The Kate Slate – November 8, 2016

Posted: November 5th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Elections, Kate Slate | Comments Off on The Kate Slate – November 8, 2016

I realize there is only three days until the election and this ridiculously long ballot is just that, so I apologize to be providing you Kate_Slate_squarethis seventeen-plus-page Kate Slate so close to when your ballot is due.

The Kate Slate Backstory

I write my “Kate Slate” for every local election, and have been for almost as long as I have been able to vote. I believe the Kate Slate is now legally voting age. When I voted the very first time, I found myself in the voting booth surprised that I didn’t understand the all issues or know all the candidates on the ballot, even though I was a citizen engaged in civic activities and I followed the news closely. I didn’t have a cheat sheet! The next year I vowed to be more prepared. So, I studied the ballot before the election writing my notes about the slate, and shared the Kate Slate with friends.

Somewhere along the line my pal and co-host Sacha Ielmorini and I began holding election Slate Parties 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 in the future, 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 (a record number this election!), and cool people like yourself send me other peoples’ slates. 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 on Election Day (November 8!) 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: (usually this is short and you only have to bring this part to the polls but it is really long for this election!)

President and Vice President – Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

United States Senator – Kamala Harris

United States Representative – Preston Picus

State Senator – Jane Kim

Member of the State Assembly – David Chiu

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 7 – Victor Hwang

Board of Education – Mark Sanchez, Matt Haney, Rachel Norton, Stevon Cook

Community College Board – Rafael Mandelman, Tom Temprano, Shanell Williams

BART Director – Gwyneth Borden D9, Lateefah Simon D7

51 – School Bonds – No

52 – Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program – No

53 – Revenue Bonds – NO

54 – Legislature – Yes

55 – Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare – Yes

56 – Cigarette Tax – Yes

57 – Criminal Sentences – YES

58 – English Proficiency – Yes

59 – Corporations. Political Spending – Yes

60 – Adult Films. Condoms – No

61 – State Prescription Drug Purchases – Yes

62 – Death Penalty – YES!

63 – Firearms – Yes

64 – Marijuana Legalization – YES!

65 – Carryout Bags – No

66 – Death Penalty. Procedures – NO!

67 – Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags – YES!

A – Repair School Facilities – yes

B – City College Funds – Yes!

C – SF Earthquake Loan and Housing Preservation Bonds – yes

D – Vacancy appointments – no

E – Sidewalk Trees – no

F – 16 year-old Voter Age – yes

G – Changes to Office of Citizen Complaints – yes

H – Create Public Advocate position – no

I – Establish the Dignity Fund – no

J – Create Homeless Housing and Services Fund – YES

K – Increase Sales Tax – YES

L – Change to SFMTA Board of Directors Appointments – no

M – Create a Housing and Development Commission – Yes

N – Allow Non-Citizen Parents to Vote in SFUSD School Board Elections – YES

O – Height Limit Exemption for Candlestick Point – no

P – Requirements for Affordable Housing Projects – No

Q – Prohibit Tents on Sidewalks – NO!

R – Create a Neighborhood Crime Unit – No

S – Use Hotel Room Tax for Arts and Homeless Services – Yes

T – Prohibit Lobbyists from Making Campaign Contributions – No

U – Increase Income Eligibility for Affordable Housing – NO

V – Tax of Sugar-sweetened Beverages – Yes

W – Increase Transfer Tax for Property Sales – YES

X – Require Developers to Replace Production, Distribution, and Repair – YES

RR – BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief – YES!

District 9 Supervisor – 1 – Hillary Ronen, 2 – Melissa San Gabriel

District 1 Supervisor – 1 – Andy Thornley, 2 – Sandra Lee Fewer

District 5 Supervisor – Dean Preston

District 11 Supervisor – Kim Alvarenga

 

President and Vice President – Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

I am not even sure this requires explanation. There isn’t a realistic alternative in this election since there is only one viable candidate who is fit for the position.

 

United States Senator – Kamala Harris

To restate my position from the June primary: I am glad that Kamala Harris asked the courts to allow California to continue to allow same-sex marriages while the courts were hearing the constitutionality of Prop 8, even though they denied her request.

She also walked out of talks with big banks responsible for the mortgage crisis when the deal they were arranging was too lenient. And, Kamala Harris has been strong on gun control, and issue that is important to me.

 

United States Representative – Preston Picus

First, I’ll acknowledge that I don’t believe Mr. Picus is likely to beat one of the country’s most famous politicians. But, his platform is in line with my positions: He thinks money should be taken out of politics and himself is only taking donations less than $540; he supports expanding and protecting women’s rights to healthcare; he supports social justice and immigration reform. So, I am happy to check the box next to Mr. Picus’s name come Election Day.

 

State Senator – Jane Kim

Again, let’s revisit what I said before the June primary:

Jane Kim has done San Francisco right as supervisor. She hosts a listening booth to meet with the people she represents and hear what issues matter to them most. She’s been behind major increases to affordable housing included in new developments during this terrible housing crisis. She has been a champion for Vision Zero in San Francisco, the transportation principle that crashes are preventable and changes to engineering, enforcement, and education are necessary and must be implemented to reduce fatal and severe injuries.

She called for the resignation of Police Chief Suhr after several abuse of force situations led to the murders of San Franciscans at the hands of police officers (amid several other police scandals). And, she worked tirelessly to revive a blighted and unsafe park in her district (that kinda seemed like a lost cause to be honest), Boedekker Park, make it completely awesome, and return it to neighbors and children.

She is a real leader, her work is righteous, and I endorse her wholeheartedly. Yay for politicians like Jane Kim.

And boo for candidates like her competitor, Scott Wiener. He is okay on transportation stuff but he was behind the No Sit and Lie law that permits police officers to hassle people sitting on San Francisco streets, he closed down parks midnight to 5am, and passed a stupid anti-nudity law to prevent specific people in the Castro to be nude (i.e. “the Naked Guy”) while permitting nudity for parades. Though, kudos to him for being one of the rare Supervisors that actually works on legislation. Too bad I don’t really like much of his legislation.

Jane Kim for State Senator.

 

Member of the State Assembly – David Chiu

David Chiu has been good on sustainable transportation issues since he has been in state office (he worked on legislation that allows transit-only lane enforcement in SF and on e-bike legislation). And, I know that he worked on legislation to revise the Ellis Act that allows unfair evictions (his legislation failed but was a valiant effort). I like that he still has his heart in San Francisco and is working for his constituents, so I will vote for him.

 

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 7 – Victor Hwang

Victor Hwang is the only candidate that is qualified–and he is very qualified. Though he is not a member of the Bar Association of SF, he was rated by them more highly than the candidates he is running against in the primary, who are Bar Association of SF members (exceptionally well-qualified vs. well-qualified). In fact, I am not sure why Paul Henderson is running–he is a bureaucrat who doesn’t have the courtroom experience of Hwang. Meanwhile Hwang is a decorated Civil Rights attorney who has worked on issues like domestic violence, human trafficking and elder abuse. Go for Hwang!

 

Board of Education – Mark Sanchez, Matt Haney, Rachel Norton, Stevon Cook

Mark Sanchez is a former teacher, principal, and school board member who has worked hard for social justice. He is progressive and supports affordable housing for educators and higher salaries for school workers.

I endorsed Matt Haney and Rachel Norton in 2012. Matt Haney in part because he has advocated a restorative practice approach to discipline in schools, which ultimately helps keep students in school. And, he proved to be a pro-student voice on the Board. He’s a strong voice working to cut the prison population while creating a pipeline for low opportunity youth to become coders and engineers.

I endorsed Rachel Norton for her work to provide in-classroom breakfast to ensure all students start the school day with a full belly. And, she has the unique perspective of a mother of a student with disabilities to bring to the Board. She also is focused on educator pay as well as reforms to the ever-controversial student assignment system.

I endorsed Stevon Cook in 2014. He is a product of San Francisco Public Schools who gives extra attention to social justice.

 

Community College Board – Rafael Mandelman, Tom Temprano, Shanell Williams

Rafael Mandelman has been fighting the good fight to save City College and I support his efforts to this end.

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.

Shanell Williams is a badass student who got involved in City College politics as its accreditation was in question and she helped lead the fight to save City College.

You can vote for a fourth candidate, but I am not keen on the others, so I will just vote for these three.

 

BART Director – Gwyneth Borden D9, Lateefah Simon D7

We have had the chance to see all three of these District 9 candidates in action: Dufty as supervisor and homelessness czar, Petrelis as perennial ballot candidate, and Borden in her role as SFMTA Board Member. If we had to rate how well they perform when they are in action, I’d say Borden is the winner. As an SFMTA director she has been a strong leader in support of major system improvements even though I had my doubts about her as a former Newsom aide and executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Frankly, Dufty has had his chance to be strong on transportation issues as a supervisor but was underwhelming. And I am not sure Petrelis is a viable candidate.

I am not in District 7, but a plug for candidate Lateefah Simon. Her leadership inspires me, and she has a smart and clear platform for her campaign to make BART accountable, accessible, and affordable. I wish all politicians were as transparent and clear about their policy objectives and how they hope to achieve them. And Lateefah’s objectives are smart and simple solutions.

 

51 – School Bonds – No

On one hand 51 looks good because it is money for schools. But upon closer examination, the money would be distributed first come first serve. This is probably not equitable since those schools with the most resources would be poised to be first in line. So, I’m going to vote no in hopes that we can get a more equitable funding plan together.

 

52 – Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program – No

 This prop is about a confusing fee. I spent some time trying to figure out the purpose of the fee, and as I was doing so, I realized that I oppose this ballot initiative without understanding the details of the fee.

Here is why: The fee as it exists now has to be reapproved every four years or so by our legislature. Currently it is flexible and can be adjusted by our legislature as needed by a majority vote. If passed, this prop would change the details of the fee, including by requiring a two-thirds majority vote of the people to change it. I don’t see how making the terms of this fee more inflexible improves the situation. I feel like this is just legislators delegating their responsibility to the voters. Maybe they don’t understand the fee either and they are thinking if we just pass this prop they won’t have to think about it every four years. I vote no.

 

53 – Revenue Bonds – NO

This one is actually very problematic. It would require a vote of the people before revenue bonds could be issued. This is problematic because voters in one region could ultimately vote against a much needed infrastructure project planned for another region. It would be a procedural nightmare for capital projects and construction.

 

54 – Legislature – Yes

This requires a bill to be available online 72 hours before it is voted on and requires public meetings to be recorded and posted online within 24 hours. Yes! People have argued with me that bills get changed now up to the final moment. And while that is true, I work for the government, and when policies like this are implemented, the definition of “final moment” simply adjusts and the work continues to go up until that newly defined final moment.

 

55 – Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare – Yes

This extends a tax from 2012 on the wealthiest Californians to fund education and healthcare. The state needs this revenue and this tax is a good way to do it.

 

56 – Cigarette Tax – Yes

This would increase the cigarette tax and include e-cigarettes that contain nicotine in the definition. The tax is steep–$2.00/pack. While it is does disproportionately impact lower income smokers, I support taxing unhealthy products to fund related healthcare, prevention, and research. And, I like that nicotine e-cigarettes are finally going to be included in the definition of tobacco products.

 

57 – Criminal Sentences – YES

Prop 57 decriminalizes nonviolent crime by making inmates with nonviolent felonies and good behavior eligible for parole. It also makes a common sense reform that would allow judges, rather than prosecutors, to determine whether a juvenile should be tried as an adult.

 

58 – English Proficiency – Yes

Right before I started teaching in East Oakland, voters had passed a ban on bilingual education in California. I think people thought they were doing the right thing passing it—the proponents promoted it as “English for the children.” And, why wouldn’t we want our children to have the opportunity to be guaranteed the opportunity to have access to this language of power? But it was frankly bad legislation that was both contrary to how people learn language and frankly mean-spirited.

In fact, multilingual schools have better results for language acquisition than English-only schools. And, I hated that the legislation theoretically prevented a well-meaning teacher like me who taught English and History (core subjects that currently require English-only instruction) from asking a monolingual Spanish-speaking student who was a new arrival to the United States to get out a piece of paper in Spanish. This prop would allow parents to more easily opt for multilingual education. And, it would allow for English-only education to still be an option. So everyone wins. Vote yes.

 

59 – Corporations. Political Spending – Yes

This is a unique policy statement to the state’s public officials advising them to do use their power to overturn the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision. If you recall, the Citizens United decision determined that corporations are guaranteed freedom of speech and political donations are a form of freedom of speech that is protected. Therefore, political donations from corporations were unable to be regulated as they are form of a protected freedom. This is hogwash since we know that corporations are not people who must be guaranteed the freedom of speech; and because that money manipulates elections.

With all that said, the problematic decision was made by the supreme court, and one of the only ways to overturn the decision would be to amend the constitution. So this proposition would advise California’s leaders to do what they can with their powers to overturn the terrible supreme court decision. It is nonbinding. But, I support the overturning of Citizens United so I will vote yes on 59.

 

60 – Adult Films. Condoms – No

This proposition would require actors in adult films to wear condoms and allow citizens to sue porn companies and stars. While public health is important, the enforcement mechanism here is problematic. Porn companies who don’t want to comply can easily work out of state. Also, CalOsha already requires condoms for adult film actors. This prop has too many issues with it so I am voting no.

  

61 – State Prescription Drug Purchases – Yes

This proposition will make state agencies pay no more than the US Department of Veterans Affairs pays for prescription drugs. This seems common sense. This will reduce price gouging by pharmaceutical companies and provide access to needed medications while reducing costs for patients. I don’t buy the arguments that it would negatively impact veterans by causing prices to rise and/or reduce access to medicine. If the pharmaceutical companies were poised to make that happen I am not sure it would be in their interest to make this ballot initiative the most expensive in the country by fighting it. Follow the money. Vote yes.

 

62 – Death Penalty – YES!

End it! Converts everyone in death row to life in prison. This will ensure no wrongly accused will die on your tax dollar. Let’s do this.

Also worth mentioning: If both this and prop 66 pass, the one with more yes votes supersedes the other. And since they are in some respects opposites, I would advise a yes vote on one would result in a no vote on the other and vice versa.

 

63 – Firearms – Yes

This prop would require background checks for ammunition purchases and prohibits possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. It is a little weak, but it could keep ammunition out of the hands of some who would do harm with it while allowing hunters access. Though let’s be real: bad people who want to get ammunition will still be able to access it in gun-loving America. So, this won’t solve our gun problems.

I don’t see a strong argument for hunters needing large-capacity ammunition magazines. So, it seems like a way to make some movement on gun control without gun owners having to make much of a concession.

 

64 – Marijuana Legalization – YES!

A yes vote on prop 64 would legalize recreational marijuana in California for people older than 21. Bonus points: it will reduce and waive most marijuana convictions and get records expunged! Medical marijuana would still be available and would require a prescription and a medical marijuana card as it does now. Recreational marijuana would be taxed. It is a two-fer. It legalizes something that probably shouldn’t be illegal, and it is a positive reform to our criminal justice system. Yay!

 

65 – Carryout Bags – No

This is about requiring the $0.10 bag fee charged by stores to go to an environmental fund. You know it is a bad prop when the environmental groups who would ostensibly support an “environmental fund” are against it. But in addition to it not benefitting the environment, it puts the cost of the bags on the retailer since they would no longer be able to use the fee to pay for the bag expense. Also, if prop 65 and prop 67 both win, the one with more yes votes wins. 67 is way better, read below.

 

66 – Death Penalty. Procedures – NO!

As someone who feels like it is problematic to “kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong,” and, as someone who feels culpable for funding a justice system with my taxes that unjustly kills the wrongfully accused, I predictably think that taking steps to speed up the death penalty is also a bad idea. Vote no. It is disgusting.

Again: If both this and prop 62 pass, the one with more yes votes supersedes the other.

 

67 – Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags – YES!

If prop 67 passes it will prohibit stores from providing single-use carryout bags and require them to charge $0.10 for recycled, compostable, and reusable grocery bags. This is an important environmental initiative. Single-use plastic bags are destroying our environment and killing wild animals. And, when San Francisco banned bags it turned out to be no big deal. I noticed that plastic bag trash decreased significantly in the natural places I go. I say YES! 

 

A – Repair School Facilities – yes

This is a relatively small revenue bond to fund repairs to school facilities. Bonds aren’t the best funding source since we end up spending more for than the cost, but it isn’t a huge amount of money and the work is needed. Yes. A 55 percent majority passes this.

 

B – City College Funds – Yes!

Prop B is a parcel tax to fund City College. I don’t think parcel taxes are a great way to levy taxes equitably, but City College is a crucial institution and I think it is worth the investment. City College desperately needs these funds just to maintain current services like keeping libraries open and providing counselors to students. Yes! This requires two-thirds majority to pass.

 

 C – SF Earthquake Loan and Housing Preservation Bonds – yes

This prop repurposes general obligation bonds that we initially set up for earthquake rehab and restoration loans after the 1989 earthquake to also fund purchase and building improvements to create more affordable housing. It is a fairly small amount of money and will hardly make a dent in repairing our affordable housing crisis, but it is better than nothing. It requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

 

D – Vacancy appointments – no

This one pains me a little bit to vote no on. It would address supervisor vacancies. Right now if a supervisor leaves a vacancy—like what will happen when either Scott Weiner or Jane Kim is elected to State Senate—the mayor appoints a replacement. The replacement may then be accountable to the mayor rather than the constituents they serve. And, incumbents tend to do better when running so it gives the appointed candidate the edge.

This proposition would change the process so that the mayoral appointment cannot run in the election following the appointed term. And, it would shorten the duration until the election to fill the vacancy.

The thing I don’t like about it is that the appointee cannot run in the election following their appointed term. I feel that is a reflection of the current leadership, but we have to think about how this would impact appointments when we LOVE our mayor. And in that case, my perfect mayor doesn’t save the “good” candidate for the next election and appoint the “second best” candidate. No, my perfect mayor appoints the most awesome supervisor who is a coalition builder making San Francisco more awesome and we want this most awesome supervisor to continue their work for the next term.

So, even though I think this prop is in the right vein, I don’t love the legislation and I just can’t vote yes.

 

E – Sidewalk Trees – no

I am a hesitant no on this one. On its surface this initiative does good: it ultimately makes the city responsible for the maintenance of sidewalk trees and is liable for any tree-related maintenance—say, replacing sidewalks that have been broken up by roots. But, what I don’t like about this is that it is funded by a general fund set-aside without a revenue source to fund it (maybe it will have a revenue source if prop W passes, see below). So, it makes our city budget less flexible, and when budgets are tight, these $19 million dollars will be locked into street trees.

The way we manage street trees in this city definitely need to be reformed so I hope they will revise this prop and resolve its funding challenge and bring it back to the ballot at the next election.

 

F – 16 year-old Voter Age – yes 

I’m voting yes for past me, 16-year-old Kate, who would have thought this was so good. This will allow 16 year olds who are US Citizens to vote in San Francisco’s municipal and school board elections. I like this because it engages young people in the system. The hope is that this would increase voter participation. I say yes.

 

G – Changes to Office of Citizen Complaints – yes 

I am not sure this will do much, but it changes the name of the Office of Citizen Complaints to the Department of Police Accountability. It does change some details of its management as well. For example, their budget is approved by the police commission but they are supposed to investigate police misconduct, so that is problematic. This would have the new Department of Police Accountability manage their budget and have it submitted directly to the mayor. Yes.

 

H – Create Public Advocate position – no

This would create a new elected office in San Francisco. This office would have a fairly large staff (larger than supervisors) and be able to introduce legislation at the Board of Supervisors. In theory, they would review policies and conduct investigations and right all San Francisco’s wrongs. But I thought we already had elected officials to do that: they are called supervisors and mayor.

That’s right, in our current system we elect supervisors and a mayor to represent us. They are able to hold hearings and review policies and they even have they administrative authority to follow through on real change. I get that many feel San Francisco has been going in the “wrong direction” and they feel like this position would help create reform. But, I’d challenge that we need to do a better job cultivating candidates that we want to represent us for mayor and supervisor rather than creating this curious elected office.

 

I – Establish the Dignity Fund – no

This would establish a set-aside in the general fund for services that benefit seniors and people with disabilities. While I see that as a real need, there is no reason that this has to be on a city charter amendment rather than going through the regular budgetary process. It also doesn’t identify a funding source. This ballot box budgeting ultimately limits the budget’s flexibility.

 

J –Create Homeless Housing and Services Fund – YES

This would dedicate funds that come in through Prop K to homeless services and transportation system improvements. The funding for homeless services would in part go toward incredibly effective navigation services. The funding for transportation would go toward operations, street repaving, and bicycling and walking improvements. If this passes but K does not, it provides a “kill switch” so that the mayor could kill it before January.

 

K – Increase Sales Tax – YES

And here is the sales tax that would fund J. This sales tax would fund much needed homeless services and transportation system improvements if passed with J, see above. If K passes and J does not the funds would be a general tax without specified uses. I prefer it pass with J also passing, so I will vote yes on both.

 

L – Change to SFMTA Board of Directors Appointments – no

L is the prop that I have thought the most about since it will directly impact my work if it passes (full disclosure: I work at the SFMTA), and it’s anyone’s speculation how it would. It has two parts.

First, it changes how the Board of Directors would be appointed—currently by the mayor, confirmed by the Board of Supervisors. If passed, the seven appointments would be shared with the Board of Supervisors, the mayor getting four and the supervisors three.

Secondly, it would change how the Board of Supervisors reviews the SFMTA budget. Currently they can approve or reject the budget, but not amend the budget; to reject the budget requires 7 of 11 votes. This would lower the requirement to 6 of 11; the supervisors would be required to submit “findings” for rejecting the budget and the SFMTA would be required to submit a revised budget that responds to those findings.

So I spent a lot of time pondering about whether I thought the mayor should share the power of appointments with the supervisors, playing out scenarios in my head. And then I wondered how the supervisors would agree on appointments… But then I thought about the changes to how the budget was approved, and I instantly knew we should all vote no.

 

M – Create a Housing and Development Commission – Yes

I am kind of on the fence about this one. Basically it would combine two of the mayor’s offices—Office of Housing and Urban Development and Office of Economic and Workforce Development—into a new department with a commission. The commissioners would be appointed by the mayor, the board of supervisors and the controller. The commission would be expected to adopt a strategic plan that outlines the city’s goals for affordable housing and urban development. And the best part of this prop is that it also includes a poison pill for both props P and U, which both stink!

I think the accountability is good. I like the transparency it provides these important offices and I love the strategic planning. But I doubt it will change much.

 

N – Allow Non-Citizen Parents to Vote in SFUSD School Board Elections – YES

This would allow non-citizen parents with students enrolled in SFUSD to vote in school board elections. I think it is important for parents to be able to have a say in how their child’s educational system is run, so I vote yes.

 

O – Height Limit Exemption for Candlestick Point – no

This would allow Candlestick Point and Hunters Point Naval Shipyard to exceed San Francisco’s limit on new office development each year. Proponents argue that it will allow quick growth in those areas and will provide housing and jobs. But it doesn’t include the same height limit exception for residential or retail development. Candlestick and Hunters Point deserve to be developed right for the community there that has been so underserved. I am concerned this will lead to that area becoming an office park and not a hospitable place to live and work, so I am voting no.

 

P – Requirements for Affordable Housing Projects – No 

This would require three proposals for affordable housing projects funded by San Francisco on San Francisco property, and other changes. On the surface this sounds good, but there are (at least) three issues: 1) Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development already has a competitive bidding policy. It doesn’t require three bids because some projects are complex and it could be difficult to find three bids (and would slow the process for this sort of affordable housing as well); 2) this change could be passed legislatively and does not have to be on the ballot; 3) if this passes, any amendment would require it coming back to the ballot. No.

 

Q – Prohibit Tents on Sidewalks – NO!

This prop is disgusting. It would prohibit tents on sidewalks. First, there is a 700 person waiting list in San Francisco for shelter beds, so I am not sure where the sponsors of this initiative think these folks should go. This just gives police more ammunition to harass people who have the misfortune of living in a tent on a sidewalk without actually resolving the housing crisis at hand. Also, this could have been passed legislatively and does not require a vote of the people. But, supervisors put it on the ballot instead. Vote no.

 

R – Create a Neighborhood Crime Unit – No 

This would require that the police department establish a neighborhood crime unit made up of three percent of sworn personnel. The idea here is to get more police on the beat to enforce quality of life laws. The percentage is apparently arbitrary and not based on research, reports, or data. Enforcement is not the way a city should address quality of life crimes—these are signs of economic problems and/or mental health issues such as drug addiction. And, I don’t like that this mandate has an arbitrary percentage. I agree that we need to address crime, but I am concerned about this approach and its impact on our struggling communities.

 

S – Use Hotel Room Tax for Arts and Homeless Services – Yes

Currently hotel taxes go to San Francisco’s general fund. When the hotel tax was initially established in 1961, it was to woo tourists with cultural facilities. But, it was amended over time to eventually fund the general fund and the Moscone Center.

If approved, this initiative would allocate the hotel taxes for specific purposes. Technically, it is a set-aside. In this case, the funds would go to support the arts as well as to programs that support the homeless. In particular, this would fund for facilities for the arts (super important since real estate is unaffordable in SF right now) and a new neighborhood arts program. It also includes a small percentage to support families who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness through an allocated fund.

While I am generally wary of set-asides, this case of applying the hotel tax to address issues that are related to tourism makes sense.

 

T – Prohibit Lobbyists from Making Campaign Contributions – No

This is one that I would love if it didn’t have some flaws in the legislation that could be cleaned up and made a righteous prop on a future ballot. This idealistic proposition dreams of taking money out of politics by creating restrictions for lobbyists. Unfortunately, it has a couple flaws. It has a lobbyist reporting requirement that could allow significant fines for minor infractions. Also it does not exclude “gifts of minimal value” (think here Halloween candy or a soft drink at a meeting) which are excluded in a California state version of similar legislation. I’m voting no.

 

U – Increase Income Eligibility for Affordable Housing – NO 

Prop U is problematic legislation at its worse. This would increase the maximum income that people would need to qualify for affordable housing. I am not sure why we would want to do that. We have a housing crisis in San Francisco and we simply cannot meet the housing demand. If we bump up the maximum income for those who qualify for affordable housing, more people will qualify, making it even more competitive for our poorest residents. Vote NO.

 

V – Tax of Sugar-sweetened Beverages – Yes

This came to the ballot in 2014 and a 55 percent of voters approved it. In that prop, the tax was allocated to critically underfunded youth health, nutrition, P.E. and after-school rec programs, which required a two-thirds majority to pass. Now, it is back, this time it goes to the general fund and therefore only requires a simple majority. When a similar law in Berkeley passed, it was successful in a reduction in purchases of sugary beverages which are related to health problems like obesity and diabetes.

The opponents keep saying it is a grocery tax and I was curious why: KQED says the theory is that distributors will pass on the cost of the soda tax to small-business owners, who would in turn raise the prices of the groceries they sell to stay competitive. That increase on prices on everything else would be the “tax”. Anyway, I am voting yes, again, and if the other folks who voted yes do again, it will pass.

 

W – Increase Transfer Tax for Property Sales – YES

This is a great way to generate revenue for the city—it increases the transfer tax by 0.25 percent for property sales valued above $5 million. If passed, it would generate an estimated $44 million per year. This prop does not allocate the monies, so it would go to the general fund. Though, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in July establishing the intent to make City College tuition-free (YES!) and identified this tax as a potential funding source for that. And, later, they expressed intent that this could also help fund the street tree maintenance set aside ($19 million) in Prop E if that passes.

 

X – Require Developers to Replace Production, Distribution, and Repair – YES

Here we are finally at X, and you may have noticed a theme this election how so many props are related to real estate and the current affordability crisis. This last SF prop would require developers who demolish or convert spaces used for production, distribution, or repair, arts activities, or nonprofit community spaces, to replace those spaces. This is addresses the issue of our artists and manufacturers being pushed out of San Francisco. Vote yes.

 

RR – BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief – YES!

We have to approve this one to provide the necessary revenue to maintain BART. Just to keep it running. And, it doesn’t even fully fund the needed investment in maintenance. Apparently BART neglected years of necessary maintenance and the critical regional transportation system is literally falling apart. Since the region vitally needs BART to function, vote YES.

 

I live in District 9, so I will start here. See below for thoughts on districts 1, 5 and 11.

In San Francisco, we require a supervisorial candidate receive a majority of the votes, so we established instant run-off voting a few years back to save on costs of having run-off elections.

District 9 Supervisor – 1 – Hillary Ronen, 2 – Melissa San Miguel, 3 – blank.

In the Mission it seems like there are only two viable candidates. Hillary Ronen (yay?) and Josh Arce (boo!).

I am not particularly wooed by either: Hillary Ronen is one of current D9 Supervisor Campos’s aides, and I have been quite soured on his administration, most recently how the office’s fight against the red Mission transit-only lanes favored the 8,000 cars that travel Mission street over the 65,000 Muni riders (80 percent of whom qualify as low income, by the way) who benefitted from the improvements. They also haven’t been great on affordable housing solutions.

But Campos isn’t running, Ronen is, and she spent 20 minutes on the phone with me trying to distance herself from Campos’s record saying that she has “stood up to the bullies” in the neighborhood that Campos has pandered to.

And, Ronen is certainly better than Josh Arce who is aligned politically with the more “moderate” of SF politicians (Gavin Newsom, Ed Lee, Michaela Alioto-Pier)…yikes.

Because this is instant run-off voting, I only want to vote for people who I would want in office. My second vote will go to Melissa San Miguel. She grew up on my block, and she also called me and talked to me about her positions I mostly agree with her on the issues. She is particularly strong on police reform, which is a serious need in our district.

I wouldn’t want any other candidates to be supervisor of District 9 so I am not voting for any others.

 

Even though I am not in these other districts a little shout out for the top candidates in each race. 

District 1 Supervisor – 1 – Andy Thornley, 2 – Sandra Lee Fewer

First and foremost, my friend Andy Thornely. I have had the distinct pleasure of working elbow to elbow with Andy Thornley at two jobs (SF Bicycle Coalition and SFMTA) over eight years (six and two, respectively). He is a great dude, and frankly the strongest candidate in this district on transportation issues. He understands the tradeoffs and has the will power to do what’s best for the people even if there is some noisy opposition.

Sandra Lee Fewer is also an incredibly strong progressive candidate who has done great work on the school board. The D1 race is hot, and frankly Fewer is more viable than Andy Thornley (lots of support and money behind her), but she isn’t as great on transportation as he is.

 

District 5 Supervisor – Dean Preston

Preston has been a state housing advocate for years and would be great as Supervisor of District 5! Breed, the incumbent will likely win.

 

District 11 Supervisor – Kim Alvarenga

Kim Alvarenga has been working in assembly member Tom Ammiano’s office at the state level. She has been a fierce advocate in the fight to save City College and worked on increasing the minimum wage.

 

Oh hey! You made it to the end. Nice work. Now go out there and vote!


Comments are closed.