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The November 2022 BAS Voter Guide

Updated: Nov 14, 2022 14:13
The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

This guide was done in conjunction with the League of Pissed Off Voters.

– If you’d like to help pass out the printed voter guides, email the League at TheLeagueSF@gmail.com.
– Want to get involved in the endorsement process? Learn more right here.


Dear San Francisco,

Well team, we made it. This is the last election of the year.

For most of 2022 we’ve been playing defense against a corrupt mayor and her growing army of appointed incumbents. This election is different: if we can overcome voter fatigue, we can actually fix some shit that matters.

There’s a depressing austerity cycle in which politicians defund public institutions, watch services crumble, impose worker layoffs, then blame the institutions for failing. If you’ve ridden Muni or Paratransit (or gone to a public school or public health clinic) you know how this works–and you know why it’s crucial to secure steady funding to keep public services strong.

Let’s invest in our City: Vote Yes on Props O (City College Tax), G (Student Success Fund), and M (Empty Homes Tax). Vote for a progressive School Board, College Board, and John Hamasaki for District Attorney. Hang on to Supervisors Gordon Mar and Shamann Walton, and choose Honey Mahogany as #1 to keep the Board independent. Hell, let’s fix the damn election schedule itself (Prop H) and double the vote! Then we can sleep through 2023!

Love,

The League & BAS


VOTING LOGISTICS

Register to Vote at the Post Office or online at registertovote.ca.govThe California deadline to register is Oct 19th, but in San Francisco you can register on the spot and cast a provisional ballot at any polling place on Election Day.

WHEN: 

October 11: Early voting starts at City Hall, weekdays 8am-5pm.

October 29: Weekend early voting starts at City Hall, Saturdays and Sundays 10am-4pm.  

November 8: Election Day! Polls open 7am-8pm. If you’re in line by 8pm you can vote. You can also drop your ballot off at any polling place on Election Day.

WHERE:

Drop off your ballot early at one of the 34 official ballot drop boxes across the City beginning October 10 or by 8pm on Election Day, November 8.

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

If you’re going to mail your ballot, you don’t need a stamp, but make sure you sign the envelope and it’s postmarked by Election Day.

Didn’t get your ballot or did you lose it or mess it up? Go request a replacement ballot at City Hall or your polling place. It’ll still count.

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! Even if you’re still on parole, you can vote. Re-register at Restore Your Vote. 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.


THE QUICK GUIDE
November 8, 2022 

(LONGER EXPLANATIONS COME AFTER)

 

State and Federal Offices

Governor: No Endorsement
Lt Governor: No Endorsement
Secretary of StateShirley Weber
Controller: No Endorsement
Treasurer: No Endorsement
Attorney GeneralRob Bonta
Insurance Commissioner: No Endorsement
Board of Equalization, District 2Sally Lieber

US SenatorAlex Padilla
US Representative, District 11: No Endorsement
US Representative, District 15David Canepa

State Assemblymember, District 17: Matt Haney*
State Assemblymember, District 19: No Endorsement

Judicial Offices

Supreme Court JudgesYes on Guerrero, Liu, Jenkins, Groban
Court of Appeal Judges, First DistrictYes on Stewart, Tucher, Rodriguez, Petrou, Fujisaki, Brown, Goldman, Jackson, Burns

School Offices

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond
Board of EducationAlida Fisher, Gabriela Lopez, Karen Fleshman
City College Board, 4 Year TermAnita Martinez, Vick Chung, Susan Solomon
City College Board, 2 Year TermAdolfo Velasquez

District Offices

BART Director, District 8Janice Li

County Offices

Assessor-Recorder: No Endorsement
District Attorney#1 John Hamasaki
Public DefenderMano Raju

Board of Supervisors

District 2 Supervisor: No Endorsement
District 4 SupervisorGordon Mar
District 6 Supervisor#1 Honey Mahogany #2 Cherelle Jackson
District 8 Supervisor: No Endorsement
District 10 SupervisorShamann Walton

State Propositions

Prop 1: Protect Abortion Rights: Hell Yes!
Prop 26: Legalize Sports Betting in Tribal Casinos: Reluctant Yes
Prop 27: Legalize Mobile Sports Betting: No
Prop 28: K-12 Art and Music Education: Yes
Prop 29Dialysis Clinic Regulation: Yes
Prop 30: Tax the Ultra-Wealthy for Climate Change: Yes
Prop 31: Ban on Flavored Tobacco: Yes

Local Propositions

Prop A: Retiree Supplemental Cost of Living Adjustment: Yes
Prop BSanitation & Streets Public Work Reorg: Yes
Prop CHomelessness Oversight Commission: Yes
Prop D: Affordable Homes Never: Hell No!
Prop EHomes for Families and Workers: Yes
Prop FLibrary Preservation Fund: Yes
Prop GStudent Success Fund: Yes, Please!
Prop HVoter Participation Act: OMG Yes!
Prop I: Open JFK Drive + Great Highway to Cars: No
Prop J: Close JFK Drive to Cars: Hell YES!**
Prop K: Removed from the Ballot
Prop LRenew Half Cent Sales Tax for Transit: Hell Yes!
Prop MEmpty Homes Tax: Hell Yes! 
Prop NCity Funding for Golden Gate Park Parking Garage: Yes  
Prop OCity College Parcel Tax: Hell Yes!

* The League has given no endorsement here but we at BAS endorse Matt Haney.
**The League has given no endorsement here but we at BAS endorse Yes on Prop J.


STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICES

Secretary of State: Shirley Weber

[What we said in June 2022]

The 2020 election showed how much a state’s SoS matters. It’s not just about counting votes to stop lunatic white supremacists from rioting over the results. The setting and enforcement of ground rules–who gets to vote in the first place, and where and how they cast their ballot–is equally important. Supporting an extremely sharp, if imperfect, candidate like Shirley Weber is one way to shore up our democracy.

A touching personal story meant to move voters and explain politicians’ alignments is often untrustworthy (see London Breed). But when Weber cites her life story to emphasize the importance of fighting inequality, she isn’t trying to meme her way into office.

Born in Jim Crow Arkansas to Black sharecroppers who fled to Los Angeles after a lynch mob threatened them, Weber attended public schools and then UCLA, earning a B.A., an M.A. and a Ph.D by the age of 26. She taught at San Diego State for forty years, served on the local School Board, and campaigned successfully for Assembly in 2012.

As an Assemblymember she took some dubious stands on charter schools and earned some enemies in the teachers’ unions, but also advocated strongly for reforming police use-of-deadly-force laws and sentencing practices, and against the racial profiling that kept “suspects” under surveillance in the CalGangs database for years. She launched the reparations task force with an unusually direct opening question: “What does it feel like to live in a country where nobody ever says ‘I’m sorry?’”

After Gavin Newsom nominated Weber as Alex Padilla’s replacement for Secretary of State in 2020, she vowed to expand voting access and took off running. She sent letters to all 60,000 Californians on parole informing them of their voting rights, and educating those convicted of felonies on how to restore their right to cast a ballot after leaving prison. Thanks to her pressure, California now has permanent, universal vote-by-mail, more ballot drop-off locations, better early voting options, and stronger protections against attacks on election integrity.

Weber showed Newsom how seriously she took her public trust when he asked her to allow him  to appear on the recall ballot as a Democrat despite missing a deadline. (“Hey, Shirley, I know I’m late but do me a favor and just put me down as a Democrat, OK, wink wink?”) She refused, and when Newsom sued her, she held her ground and the case was thrown out. That’s badass. Vote Shirley Weber for Secretary of State.

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Attorney General: Rob Bonta

[What we said in June 2022]

Rob Bonta is the real deal. The first Filipino American to head the Department of Justice, he has a history fighting for criminal justice reform as Alameda’s Assemblymember (AD 18). Bonta wrote AB 329 which abolished cash bail and later co-authored the law requiring the state to immediately investigate when a police officer kills an unarmed person. As Attorney General, he’s filed out-of-state amicus briefs in support of pro-equality laws that protect trans children.

Bonta is endorsed by literally everyone and has raised millions of dollars against opponents trying to tie him to SF’s “radical” District Attorney Chesa Boudin. And while we are concerned that corporations have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars of behested payments into nonprofits led by his wife over the last decade, it wasn’t technically illegal!! In our endorsement, we balanced this with Bonta’s record of leading on public safety by backing bills enabling Californians to sue gunmakers and ‘ghost gun’ manufacturers. We decided to support this effective statewide voice for community justice. Vote Rob Bonta for Attorney General.

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Board of Equalization, District 2: Sally Lieber

[What we said in June 2022]

Ooh, this one’s a slam dunk! The Board of Equalization collects tax, and is the only publicly-elected tax commission in the United States. The Board of Equalization can hold corporations accountable by ensuring they pay their taxes.

Sally Lieber is a Mountain View City Councilmember and former State Assemblymember with a gleaming progressive record in Sacramento. She’s a corporate-free candidate with a lefty platform and endorsements from organized labor, the CA Democratic Party, the CA Renter’s Council, icons like Dolores Huerta, the list goes on. Plus, she met her husband at Burning Man in the 90s, ‘before it was cool’. Meaning, back when it was cool. Vote Sally Lieber for Board of Equalization!

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US Senator: Alex Padilla

[What we said in June 2022]

Alex Padilla, formerly CA’s Secretary of State, is now our incumbent Democratic Senator, appointed to fill the seat vacated by Kamala Harris when she became Vice-President. We endorsed Padilla  back when he ran for SoS in 2014, and honestly, he did a great job, so we supported him again in 2018 (here’s what we wrote).

Since then, he’s been relatively effective and scandal-free (the small exception being a kerfuffle about a contract awarded to a public affairs firm to do voter outreach and education during the pandemic. Pretty small potatoes, and nothing even hinting at personal corruption or enrichment of Padilla himself).

Anyway, Padilla was appointed Senator partway through Harris’s term, so on this ballot US Senator will appear twice: there’s a Special Senate Election which will determine who will sit in the seat for the ‘special term’ (until January 2023). Then there’s the regular Senate Election, which will seat someone for a six-year regular term, starting in January 2023.

While he’s not a wild-eyed radical or anything, Padilla is relatively progressive. He is the first Latino to represent California in the Senate, he supports Medicare for All, he’s pro-choice and a LGBTQ+ ally, he has the backing of unions, and he wants to overturn Citizens United, the SCOTUS decision which allows unlimited campaign contributions and the increase of dark money in campaigns. We’d like to see what Senator Padilla can do with a full term. Vote Alex Padilla for US Senate (twice)!

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US Representative, District 11: No Endorsement

The League has never been a huge fan of mainstream Democrats and Nancy Pelosi is a prime example. We wish SF had a Representative that shared San Francisco’s values.

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US Representative, District 15: David Canepa

California’s 15th Congressional District is a redrawn district that includes a tiny bit of San Francisco – just the Excelsior and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods. CD-15 then stretches from Southern San Francisco down to East Palo Alto, and also includes parts of Menlo Park and Atherton, so it’s largely a San Mateo county seat. Outgoing Congressperson Jackie Speier is retiring.

While we don’t follow San Mateo politics super closely, David Canepa is the candidate who appears to align most closely with League values. Formerly the Mayor of Daly City, he is the Board President on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Canepa sits on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and is Vice Chair of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

We have some hesitations about Canepa. He talks a good game, but has to answer to a lot of wealthy constituents and hasn’t always come through with progressive actions. He’ll need continued pressure from renters and working families to do the right thing and resist the landlord/real estate lobby. But he’s endorsed by Supervisor Shamann Walton and John Avalos and is in the right place on climate change, and specifically sea level rise. Vote David Canepa for US Congress!

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State Assembly, District 17: Matt Haney

Ok, this one is weird. We’ve already voted for AD17 three times this year, because David Chiu left his Assembly seat back in the fall to become SF’s City Attorney, sending the political dominoes a-tumblin’.

Here’s the way that went down: there was a primary in February featuring three candidates: moderate Bilal Mahmood, and two progressives, Campos and Haney. We endorsed both progressives, happy to have either representing us in Sacramento. Campos and Haney finished as the top two, so they faced off in April. In that contest the League’s members did not come to a majority opinion, so they had No Endorsement. Haney, after receiving the endorsement of Mahmood and tacking slightly to the center, won handily. He was immediately appointed to the Assembly seat, vacating his position on the SF Board of Supervisors (but Haney’s only in the seat until January, because he’s technically just finishing Chiu’s term).

Following so far?

This race will fill the Assembly seat for the next full two year term, starting in January 2023. It features Haney, who is now the incumbent. Campos’s name is also on the ballot, because he pulled papers last year… but after his defeat in April, he has announced that he’s not running an official campaign, which we respect; fighting it out would use a lot of progressive time and money and probably not alter the result.

While the League has said “No Endorsement” since this is not a real contest, we here at BAS happily endorse Matt Haney. Besides the fact that he literally already won this seat, Matt has a long history of being pro-renter, pro-union, and pro-affordable housing, amongst other things we hold dear to our hearts.

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State Assembly, District 19: No Endorsement

Phil Ting, the incumbent, faces no challengers in this race. We’ve endorsed Ting for various races in the past, but withheld our endorsement on other occasions, based on his mixed record. Since he is unopposed, we have No Endorsement.

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JUDICIAL OFFICES

Supreme Court Judges: Yes to All

California Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the Governor. After appointment, they must stand for yes/no retention votes at the next Governor’s election, and every 12 years afterward. We researched these justices and recommend you vote yes to retain them all.

Patricia Guerrero is the newly appointed Chief Justice of California. She was appointed by Governor Newsom as the first Latina on the Supreme Court. She was a family law justice when on the San Diego Superior Court and has an extensive pro bono background in the immigration courts.

Goodwin Liu was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Brown in 2011. He clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and wants to get rid of the death penalty. He recently wrote a blistering dissent of the Supreme Court’s decision to kick a Sacramento jail COVID writ back to the lower court.

Martin Jenkins was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Newsom in 2020. He was Newsom’s Senior Judicial Appointments adviser, and the first LGBTQ Supreme Court Justice. He also played for the Seattle Seahawks! Though he was a prosecutor for the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, his first case at the Supreme Court was concurring with in: re: Humphrey which was a huge step in getting rid of cash bail.

Joshua Groban was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Brown in 2018. He was Brown’s Senior Judicial Appointments adviser, where he vetted 600 judges. He usually sides with the majority. He is not that Josh Groban.

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Court of Appeal Judges, First District: Yes to All

California Appellate Court Justices are appointed by the Governor. After appointment, they must stand for yes/no retention votes at the next election, and every 4 or 8 or 12 years afterward, depending on when the previous term became vacant. Each Court of Appeal in California has a district, and San Francisco’s is the First District. We researched these justices and recommend you vote yes to retain them all.

Therese Stewart was appointed by Governor Brown in 2014. She is one of a few lesbian judges in California. Stewart was Chief Deputy City Attorney of San Francisco for 12 years, and oversaw the marriage license cases. She recently ruled to overturn a pretextual traffic stop conviction.

Alison Tucher was appointed by Governor Brown in 2018. She clerked for Justice Souter and did pro bono work to exonerate post-conviction cases. She was Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County, and recently overturned a Contra Costa murder conviction due to lower court failures.

Victor Rodriguez was appointed by Governor Newsom in 2021, elevated from the Alameda County Superior Court. His immigrant parents worked as cleaners at the Alameda County Courthouse when he was growing up. He was staff attorney for MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and endorsed by East Bay La Raza Lawyer Associates.

Ioana Petrou was appointed by Governor Brown in 2018, elevated from the Alameda County Superior Court. She worked for the US Attorney and did some pro bono work. She ruled against SF State’s firing of a professor who expressed discrimination concerns.

Carin Fujisaki was appointed by Governor Brown in 2018. Previously she worked at the CA Supreme Court for 28 years, ending up as counsel for Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye.  Her parents and grandparents were interned in American concentration camps, and she was the first Asian American member of UC Hastings Board of Directors.

Tracie Brown was appointed by Governor Brown in 2018, elevated from the San Francisco County Superior Court. She has done pro bono civil rights work for the Japanese American community.

Jeremy Goldman was appointed by Governor Newsom 2022. Previously he worked as a San Francisco Deputy City Attorney where he oversaw the office’s appellate litigation. He convinced the City Attorney to not defend the lawsuit against cash bail, a crucial first step in its abolition. Goldman was also part of the team that fought for marriage equality before he joined the City Attorney’s Office.

Teri Jackson was appointed by Governor Newsom in 2019, elevated from the San Francisco County Superior Court. She is the first African American woman to sit on this Court of Appeal. She is a former prosecutor, working for the San Francisco and San Mateo County’s District Attorney Offices. She ruled to halt the construction at Berkeley’s People’s Park in August 2022.

Gordon Burns was appointed by Governor Brown in 2018. Previously he was Brown’s appointee as Undersecretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. In the 1990s he was Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Solicitor General. He reinstated Berkeley neighbors’ suit against UC Berkeley for not mitigating increased enrollment.

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SCHOOL OFFICES

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond

California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction is a weird position. The Superintendent oversees the CA Dept of Education, so is theoretically in charge of public schools. But practically, local school boards have more power over school policy, other state and local entities control school funding, and the Governor controls the closing/opening of schools. So it’s a powerful position in some ways, but limited in others.

Tony Thurmond, the incumbent, earned the League’s endorsement in 2018. Here’s what we wrote about him then. Since then, however, things have not been perfect. He’s kept his focus and messaging on racial equity and Black student achievement, which we appreciate. And while he fought for laptops during distance learning and wants to see all kids vaccinated against COVID-19, we might have expected to see more of him over the past couple years  as schools became the battleground for so many political and cultural wars. More worrying, Politico wrote that his toxic leadership style, an “open secret in Sacramento,” led to devastating turnover at the Department, and that he illegally hired his unqualified old college buddy to moonlight as a highly-paid specialist for the Department.

This disappointing showing led us to consider other candidates in the June primary. Thurmond’s opponent after the primary dust settled was hyper-conservative school privatizer Lance Christensen whose position on school prayer is to the right of the US Supreme Court. We’ll stick with Thurmond, thanks!

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Board of Education: Alida Fisher, Gabriela López, Karen Fleshman

If we’ve learned anything from the last few years of school board drama, it’s that SFUSD needs leaders who will prioritize students over politics, fight for equity within a complex and underfunded system, and play well with others. Here are our picks for this year’s contest:

Alida Fisher is a mom of four SFUSD students and a committed fighter for an excellent education for all SF kids. She has already run for school board twice before, and it looks like this is her year! An expert on advocacy for special needs students, Alida has served on several SFUSD committees. She knows the ins and outs of SFUSD programs and policies, and would be able to hit the ground running if elected. We’ve never had a champion like Alida on the board before, and we can’t wait to see what she does when she gets there!

Gabriela López served on the Board of Education until being recalled earlier this year, and now she’s running to reclaim her seat. Gabriela displayed direct experience as a classroom teacher in a bilingual SFUSD school while she was on the board, and  made important strides for language access and raised the voices of immigrant families. If re-elected, she would prioritize increasing funding and expanding resources across schools, and collaborating more with the City, CCSF, and nonprofits to create more opportunities for SFUSD students. Gabriela would bring valuable expertise in navigating the district’s ongoing budget challenges, and shine a critical light on some of the district’s questionable practices that tie up too much money in bureaucracy. Gabriela’s commitment to families has never wavered, and we hope she gets a chance to continue her work.

Karen Fleshman is new to school politics, but has an extensive career in anti-racism, immigrant rights, police reform, and youth development. Fleshman is a strong advocate for public schools and would resist efforts to privatize education, support best practices for equity, and center students and staff in decision-making. We trust her to work with families, staff and colleagues, and to make the right calls as a school board member.

The incumbents:

Ann Hsu, Lainie Motamedi, and Lisa Weissman-Ward, all appointed to the school board by Mayor Breed after the recall, appear on the November ballot to continue their terms. Ann Hsu was a leader of the recall effort, and recently made despicable comments about Black and Brown families. Lainie Motamedi talks a lot about improving student outcomes and addressing the achievement gap, but her statements are pretty light on details, considering she’s already on the Board. Lisa Weissman-Ward responded to our questionnaire with answers that were more aligned with League values, and seems to have been a quick study for district budget and policy issues. But so far, all three incumbents have voted exactly as the Mayor would want them to on key issues, such as Lowell admissions, and they’re campaigning as a pack despite Hsu’s harmful remarks. So our members are not confident enough in any of the incumbents’ independence to endorse them.

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Community College Board: Vick Chung, Anita Martinez, Susan Solomon, Adolfo Velasquez

City College has been caught in a vicious cycle: Oh no, enrollment is declining and that means less money, we have to cut classes! Oh no, now we don’t have enough classes so enrollment is declining! The incumbents on the Board of Trustees have failed to break out of this cycle and fight the nefarious statewide movement to shrink and/or privatize community colleges (maybe they’re too busy running for other offices?). We are excited by this slate of qualified, experienced candidates with roots in the City community who can hold the administration accountable and fight for an excellent (free!) education for all San Franciscans.

Vick Chung spent their time as a student trustee calling out unfair budgets that cut classes students need to graduate. Chung is a leader in the activist CCSF Collective and a sexual health educator, and we are excited to support their message of ‘education is medicine’.

Anita Martinez has done it all. Her decades at City College as a teacher, Dean, Vice Chancellor and even President of the faculty union have taught her how to balance budgets without giving students and overworked faculty the short end of the stick. We know that with Anita on the Board, City will have a strong leader to grow enrollment and restore badly needed programs.

Susan Solomon is a retired teacher, union leader, and public education advocate. She will fight to reverse faculty downsizing, and focus on retaining Black and Brown faculty.

Adolfo Velasquez is a 20 year educator, student and counselor at City. He supported low-income students as chair of Educational Opportunities & Programs, and will work to restore ESL classes, especially at the Chinatown and Mission campuses.

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DISTRICT OFFICES

BART Director, District 8: Janice Li

Janice Li was elected to the BART Board of Directors in November 2018 (we endorsed her) and is running unopposed. Formerly the Advocacy Director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Li now works at Chinese Affirmative Action, where she’s the Coalition Director of the Coalition for Community Safety & Justice. She supports adding more trains on evenings and weekends as well as airport connections. She supports means-based fares, and wants to expand BART’s low-income fare program, Clipper START. She’s endorsed by literally everyone. Vote Janice Li for BART Board!

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COUNTY OFFICES

Assessor-Recorder: No Endorsement

Joaquin Torres, the incumbent, was appointed by Mayor Breed in the post-Nuru musical chairs shakeup of City offices, and is running unopposed. Torres, who was plucked from directing the Office of Economic and Workplace Development, is a City insider (son of Art Torres, former State legislator, Chair of the CA Democratic Party, Commissioner on the MTA, SFPUC, etc. etc.) who’s quite aware that  assessor-recorder is an important job: it’s all about property values, the tax assessments on business, and the cost of land. Torres now emits a lot of standard, bland campaign buzzwords (“transparency,” “community,” “equity”) along with some bragging about all the “online educational resources” his office has created (at God only knows what cost) to “strengthen financial resilience” for low-income communities. He has a reputation as a genuinely nice guy, but in all the years he ran OEWD and before that, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, we’re not sure what he actually accomplished. We don’t need a nice guy in this office: a progressive hawk who will hunt for more revenue and proactively target tax-dodgers and ultra-wealthy corporations. No endorsement.

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District Attorney: #1 John Hamasaki

It’s totally understandable if San Francisco voters believe the District Attorney’s job is mainly to serve as a lightning rod for national culture wars, local power struggles, and free-floating right-wing rage. The campaign to recall DA Chesa Boudin, and London Breed’s appointment of recall leader Brooke Jenkins to replace him, generated huge amounts of money and media coverage, along with endless screeching about handbag theft, “wokeness,” and fentanyl addiction.

Brooke Jenkins has done nothing to re-establish the role of the DA’s office as a professional and independent part of the justice system. She was forced to admit that she posed as a recall “volunteer,” failing to disclose the $250K paid to her by Republican nonprofits linked to the anti-Chesa campaign. Once appointed, she promptly fired over a dozen key attorneys in the office, disbanding units including the Innocence Commission, the Cantonese-speaking victim services program, and the unit in charge of prosecuting crimes by police. One thing we can say about her, she’s moved fast: in only three months in office, she’s given us plenty of reasons to oppose her: Her inept rhetoric about cracking down on drug users and cleaning up downtown to attract conventioneers.Her baseless fear-mongering about dealers targeting kids with rainbow fentanyl. Her policy to to consider charging 16- and 17-year olds as adults.  Her botched resentencing of a likely innocent man, keeping him in jail for another 10 years. The way her press releases, meetings, and even friggin business cards are micromanaged by the Mayor’s office. All of that may appeal to the Mayor, Fox News, , the POA, and tough-on-crime business interests, but it does nothing to make San Franciscans safer.

John Hamasaki, a criminal defense attorney and former police commissioner,  is running on an anti-corruption, pro-transparency, and smart public safety platform, charging that the “Mayor’s office is basically running the DA’s office.” He is committed to prosecuting wage theft and City Hall corruption, and using the office to go after drug sales, car break-ins, and organized burglary rings. He’s been a strong advocate for protecting residents from anti-Asian violence and domestic violence, and as police commissioner made it clear he won’t tolerate police violence, either. Hamasaki had a famously spicy Twitter presence as an outspoken advocate for police accountability, but his campaign is all about being the sensible grownup in the room. “This is not about moderate versus progressive,” Hamasaki says, “This race is about right and wrong — starting with the fundamental question, what’s the right way to make us all safer?” He’s endorsed by progressives including Tom Ammiano, Norman Yee, Sandra Lee Fewer, the Harvey Milk Club, and other former police commissioners fed up with the POA’s chokehold on justice. Hamasaki is our pick for your #1 vote!

This race is ranked-choice, and there are a couple more candidates. Joe Alioto Veronese is running, essentially on the name recognition of his family, apparently hoping to carve out a “middle” between the corrupt lapdog of City Hall and an actual progressive. It’s not clear, however, that Joe (who believes the DA should appoint the police chief), wouldn’t also be in the pockets of the cops. No question about it with Maurice Chenier, a Los Angeles lawyer who proudly says he’s the “pro-police candidate.”  It’s hard to get excited enough about either of them to support an “anybody-but-Brooke” ranked choice slate, but it would be nice if voters for these rather marginal candidates marked Hamasaki as their #2 vote.

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Public Defender: Mano Raju

Mano Raju had already been working for 11 years as an attorney in San Francisco’s Public Defender’s office when Mayor Breed appointed him to take over as Public Defender after Jeff Adachi’s untimely death in 2019. Raju ran unopposed (with the League’s endorsement) in November of that same year, and was elected.

Raju, who deemed the criminal justice system “deeply racist and unjust,” says that he believes the Public Defender’s Office should play a critical role in dismantling its inequities.  An advocate of aggressive defense for all San Franciscans, he’s also championed policy efforts like the Be the Jury program, which increases pay for low-income jurors to allow more racially and economically diverse juries; the Freedom Project, which challenges excessive sentences and wrongful convictions, and the Clean Slate program to help people clear their criminal histories. He won new City funding for the PD’s office to set up a range of wraparound case management services for juvenile and adult clients.

During the COVID lockdown, Raju joined the lawsuit against San Quentin for overcrowding, joined a class action suit to release immigrants held in dangerous detention centers, and filed suit to open San Francisco courts for hundreds of people kept in jail awaiting trial. He expanded the Public Defender’s policy efforts to advocate for legislation limiting probation terms that interfere with full re-entry, and developed the country’s first public police-misconduct database connected to a public defender’s office.

We like Mano. And so, apparently, does everyone else. Raju is one of the most comprehensively supported candidates in the City. Even the cops don’t talk shit about him the way they did with Adachi, and no right-wingers raise money to demonize him—the way they did with Boudin. Raju, for all his fight-the-power rhetoric, is endorsed in this election by pals like Nancy Pelosi, London Breed and Scott Wiener as well as by Jane Kim, Dean Preston and John Hamasaki. Let’s keep Mano fighting the good fight as our Public Defender.

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BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

District 2 Supervisor: No Endorsement

Catherine Stefani is about what we’ve come to expect from our District 2 Supervisors: a ho-hum moderate who reliably sides with the Mayor. Even when she tries to do the right thing, we’re left scratching our heads. She’s part of Moms Demand Action and wants to stop gun violence, but sides with the POA when it comes to police violence. She wants to prevent domestic violence, so she created June’s Prop D which set up a new city department with no money to fund it. Stefani knows her district well, and she must have done something Mayor Breed didn’t like to not get picked for the DA appointment (after being the first elected official to endorse the recall of Chesa Boudin). Anyway, we’ve got no endorsement in this race and we wish we had something better for the small-but-mighty community of progressives and renters in D2.

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District 4 Supervisor: Gordon Mar

In 2018, we were strong supporters of Gordon Mar, a community and labor organizer from Jobs with Justice and the Chinese Progressive Association whose 2018 election as a progressive was a first for this historically conservative district. As supervisor, Mar has advocated strongly for the Sunset’s first two 100% affordable housing projects: the Shirley Chisholm Village for educators, and a hugely contested development at 2550 Irving Street with housing for low-income and unhoused people. Mar backed Chesa Boudin against the DA recall, and took a principled stand against the school board recall. He‘s the sponsor of legislation that will fund Free City College for the next decade. He’s also the author of the strongest dark-money disclosure law in the nation, and has been on the ground supporting residents, merchants, and families through the pandemic.

Mar’s been a leading proponent of keeping the Great Highway car-free on weekends, and for keeping JFK Drive car-free while strengthening shuttles and transit to the park (see our writeup of Props I and J). He’s stood up in the face of racist, homophobic, and right-wing attacks calling him a “Communist pedophile and groomer” and charging that Mar was going to “kick out the Chinese and bring in gangs [to D4].”

The bottom line is that Mar’s been a smart coalition builder, a voice for working families, a get-shit-done-for-the-community guy, and a quiet but solid progressive presence on the Board. Mar is endorsed by most of the Supervisors, most of the city’s labor unions –– including UESF and NUHW–– the Latinx Democratic Club, the Rose Pak Democratic Club, and the San Francisco Democratic Party.

One of his opponents ––unhinged antisemitic alkaline water huckster Leanna Louie––was removed from the ballot after she failed to prove residence in D4. Mar’s remaining opponent is Joel Engardio, a conniving “moderate” who ran and lost three times for D7 supervisor.  Engardio proudly helped lead the school board recall and the DA recall, actively fought for a “merit-based” (*cough cough* segregated *cough cough*) Lowell High School, and is a leader with astroturf reactionaries Stop Crime SF, which advocates for more police funding. On housing, he shifts his views depending on the audience, and likes to talk about making the Sunset “more like Paris” (through encouraging “silent investors from around the world looking for a safe place for their cash.”) He supported the Monster in the Mission, and is endorsed by Grow SF and SF YIMBY. And in an ironic twist, many YIMBYs have lambasted those organizational endorsements because Engardio is a documented legit NIMBY committed to the sanctity of single family home zoning and fear-mongering about how dense housing and services for homelessness breed crime and drugs.

The massive amounts of dark real estate money pouring into this race from outside the district could unseat an incumbent, elected supervisor for the first time in 20 years. It’s crucial to keep Mar on the Board, and to keep Engardio as far from the reins of actual power as possible. Vote Gordon Mar for Supervisor in District 4!

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District 6 Supervisor: #1 Honey Mahogany #2 Cherelle Jackson

Wow! Another race against an incumbent appointed by the mayor–this time in the form of D6 supervisor Matt Dorsey, a professional spin doctor and former “strategic communications” mouthpiece for the SFPD. The League wants to acknowledge Dorsey’s representation of the gay and recovery communities (which London Breed brings up at every possible opportunity). We actually endorsed Dorsey back in June 2012 as part of the progressive slate for the DCCC, back when he was the spokesperson for the City Attorney’s office. He didn’t fully align with our positions, but at the time he was reasonable and an ally. It seems like something changed when Dorsey became a private-sector comms consultant, and his PR work for the SFPD is downright shameful.

So we say “no thank you”, in fact ‘no fucking way,’ to his loathsome pro-cop, pro-developer, pro-machine politics. After Pride asked police not to come armed and uniformed to the parade, and the cops stomped off in a snit, Dorsey stood in solidarity with the “service and sacrifice” of police and sheriffs against “exclusionary discrimination.” Dorsey was also the mastermind for SFPD’s “copaganda”, a taxpayer-funded media campaign to get favorable press coverage for the cops, and he crisis-managed police murders and use of force. It was Dorsey’s idea for the Mayor to stage a photo op at Louis Vuitton because that is where the “rule of law needs to make its stand.” He literally said that 🙄.

Due to ranked choice voting, the League has endorsed two D6 hopefuls. Honey Mahogany is our first pick! She has solid experience in D6 and at City Hall as chief of staff for recently departed Supervisor Matt Haney, helped found the first Transgender District, and is one of the highest-ranking transgender officials in the country. Mahogany is a social worker who spent two decades working directly with unhoused people with mental illness and drug addiction. Honey says she believes in alternatives to policing “whenever possible,” which is a little vague, but better than the insatiable “more cops please” of her opponent. On a couple issues she may be trying to stay ‘moderate’ enough for the newly redistricted and wealthier D6, but she knows the needs of ordinary constituents, and we hope to see her lead progressively if elected.

Our #2 pick is Cherelle Jackson. The League likes that she’s a longtime community activist who worked tirelessly for a non-corrupt redistricting plan. Jackson is a CA Assembly District 17 ADEM member, and the co-chair of the Workers with Disabilities committee of SEIU 1021. Is she a rising star in the SF political scene? We want to give Cherelle props, recognize all her hard work, and see where she lands!

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District 8 Supervisor: No Endorsement

Current D8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s campaign tagline is “Progressive and Pragmatic,” which seems to mean “I’ll support money for homelessness and call for more conservatorships; I’ll talk about alternatives to policing and give more money to the police; I’ll fight for affordable housing and do everything possible to create more market-rate housing.” He passed a resolution declaring a “climate emergency,” but as far as we can tell, he was AWOL during the struggle to find money for the City’s Climate Action Plan (which the Mayor forgot to fund). Mandelman’s been a consistent advocate for Laguna Honda and for mental health care, and he’s good at constituent service…it’s just hard for us to get behind a supervisor who’s moved so far to the right. But hey–Prog & Prag! Basically, Mandelman is a player: cozy with the City Family, but not inner circle, and planning to be around for a long time.. Since he’s not going anywhere, maybe some of his more progressive constituents should pipe up when he does something we don’t like and show him this district isn’t as moderate as he might think?

His opponent, Kate Stoia, is a political novice who just wants the city to work better, you guys, with ideas like using more electric golf carts in D8 (and a healthy dose of YIMBY-style “the government is stopping us from building more housing” talking points).   She doesn’t seem to have any endorsements.

Sadly, we don’t have any endorsements for this seat, either.

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District 10 Supervisor: Shamann Walton

Board President Shamann Walton has been a fierce champion for the Southeast quadrant of the city, which is on the frontlines of gentrification, public safety, and environmental destruction. He listens to his community and responds to his constituents, and isn’t afraid to criticize Mayor Breed. We are impressed by his bold legislative initiatives, from creating the African American Reparations Committee to his work to shut Juvenile Hall and the Jail at 850 Bryant. His Dream Keeper Initiative reinvested $120 million into the Black community. Shamann developed a focus on budget equity in his role as SFUSD School Board President, and has carried that struggle to his role as President of the Board of Supervisors. We are proud to endorse Shamann, and hope he will continue to challenge the Mayor when it comes to settling for  business as usual in City Hall.

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STATE PROPOSITIONS

Prop 1: Protect Abortion Rights: Hell Yes!

Millions of Americans were horrified this year when the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, which for 50 years allowed legal access to abortion nationwide. Luckily for Californians, our politicians leapt to respond. Senate President pro Tem Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Governor Newsom put forth this badass ballot measure that would defend access to abortion and contraception by enshrining it in the California constitution. This constitutional amendment has support from big names like Planned Parenthood, the California Medical Association and California Nurses Association (organizations that know a thing or two about healthcare).  Prop 1 is strongly opposed by the leadership of the Catholic Church and evangelicals, with predictable warnings about “creating abortion sanctuaries,” which is exactly the idea. Our state’s public health authorities are already preparing for out-of-state travelers who need these vital health care services. The League was unanimous in our support of Prop 1. Vote Hell Yes!

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Proposition 26: Legalize Sports Betting in Tribal Casinos: Reluctant Yes
Proposition 27: Legalize Mobile Sports Betting: No

There’s no way to escape the confusing avalanche of ads for Props 26 & 27: with control of one of the largest gambling markets in the world at stake, backers have made these the most expensive ballot measures ever.

It’s hard to pick on sports betting as a singular evil, when so much of the way capitalism functions is through speculation, i.e. thinly-disguised gambling. Think real estate, finance, the stock market, crypto, farm commodity speculation, and even a new futures market for water: what can’t you bet on? Gambling is a pillar undergirding California’s entire economy.

But so far, the state hasn’t authorized betting on sports, either in-person or online.

When sports betting goes online, it supercharges video gaming’s addictive power with the frenzy of sports fandom: Californians already spend millions each year on underground online sports betting. But should we vote for legal online gambling, even if gaming companies promise to graciously throw some cash toward homelessness and mental health? Or should we vote to preserve the degraded autonomy of tribal casinos, allowing in-person sports betting…that still won’t raise enough money to fully recompense the nations whose land and families California stole?

Once again, we’re faced with the choice between a lousy outcome and an apocalyptically disastrous one. Each prop is voted on separately, and if both pass and don’t conflict with each other, both go into effect. So you can’t just vote for the one you like– you have to vote against the one you hate, too. We go into detail below, but here’s the breakdown of the two in comparison:

  • If Prop 26 passes, sovereign nations will be able to run their own businesses (with real jobs) on their own land and draft their own contracts with the state. Yes, we’ll still have to suffer the old-school, IRL “vice” industry, with its backroom deals and local infighting. But that seems preferable to suffering an explosively expanded universe of gamified speculation run from afar by dickhead finance bros with ice in their veins.
  • If Prop 27 passes, we’re screwed. Even if it fails, the voracious online betting companies will be back with a gazillion more dollars to try again, until California’s entire population uses phone apps 24 hours a day to place bets on which football player will suffer a traumatic brain injury first. But we gotta try to stop it now.
  • If both pass, as long as Prop 26 passes by a higher margin, tribal lawyers are likely to argue that the measures conflict, which could prevent Prop 27 from being implemented.

Here’s more details on both Props.

Prop 26 (the California Sports Wagering and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act) sets up a framework so that certain California Native American tribes, who since 2000 have had a legal monopoly on casino gambling, will also control the state’s new sports betting industry. It would restrict sports betting to in-person bets placed at tribal casinos and at horse-racing tracks. It would also infuriate card room competitors by allowing tribal casinos to expand into running roulette, craps and dice games in direct competition with card rooms, and would make it easier to sue anyone running “illegal” games. Prop 26 is promoting the concept of  “highly regulated,” “well-supervised,” and “safe” sports betting, hoping that voters believe in-person gambling is safer than online gambling, and that in-person betting on tribal land is a responsible alternative to inviting underage, app-crazy kids and problem gamblers to run wild online.

The legislative analyst says Prop 26 would raise “tens of millions” annually for California, 15% of which would go to  the Department of Public Health to address problem gaming and for mental health research.

Prop 26 is selling itself as an “engine for tribal self-sufficiency”.” While certainly not all indigenous individuals or communities reap the benefits, revenue from casinos helps fund education, services, and local infrastructure. The approximately $8 billion a year from the tribal casinos’ monopoly have also allowed tribes to become heavyweight political players in California, and have made some nations and individuals very rich. Of course, we can’t ignore the history of genocide and ongoing oppression of indigenous communities in CA, and it should be said that Native Sovereign Nations have a right to govern how they need to and want on their own land. That extends to making the rules at their casinos. If you’re ok with expanding what types of gambling are allowed in CA without changing who benefits financially, this one should be a yes for you.

Prop 27 (ghoulishly named the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act”) is backed by online betting giants like Fanduel, BetMGM, and DraftKings. It would allow adults to place bets by computer and phone apps on sports events, awards shows and video-game competitions. Prop 27 would also create high barriers to enter the online sports betting market, and would cement the control of a few large, well-established companies. It could raise as much as $500 million per year for the state, but legislative analysts note that “some portions of the increased revenue would reflect a shift from other existing state and local revenues. For example, some individuals who wager on sports would spend less on other revenue-generating activities—such as shopping.” Hmm.

Under Prop 27, only large gaming companies are eligible to make a deal with a “partner” tribe to enter the California market, and pay a one-time $100 million licensing fee to the state, with a $10 million renewal fee every five years. In return, they would pay a 10% tax every year to “address homelessness and interim and permanent housing,” (don’t worry, there are some fun tax loopholes to sweeten the deal).

As a kicker, Prop 27 would create the “Division of Online Sports Betting Control,” which would basically exist to protect the hegemony of the biggest companies forever. Ew. Whatever you think about gambling and the sportsballs, let’s vote this scam down!

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Prop 28: K-12 Art and Music Education: Yes

This prop started as a pet project of a former LAUSD Superintendent and has the backing of arts organizations, celebrities like Issa Rae, and communications companies like Comcast/Universal/NBC. It would require that 1% of state and local revenue for public and charter schools be set aside for arts and music education. Most of the statewide pot (70%) would be allocated to districts based on enrollment, and the rest (30%) would be extra for schools with a higher number of economically disadvantaged students.

There is so much good that this $1 billion per year can do for California’s 6 million public school kids! It’s no surprise that the status quo, with no dedicated public funding for arts and education in schools, has resulted in unequal access. Arts and music education in public schools will diversify the future art/media/tech workforce and open doors of opportunity for low-income kids whose families can’t afford outside classes for music and art. The only bummer is there won’t be any new money coming in to pay for these goodies, it’s just a set-aside. But even so, there’s no real opposition to Prop 28.

Come on. It’s ridiculous that we have to make a special effort to set aside money for art and music education, especially since kids need to take art in order to apply to the state university system. Unless you think schools should just be Dickensian warehouses where kids get trained in the minimal skills needed to work for DoorDash, this is a clear yes.

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Prop 29: Dialysis Clinic Regulation: Yes

The story of the for-profit dialysis industry in the US is a microcosm of the last fifty years of American politics, with literal bloodsuckers preying on the poor. In dialysis, people with severe kidney disease are attached to a machine that removes, filters, and reinserts the patient’s blood. It is the last treatment available for those who can’t get a kidney transplant. Kidney disease is the 9th most common cause of death in the US, and disproportionately affects Black and low-income patients without adequate health care whose diabetes has gone undertreated for years.

In 1972 Congress guaranteed that the federal government would cover the costs of Americans’ dialysis treatment with Medicare funds, even for patients under 65. This ultimately saved countless lives, but, as the number of patients covered by the policy rose from around ten thousand to nearly half a million in 2020, the policy gave rise to an industry of for-profit clinics specializing in dialysis, setting up shop in strip malls and poor neighborhoods for a guaranteed steady supply of sick patients and Medicare dollars.

There are around 7,000 clinics specializing in dialysis in the country, and around 70% of them are owned by just two companies: Fresenius Medical Care and Davita. Presumably, some part of the industry is providing reliable medical treatment, but in the last decade it’s become clear that the two big operators are in it for the cash, not for their patients’ best interests. In 2012, former employees at Davita filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company, claiming that it was deliberately wasting medication and billing the government for it. Other allegations have been made, mostly centering around the companies’ mistreatment of patients, providing questionable medical information, and even steering patients away from kidney transplants to maintain them as a revenue source for the clinics. In the last decade, between state and private lawsuits, for-profit dialysis companies have spent almost $1 billion paying for fines and settlements.

Opponents say these requirements are too hard to meet, which means dialysis clinics could be forced to close and patients won’t get what they need. Supporters (mainly the SEIU United Healthcare Workers union) argue this isn’t too much to ask, and keep trying–Proposition 29 is actually the third attempt since 2018 to clean up the for-profit dialysis industry. Earlier props were aimed at ending price gouging by limiting revenue to only 115% of cost (2018) and requiring on-site physicians, infection reporting, and negotiating with the state health department on clinic closures and non-discriminatory billing (2020.) Both earlier propositions failed, with the industry vastly outspending patient advocates, as is happening yet again.

2022’s Prop 29  is nearly identical to the 2020 version. There are some provisions to prevent the companies from just spitefully shutting down clinics if they lose, but the bottom line is about health: Basically, if you’re going to take all the blood out of a very sick person and run it through a machine, there should be a medical professional in the building. Cynical analysis points out that SEIU-UHW is locked in a battle with the dialysis companies to unionize their workers, and these props are a way to bring them to the negotiating table. That may be true, but it doesn’t mean that these companies don’t deserve some extra scrutiny in the best interest of their patients. We say yes on this one (again).

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Prop 30: Tax the Ultra-Wealthy for Climate Change: Yes

Prop 30 would tax Californians who make more than $2 million per year, and use that revenue to fund electric vehicle infrastructure, EV rebates for consumers, and wildfire prevention. All good stuff, considering, you know, the horrifying climate apocalypse we descend further into with every passing moment 🙃.  This type of Robin Hood maneuver should make it easy to recommend a Yes vote on Prop 30, but it’s worth looking at a few issues.

Prop 30 is backed by Lyft and some of their ickiest financial friends. These folks backed the initiative because, as of 2028, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies will be required by California to have 90% of their miles driven in electric vehicles. We don’t love it when megacorporations find ways for taxpayers to pay for their compliance, but in a fight between the ultra-wealthy and the super ultra-wealthy, we won’t be shedding any tears for either side.

We share the concerns of the California Teachers Association about the diversion of potential tax income from the state’s general fund; however, right now the richest dudes aren’t paying their fair share of state income tax anyway. We also have some general concerns about the lithium mining and terrible labor practices involved in the EV industry, as well as EV infrastructure: getting low-income Californians into electric cars will require a two-pronged approach: providing hefty subsidies to buy EVs, and then making a plan to get them easily charged.

But we’re endorsing 30 anyway: Like electric vehicles themselves, this proposition isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction. We hope this is the first of many climate solutions funded by taxing gazillionaires. Yes on Prop 30.

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Prop 31: Ban on Flavored Tobacco: Yes

Anyone else having déjà vu? In 2018, SF voters passed a local ban on flavored tobacco products, which we all know are disproportionately marketed to kids and communities of color. In 2020 the CA state legislature passed SB 973, which banned flavored tobacco products and flavor enhancers statewide (with exceptions for hookah tobacco, loose leaf tobacco, and fancy cigars). Now the tobacco companies are funding this “veto referendum” to challenge the law that already passed. So (confusingly) a yes vote keeps the ban, a no vote would overturn it so the tobacco companies could start selling My Little Pony Rainbow Bubblegum poison again 🌈🦄☠️.

Prop 31 is supported by Governor Gavin Newsom, the CA Teachers Association, health organizations like the American Cancer Society, and legislators who supported the original bill. Opponents, calling themselves the CA Coalition for Fairness (lol), is made up of RJ Reynolds, Philip Morris, and the National Association of Tobacco Outlets. They argue that flavored tobacco bans are limiting adults’ god-given freedom to buy what they want. And, besides, it’s already illegal for kids to buy tobacco anyway, sillies 🙄.

But we see right through that BS. The tobacco companies need these products on the shelves so they can hook kids and keep adults addicted. Plus, we really hate it when corporations spend their dirty money to overturn democratically passed laws. Vote Yes on Prop 31!

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LOCAL PROPOSITIONS

Prop A: Retiree Supplemental Cost of Living Adjustment: Yes

This charter amendment is super wonky. Short version: it gives 4,400 SF City employees who retired before November 1996 cost-of-living increases to their pensions for the five years they were cheated out of them. Let’s take a closer look.

For many years, retired employees of the City and County of San Francisco have been entitled to a “basic” cost of living adjustment (COLA). Back in November 1996, voters approved Prop C to adopt a “supplemental” cost of living benefit for all City retirees.  Fast forward to November 2011 and voters approved yet another Prop C, this time to add a “full funding” requirement to that supplemental benefit. This required SF Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS) to be “fully funded” based on the market value of the previous year’s assets. A court case challenged this in 2015 (Protect Our Benefits v. City and County of San Francisco), and the Court of Appeal held that the voter-approved full funding requirement could not be applied to current employees or to those who retired on or after November 1996. But City employees who retired before November 1996? They still had this full-funding requirement, so they did not receive cost of living benefits for the years 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Just these 4,400 retirees did not receive their full retirement monies. Prop A eliminates this full-funding requirement for these members who retired before November 1996 (and their qualified survivors and beneficiaries). Prop A also directs SFERS to retroactively pay these retirees their cost of living benefit for the years they did not receive it.

Prop A also allows the Retirement Board (the oversight body for SFERS) to enter into individual contracts for Executive Directors outside of the terms set by the Civil Service Commission and their union Memorandum of Understanding. This seems sketchy, and it was slipped into this measure by its author (and known sketch artist) Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, who is also the President of SFERS.

This change was the result of SFERS’s recent search for a new CEO that took well over a year and included some contentious debate about whether the roles of the CEO and Chief Investment Officer should be combined. (They were, which led to the hiring of Alison Romano as CEO/CIO, who could make up to $638K, which is less than the combined $929K that previous CIO William Coaker and sketchy CEO Jay Huish made.) The supposed reason for paying the head of SFERS so much is that we need to compete with Wall Street to get someone competent to manage our $30+ billion pension fund. Gotta love capitalism! (Sidebar: the Retirement Board has been a shitshow for years, and maybe some year when we don’t have four elections, we can try to reform it?) But the bottom line is that we still support paying all retirees equally and there is literally no opposition. Vote Yes on Prop A.

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Prop B: Sanitation & Streets Public Work Reorg: Yes

Well, this is awkward. In November 2020 we supported Prop B, which created a new Streets and Sanitation department to care for our poor, disgusting sidewalks and garbagey streets separately from the corruption-ridden Department of Public Works. The best thing the old Prop B did was set up two badly needed oversight commissions; one for DPW and one for our shiny new Sanitation & Streets Department. These commissions will hopefully shine much-needed light on the practices of DPW, while allowing separate policies to move forward that specifically address streets and sanitation.

Turns out, it’s hella expensive (up to $6 million annually) and a little redundant to set up a whole new department in this case. Clearly there are separate issues to address; but much of their work overlaps. This year’s Prop B puts the brakes on the expensive new department, but keeps the two commissions. Eight of the Supervisors are confident that the one department, with strong oversight from two separate commissions, can get the job done. The biggest opponent is Assemblymember Matt Haney, who championed the OG Prop B when he was on the Board. We’re going to be sensible here and trust the bean counters while keeping an eye on how the new commissions perform. Vote Yes on Prop B.

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Prop C: Homelessness Oversight Commission: Yes

There’s one department in the City that operates without accountability– the department with a $672 million budget, the one responsible for the most pressing problem facing San Francisco. That’s right, it’s the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, which since 2016 has been run by a series of hapless directors who report only to the Mayor.

Supervisor Ahsha Safaí–usually a let-London-be-London kinda guy––authored this charter amendment to create a commission overseeing HSH, with support from all the Supervisors. Prop C seems to be an attempt to mitigate political damage from the current scandals over HSH’s sorry performance; whether it results in actually improved outcomes for people living on the streets or in supportive housing depends on how seriously the new oversight commission takes its work.

The HSH oversight commission would be composed of four mayoral appointees (designated for “a person who has experienced homelessness,” a homeless service provider, a mental health provider, and someone from a merchants’ association, all of whom are required to have budgeting or financial experience) and three selected by the Supes (designated for a person who’s experienced homelessness, a homeless service provider or advocate, and someone who works with homeless families or youth.) In addition, the Controller’s office would be allowed to audit the delivery of homeless services. (Wait, this hasn’t happened yet? It’s fallen on the press and whistleblowers to expose the catastrophic consequences of bureaucracy on unhoused people, the horrendous condition inside SROs, the City’s failure to move people into empty supportive housing units, and the scandalous black hole of contracts to nonprofits. )

We can look suspiciously for all the ways (as with the Police Commission, the Department of Building Inspection Commission, etc., etc.) that this new commission, especially with a majority of mayoral appointees, could fail to do its job. But we gotta say that something is better than nothing– and even baby steps toward basic accountability are worth taking. Clearly the Mayor, who is fighting (alongside the San Francisco Republican Party) against Prop C, wants to avoid even nominal oversight. The Coalition on Homelessness, which knows something about keeping the pressure on, is supporting Prop C; we join them in wishing it were stronger, but we think it’s super-important to make sure that HSH doesn’t  continue to operate without any checks. Yes on Prop C.

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Prop D: Affordable Homes Never: Hell No!
Prop E: Homes for Families and Workers: Hell Yes! 

These two competing ballot measures both claim to encourage the building of new homes by streamlining approval for affordable housing. But what kinds of housing, and how do we define “affordable?” TL;DR: Prop D deceptively redefines “affordable housing” to include studios for singles making $140k a year, while Prop E encourages developers to build truly affordable units for working families and educators without changing the definition. If both win, the one with the most votes takes effect. Here’s more:

Prop D has some devilish details. The real estate investors who put this on the ballot by paying $1M to gather signatures have one goal: to use public money to build market rate housing for single rich people with no municipal or environmental oversight. If Prop D wins, the income needed to qualify for “affordable” housing will be redefined, up to 140% (!!) of area median income. For a family of four in 2022, this translates to $193,950 (Prop E would not change the definition). Prop D would double down on SF’s de facto policy of overbuilding luxury housing. We’ve seen the failure of this approach over the past decade: astronomical rents, increasing displacement, fancy apartments sitting empty,  and homelessness. We say Hell No!

Prop E streamlines approval for educator housing, as well as affordable housing with labor protections such as prevailing wage and union labor. The Board of Supervisors put this on the ballot with support from affordable housing developers and the building trade unions. Prop E has better worker protections, including apprenticeship training, pathways to union jobs for local workers, living wages, and health care. Under Prop D, health care and apprenticeship requirements only apply for larger projects of 40 or more units.Prop E recognizes that we need to make it easier to build truly affordable housing, not just move the goalposts by redefining it. If we’re going to streamline housing, we shouldn’t reward luxury projects: save the developer benefits for actually affordable homes, including two and three bedroom units, to ensure families can stay in San Francisco for generations. Hell Yes on Prop E!

Note: Both Prop D and E are affordable housing charter amendments. If both propositions pass with 50%+1, the prop with more “yes” votes will be adopted. In other words, you have to vote No for the bad Prop D as well as Yes for the good Prop E.

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Prop F: Library Preservation Fund: Yes

Libraries: Yes! Librarians: Yes! Look, if books weren’t dangerous, why would the right work so hard to ban them? If libraries didn’t matter, why would neo-fascists storm in, trying to shut them down? Free books would be enough for us to love the library and vote to keep it funded, but SFPL offers so much more. It’s a vital resource offering technology resources (Computers! Free printing! Online research!) to bridge the digital divide, amazing multilingual arts and cultural programming, a safe, supportive place for teenagers and unhoused people, and early literacy support for the youngest San Franciscans.

With Prop F providing stable funding, we’ll have no new taxes, same great libraries. Even better, actually. In addition to maintaining library services and construction and maintenance of the Main Library and its 27 branches, Prop F includes a requirement for increased hours. Vote Yes on Prop F, and we’ll see everybody at the Library 🙂

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Prop G: Student Success Fund: Yes, Please!

Prop G is a charter amendment that would direct $60 million per year to SFUSD schools through a grants program, allowing each school to fund the solutions that will work best for its community to address students’ academic achievement and social-emotional wellbeing. Each school could be awarded grants as much as $1 million per year, and this money can pay for all sorts of things: additional staff like therapists or reading specialists, expanded after-school programs, services for families living in poverty, or more arts and music programming.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen crafted this charter amendment, which cleverly distributes more funds to schools without going through the SFUSD bureaucracy, which doesn’t have a great track record of getting cash where it needs to go. And guess what: there’s plenty of money to pay for this! In California, all county property taxes earmarked for schools go into a big pot that’s distributed to districts across the state through the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF). Because housing is so damn expensive here and schools are so underfunded by the state, San Francisco is one of the few counties that puts more into this pot than we get allocated back for our schools. California refunds us the extra money, but it goes into the City general fund. Education advocates have been arguing for years that this money should go to our schools, but (surprise, surprise) the City has been slow to give it up. This charter amendment includes contingency plans for what happens if the ERAF pot declines or the City needs the money for some emergency, but that seems unlikely; in recent years the excess ERAF has been as much as $350 million.

Our biggest hesitation is that not all schools have the same capacity to write a grant proposal, so some might miss out on these funds. But the text of the charter amendment says schools who don’t get funded may receive technical assistance grants to help them flesh out their proposals and re-apply. The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) which would oversee the grant program along with the Board of Supervisors, would be mandated to prioritize schools with fewer resources and more high-need student populations, including low-income students, homeless families, English learners, and children in foster care.

This is a historic investment in our schools, which couldn’t come at a better time. The Student Success Fund has the support of all 11 supervisors, Superintendent Matt Wayne, and United Educators of San Francisco. Vote YES on G!

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Prop H: City Elections in Even-Numbered Years: OMG Yes!  

San Francisco holds a lot of elections—this is the fourth in 2022. Our elections for citywide offices like Mayor, District Attorney, and Sheriff are held in odd-numbered years (2011, 2015, 2019), while state and federal races happen in even-numbered years (2012, 2016, 2020). While low voter turnout is a problem everywhere, holding elections at weird times suppresses the vote even further; fewer people vote in local races because the contests don’t get as much attention.

Under 2015’s California Voter Participation Rights Act (SB493), a state law intended to boost voter participation, California cities have been required to align their municipal elections with the statewide election schedule if they have large disparities in voter turnout between the two cycles. San Francisco would seem to qualify: between 2011-2020, we averaged 80% turnout during even-year November elections, compared to 43% in odd years.

However, an appeals court held that the law doesn’t apply to charter cities like San Francisco––so this charter amendment, introduced by Supervisor Dean Preston and passed 7-4 by the Board, would sync San Francisco’s election cycle with the state’s. In the 54 other California cities that have implemented the reform over the last decade (among them Los Angeles and San Jose) voter turnout increased, on average, from 25.5% to 75.8%. At a time when Republicans are doing everything they can to suppress the vote, this measure to encourage turnout seems like a straightforward, non-partisan, civic-minded, pro-voting-rights no-brainer.

Of course, if this measure passes (it only needs a simple majority) London Breed would get a free extra year in office before she has to run for re-election. But confusingly, Prop H is opposed by none other than London Breed, who told the press it was a plot by nefarious socialists who “want to have more control and power of being able to get their people elected.”

Well, no. Prop H is an overdue charter amendment that would fix a glitch in our local democracy. Regardless of which faction of city politics would benefit from the change, we believe that more people voting is a good thing. Vote Yes for Prop H, Yes for Democracy!!

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Prop I: Open JFK Drive + Great Highway to Cars: No
Prop J: Close JFK Drive to Cars: Yes!

Prop I, which would reopen JFK Drive to cars, would also reopen the Great Highway south of Sloat. That plan is foolish in the face of climate change (and the California Coastal Commission), so our members voted for a No on Prop I.

In terms of Prop J, keeping JFK a car-free promenade for San Franciscans, tourists, and the arts is invaluable. Anyone who has enjoyed walking by all the wonderful new art installations on JFK without the threat of car traffic will attest to how it raises the standard of living in our city. The “Golden Mile” under the supervision of the SF Rec & Parks, Paint the Void and IlluminateSF has become another asset and attraction to San Francisco.

The Recreation and Park Department created a new parking area behind the Golden Gate Bandshell to replace every disability-placard space that was lost to JFK’s closure. Free public shuttles now routinely run to and from this lot to amenities throughout the closed-off roadway.

Additionally, Proposition N, which, if passed in November, will allow the city to take control of the Museum Concourse Garage and potentially offer free or reduced parking rates to low-income residents and disabled drivers. Yes on Prop J.

What finally swayed us to a No on Prop I was the damage it would do to the City’s sensible Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaption Project to address sea-level rise and sandstorms in 2023 by closing the Sloat extension, removing harmful coastal armoring, and restoring habitat. If Prop I passes, the City would have to spend at least $80 million to construct a ridiculous seawall at Ocean Beach– a temporary and destructive attempt to wish away the water.

Here’s some more context if you want to go deep:

It’s hard to overstate how divorced from reality it would be to try to armor the Great Highway South of Sloat to try to keep it a two-way road for cars.  The City committed to closing the Great Highway South of Slate back in 2014, when they settled a lawsuit about coastal erosion. In 2018, the SFPUC studied four options for this stretch of road, none of which included full car access because they said the California Coastal Commission wouldn’t allow it. But if somehow we were allowed to build that stupid ugly seawall, the EIR for the Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaption Project says it would require placing 100,000 cubic yards of sand every year to protect the seawall and could “result in accelerated erosion of shore areas to the north and south of the wall,” including “bluff instability at Fort Funston.”  In the interests of all-cars-all-the-time, Prop I would pour huge amounts of money into bad infrastructure, pretending that the sand’s not blowing and the seas aren’t rising.

We also oppose Prop I because it can only be amended by another ballot measure. That means even if the City implements all the accessibility improvements that SDA and others are asking for, we’d have to beat Dede Wilsey’s money at the ballot to make any changes to JFK in the future.

We do support a Yes on N (City funding for the Golden Gate parking garage) so that it can be an option for low-cost accessible parking when an equitable closure plan is finally drawn up. More on that in a sec (this voter guide gets unruly if we stray from alphabetical order!).

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Prop K: Removed from Ballot

Prop K was an E-Commerce Tax. It was withdrawn, after the sponsor, John Elberling of the affordable housing developer TODCO, was informed (oops) that his plan was actually going to tax small businesses, instead of taxing Amazon as he originally imagined. Elberling spent half a million dollars on the mistake– which would have infuriated small businesses and cost the city $10 million in revenue. “We apologize to all those who joined us in support of Prop. K’s worthy goals, “ he said. “But this was also a uniquely valuable learning process.” We look forward to supporting a more workable version of this in the future!

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Prop L: Renew Half Cent Sales Tax for Transit: Hell Yes!

Prop L was put on the ballot by the Supes, and would extend the existing half-cent sales tax for transportation for another 30 years, to fund the City’s Transportation Expenditure Plan. The plan strives for a more equitable, accessible transit system, prioritizing projects that serve transit-dependent and low-income communities. It’s got money for Muni and ferry maintenance, paratransit improvement, and traffic calming, and it doesn’t give a dime to Uber.

It might not bring back our beloved paper transfers, but the measure (along with the state and federal funding it will generate) is a solid down payment on the transit-first City we want to live in. The existing half-cent sales tax this renews has been a crucial funding source for Muni and our whole transportation system. We really need to keep it in place. Hell Yes on L.

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Prop M: Empty Homes Tax: Hell Yes! 

Why is the rent so damn high? It must be a housing shortage, right? But it turns out there are close to 60,000 empty homes in San Francisco. Prop M targets the large corporate landlords and investment firms that try to drive up prices by keeping units off the market. It applies only to buildings of three units or more, and proposes that if large landlords leave these units vacant for at least half a year, they’ll be charged from $2,500 to $5,000 annually for each unit, depending on size. The amount doubles each year for as long as the speculator leaves the home vacant, to a max of $20,000!

All proceeds would fund affordable housing and rent subsidies. There is a lot of twitter debate about how many vacant homes there are in SF. This vacancy tax is a great way to find out! But nobody denies that Prop M will put at least some housing back on the market while raising money for housing.  If they let the League of Pissed Off Voters write propositions, this is the shit we’d come up with. Vote Hell Yes on Prop M!

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Prop N: City Funding for Golden Gate Park Parking Garage: Yes

Prop N is another do-over of an earlier proposition. Back in 1998, voters approved Prop J to establish the Golden Gate Park Concourse Authority (GGPCA) in order to dig a massive parking garage under the Music Concourse, with some key restrictions. The City didn’t want responsibility for this parking garage, and the public didn’t want to subsidize fancy museum-goers’ parking, so Prop J required only private funds be used to build it–and added wording that was interpreted to mean that the garage would be maintained at its own expense, using its own revenues to pay off any operations or construction debt.

Currently, this garage is typically half empty because it is so expensive to park there. If we want equitable access to Golden Gate Park, with JFK closed to cars and so many San Franciscans still dependent on cars, it seems like this parking garage could be a key component.

Prop N repeals 1998’s Prop J, allowing for the dissolution of the GGPCA and possibly returning the jurisdiction of the garage to the Rec and Park Commission.  Mayor Breed put this on the ballot, and suggests that with this city takeover of the parking garage, we could choose to provide subsidized parking for low-income park visitors and those with disabilities. That sounds great, and Prop N seems like a good step in the direction of park equity. Vote Yes on Prop N.  

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Prop O: City College Parcel Tax: Hell Yes!

We ❤️ City College. City College of San Francisco is an essential resource for youth and working people who want to advance academically or vocationally (and it’s free!). And it’s a boon to the City, employing 3,000 faculty and staff.

But City College is also in dire financial straits, with no new state and federal aid forthcoming. This spring, CCSF laid off employees, cut classes and–unsurprisingly, given the cutbacks–saw enrollment drop.

More cutbacks will come down the line unless Prop. O passes. This measure would make up for the shortfall and raise $45 million with a progressive parcel tax on property owners, lower for residential buildings and higher for large nonresidential buildings, through 2043. If passed, Prop. O will fund essential programs like nursing, workforce development, and ESL classes.

San Franciscans must pass this necessary measure. Community colleges do more than almost any other institution to actually lessen income inequality: City is a treasure, and crucial for our democracy. The League recommends a Hell Yes on Prop O!  

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BAS Editorial Team

BAS Editorial Team

We're the editorial team who get together to do the Broke-Ass Stuart voter guides.

2 Comments

  1. Simone
    November 7, 2022 at 6:12 pm — Reply

    Hey Stuart! Thanks for putting this together, your guide is one I go to for every election. Just one request: Please spell it antisemitic, no hyphen. It’s the less… antisemitic spelling. Thanks.

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