The ‘Deep Slate: November 2004 Edition

[Ed. Note: 10/31/2015: This “post” was originally an email I sent to my friends on 10/28/2004. I have posted it today in 2015, and backdated for archival/search purposes.]

‘Deep Slate 10/28/2004

LIST: ‘Deep Slate November 2004:

(my apologies if you get this multiple times & if you don’t want to get this type of stuff from me, just let me know)

Hey folks –
So here is my ‘Deep Slate for the November 2004 elections.
– This email contains the endorsements in a super-simple list.
– The whys & wherefores are in a second email entitled: “DETAILS”.  I’ll send that out shortly.
– Please feel free to forward this far & wide, but please send the DETAILS too.

To find your polling place & to see what district you are in:
http://gispubweb.sfgov.org/website/pollingplace/index.htm
OR
554 4375

The key is as follows:
• the more UPPERCASE – the more strongly I feel
• exclamation = don’t get me started!
• * = I don’t know a lot about it & went with the Guardian or California League of Conservation Voters

Ranked Choice Voting Guidelines (from the Center for Voting and Democracy)

Here is what voters should know:
1) Rank three DIFFERENT candidates, 1, 2, 3. Mark your favorite candidate first;
2) Your second and third choices are your BACKUP (i.e. runoff) choices in case your first choice is eliminated;
3) It is best to use ALL THREE of your rankings;
4) Ranking the same candidate three times or ranking only one candidate (“bullet voting”) does NOT help that candidate.

For more info: www.sfrcv.com
———–

President: John Kerry and NOT Nader
Congress (8): Nancy Pelosi
Congress (12): Pat Gray
State Senator: Carole Migden
State Assembly (12th): Anyone but Leland Yee (who will win)
State Assembly (13th): Mark Leno

Community College Board:
MILTON MARKS
Julio Ramos*

Board of Education:
LARRY KANE
Eric Mar
Jill Wynns
jane kim

####STATE
Prop 1A: No* – restructuring Local/State funding
Prop 59: YES – Sunshine Ordinance
Prop 60: YES – Election Rights of Political Parties
Prop 60A: No – Surplus Property
Prop 61: Yes – Children’s Hospital Funding Bonds
Prop 62: NO – Blanket Primary
Prop 63: Yes – Mental Health Service Tax
Prop 64: NO – Limits on Unfair Competition Laws
Prop 65: No* – Abandoned by supporters in favor of 1A
Prop 66: YES – Fix three strikes
Prop 67: No* – Emergency Healthcare Proposal
Prop 68: No* – Gaming 1
Prop 69: NO – DNA Database expansion
Prop 70: No* – Gaming 2
Prop 71: Yes – Stem Cell Research funding
Prop 72: YES

Local Propositions
Prop A: YES – Affordable housing bonds & Supportive housing – Builds housing. And supportive housing for homeless.
Prop B: Yes – Historical Preservation Bonds – Seismic fixes for Palace of Fine Arts, Mint etc
Prop C: yes* – City Employee Health System changes
Prop D: Yes – Charter Improvements
Prop E: Yes – Police & Fire survivor benefits
Prop F: YES – Non Citizen Voting in School Board Elections
Prop G: Yes – Explore City Residents Health Plan options
Prop H: yes – Candlestick Park Naming – moot but sends a message about commercialization of public assets
Prop I: NO – Burdensome & redundant Economic Analysis
Prop J: yes – Sales tax increase
Prop K: yes – Business tax
Prop L: NO – Cash grab In the name of neighborhood theaters
Prop M: withdrawn
Prop N: NO – Bring troops home now, leave chaos behind
Prop O: yes – advisory measure to spend Prop J funds for the needy
Prop AA: BART Seismic Bonds

DETAILS: ‘Deep Slate November 2004:

(my apologies if you get this multiple times & if you don’t want to get this type of stuff from me, just let me know)

These are the details of my Deep Slate endorsements – to see it in simple list form see the other email entitled: “LIST”.

Thanks again to the number of folks who have asked me for my opinions – I know I say it every time but it is quite true – I really am honored – any questions or flames can, of course, be addressed to me….

Ok – so to figure out how to value my opinions you should know the following:

• My opinions come from my experience in local politics over the past few years & the tons of candidate interviews I’ve done with the San Francisco League of  Conservation Voters & all the lobbying I’ve done at City Hall, etc etc…. As you know I don’t get a dime for this, I’m a software engineer by day, and a political activist in my spare time.
• The 3 biggest “norths” of my political compass are environmentalism, social justice issues & good government (reform type) issues.
• I’m basically an idealist, an optimist, and a humanist.
• In some of these races it is a matter of picking between flawed options….
• Ballot measures are often a bad way to govern.  One reason is that you have to boil complex issues down to yes/no votes – so remember there is often a lot of balancing going on…..
• I’m President of the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters.
• 90% of my experience & knowledge is about local issues – so understand that state issues are a little greyer for me unless I say otherwise.
• When I don’t know what to pick, I try to weigh in other progressive groups, esp. the California League of Conservation Voters and the SF Bay Guardian – even though the Guardian is occasionally lame (Alioto for Mayor in 2003?)

To find your polling place & to see what district you are in:
http://gispubweb.sfgov.org/website/pollingplace/index.htm
OR
554 4375

You can vote early at City Hall up to & including election day (incl. the weekend)
– 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday;
– 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat & Sun.

Ranked Choice Voting Guidelines (from the Center for Voting and Democracy)

Here is what voters should know:
1) Rank three DIFFERENT candidates, 1, 2, 3. Mark your favorite candidate first;
2) Your second and third choices are your BACKUP (i.e. runoff) choices in case your first choice
is eliminated;
3) It is best to use ALL THREE of your rankings;
4) Ranking the same candidate three times or ranking only one candidate (“bullet voting”) does NOT help that candidate.

Go Vote!
‘deep

The key is as follows:
• the more UPPERCASE – the more strongly I feel
• exclamation = don’t get me started!
• * = I don’t know a lot about it & went with the California League of Conservation Voters or the SF Bay Guardian

———————————————————————–

President: Kerry
Duh. Ok some of you may want to vote for Nader & while I respect the disaffection with the 2 party system & even some of Nader’s stances, please don’t let the “perfect” be the enemy of the “not hellish”. I have a gut feeling that there are going to be a lot of surprises on Nov. 2. Please please please don’t let CA be one of them. Personally I’m excited about a Kerry presidency, but if you’re not please just do it.

Congress (8): Nancy Pelosi
While there are numerous things to not like Pelosi about if you are a progressive, she is proving to be a capable minority leader in Congress & deserves our support.

Congress (12): Pat Gray (anybody but Lantos)
Got this one from the Guardian, this guy is a Green & I know little about him. But Tom Lantos is SUPER LAME – pro-war, pro-Patriot act. How did we get this guy?

State Senator: Carole Migden
Migden is sometimes iffy from a progressive standpoint, but she is very effective and capable.

State Assembly (12th): Anyone but Leland Yee (who will win)
From working aginst Leland Yee on the Central Freeway campaigns and other issues at City Hall I know enough to think he is incredibly duplicitous and unprincipled. No.

State Assembly (13th): Mark Leno
Mark is someone I worked with numerous times at City Hall & have always been impressed by. Since getting kicked upstairs to Sacramento he has been a great progressive voice in the State Assembly. Yes.

Community College Board: MILTON MARKS & Julio Ramos*
Milton is straight-shooting guy who has worked hard on environmental issues as well as fiscal responsibility issues at the College Board. He is earnest and hard working and a good choice for College Board. Julio Ramos is not someone I know much about, but the Guardian says that he is a strong advocate for good government and fiscal transparency, so I’ll go with that.

Board of Education: LARRY KANE, Eric Mar, Jill Wynns, jane kim
By all reports (I don’t claim to know the School Board situation very well), the School Board has become a completely polarized environment where it is very difficult to get anything done. It has been split into two waring factions, both of which have positives and negatives. Of all the candidates, I do know Larry Kane & can say that he is earnest, hard working, and self-sacrificing in the name of education. I can’t think of a better person for the job. Aslo his interpersonal skills and style could help reduce the fractiousness of the School Board, as he is calm and reasoned. Eric Mar is one of the progressive faction on the Board ans is conscientious and smart. Jill Wynns is of the “establishment” faction on the board & is very dedicated and respectable on matters concerning the school system & has the best interests of the school system at heart even if I disagree with her. As for jane kim, I don’t know anything about her actually, but will probably vote for her because numerous people on the SFLCV board have worked with her and think well of her.

State Propositions
————————

Prop 1A: No* – restructuring Local/State funding
Local governments have been chafing for years against the very real problem of unfunded mandates from the state government, & this is an attempt at fixing that problem. However, I buy the Guardian’s argument that this is a bad way to fix it, because it locks the formula for dealing with the issue into the State constitution making it impossible to deal with the situation flexibly as needed.

Prop 59: YES – Sunshine Ordinance
This is a good thing, though not a panacea. The California Sunshine Amendment, as this proposition is known, would make access to government meetings and records a basic right under the state constitution.

Prop 60: YES – Election Rights of Political Parties
This measue exists to offset the dangerous measure 62 on the ballot. It preserves the rights of all political parties that qualify for the primary elections to make it to the general election (as now is the case) rather than just the top two vote getters.

Prop 60A: No* – Surplus State Property
Near as I can tell, this measure is fairly useless, and was only put on the ballot as part of Prop 60 to sweeten the deal for voters of 62 – but it was ruled illegal to put two seperate issues together & thus got split into 60 & 60a. Going with the Guardian here.

Prop 61: Yes – Children’s Hospital Funding Bonds
This seems like a good thing, selling bonds to raise money for capital projects children’s hospitals. The hospitals are UC hospitals and non-profits so that is pretty good.

Prop 62: NO – Blanket Primary
This is pretty bad. It basically is a power grab by the largets parties to deny voter choice. Basically this would make it so that only the top 2 vote getters from primary elections (regardless of party) would make it to the general election. Thus in some areas, you might just have 2 Dems, or 2 Republicans battling it out. And also if you had say 5 Dem candidates & 2 Republicans, the 5 Dems could split the vote & thus only the 2 republicans would make it to the general election. Lame.

Prop 63: Yes – Mental Health Service Tax on incomes over $1 Million
OK maybe I’m getting old and Republican, but I did pause about this one because I’m not 100% sure of the fairness of this tax, but it is a modest one AND on the other hand mental health services are a huge need and would significantly improve our homeless situation I believe. The benefits to everyone outweigh the cost.

Prop 64: NO – Limits on Unfair Competition Laws
No No No. this is Bad. Big companies bankrolling an attempt to make it harder to sue them for fraud. Lame.

Prop 65: No* – Abandoned by supporters in favor of 1A. Which is lame anyway so No on this too.

Prop 66: YES – Fix three strikes!
This amends the current uber-harsh three strikes law to only include violent crimes as a strike. It also makes what constitues a violent crime a little fairer. YES

Prop 67: No* – Emergency Healthcare Proposal
Ok this is a tough one, we are in a health care crisis & health care centers are closing. This measure would fund emergency health care services by a small tax on phone users. Seems OK – BUT the tax is regressive (it taxes rich & poor the same making it much worse for the poor) and most of the funds from this will go to big mega-corp hospitals who have a spotty record at best for caring for the poor. I’m going with the Guardian here.

Prop 68: No* – Gaming 1
So Prop 68 and 70 are political maneuvers by Indian gaming companies and Nevada gambling interests to grab lucrative CA turf in different ways. 68 is an attempt by Nevada based casinos to slide into the California market if the Indian tribes aren’t united in paying the state (as I understand it) while Prop 70 gives Inidan tribes a monopoly on slot machines if the state allows any other interests to do gambling. Neither of these measures does any real regulation of the industry other than to remove some of regulation. This has real environmental & sprawl consequences as well.

This is all so ugly. Just vote No on 68 & 70.

Prop 69: NO – DNA Database expansion
This is also pretty evil – in a world where police screw ups are common and wrongful arrests are easy, do we really want to force people who are ARRESTED but not convicted for crimes to be forced to turn over DNA samples? This is a gross abrogation of rights.

Prop 70: No* – See 68 above

Prop 71: Yes – Stem Cell Research funding
This prop would set up a reasearch institute to finance and administer research into stem cell therapy. While there are problems with this measure, I believe the positives outweigh the negatives. The positives are manifold: it would get around our administrations stupid stem cell research ban. It would attract major research and development minds, funds, and jobs to CA. If the research pays off, it would accrue significant royalties and other $$$ to the state, and it would fund research and development at our UC schools.
The idea that this is about human cloning is a bogeyman – these embryonic stem cells are a byproduct of already occuring fertility work at clinics and would otherwise be destroyed.
The biggest negatives I see to it that are real are that it is a lot of money ($3 billion) and that if Kerry gets elected it might not seem so useful. But to those points I say:
1) yes this is a lot of money, but the bond measure is pretty well structured, only start the bond pay back five years from now (which should ease the burden)
2) If any of the many potential cures materialize (& there is good reason to believe they will) this measure will quickly pay for itself in reduced long-term care costs as well as direct royalties.
3) The huge hole in federal spending for this promising research suggests that if CA takes the lead in it, it can be a world leader in biomedical research. And much of that will be true regardless of administration.

That all being said, I really do understand the complaint about the funding of this, but i guess my leaning is always towards publicly funding good promising basic research because it always creates positives both intended and not.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should also add that my girlfriend and her family are heavily involved in the pro-71 campaign.

Prop 72: YES
This law would eventualy phase in a requirement that employers of 50 or more people would have to either provide health insurance for them or pay the state to do it for them. I do think this will be a bit of a burden for employers (as the opponents claim) but health care is absolutely out of control in the U.S. and this is one step towards a rational system.

Local Propositions
————————
Prop A: YES – Affordable housing bonds & Supportive housing.
This is a GOOD thing. In a remarkable comprimise between all kinds of factions in the SF housing political scene this good compromise housing bill was crafted that will create housing for verious groups at a wide range of income levels – including the poor & homeless. Such a good thing. Vote for it already.

Prop B: Yes – Historical Preservation Bonds – Seismic fixes for Palace of Fine Arts, Mint etc. Not much to say here. This is good.

Prop C: yes* – City Employee Health System changes
I don’t know a lot about this one, so I’m going with the Ammiano, Gonzalez, Daly & the Guardian on this one. Basically it sounds like moving the oversight from the department of Human Resources to it’s own unit will allow for better (or safer) management of City employees health care dollars.

Prop D: Yes – Charter Improvements
This is a good thing in that it prevents Willie Borwn style patronage in city commissions. Basically Willie would allow people’s terms on city commissions to expire, but would not pick a replacement. The current law then lets them stay on in the position. But the twist was that if they ever pissed Willie off, say by not giving plum deals to a crony, Willie would suddenly have a new appointment for that commission. Lame. Patronage power. This meausre also makes the Board of Supervisors able to hire more aides if needed depending on budget funding – and if you know any aides, you know how over worked they can be. And also it makes the Department of Environment also have some teeth in that it can weigh in on the City’s building & land-use plans.

Prop E: yes – Police & Fire survivor benefits
So tired of these Police & Fire Benefits deals. The Guardian says this is another benefits-whine from the one of the best compensated set of city employees. And it is also true that both the police deaprtment & the fire department have plenty to be smacked about these days (the police and their lack of self-policing & the fire department in their shameless sucking of needed public funds). But at the end of the day this measure seems fair to me. It will basically make all city police & fire people get the same benefits for their families if they die, rather than some of them getting one set and others getting another, based on time of hire.

Prop F: YES – Non Citizen Voting in School Board Elections
This to me is a simple case of representation. 1 out of every 3 SF school children has non-citizen parents. Parents’ involvement in their children’s education is a key factor in determining the educational success of schools. Thus we can’t and should leave these parents out of the loop in the decision making for their kids.

Prop G: YES – Explore City Residents Health Plan options
This measure simple empowers the City to EXPLORE options for creating a citywide health care plan for its citizens. Did I mention that the healthcare system is VASTLY broke.

Prop H: yes – Candlestick Park Naming –
According to the City Attorney, no matter the outcome of this measure, Candlestick Park is now Monster Park. So this whole thing is moot, so I don’t really care. Voting yes does send a message though, that we are tired of the commercialization of public assets (the City owns Candlestick)

Prop I: NO – Burdensome & redundant Economic Analysis
This is really lame. We already have the City Budget Analyst who looks into the cost/benefit of city proposals. This Prop is about 2 things:
1) A “Vanity Proposition” for Michela Alioto-Pier – to increase her name visibility (Gavin was a master at this)
2) A way to give business more clout at city hall at the expense of environmentalists and neighborhood activists.
LAME. No.

Prop J: yes – Sales tax increase
Yeah – I don’t like this much – sales taxes are regressive (the burden on the poor is higher than on the rich & the middle class), but it is probably the best we can do to save important city services (health clinics, parks, libraries).

Prop K: yes – Business tax
A gross receipts tax on all SF businesses is also regressive & lame. But it is needed for the same reasons as J. We’re still in a fiscal crisis here in SF….

Prop L: NO – Cash grab In the name of neighborhood theaters
This is stunningly LAME. A group of folks want to set up a permananet set-aside of $10 million a year to pay for their OWN “non-profit”. To sell this, they say the non-profit will be for preserving neighborhood theaters. There is no oversight on the money & are no strings attached.

Prop M: withdrawn

Prop N: NO – Bring troops home now, leave chaos behind
OK I’ve always been a big critic of this war/occupation. But I can’t in good conscience utter the words “Bring The Troops Home Now.” Because if we do Iraq and the world will be even worse off than they are now. I do understand that the symbolism of opposing the war is a good thing for SF, but I just can’t support the idea of “getting out now.” The Pottery Barn rule still applies – we broke it, now we have to buy it.

Prop O: yes – advisory measure to spend Prop J funds for the needy
This is a good thing – if J passes it ADVISES that the money raised go to the neediest segements of our population.

Prop AA: YES – BART Seismic Bonds
This prop provides money for BART to increase their earthquake preparedness which is a good and necessary thing. Yes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.