaced. I like how this will help us keep our old favorite businesses. I do balk slightly that to be added to the registry requires a politician’s endorsement, and that then those businesses would be given public money that could be used on truly public works, but I think preserving the character of the city we love is important too.

K – Expand allowable use of surplus City property – YES
This is smart city policy that will allow surplus city property be allowed to be sold and used for affordable housing. Vote yes.


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