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!


The Kate Slate – June 7, 2016

Posted: May 26th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Elections, Kate Slate | Comments Off on The Kate Slate – June 7, 2016

Kate_Slate_squareHasn’t it seemed like this year’s primary has lasted a gazillion years? And yet, I didn’t seem to know much about the issues on the ballot this time around, even with all the talk and speculations about the candidates. I am ready to vote!

As you likely know, I write my “Kate Slate” for every local election, and have been for almost as long as I have been able to vote. In fact, the Kate Slate may very well be having her 18th birthday (!) come this November. 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. 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.

Also, for the past ten (!!) or so years, my pal and 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 in the future, including for the November election, 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, and cool people like yourself send me other peoples’ slates. And, I am not affiliated with any party.

Which, this election has some consequences for you, dear reader. Those of us with no party preference may opt to vote an American Independent Party, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, or nonpartisan ballot for this election (as those parties allow those with no party preference to vote their ballot even if you don’t register for their party). But, these parties’ nonpartisan ballots don’t include their County Central Committee slates, so they are nearly identical to the straight up no party preference ballot (except for, erhm, the Presidential primary).

If you want to vote for the Democratic County Central Committee, you would have had to registered as a Democrat by May 23. I agree that since most SF candidates are registered Democratic, and the party rules who runs, you may want to do that, but that ship has sailed for this election. Which is a long way to say that as a no party preference voter, I don’t have a full slate for the DCCC ballot. But, I listed few candidates who I think deserve a plug at the end.

And, you are on your own this election for President. You may have viable choices at this point if you are registered as either Democrat or Republican, and none of them are very good options in my opinion. Here are the choices: There is a moderate Democratic woman running who is part of the political machine but has done some good things for health care and women’s rights in the past; you have a left leaning Democratic man with some good economic ideas, lots of promises about changes to things he would have no power to change as President, and a terrible record on gun control; and you have a rich, insane Republican man running a reality show rather than a campaign who you deserve if you vote for him, but none of the rest of us deserve him, so please don’t. As I like to say, pick your poison.

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 (June 7!) 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):

United States Senator – Kamala Harris

United States Representative – Barry Hermanson

State Senator – Jane Kim

Member of the State Assembly – David Chiu

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

50 – Yes

A – Yes

B – No

C – Yes

D – Yes

E – Yes

AA – YES YES YES

 

United States Senator – Kamala Harris

I’m not super-impressed with any of the many many candidates running for Barbara Boxer’s seat in the Senate. But, I think Kamala Harris is okay. As I’ve said in the past, I was 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. It was the right thing to do.

And she also did the right thing when she walked out of talks with big banks responsible for the mortgage crisis when the deal they were arranging was too lenient. And I like that she has been strong on gun control. I read about some of the many other candidates and none of them seemed to have the necessary experience for this role like Ms. Harris has.

 

United States Representative – Barry Hermanson

All you Bernie supporters who are excited about his desire to change the Democratic Party should be empathetic to my vote for Barry Hermanson. I don’t want to vote for Nancy Pelosi who is part of the Democratic Party problem. According to NPR, she attended more than 400 fundraisers in 2011–that is more than one a day for the whole year!!! And Politico says she is still doing some heavy lifting with her raising $40.1 million in 2015 at over 205 fundraisers! If you think politics has too much money, or if you think that the political machine as it exists needs to be stopped, I’d again recommend voting for perennial Pelosi opposition Barry Hermanson. As I said last time she was up for election, “It would be fun to get Barry Hermanson on the ballot with Nancy Pelosi, because even though Pelosi will win her seat back, it would be awesome to see Barry Hermanson in debates against Pelosi.”

 

State Senator – Jane Kim

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), 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 top 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 (ie 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

I feel like Assemblymembers don’t get a lot of airtime to really shine since there are 80 of them competing for a piece of the spotlight. But, I know 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 even seems qualified–and 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 who are members (exceptionally well-qualified vs. well-qualified). In fact, I am not sure why Paul Henderson or Sigrid Irias are running–they don’t seem to have the same level of courtroom experience (Henderson, for example is an bureaucrat). Whereas Hwang is a decorated Civil Rights attorney who has worked on issues like domestic violence, human trafficking and elder abuse. Go for Hwang!

 

50 – Suspension of Legislators – Yes

Currently when state legislators do bad stuff (I am thinking of Leland Yee), they can be suspended with a majority vote, but they continue receiving state salary and benefits until they resign or their term ends. This proposition would allow legislators to be suspended with a two-thirds majority, and they wouldn’t be able to collect their state salary or benefits. I think it is a fair piece of legislation because it doesn’t allow naughty legislators to be suspended at taxpayer’s expense and it sets a higher bar for the suspension to pass by requiring a two-thirds majority.

 

A – San Francisco Public Health and Safety Bond – Yes

Apparently SF General, ten neighborhood health clinics, fire stations, and homeless shelters are not seismically safe, and/or are in need of repair and modernization. This is a bond–not the most affordable money to spend–but the work is necessary and there will be citizen oversight. I say yes.

 

B – Open Space Fund Charter Amendment – No

Rec and Park currently receives money from the Park, Recreation and Open Space Fund that expires in 2031, and also receives some from the General Fund. Though, the General Fund amount is not required and varies budget to budget. What this would do would extend the existing fund fifteen years and then require a set-aside from the General Fund.

This is classic ballot box budgeting: first, we have time to come up with a better funding strategy because the existing Park, Rec and Open Space fund won’t expire for fifteen more years; and second, allocating a fixed amount from the General Fund for something makes the budget less flexible and dynamic and budgeting more difficult when the budget is tight. (And, when is the budget ever not tight?) It’s frankly not good legislation and it seems like we have some time to put something better together.

 

C – Affordable Housing Requirements Charter Amendment – Yes

“Affordable” currently means a rental for someone making $46,288/year (55% of median income) or real estate purchase for someone making $75,744/year (90% of median income). Right now developers of new market-rate housing are required to provide affordable housing in one of three ways: pay a fee or build new affordable housing off-site that is equal to 20% of the total units being developed or make 12% units on-site affordable. To change these requirements, it has to be put on the ballot, like this proposition.

And this proposition increases the affordable housing requirements for developments with more than 25 dwellings.  It also authorizes the Board of Supervisors to change the affordable housing requirements by ordinance. I say yes and yes. We should be requiring more affordable housing from developers. And, I am happy to have the Supervisors handle adjusting the requirements to meet the needs of the city rather than the ballot box.

 

D – Office of Citizen Complaints policy – Yes

Prop D would require that the City’s Office of Citizen Complaints that currently is responsible for investigating complaints of San Francisco police misconduct begin investigating any incident occurring in San Francisco in when a police shooting ends with physical injury or death.

I think this is a common sense proposition with consideration for the SFPD’s apparent lack of de-escalation training. We need to hold our police department and officers accountable for their use of force, and this is one step to that end.

 

E – Paid City Leave Ordinance amendment – Yes

First SF required Paid Sick Leave, then California enacted a law to do the same. But, they have slightly different requirements, and this would amend SF’s Paid Sick Leave so that an employer complying with SF’s ordinance would also be complying with the state law. It also allows the Board of Supervisors to amend the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance going forward. This is good legislation. Vote yes.

 

AA – San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration – YES YES YES

This is the most important thing on the ballot this election and I hope you, and your friends and family around the Bay will all vote yes for this parcel tax. This requires a two-thirds majority in each of the nine counties of the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma) to pass. And we really need this to pass!

San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority doesn’t receive an dedicated federal, state, or local funding for its work to protect and restore the San Francisco Bay. The Bay shapes everything about where we live from our economy to our environment and even our health. And, without restoration work, our lives will be severely impacted if we don’t make very real efforts to restore our bay. For example, restoring the wetlands helps prevent against sea level rise and climate change by acting like a sponge. But, for years and years we destroyed our wetlands and now we don’t have that buffer.

This proposition establishes a $12/year parcel tax with independent citizen oversight that would fund a program that will reduce pollution, improve water quality, restore wildlife habitat, provide flood protection and increase shoreline public access. Such a small price to pay for such vital work. Yes! Yes! Yes! And tell your friends in Bay Area Counties! Vote Yes!

 

Democratic County Central Committee candidates that get the Kate Slate thumbs up (you get to pick as many as 14!)

Cindy Wu

Bevan Dufty

Jane Kim

Frances Hsieh

Rafael Mandelman

Sophie Maxwell

Tom Ammiano

Aaron Peskin


Kate Slate Outcomes: November 6, 2012 Election

Posted: November 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Elections, Kate Slate | Comments Off on Kate Slate Outcomes: November 6, 2012 Election

Here are the outcomes of my Kate Slate for yesterday’s November 6, 2012 Election.
If the results varied from my slate, I’ve struck out my votes and included the actual outcome in italics.

President and Vice President – Barack Obama and Joseph Biden
United States Senator – Dianne Feinstein
United States Representative D12 – Nancy Pelosi
State Senator D11- Mark Leno
State Assemby D17 – Tom Ammiano

Board of Education – Rachel Norton, Gladys Soto, Matt Haney, Sandra Lee Fewer, Jill Wynns
Community College Board – Steve Ngo, Rafael Mandelman, Chris Jackson, Amy Bacharach, Natalie Berg
BART Director D7 – Margaret Gordon As of 2012-11-13: Mallett
BART Director D9 – Tom Radulovich

Prop 30 – Taxes for Education – YES YES YES
Prop 31 – Two year state budget – NO
Prop 32 – Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction – NO
Prop 33 – Auto Insurance and Drivers’ History – No (again)
Prop 34 – Ends the Death Penalty – YES NO
Prop 35 – Human Trafficking Penalties – No Yes
Prop 36 – Amends the Three Strikes Law – YES
Prop 37 – Labeling Genetically Modified Foods – YES YES YES No
Prop 38 – Taxes for Education Version 2 – (blank) No
Prop 39 – Tax Treatments for Multistate Businesses – YES
Prop 40 – New State Senate Districts – YES (again)

Prop A – City College Funding – YES YES YES
Prop B – SF Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond – yes
Prop C – Housing Trust Fund for Affordable Housing – yes
Prop D – Consolidate Elections – YES
Prop E – Create Gross Receipts Tax – YES
Prop F – A Two-Phase Plan to Evaluate Draining Hetch Hetchy – eh, ok? No
Prop G – Policy Statement: Corporations are not People – eh, ok…

District 1 Supervisor – Eric Mar
District 3 Supervisor – David Chiu
District 5 Supervisor – Olague, Rizzo London Breed
District 7 Supervisor – As of 2012-11-13: Norman Yee
District 9 Supervisor – David Campos
District 11 Supervisor – John Avalos

I have also been following a few other important races around the country:

Most historically, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin became our first openly gay Senator, and Wisconsin’s first female Senator. It will be great to have her progressive voice in the Senate. Also another huge win was Elizabeth Warren, who has been fighting the good fight for financial regulation for the 99%. Both these ladies are an inspiration and I wish them all the best.

There were more wins for women last night. Claire McCaskill shut out Todd Akin in Missouri, the man who said pregnancy does not result from “legitimate rape,” (of course relating it to his stance against abortion in the case of rape). And, in Indiana, Joe Donnelly wiped out Richard Mourdock who shares Akin’s stance on abortion and said recently that pregnancy resulting in rape was what “god intended” (oh and he also justified the gender pay gap–what a doll). I am happy to report that Rick Berg, who wants to charge any woman who gets an abortion with homicide (including when her life is in danger, and in cases of rape and incest), was defeated by Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

I hope in my lifetime, my body won’t be a part of the political landscape, and I won’t have to talk about rape and pregnancy and abortion in political discourse. In the mean time, I am glad we can pick off some of the nut jobs who think I’m a lesser human because I was born with lady parts. In total, there are now 19 female Senators, more than ever in history! Let’s take the Presidency next.

On the civil rights front, Washington, Maine and Maryland have both all legalized same-sex marriage. Minnesotans also rejected a measure for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a woman and a man. It was a good day for civil rights; now the rest of the country.

Legalizing marijuana for recreational use was passed both in Colorado and Washington, though it failed in Oregon; Arkansas rejected medical marijuana. It will be interesting to see how the Federal law versus states’ rights plays out on this issue in the coming years.

I am still waiting for the outcome of Bera versus Lungren for the House of Representatives. Looks tight, with less than 200 votes separating the two, and Lungren not conceding. (Some news sources have called it for Bera, but I can’t confirm it.) Lungren is anti-choice, even in cases of rape and incest; Bera smartly made the final stretch of the campaign about women’s health.

Finally, in Montana, parental notification was approved for those under 16 seeking abortion in most cases, in Florida taxpayers voted against restricting state funding for abortions, and in Massachusetts voters defeated an initiative to allow assisted suicide.

Overall, I am disappointed that Californians didn’t repeal the death penalty (voters: we have blood on our hands today). We also got bought by Monsanto and DuPont, giving up our own consumers’ right to know. Even so, it was an historic day for women in politics. Thanks, ladies for voting and turning out the vote.

I’ll do my best to update this page as the final results become available.

Thanks again for voting!


Kate Slate: November 6, 2012 Election

Posted: October 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Elections, Kate Slate | Comments Off on Kate Slate: November 6, 2012 Election

The election is almost here and I’m already ready for it to be over! The suspense is killing me!

Welcome to another election and welcome to another edition of the Kate Slate, a little tradition I’ve had since I was able to vote. To recap, the goal of the Kate Slate is to provide you with some basic info about what is on the ballot while I navigate the ballot myself. I share my slate with my friends and my community, and I send it to people via email (in addition to posting it on urbandelicious.com) who have either RSVP’d for a Slate Party I have co-hosted, or I consider them a real-life friend, and thought they might want this info. Or you just clicked a link from Twitter, or an email a friend sent you, and that is fine too.

I go person by person, 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.

Feel free to forward it to friends (and friends, if someone other than me 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).

My opinions in the Slate are my own and in no way should be thought to represent any views of anyone other than myself. 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. And, I am not affiliated with any party.

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

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

Grab and Go
Read below for detailed explanations
Note: My ballot is for Congressional District 12, Senate District 11, Assembly District 17, Supervisoral District 9, BART District 9…sorry if I missed something on your ballot!
President and Vice President – Barack Obama and Joseph Biden
United States Senator – Dianne Feinstein
United States Representative D12 – Nancy Pelosi
State Senator D11- Mark Leno
State Assemby D17 – Tom Ammiano

Board of Education – Rachel Norton, Gladys Soto, Matt Haney, Sandra Lee Fewer
Community College Board – Steve Ngo, Rafael Mandelman, Chris Jackson, Amy Bacharach
BART Director D7 – Margaret Gordon
BART Director D9 – Tom Radulovich

Prop 30 – Taxes for Education – YES YES YES
Prop 31 – Two year state budget – NO
Prop 32 – Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction – NO
Prop 33 – Auto Insurance and Drivers’ History – No (again)
Prop 34 – Ends the Death Penalty – YES
Prop 35 – Human Trafficking Penalties – No
Prop 36 – Amends the Three Strikes Law – YES
Prop 37 – Labeling Genetically Modified Foods – YES YES YES
Prop 38 – Taxes for Education Version 2 – I’m leaving blank so 30 will get more Yes votes
Prop 39 – Tax Treatments for Multistate Businesses – YES
Prop 40 – New State Senate Districts – YES (again)

Prop A – City College Funding – YES YES YES
Prop B – SF Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond – yes
Prop C – Housing Trust Fund for Affordable Housing – yes
Prop D – Consolidate Elections – YES
Prop E – Create Gross Receipts Tax – YES
Prop F – A Two-Phase Plan to Evaluate Draining Hetch Hetchy – eh, ok?
Prop G – Policy Statement: Corporations are not People – eh, ok…

District 1 Supervisor – Eric Mar
District 3 Supervisor – David Chiu
District 5 Supervisor – Olague, Rizzo
District 7 Supervisor – Norman Yee
District 9 Supervisor – David Campos (unopposed)
District 11 Supervisor – John Avalos (unopposed)

The Long and the Short of It

President and Vice President – Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

Please please please encourage everyone you know to vote. And, while my radical friends will shake their head at me not considering a third party candidate when our state’s Electoral votes are sure to go to Obama, I am considering this an opportunity to toast the Democratic party for finally having the guts to make gay marriage a party platform, drawing the line for women’s rights, and taking god out of the Democratic platform before the Democratic National Convention. The Democratic Party is finally starting to look a little different than the Republican Party, so I’ll throw them a bone. If you need further convincing and want a couple decent reads on Obama, go no further than the NY Times Endorsement and the New Yorker article, “The Choice.”

United States Senator – Dianne Feinstein

Di Fi will get it again, likely in a landslide. You are likely familiar with her platform of women’s rights, gay rights and the environment, or else you somehow missed her now 20 years serving as US Senator. But, did you know that her opponent, Elizabeth Emken, not only is against amnesty for immigrants, but she wants to “secure farm labor” with a Guest Labor Program. Classy. So, you won’t grant immigrants amnesty, but you’ll let them do the “dirty work” citizens won’t do (see: Alabama). Nice.

United States Representative D12 – Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi has been kicking it in the House for five years more than Di Fi has been in the Senate, and it shows! She is the biggest fundraiser in Congress, and according to This American Life‘s Episode “Take the Money and Run for Office,” she attends over 400 fund raisers a year–more than one a day! Ugh. She won’t be taking the money out of politics any time soon. And yet, the alternative is frightening: Her opponent, Mr. John Dennis, wants to abolish the Departments of Education, Commerce and Agriculture, and end the income tax. Meanwhile Nancy Pelosi supports the traditional Democratic agenda. You know, schools, women, equal rights. So. There you go.

State Senator D11- Mark Leno

Mark Leno has basically decided that he doesn’t even need to run in this election since his opponent, Harmeet Dhillon is highly unlikely to win as she is pocked by her party affiliation: Republican in San Francisco. Leno doesn’t even have a platform on his campaign website! But, Mr. Leno is a hometown hero, a former City Supervisor with a strong record for workers and LGBT rights. In the State Senate he famously authored AB849, legalizing gay marriage, the first to pass a legislative body in the US (it was vetoed by Swarzenegger but nonetheless an important milestone). Dhillon is a sort of interesting Republican though. She thinks politics should stay out of social issues (!) and therefore I think she should keep her job as the Chairwoman of the Republican Party in San Francisco. Vote Mark Leno!

State Assemby D17 – Tom Ammiano

Those of you who follow my slates know I swoon for Tom Ammiano’s politics. He has been a fighter for civil rights for years, has a strong record of actually accomplishing pretty great work as a public servant and just in case you haven’t ever read my slates before, he was the first City Supervisor to ride his bike on Bike to Work Day. And, his Republic opponent, Jason P. Clark, doesn’t really have anything on Mr. Ammiano, and least of all, experience. Let’s go Tom!

Board of Education – Rachel Norton, Gladys Soto, Matt Haney, Sandra Lee Fewer
Vote for up to four.

In case you weren’t following the drama of the SF Board of Education (okay I know you weren’t), there was a controversial Board “skip vote” that took place in February regarding teacher layoffs. Basically, when there are teacher layoffs, seniority is king. But, the Board considered exempting some newer teachers by “skipping” them if they had special qualifications or if they were, say, a Math teacher in a school performing poorly in Math. This angered the Teachers’ Union, since of course, they have been playing by the seniority rule for years, and the Teachers’ Union refused to back any incumbents (even though they were able to nullify that skip vote through legal means). I, however, favor two incumbents who have a strong record, with plans to make their records even stronger in the next term: Rachel Norton and Sandra Lee Fewer.

Rachel Norton wants to build upon the “grab-and-go” breakfast program by providing in-classroom breakfast, to ensure all students start the schoolday with a full belly. And, she has the unique perspective of a mother of a students with disabilities to bring to the Board.

Sandra Lee Fewer I have endorsed before. Her reform approach for the schools is to focus on Principals, who I think are surprisingly overlooked when working on improving our schools. She has been a strong opponent of tracking and has worked to ensure high school graduation requirements match up to minimum UC student admission requirements (seems kinda obvious, non?), let’s give her another term to continue her work.

I also endorse newbies Matt Haney and Gladys Soto this election. Matt Haney is running on a platform of community engagement, beyond students and parents, as well as holistic school approach–from wellness centers at the schools, to expanding the Restorative Practice approach to discipline which helps keep students in school.

Gladys Soto didn’t have a lot of info about her platform in time for our Slate Party, but she has since beefed up her website and I am happy to endorse her. She has concise goals for her first term that include dedicating more funding to K-3 literacy which is crucial for a student’s success in later years, as well as access to language immersion programs for all students. She is also the lone Latina that would be on the Board, which she is happy to point out would provide an important perspective in SF.

I realize there are other candidates that people are excited about. Feel free to endorse them in the comments. Though, I will say I do not support Victoria Lo (not qualified), Beverly Ho-A-Yun Popek (running on a don’t-bully-my-child platform), Jill Wynns (I’ll just quote her: “Community commitment to diversity and de-segregation [SIC] must not be allowed to be pitted against the best interests of children and families.” Actually, I think de-segregation IS in the best interest of children and families–what is this 1954?), Sam Roderiguez (platform doesn’t explain how he plans to address the issues), or Paul Robertson (he doesn’t have a campaign site, though he does have a youtube page where he addresses his positions on issues like “nieghborhood schools” (his spelling). I just can’t take him seriously. Like I said, feel free to endorse others in the comments.

Community College Board – Steve Ngo, Rafael Mandelman, Chris Jackson, Amy Bacharach
Vote for up to four.

One of the more dire issues San Franciscan’s are facing this election is what to do about City College, one of San Francisco’s most beloved, albeit abused, institutions. First of all, if California Prop 30 and San Francisco Prop A do not pass, City College could be shut down and lose its accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) come March. So, we need our A-Team line up for the Community College Board. I’ll start with incumbents Chris Jackson and Steve Ngo.

While both Jackson and Ngo both have their goofier moments on the Board, they have been part of the reform efforts that have been trying to help City College recover from some pretty messy corruption and administrative abuse that hit the school hard in the past term. There is still a lot more work to do, for example, making the finances more transparent–something Chris Jackson has been working to do, and the WASC is demanding they do to maintain accreditation. Jackson is staunchly defending the non-credit community development courses the WASC thinks should be tossed, but the City loves, so I think his voice is needed on the Board. (Update: The CCSF Board just voted this past Friday to dissolve the faculty leadership administrative structure at City College to save money and streamline governance–another ask of the WASC. Chris Jackson was the only Board member to advocate for a review of the decision in six months. Another reason I support him. Smart leadership.)

Ngo has also had a strong record for righting the wrongs of City College–even doing the basic but necessary work of documenting processes like who has the authority to sign checks and authorize invoices. Ngo is more focused on the for-credit classes than the community enrichment classes, but I think his work for saving City College speaks for itself.

I’m going to skip over Hanna Leung, Rodrigo Santos and Natalie Berg this round, all of whom had their hands dirtied both by not addressing the issues City College faced earlier in the last term (they should have seen it coming and done something more to stop it) but also since they seem ambivalent to the Stephen Herman scandal (Berg was supported by a Herman fund raiser and thought it was no big deal, Leung and Santos just got their hands dirty attending it).

I am a Rafael Mandelman BELIEVER and I endorsed him in the last election for District 8 Supervisor; I felt that he would have been quite skilled in that role. His platform for his candidacy is pretty simple: Save City College. And he is a seasoned progressive leader who could help do it.

Finally I’ll endorse Amy Bacharach. Initially I didn’t see anything particularly compelling about her platform (other than progressive endorsements) but I dug up her Democratic Party Questionnaire which seems to be the only place she lists her qualifications and plan for City College. (Candidates note: turns out putting your platform and qualifications on your campaign website is a good idea!) She has “experience working with WASC as a graduate student, when (her) school went through a similar process and (she) was a student government representative for 7 campuses while coordinating with the Board and university president.”

I think the combo of bringing back the reformer incumbents as well as bringing in some fresh blood (along with passing Props 30 and Prop A) will ultimately save City College.

BART Director D7 – Margaret Gordon

I’ll admit I don’t know the candidates running for D7 that well, because I am not in D7. I am trying to help you D7 folks out a little here! Lynette Sweet has been neither overwhelming nor underwhelming, so I think it is time we give the seat to someone else, because BART needs strong leadership and we deserve it. Margaret Gordon is an environmental activist who was formerly a Port of Oakland Commissioner. I think her no-holds-barred approach will be good for the Board. (Side note: She is the only candidate I have ever found with a SoundCloud account. Super weird, and barely listenable, but points for creativity.) Maria Alegria could be good, too. Though, her political career was scarred when she was recalled as Pinole Mayor (thanks Marc Caswell for the link). And, Zachary Mallett seems too much the newb to be too effective.

BART Director D9 – Tom Radulovich

So, full disclosure: Tom Radulovich is a friend and colleague, and so I’ll just say right now, reelect him! He has smart, sound ideas for improving BART and has a strong record of doing so, from upgrading the seats and floors to improving lighting and signage, and also established both the Civilian Review Board as well as an independent police auditor for BART Police. And, he has more plans for his next term to continue to improve BART. Yay. Go Tom!

At this point, if you rather stop reading and listen to CalVoter’s Proposition Song instead, here is your segue.

Prop 30 – Taxes for Education – YES YES YES

Just in case you missed it the past couple times I mentioned it, this must pass to save City College. To further complicate the issue, 30 and 38 are roughly linked. If they both pass, whichever gets more “yes” votes wins. So. 30 is a progressive tax that hits the wealthier harder than lower incomes. It is desperately needed for education. This would have been passed in the legislature, but California has a policy that two-thirds of both houses pass tax increases. And, since our stupid elected slate legislators can’t really get ANYTHING done, it is now up to us to save our schools. Vote Yes. Please read 38 below about why I prefer 30 over 38.

Prop 31 – Two year state budget – NO

This would make budget cycles two years instead of one, which I think is smart. In fact, I voted for it (Prop A, 2009) when it the same issue was up for the City of San Francisco. But, this one is slightly different in that in the case of a fiscal emergency (when the legislature cannot pass a budget, which is–uh–always) the Governor is given the power to cut spending. And, I just cannot abide. It just gives the Governor too much power. It also potentially allows local governments to alter how state law applies to their state-funded programs. Send it back to voters as a clean, two-year state budget initiative. Until then, vote no.

Prop 32 – Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction – NO

The bottom line is this is a Union Buster. It’s goal is to cripple political funding for unions, period. Basically, it prohibits employers from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Union dues are usually deducted directly from your paycheck. So, this would mean that your union dues couldn’t be used for political purpose. Which baffles me. Because a large part of what your union does is political work on its workers’ behalf. Unions have fought long and hard for workers’ rights. The 8-hour day. The weekend. Paid vacation. Let’s not cripple them at their knees. If you want union reform, there are better ways.

Prop 33 – Auto Insurance and Drivers’ History – No (again)

Well, well, well. Looks like our friends in the insurance industry didn’t like how we voted in June 2010 on Prop 17, so they came back with the same prop again. So I’ll just say what I said on the Kate Slate in June 2010 again, too:

This was sponsored by an insurance company to profit by a policy change. Basically if you had a lapse in insurance (say, like me, you forewent a car) it would allow them to levy fees for having a break in insurance coverage…No, no, no.

Prop 34 – Ends the Death Penalty – YES

The Death Penalty: Doesn’t work as a deterrent to murder and other heinous crimes; cannot undo the harm of the crime; kills innocent people who were falsely convicted; more expensive for the government and tax payers than life sentences. So, I am voting yes. There is some concern, specifically among those actually on death row, because Prop 34 would also end the state-funded appeals process currently guaranteed by habeus corpus for convicts condemned to death (that is why the death penalty is such an expensive practice). That means they’d be treated like any convicted felon and have to cover the costs of filing appeals on their own, or try to find pro bono legal assistance to do so. Which will be a hardship for the wrongly convicted, but they will live. Literally.

(OK, quick shameless plug here: My pal Jean is writing the first-ever book about the families of the wrongly convicted, and she could use your help getting it published! Learn more about her project, its Kickstarter, and how you can read her book here.)

Recap: Prop 34 is going to save us heaps of money, and the State of California will not have blood on their hands for killing innocent people who are wrongly convicted. VOTE YES.

Prop 35 – Human Trafficking Penalties – No

This is one of those misleading prop titles you hear about. I mean, who wants human trafficking to go unpunished?! Though, this is a poorly-written proposition that human trafficking victims’ advocates actually oppose. I know, crazy huh? So what is the deal? Oddly, former Facebook exec Chris Kelly funded this proposition getting on the ballot. It expands the definition of who can be called a human trafficker and increases the penalties for human trafficking.

Therein lies the issue. The definition has been extended perhaps too far: Any act involved somehow with human trafficking can be penalized, which means that say, the unknowing roommate of a sex worker–in this case the act of “harboring” someone involved in the sale of humans–could have to register as a sex offender (for real) and give up their internet identities to law enforcement (that’s actually written in the law).

And, it has people who are convicted for human trafficking register as sex offenders. Did you know that more human trafficking in California is related to labor than sex? Wouldn’t it be confusing if you were notified that your neighbor was a sex offender, but really they drove a truck full of immigrants across a border? This is just poorly written legislation, period.

If you are deeply concerned about human trafficking, fear not: Our pals Tom Ammiano and Mark Leno are already working on smarter legislation that will combat human trafficking better than this. Vote NO NO NO and stay tuned for AB1571.

Prop 36 – Amends the Three Strikes Law – YES

Prop 36 would FINALLY amend the “Three Strikes Law” that currently requires any person convicted of three felonies to serve a minimum of 25 years. Prop 36 would change Three Strikes so the minimum sentence is 25 years only if the third felony is “serious or violent.” The current version of Three Strikes is costing us massive amounts of money and causing a huge overcrowding problem at our jails and prisons. This is an excellent amendment to the Three Strikes law that our state needs now more than ever. Vote yes.

Prop 37 – Labeling Genetically Modified Foods – YES YES YES

I think this is one of the most important pieces of consumer rights legislation in ages. It is the first of its kind in the US, and if passes could inspire legislation elsewhere in the county. This simply requires processed foods that use Genetically Modified ingredients be labeled as such. There is much in the way of misleading advertising against Prop 37 because there is heaps and heaps of money behind it from GMO giants Monsanto and DuPont. But don’t be fooled. More information is better! They have laws like this in Europe and the costs required by labeling have been minimal. All that is going to change is that you will know more about your food. If it passes, it will be a good day for food in America. (Just ask Michael Pollan.) Amen for that. VOTE YES.

Prop 38 – Taxes for Education Version 2 – I’m leaving blank so 30 will get more Yes votes

Under Prop 30, I explained that there were two school funding taxes on the ballot. This one is different because it is more or less a flat tax rate that taxes people making as little as $8,000 a year(!) all the way up to the richest rich. All of this misleading stuff about how 38 gives it straight to the schools and 30 does not is just that, misleading stuff. They both essentially have the same outcome, more or less. I think Prop 30 is better because it is graduated, taxing the rich more, and the poor less. And, I know I am an effing bleeding heart liberal, but I think that is the way it should be. Also, I am not rich, so I am biased.

Now, if both 30 and 38 pass, the one with more total Yes votes goes into effect. So, even though I don’t like 38 as much as 30, if 30 weren’t to pass, we still need this tax to fund education. I DO want 38 to pass, just with less Yes votes than 30. Thus, I will give one more Yes vote to Prop 30, and abstain from 38 so as to neither boost the No votes nor the Yes votes. Got it? Political strategy.

Prop 39 – Tax Treatments for Multistate Businesses – YES

This closes a tax loophole on businesses that do business in multiple states by requiring that they pay taxes based on a percentage of sales in California. The current law lets multistate businesses choose whether they pay taxes based on in-state sales, or a combination of sales, employment and property. Make multistate companies pay their fair share. Vote YES.

Prop 40 – New State Senate Districts – YES (again)

In 2008 we voted for this new independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission. It was important election reform. And, they did their work redistricting. You may have noticed the districts changed a little. Of course, there are always people unhappy with these results, and thus, they want to undo the voter-approved work by asking you to reject the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission so that the redistricting will be redone by officials supervised by the Supreme Court. Vote YES (again) to approve the work done by the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission.

Prop A – City College Funding – YES YES YES

A modest parcel tax that will save City College. For one, City College is underfunded, so this tax will help with funding needs. And, as I mentioned before, the WASC is threatening City College’s accreditation if the school doesn’t get their finances in order. Prop A must pass to keep City College open and keep its accreditation. Super important for San Franciscan’s only Community College. Vote YES!

Prop B – SF Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond – yes

This is a bond measure, so it is pricey money. And at the same time, Rec and Park is cash-strapped and needs money to fix broken facilities. And, since Rec and Park has already been dabbling in corporate money and moments of park privatization (think Dew Tour in Civic Center, Outside Lands Music Festival) to fund the parks, they are clearly desperate for the funding. Some may argue that these acts of desperation demonstrate that the parks officials can’t be trusted with the money that would be generated with this bond. I’d argue that we can’t afford to have our few park spaces unsafe and in disrepair. Vote yes.

Prop C – Housing Trust Fund for Affordable Housing – yes

Back in 2008, I pissed off all my progressive voter friends for voting no on Prop B, establishing an Affordable Housing Fund. Here is what I said about my decision:

While I think it is a great idea to spend a portion of the city budget on affordable housing, I am almost always against goverment set asides. I think that it is problematic to require a static, guaranteed percentage of the budget for a specific purpose. We elect officials to manage the budget and adjust that budget for the changing needs of the city. If blocks of that money are frozen to be used for specific purposes, our elected officials cannot adjust the budget for the ebb and flow of our city’s needs.

So what changed? Well, this affordable housing trust fund will be funded by recapturing redevelopment funds that are already being used for affordable housing, and there are provisions to ensure it has minimal effects on the General Fund. So, it is better legislation than in 2008, and I can feel good getting behind it. And my pals can stop being mad at me for voting against affordable housing. Annnnd, we might be able to afford to live in this beautiful city we call home for a little bit longer. Vote YES.

Prop D – Consolidate Elections – YES

Here is another proposition I am flip flopping on. Not exactly flip flopping, but I voted against Prop F “Holding All Scheduled City Elections Only in Even-Numbered Years” in 2008. Even though it would have saved money, I was worried it would result in LONG-ASS BALLOTS LIKE THIS ONE. And, I was concerned that voters wouldn’t have the info they needed to make informed votes on all the issues of a long ballot. I mean…are you even reading still?! (Thanks, by the way, if you are. This is a long ballot!)

But pick your poison: is it worse to have a lot of uninformed voters voting on a long-ass ballot, or a tiny voter turnout determining the outcome of an election for everyone? I think more voters is better, and I now think consolidating elections will both ensure a greater voter turnout, and also save the city some money. Vote yes.

Prop E – Create Gross Receipts Tax – YES

This Proposition ostensibly is a “job creator” proposition. In effect, it replaces the payroll tax that businesses hate with a gross receipts tax. The thinking here is that it would relieve the payroll tax burden on small businesses on hiring staff and create new jobs in San Francisco. Also, it introduces a progressive tax structure so that more profitable businesses pay more in taxes. You may have noticed a lot of talk about keeping tech businesses in SF, and Prop E is a further step in that direction. Vote Yes!

Prop F – A Two-Phase Plan to Evaluate Draining Hetch Hetchy – eh, ok?

Do you think I have lost my mind? Follow my logic here: If Hetch Hetchy were to be drained and the valley restored, where would we get our delicious water from? And all that energy? It is kind of INSANE to think what we would do without Hetch Hetchy. We are completely dependent on it. We need it to survive!

And yet, it is a valid question. What WOULD we do without Hetch Hetchy? What if something terrible [insert natural or human disaster here] were to happen, and we did have to face that question? Wouldn’t we be interested in having a plan down on paper about addressing that issue? It would certainly be nice to have. Prop F doesn’t actually demand the draining of Hetch Hetchy, it just demands a plan. (Albeit a VERY, very expensive-to-produce plan, while our city is already cash-strapped.)

I am pretty (damn) sure that this won’t pass (har har, pun intended). (Just to be clear, I don’t advocate for Hetch Hetchy to be drained, I am way too spoiled by our delicious tap water, even if it makes me a hypocritical enviro-hippy.) But I would like to advocate for that plan. So I think I will vote yes, maybe. What do you think?

Prop G – Policy Statement: Corporations are not People – eh, ok…

I totally got called out at our Slate Party for being a Policy Statement hater. And I am. They are non-binding and just generally a waste of time and money, and allow for a “foot in the door” for future actually-binding legislation. I have always abstained from voting on policy statements. They irk me to no end. But another thing that really irks me is the evil, evil “Citizens United” Supreme Court ruling that “corporations are people, too,” and deserve the right to freedom of speech, or in the case of politics, freedom to fund political campaigns anonymously! It has helped to bring about the heinous expensive and misleading campaigns we are seeing this election cycle in almost every race, from President down the ballot. It is a mess. And some people think that by voting yes on this policy statement, by being a big city and whatnot, that this will help start the conversation about Corporate personhood. (Although, hasn’t that conversation already begun?) So, I might vote yes on it, just because I hate the Citizens United ruling even more than I hate policy statements.

Since I don’t have to vote in the Supervisor’s race (my Supervisor is running unopposed against a write-in candidate who won’t realistically win) I don’t have much to say, but lots of people want info on these folks, so here I go:

District 1 Supervisor – Eric Mar

Eric Mar has been a strong progressive supervisor, and I support his reelection. Since most people seem to care a lot about how the Supervisors came down on the 8 Washington Vote and the Mirkarimi vote, he voted FOR 8 Washington luxury condos and for ousting Mirkarimi. He has been solid on bike issues and also tenants’ issues.

District 3 Supervisor – David Chiu

I felt bad for him when he was foiled by Ed Lee during the past mayoral election, told by Lee that Lee wouldn’t run for Mayor, and then of course Lee did run for Mayor, dashing Chiu’s chances at winning the election. But, he isn’t the progressive angel he used to seem to be. He is more moderate now, maybe jaded by the office and a failed campaign? Who knows. I really did believe in him. He is the only Supervisor who rides his bike for transportation, so he keeps bike issues a top priority. But, even though he has lost some of his lustre, I don’t think any of the alternatives are better. 8 Washington: Led the fight AGAINST, Mirkarimi: voted to keep him.

District 5 Supervisor – Olague, Rizzo

Olague was appointed by Mayor Lee to fill Mirkarimi’s seat when Mirkarimi was elected Sheriff. She worked for the planning department, and though she doesn’t have the eloquence of a seasoned politician, I think she has been doing fairly solid work. When she was appointed, no one expected some dreamy progressive. She was a major champion the Fell/Oak bikeways that were just unanimously approved. And, I think overall she has been fairly solid. FYI, she voted for 8 Washington, and for Mirkarimi to keep his job. After the Mirkarimi vote, people pulled their endorsements for her. But, like Chiu, I don’t think there is a better candidate. Read on:

Rizzo might be a good choice, but he already has a crucial job: Community College Board Member! Yes! We elected John Rizzo to that Board, and he has been one of the reformers involved in helping to fix City College. And, we need his leadership there more than ever. Dear Mr. Rizzo: Stay on the CCSF Board and run for D5 later after you have a proud record of saving City College!

Julian Davis is politically corrupt already and he hasn’t even served in public office! He served a cease and desist letter to his sexual assault victim when she spoke up about the assault (right in the middle of the Mirkarimi isht-storm) and then he published and distributed “counterfeit” League of Pissed of Voters guides, designed to look exactly like the League guides, after they pulled his endorsement for him after the news of the sexual assault. In fact, everyone pretty much pulled their endorsement of Julian Davis. Avoid like the plague. He is not your progressive choice.

Finally Thea Selby is supported by merchant’s association folks and has a narrow focus and London Breed is fiery, but maybe a little too much. I don’t know much about the other candidates. Sorry.

District 7 Supervisor – Norman Yee

I also don’t know much about the D7 candidates, and truthfully I never really knew much about Sean Elsbernd either, who is the current termed-out Supervisor in the district. But, Norman Yee was the President of the Board of Education and saw to many improvements in SFUSD under his watch. I think he’ll be good as Supervisor. FX Crowley has a labor background and also seems pretty cool, and Elsbernd supports him.

And Finally…

District 9 Supervisor – David Campos (unopposed)
District 11 Supervisor – John Avalos (unopposed)

If you have read this far, you deserve a medal! Wow! Longest Kate Slate in the history of the world (maybe, I didn’t actually check). And, since these guys are running (update: almost) unopposed, you don’t even have to vote for them and they will still win. Woot! John Avalos was the City’s progressive pick for Mayor and lost to Ed Lee, and remains the darling of the San Francisco Left, and David Campos, well, he is pretty okay too. Campos has massively fundraised even though he is the only name on the ballot, so look for him to stay in politics for a while. Oh! Their Votes! They both opposed 8 Washington and voted to reinstate Mirkarimi. (Update: Due to Campos’s vote to reinstate Mirkarimi, Bud Ryerson is now running as an official write-in candidate in D9. See I told you people were galvanized by that vote.)

Thanks as always for reading and happy voting to you and yours.


Debate BINGO Cards are here!

Posted: October 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Elections | Comments Off on Debate BINGO Cards are here!

Here are some debate BINGO cards to entertain you during tonite’s Obama-Romney Debate!
Debate BINGO

Have fun!