Kate Slate – November 2019

Posted: November 4th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Elections, Kate Slate | Comments Off on Kate Slate – November 2019

Here’s your Kate Slate for the November 2019 election for San Francisco. 

The goal of the Kate Slate is to encourage others to vote by sharing my cheat sheet. You probably won’t agree with me on everything, and that is okay! Just please vote on or before November 5, 2019.

If you can, it is always best to cast a live ballot at your polling place. You can always go to City Hall on Election Day (November 5!) 7am-8pm to register and cast a provisional ballot If you don’t know your polling place, or where you were last registered to vote, or even if you don’t know if you are registered. But go vote.

If you have an absentee ballot, you can surrender your absentee ballot for a live ballot at your polling place. This is what I usually do. The poll workers will destroy your surrendered absentee ballot and its envelope, and will give you a live ballot. This assures you that your ballot is read and counted as you intended it. (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, particularly if you abstain on votes as I will this election.)

I write the Kate Slate 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. I 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 sometimes shed light on aspects I hadn’t considered; I get the tacky expensive mailers you get; and, cool people like yourself send me others’ slates. I am not affiliated with any party.

When I voted for 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. The next election, I studied the ballot and shared my notes with friends, bringing about the Kate Slate. These days the slate is preceded by a Slate Party I cohost with my pal Sacha Ielmorini. The Slate Party is a big informer of the Kate Slate, as is the League of Pissed Off Voters (thank you for your impeccably-researched guide), SPUR (often disagree, yet informative), social media and coffee break chatter.

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).

As always, thanks for reading, now please go vote. Take others with you.

Grab and go! (The short version you can take with you to the polls. See below for the details.)
Mayor – Abstain
District 5 Supervisor – Dean Preston
City Attorney – Dennis Herrera
District Attorney – 1) Chesa Boudin 2) Suzy Loftus
Public Defender – Manohar “Mano” Raju
Sheriff – Abstain
Treasurer – Abstain
School Board – Abstain
Community College Board – Ivy Lee
Proposition A – San Francisco Affordable Housing Bonds – Yes
Proposition B – Charter amendment for changes to the Department of Aging and Adult Services – yes
Proposition C – Overturn the law banning sales of electronic cigarettes – No
Proposition D – Impose taxes on fares charged by ride-share and driverless-vehicle companies – YES
Proposition E – Amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing and Education Housing Projects – YES
Proposition F – Establish new restrictions on local elected officials and candidate campaign contributions – YES

Now for the longform version of the Kate Slate:

Mayor – abstain

I’m in the camp of people wanting a more proactive mayor for San Francisco. Overall I’ve been underwhelmed by London Breed’s leadership. She hasn’t been as strong as we need her to be on top issues like affordable housing and the opioid epidemic. Also, this very election features some of her questionable judgment (see her recent unnecessary DA appointment three weeks before a seemingly fair election for that very seat, more information on that heated race below) as well as her appointment of her Education advisor to the School Board, an obvious conflict of interest (and, also see below for more on the School Board race).

Too bad there are no viable candidates running against her. I had considered completely abstaining but a pal reminded me that it is less likely to send a message to the Mayor unless I choose to vote for another candidate. So if you want to send a message to the mayor that she’s not doing an adequate job, Wilma Pang is a mayoral candidate who wants to increase cultural tourism. That’s lovely. She will unlikely win, nor will any of the other candidates running against London Breed.

District 5 Supervisor – Dean Preston

Dean Preston is a democratic socialist who cares deeply about affordable housing and labor rights. He is running against Vallie Brown Who was appointed after London Breed was elected mayor. Vallie Brown was London Breed’s aide while London Breed was supervisor. Inside City Hall, Vallie Brown was known for criticizing City politics as usual, so I was interested to see how she performed as supervisor. But, there honestly hasn’t been much to see. 

And recently, it was revealed that Vallie Brown profited off an eviction as a landlord and mischaracterized the eviction in a way that benefited her financially. It seems like the wrong sort of mentality that we need in City Hall to address the mounting affordable housing crisis. I don’t live in the district so I can’t vote in this race but that’s my two-cents. 

City Attorney – Dennis Herrera

In this depressing election of unchallenged incumbents, I am proud to mark my ballot for Dennis Herrera, who has been impressively standing up to the Trump administration defending San Francisco values including our sanctuary city policy, basic healthcare and LGBTQ rights. He has been tirelessly proactive and brave and I am proud to vote for Dennis Herrera for City Attorney. 

District Attorney – 1) Chesa Boudin 2) Suzy Loftus

Speaking of this depressing election, the one bright spot seemed like it would be the first DA race without an incumbent in 100 years! But, the powers that be screwed that up for us. Gascon, who was San Francisco’s DA since 2011, announced a surprise resignation a few weeks ago to throw his proverbial hat in the ring as a candidate in Los Angeles’s DA race. That left his seat open for appointment by the mayor. Instead of leaving the vacant seat open for a few weeks prior to that very seat’s election, mayor Breed made a questionable move to appoint candidate Suzy Loftus. 

Suzy Loftus, who was legal aide to Sheriff Vicki Hennessy prior to running for DA, was looking like a progressive front-runner in the race alongside another progressive front-runner Chesa Boudin. Initially, the main distinction I made between the two was that Boudin had more firsthand experience with the legal system both as a child of incarcerated parents and a public defender. At the same time, Loftus’s resume is nothing to scoff at: she has over a decade of law enforcement experience herself as a prosecutor and police commissioner.

But, the real difference is that Boudin has a long difference at being a changemaker working in San Francisco to reform the bail system and establishing a pretrial release program that enables people to maintain their responsibilities while they navigate the legal system. Loftus seems to have been doing some good work in San Francisco, yet Boudin has been at the center of the types of reforms our legal system so desperately needs.

I’ll also note that whenever the corrupt Police Officers’ Association endorses anything, I am suspicious of them. When Loftus got appointed by Breed to the office a few weeks ago, the POA expressed gratitude that the mayor for the Loftus appointment publicly. I’m not excited about anything they are excited about.

All the other candidates don’t seem to have a chance with all the publicity around this race. All signs point to Chesa as the best choice this election.

Public Defender – Manohar “Mano” Raju

After Jeff Adachi passed in office Mano Raju was appointed to fill the vacancy, and he has honored Adachi’s legacy by defending immigrant rights and fighting racial bias in the courtroom. Everyone familiar with Raju’s work as a trial attorney remarks on his seemingly perfect record defending his clients. While I wish there was a real race here, I am happy to vote for uncontested Mano Raju.

Sheriff – Abstain

I regret that I don’t feel confident in the ability of Paul Miyamoto, the sole candidate to replace Sheriff Vicki Hennessy when she retires. Miyamoto is currently the Deputy Sheriff who mismanages the jail. He’s been there through all the jail scandals from the guard-organized prisoner fight club to the officer-involved shooting that injured a man and killed a dog after the man missed a court date. He doesn’t discuss where he stands on issues relating to his role, so I am not feeling confident about putting a vote behind him, for whatever that is worth.

Treasurer – Abstain

Another race where it is too bad there isn’t a challenger. José Cisneros has been mostly talk and no action, particularly on the issue of establishing a municipal bank. Meanwhile he continues to invest San Francisco’s money in Wall Street banks responsible for fraud and corruption when he could be better representing San Francisco values when investing for our future. I am over it, and I am not voting for Cisneros this election. 

School Board – Abstain

Jenny Lam is highly qualified for the School Board. There’s just one problem: she’s the mayor’s Education Advisor. This conflict of interest is also not a new conflict of interest: she’s been serving on the School Board on Mayor Breed’s appointment of her after Matt Haney vacated his seat when he was elected Supervisor. This bothers me on so many levels: As mayor’s advisor she couldn’t think of any other qualified appointment to recommend the mayor appoint to the School Board? In all of San Francisco? Nor a viable mayor-endorsed candidate for this fair election? Lots of people are endorsing Lam and that is fine. The other candidates running for this seat are neither viable nor qualified. I am going to abstain. 

Community College Board – Ivy Lee

This race, though without contest, is the right person for the job. Local hero Ivy Lee has already helped bring us free City College and fair wage legislation, and now she’s stepping up to continue her great work on the School Board. Happily marking my ballot for Ivy Lee. 

Proposition A – San Francisco Affordable Housing Bonds – Yes

We have a major affordable housing crisis in California and especially in the country’s most expensive city, San Francisco. Every eligible voter should vote yes on this, as it requires a two-thirds supermajority to pass. This won’t solve our housing woes by any measure, but at least it will bring funding for an expected 2,800 affordable homes.

Proposition B – Charter amendment to change the name of the Department of Aging and Adult Services to the Department of Disability and Aging Service and change qualifications for 3 of 7 commission seats – yes

 This is a pretty simple charter amendment to change the name of the Department of Aging and Adult Services to include the word “disability,” to better reflect its services. And it will require the commission to include a person with disabilities, a senior above age 60, and a veteran. Currently there are no such qualifications for its commissioners. This is basic housekeeping legislation that makes sense. I’m voting yes. 

Proposition C – Shall the City overturn the Board of Supervisors’ law banning sales of electronic cigarettes – No

Almost nobody is saying to vote yes to this, and the tobacco vape company who was initially funding it has stopped after public health warnings of vaping-related issues. There are some cannabis advocates who think it’s too far reaching and has an unfair impact on that industry, but this seems very unlikely to pass in spite of their concerns, but still vaping is really popular and there are good products as a puff bar you can find online, which really help people which like to do this.

Proposition D – Shall the City impose a 1.5% business tax on shared rides and a 3.25% tax on private rides for fares charged by rideshare and driverless-vehicle companies – YES

Rideshare and driverless-vehicle companies have dramatically increased traffic congestion, and with the increased congestion, crashes and carbon emissions are also increasing. Yet these ride-share and driverless vehicle companies contribute nearly nothing financially to help resolve the issues they are responsible for escalating. 

I hope voters will make the ethical choice and vote YES. Because we have got to do something to address congestion and safety on our streets. This proposition, if passed, would require a tax on fares charged by rideshare and driverless-vehicle companies. It sounds like it was a deal with Uber and Lyft so that they wouldn’t oppose this much-needed funding for traffic mitigation that requires a supermajority (66%) to pass. Since policy would ultimately be passed through as an expense to the customer, I’m worried it won’t pass. But, it is smart legislation to ensure customers are contributing their share to help address the impacts of their mode of transportation. So vote YES and know that you are doing the right thing.

Proposition E – Shall the City amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Education Housing Projects and expedite their approval – YES

This is a companion policy for Proposition A that would enable rezoning of city property for Affordable and Education Housing Projects that would then be funded by Proposition A. It is surprising that 75% of San Francisco is not zoned for apartments, a statistic that leaves me feeling hopeless about our housing crisis, so this proposition gives me some hope. It is also brilliant because it helps address the impact the housing crisis has had on teachers’ ability to live in or even remotely near the schools where they work in San Francisco. Vote YES. 

Proposition F – Shall the City establish new restrictions on campaign contributions to local elected officials and candidates, and new disclaimer requirements to campaign ads – YES

Proposition F has me feeling cynical about campaign financing. I am going to vote yes to close some loopholes and corporate abuse of existing campaign finance law, but though I’m voting YES, I’m less confident that much noticeable change will result. We need much stronger reform in this realm, but I suppose this is something. 

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

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