February 15, 2022 Pissed Off Voter Guide

Voting Logistics: 

Vote early at the COVID-safe City Hall Voting Center in front of Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Open last two weekends of the election 2/5-2/6 and 2/12-2/13 from 10am-4pm. Open weekdays 8pm-5pm starting January 18th!

Drop off your ballot at City Hall during Voting Center early voting hours or on Election Day. Dropping off your ballot means you don't have to worry about the Post Office delivering it in time.

Mail your ballot if you can't drop it off. You don't need a stamp, but make sure you sign the envelope and it's postmarked by Election Day.

2/15/22: Election Day! Polls open 7am-8pm. If you’re in line by 8pm you can vote. Let’s stand in line together! You can also drop your ballot off at any polling place on Election Day.

Where’s your polling place? Check sfelections.org, call 311, or just go vote at City Hall.

Did you forget to register? You can still vote! Go to City Hall or your polling place and tell them you want to "register conditionally and vote provisionally!"

People with Felony Convictions Can Vote! You can still vote as long as you’re off parole. Don’t let the Man disenfranchise you.

Youth can (almost) vote! If you’re 16 or 17, pre-register and your registration will automatically be activated when you turn 18.

Non-citizen parents and caregivers can vote! BUT there's some important fine print about how this special registration works and how voting in a local election may affect your immigration status. Learn more at the SF Department of Elections Non-Citizen Voting page and seek legal advice if you're not sure.


February 2022:
City Hall Corruption Drinking Game!

State Legislature

State Assembly, District 17: David Campos and Matt Haney (Dual Endorsement)

School Board Recall Measures

Measure A: Recall Alison Collins: HELL NO!
Measure B: Recall Gabriela López: HELL NO!
Measure C: Recall Faauuga Moliga: HELL NO!

San Francisco Offices

Assessor-Recorder: No Endorsement


Dear San Francisco,

If you’re reading this, you probably care about politics at least a bit. So we have some good news for you…you get four elections this year XD 

February 15 Special Election Primary
April 19 Special Election General
June 7 California Midterm Primary
November 8 National Midterm General

Why is there an election in February? And then again in April?

The short answer is "City Hall Corruption" (take a drink!) but the long answer is… complicated. Let’s work backwards:

In November 2021, Assemblymember David Chiu resigned to become San Francisco’s City Attorney. According to the State Constitution, if an Assembly seat is empty due to resignation, the Governor has to call a Special Election within 100 days of the seat becoming vacant. So that’s why we have a Special Election in April and a Primary for that Special Election in February. 

Side note: This seems like a terrible idea - selecting a state legislator in a one-off election that will have a low voter turnout. We think democracy is best served by funneling races into the regular, high-turnout elections so more voters have a say. 

But why did David Chiu become City Attorney?

The short answer is still “City Hall Corruption” (drink!) - Assemblymember Chiu was appointed by Mayor London Breed after she appointed SF’s elected City Attorney Dennis Herrera to a cushy job as the General Manager of the Public Utilities Commission. 

That spot opened up after the federal indictment of PUC General Manager Harlan Kelly in an FBI corruption probe (drink!) that has netted five👏 mayoral👏 appointees👏 (so far!) City Attorney Herrera’s job over the past 20 years should have been to root this out before the US Attorney could, but - surprise! Herrera’s been appointed to head up that very same agency. With Chiu as City Attorney (and, we predict, future Mayoral candidate), it sounds like all that nasty City Hall corruption (drink!) is just a thing of the past, and we can get on with selling the city off to hedge fund real estate investors just like St. Francis intended. 

So because of City Hall…sleaze, we’ve got two Special Elections which will have miniscule turnout. Which means your vote matters even more. Share this voter guide and encourage your crew to mail in their ballot by February 15th. Vote Hell No on the School Board Recalls and vote for either David Campos or Matt Haney for Assembly District 17 - then we’ll see you back here for the April election <3.

Love,

The League


State Legislature

State Assembly, District 17: David Campos and Matt Haney (Dual Endorsement)

campos-haney-2.png

David Campos is the former District 9 Supervisor and former head of the SF Democratic Party. This is his second go at the State Assembly (he ran against David Chiu in 2014 for the seat, after Tom Ammiano termed out). Campos was a reliable progressive vote on the Board of Supervisors, authored legislation to create a Latino Cultural District, and has led the charge on immigrant rights and health care. He’s come to play an important role in SF progressive politics, and his leadership would be great to have in Sacramento.

Matt Haney is the District 6 Supervisor and Chair of the Budget Committee - and before that he was the President of the School Board. He’s an ambitious guy, rooted in Labor and Criminal Justice Reform. On the Board, he worked with colleagues to write and pass Mental Health SF and the Overpaid Executive Tax. He’s gone to bat to expand mental health services, expand funding for affordable housing, and support families and workers during the pandemic. We know Matt could build a people-powered coalition in Sacramento to make big and meaningful changes. 

Why We’re Endorsing Two Candidates

This is a primary race, so the top two finishers will face off in April (and again in June, and again in November!) Both Haney and Campos are progressive and align with the League’s values, whereas the other candidates in the race, Mahmood and Selby, are not and do not. We’re hoping that our two picks, Matt Haney and David Campos, vanquish the competition, because that will guarantee we’ll be happy with our Assemblymember no matter who wins in April. Fun fact: Both Haney and Campos listed the same top three priorities on our questionnaire

The State Assembly is bought and paid for by the California Apartment Association, making meaningful housing reform impossible in Sacramento. There’s a surge of Socialist-aligned candidates running for Assembly and winning. And we're excited that the Working Families Party is targeting moderates in the State Legislature. San Francisco can do its part by sending a progressive Assemblymember to Sacramento who will fight the real estate lobby on behalf of working class families and communities of color, to expand rent control and overturn Costa-Hawkins. Vote for either David Campos or Matt Haney for State Assembly, District 17!

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School Board Recall Measures

Measure A, Measure B, Measure C: HELL NO!

TL;DR: We’re against these recalls on principle. They’re an undemocratic right-wing trick to oust legitimately elected school board members by exploiting pandemic anxiety, resistance to social justice initiatives in SFUSD, and the honest concerns and confusions of public school parents.

We would oppose these recalls regardless of the policies of the targeted members. As it happens, we do support most of their policies. Are these commissioners perfect? No. But none of them have committed horrific crimes or embezzled money - which is what recalls were designed for. We’ll figure out the rest when the commissioners are up for re-election in November.

But what about the controversies I’ve been seeing in the news?

We’ve been writing this voter guide since 2004, and we’ve never seen the school board or district get this much attention - and unfortunately, it’s been pretty ugly. There are hurt feelings, righteous anger and a lot of healing to do in public school communities. But ultimately, we think it’s a good thing so many parents and kid-supporting voters are sitting up and taking notice. 

The School Board has an impossible job even in the best of times. They’re only paid a volunteer stipend of $500 a month for what is an all-consuming job if you do it right. They’re tasked with overcoming chronic disinvestment to provide equitable education to the youth of our City - a city with wild income inequality - while also providing a living wage for teachers and staff to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

We hope this shitstorm will blow over and we can all get on the same page to advocate for huge changes at the district that will better serve all of San Francisco’s children and families. There’s so much we can agree on: More money for our schools! Safe and beautiful facilities for every child! Close the opportunity gap! Pay our amazing teachers a living wage! Find out why SFUSD spends so much on central office staff! (And can we please have a local news source that keeps us posted on school issues without bias or bullshit?) 

But aren’t we pissed off? Shouldn’t we love recalls?

What's NOT to love about cynically weaponizing frustrated parents in order to remove democratically-elected School Board Commissioners of Color and install corrupt mayoral appointees? (drink!) Well, if you're looking for reasons to oppose recalls:

#1: Recalls are undemocratic! 

  • Recall elections almost always have a lower turnout than when the targets were originally elected (meaning fewer people end up having the final say).
  • Unlike the Newsom recall, in this case there’s no “recall Gavin and replace him with Caitlyn” option. The mayor appoints the replacements, which of course gives them a leg up when it’s time to run for real. And speaking of mayoral appointees - that leads to more City Hall Corruption (drink!).
  • Recall campaigns have no contribution limit - same as propositions. So this recall sneaks around San Francisco's pesky $500 contribution limit, which is the limit for candidates during regular School Board elections. Single donors can contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to recall campaigns (Spoiler Alert: They have!).
  • If this recall succeeds, it will vindicate the "democracy disruption" playbook of Billionaire Venture Capitalists who, unable to win elections with actual candidates due to San Francisco's progressive voting blocs, can instead spend their unlimited money on a recall and get their sympathetic mayor to appoint someone they like better, no election necessary!
  • Here’s our breakdown from September on how to make recalls more democratic - check it out! 

#2: Recalls are wasteful!

  • Money - Elections cost millions of dollars. Whether the City or the school district ends up paying for this one, that’s a lot of taxpayer money that could be supporting students and classrooms.
  • Time - Recalls force elected officials to return to the campaign trail, taking them away from the jobs we elected them to do. 
  • Energy - Can you imagine if parents, politicians, and news reporters, instead of arguing about this recall, were focusing their attention on SFUSD’s budget crisis (which long precedes these folks btw)? There’s so much we could be hashing out in the public sphere together instead of this. Come on grownups, get it together! 

#3: School Board Recalls are a right-wing plot to undermine democracy!

  • The current recall effort in SF is supported by the local Republican party and has cultural and financial ties to a nationwide movement of conservative recalls of any elected officials promoting racial justice, as well as an overall right-wing push to politicize and take over school boards. 
  • The recall campaigns have raised over $1.3 million, largely from conservative forces like the SF Chamber of Commerce, the CA Association of Realtors, and corporations like PG&E and VISA. Their top funders include venture capitalists who want to privatize public schools and/or expand charter schools
  • Remember when Transphobic Bathroom Segregationist Josephine Zhao was drummed out of the 2018 school board race? She’s baaack - as a petition consultant for the recall campaign, which paid her $111,000. Sad Fact: The starting salary for an SFUSD teacher is $54,000, less than half that.
  • Sneak Peek: Recall supporters are also proposing a ballot measure to stop electing the school board and switch to mayoral appointments – whaaaaaat?!

Regardless of how you feel about specific actions of these board members, targeting people of color who have championed racial justice and equity over the status quo (just like they said they would when we elected them) is not a good look.

Vote Hell No on the School Board Recalls!

In November, we’ll get a chance to select candidates who can bring us together and make the most of this crisis/opportunity. We’ll meet you there.

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San Francisco Offices

Assessor-Recorder: No Endorsement

Joaquín Torres is running unopposed for Assessor-Recorder, which is kind of like the City’s property tax collector. He was appointed by Mayor Breed after Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu was tapped to fill the City Administrator vacancy (left by Naomi Kelly’s abrupt departure to deal with the federal indictment of her husband - City Hall Corruption strikes again! (drink!). 

The last time San Franciscans elected an Assessor-Recorder who had not been previously appointed was 2002 (and she resigned after charges of… City Hall Corruption! (drink!). Torres was appointed by London Breed. Before that, Carmen Chu was appointed by Ed Lee. And before that, Phil Ting was appointed by Gavin Newsom.

What we wrote in 2018 still applies:

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.” The Office of Assessor-Recorder isn’t cooperating properly with the Department of Building Inspections to collect the stats on the housing they’re taxing. 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. 

We asked Torres how he would manage the perceived conflict of interest from accepting campaign contributions from the real estate industry he is charged with assessing and overseeing and he totally dodged the question. Developers don’t want the system to change, and they’ve let Torres know that - by bankrolling his (unopposed) campaign to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Torres has a lot of “we’ll continue doing X Y and Z” priorities, but we’d be more excited to see someone who will “begin” some big bold changes, rather than using Assessor-Recorder as a stepping stone to another office. No Endorsement.

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Meet the SF League of Pissed Off Voters

We're a bunch of political geeks in a torrid love affair with San Francisco. The League formed in 2004 with the goal of building a progressive governing majority in our lifetime. Our contribution is this voter guide⁠: a secret decoder ring for SF politics. All of us lucky enough to enjoy the San Francisco magic owe it to our City to fight to keep it diverse, just, and healthy.

This voter guide (our 28th in SF!) is thoroughly researched and thoroughly biased. It’s how we educate our friends on the issues, excite pissed-off progressive voters, and remind sellout politicians that we’re paying attention.

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