June 5, 2018 Voter Guide

Voting Logistics!

↓ scroll down for the endorsement cheat sheet ↓

Where’s your polling place? Call 311, see SFelections.org, or vote in City Hall.

Key dates:

  • June 2-3: Weekend voting in City Hall! 10am-4pm.
  • June 4: Vote at City Hall, 8am-5pm.
  • June 5: Election Day! Polls open 7am-8pm. If you're in line to vote by 8pm, they gotta let you!

Little Known Voting Facts:

  • 16- and 17-year-olds can (almost) vote! You can pre-register and your registration will automatically be activated when you turn 18!
  • Felons can vote! Even if you've committed a felony, you can vote as long as you’re off parole. Don’t let the Man disenfranchise you!
  • Slackers can vote: Election Day Voter Registration!
    Did you miss the 5/21 deadline to register to vote? For the first time in California, you can still vote - register and vote at City Hall. You can’t use a normal polling place, but if you go to the basement of City Hall you can register and vote there! Go ahead, make history! Do it!

TL;DR:
The League Endorsement Cheat Sheet

Printable 11x17" voter guide (SF plus state)


Mayor

1-2-3 Ranked Choice Vote

#1 Jane Kim
#2 Mark Leno
#3 Amy Farah Weiss

Board of Supervisors

District 8: Rafael Mandelman

State Propositions

Prop 68: $4B Bond for Parks, Drought Protection, Climate Adaption - Yes
Prop 69: Require Diesel Tax to Be Spent on Transportation Stuff - Yes
Prop 70: Give Republicans & Corporate Dems Power on Cap’n’Trade Funds - No
Prop 71: Delay Effective Date of Ballot Measures Until All Ballots Are Counted - Yes
Prop 72: Rainwater Capture Systems Won’t Trigger Property Tax Assessments - Yes

Regional Measures

Regional Measure 3: Raise Bridge Tolls $3 Over 7 Years to Fund Transportation Projects - Yes

Local Propositions

Prop A: Authorize Public Utilities Commission to Issue Clean Energy Bonds - Yes
Prop B: Commissioners with Conflicts Can’t Be Candidates - Yes
Prop C: Commercial Rent Tax for Child Care & Early Education For All - Hell Yes!
Prop D: Divisive Commercial Rent Tax for Too Little Housing - Disappointed No :(
Prop E: Uphold the Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products - Yes
Prop F: Right to Counsel for Tenants Facing Eviction! - Hell Yes!
Prop G: Parcel Tax to Give Teachers a Raise! - Hell Yes!
Prop H: Let Police Use Tasers on Nonviolent People?!? - Hell No!
Prop I: SF Shouldn't Steal Sports Teams from Other Cities - Sure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

State Offices

Governor: Delaine Eastin
Lieutenant Governor: Gayle McLaughlin
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
Controller: Betty Yee
Treasurer: Kevin Akin
Attorney General: Dave Jones or Xavier Becerra (Dual Endorsement)
Insurance Commissioner: Nathalie Hrizi
Board of Equalization, District 2: No Endorsement

Federal Offices

U.S. Senator: Kevin de León
Congress, District 12: Shahid Buttar or Ryan Khojasteh (Dual Endorsement)
Congress, District 14: Jackie Speier

State Legislature

State Assembly, Districts 17: No Endorsement
State Assembly, Districts 19: No Endorsement

Judges

Superior Court Judge, Seat 4: Phoenix Streets
Superior Court Judge, Seat 7: Maria Evangelista
Superior Court Judge, Seat 9: Kwixuan Maloof
Superior Court Judge, Seat 11: Niki Solis

School Offices

State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond

 

Like our voter guide?
Share it with your friends, and kick us down a couple of bucks so we can keep printing the guide. For the price of a beer, we can print and distribute 100 voter guides.
Help us out!

 

Mayor: (1-2-3 Ranked Choice Vote)
#1 Jane Kim
#2 Mark Leno
#3 Amy Farah Weiss

Check out the candidates answers to our questionnaire.

Preamble: This Is Our Real Shot at a Progressive Mayor

If you think things are going fine with the City, then feel free to stop reading now. But if you’re troubled by the current state of San Francisco….here’s our pitch.

The League was originally founded by a young graffiti artist & activist who tapped into the power of hip-hop culture to mobilize voter blocs of disaffected young people in urban cores across the nation. The goal was to take back our government at every level! Some of us were organizing with the League in critical elections back in 2004, 2006 and then 2008, when the nation saw record youth voter turnout. We believe in a City where the success of some San Franciscans doesn’t come at the expense of our most vulnerable and historically exploited communities. One of the basic tenets of the League’s philosophy is that knowledge is power and to that end, we have tried to produce a voter guide every cycle that educates the communities who share our progressive principles. And that means explaining our endorsements from the heart.

This election is clutch. The mayor we elect in June could potentially run the city for ten years. San Francisco’s most vexing issues have only worsened over the last 22 years under a string of nepotistic mayoral administrations that have all been part of the same tired-ass “City Family” Corporate Machine. They have consistently sold everyday San Franciscans out to big money interests, and too often have valued loyalty over competence in our City departments.  With a wealth gap that rivals Rwanda and a growing $10 billion spending budget that is larger than at least 13 separate countries, San Francisco is struggling to address basic issues of equity and progress.

For the first time in a quarter of a century, we have an opportunity to shake up the patronage army in City Hall and usher in a new generation of smart and pragmatic leaders who will rep the values still beating at the heart of this City - and show that progressive policy solutions can work in a modern and growing city!

Ranked Choice Voting? How's that work?

For local offices, we vote using ranked choice voting.

  • You can rank up to three candidates.
  • If no candidate gets over 50%, the bottom vote-getters are eliminated.
  • Eliminated candidates' second and third choices are redistributed until somebody wins.

So your #2 and #3 choices only get counted if your #1 choice is eliminated.

We expect this will be the first time that the Mayor's race is decided by ranked choice voting! So you should think hard about who you rank #2 and #3.

Polls show Jane Kim, Mark Leno, and London Breed bunched together at the top. That means that the #2 choices of whoever finishes third will likely decide who our next Mayor is! Read on for why we strongly encourage you to rank Jane Kim and Mark Leno as your top two choices in whichever order you like best.

(If you want to geek out on RCV, check out this post from Pedro Hernandez at FairVote.)

Mayor #1: Jane Kim

We have followed Jane Kim’s public service career since her early days as a community organizer. Bottom line: She gets shit done. Her work has been strongly influenced by the struggles of her immigrant family - from working on the School Board to close SFUSD’s education gap to taking on Homeland Security’s illegal surveillance and harassment of immigrants as District 6 Supervisor. She is a brilliant & progressive woman of color who has fought for and won groundbreaking legislative victories, including the country’s first $15 minimum wage, first privately financed housing developments with 40% affordable housing, first medical respite homeless shelter and first Free City College program - even the SF Chronicle has called her “a badass.” Her latest push is Prop C, which will ease the brutal burden of childcare costs for SF families.

Jane is the leading voice in City Hall for making our congested and treacherous streets safer. She was the original champion for the Vision Zero movement, to eliminate traffic fatalities by redesigning our streets. During her term in office, she has supported a ton of pedestrian and bike safety projects in her district. We especially appreciate how she stood up to the Fire Department's bullying  when they tried to water down the Turk Street protected bike lane. We need a Mayor who stands up to bullies! Jane is also a longtime supporter of congestion pricing: charging drivers for driving in the City core to reduce congestion, speed up Muni, and generate funding for modernizing our transportation system. Speaking of bullies: she was the first elected official to call for Chief Greg Suhr to resign after police violence and racial-bias scandals rocked the department.

Jane regularly gets into the nitty gritty of housing and tenant policy. She authored the Eviction Protections 2.0 ordinance to stop fraudulent evictions and fought to protect rent-controlled housing from being converted into condos. She negotiated compromises on complex issues like how the City does its environmental review of projects (ensuring that affordable housing and public infrastructure are prioritized for streamlining). She also led the Inclusionary Affordable Housing negotiations that won us the highest affordable housing requirements in private development in the country, including a new requirement for middle-income housing - without taking money from low-income housing!

Jane has become the City’s de-facto housing negotiator. Those affordable housing requirements were negotiated with community groups, developers, the Mayor, her colleagues, and it was all informed by technical analysis from the Controller to get the most affordable housing that was financially feasible for developers to build.

On the Giants’ Mission Rock development, Mayor Lee signed on to the original deal for 15% affordable housing. Jane Kim worked with community leaders to negotiate that up to 40% in a deal that paved the way for voters to overwhelming approve the project. She also negotiated a significant increase in affordable housing and community benefits at the “5M” development at 5th and Mission. On that one, Jane showed she was willing to make hard choices to get the best deal for the City when she ultimately had to go against her longtime allies at the SOMCAN neighborhood group who opposed the final deal.

The Mission Rock and 5M projects show Jane’s skills at the type of high stakes negotiations that are critical to the Mayor’s job. She wasn’t interested in reducing building heights or limiting the size of projects. She was focused on delivering the most affordable housing and community benefits possible by facilitating compromises to get housing built. These skills are critical for the next Mayor who inherits Housing Crisis 2.0.

Imagining a San Francisco run by Jane Kim gives us hope. Let’s get this woman elected and make some history! Vote Jane Kim #1 Choice for Mayor!

Mayor #2: Mark Leno

Like Kim, Leno has shown fearlessness and fortitude in tackling hot-button issues in the State Capitol, as both an Assemblyman and a State Senator: protecting tenants against Ellis Act evictions, fighting to bring transparency to police misconduct, advocating to end the death penalty, increasing the vehicle license fee to fund transportation, reducing minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders, and taking on PG&E and their lobbyists. In fact, he somehow managed to push the envelope on progressive policies while working with Republicans when he needed to, and had a reputation as one of Sacramento’s most effective legislators. His knowledge of and connections with our state government apparatus would be a huge asset as Mayor and sets him apart from the other candidates.

Finally, he’s just a good, decent, classy person. He has the ability, rare in a politician, to tell you straight up when he disagrees with you, and keep working with you on other issues. And have you seen how fly he looks in his Folsom leathers? If elected, he would be the first openly gay Mayor in San Francisco’s history, which is still a big deal. At a time when so much of our LGBTQ community is being pushed out of the City, it would be amazing to have a Mayor with such deep connections to that community. SF would be in capable hands with his resume and temperament. Vote Mark Leno #2 Choice for Mayor.

Mayor #3: Amy Farah Weiss

You gotta give it to Amy: she is passionate and relentless when it comes to addressing the homeless and housing crisis, and has done a ton of research and on-the-ground organizing to educate people on the issues. Her voice has added focus and value to these critical discussions, and we’re happy to rank Amy Farah Weiss #3 Choice for Mayor.

Why not London Breed?

Maaaaan, we really wanna like London. She’s got a great story, the kind of story that inspires us to take on inequity in San Francisco. That’s real. The problem is: she also has a long track record of punting on actual solutions to inequity.

UPDATE #1: What's up with London Breed asking for the Republican Party's endorsement and sending out fundraising letters from prominent Republicans? We get into that here.

UPDATE #2: KALW asked Breed about the Tenant Union's criticism of her record. She incorrectly claimed they lied and then she incorrectly claimed she voted for an ordinance regulating tenant buyouts that she actually voted against! Ooph.

For those new to the city, you may just be hearing about Breed for the first time, so you might be feeling her story. If you’ve been here for a minute, you still might be hearing about Breed for the first time, because as the Chronicle noted, she’s got a “thin legislative record.” Breed has a long voting record as a Supervisor but has repeatedly failed to take a position on important issues. (On our questionnaire, she skipped the questions on Prop F for Renters Right to Counsel, police discipline, congestion pricing, and 2014’s anti-speculation tax.) She’s got a troubling anti-tenant record. She refused to support the anti-speculation tax designed to limit evictions; she opposed legislation to regulate “tenant buyouts” which displace thousands of San Franciscans; and tried to decrease relocation funds for tenants evicted by the Ellis Act. Yet she campaigns on being a lifelong renter herself. What gives?

San Francisco Rising Action Fund, a longtime people-powered grassroots organization pointed out, “The legislation that was passed for Sanctuary City, Inclusionary Affordable Housing For All, and even a non-binding resolution against Police Brutality were all substantially weakened by London Breed. For these reasons, we cannot support her for Mayor.” Her contentious relationship with tenant rights groups, including the low-income residents of Midtown in her own district, is particularly troubling in our majority-renter City.

Breed’s first campaign slogan said she would be a “mayor for all San Francisco.” But during the campaign she’s failed to show up at a number of important candidate forums. Skipping out on groups like Jobs with Justice, SF Rising, the Council of Community Housing Organizations, the Latino Democratic Club, and many others doesn’t sound like a “mayor for all SF.” And as President of the Board of Supervisors, we’ve heard over and over again of her and her staff refusing to meet with constituents or community advocacy groups. 

From the get-go, Breed picked sides with the special interests that have run this city through three consecutive mayoral dynasties. Are you upset about Mark Farrell being our interim Mayor? We've had tons of beef with Farrell (tons and tons). That's why we were so disappointed with how Breed empowered Farrell by making him chair of the Budget committee (twice!) and Land Use committee. Breed's committee assignments always empowered the more-conservative Supervisors and sidelined the progressives.

Why are we tripping on this? TBH, the inequities and disparities in this city have only grown over the last 25 years, fueled by pay-for-play corruption and corporate deregulation cheerleading from City Hall. Whether it’s from the Realtors Association, serial evictors, or tech CEOs who resist reasonable regulations and attack women of color, these same forces are all in for Breed. She says a lot of the right things, and it can be hard to cut through the headlines and political drama that have surrounded this race since Mayor Ed Lee passed away. But her disappointing voting record, when considered with the monied interests that back her, show her siding consistently with the corporate special interests who work against families, tenants, and victims of police brutality.

We’ll let SF Rising close it out:

“Our vision for progressive governance includes the elected leadership of native San Franciscans, of women, and of working-class people of color. Especially given the mass displacement of Black families and poor people, someone like London Breed, with her lived experiences, appears so promising… But in choosing our leaders, their individual identities cannot outweigh their actions and policy decisions that impact our communities and families.” Word.

^Back to Top

Board of Supervisors (Check out the candidates answers to our questionnaire.)

Board of Supervisors, District 8: Rafael Mandelman

Rafael Mandelman is a progressive champion and longtime League ally who currently sits on SF’s College Board. Rafael led the charge in Sacramento to keep City College’s accreditation. He is a leader on sanctuary campus, the City College extension of sanctuary city.

Rafael’s personal story is so compelling. His mother struggled with mental illness and for most of his childhood, his mother was homeless. He moved to San Francisco when he was 11 to live with his grandmother, and then later families and teachers. These personal challenges have led him to support homeless and food-insecure students at City College, such as creating a food pantry and support system to help house homeless students.

Rafi’s career has been focused on helping cities and nonprofits build affordable housing. He also has tons of experience — as a commissioner on the Board of Appeals, working for a walkable and bikeable city on the board of Livable City, as a Deputy City Attorney in Oakland, and as the Chair of the LGBT Center.

Rafael is often the person in the room who tries to make the divided camps sit down and find common ground. There’s no shortage of divide on the Board of Supes and we’re hoping he helps them get shit done.

Why not Jeff Sheehy? He was appointed by Ed Lee to serve the remainder of Scott Weiner's term after the 2016 State Senate election, which is why we're only voting for one Supervisor this election. (But all the even-numbered districts--including D8 again!—will be on the November ballot.) Sheehy has grassroots cred on LGBTQ issues and AIDS advocacy—particularly from his days back in the 90s as President of the Harvey Milk Club where he helped pass the historic Equal Benefits ordinance.

As an appointed Supervisor, he’s shown some independence from the pro-business wing of City Hall, but frankly, we question his fitness for and desire to be in office! The SF Chronicle almost never agrees with us on candidate endorsements, so we were shocked when they endorsed Mandleman and said this about Sheehy:

“At several points, starting in his opening remarks, he expressed doubts about his desire for the office and a disdain for politics generally. His answers to various policy questions were rambling, and tending to drift off point….It was almost as if Sheehy were tacitly asking us to do him a favor by endorsing his opponent.”

It also seems like he has a mean streak. In 2016, he politicized budget negotiations by falsely claiming Jane Kim was trying to cut AIDS funding. And during the 2017 budget negotiations, we heard several reports of him flipping out and yelling at other supervisors and their staff. Mandelman is the type of level-headed hardworker we need on the Board of Supes.

Vote Rafael Mandelman for District 8 Supervisor!

^Back to Top

State Propositions

Prop 68: $4B Bond for Parks, Drought Protection, Climate Adaption - Yes

This $4 billion progressive bond measure spreads its funding widely - the full table is here. The largest single chunk ($700M) goes specifically to create parks in low-income communities. The rest is thinly spread but most of it will in some way protect Californians and our ecosystem services as climate change fucks everything up.

It tries to save the Salton Sea, for instance, so it doesn’t apocalypse us with dust. It will prevent coastal deterioration by strengthening wetlands; fight mudslides; prevent fires and floods; restore fisheries, etc. In general we scrutinize bonds closely, since borrowing money is always risky...but spending on environmental resilience now will reduce huge losses from climate chaos down the road, so we say Yes on Prop 68.

Prop 69: Require Diesel Tax to Be Spent on Transportation Stuff - Yes

“Get your paws off my transit money!” is the gist of this ballot measure. It socks away money from a diesel tax, and puts it in a special “lockbox” fund to be used for mass transit and rail systems. If you’re wondering: “Why do we even need a lockbox? It’s a no-brainer to use diesel taxes for public transit!” Well, it’s because California’s tax laws are fucked.  

Understanding Prop 69 means understanding SB 1 (Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017). Without SB 1’s tax, Prop 69 basically does nothing. Prop 69 creates an exemption from the state spending limits AND directs the diesel tax into a special fund for mass transit and rail systems.

SB 1 was a tax to fund transportation-related infrastructure projects (like bridge repairs, commuter rail, pedestrian/bike safety projects, etc. and then the rest to road maintenance) mostly because we lost a shit ton of federal money recently.

SB 1 is subject to spending limits, which prohibit governments from adjusting appropriations for inflation or population growth beyond pre 1978/79 levels and direct annual excess revenues to education and tax payer rebates. These spending limits essentially keep California from investing in long-term projects like infrastructure because the funds aren’t spent right away. Given our starved transportation system, Prop 69 attempts to remedy this spending limitation for SB 1’s tax mula.

Other states have taken this lockbox approach with a lot of success. Voters overwhelmingly support the idea that special taxes go to what they say they’re going to. There is a worry that lockboxes create problems for municipalities because budget set-asides tie legislators’ hands to spend those funds on higher priorities in an emergency or in a recession. But let’s be honest: there’s no end to the need of rail and bridge repair. It’s a unique opportunity to protect funding for mass transit while the California legislature is overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats and could approve a tax. Yes on Prop 69.

Prop 70: Give Republicans & Corporate Dems Power on Cap’n’Trade Funds - No

One of the strategies California is using to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions is a complex cap and trade program. In exchange for supporting the extension and improvement of that program (in legislation that passed last summer), Republicans extracted concessions from Governor Brown. One of those concessions was increased Republican control over how the funds generated by the program will be spent...but in a confusing and half-ass way: this Proposition.

Prop 70 says that in 2024, once the cap and trade program starts generating funds, California cannot spend that money until 2/3rds of the legislature agrees on what to do with it (by voting on a “one-time spending plan”). Republicans hope this will give their minority party a greater say, but it’s a stupid idea, because no-one can ever get a supermajority of the legislature to agree on anything. So probably this will just entrench partisan gridlock and the money will pile up unused. If CA voters reject Prop 70, then the spending plan for the cap and trade money will be created by the legislature in 2024 in an ordinary majority vote.

Bipartisan solutions are nice in theory, but practically, we need to keep the wheels of government turning. Vote No on Prop 70.

Prop 71: Delay Effective Date of Ballot Measures Until All Ballots Are Counted - Yes

This one is a no-brainer. Right now, approved state propositions go into effect the day after the election. But that’s silly because all the vote-by-mail ballots have not been counted by then - and vote by mail is on the rise! This Prop would delay ballot measures coming into effect until 5 days after the Secretary of State certifies the results (which it must do in 38 days, so it would never be more than 43 days after election day).

While it would only ever matter if a state proposition was really close, we may as well fix this weird loophole. Prop 71 was put on the ballot by a unanimous vote of the CA legislature, so everyone supports it. We say Yes on Prop 71!

Prop 72: Rainwater Capture Systems Won’t Trigger Property Tax Assessments - Yes

When a property owner adds new construction to his or her property, that new construction is assessed for taxable value, which adds to the property taxes. Prop 72 would exclude rainwater capture systems from the definition of new construction, and so the taxable value of a property would not increase because the property owner added a rainwater capture system. The idea is to encourage homeowners and farmers to build rainwater capture barrels as a drought mitigation measure.

This is not a new idea. California has exempted certain new construction since 1980, when the state first exempted solar systems. Since then, the legislature has exempted earthquake retrofitting, disability access, and fire prevention systems. These exemptions encourage homeowners to make upgrades that increase safety and improve the state’s environment at a minimal revenue loss.

Prop 72 won’t actually make a big difference for individuals. It will mostly affect properties like vineyards where a rainwater capture system would be a significant addition. We wish that its sponsor, State Senator Steve Glazer, was proposing an incentive aimed at normal homeowners and not businesses, but we still say vote Yes on Prop 72.

^Back to Top

Regional Measures

Regional Measure 3: Raise Bridge Tolls $3 Over 7 Years to Fund Transportation Projects - Yes

We had some debate on this one. It’s a regional measure, which means all the counties in the Bay Area are voting on it and if it gets more than 50% of the total votes it will pass. If it does, bridge tolls (not counting the Golden Gate, which is operated separately) will go up three dollars - $1 each in 2019, 2022, and 2025. And that’s on top of any ‘normal’ rises that happen in that time span!

This will rake in money - over $4.5 billion over 25 years. The idea is to spend it on transport infrastructure here in the Bay to reduce congestion, expand capacity and access, etc. The shopping list is here. We’re pro-transit and wouldn’t mind charging car commuters more to upgrade public transportation....lord knows we need it. San Francisco has identified $22 billion in needs for just the City's transportation system. RM3 will plug some important holes in that need: Muni and BART fleet expansion, the Caltrain downtown extension, ferry expansion, etc. We need to take care of those core needs before we can even start thinking about a second BART tunnel or new subways.

But it turns out that a lot of the money (45%) is slated for highways and interchanges, so that frustrates us. There’s a theory in urban planning called ‘induced demand.’ Spending more on bigger roads to reduce traffic just encourages more people to drive, thereby creating traffic till the road’s clogged again. We feel like this measure is falling into that trap. 

There’s also the issue of who is paying, who is benefitting, and how this might change behavior and development. On the one hand, increasing bridge tolls could incentive more people to take transit or carpool instead of driving alone. People who drive are on average wealthier than people who take public transportation. And our transit systems desperately need this money, which isn’t going to come from anywhere else. On the other hand, this will hit folks who were priced out of the City and now have to commute back in for work. Many working people are forced into driving for a variety of reasons (foremost among them that transit’s not always accessible), and for them, this toll hike would add insult to the injury of displacement. Workers are shouldering the burden on this measure, so we expect the next big transit measure to be funded by the corporations!

Overall, we decided that the potential harm to low-income commuters was balanced by the increased access to bus, ferry, and BART routes this measure provides. We have to invest in our infrastructure before it crumbles around us, so while this isn’t a perfect solution, it’s one tool. We’re voting Yes on Regional Measure 3.

^Back to Top

Local Propositions

Prop A: Authorize Public Utilities Commission to Issue Clean Energy Bonds - Yes

This charter amendment would give the SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) the authority to raise much needed dough for clean energy infrastructure. They already have this authority for water revenue bonds; so it makes sense to give them this financing tool for clean power. These bonds are planned out through the SFPUC's 10 Year Capital Plan and require approval from 2/3rds of the Board of Supervisors, so they go through a significant vetting process. With revenue bonds, the SFPUC is borrowing money against the future revenues they’ll earn from all of that clean energy. (As opposed to general obligation bonds, which borrow money against future property taxes.)

They need bonds to build transmission facilities to bring Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric power to Treasure Island, Hunters Point Shipyard, Pier 70, and Mission Rock. The facilities have to be built no matter what, per federal regulations, but this funds the process. Currently, SF owns a ton of transmission infrastructure from Hetch Hetchy to here, but we don’t have a way to get the power the last few miles across the Bay, which means we rely on renting PG&E’s infrastructure.

Not only will these bonds help us use clean hydroelectric power, but the cherry on top is we might be able to build transportation and distribution from the Newark substation into the city and get out from under the dirty power monopoly. Vote Yes on Prop A!

Prop B: Commissioners with Conflicts Can’t Be Candidates - Yes

This good-government measure would require candidates for local elected office to resign from certain important boards and commissions - specifically, ones established by the City Charter and to which members are appointed instead of elected. Currently, most candidates do this anyway, but this proposition would formally close the ‘door of temptation’.

Without this in place, a Planning Commission member (for example) could run for Supervisor, take campaign contributions from developers while they do so, and reward those donors as votes for their projects come before the Planning Commission. Obviously this rule alone won’t eliminate all corruption and campaign finance shenanigans, but we feel it’s a useful safeguard and will keep SF politics clean by focusing Commissioners on the public interest versus special interests. Vote Yes on Prop B!

Prop C: Tax on Commercial Rent for Child Care & Early Education - Hell Yes!
Prop D: Divisive Commercial Rent Tax for Too Little Housing - Disappointed No :(

These props are in a “duel.” They both raise money by increasing the tax on the rent of office space to address critical issues here in the city. We’d gladly vote for both if we could, but unfortunately only one of them can win. That’s because Prop D has a “poison pill” that says if both C and D pass but Prop D has more votes, only Prop D takes effect. We don’t want to pit babies against housing, but Prop C is clearly the better measure.

  • Prop C raises twice as much money. It’s a 3.5% tax, which would raise $140 million annually to create quality affordable childcare for all families in San Francisco.
  • Prop D is a 1.7% tax and would raise $64 million annually for homeless shelter services, middle-income housing and affordable rental subsidies.

Some nitty gritty on the taxes: The current gross receipts tax on rent of commercial property is a tiny 0.3%. (BTW, in Manhattan, that tax is up to 6%!) Small businesses with less than $1 million in gross revenue are exempt. So are most non-profits, and strangely some banks and insurance companies. (WTF?) Both Props C and D exempt retail, arts, and industrial uses. Prop D exempts warehouses while Prop C has a smaller increase on warehouse spaces: 1% instead of the full 3.5%.

On the Policy

The sponsors of Prop C worked with a coalition of early childcare providers, family advocates and labor to craft this tax expenditure plan to tackle childcare affordability for families. The tax rate for Prop C was calculated so that it could accomplish three things:

  • Eliminate the childcare subsidy waitlist for low-income families
  • Create new childcare subsidies for middle-income families
  • Raise wages for impoverished childcare workers, many of who commute from far away to make minimum wage for doing very valuable work

Even those of us without kids understand why supporting the ability of families to access quality affordable childcare is so damn important. Currently, the fast growing demographic of San Franciscans becoming homeless are families, including a whole lot of single mothers with jobs. We pay a lot of lip service to “keeping families in the City,” but Prop C would actually put money into the pockets of families now.

As far as we know, Prop D didn’t have any of that type of collaborative, analytical approach. It was created after and in reaction to Prop C. It raises half as much money and then spreads it too thinly between too many needy causes: shelters and permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness, acquire and rehabilitate rent-controlled housing and single room occupancy buildings, create middle-income housing, and provide rent subsidies for low-income seniors. That’s a lot of stuff!

Those are all critical needs, but Prop D’s tiny little tax would barely make a dent in any one of those categories—let alone trying to address all of them! Given that we only get one shot at using this revenue source, it’s a shame the sponsors chose to placate real estate interests with the lowest tax rate possible instead of maximizing funding to address the housing crisis.

On the Poison Pill and Different Vote Thresholds

Because Prop C was put on the ballot by a voter signature drive, it only needs a simple majority to pass. Because Prop D was put directly on the ballot by a handful of Supervisors, it needs to hit a 2/3rds threshold to pass. When you combine Prop D’s poison pill with those different vote thresholds, it’s hella confusing to understand how these two propositions interact.

The official voter info pamphlet doesn’t do a good job of explaining this. What happens if Prop C gets over 50%, but Prop D gets more votes but less than 2/3rds? Does the poison pill kick in and kill Prop C even though Prop D’s tax doesn’t pass? Even some experts are confused. PWC Accounting says no while Pillsbury Law says "possibly"! We’ve heard that the City Attorney’s opinion is that Prop D’s poison pill doesn’t kick in unless the whole measure wins with a 2/3rds vote.

That means there are three scenarios for the results of Props C and D:

Prop C vote Prop D vote Result
< 50% < 66.6% Everybody loses
> 50% < 66.6% Prop C passes
> 50% > 66.6% Prop with the most votes wins

On the Politics

Confused? They want you to be. It’s a trap! The moderate wing of the Board of Supervisors put Prop D on the ballot with an appealingly progressive name in an attempt to torpedo Prop C. We’re not into this cutthroat Highlander politics of “There can be only one.”

We assume they oppose Prop C just because Jane Kim wrote it, and they don’t want Jane to be Mayor! Prop D also appears to be a vanity measure for Asha Safai, who wants to appear good on affordable housing without doing anything to upset the big money folks who own the downtown office towers and tech companies that rent those offices.

To give you a sense of what’s possible: commercial property owners are currently assessed a tax of only 0.3% on the massive amount of office rent they’re collecting from companies like Salesforce and Uber. That 0.3% rate was set by 2012’s Prop E. Since then, the average asking rent for Class A office space has increased nearly 50%! (from $51/sq.ft. to $74/sq.ft.) Manhattan assesses up to a 6% tax rate! 

Housing Hope for November

A broad coalition of affordable housing and homelessness advocates, tenant organizations, and progressive Supervisors are working on another revenue measure to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis for the November ballot. As opposed to Prop D that was drafted behind closed doors, this November measure will go through an actual public process with input from the public and City departments and vetting by experts. Putting a well-vetted measure with broad support on the November ballot when turnout is higher also means it’s more likely to pass!

But for now, vote for Prop C to make a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for our working families and the workers who care for their kids!

Vote Hell Yes on Prop C for Childcare!
Vote Disappointed No on Prop D for Divisiveness!

Prop E: Uphold the Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products - Yes

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban flavored tobacco products in 2017, and now tobacco companies have spent almost a million bucks to try to undo it. Nice try! While we agree that in general prohibition strategies don’t work (we aren’t a fan of the ‘war on drugs’), in this case it’s about minors. Flavored tobacco products are marketed to kids, in particular kids of color, and they kill people. Period. More people in the US die from smoking than all other drugs combined. So yeah, we still don’t want candy-flavored tobacco in our city! Despite what those old timey ads RJ Reynolds has all over your social media, Prop E does not ban all vaping. It only bands flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy that are specifically aimed at teenagers who just aren’t that into your grandfather’s cigarettes. Vote Yes on Prop E.

Prop F: Right to Counsel for Tenants Facing Eviction! - Hell Yes!

This would guarantee any city resident facing eviction the right to an attorney. Research shows that tenants who have lawyers are waaay more likely to win, but 80-90% of tenants end up going to court without legal representation. Prop F can reverse that. In addition, it will be a powerful tool in preventing homelessness, since more than 70% of SF’s homeless population was housed in San Francisco in the last 3 years.

Prop F leaves the details of how the program would operate up to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and it would be up to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to fund the program out of the general fund. Supervisors Sheehy and Breed are working on a competing but watered-down ordinance. But it looks like they may be trying to define who is eligible more narrowly, so many evictions - like the ones by speculators - aren’t covered. Deepa Varma, executive director of the San Francisco Tenants Union, said “we find it odd that after all these years, supervisors would suddenly introduce this kind of legislation with no outreach to the SF Tenants Union, less than two weeks after we announced a ballot measure on this exact topic.”

The Right to Counsel effort is being run by the San Francisco Tenants’ Union and supported by a coalition of some of SF's most fierce tenant advocates, including Housing Rights Coalition, Eviction Defense Collaborative, Tenants Together, Coalition on Homelessness. Their ground game is magnified by the growing force of the San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America. The legislation that could have lasting, positive effect on renters in SF. We say Hell Yes on Prop F!

We say Hell Yes on Prop F!

Prop G: Parcel Tax to Give Teachers a Raise! - Hell Yes!

Public school teachers around the US have had enough. In hella red states, teachers have gone on strike to demand living wages and better resources for students. If you want to see how badly trickle-down economics have failed, just look at a public school classroom. Teachers have spent decades begging for better funding only to see state property taxes slashed and union protections weakened. More class time is spent on corporate standardized testing, students have less access to resources like healthcare, and we’ve now spent 20 years fearing school shootings.

As writer Corey Robin put it, “Right now, in the reddest of red states, in the places you'd least expect it, teachers are starting a movement not only to raise their salaries and improve the schools, not only to reverse the assault on public education, not only to reverse the rule of Scott Walker which was supposed to provide a national model across the country, but to confront the real governing order of the last 40 years: the Prop 13 order.”

Here in SF, United Educators of San Francisco (the public school teachers and staff union) came within days of a strike in fall 2017 before negotiating a new contract with SFUSD. That new contract resulted in an 11% raise over 3 years for SFUSD educators and staff. This raise will bring SFUSD from the 10th lowest-paid in the Bay Area to the 2nd highest, so that maybe folks teaching here can actually afford to live here too. Part of that raise is covered by the district’s budget, but in order to fund the rest voters must approve this parcel tax increase.

Prop G would levy a $298 tax on each parcel, adjusting for inflation each year and expiring in 2038. Most folks that own property in San Francisco can afford an extra $300 a year - especially since seniors are exempt, so those living on a fixed-income won’t be impacted. Plus landlords can’t pass this tax through to tenants.

This was a signature initiative led by UESF and has broad support from the School Board and Board of Supervisors. We say Hell Yes on Prop G!

Prop H: Let Police Use Tasers on Nonviolent People?!? - Hell No!

We felt so strongly about this nonsense, we funded our own paid argument against it! Prop H isn’t about arming cops with tasers - it’s about setting a precedent that special interests like the Republican-aligned Police Officers Association (POA) get to override independent bodies like the Police Commission and make up their own rules on issues of public policy.

After a year-long series of community meetings over the course of 2017, the Police Commission voted to arm the SFPD with tasers, with the caveat that the Commission would craft a taser oversight & use policy using the Obama Department of Justice’s (DOJ) police reform recommendations. The POA put Prop H on the ballot to strip the ability of the community, Police Commission, and Chief of Police to set common-sense taser policy and amend those policies down the road. For example, it undercuts the Commission’s ability to require officers to deploy life-saving de-escalation techniques before using potentially lethal tasers, or limit the use of tasers to actual physical resistance - versus allowing cops to use a taser on you if you’re mouthing off. As a reminder: the POA are the ones who, in the wake of a federal investigation into rampant racism and corruption within the Police Department, have been in the news consistently with racist and incendiary attacks on anyone who supports reforms - including the Police Commission.

In a letter to the Department of Elections, Police Chief Bill Scott, who was hired from outside SFPD to reform the department, called Prop H the "antithesis" of the collaborative DOJ recommendations he was hired to pursue in partnership with the community. He’s trying to build a community policing model, and the POA is throwing a tantrum.

The bottom line is that we don’t want the POA, who fought against reform efforts and DOJ-recommended use of force policies, made fun of the Black Lives Matter movement, gives money to Republicans and to support the death penalty, referred to peace officers who’ve reported incidents of racism and corruption as "snitches" setting policy for the use of potentially lethal weapons. Vote Hell No! on Prop H.

Prop I: SF Shouldn't Steal Sports Teams from Other Cities - Sure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

The signatures for this one were collected by The Good Neighbor Coalition, a “Bay Area group committed to promoting greater respect for communities and fans by team owners and local governments.” The declaration basically says we shouldn’t do what we did with the Warriors ever again: “The City will not invite, entice, encourage, cajole, or condone the relocation of any professional sports team that has previously established itself in another municipality and has demonstrated clear and convincing support from community and fans for at least 20 years and is profitable.”

Prop I is directed squarely at how the City bent over backwards to poach the Warriors from Oakland. Seeing the world champion Warriors move from working class Southern Oakland to prosperous Mission Bay is one more symbol of the dystopian inequality of this era. And while the Warriors' players and coaches are inspiring role models, the Warriors franchise appear to just another bunch of profit-seeking capitalists. It sucks that they're trying to get out of paying $40 million they owe Oakland, at the same time SF needs to shell out $33 million for a Muni platform at their new arena. The Oakland Arena has it's own BART station! The transportation plans for this new arena in Mission Bay seem somewhere between optimistic and delusional. 

While this initiative is non-binding, and it’s too late to undo the sketchy plans for shoehorning the Warriors into Mission Bay, we agree with Prop I - let’s be good neighbors! Vote Sure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  on Prop I.

 ^Back to Top

State Offices

All of these races are Primaries; California uses a ‘top two’ system, meaning that the top two vote recipients move on to the November general elections, regardless of party. So for seats with an incumbent (Senate, Congress, Secretary of State) or big favorite (Governor), we often think strategically about which candidate we want to see finish #2 to have the platform to run again in November. That's why we ask those of you who support Pelosi and Feinstein to please vote for their Democratic challenges in June to keep Republicans off the November ballot!

Governor: Delaine Eastin 

It’s an all-out brawl in the primary for Governor! Two mainstream Democratic slicksters of the NorCal and SoCal varieties (Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa) are in the lead, but close on their heels are a sensible policy wonk (John Chiang) and a progressive warrior (Delaine Eastin), not to mention a couple conservative jackasses, some well-meaning Democratic no-hopers, and swarms of kooky fringe candidates (over 60 of them!)

Delaine Eastin: A practical progressive and advocate for teachers’ unions and strong public schools. She was Superintendent of Public Instruction back in the day and has business experience that will serve her well managing California’s complexity. She has a healthy skepticism about charter schools that indicates room to negotiate and a desire to put students first. Let’s get a real progressive into the top two- vote Delaine Eastin for Governor!

The other contenders:

Newsom: This substanceless gladhander has been flashing fake smiles, pretending to be progressive for the cameras, and generally leaving a slime trail of hair gel behind him since we fought against his crappy mayoral antics here in SF. He’s a machine politics climber who claims to fight for the dispossessed but never seems to get around to actually doing anything for them. He’s raised the most money but we’re hoping another Democrat will come in second place and then beat him in November.

Villaraigosa: Strikingly similar to Gav - infidelity and all - but was a corporate stooge Mayor of Los Angeles instead. He loves to jet around the country talking himself up as a Latino political superstar, while the grassroots organizations actually working with the Latino population in LA detest him. We can do better!

Chiang (pronounced ‘Chung’): Our current Treasurer. He’s honest, has financial chops, and a reputation for fighting for his principles...but is unexciting and at his core a mainstream Democrat. If he’s the runner-up facing Gavin in November he’s got a shot at our endorsement then, but we’re plumping for a candidate who matches our values.

Lieutenant Governor: Gayle McLaughlin 

Gayle McLaughlin, the former Mayor of Richmond, might be the first candidate for statewide office we’re legit excited about. When she co-founded the Richmond Progressive Alliance in 2004, Richmond was run by politicians who were bought and paid for by Chevron and its filthy refinery. The RPA triumphed over dirty Chevron money to take back their City and show what progressive local government can accomplish: McLaughlin and the RPA passed rent control, increased the minimum wage to $15, raised the tax on Chevron and sued them for safety failures at their refinery.

Perhaps most impressive was her successful progressive approach to public safety. McLaughlin started an Office of Neighborhood Safety that reached out to the residents most likely to be involved in gun violence to support them with training, counseling, and jobs. Her police chief promoted community policing, stood with Black Lives Matter, and ended policies that targeted immigrants. The result was a 75% decrease in the homicide rate over her eight years as Mayor.

She resigned from the Richmond City Council last year to run full time for Lt. Governor and bring her RPA style of people powered politics to Sacramento and the rest of California. Have we ever had this type of badass in a statewide seat?? Not that we know of, and we’ve been doing this since 2004. Vote for Gayle McLaughlin for Lieutenant Governor!

Other candidates:

The three candidates who have raised the most money all seem like the type of Democrats you’d expect to raise a million bucks for this random job. Two of them are former ambassadors from the Obama years! The other is a termed-out State Senator. To be honest, we haven’t looked that closely at them, because none of them have the potential to change the narrative of statewide politics like McLaughlin. We’ll look again at the top two finishers for November. But for June, let’s go Gayle!

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

We endorsed Alex Padilla in 2014 and he’s lived up to his promises. He’s a mainstream Democrat, yes...but he’s been a vocal champion for voting rights and expanding voting access, and for the rights of immigrants and other marginalized groups. He’s legitimately passionate about the role of Secretary of State - improving our election systems and protecting our democracy from meddling and from the bullying of the Trump administration. He’s also a badass on social media (a few ill-judged tweets aside). The Secretary of State website kinda sucks, but he probably didn’t design it.

While it’s sometimes fun to vote for lefty firebrand protest candidates for Sec of State, the vote is often closer than you’d expect, and Padilla’s challengers are a motley bunch, so we’re gonna rally behind the incumbent. Vote Alex Padilla for Secretary of State!

Controller: Betty Yee

The CA Controller is the state’s chief fiscal officer.

In the Controller’s race in 2014 we supported a progressive Democratic candidate, Perez, in the primary, but Betty Yee and the Republican were the ‘top two’ vote getters and so we endorsed Yee in the November race. She won 53%-47%. Since then, she’s been an honest and capable civil servant who’s not afraid of rocking the boat when necessary. Her challengers are a conservative Republican and a cool anti-police brutality campaigner from the Peace and Freedom party who unfortunately doesn’t appear to have much of a campaign. Vote Betty Yee for State Controller!

Treasurer: Kevin Akin

The state treasurer handles state debt and bonds and sits with the state controller on panels that manage California’s two major pension funds. It’s a snoozer of a job with a ton of power.

Kevin Akin is a retired hospital maintenance worker and longtime activist in the Peace and Freedom Party  is running to be the next state banker. Akin is advocating for a state municipal bank, updating the tax code to fund social services, and breaking up the love affair between billionaires’ corporations and state legislators.

Fun fact: Akin is a whiz at numismatics, the study of coins and currency, and wrote a book on the subject to advise archaeologists and historians.

This race will likely go to the top two moderate Democrats: Fiona Ma (conservative former SF supe and recent member of the sketchy State Board of Equalization) and Vivek Viswanathan (30-year-old former policy advisor to Hillary Clinton and special adviser in Gov Jerry Brown’s office). We’ll weigh in on them in the fall, but for the primary, we’re voting our values. Vote Kevin Akin for State Treasurer!

Attorney General: Dave Jones or Xavier Becerra (Dual Endorsement)

We love both of the serious candidates in this race, and our members couldn’t decide between them! Xavier Becerra, the Democratic incumbent, served 12 terms in congress before Jerry Brown appointed him to replace Kamala Harris when she won her Senate seat. He’s the first Latino Attorney General and is widely seen as leading the “California resistance,” filing tons of lawsuits against the Trump administration - about the travel ban, DACA, the border wall, sanctuary cities, birth control, the ban on trans people in the military, student loans, etc.

Dave Jones is currently Insurance Commissioner, but is terming out of that seat. He decided to run before Becerra was appointed, and probably would have been a shoe-in! He’s a Sanders-style progressive Democrat with lots of experience in the nitty-gritty of policy work, and is a crusader against the death penalty, which Becerra is wishy-washy about (though, of course, both candidates would be bound to enforce it if elected, since it’s still the law of the land in CA).

Vote for whoever inspires you - we hope Jones and Becerra are the top-two vote getters and face each other in November, so that California will be sure to end up with an excellent AG. Vote Dave Jones or Xavier Becerra for Attorney General!

Insurance Commissioner: Nathalie Hrizi

Six candidates are running to replace termed-out Dave Jones. Zombie Post-Republican Steve Poizner is running for the office again, and he will probably make it to the November General Election with the other big-moneyed candidate, moderate Democrat Ricardo Lara. We’ll miss having a progressive commissioner, so our hope is to endorse a solid lefty in the primary and hope to pull Lara’s consumer protection and corporate accountability positions to the progressive side.

Peace and Freedom Socialist Nathalie Hrizi is a teacher, librarian and mother who we endorsed in the 2014 primary for the same office. She's mostly focused on socialized health care and abolishing health insurance companies. She sounded ahead of her time in 2014, and right on time in 2018. Vote Nathalie Hrizi for Insurance Commissioner!

Board of Equalization, District 2: No Endorsement 

This one is interesting because of some recent drama. Last year, the BoE was stripped of most of its powers and employees, because an audit found it to be a total clusterfuck: nepotism, elected members interfering in staff work, staff being pressured into political activities, shady expense accounts, rumors that rulings could be influenced by hiring the right lawyer, etc.

It’s the only elected tax board in the country, which seems problematic. It’s also duplicative of the Franchise Tax Board. Especially now that it’s lost most of its powers, it’s basically a cush landing spot for termed-out politicians.

The two candidates are both Democrats: a relatively conservative Democratic State Senator named Cathleen Galgiani, and our very own Malia Cohen, who is terming out of SF’s Board of Supervisors and has often held the opposite position from the League on local issues. Neither candidate represents our values and it’s a useless office anyway. No endorsement for Board of Equalization, District 2.

 ^Back to Top

Federal Offices

U.S. Senator: Kevin de León

Five-term CA Senator Dianne Feinstein is being challenged by State Senator Kevin de León. De León says he was inspired to run by Feinstein’s comments that Trump could be a “good president” if given a chance.

As the first in his family to graduate from high school or college, de León understands the struggles of working families. He started out as a community organizer and public school advocate where he fought for access to healthcare for children before being elected to the California State Assembly. A strong advocate for workers, de León worked to increase the minimum wage, create retirement security for millions of future retirees, and pass wage theft legislation.

That would be a big change in personal background and perspective from Feinstein. We can't even count the number of protests we've been invited to outside her Pacific Heights mansion where she lives with her war profiteering billionaire husband.

De León has lead the California legislature's efforts to enact strong emissions regulations in California as well as ensuring low-income people of color communities get some of the investment. The day after Trump was elected, de León issued a strong statement saying that California was ready to resist and defend all of our communities from the administration. He immediately started working with immigrant rights groups to introduce the Sanctuary State law and took on the racist Sheriff's Association to see it passed into law last year. 

Unlike Feinstein, de León supports single-payer and strong police use of force legislation. De León received more support than Feinstein at the state Democratic party convention, but neither received the endorsement of the state party. We are excited to see a challenger who is pushing Feinstein to the left and forcing her to be accountable to her constituents (she’s held her first town halls in over a decade).

Because of California’s top-two primary, it's unclear who will face off with Feinstein in November. A recent poll showed de León neck-and-neck with a Republican for second. :( Even if you support Feinstein, please vote for de León in the June primary to keep an "American First" Republican off the November ballot! Vote Kevin de León for Senate.

Congress, Districts 12: Shahid Buttar or Ryan Khojasteh (Dual Endorsement)

(Check out the candidates answers to our questionnaire.)

There are two young progressive candidates running differently-flavored exciting campaigns against Nancy Pelosi for the D12 Congressional Seat. Our members like both! While we respect Pelosi's skill as a vote wrangler and national fundraiser, we want our representative in congress to be more connected to our communities. And looking at the national perspective, we're concerned about how Republicans love to use Pelosi as a boogeyman against all Democrats. That's bullshit in a lot of ways, but we do think it's time for Pelosi to step aside and let the next generation lead.

While neither Buttar or Khojasteh is likely to unseat Pelosi in November, if you wanna cast a vote for the next generation, we encourage you to pick one of them!  

Khojasteh is an Immigrant Rights Commissioner and law student with a fully developed policy platform, has a campaign team packed with up-and-coming idealists, and is focusing on getting young people involved in politics - including on often-overlooked boards and commissions. He seems likely to move on to other political pursuits after this effort.

Buttar, a lawyer, musician, former EFF advocacy director and longtime activist for civil liberties, leapt into the race to battle Pelosi’s continued support for oppressive electronic surveillance in the US. It’s inspiring to see a tech progressive running in a national race, and we’re psyched that he’s generating interest and endorsements from internet activists who aren’t usually invested at the local level.

Both are unapologetically leftist and match our values. Pick your favorite! Vote Shahid Buttar or Ryan Khojasteh for Congress!

Congress, District 14: Jackie Speier

Speier has played a key progressive role on issues we care about, including on the House Select Intelligence Committee investigating Russian rigging of the 2016 election. She has also been a longtime congressional fighter for women’s rights, including taking on pay equity and sexual assault in the military and higher education, long before the “MeToo” movement gelled into a hashtag. She did co-sponsor a fucked up bill that would have weakened ADA protections (it failed, thanks to Tammy Duckworth). So we’re not excited about that, and she could definitely beef up her Cali progressive credentials (really, ranking 63 out of 192 House Democrats in terms of progressive votes?) but in general we’re glad there’s a tiny slice of SF in her district. Vote Jackie Speier for Congress.

 ^Back to Top

State Legislature

State Assembly, District 17: No Endorsement

David Chiu, our old sparring buddy from his days as the moderate president of the SF Board of Supervisors, is cruising to re-election against a no-hoper candidate. Chiu’s been ok in Sacramento (like he only low-key sucks). We wish he would grow a spine! One example: AB 1506 sought to repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (the law that prevents SF from passing rent control on anything built after 1979). Chiu was a co-author of the bill, so that’s good...but he’s the chair of the Assembly Housing Committee and was dragging his feet so long on calling for a vote that tenants rights organizations posted a 45-day eviction notice on his office door in Sacramento! It’s like he wants progressive cred without having to actually take hard stances. FWIW, the pressure worked and he moved the bill forward, though it failed as expected. Repealing Costa Hawkins will be on the ballot in November, and we hope it passes then. Anyway, Chiu, if you’re listening, plz fight for something that will help at home? K thx. No endorsement for State Assembly, District 17.

State Assembly, District 19: No Endorsement

Phil Ting, the incumbent, has been good on some issues but not others, and none of the challengers represent the League’s values. One example: we were disappointed with AB 1110 that Ting authored in 2016. As it was originally written, AB 1110 would’ve eliminated dialog and a broad stakeholder process ongoing at the CPUC, and disadvantage non-monopoly (read: non-PG&E) community choice aggregation providers like CleanPowerSF. Clean energy advocates and providers were able to neutralize the legislation with amendments before it passed, but wtf Phil?! No endorsement for State Assembly, District 19.

^Back to Top

Judges

Superior Court Judge, Seat 4: Phoenix Streets
Superior Court Judge, Seat 7: Maria Evangelista
Superior Court Judge, Seat 9: Kwixuan Maloof
Superior Court Judge, Seat 11: Niki Solis

Judges are technically elected, but typically are appointed by the Governor. Because of chummy social climbing, it’s easier for conservative candidates (usually prosecutors) to catch the Governor’s notice. Then, because of the power of incumbency, most of these judges never see a contested race when it goes to the voters - either no one runs against them or people just leave it blank because it’s hard to research these candidates.

Groups who make endorsements, like the League, can’t ask judicial candidates their opinions on the issues due to judicial independence. We can look at rulings, and many have been fine, but Curtis Karnow’s anti-tenant record doesn’t look pretty. We’d love to ask the incumbents what they think about explicit and implicit bias, gender bias, and whether they even think it’s okay that their seats are being challenged - but the incumbents didn’t make their contact info readily available, whining over having to defend their seats instead of winning over voters.

Why change the system? Our jails are overwhelmingly filled with people of color. Public defenders see this every day, seeking justice for many San Franciscans that are being sucked into the Prison Pipeline. We feel like this slate of public defenders will provide a breath of fresh air, and could break down some barriers for others who want to run but were afraid of rocking the boat. Critics of this slate say the challengers are running not to unseat terrible incumbents (though we think the quality of the incumbents is debatable) but because they’re anti-establishment rabble rousers who want to change the system. Um… that sounds great. Sign us up, please!

We’re endorsing the entire slate. Karnow’s opponent for Seat 7 is Maria Elena Evangelista, one of the first Mexican-American women to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School. There are only five Black sitting judges in SF (out of ~50), and Phoenix Streets, running for Seat 4, along with Kwixuan Hart Maloof, running for Seat 9, hope to change that. Nicole Judith Solis, running for Seat 11, is an out lesbian, Black and Latina, formerly undocumented mom of two kids. They increase representation AND their education and experience put them over the top.

Vote Phoenix Streets, Maria Evangelista, Kwixuan Maloof and Niki Solis for Superior Court Judges!

 ^Back to Top

School Offices

State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond

The top two primary for State Superintendent of Public Instruction (California’s long name for superintendent of schools) is likely to come down to East Bay Assemblymember Tony Thurmond and charter school CEO Marshall Tuck. It’s pretty easy to see who we’re throwing down for here. Thurmond has a long record of serving Contra Costa County schools on its school board and Richmond’s Youth Commission.

Tuck, on the other hand, ran the corporate charter school company that Antonio Villaraigosa allowed to take control of Los Angeles schools in 2008. When Tuck ran against current SPI Tom Torlakson in 2014, it ended up being the most expensive state race that year. Charter schools are big business. Meanwhile, Tony Thurmond is busy in Sacramento proposing to tax private prisons to pay for early education and after school programs! Sweet.

We’ll take the public servant from Richmond, thanks. Vote Tony Thurmond for State Superintendent of Public Instruction!

 ^Back to Top

Meet the League of Pissed Off Voters

We're a bunch of political geeks in a torrid but troubled love affair with San Francisco. We’re blessed to live in America’s most progressive city, but we’re cursed to live in a city where most of the youth who grow up here can’t afford to live here. Frisco has its own dark history of injustice: redevelopment, environmental racism, the "old boys" network. All of us lucky enough to enjoy the San Francisco magic owe it to our City to fight to keep it diverse, just, and healthy. What are you doing to make a difference?

This voter guide (our 22nd in SF!) is how we educate our friends and peers on the issues, excite pissed-off progressive voters, and remind sellout politicians that we’re paying attention.

Hang Out with the League!

Want to get involved, got a question about this stuff, or just wanna have a drink with us?

Join us at happy hour & come party on Election Night!  Stay up to date:

 

Paid for by the San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters. Financial disclosures available at sfethics.org. 

Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.

 

Like our voter guide?
Share it with your friends, and kick us down a couple of bucks so we can keep printing the guide. For the price of a beer, we can print and distribute 100 voter guides.
Help us out!

 

^Back to Top

 

 

 


Donate Find an Event

connect

get updates