November 6, 2018 Voter Guide

11/6: Election Day! Polls open 7am-8pm. If you’re in line by 8 you can vote!

  • Where’s Your Polling Place? See YourFuckingPollingPlace.com, call 311, or just go vote at San Francisco City Hall.
  • Slackers Can Vote: Election Day Voter Registration! Did you miss the 10/22 deadline to register to vote? Head directly to City Hall - DO NOT PASS GO -- register and vote right up through Election Day! Late registration is only available at the Dept. of Election in the basement of City Hall, not regular polling places. Go vote!
  • Former 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.

2018 Midterms: The Resistance Strikes Back!

Federal, State, and Regional Offices

Governor: No Endorsement
Lieutenant Governor: Ed Hernandez 💩😕💩
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
Controller: Betty Yee
State Treasurer: Fiona Ma 💩😕💩
Attorney General: Xavier Becerra
Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen 💩😕💩

U.S. Senator: Kevin de León
U.S. Congress, District 12: No Endorsement
U.S. Congress, District 14: Jackie Speier

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

Judges: Not official endorsements, but recommendations based on our research below:

Carol A. Corrigan: NO
Leondra R. Kruger: YES
James M. Humes: YES
Sandra Margulies: NO
James A. Richman: NO
Marla Miller: NO
Peter John Siggins: YES
John B. Streeter: YES
Alison M. Tucher: YES
Barbara Jones: YES

State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond

Community College Board: Brigitte Davila, John Rizzo, Thea Selby
BART Board, District 8: Janice Li
Board of Education: Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez, Faauuga Moliga

State Propositions

Prop 1: $4B Bond for Affordable Housing: YES
Prop 2: Allow Previous Bond Money to Be Used for Homeless Housing: YES
Prop 3: $9B Bond for Water Projects: YES
Prop 4: $1.5B Bond for Children’s Hospitals: YES
Prop 5: Expand Prop 13 for Property Owners: HELL NO!
Prop 6: Repeal Gas Tax and Require 2/3rds Vote for Future Gas Taxes: HELL NO!
Prop 7: Start the Process to Eliminate Daylight Saving Time: YES
Prop 8: Regulation of Kidney Dialysis Charges: YES
Prop 9: Stupid Vanity Prop to Divide CA in Thirds: KICKED OFF THE BALLOT!
Prop 10: Repeal Costa Hawkins! Allow Expansion of Rent Control! HELL YES!
Prop 11: Private Ambulance Companies Try to Mess with EMTs’ Work Breaks: NO
Prop 12: New Standards for Confinement of Farm Animals: YES

Local Propositions

Prop A: $425M Bond to Start Rebuilding the Seawall: YES
Prop B: Privacy First Policy: YES
Prop C: “Our City, Our Home!” Tax Big Businesses to Fund Homeless Housing and Services: HELL YES!
Prop D: Two for One! Tax on Cannabis and on Non-SF Companies that Sell Stuff Here: YES
Prop E: Restore the Hotel Tax Allocation for Arts and Culture: YES

San Francisco Offices

Assessor-Recorder: Paul Bellar
Public Defender: Jeff Adachi

Board of Supervisors, District 2: No Endorsement
Board of Supervisors, District 4: Gordon Mar
Board of Supervisors, District 6: Matt Haney
Board of Supervisors, District 8: Rafael Mandelman
Board of Supervisors, District 10: #1 Tony Kelly #2 Uzuri Pease-Greene

(Note: 💩😕💩 indicates candidates we're not super excited about, but we recommend holding your nose and voting for them, because they're better than their opponents.)

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

Looking for help with cities outside SF?

We focus on San Francisco, so we can't 100% vouch for all of these voter guides, but here are some recommended resources:


Federal, State, and Regional Offices

Governor: No Endorsement

Why not Gavin Newsom? He’s the Democrat, right? We understand why a lot of people look at him as a “great progressive hope” based on his championing issues like marriage equality and gun control, and he sure does like tweeting at Trump. But he didn’t get the 50% threshold of support from our members to earn our endorsement. Sadly many of us just can’t support him after watching his “style above substance” politics, opportunistic grandstanding, shady, and scuzzy tenure as Mayor. He was consistently on the side of big business, tried to co-opt immigrant rights activists while reporting immigrant youth to ICE, and generally acted like a spoiled rich kid who was too good for the rest of us.

We’re pissed at how he cynically propped up Republican John Cox in the primary because he’ll have an easier time beating him than another Democrat--even though having Villaraigosa on the ballot would’ve helped Democratic turnout in swing districts. We’re also pissed at how he’s parroting the Chamber of Commerce’s talking points against Prop C. Dude, when you split San Francisco for the burbs as soon as you were elected Lt. Governor, you kinda forfeited your right to lecture us about homelessness! 2016’s Prop 63 was another of example of Gavin’s “style over substance” approach: a mostly unnecessary and duplicative measure that let Gav act like a champion on gun control. We hope he’ll surprise us with a progressive turn as Governor, but we’re not holding our breath. After all, actually accomplishing something for normal Californians would jeopardize his chance of hair-gel-slime-trailing his way into the White House. We’re getting ready for eight years of empty PR politics.

^Back to Top

Lieutenant Governor: Ed Hernandez 💩😕💩

Blargh. Do we really need a Lieutenant Governor? We’re skeptical that this office is worth having, and we’re bummed that Gayle McLaughlin (former Mayor of Richmond and progressive hero) didn’t finish in the top two in June. Two establishment Democrats did, and one of them will become a semi-high profile leader in California, so we’re going with the one who has the most receipts we can analyze.

The Lt. Governor doesn’t have much real power, except with the Governor is out of the state, but they do serve on a bunch of important boards--the State Lands Commission, UC Regents, and CSU Board of Trustees being the most important--and appoints people to a number of others.

Ed Hernandez is an optometrist turned termed-out state Senator from the San Gabriel Valley. He has a long record of votes and legislative scorecards that show him landing somewhere between the progressive and squishy-middle camps in Sacramento, depending on the issues. He’s been solid on labor, education, and women’s issues, but squishy on some environmental, tax, and health care issues. In his 12 years in Sacramento, he’s taken $42K in fossil fuel money and voted against a 2014 moratorium on fracking. But he hasn’t taken any oil money this election and pledged not to. He’s also taken $200K from drug companies since 2011, but he also pissed them off by sponsoring 2017’s SB17, the strongest drug pricing transparency law in the country. That led PHARMA to drop $200K opposing Hernandez for Lt. Governor (AKA the “Lite Gov”).

Eleni Kounalakis was Obama’s ambassador to Hungary, and like most ambassadors it seems like she got that appointment because she comes from money. Her family made a fortune in real estate, and she was the President of their company, AKT Development. Her family has dropped $8 million on this race (her first run for office)! It rubs us the wrong way when rich people blow millions promoting their own campaigns--especially when they’re not championing specific issues. If she wanted to spend that money to make herself a leader, why couldn’t Kounalakis have spent that money on making herself the face of a progressive ballot measure? Probably the most substantive role the Lite Gov holds is a seat on the State Lands Commission. We’re concerned the Kounalakis family’s real estate interests could present conflicts of interest there. Climate activists are also upset that she’s taken in hundreds of thousands from the Western States Petroleum Association who are tenants in one of her Sacramento buildings. She says that money is now being directed to a foundation to fight climate change.

Both of these candidates talk good games on issues like making college affordable, protecting the climate, and building affordable housing. They would both probably be fine at this do-nothing job. Neither of them are the type of transformative, people-power-focused leader we’re looking for. So we’re going with Ed Hernandez because he gives us a better idea of what to expect from him.

Side note: the lieutenant governor used to serve as warden at San Quentin. We think having this role would have been good for keeping Gavin preoccupied.

^Back to Top

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

We endorsed Alex Padilla in 2014 and he’s lived up to his promises. He’s been a vocal champion for voting rights and expanding voting access, and for the rights of immigrants and other marginalized groups. Padilla oversaw the rollout of online voter registration (shoutout to Uncle Leland), and sponsored California’s New Motor Voter Act. He’s legitimately passionate about the role of Secretary of State - according to the Sacramento Bee, under Padilla, California has seen an increase of 2 million registered voters!

The Republican challenger is a Trumper who should be disqualified for his fashion sense alone.

Vote Alex Padilla for Secretary of State!

^Back to Top

Controller: Betty Yee

The CA Controller is the state’s chief fiscal officer. In the 2014 Controller primary we supported progressive Democratic candidate John Perez, 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. Just this year, she backed calls by Sacramento legislators to expand sexual harassment training throughout the capital. In July, Yee appointed a Sierra Club board member to the Clean Energy Jobs Act Citizens Oversight Board. Her challenger is an anti-tax Republican backed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.  🙄 Vote Betty Yee for State Controller!

^Back to Top

State Treasurer: Fiona Ma 💩😕💩

Fiona Ma has climbed the political ladder from the SF Board of Supervisors to the State Assembly to the Board of Equalization, and now she’s poised to be California’s next Treasurer. She was part of the conservative block on the Board of Supes and was somewhere between decent and awful in the Assembly. We’re no fans of the Board of Equalization as a legislative body, but it seems like she’s been decent there. We give her credit for calling for the audit that revealed what a shitshow that board is, and we’re glad she’s supporting the “Amazon Tax” at the state level. And her history as a CPA does give her some basic qualification for balancing the State’s books. But when push comes to shove, we question whether she would stand up against the big money that has funded all of her campaigns.

Her opponent is Greg Conlon, an old-school Republican who is also a CPA and was appointed to a couple of commissions by Republican Governor Pete Wilson. One of his big policy ideas is to cut the income tax on start-ups. No thanks.

UPDATE: We’re pissed off that Fiona Ma refuses to rescind her endorsement of Josephine Zhao for School Board. Zhao campaigned against gender-neutral bathrooms in schools using transphobic language back in 2013. When she was recently called out on it, she attacked the Harvey Milk club in Chinese language posts, while apologizing in English. Basically, Zhao’s been gaslighting the whole damn City, and shame on Fiona Ma for condoning that behavior.

^Back to Top

Attorney General: Xavier Becerra

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.

Becerra beat out Sanders-style candidate Dave Jones in the June primary, and we found both of these candidates inspiring! Becerra is now up against a scary Republican who’s backed by the NRA. Vote Xavier Becerra for Attorney General!

^Back to Top

Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara

Insurance Commissioner is just one person wielding huge power. They manage a $250 million dollar budget regulating a $300 billion dollar industry. The Insurance Commissioner is responsible for regulating healthcare insurance companies, investigating insurance fraud, and will also be tasked with deciding who pays for utility-caused wildfires in California.

Ricardo Lara was the first openly gay person of color elected to the California Senate in 2012. He’s a six-year Democratic State Senator for Long Beach and parts of Los Angeles. He's a statewide lefty, having served in the Assembly and previously worked for Kevin de Leon as his communications director. He's vice-chair of the California LGBT Caucus. His focus has been the California resistance to Trump and single payer healthcare. He authored the 2015 law that allows all low-income undocumented children and youth to enroll in full-scope Medi-Cal. In 2017, he introduced SB 562, a bill that would have brought universal healthcare to California. We thought Lara might be to the right of Dave Jones in the area of consumer protections, but he’s talking more about it, especially with the national Consumer Protection Agency at risk of being gutted by Trump.

Lara is facing off against Republican-turned-independent Steve Poizner, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and co-founder of the California Charter School Association. Poizner is running as an Independent to avoid the Republican stigma- but previously served as Insurance Commissioner as a Republican from 2007-2011, preceding Dave Jones. He ran for Governor in 2010 but was defeated in the primary by Meg Whitman, running on a platform of stopping "taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants". He's one of two Republicans to win statewide office in the last few decades (the other was Schwarzenegger), so even in today’s anti-Trump California, there’s a chance he’ll get elected. Poizner says he's come around on immigration and wants to get everyone on a path to being documented, but he’s still talking about protecting the insurance companies’ interests framed as protecting consumers. Poizner actually got more votes in the primary. YIKES! Vote Ricardo Lara for Insurance Commissioner!

^Back to Top

Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen 💩😕💩

In the June primary, we didn’t endorse D10 Sup. Malia Cohen. As we said in June, the Board of Equalization is problematic to the point that we’d like to see it eliminated. Until that happens, the office is mostly held by political climbers who need to keep a seat warm. Local progressives, including the League, have been pissed at Cohen for flip-flopping her position on Prop 10. On her questionnaire for the League and several other groups, she said she would support the repeal of Costa-Hawkins, yet when a resolution came before the Board of Supes, she first voted against it and blamed tenant advocates for not explaining it to her. She eventually voted for it, but her lack of knowledge about this crucial area is troubling. We’ll vote Cohen for now, but if she’s elected, we’ll keep an eye on her and hold her accountable.

^Back to Top

U.S. Senator: Kevin de León

Five-term CA Senator Dianne Feinstein is being challenged by State Senator Kevin de León, who 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 health care and strong legislation regulating police use of force. De León received more support than Feinstein and won the state Democratic party endorsement in July! We are excited to see a challenger who is pushing Feinstein to the left and forcing her to be accountable to her constituents. Vote Kevin de León for US Senate!

^Back to Top

U.S. Congress, District 12: No Endorsement

Sigh. Every two years we debate whether or not to endorse Nancy Pelosi, and she goes on to win by a landslide, whether we do or not. We’re bummed that the FIVE progressives who challenged her in June split 22% of the vote, allowing the Republican to sneak onto the November ballot with 9%. We respect all that Pelosi has done for the national Democratic Party. She raises massive amounts of money, and her skill as a legislator and vote wrangler were key to passing Obamacare. But in all of our years following her, she’s been AWOL on almost all SF-specific issues. And her dismissive comments about democratic socialism and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez make us feel like she’s not representing our perspective in D.C. We're also concerned about how Republicans love to use Pelosi as a boogeyman against all Democrats. There’s a lot of bullshit sexism wrapped up in that, but we can’t deny that Pelosi’s persona conveys a sense of wealthy, establishment, coastal elitism that turns a lot of people off. Lastly, she’s held this seat since 1987! It’s time for Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership to make way for the next generation of leaders.

^Back to Top

U.S. Congress, District 14: Jackie Speier

Speier has played a key progressive role on issues we care about while keeping her district in mind. Recently she pushed for federal funding to preserve bayside wetlands and improve flood protections in the Bay Area. She’s been a longtime congressional fighter for women’s rights. Jackie and other House Democratic women managed to protest the Brett Kavanaugh Committee Hearing without saying a damn word! They’d been in the audience watching, and when the committee pushed the motion vote, the women stood up, stood in silence, and then walked out in disdain. Dang, Jackie.

She’s only ranking 72 out of 193 House Democrats in terms of progressive votes, so we hope these wins give her confidence to take a more progressive stance in D.C. We’re glad there’s a tiny slice of SF in her district. Vote Jackie Speier for US Congress, District 14.

^Back to Top

State Assembly, District 17: No Endorsement

We’re recycling most of what we said in June in the primary, but we’ll add this: the fact David Chiu is opposing Prop C is disqualifying for us. David Chiu, our old sparring buddy from his days as the moderate president of the SF Board of Supervisors, is cruising to re-election. 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 is on the ballot this election, and we hope it passes. Anyway, Chiu, if you’re listening, plz fight for something that will help at home? K thx. One major addition this election: w.t.a.f. is up with Chiu opposing Prop C? You don’t get to claim to be part of the “Resistance” while protecting ginormous corporations and their Trump tax cuts. No endorsement for State Assembly, District 17.

^Back to Top

State Assembly, District 19: Phil Ting

We didn’t endorse Phil Ting, the incumbent, in the June primary, but we’re giving him some love in November because he’s up against a Republican and voters need to know what’s what. Ting had some impressive legislative wins this session, including AB 748, which allows greater public access to law enforcement body camera recordings. Signed by Governor Brown, the law requires the release of video or audio within 45 days of a critical incident, defined as the discharge of a firearm or use-of-force that causes death or great bodily harm.

As budget chair, Ting was able to increase per-pupil spending for California public schools by more than $1,000 and secured $4 million for badly needed structural and ADA upgrades for SF’s largest middle school, A.P. Giannini. He also led the state-enabling legislation AB 1184 to allow SF to tax Uber and Lyft on a percentage of their revenue - something we need to fund transportation infrastructure in this city!" We’re told Ting’s Republican challenger is campaigning by trolling all of Ting’s events - wtf! Vote Phil Ting for State Assembly, District 19.

^Back to Top

Judges

This election, voters will choose Judge of the Superior Court, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, Presiding Justices, Court of Appeal, and Associate Justices, Court of Appeal. Info on the judges wasn't posted in time for us to make formal endorsements on them, but now that the final names are added to the voter pamphlet, we’ll give some pointers on how to pick when you know nothing about their records.

If we’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that there is a conservative judicial agenda with lasting horrendous impacts. In California, there are two websites run by conservatives, Robyn Nordell's Conservative California Election Website and the Judge Voter Guide, produced by Craig Huey. They absolutely hate the “judicial activism” that comes from liberal judges. Go there, find out which judges they support, and then vote the opposite. By that method, here are our unofficial suggestions with help from the Vox article, "Don’t Just Say Yes: How to Vote in California’s Judicial Races."

JUDGE

YES/NO

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: Carol A. Corrigan

NO

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: Leondra R. Kruger

YES

Presiding Justice Court of Appeal,
District 1, Division 1: James M. Humes

YES

Associate Justice Court of Appeal,
District 1, Division 1: Sandra Margulies

NO

Associate Justice Court of Appeal,
District 1, Division 2: James A. Richman

NO

Associate Justice Court of Appeal,
District 1, Division 2: Marla Miller

NO

Presiding Justice Court of Appeal,
District 1, Division 3: Peter John Siggins

YES

Associate Justice Court of Appeal,
District 1, Division 4: John B. Streeter

YES

Associate Justice Court of Appeal,
District 1, Division 4: Alison M. Tucher

YES

Presiding Justice Court of Appeal,
District 1, Division 5: Barbara Jones

YES

^Back to Top

State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond

The race for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (California’s long name for superintendent of schools) is between 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. Tuck’s charter school allies put $22 million into Villaraigosa’s gubernatorial bid. When Tuck ran against current SSPI 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! He expanded access to college for foster youth. His recent Assembly Bill 2153 would have funded annual training sessions for educators on how to support LGBTQ students in grades 7-12 and address issues like bullying and harassment, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it. Boo!

California Teachers Association battled with Tuck when he was given reign of LA’s schools, and they’re working hard to make sure he and his corporate charter allies -- like Betsy DeVos -- don’t gain more statewide power. We’ll take the public servant from Richmond, thanks. Vote Tony Thurmond for State Superintendent of Public Instruction!

^Back to Top

Community College Board: Brigitte Davila, John Rizzo, Thea Selby (candidate questionnaires)

In this race we’ve endorsed the incumbents -- they’ve seen City College through some dark days. After the five-year dispute with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) that sought to revoke its accreditation, City College has come out on the other side to rainbows and sunshine - short term funding of Free City College and increased enrollment.

It’s hard to judge folks on the College Board with a simple progressive-o-meter. They typically don’t face a lot of hot button issues. We asked them all about how they’d deal with the Balboa Park Reservoir development, something that could turn out to be pretty sizzly, but the deal is murky and slow. Essentially, everyone is supportive with caveats and would prioritize development for affordable housing for teachers and students. Aaaannd, everyone is aware that City College doesn’t own the land or have any authority over the matter. This is why we count on our candidate questionnaires to unearth their positions and proclivities.

Brigitte Davila has been a teacher at SFSU in the College of Ethnic Studies for almost 25 years and has fought for equitable funding for higher education at the statewide and federal level. Brigitte is mostly aligned with the League and has the most higher education experience, but she’s not with us on a couple bellwether questions.

John Rizzo is a longtime activist with the Sierra Club, and was instrumental in some of the City’s most important environmental victories. He is mostly aligned with League positions and endorsements and has the longest institutional memory in this role, but he’s a bit of a stick in the mud and has a history of not working well with others.

Thea Selby is a small business owner who’s raised two kids in the SF public school system. An Emerge CA graduate, she’s also mostly aligned with the League. She supports many of our fave progressive candidates, but she’s identified endorsements of candidates that we’d likely never support.

All of the incumbents are committed to making City College truly free, increasing student enrollment, and addressing the aging facilities in dire need of modernization. For this, we support them. Vote Davila, Rizzo, and Selby.

^Back to Top

BART Board, District 8: Janice Li (candidate questionnaires)

Janice Li is everything we’d want in a BART Board candidate. She’s a queer woman of color, immigrant, and longtime transit advocate. Her responses to our questionnaire highlighted her knowledge in the areas we know to be pressure points the BART Board faces and issues that split the Board literally in half. She’s committed to equitable public safety. She understands the public safety concerns, specifically from women about the lack of late-night travel options, and how that is balanced with the need to immediately disarm BART police. She stands for the end of the racially biased enforcement for ticket fare evasion and exploring means-based fares, discounted and free passes for low-income passengers, and better fare integration across transit agencies. We also trust that she’ll defend shoring up BART’s core infrastructure before taking on new costly expansions to the suburbs. And in the “post-Janus” world, we know she’ll stand by organized labor during 2021 negotiations.

She’s the Advocacy Director of the Bike Coalition and has served on a ton of committees devoted to transit and mobility, including BART's own Bond Oversight Committee, which oversees how they're spending that public money! If elected, she’d be the first woman to ever serve in the District 8 BART seat, and the first Asian American woman to serve on the BART Board ever.

BART Board was a challenging endorsement this year with five qualified candidates in the race. Of these, Janice has the most extensive transit-specific qualifications and policy recommendations, and that shows in the questionnaire responses.

But we can’t help but give honorable mentions to two uniquely qualified candidates, William Walker and Jonathan Lyens, who would’ve been our top candidates if Janice hadn’t run. It’s worth noting that Janice answered in her questionnaire that she supported herself and William.

William Walker received an endorsement from the League before when he ran for College Board. He told the League he identifies as a “native born, disabled, gay, African American male who lived in a majority person of color neighborhood only two blocks from a BART station and one block from a freeway, with all of the negative externalities that that causes.” When we talk about much needed diversity on the BART Board, this hits the nail on the head. William comes from a union family, and we could be sure he’d protect workers in the next contract negotiations.

Jonathan Lyens identifies as a person with a disability (blindness), and he brings this to the forefront of issues he’s passionate about. BART has serious access issues, and he wants to tackle that along with loss in ridership and pushing for budget stability. He’s been twice appointed by Governor Brown to the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and is super active in local politics. He’s got the endorsement of a host of SF progressives and labor unions.

^Back to Top

Board of Education: Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez, Faauuga Moliga (candidate questionnaires)

The most crowded contest this November will be the last one on your ballot but one of the most important: Board of Education. Nineteen candidates are running for three open seats. Why all the interest? Well, school board is used by some folks as a stepping-stone to the Board of Supes. There are also some hot issues going on in SFUSD that folks without connections to schools may find a little wtf. How is 8th grade algebra a racist dog whistle? Why is the mayor supporting an openly anti-trans candidate? Why did charter schools throw $22 million into the governor’s race? It’s a lot to cover in our voter guide, but we can make it easier by recommending these three rad candidates dedicated to education, not politics.

Alison Collins

We’ve known Alison for a while now, through her public school advocacy and her work connecting SF families with the Black Lives Matter movement. Alison’s blog, SF Public School Mom, is an antidote to the voices of white privilege that tend to drown out all others within SFUSD. After being a classroom teacher and District staffer, Alison now organizes parents. Working with families from the Bayview to the Tenderloin, Alison has been pushing back on false narratives about public education, and supporting families to create inclusive, equitable schools. She helped Carver Elementary get $1.9 million in improvements, organized against charter co-location, and worked for modern, inclusive middle school reading lists in her children's own schools. Alison has earned broad support, including almost every school board member, UESF and Democratic Party, and progressive badasses like Sandy Fewer and Jane Kim.

Gabriela Lopez

Gabriela Lopez is a bilingual teacher at Flynn Elementary in the Mission, as well as a volunteer teacher at San Quentin’s Academic Peer Education Project - which we love! Lopez is a child of Mexican immigrants, giving her an understanding of the imperative need of language support and the long term academic effects it can have on families who are unable to communicate with their teachers and schools. If elected, she would be the first Latina on the SF’s Board of Ed in 20 years! Lopez wants to address racial segregation within the school assignment system using solutions like online applications and virtual tours, which would allow families who can’t make it to daytime tours to explore more schools. She wants to help parents engage with neighborhood schools and push SFUSD to engage with families who are leaving those schools.

Faauuga Moliga

Faauuga Moliga was raised in San Francisco and attended San Francisco public schools, so he knows both the possibilities and pitfalls that exist in the system. He is also the first Pacific Islander to run for BOE. With a lens of mental health and wellness and a passion for young people whose experiences often go unnoticed, he brings a perspective and personality that is genuine, passionate, and thoughtful. Faauuga has both theoretical grounding and extensive practical experience working with and for young people; essential elements of leadership that are needed if the San Francisco Board of Education is going to provide a positive and powerful educational experience for all San Franciscans. Faauuga has a lot of the same supporters as Alison, including UESF, Democratic Party, NUHW, as well as the Governor of American Samoa, whoa!

Appointment recommendation: Mia Satya

But wait, there’s more… hopefully. If Matt Haney wins his race for D6 supervisor, a fourth seat will open up on Board of Ed, and Mayor Breed will get to fill that vacancy. We encourage her to appoint Youth Commissioner and trans advocate Mia Satya. We had a super hard time deciding on these Board of Ed candidates, and we're bummed not to endorse Mia. She would speak out for vulnerable students, and appointing her would be the best way for elected leaders like Breed and Sen. Scott Wiener to make up for their unforgivable support for transphobic, homophobic candidate Josephine Zhao. Win-win-win.

UPDATE 10/15: Mayor Breed appointed Faauuga Moliga to the BOE seat vacated by Commissioner Hydra Mendoza, who left in September to serve as Deputy Chancellor of New York City's Department of Education. Moliga will be seated for the November and December BOE meetings, but still must be elected this November to serve a full term. Mayor Breed had been encouraged to leave this vacancy open to avoid giving any candidate the benefit of incumbency, so why make an appointment for just two months? It may have to do with Zhao's campaign springing to life over the weekend. Zhao supporters were spotted handing out fliers at SFUSD's annual enrollment fair, and YIMBY blog Bay City Beacon ran an op-ed by a Zhao apologist. Breed could simply rescind her endorsement of Zhao but it looks like she chose to  -- LOOK, SQUIRREL! -- make an appointment instead.

^Back to Top

State Propositions

Prop 1: $4B Bond for Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond: YES

Proposition 1 would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for affordable housing programs ($3 billion) and a veterans’ home ownership program ($1 billion). While this does not solve California’s affordable housing crisis, it will certainly help. And, importantly, the largest portion of funding ($1.5 billion) goes to the Multifamily Housing Program, which is for the new construction, rehabilitation and preservation of permanent and transitional rental housing for people with incomes of up to 60% of AMI (i.e., deeply affordable housing!)

Prop 1 builds on nearly a century of California providing housing assistance for veterans, with the first program passed by voters in 1922. In June 2014, voters passed Prop 41 which authorized $600 million for multi-family supportive housing, transitional housing, and rental housing or related facilities to relieve homelessness. The League endorsed Prop 41 then and we say Yes to Prop 1 now.

^Back to Top

Prop 2: Allow Previous Bond Money to Be Used for Homeless Housing: YES

Prop 2 would allow the State to use revenue in the Mental Health Services Fund to finance permanent supportive housing for individuals living with serious mental illness who are homeless, chronically homeless, or at risk of chronic homelessness.

In 2004, voters approved Prop 63, also known as the Mental Health Services Act. It funded severely underfunded county mental health services. In 2016, the California Legislature created the No Place Like Home program to build and rehab housing for residents with mental illness who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. Prop 2 allows the state to use up to $140 million per year of county mental health funds to repay up to $2 billion in bonds.

No Place Like Home is currently hung up in the courts. The State needs to plan to approve whether using Mental Health Services Act dollars to pay for No Place Like Home goes along with what the voters wanted when it was first approved in 2004. And, they need to decide whether voters need to approve the new bonds. This court decision is pending. If Prop 2 passes, it’s all good and the court case is moot.

Ideally, there would be a new revenue stream for housing for homeless folks with mental health issues. We don’t love the idea of diverting money away from direct services. However, given how many unhoused people struggle with mental illness, the State should have the flexibility to use existing revenue streams to build more supportive housing for this population.

^Back to Top

Prop 3: $8.9B Bond for Water Projects: YES

We had a bit of a split vote on Prop 3 but ultimately a majority of our members voted to support it because of concerns for crumbling dams (remember the 2017 Oroville Dam failure?) and the need to invest in water infrastructure in general--especially with the coming challenges from climate change.

Prop 3 authorizes $8.877 billion in state general obligation bonds for various infrastructure projects: $3.03 billion for safe drinking water and water quality, $2.895 billion for watershed and fisheries improvements, $940 million for habitat protection, $855 million for improved water conveyance, $685 million for groundwater sustainability/storage, and $472 million for surface water storage/dam repairs. It appropriates money from General Fund to pay off bonds. Prop 3 requires certain projects to provide matching funds from non-state sources; gives priority to disadvantaged communities.

The Mercury News editorial said, “The $8.9 billion water bond package points to some serious water issues that demand the Legislature’s attention….The backers of Prop. 3 couldn’t get the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to support the concept of another water measure when they floated the idea earlier this year. State officials knew that they had just gone to voters in June with Proposition 68, a $4.1 billion natural resources bond measure that included $1.5 billion for water projects….Going back to the well so soon was, and still is, asking too much.” The Sierra Club was critical of the measure for many of the same reasons but also concerned whether dams were a good idea anyway.

The Fresno Bee argued on the side of the Central Valley farmers. “$750 million would be devoted to repairing and restoring the Friant-Kern and Madera canals, key parts of the federal system that delivers water from Millerton Lake to Kern and Madera counties. Along the way, the canal provides supplies to Fresno, Orange Cove and Lindsay, as well as irrigation districts that serve much of the farmers on the Valley’s eastside. Last year the Friant Water Authority discovered that land had fallen by as much as two feet along the canal near Corcoran. That subsidence means only 40 percent of the water that some farmers have contracted for can actually be delivered. Money from Proposition 3 will allow the authority to repair subsidence damage and restore the canal’s gravity flow.”

It’s not just farmers who’d benefit. California is home to small towns whose residents are mostly low income, who don’t have clean drinking water. Twenty years post-Erin Brockovich, hundreds of thousands of Californians still have unsafe drinking water.

In a perfect world, this would have been solved at the legislature. There is not yet a consensus regarding how beneficial or harmful this bill would be to the environment. The Sierra Club says its a giveaway to large corporations like pistachio farmers. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Bay Area Water Restoration Board are on record supporting it. And here’s a reminder from PPIC that bonds are only one part of the challenge for finding funding for California's future water security. This stuff is hard! With mixed opinions, most of us are erring on the side of funding infrastructure and voting yes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

^Back to Top

Prop 4: $1.5B Bond for Children’s Hospitals: YES

It’s a bond for expanding children’s hospitals. How can you not support something like that, right? We kicked the tires on this one and think it’s legit. But if you want to dig into the details, keep reading. The only slightly weird thing about it is that it was put on the ballot by a signature drive by the California Children’s Hospital Association. But the plan for how they’ll use the $1.5 billion it will raise checks out:

  • 72% ($1.08 billion) to seven nonprofit hospitals providing comprehensive services to high volumes of children eligible for governmental programs and children with special health needs eligible for California Children’s Services.
  • 18% ($270 million) to the five University of California general acute hospitals with children’s hospitals: U.C. Davis, LA, Irvine, SF, and San Diego.
  • 10% ($150 million) to public and private hospitals that provide pediatric services to children eligible for California Children’s Services.

The funds could be used for constructing, expanding, remodeling, renovating, furnishing, equipping, financing, or refinancing. Those types of one-time, long-term uses are appropriate for bond funding (i.e. taking out a loan), as opposed to ongoing uses like programs and salaries that shouldn’t be paid for with bonds.

Hospitals would submit applications for funding to the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. The CHFFA consists of state Treasurer, Controller, Director of Finance, and five appointees. CHFFA would decide how to award the funds. Criteria include how the grant would expand care, how much uncompensated care and care to vulnerable populations the hospital offers, and the readiness of the project. None of the hospitals could get more than 20% of the total funds for their category unless there are leftover funds after 2033.

This would be the third children’s hospital bond we’ve passed in the last 14 years: 2004 Prop 61 for $750M and 2008 Prop 3 for $980M. We say yes on Prop 4. Do it for the kids!

^Back to Top

Prop 5: Expand Prop 13 for Property Owners: HELL NO

Prop 5 was brought to the ballot by the California Association of Realtors to “protect Prop 13 savings.” It removes the a number of restrictions that allow homeowners to transfer their property tax base to a “replacement residence” of greater value without increasing their property tax.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office found that schools and local governments would lose over $100 million in annual property taxes early on, growing to about $1 billion per year. There would also be similar increase in state costs to backfill the school property tax losses.

How does this work? A property tax primer from the Legislative Analyst’s Office:

  • Local governments levy taxes on property owners (cities, schools, special districts) based on the value of their property.
  • Each property owner’s annual property tax bill is equal to the taxable value of his or her property multiplied by the property tax rate (typically 1.1%). In the year a property is purchased (that part is key), its taxable value is its purchase price. Each year after that the property’s taxable value is adjusted for inflation by up to 2 percent. This continues until the property is sold and again is taxed at its purchase price.
  • If you move, you will face increased property tax bills because the market value of most homes (what they could be sold for) grows faster than 2 percent annually. This means the taxable value of most homes is less than their market value. Because of this, when a homeowner buys a different home, the purchase price of the new home often exceeds the taxable value of the buyer’s prior home (even when the homes have similar market values). This leads to a higher property tax bill for the home buyer.
  • There are special cases when homeowners can move to a different home without paying higher property taxes -- these apply to homeowners who are over 55 or severely disabled or whose property has been impacted by a natural disaster or contamination. When moving within the same county, an eligible homeowner can transfer the taxable value of his or her existing home to a different home if the market value of the new home is the same or less than the existing home. Also, a county government may allow eligible homeowners to transfer their taxable values to homes in the county from homes in different counties. Ten counties allow these transfers. Except in limited cases, homeowners who are over 55 or severely disabled can transfer their taxable value once in their lifetime.

So, Prop 5 throws the rules out the window. It makes it so that ALL homeowners over 55 can transfer their oh-so-low property tax rate to their new nicer bigger better anywhere in the state home and not pay a higher tax rate. If you buy a less expensive home, it reduces your tax rate. And, this strips the rules that say you can only do this once. It essentially expands Prop 13. Uggggh. We say HELL NO.

^Back to Top

Prop 6: Eliminate Gas Tax: HELL NO

Republicans are hoping that Prop 6, which repeals the 12 cent per gallon gas tax created by the state legislature in 2017 to fund road and transit maintenance and rehabilitation projects, will draw voters to the polls in November. Is Prop 6 just a cynical ploy to help Republicans win close congressional contests this election? Maybe. Contributors to Prop 6 include House Republicans Paul Ryan (WI) and Steve Scalise (LA), who, we think it’s safe to say, don’t care at all about Californians’ taxes, but would like to keep Republican control of Congress. If that weren’t reason enough to vote against Prop 6, there’s also the fact that if Prop 6 passes, the state’s annual transportation revenues would decrease by $3 billion in the next year and by $5 billion by 2020-21, and this is at a time when California has a backlog of road and bridge repair projects costing $130 billion. Prop 6 would effectively kill high speed rail. There’s also the fact that Prop 6 not only repeals the gas tax, but also changes the California constitution so that the legislature can NEVER pass a gas tax without putting it on the ballot for voter approval. That’s a move that Republicans who want to starve the government may like, but it’s ultimately inefficient and restrictive. Streetsblog has a good article fact checking the Republicans’ arguments for repealing the gas tax. Seriously, if you like roads and transit, you gotta pay for this shit. Vote HELL NO on prop 6!

^Back to Top

Prop 7: Eliminate Daylight Saving Time: YES

We’ll be honest, we didn’t think too hard about this at first. But the Daylight Saving Time debate at our endorsement meeting surprised the hell out of us! Our membership displayed a ton of opposition to the annual practice of setting the clock forward in Spring and back in Fall. Every state in the US observes daylight saving time (DST) except Hawaii, Arizona (minus the Navajo Nation in the northeastern part of the state), American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Indiana was exempt before but began practicing daylight saving time in 2006.

Technically, Prop 7 doesn’t eliminate DST. It actually freezes it in place securing the best dawn and dusk times year round. Daylight saving time lasts for a total of 34 weeks (238 days) every year, about 65% of the entire year. The history of DST has been traced back to a 1784 essay by Benjamin Franklin, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light”, claiming Parisians could save on candles by getting out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead. It began in 1918 in the US for the same official fuel saving reasons. Economist Severin Borenstein, professor of business at UC Berkeley, argues that “two excellent studies (here and here) have found essentially no impact on energy consumption. The real reason it is around is because of capitalism -- shopping. California adopted DST in 1949. Studies show DST has negatively affected public health by leading to more traffic accidents, workplace injuries and heart attacks. Teachers hella hate DST for the impacts on students. Voting yes on Prop 7 is the first step toward eliminating this outdated practice - since the change would also require federal approval. Yes on Prop 7.

^Back to Top

Prop 8: Regulation of Kidney Dialysis Charges: YES

Prop 8 limits amounts outpatient kidney dialysis clinics may charge for patient care, capping profits at 15% over their direct spending on health services. It requires annual reporting to the state regarding clinic costs, patient charges, and revenue, and prohibits clinics from discriminating against patients based on the source of payment for care.

The LA Times said it best: “The worst maladies of the American healthcare system are related to corporate profits: The competition among insurance companies to avoid the sickest customers and extract the most money from the rest, and the rise of for-profit healthcare providers. In few fields do those factors come together as neatly as they do in the dialysis business. And a business it is — a terrifically profitable one. The two dominant for-profit dialysis firms, Denver-based DaVita and German-owned Fresenius, report pretax operating profits in the billions and margins of 18% to 19%.”

Peeps at SEIU-UHW, the union behind the proposition, are bringing this forward on behalf of the clinic workers. One of the companies, DaVita, is actively union busting. Firefighters who support the measure report that they're getting a disproportionate number of calls from dialysis clinics because patients were passing out in parking lots after the clinics pushed them out too quickly post-dialysis. CalPERS agrees with the CA Legislative Analyst office in terms of savings. Vote yes on prop 8!

^Back to Top

Prop 9: Stupid Vanity Prop to Divide CA in Thirds: KICKED OFF THE BALLOT!

The California Supreme Court ruled in July that this vanity prop dreamed up by an Atherton venture capitalist should be delayed until a future election due to the significant questions regarding the prop’s validity and potential harm in allowing it to remain on the ballot. Basically, he collected only enough signatures to qualify a regular ballot measure, but the court ruled this a constitutional amendment, which requires a lot more signatures. D'oh! So far, this dude has spent $6.4 million on this half-baked idea, so we anticipate he’ll try again. Anyhoo, we just wanted to make sure you knew we weren’t missing a number by leaving it off.

^Back to Top

Prop 10: Repeal Costa Hawkins! Allow Expansion of Rent Control! HELL YES

This fulfils a tenant advocate dream: it repeals Costa-Hawkins, an awful 1995 law that severely constricts cities’ ability to expand or modernize rent control. Prop 10 doesn’t directly expand rent control - but it gives individual cities and counties the ability to do so. Tenant advocates have tried to reform or repeal Costa-Hawkins through the state legislature for years, but realtors and landlords have way more power than tenants in Sacramento, so that’s why this had to go to the ballot.

This SF Weekly story talks about what would be on the table if Prop 10 passes. Some highlights:

  • Expand rent control to buildings built after 1979. Berkeley’s plan to implement rent control on a rolling basis 20 years after a building is built sounds solid to us.
  • Implement “vacancy control” to limit how much landlords can raise the rent when tenants move out.
  • Limit rent increases when master tenants leave. So scummy landlords can’t jack up the rent when a renter dies and their surviving spouse isn’t on the lease! Yeah, they do that. ☹️

Costa-Hawkins prevents us from doing any of that, which has allowed landlords to hugely jack up rents and displace thousands of our neighbors. Most California renters spend over 30% of their income on housing. For some, it’s worse than that: a third are forking over 50% of their pay to their landlords! Prop 10 is the first step to reign in the most absurd rent hikes from the greediest landlords.

In our City where home ownership grows farther out of reach for most us, our ability to remain San Franciscans depends on having stable rent. There’s really no policy alternative to rent control for promoting housing stability. And a recent USC study shows how housing stability promotes physical, social, and psychological wellness, as well as educational attainment for students.

As for all the scaremongering from opponents, we think their arguments range from overblown to flat-out bullshit. Let’s talk about the economists, shall we?

Are you concerned with what economists say about rent control?

Unfortunately, lots of economists like to hate on rent control. Let’s take a look.

Argument #1: Economists say if we remove restrictions on rents and housing construction, the efficiencies of the free market will eventually make housing more affordable. They acknowledge our housing crisis, but say expanding rent control will discourage developers from building more housing, because it might not be as profitable. Sooo they’re saying the way to lower housing costs is to make sure developers and landlords can raise rents as much as possible?! Maaaybe that would work out over a 30-50 year timeframe, if you let developers and landlords maximize their profits, they’d eventually build enough housing that rents would come down. But we doubt it: as soon as their financiers see that rents are stabilizing or dropping, they’ll stop funding new construction and invest in something else. Meanwhile, another generation or two of working class folks will be displaced by skyrocketing rent increases.

Economists studied what happened when Cambridge, MA repealed rent control in 1995. This City Watch LA article links to a lot of that research. Tl;dr it wasn’t good. While new construction increased some, rents skyrocketed--in both previously regulated and unregulated units--evictions increased by 33% and 40% of residents in previously rent controlled units moved out.

The reality is that out-of-control rents in urban California are making landlords rich and prompting developers to build as much housing as they can. Nobody is proposing that rent control should apply to newly constructed buildings--instead the debate is how long to wait for it to kick in: 20 years? 30 years? There are much bigger factors that determine if housing developments pencil out: the skyrocketing costs of materials and labor, zoning restrictions on where and how much housing can be built, and how much affordable housing they’re required to build. The effects of rent control is decimal dust compared to all of that.

Argument #2: Economists say rent control encourages landlords to convert rental units to condos or tenancies-in-common. A recent Stanford study of rent control in SF said this was the most damaging part of rent control, because it led to a 15% decrease in the supply of rental housing. But let’s think about that. Rent control is a policy to stop speculators from making housing too expensive. Condo conversion is a way speculators profit by getting around rent control. If our policy goal is to keep housing affordable, the solution is NOT to throw out rent control because there are loopholes. The solution is to plug the loopholes! And that’s exactly what tenant advocates in San Francisco have done over the past two decades, limiting the ability to convert units to condos or to demolish, merger, or convert existing housing.

Similarly, opponents argue that rent control motivates landlords to keep units off the market. When studios in SF start around $2K/month, we don’t understand why anyone would keep a unit off the market. They’re friggin’ goldmines! But if that is still a widespread problem, again the solution isn’t to get rid of rent control. Let’s try educating landlords, and if that doesn’t work, let’s tax or regulate vacant units.

Argument #3: Rent control should be means tested. “Means testing” means rent control should apply only to low-income tenants. But if we did that, it would create huge incentives for landlords to evict and/or not rent to low-income tenants so that they could charge higher rents. As the Haas Institute study puts it, “there is no more reason to limit the benefits of rent control to the lowest-income tenants than there is to limit the benefits of public utility regulation to only the lowest-income users of electricity and water.” The lack of means testing also increases the overall economic benefit of rent control: by limiting rent increases on middle and upper class tenants, it puts more money in their pockets to spend on other stuff instead of lining the pockets of their landlords. Economics!

We appreciate the value economic brings in analyzing public policy challenges, but just a reminder that economics is not a hard scienceit’s a social science that has been shown to be subject to bias. And we know that expanding rent control isn’t a magic wand that will solve the housing crisis. Of course we need to build a lot more housing. But rent control is a crucial tool for providing stability in our housing, and it’s a key piece of creating a society where housing is less of an investment and more of a human right.

Not convinced? Want to geek out some more? Okay, dig away:

^Back to Top

Prop 11: Require Private Ambulances to Remain on Call During Work Breaks: NO

Prop 11 allows private ambulance companies to keep emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics on duty during their meal and rest breaks in order to respond to 911 calls. It was put on the ballot by a private ambulance company, American Medical Response (AMR).

This all started back in 2012 when EMTs in San Diego filed a class-action lawsuit, Bartoni vs. American Medical Response West, for missed meals and uncompensated interrupted breaks. The court initially denied the class action designation, but later reversed that section in light of the 2016 Augustus vs. ABM Security Services California Supreme Court ruling. The Augustus decision stated that employers must relieve their employees of all work-related duties and employer control during rest periods.

Jason Brollini, executive director of United EMS Workers/AFSCME Local 4911, admitted at a legislative hearing that, ”...the Augustus ruling is very difficult, if not impossible to apply to our sector. It leads to safety issues and response issues and we agree with that.” There was an effort to come to an agreement with a legislative solution with AB263, but talks between labor and ambulance providers broke down earlier this year over two key points: whether the interruptions could include less serious calls and whether the legislation should void the pending lawsuits against American Medical Response.

The Bartoni case is still pending. AMR is potentially looking at a settlement of over $100 million, but if Prop 11 passes, the stipulation that paramedics and EMTs are exempt from state law meal break requirements gets grandfathered in, and all they lose is the money they sunk into passing this proposition.

It’s whack for ambulance companies to spend millions on this ballot measure to bypass workers and state law. Vote no on prop 11!

^Back to Top

Prop 12: New Standards for Confinement of Farm Animals: YES

Back in 2008 voters approved a Proposition to reduce the most egregious factory farming. It said that “breeding pigs” (so females of breeding age, excludes all males and young pigs), veal calves, and egg hens needed to have enough space to turn around, spread their wings, etc. That didn’t take effect till 2015 (and egg prices did go up then as a consequence, though they’ve lowered since).

This prop basically takes that to the next step. For hens it increases the amount of space slightly (from 116 square inches, more or less, to 144, one square foot), and slowly phases in a set of guidelines requiring egg-laying hens to be kept in a “cage free” environment. And it slowly phases in what are basically cage-free environments for breeding pigs and veal calves. It doesn’t cover older cows or other animals.

Enforcement of standards in this field is lacking, and will remain so. While the prop does authorize the CA Dept of Agriculture to enforce this, logistics means that constantly checking all the relevant farms would be nearly impossible. But presumably Prop 12 will cause a slow transition as law-abiding farmers start to comply and farms upgrade or build new equipment in compliance with the new standards.

Prop 12 will probably raise the cost of meat and eggs, but kicks in slowly to give consumers and farmers a chance to adjust. This is one of those issues on which CA can lead the nation, since standards like this tend to spread, and companies want to streamline their operations and sell across borders. A big egg farm in the Midwest that sells eggs in CA, for instance, would have to comply with this.

PETA opposes this for some weird reason, but Humane Society is supporting. Overall, while we’re hesitant to increase food costs, better conditions for animals also leads to healthier food. We support Prop 12.

UPDATE: Shout out to the Leaguer who emailed PETA directly to ask why they opposed Prop 12. They say: "As you know, PETA works to end the use of animals for food and encourages everyone to go vegan—but in addition to that, we've pushed for and supported incremental changes to lessen farmed animals' suffering. We see Prop 12, however, as a dangerous step in the wrong direction....While Prop 12 would ultimately abolish cages, it would also allow tens of thousands of hens to be confined to massive sheds with no more than 1 square foot of space per bird."

 

^Back to Top

San Francisco Propositions

Prop A: $425M Bond to Start Rebuilding the Seawall: YES

This initiative is critically important to prevent loss of life and protect historic areas from earthquake and flooding due to sea level rise. The 100-year-old seawall covers 3 miles and needs major reconstruction in order to protect utility networks, BART, MUNI, and the launching area for ferries. In case of disaster, boats and ferries would have to be able to launch and dock here. The danger from earthquake, liquefaction and flooding affects Fisherman’s Wharf, AT&T Park, Third Street, and Bayview/Hunters Point. If there’s an earthquake at high tide with a surge, BART could be flooded and closed for multiple years. Looking at the storm devastation on the East Coast, we need to be prepared sooner instead of later.

Ultimately this needs to be a $5 billion dollar project, but will only help if we complete it before the major earthquake that is predicted within the next 30 years. Prop A is only the first stage: it would raise $425 million from property owners and tenants to handle the most critical projects, and generate matching funds from state and federal sources for more scratch.

While we support it because of the urgency of the need, there are a couple problems with the bond. First, the Tenants Union opposes it because landlords will be able to pass on 50% of this increase in property tax to renters. Those passthroughs tend to be pretty small, but we agree on the principle that landlords who have seen their property values skyrocket should be able to handle a small bump in their taxes.

Second, at some point during the process of writing the Prop, protection of Bayview/Hunters Point got taken out of the proposal, so it only covers as far as AT&T park. On top of the radioactive shipyard, BVHP has already been hit with enough environmental racism, so failing to protect the district’s seawall is an added insult. We’ll be watching to be sure the next bond phase includes our BVHP neighbors. Yes on Prop A.

^Back to Top

Prop B: Privacy First Policy: YES

Screw mass surveillance and surveillance capitalism! It’s about time we put some controls on the collection and commodification of our personal data. If passed, Proposition B would be an important first step towards crafting much-needed privacy protections for SF residents and visitors. Just to be clear, Proposition B doesn’t establish specific data protection ordinances (city officials have until May 31, 2019 to develop those), but it establishes Privacy First principles for the city to follow when developing such policies. These principles include allowing individuals to access the personal information collected about them, providing individuals with a way to correct data inaccuracies, and allowing individuals to move through the city without their location being tracked. Importantly, the Privacy First Policy would not only apply to all city departments, but also to any company that does business with the city.

There’s one tricky piece of this - it allows the Board of Supervisors to make changes to the City’s government transparency law, the Sunshine Ordinance, which was passed by voters back in 1999. Currently, since it was passed by voters, it can only be altered by proposition, and Prop B changes that. Some sunshine advocates have asked for this ability to make it easier to modify the Sunshine ordinance without having to go to the ballot. (For example, one seat on the Sunshine Taskforce needs to be nominated by New America Media, but that group is now defunct! Currently the only way to change that would be through a ballot measure.) Prop B says any modifications to the Sunshine Ordinance must be consistent with its intent and purpose, which are pretty clearly defined.

Some open government advocates are concerned that the Board of Supervisors could use this provision to water down the Sunshine Ordinance. The City Attorney has said he won’t sign off on anything that isn’t consistent with the ordinance’s purpose linked above. We wouldn’t put it past some shady future Supervisors to try to weaken our open government laws. But here’s the thing: enforcement of the Sunshine Ordinance is so spotty, politicians don’t need to weaken it to get around it. Mayor London Breed has repeatedly flouted the Sunshine Ordinance with zero consequences! This is a great example of how you can’t legislate future political will. We support updating and enforcing our open government laws, and we’ll keep an eye on any proposals to modify them.

Overall, we think Prop B is a good, if modest and mostly symbolic, first step towards getting serious about privacy in this era where corporations are trying to monetize our data.

^Back to Top

Prop C: “Our City, Our Home!” Tax Big Businesses to Fund Homeless Housing and Services: HELL YES!

This proposition is stunningly progressive and spectacularly needed. It’s a small tax on corporations that will dramatically improve the lives of homeless San Franciscans.

The City has approximately 7,500 homeless residents on any given day, half of those unsheltered. That’s according to the Point-In-Time Count, which homeless advocates say vastly underestimates the total unhoused population. Over 20,000 San Franciscans experience homelessness a year. There are only about 1,300 adult shelter beds - with a huge waiting list for 90-day beds.

Prop C will address this by raising $300 million annually. Half of that will build and acquire permanent housing, a quarter will go to mental health and substance abuse treatment, and the last fourth goes to homelessness prevention, temporary shelters, and hygiene centers. Prop C funds the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s ambitious goals outlined in their five year strategic framework. It would house 4,000 households, prioritizing families with children, youth, and our most impaired homeless residents.

Prop C only applies to corporations earning more than $50 million a year, and it doesn’t touch that first $50 million. Above that, Prop C taxes them about half a penny per dollar, depending on the kind of business. Gross receipts are calculated by industry. The tax doesn’t affect most businesses, and retail stores get the lowest rate, so don’t let anyone scare you with B.S. that Prop C will make corner stores flee the City. It’s gonna take this kind of bold legislation to move the dial on homelessness.

The opposition is spewing a lot of schlock about how much SF currently spends on homelessness. Let’s crunch the real numbers.

In the SF Chronicle, Jeff Kositsky, director of San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, provided a breakdown of how the City spends its budget of $300 million:

“Last year, two-thirds went to people who aren’t homeless at all. That’s the amount spent on rental subsidies, eviction prevention and permanent supportive housing [services aimed at preventing people from becoming homeless or to house the formerly homeless]...Take away 11 percent for administrative costs and one-time capital spending, and you’re left with 17.6 percent spent on temporary shelters, 3.2 percent on street outreach and 2.2 percent on health services. That means about $57 million was spent on the visible homeless population, the group of people we see every day who so clearly need help…”  Over the course of a year, 20,000 people will be homeless in San Francisco, Kositsky said, adding that 5,000 of those won’t use city services because they figure out their own housing arrangements or are just passing through. “But divide $57 million by 15,000 homeless people who need city help each year, and you see the city spends $3,800 per person per year. Or $10.41 a day.”

In a September 26th report from the Controller’s Office, the City’s Chief Economist, Ted Egan, dispelled myths about the legislation noting there was little fiscal impact on the City’s job market and overall economy.

Joe Eskenazi of Mission Local gave an excellent analogy. “...The report noted that Proposition C’s ‘impacts are small in the context of the city’s job market and economy, equal to a 0.1% difference, on average, over 20 years.’ ...To give you an idea of how small a number 0.1 percent is, it’s one-quarter the percentage of real butter in Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. To give you an idea of how many jobs Egan believes are going to be vanquished by Prop. C, if the city would have created 1,000 jobs in a Prop. C-free environment, the report predicts Prop. C will result in the creation of a mere 999.”

The Examiner noted Egan’s further comments, “While the tax savings to San Francisco businesses are difficult to estimate and apportion to the city, it is likely that the 14 percent income tax cut would outweigh the proposed 0.5 percent gross receipts tax increase for the majority of the 300-400 affected businesses.”

Prop C has created an unlikely alliance of tech titans, celebrities, community activists, and housing advocates all throwing down and dispelling the myths that the Chamber of Commerce, London Breed, Scott Wiener, David Chiu, and Gavin Newsom are peddling. The League says HELL YES on Prop C!

^Back to Top

Prop D: Two for One! Tax on Cannabis and on Non-SF Companies that Sell Stuff Here: YES

Prop D includes two separate taxes:

  1. A tax on gross receipts from cannabis that doesn’t go into effect until 2021.
  2. An “Amazon tax”* on corporations who sell stuff to people in SF but don’t have physical locations here. That part goes into effect in 2019.

We adore the “Amazon tax.” It’s incredibly unfair to local businesses that online retailers don’t have to pay taxes. The Supreme Court’s recent “Wayfair” decision opened the door to this, and we’re amped.

The cannabis tax is trickier, because that industry is still adjusting to the legal landscape. But we like that the implementation is delayed and that the Board of Supes can adjust it. We plan to keep an eye on that part as we get closer to that 2021 phase-in, but the “Amazon tax” makes us excited to vote Yes on D.

*Amazon actually already pays taxes here, but this is the easiest way we’ve found to explain it. 🤣

^Back to Top

Prop E: Restore the Hotel Tax Allocation for Arts and Culture: YES

Right now, the City imposes a hotel tax on the operation of hotels in San Francisco. It consists of an 8% base tax and an additional 6% tax surcharge on hotel room rentals. The Allocation of Hotel Tax Funds measure in the November 2016 election, Prop S, would have allocated funds from the existing SF Hotel Tax to be used to fund arts and cultural programs, as well as services for homeless families, but it didn’t pass - it got a majority but just barely failed to clear the 66.67% threshold.

After Prop S failed, the contingents working on funding for the arts and those working to fund homeless services split off to develop two complementary measures for the 2018 election, which we are now voting on as Prop C and Prop E. This one, Prop E, would require 1.5% of the 8% base tax to be allocated to the arts and cultural causes as specified in the bill, with the remaining 6.5% to continue going toward the general fund. The allocation as specified by the text of this measure would be split between non-profit cultural organizations, the SF Arts Commission, and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development for use by Cultural Districts. We talk about San Francisco as a city of artists, but we need to support arts communities with actual funding as it becomes more and more difficult for artists to stay here. We appreciate that some of the money will be used to fund cultural districts, which help  preserve unique communities in San Francisco. Yes on E.

^Back to Top

San Francisco Offices

Assessor-Recorder: Paul Bellar (candidate questionnaires)

Assessor-Recorder is not the sexiest of offices. In 2014, the incumbent, Carmen Chu, ran unopposed, but this year, Paul Bellar stepped up. He’s a rad tax geek with a passion for this obscure bureaucratic position. What is this obscure bureaucratic position, you ask?

The Assessor-Recorder is responsible for assessing property taxes. San Francisco’s skyline is dotted with cranes. There is construction everywhere. The Assessor should be right there, ready to get the City its fair share, but instead there’s a huge backlog of assessable new construction. Tall Paul’s goal [he really is friggin’ tall] is to move away from the taxes-only model and push the office to dig deeper into understanding San Francisco’s housing landscape - just what exactly are we taxing? And, in a Prop 13 constrained world, how can SF collect what’s due?

In a damning 2015 civil grand jury report entitled “Office of the Assessor-Recorder: Despite Progress, Still The Lowest Rated Office in the State” (ouch) the Office was called out for their inefficiency, which has led to “delays in the receipt of General Fund monies, a loss of interest revenue for the County, and is a burden on taxpayers who might have to pay several years of back property tax at once.” The report said the Office needed to “work with DBI in a more efficient manner.” That’s where Bellar says the rub is. The Office of Assessor-Recorder isn’t working with the Department of Building Inspections to collect the stats on the housing they’re taxing. They need the ‘what’ in the what/how/collect steps of collecting taxes. One egregious example is relying on developers’ honesty to determine the tax rate of units under construction instead of having the City calculate it in the cost manual.

This shit is complicated, and the fix is in for a City Family-backed candidate, but we’re throwing our support behind Paul Bellar and you should too.

The incumbent, Carmen Chu, appears to be smart and competent. She seems to be doing a good job of modernizing the Assessor-Recorder's office and has improved their collection of real estate transfer taxes. But we prefer Bellar's vision for a more expansive and active Assessor-Recorder. Also, we can't forget that when Chu was on the Board of Supervisors, she regularly voted against our interests, and she's been rumored as a potential future Mayoral candidate for Team Big Money.

^Back to Top

Public Defender: Jeff Adachi

Adachi is a kick ass Public Defender. His office successfully defended Jose Ines Garcia Zarate in a case that drew national attention. Despite enormous and deserved public sympathy for the victim, Kate Steinle, and widespread condemnation of Zarate, who is undocumented, SF’s Public Defender’s office (led by Chief Attorney and progressive heartthrob Matt Gonzalez) won an acquittal on all murder charges in what was clearly a tragic accidental death caused by Zarate, not a murder. What better way to say Fuck You to Donald Trump’s xenophobic immigration pogroms than to ensure the rule of law and justice for the indigent, regardless of immigration status? That’s what Adachi is all about- upholding the motherfucking constitution.

San Francisco is the only county in California that elects our Public Defender. This independence from appointment means that Adachi is free to piss people off. For example, his endorsement of London Breed for Mayor baffled us, and his pension reform legislation from 2011 which saw him buddy up with union-hating venture capitalists angered many union allies. But Jeff’s heart is in the right place. On his watch the PD’s office has become a powerhouse of badasses, fighting the Trump administration on immigration and providing constitutionally-required defense for all San Franciscans, regardless of income. Adachi has been a strong proponent of bail reform and for the need to address racial disparities in arrests and sentencing. Also, he’s running unopposed. We’re happy to endorse Jeff Adachi for Public Defender.

^Back to Top

Board of Supervisors, District 2: No Endorsement (candidate questionnaires)

District 2 includes the Marina, Cow Hollow, Presidio, Pacific Heights, Sea Cliff. The leading contenders are appointed Supervisor Catherine Stefani and BART Board Commissioner Nick Josefowitz.

Catherine Stefani was previously an aide to District 2 Supervisors Mark Farrell and Michela Alioto-Pier. Despite working for those politicians who we’ve hella opposed, our allies who worked with Stefani says she’s good people, and at least treated people well even when her bosses disagreed with them. Stefani led the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, and she was the brains behind all of Farrell’s anti-gun legislation. (Thanks for chasing the last gun store outta town!)  We also appreciate that she was one of only two politicians who withdrew her endorsement of Josephine Zhao in the wake of her transphobic comments. Having lived in and worked for District 2 for a long time, she probably knows the district better than any of the other candidates and would probably represent its residents well. Unfortunately, every single SF election shows D2 is dominated by conservative voters who don’t share our values. :/

In her short time on the Board, Stefani has been one of the strongest allies of the Police Officers Association and supported June’s Prop H, the POA’s awful ballot measure to loosen restrictions on tasers. The fact that she doesn’t see the nexus between gun violence and the POA’s advocacy for less restrictions on police violence is upsetting. She also spoke against Prop C, Our City Our Home, and in her response to our questionnaire, she didn’t take positions on most of the important ballot measures we asked about. Womp, womp.

One thing you can’t deny about Nick Josefowitz: dude really really wants to be District 2 Supervisor. Before Farrell became interim Mayor and appointed Stefani, Josefowitz was concerned that former D2 Supe Michela Alioto-Pier would run again. So he dropped $400K trying to put a proposition on the June ballot to block her by changing the City’s term limit rules. (That effort failed, and the signature gathering firm says he stiffed them $20K.) Then after Stefani was appointed, he went to court to try to move this election from November to June to give Stefani less time to campaign. Talk about putting his fragile masculinity front and center!

Josefowitz is currently on the BART Board of Directors, and we made the tough call of not endorsing him back then when he was running against SF’s last elected Republican! Here’s what we said then:

He wants to prioritize pedestrian and bike infrastructure around BART stations, run more frequent trains, upgrade cars and systems to improve efficiency and develop land owned by BART to help increase housing. But…. he’s not a supporter of the Anti-Speculation tax, he helped Mayor Lee bury CleanPowerSF when he was a Commissioner for the Dept of the Environment, and he rubber-stamped the Tech Bus Pilot without questioning the environmental impact.

We do appreciate that he’s been a strong advocate for bikes and transit. On his questionnaire, he told us his first priority would be to add 3,000 more homeless shelter beds, but like Stefani, he’s not supporting Prop C! Both of these candidates seem out of touch with the inequality issues facing SF.

John Dennis is a Republican whose top priority is “ending vagrancy in District 2.” He disagrees with us on almost every question on our questionnaire. Next.

Schuyler Hudak didn’t answer our questionnaire. She’s a media start-up founder with a history in politics working for Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown. We appreciate that she’s the only D2 candidate supporting Prop 10, but we haven’t seen enough from her to endorse her without knowing her positions on our priorities. No endorsement.

^Back to Top

Board of Supervisors, District 4: Gordon Mar (candidate questionnaires)

District 4 covers the Sunset neighborhood. D4 has had a string of Supervisors appointed by the Mayor. The district hasn’t had an “open seat” election in 12 friggin years! When Edmund Jew went to jail in 2007, Gavin Newsom appointed Carmen Chu from his budget office. Then in 2013, Ed Lee appointed Chu to become Assessor-Recorder, and appointed Katy Tang (Chu’s aide) to become D4 Supervisor! This year, Tang shocked the City by announcing she wouldn’t run for re-election the evening before the filing deadline and endorsing her aide, Jessica Ho, to be her successor. We disagree with Tang’s pick of Ho to succeed her (and a lot of her votes), but we do appreciate her breaking the cycle of appointments and giving D4 their first open seat election since 2006.

Gordon Mar co-founded and is currently the Executive Director of Jobs with Justice SF where he was instrumental in many of the most important progressive accomplishments of the last decade: the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, Free City College, the minimum wage ordinance, and racial justice in collective bargaining. He’s devoted his career to building grassroots coalitions and fighting for workers, immigrants, and the environment. Because of Gordon, San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement is a national model of how cities can work with different communities in different languages to enforce employment laws and protect workers. In his background leading the Chinese Progressive Association and Northern California Citizenship Project, Gordon focused on building leaders for decades to come. In the Excelsior, he worked to build a Latino/Chinese coalition fighting for better air quality and environmental justice up against Shell Oil.

The Sunset doesn’t need a slick politician grasping for power - they deserve an independent Supervisor not driven by ego and accountable to affected communities. The Sunset needs a progressive champion. Vote Gordon Mar!

Gordon’s two major opponents are Jessica Ho and Trevor McNeil. Long story short, they’re both endorsed by the Republican-loving, reform-hating, racist Police Officers Association, but let’s check them out….

Jessica Ho is supported by many of the City’s moderate-to-conservative leaders like Scott Wiener, Katy Tang, Ahsha Safai, and Angela Alioto. We are shocked to see them backing someone with so little experience. She moved to the City this year, and worked as a legislative aide for Tang for just three months! She previously worked for an LA County Supervisor and for the Department of Social Services in Sacramento, but her lack of San Francisco experience is concerning. She didn’t have the voting history or legislative knowledge to answer the bulk of our questionnaire, but what we do know about her positions is pretty concerning. On two bellwether issues, she’s against vacancy control and continues to support transphobic School Board candidate Josephine Zhao. Her response to the Bike Coalition’s questionnaire show a clear car-centric bias in her transportation policy. She also flip-flopped on whether or not she supports Alioto’s awful measure to weaken our Sanctuary City policy. How is that even a question?!? She’s pouring a shit ton of money into ads on CNN, and a corporate-funded PAC is also pouring money into supporting her. Man, the Sunset isn’t for sale, Jessica. Interestingly, Mayor Breed hedged her bets on October 12 by endorsing McNeil #2. Seems like folks might be losing confidence in Ho.

Trevor McNeil looks a lot like Jessica Ho on the issues. They support and are supported by many of the same politicians. When he ran for School Board in 2016, he said he wanted to “bring back advanced math and other courses that challenge all our students,’ referring to the math sequence and gifted programs that SFUSD have shown to be racially segregating. We appreciate his perspective as a middle school teacher and a father in the Sunset. As a former member of the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, he’s good on pedestrian, bike, and transit issues. But his record on the SF Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC) showed he was firmly aligned with the conservative wing of our local Dems. He voted against regulating AirBnb, voted against police reform, and gladly accepted huge slushy donations from Republican socialite Dede Wilsey. Ugh. No.

Mike Murphy is an activist with the Green Party, SF Watershed Protection Alliance, and Surfrider Foundation who teaches eco-literacy to Pre-K, through elementary-age SFUSD students. He’s been an ally on a number of campaigns we’ve been involved, his responses to our questionnaire show he shares our values, and our friends at the SF Berniecrats gave him their #2 endorsement. But we haven’t seen signs that he’s organizing the type of serious campaign it takes to have an impact on this election.

Adam Kim is a member of the SF Berniecrats and received their #3 endorsement. Like Murphy, his responses to our questionnaire show he shares our values, but we haven’t seen signs that he’s organizing the type of serious campaign it takes to have an impact on this election.

^Back to Top

Board of Supervisors, District 6: Matt Haney (candidate questionnaires)

Matt Haney is the type of super-accomplished dude who makes you question why you haven’t accomplished more with your life. He has a law degree and two Masters (Education and Human Rights). He’s a tenants lawyer by day and School Board member by night. Previously he organized students as the E.D. of the University of California Students Association, and he worked with Van Jones at Dream Corps on criminal justice reform and empowering underprivileged youth for 21st century futures. And he’s only 35!

Something else you notice about Matt is his endorsements. The progressive leaders we trust are united behind him. But so are Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, Van Jones, Betty Yee, Fiona Ma, and Malia Cohen. Friggin Barack Obama endorsed him for School Board! Normally someone having that many high-powered endorsements is a red flag that they might not be willing to take tough stands that piss those bigwigs off. That was part of the reason why we didn’t endorse him the first time he ran.

But we see him out doing the work all the time. Every campaign season, he’s out hitting the streets with us for progressive campaigns. He’s also a regular at League meetings, and we appreciate how he doesn’t show up to lobby us one way or another and he listens more than he talks. Our folks who follow the School Board say he’s proven himself and has reliably stood on the right side of issues. He led reform of SFUSD’s policy on suspensions that disproportionately affect black and brown youth--reforms that Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed repeatedly. He also pushed for expanding the Safe Routes to School program to help families find sustainable transportation options for getting to school.

Matt’s one of the few School Board members who’s ever visited every single school site in the City! That’s some serious dedication. And he’s shown that same dedication on the campaign trail for the Board of the Supes, hitting the streets and knocking on doors every day. Being a Supervisor is a tough job, and we need someone with the work ethic and dedication to get up early and work late. We’re confident Matt’s ready to make that commitment. Vote Haney!

Christine Johnson’s campaign seems to be a paper tiger--relying on endorsements from moderate/conservative politicians and a ton of shady money, but not a lot of people power or community endorsements. We don’t think she’s bad or evil. She seems like a policy wonk after our own hearts. She’s an engineer who has worked in finance, and served on a bunch of commissions. She’s smart, and would probably be good on a lot of issues. We respect her for withdrawing her endorsement of Josephine Zhao in the wake of Zhao’s transphobic nonsense.

Her strongest experience and public record comes from her time as a Mayoral appointee to the Planning Commission. That’s also where her biggest red flag comes from: she literally changed her vote on enforceable AirBnB regulations after the Mayor’s office texted her freaking out about it. (Update: check out the video of how she changed her vote without explanation.) For us, that’s disqualifying. She didn’t answer our questionnaire, so we don’t know her positions on a lot of things we care about, but she came out against Prop 10, which is also a dealbreaker for us. And she’s also supported by tons of people we don’t trust like the Police Officers Association and Republican socialite Dede Wilsey.

Although her campaign has the least momentum, the endorsement by London Breed and the recent air-tight alliance with Sonja Trauss may boost her status a bit. She served on the Hunter’s Point Shipyard Community Advisory Committee. We’re concerned she may be looking after the interests of the corporations that will profit from development there. The Police Officers’ Association (POA) has endorsed Trauss & Johnson. No surprise there, but it’s a major red flag when anyone accepts the endorsement of the Republican-loving, reform-hating, racist POA. In addition, Progress SF, the independent expenditure funded by tech investor Ron Conway that propelled London Breed into office, have dropped $250,000 and counting into an effort to support Trauss/Johnson.

Sonja Trauss catapulted to international fame through her work organizing BARF (Bay Area Renters Federation) whose unfortunate name gave way to the YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) network, which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from tech CEOs investing in politics statewide. Our members have some differing opinions on her. We understand why people are inspired by her focus on the need for San Francisco, California, and the world to build a ton more housing. (See our opinion on the housing crisis here.) Some of us think Trauss authentically believes that building more market-rate housing will benefit low-income communities. Some of us are suspicious of her funding from realtors and tech companies and alignment with moderates and conservatives with questionable housing records.

We’ve talked about how we’d like to see progressives and YIMBYs work together on an equitable and compassionate approach to building a lot of housing. But despite our internal difference of opinions on Trauss’s motivation, we’re all troubled by the divisiveness of her approach. Specifically, her history of offending low-income residents and communities of color and failing to acknowledge or apologize for her actions is a dealbreaker. At a Board of Supervisors hearing she compared Mission activists who were concerned about new market-rate condos contributing to gentrification and displacement to the nativism of people who don’t want immigrants in the U.S.  She also helped organize a YIMBY counter-rally against community activists protections in Scott Wiener’s SB 827 upzoning legislation - participants literally shouted down neighborhood speakers and sheriffs had to remove Sonja after she busted into a crowd of peaceful seniors!. This video shows an elderly Asian-American man moves away from her after she waves her sign into the crowd. That is some messed up behavior for someone seeking elected office.

We’re ready to work with YIMBYs to advocate for more housing, but only in ways that prioritize, protect, and respect our most vulnerable communities. Trauss fails to show that commitment, and we’re seriously disappointed that so many YIMBYs are willing to overlook that.

Let’s keep D6 a progressive bastion in a progressive City and elect Matt Haney!

^Back to Top

Board of Supervisors, District 8: Rafael Mandelman (candidate questionnaires)

Rafael Mandelman was only just elected in June, but due to the awkward timing of appointments and the regular election, he’s gotta defend his seat this November. Luckily, he’s running virtually unopposed. Rafael is a longtime League ally, and has kept his promise to work with both moderates and progressives on the Board of Supervisors. We’re watching him on some of the more controversial positions that are sure to divide the Board this year. For example, we’re hoping his views on conservatorship are influenced by people we trust in the harm reduction and mental health treatment communities.

Here’s what we said in June when he was Trustee on the Community College Board:

Rafael’s personal story is so compelling. His mother struggled with mental illness and was homeless for most of his childhood. 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.

^Back to Top

Board of Supervisors, District 10: #1 Tony Kelly #2 Uzuri Pease-Greene (candidate questionnaires)

This is the third time we’ve endorsed Tony Kelly #1 for D10 - he just keeps on doing the work. Way back in 2010, we said this about him: “He has the deepest roots of any of the candidates. A white, middle-aged theater company owner who is endorsed by some of the baddest black activists in Bayview/Hunters Point (like Marie Harrison, Sharon Hewitt, and Espanola Jackson). He's been part of the fight to keep District 10 home to working class people for years, and he's ready to take that fight to City Hall.” Espanola and Grandma Sharon are no longer with us, but Tony is still keeping up the good fight. He ran a strong campaign in 2014, and with an open seat this time, he’s got a good chance of winning.

We are frustrated that Tony got into a heated exchange with Shamann Walton at an SF Examiner editorial meeting around race and this election. We want to express disappointment in Tony’s use of the phrase, "race card." Representation is real. We are thankful that Tony apologized. As a white man running to represent an historically African-American district, we know Tony understands the importance of showing up, hearing criticism, and proving that he's an ally District 10's communities can trust.

District 10 is the next big money battleground for new, large-scale developments in the City. It’s also home to the environmental catastrophe of the falsified cleanup of radiation at the Hunters Point shipyard, for which the City, Navy, EPA, and contractor Tetra Tech all seem to share responsibility. After generations of disinvestment and environmental racism, with developers licking their chops, D10 needs a champion like Tony!

#2 Uzuri Pease-Greene is a long-time community activist. She’s an inspiring leader who has experienced homelessness, gone through recovery, and now works as a community organizer for BRIDGE Housing on affordable housing projects, serves on the Police Chief’s advisory committee, and participates in tons of community building projects--and on top of that she’s a mother of eight and grandmother of thirteen!

We endorsed Shamann Walton for School Board, and by all accounts he’s been awesome since he was elected in 2014, standing up for equity and closing the opportunity gap. He has strong neighborhood ties as the head of Young Community Developers (YCD), a workforce development agency in Bayview-Hunters Point. A number of our members support him, but ultimately we are concerned about his willingness to stand up against the interests that will be pushing the next round of mega-developments in D10.

The Board of Supervisors is a very different job than the School Board, with much more pressure from lobbyists and big money. Shamann was one of the lead proponents of 2016’s Prop O, which exempted Lennar’s BVHP project from the City’s cap on office space development without providing any additional community benefits. He also wrote a letter of recommendation to Alameda County for Lennar (a developer with an appalling record of screwing over communities), based on the work YCD has done with them. Finally, his Ethics filings show lots of large contributions from businesses, real estate, political consultants, etc, many of them from outside of the district. We wish we could endorse him, but we can’t ignore the red flags.

Theo Ellington works for the Warriors, and led their community engagement process for their new Mission Bay arena. On our questionnaire, he left some key questions blank: Prop C--Our City Our Home, Supervisor Peskin’s tax on Uber and Lyft, and 2014’s Prop G anti-speculation tax. Failing to take stands on those types of strong progressive measures is a non-starter for us. Also, he got the sole endorsement of the Republican-loving, reform-hating, racist Police Officers Association.

^Back to Top

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

 


Donate Find an Event

connect

get updates