Guide can be viewed at:http://theballot.org/2008/sf

The League's San Francisco Ballot (Phone Book-Sized)

San Francisco, CA

November 4, 2008

Lord almighty, this is a long ballot. We've spent the last two months trying to make sense of all this stuff! We'll be adding more details as we find the time, so check back. Or if you have any questions or think we got something wrong, hit us up at sf@theleague.com.

This voter guide is 100% made by young people, for young people—and of course any other pissed off voters that want to know what we think. This is the eighth straight SF election we’ve made a voter guide for, and we need your help. We're all volunteers. All of the League's paid staff is focused on swing states, and then Obama went and hired a bunch of our best people. Do you want to help make our government reflect our values? Do you want to get involved in spreading the word, throwing parties, and turning out voters? Join the League online at theleague.com/sf or call us at (415)357-1337.

President

Barack Obama

Endorsed Vote: Yes

We are stoked to be voting for Obama: he's reached out to young people, brings a voice for minority communities, and voted against the Iraq war from the beginning. But it makes us nervous that he voted to fund the war 7 times. And while he has a strong environmental record, he supports climate-destroying practices like ethanol, nuclear, and 'clean coal.' To make sure Obama doesn't fall for the centrist pull of politics on these critical issues -- we know we need to organize. And given Obama's background as a community organizer, we hope that if we organize -- he will listen to us. That's why we're going to continue organizing young people after the election--particularly around advocating for clean energy, which will protect our climate, generate green jobs for youth who aren't on the college track, and avoid the need for reckless war. So yes, we have 'the hope' but our hope is that everyone stays involved after November 4th.

Congress District 8

Cindy Sheehan

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Cindy Sheehan is the leading voice of the anti-war movement. Nancy Pelosi is the leader of the congressional Democrats, who have failed to do anything about ending the war. For five and a half years, this illegal and unnecessary war has been America's shame, and our leaders have failed to do anything about it. Two years ago, we were neutral on Krissy Keefer's challenge to Pelosi because some of us were hopefully that Pelosi would be a good Speaker of the House. We've lost that hope. Despite having the majority, Pelosi and the Democrats have caved in to the Republicans on offshore oil drilling, warrantless wiretapping, and the bailout package. Sheehan has proven to be more than just an anti-war activist. She's articulated bold, progressive stands on health care, affordable housing, global trade, and regulating the media.

State Senate District 3

Mark Leno

Endorsed Vote: Yes

We really like Mark Leno. He's a truly nice guy who makes time for groups like ours and shows up everywhere around town. He helped us get public financing for Mayoral elections in SF and he's helping out with Prop H, the Clean Energy Act. He’s been a solid Assemblyman and a true champion of LGBT rights.

Assembly District 12

Fiona Ma

Endorsed Vote: Yes

We weren't a fan of Fiona's when she was on the Board of Supervisors and we supported her opponent, Janet Reilly, when Fiona first ran for this seat. But Fiona has turned out to be a pretty good Assembly member. She's been a leader on the push for high-speed rail in California and she's helping with the Prop H campaign. We like that she's hired Bill Barnes to be her chief of staff. Bill is one of the smartest guys in town. He worked for Chris Daly for years and he's been the brains behind a lot of great progressive legislation. There's one thing we're a little conflicted about with Fiona: she's proven to be good at playing the game in Sacramento. The game is raising a lot of money to help with Democratic campaigns across the state. The more money you raise, the better your committee assignments, the more power you raise. On one hand, if we had to choose who we want to have that power, we could do a lot worse than Ma. On the other hand, it makes us nervous that she has to spend so much time raising money. Reason #5,237 why we need real public financing for California elections!

Assembly District 13

Tom Ammiano

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Tom is the elder statesmen of San Francisco progressive politics. In 1975 he was buddies with Harvey Milk when he became the first openly gay teacher in San Francisco. In 1999 he took on Willie Brown for Mayor and became the first write-in candidate to ever force a runoff. He lost, but the momentum is campaign generated led to the 2000 progressive takeover on the Board of Supervisors. We're disappointed that he's endorsed David Campos in D9 this year, and we think it took him too long to react to the recent crisis of violence in the Mission. But he has an impressive record as a legislator, from health care to Community Choice Aggregation to City ID cards, and we're sure he'll be a great assembly member.

Board of Supervisors, District 1

Eric Mar

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Eric Mar seems way to nice and well-adjusted and calm to be a successful politician, but that's what he is. He's been elected twice to the Board of Education and the Democratic County Central Committee. He's also a professor at SFSU, and some of his strongest endorsements come from his former students who love him and are volunteering on his campaign. He's lived in the Richmond for 22 years, his daughter goes to public school in the Richmond, and his wife is a public school teacher. He's not afraid to stand up for progressive issues--from clean energy to affordable housing to opposing the war--even when he knows he's going to get shit for it. He's getting pummeled right now by sleazy independent expenditures. PG&E;, the Chamber of Commerce, the Police Officers Association, they're also scared to death of Eric. We consider that another ringing endorsement for him. He needs our help. Tell everyone you know in the Richmond to vote for him.

Board of Supervisors, District 3

We like all three of these candidates somewhat equally.

David Chiu

Endorsed Vote: Yes

First choice. David is a young guy (he's 38) who already has a lot of experience. He's a Harvard Law grad who's worked for the U.S. Senate judiciary committee and the San Francisco District Attorney. He's basically the only progressive voice on the Small Business Commission where he stood up for important issues like health care and paid sick days. He's an active member of the District 3 community where he chairs the Lower Polk Neighbors association. He ran the campaign in 2004 that tried to give immigrant parents voting rights for the School Board. Some of us are really concerned about Grassroots Enterprise, the company that David helped found. Grassroots Enterprise provides online tools for organizations and campaigns. They have some Republicans on their board, and they've done work for some Republican campaigns. David says that it he opposed to hiring the Republicans, but that it wasn't his call. He also says he'll resign from Grassroots Enterprise if he's elected. Some of us think this issue disqualifies him, but most of it think he's still the best choice for District 3.

Denise McCarthy

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Second choice. We didn't know much about Denise before this campaign, but we've been impressed by her. A few of us heard her speak to the Harvey Milk Democratic Club and came away believers. She has a long history of public service. She's the co-director of San Francisco Neighborhood Centers Together--a citywide coalition of neighborhood centers. For 25 years she headed the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, which helps out kids, families, and seniors. She has government experience as a Port Commissioner and a legislative aide in City Hall. She supports our two biggest priorities this election: Prop B and Prop H. Our two concerns about her that she's taken a lot of money from developers and that we just don't know a whole lot about her. She hasn't really been involved in local politics before this election. One more thing in her favor is that she's also the only woman running for Supervisor this year that we can get behind. That's a freaking embarrassment. Come on, progressive sisters, we need you! Get out there and run for office!

Tony Gantner

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Third choice. Tony is another long-time San Franciscan we didn't know much about before this race. Of the D3 candidates, he's been the most involved in the campaign for Prop H, the Clean Energy Act. He's taken solid progressive stands on the issues and he got the #1 endorsement from the Sierra Club.

Board of Supervisors, District 4

David Ferguson

Endorsed Vote: Yes

We kind of endorsed Ferguson through a process of elimination. The incumbent Carmen Chu used to work for the Mayor until he appointed her to be Supervisor (thanks a lot, Ed Jew). All of her staff used to work for the Mayor also, and she votes with the Mayor pretty much 100% of the time. She clearly smart and understands the city budget, but she never voted in San Francisco before she became Supervisor. We need strong, independent voices on the Board. PG&E; has made Carmen the public face of their misleading campaign against Prop H. That's a serious disqualification. Her strongest challenger is Ron Dudum who we rejected two years ago as being more conservative than Ed Jew. That leaves Ferguson, a high school teacher with a long history in the Sunset who agrees with us on the important propositions like B, H, N and Q.

Board of Supervisors, District 5

Ross Mirkarimi

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Ross has been a rock on the Board of Supervisors. We can always count on his support on traditional progressive issues like clean energy, public power, affordable housing, expanding health care, etc. But he's also become the City's leader on violence prevention and economic equity. He wrote legislation that required the police to walk foot patrols and he's leading the effort to reform the SFPD. He brought community groups, the police, and city departments together in the Western Addition to get people to work together on the crisis of violence. Together they've built trust between the community and police, expanded funding for community centers and after-school programs, and created job opportunities. As a result, the violence has decreased dramatically. The rest of the City could learn from their example. Ross also finds time to take care of the little things like filing potholes and cleaning up trash and ugly graffiti tags. As a result, he's built a broad coalition both in his district and citywide. Those are the kind of coalitions we need to make real change in our City.

Board of Supervisors, District 7

Ana Jimenez (write in)

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Ana is a kick-ass organizer for the League. She's a San Francisco native who works her ass off. Seriously, without her, we would've probably crumbled sometime in the last couple years. When we realized there were no decent candidates in D7, we asked her to run as a write-in candidate.

The incumbent, Sean Elsbernd, is probably the most conservative member of the Board of Supervisors. He's a smart guy and, unlike some of the more shifty Supervisors, you at least know where he stands. Unfortunately where he stands is almost always against where we stand: public financing, affordable housing, clean energy, you name it, he's against it. We also don't like his attitude sometimes at the Board meetings. He gets all snide and exasperated with the more progressive Supervisors and tries to act like he's the only grown up. Get over yourself, Sean. We know you're a smart lawyer and all, but just because we disagree with you doesn't mean you're smarter than us.

Board of Supervisors, District 9

This was a tough choice between Sanchez and Quezada.

Mark Sanchez

Endorsed Vote: Yes

First choice. We put Sanchez #1 because of his strong community roots, his work with youth, his experience with the School District budget, and his history of building coalitions on the School Board. He's also won two citywide elections on shoestring budgets using people power.

Eric Quezada

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Second choice. Quezada is an inspiring community activist for immigrant and housing rights who would also make a great supervisor.

David Campos

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Third choice. In a more moderate district, Campos could be our #1, and we endorse him for #3 to promote a positive, civil campaign.

Board of Supervisors, District 11

John Avalos is the clear #1. Our main reason for endorsing Knox and Ramos is to block the downtown hack candidates.

John Avalos

Endorsed Vote: Yes

John Avalos is the clear #1. He's had our back for years. He knows the District better than any of the other candidates and he also knows the City budget forwards and backwards. His whole adult life has been dedicated to public service as an organizer and teacher. And he's a cool guy.

Randy Knox

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Randy Knox is an old-school progressive from the Matt Gonzalez campagin--but for this campaign he left he Green Party and has cozied up to moderate Dems.

Julio Ramos

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Julio Ramos has been pretty good on the CCSF board, but we're not down with his new focus on surveillance cameras and graffiti.

Board of Education

There are four seats up for grabs, but we could only agree on three candidates.

Bobbi Lopez

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Sandra Fewer

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Norman Yee

Endorsed Vote: Yes

City College Board of Trustees

There are four seats up for grabs, but we could only agree on three candidates. The CCSF political world is a shady place full of money inappropriately used for political purposed and bond money slush funds. We need some fresh blood in there.

Chris Jackson

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Chris is a member of the League. He's a young, motivated, articulate San Francisco native. He has a detailed platform for expanding access to CCSF and preparing our youth for green jobs, teaching, and other successful career paths.

Bruce Wolfe

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Bruce was active in student government as a CCSF student. He used to be on the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, and CCSF is dying for some sunshine. He’s a dedicated progressive activist who is always working on the same campaigns we are, like public financing and Community Choice Aggregation. He wants to provide childcare for all CCSF students who need it and increase the green and social justice curriculums.

Milton Marks

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Milton is an incumbent, so he deserves some of the blame for the lack of action by the Board of Trustees during the last eight years. But he's done a decent job, and we hope that if we can give him a couple more solid colleagues that he'll help clean up CCSF's power structure.

BART Board, District 9

Tom Radulovich

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Prop A: Rebuild SF General Hospital

Endorsed Vote: Yes

This is a massive $887 million bond to rebuild San Francisco General Hospital. We're generally not fans of bonds. They're like credit cards for governments: they give government money now in exchange for a bunch of interest down the road. A lot of times, bonds are used to hide the fact that corporations and the wealthy aren't paying their fair share.

But we think massive public works projects like building hospitals are an appropriate time to use bonds. And SF General is too important to ignore. It's the only trauma center in the City, and it's doors are open to everyone. If SF General collapsed in an earthquake, it would be an insane, Katrina-level disaster. We simply have to rebuild SF General.

Prop B: Affordable Housing Fund

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Prop B creates a dedicated fund for building affordable housing for the working poor and middle class--with 30% of it targeted for families. San Francisco already has budget "set asides" (guaranteed minimum funding levels) for kids, police, families, firefighters, even the freaking symphony, but nothing for housing. Just about everyone in San Francisco who hasn't inherited a Pacific Heights mansion agrees that the cost of housing is one of the most important issues we face. We know that budget set asides aren't an ideal funding source. But thanks to Prop 13, it's almost impossible to pass a new tax for a specific purpose. So consider Prop B a package deal with Props N and Q, which will generate most of the money needed for the Affordable Housing Fund. It's now or never in San Francisco. Either we make a serious commitment to affordable housing to preserve our diverse City, or San Francisco will become a playground for the rich, while us working people are forced to commute from the suburbs. Want to get involved in the Prop B campaign? Contact MK at mklnguyen(at)gmail or (651)214-1018.

Prop C: Prohibit City employees from serving on commissions

Endorsed Vote: No

This would prohibit City employees from serving on most boards and commissions. It's designed to prevent conflicts of interest, and we're down with that. But we think Prop C is both too broad and too narrow. It's too broad in that it bans ALL employees from serving on ANY of the commissions, even if their job and the commission are completely unrelated. The City and County of San Francisco is the biggest employer in San Francisco, and a lot of the people who care the most and know the most about our City work for the City. That's too big of a talent pool to leave off of our boards and commissions. Prop C is a sledgehammer where we need a chisel.

It's also too narrow in that it doesn't apply to a seemingly random list of commissoins like the Ethics Commission, the Fine Arts Museums Board of Trustees, the Arts Commission, and some others. Why is that? We're not sure, and it makes us suspicious.

Prop D: Finance Pier 70 development

Endorsed Vote: No Endorsement

Everyone and their mother supports Prop D. All eleven Supervisors, the Mayor, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Chamber of Commerce, the League of Conservation Voters, the Labor Council, the list goes on. Pier 70 is a 65-acre waterfront area down at the end of Cesear Chavez. Prop D is a plan to rehabilitate this area using future tax revenues that would be generated by the improvements. A quarter of the site will be fixed up to preserve the ship repair business. The plan also calls for large chunks of parks, trails and open space, as well as preserving historic buildings from San Francisco's ship building glory days.

We like the idea of improvements to the City's neglected Southeast corner, and we like that Prop D won't cost us anything. The reason we didn't come to a consensus on this is because some of us were concerned about what impact Prop D will have on housing. There won't be any housing built on the Pier 70 area, but how it impact the nearby Dogpatch and Bayview/Hunter's Point neighborhoods? Could it contribute to gentrification of traditionally low-income areas? How does this relate to the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan? Consider our non-endorsement a casualty of the massive scale of this ballot. We weren't able to get answers to our questions in time for our endorsement vote, so some of us abstained.

Prop E: Increase number of signatures to recall Supervisors

Endorsed Vote: No

Prop E would change the requirements for gathering signatures to recall elected officials in San Francisco. Currently, you need signatures from 10% of the City's voters, or 10% of the voters in a district for the Board of Supervisors. Once you gather the signatures, the recall goes on the ballot. Prop E would implement California's sliding-scale system, based on population size. In practice, this would raise the threshold for recalling members of the Board of Supervisors to 20% (except for District 8, which because it has more than 50,000 registered voters would require 15%). For citywide elected officials, the threshold would still be 10%.

We're conflicted about this one. We're sympathetic to this, because all of the recent recall campaigns have been super sketchy. We haven't seen any real grassroots recall campaigns. There's been big money with alterior motives behind all of the recent recall attempts. Recalling Gray Davis to elect the Governator = sketchy. Downtown businesses throwing big money at attempts to recall Supervisors Peskin and McGoldrick = sketchy.

But we're also suspicious of elected officials putting something on the ballot to make it harder to recall them. it's probably already hard enough to do as it is. All the recent attempts have failed, even though they've been backed by devious types with deep pockets. If people are pissed off enough to want to recall their leaders, they should be able to.

Prop F: Eliminate odd-year elections

Endorsed Vote: No

This was a tough call. Currently, the City elects the Mayor, DA, Sheriff, City Attorney and Treasure in odd-numbered years. On the plus side, there's less stuff on the ballot so we can focus on these citywide offices. On the minus side, the turnout is way less than during the big ticket even-numbered year elections, so less people vote on them. And when turnout is lower, it's almost always more conservative.

The idea behind F is that we'll have a more progressive electorate voting on the next Mayor. But just imagine if we were voting for Mayor on this insane ballot. Between Obama, the Board of Supervisors, and the gazillion propositions, campaigns are spread super thin, and nobody has enough time to work on everything they want to. Would we really be able to pay attention to a Mayoral election right now? We don't think so. We think it's best if we can focus on the next Mayor without a bunch of other distractions.

We also think it's good to stay in practice with elections--for activists like us, for the Elections Department, and everyone who votes. The real culprits are all these freaking special elections that Schwarzengovernor and the legislature keeps calling. Did we really need to have three elections this year? No we didn't. And now they're probably going to call another special election next June. Ugh.

Prop G: Retirement credit for unpaid parental leave

Endorsed Vote: Yes

This one is for City employees who took unpaid parental leave before July 1, 2003. That time didn't count towards their retirement benefits. Prop G would let them pay to count that time towards their retirement benefits. Starting on 7/1/2003, city employees were given the right to take paid parental leave. Prop G throws a bone to working parents and it doesn't cost the City anything.

Prop H: San Francisco Clean Energy Act

Endorsed Vote: Yes

This green energy act is endorsed by every community group and their mother . . . that is, by everyone besides PG&E.; But given the millions PG&E; is spending on advertising, it's hard to get the facts. So let's set this straight:

* Prop H will make SF a national leader in clean energy and green jobs. It would require the City to get 51% of its electricity from renewable sources in 10 years; and then maximize all affordable renewable energy - aiming for 100% - by 2040.
* PG&E; has only 1% solar and 2% wind, aggressively lobbies against renewables, and recently confessed it won't meet state minimum mandate of 20% by 2010.
* Given this track record, it seems unlikely that PG&E; will be able to meet our green energy goals, so Prop H authorizes the Board to research other ways to get green electricity. One of six Americans already get their power from public sources, and public power is consistently cheaper than corporate power. Solar is 49% cheaper when done via public power compared to PG&E;'s private grid.
* If we move to public power, the profits from our electric bills will stop going into PG&E;'s pockets. Instead the money will go to build clean energy and lower our rates.
* PG&E; has more blackouts than any utility in the state. It also has higher rates. They've raised our rates twice this year and they're planning another 9% increase next year. We guess that's how they'll pay for their bullshit campaign. Don't buy it. Vote a big Hell Yeah on Prop H for clean energy and lower rates.

Want to get involved in the Prop H campaign? Contact Aliza at alizaw13(at)gmail.com or 510-717-6599.

Prop I: Create an Independent Rate Payer Advocate

Endorsed Vote: No

Prop I is unnecessary if Prop H passes, because H includes a better Rate Payer advocate office than Prop I.

Prop J: Create an Historic Preservation Commission

Endorsed Vote: Yes

This would replace the Landmark Preservation Advisory Board with an Historic Preservation Commission that would have a little more power than the Landmark Board. They'd be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Supervisors. Six of the seven members would have to have professional qualifications. They could make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, approve permits for historic buildings, and stuff like that. No one is opposing it so sure. Fine. Whatever. God, this ballot is freaking long.

Prop K: Decriminalize prostitution

Endorsed Vote: No Endorsement

This was a tough call and a close vote. But ultimately, we couldn't come to a consensus on this one. We support the community activists who busted their asses to put this on the ballot. But some of us are worried about what would happen if Prop K passes. Would it encourage prostitution in San Francisco? Would it help or hurt prosecution of human trafficking? We're just not sure.

UPDATE 11/4: Our original write-up of Prop K above wasn't very good and didn't reflect the full debate we had. We always meant to expand on this, but we never got around to it. Here are some of the other issues we discussed:
- We all support decriminalizing prostitution, but we split on whether or not Prop K is the right way to implement it.
- A strong argument for Prop K is that it will reduce the spread of STDs because currently, prostitutes are afraid to carry condoms because the police can use them as evidence against them.
- Some of us oppose Prop K because it doesn't provide enough structure. They think that if we're going to decriminalize prostitution we should do it Amsterdam or Vegas style with designated zoning areas for brothels, regulations, testing, taxation, etc. Legalizing street trade seems sketchy.
- We're concerned about the human trafficking issue, but we get the feeling that Prop K's opponents are using that as a scare tactic. We don't feel like we have definitive information about how this will impact trafficking.

Please check out the comments below for more perspectives on Prop K. We're sorry we didn't do a better job of researching this one. If there weren't 33 other propositions on the ballot, we'd like to think we would have. Our bad.

Prop L: Silly Gavin, the Community Justice Center is already funded

Endorsed Vote: No

The Community Justice Center is one of Mayor Newsom's pet projects. It's a court where people accused of misdemeanors in the Tenderloin will be taken to as soon as they're arrested. Don't pass go, don't collect $200. We can debate whether that's a good idea or not.

What's not debated is the fact that the Board of Supervisors already funded the thing. And Gavin left this proposition on the ballot because he hopes his more moderate candidates can use it as a wedge issue against progressives. That sucks. It's not like we don't have enough propositions to keep us busy. Silly Gavin.

Prop M: Protection Against Abusive Landlords

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Adds to rent control a section prohibiting landlords from harassing tenants. Prop M will also enable tenants being harassed to get rent reductions, a right not currently in the rent control law. In June we saved rent control; in November we're going to make it stronger! Actions like threatening tenants with physical harm, starting repairs but never finishing them, demanding private information like citizenship status or Social Security numbers, illegally entering the tenants' apartment, or failing to accept rent from tenants will all be defined as harassment and prohibited by the rent control law.

Prop M will also mandate that landlords pay tenants' attorneys' fees whenever a tenant successfully contests an eviction. This ballot measure was based on legislation in place in New York and Santa Monica. Seven Supervisors penned the argument for Proposition M – calling tenant harassment "unacceptable behavior." Tenants have no remedy at the Rent Board, they complain, even if landlords wage a "war of intimidation." But the San Francisco Apartment Association (a major landlord group) dubs Prop M the "Full Employment Act for Greedy Lawyers." They argue it violates the First Amendment, citing the Action Apartments court decision.

Prop N: Change the real estate transfer tax

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Prop N raises the real estate transfer tax that's assessed when properties over $5 million are sold in San Francisco--basically mansions, apartment buildings and large commercial buildings. Property owners in San Francisco have seen their investments skyrocket in value. It's only fair that they pay their share to keep our City running. Prop N puts our tax rate on par with Berkeley and Oakland, but still way below New York and San Jose. It will generate about $29 million a year.

Prop O: Technical changes to the 911 phone tax

Endorsed Vote: Yes

So this court ruling says that the current fee that's charged to phone lines to pay for the City's 911 system is illegal. That means the City could get sued. Prop O changes that fee into a tax. It doesn't raise the rates. It modernizes the definition of phone lines so that it includes non-residential Voice over IP and other new technology. Whatever. Sounds fine to us. Next.

Prop P: Politicize the Transportation Authority Board

Endorsed Vote: No

Like Prop L, this is another example of Gavin playing political games with our ballot. The Transportation Authority oversees a 1/2 cent sales tax for transportation projects. By all accounts, the TA does a good job. Prop P wants to combine the TA with Muni. We all know Muni is a mess. Why would anyone want to combine the two?

The TA currently consists of the eleven members of the Board of Supervisors. Prop P would change the membership to the Mayor and an elected official of his/her choice, the President of the Board of Supes and an elected official of her/his choice, and the treasurer. Why? Cause the Mayor wants more power. He put Prop P on the ballot because Supervisor Jake McGoldrick wanted to put something on the ballot that would make the Muni Board of Directors elected positions instead of Mayoral appointees. Jake and Gavin struck a deal to take both of them off the ballot. Gavin had his fingers crossed. The result? We have to deal with one more proposition. Thanks a lot, Gavin.

Don't mess with a good thing. Don't politicize the TA. No on P.

Prop Q: Close the payroll tax loophole for partnerships

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Prop Q closes a loophole that partnerships (lawyers, architects, and the like) use to get out of paying any payroll tax. We're talking $10-12 million a year they're pocketing that the rest of us pay. Prop Q also lowers the payroll tax on small businesses making less than $400K. That's some progressive taxation, baby! We're loving it.

Prop R: Rename the Oceanside wastewater plant as the George W. Bush Sewage Plant

Endorsed Vote: Yes

One of the main reasons people oppose this is because it's an insult to our award-winning sewage plant and the people who work there, and if we're going to rename something for Dubya, it should be something truly nasty. But SEIU 1021, the union that represents the sewage plant workers, has endorsed prop R.

We think this would be a fitting metaphor for the years of hard work we face in rehabilitating and reclaiming America's reputation in the world after eight years of George Bush and his cronies dumping shit all over us.

Some people don't want anything named for our Worst President Ever because they want to forget about him. We think that's a mistake. Our children need to reminded about what a horror-show these eight years have been. And we think we all share some blame. If we'd all worked a little harder on the 2000 or 2004 elections, maybe things could have been different.

Finally, Prop R was put on the ballot by a bunch of dedicated people who have never been involved in local politics. This wouldn't be our top priority, but it's awesome to see people learn how to work the system make their voices heard. Hell yeah.

Prop S: Half-hearted restriction of budget set asides

Endorsed Vote: No

More political games on the ballot from the Mayor? Yep. This one is about budget "set asides," which are minimum funding levels written into the budget. Gavin doesn't like Prop B, the set aside for affordable housing. So he put Prop So on the ballot.

We have them for lots of stuff: police, fire fighters, children, even the symphony. Prop S would require new budget set asides to identify a funding source. BUT, it doesn't do anything about the existing set asides. And it wouldn't even affect Prop B, because that's a charter amendment, which trumps this ordinance. Ugh. Mr. Mayor, quit wasting our time with your petty ballot games!!!

Prop T: Substance abuse treatment on demand

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Prop T would make the Department of Health determine the demand for substance abuse treatment and fund enough services to meet that demand. Makes sense to us. If people are ready for treatment, we should make sure we can offer it to them. This isn't just about being compassionate. Would you rather have an addict who has hit rock bottom in a treatment center or out on the street trying to score?

Prop U: Hey congress: Defund the war in Iraq

Endorsed Vote: Yes

A symbolic policy statement, urging our leaders in Washington to defund the war in Iraq. Sure, why not. But we think voting for Cindy Sheehan is a lot more effective as an anti-war statement.

Prop V: Reverse the decision to kick JROTC out of high schools

Endorsed Vote: No

This is a sensitive issue. We respect that there are some high school kids who feel very strongly about JROTC. They argue that San Francisco's JROTC is unique. It's gender balanced, nlike our current military with its institutional sexism and INSANELY UNACCEPTABLE sexual harassment and abuse of women. SF JROTC is 50% female, with women making up a majority of the leadership. There are also several out LGBT students. But ultimately, we just can't condone having a military recruitment program in our high schools targeting 14 year olds. The military pays half the cost of JROTC and hires the instructors. They're not doing that for altruistic reasons. They want more soldiers. Our members have a variety of perspectives about the military--from pragmatists to pacifists. But recruiting 14 year olds simply isn't cool.

Prop 1A: High-speed rail from SF to LA

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Imagine taking the train from San Francisco to L.A. in two hours and forty minutes. Imagine not having to deal with airport security for the trip. Imagine eliminating 12 billion tons of carbon a year from our air. All it's going to cost is this $10 billion bond to get things started. Ouch. We're not big fans of bonds, but massive public projects like this are what bonds should be used for. This train would transform California and help save the world.

Prop 2: Fair treatment of farm animals

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Should we allow farm animals to turn around, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs? Yes we should. If we have to pay a little more for our meat and poultry, so be it. The only opposition we heard from our members was that Prop 2 doesn't go far enough.

Prop 3: Fishy children's hospitals bond

Endorsed Vote: No

"How can you oppose children's hospitals," people keep asking us. Well, a bunch of hospitals paid to put Prop 3 on the ballot. The money would go to five University of California hospitals and eight private children's hospitals. We don't like that system of people paying to put a proposition on the ballot that benefits them. Why should they decide which hospitals get the money? We think the state legislature should decide that. The same people put Prop 61 on the ballot back in 2004, which is almost identical to Prop 3, and the hospitals have only spent about half of that money so far. Why do they need more already? Prop 3 is only money for construction, not for actual health care.

Also, we're suspicious of bonds. They're California’s credit cards. They seem like free money, but we have to pay interest on them. The interest comes straight out of California’s general fund. That means less money for everything else. Typically we end up paying as much in interest as we get from the bonds in the first place. So for us to like a bond, it better be a really cool bond like Prop 1A. Prop 3 doesn't make the cut.

Prop 4: Parental notification for abortion

Endorsed Vote: No

Haven't we decided this already??? Yes. Yes, we did. As Prop 73 in 2005 and Prop 85 in 2006. This thing is like Chucky: it keeps coming back. The same very wealthy Christian Fundamentalist men put it right back on the ballot again.

Forced parental notification for abortion = BAD. Prop 4 has dangerous long-term implications for all women’s right to choose. No law can force a family to communicate, and we believe that the government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing itself into sensitive family decisions. Youth and families need real solutions like honest sex ed, access to birth control, and, definitely, choice. For the third time, HELL NO!

Prop 5: Rehab & treatment for nonviolent drug crimes

Endorsed Vote: Yes

Prop 5 reduces penalties for drug offenses and increases alternatives for drug treatment. If people go into drug treatment instead of prison, they're much less likely to become career criminals. That makes the world safer and means we don't have to build more prisons. Everybody wins. Martin Sheen says Prop 5 isn't tough enough on crime, but we think maybe he's got some Catholic guilt issues about reducing punishment. Our currently "tough on drugs" strategy is a miserable failure. California has a sky-high recidivism rate, and we're wasting billions on the prison industrial complex. It's time to try something different.

Prop 6: Fear-mongering $$$ grab for more prisons

Endorsed Vote: No

This is a crass and vindictive attempt to demonize the poor, immigrants, and youth of color in order to pump more money into California's failed and bloated prison system. It would prosecute kids 14 and older convicted of 'gang-related' felonies as adults. It's well documented that when you put kids in adult prison you create more career re-offenders. Prop 6 would also deny "illegal" immigrants a right to bail, which means the state has to pay more to keep them locked up. If that's not enough, it would strip away housing assistance for entire families and households when someone doesn't pass a criminal background check. Guilt by association sucks. Prop 6 does nothing to reduce crime and it would cost hundreds of millions a year.

Prop 7: Badly Written Clean Energy

Endorsed Vote: No

A melancholy "no" on this one. We love us some clean energy. But this prop is too poorly written for us to support.
The kickass good stuff:
It requires all utilities, including government-owned utilities, to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy by 2010, a standard currently applicable only to private electrical corporations. Raises requirement for all utilities to 40% by 2020 and 50% by 2025. Imposes penalties for noncompliance. Fast-tracks approval for new renewable energy plants.

The $h^tty stuff:
It allows too many loopholes for utilities to avoid meeting the renewable standards and paying penalties for noncompliance.
* It allows utilities to count signed contracts towards their renewable-energy goals, even before they bring the power online.
* It decreases environmental review of power plants.
* Opposed by a very wide coalition -- From Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, LCV, local Green parties, labor, to PG&E.; While PG&E; opposes this for all the wrong reasons, we shockingly find ourselves on the same side as them on this prop (but we still revile their opposition to SF clean energy Prop H). Prop 7 is basically funded by one rich guy.
* It is biased towards large-scale energy plants instead of distributed, rooftop solar The proponents of the initiative admit that they expect much of the new renewable generation will come from massive solar power plants in the desert. Gonzalez says concentrating solar power, also known as solar thermal, is the technology that’s simplest, most affordable and most ready to be deployed on a large scale.

Prop 8: Gay Marriage Ban

Endorsed Vote: No

The government should not be in the business of telling us who we can or can't marry. Period. Can we move on now, please?

Prop 9: More fear-mongering for more prisons

Endorsed Vote: No

This one leaves a bad taste in our mouth. It mandates strict limits on when convicts would be eligible for parole. The courts and parole boards already handle that job just fine. Prop 9 also allows unlimited numbers of victims, their families and their representatives to attend parole hearings. We have massive empathy for people hurt by a crime. But the justice system shouldn't be swayed by emotion. Prop 9 sounds too much like mob justice to us.

Prop 10: Silly rabbit, natural gas isn't a renewable fuel

Endorsed Vote: No

It is a bond measure to provide financial incentives for 'alternative vehicles', and 'alternative' energy including the questionable liquid natural gas and the clearly good renewable energy such as wind. It will cost the state $10 billion over 30 years. We like the part about investment in renewable energy, but we don't like the massive funding of natural gas cars and liquid natural gas terminals.
* Massively funding liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and natural gas cars is a bad idea since it diverts attention and resources from far more environmentally-friendly options. Electric cars and plug in electric cars -- unlike natural gas cars -- already have the refueling infrastructure in place (i.e. the socket in your garage); emit far less carbon even when using a dirty electricity grid, and can emit even less once we change our grid to run on solar and wind. All these amazing benefits to electric cars, yet they still are not being adopted by our government -- which is constantly threatened by the car and oil industry... we don't want another roadblock to the desperately needed transition to electric cars. Of course, most of us Pissed Off Voters don't even own cars, and prefer to bike, BART or Zip car -- but we know that for the rest of the world, they need electric cars.
* Even if we replaced 100% of all vehicles with natural gas around the country - the U.S. emissions would still increase! Because GHG from transportation is rising at 23%, and natural gas is only slightly less carbon-intensive than coal.
* Some environmentalists support this prop since it will help transition large trucks to cleaner vehicles (about 20% lower emissions than gasoline) -- since electric large electric trucks are not yet ready and we need to move immediately to reduce carbon. However, most environmental groups are opposing this measure since it creates a roadblock for transitioning all cars to the far better option of electric cars, and it diverts funds from the far better option of building railroads.
* This is oil tycoon T.Bone Pickens's self serving agenda. He owns Clean Energy Fuels Corp., a natural gas fueling station company that is the primary funder of Prop 10.

Prop 11: Problematic Redistricting Complexity

Endorsed Vote: No

We could get into a long discussion about whether we need to change how our legislative districts are drawn. We tend to say yes. But Prop 11 isn't the answer. For one, it discriminates against youth. To serve on the commission that draws the boundaries, you have to be registered to vote for 5 years with the same party designation. So if you're under 23, you're not welcome. Prop 11 would also over-represent Republicans on the commission. Finally, there's a lot of randomness in how the commission is selected. Government auditors select 60 applicants. Legislative leaders then can veto 24 of them. Then 8 of the applicants are RANDOMLY SELECTED. Then they pick the remaining 6 commissioners. That seems a little weird. No one has ever tried a system like this before. We're not convinced it's the right way to go.

Prop 12: Housing bond for Iraq & Afghanistan veterans

Endorsed Vote: Yes

$900 million from CA State General Fund for bonds that will help finance homes and land for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The veterans will help pay back bonds. But if they can't pay, it will come from state tax payer money. This extends a program that's already offered to veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc. We were a little divided on this one.

Reasons against: This could provides incentives for people to join the military. And is this the highest priority need for our veterans, considering how many are unemployed and/or suffering from serious mental and physical injuries? Would it be better to spend this money on health care or jobs or rental assistance for veterans?

But a majority of us support Prop 12 because we owe it to the veterans. Since 9/11, the tiny fraction of military families in America have borne a huge burden from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while most of us are unaffected. We'll always be pissed off at Dubya for getting us into those horrible wars, but we don't blame the soldiers for that.

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