The ‘Deep Slate: November 2008 Edition

[Ed. Note: 10/31/2015: This “post” was originally a pair of emails (“LIST” & “DETAILS”) I sent to my friends on 10/19/2008. I have posted it today in 2015, and backdated for archival/search purposes]

LIST:

Hey folks – Look! a SHOCKINGLY early ‘Deep Slate! I had to get it together early since I knew I was headed to Ohio (where I am now, volunteering for Obama!)
Please keep CA sane (NO on 8!) & green (YES on H) while I’m gone!
—-
(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)
(IF YOU GOT THIS FROM A FWD & ask the person who sent it to you to send along the corresponding explanations of why.)

Hey folks –
So here is my ‘Deep Slate for the Nov 2008 elections.
– This email contains the endorsements in a super-simple list – easy to print!
– The whys & wherefores are in a second email entitled: “DETAILS:…”. I’ll send that out shortly.
– Please feel free to forward this far & wide…. please pass along the DETAILS message to anyone you fwd this LIST to.
– NOTE: Not all your ballots will contain all these issues/races – it depends on where you live

To find your polling place:
http://tinyurl.com/yfbsg9
OR
415 554 4375

Please Go Vote TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH!
If you will be out of town, you can vote early at City Hall!

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

—————

President: Obama

US Congress 8: Nancy Pelosi
US Congress 12: Jackie Speier

State Initiatives:
1A: YES
2: Yes*
3: No
4: NO
5: Yes*
6: NO
7: NO
8: NO NO NO (.ps no!)
9: No*
10: NO
11: No*
12: Yes*

State Senate: MARK LENO
State Assembly 12: Fiona Ma
State Assembly 13: TOM AMMIANO
BART Board: TOM RADULOVICH!!!!
Judge: Gerardo Sandoval

SF Initiatives:
A: Yes
B: YES
C: No
D: YES
E: yes
F: Yes
G: yes
H: YES YES YES
I: no
J: Yes
K: YES
L: No
M: Yes
N: yes
O: Yes
P: No
Q: Yes
R: No
S: no
T: Yes
U: no
V: No

Supervisor D1: ERIC MAR!

Supervisor D3:
1) DAVID CHIU
2) Denise McCarthy
3) Tony Gantner

Supervisor D5: ROSS MIRKARIMI!!!

Supervisor D7: sean elsbernd

Supervisor D9:
ummm…. CAMPOQUEZANCHEZ?
( please pick your own order between CAMPOS QUEZADA SANCHEZ (listed alphabetically) – PLEASE read the details. If you absolutely demand to know my vote: s/c/q)

Supervisor D11:
1) JOHN AVALOS
2) Randy Knox
3) Julio Ramos

Board of Education:
Sandra Fewer
Bobbie Lopez
Rachel Norton
Norman Yee

Community College Board:
Mary Hernandez
Chris Jackson
MILTON MARKS
Bruce Wolfe

DETAILS:

Hey folks –

Helloooo from Ohiooooooo – where I’m volunteering for Obama. I hope that while I’m away, you all get out and vote, because as big of a deal the national election is, there are some big things going on at the state & local level too!

On the state level, Prop 8 represents the all-too-common attempt to strip civil rights from gay people and in the end impoverishes us all. And on the local level, numerous well-funded downtown interests are PLYING $$$$$ into a cavalcade of campaigns attacking more progressive candidates. A loss of the progressive majority on the Board of Supes could really threaten a lot of good policy that most of us care about a great deal, things like rent control, minimum wage laws, transit-first policy, affordable housing, bicycle lanes, health care, chain store limitations and other similar goodness. This is scary & ugly and really can’t be allowed to happen.

SO PLEASE VOTE, AND NOT JUST FOR OBAMA!!!

Also with this SHOCKINGLY early ‘Deep Slate, you all have a chance to send me better-informed emails on how poor some of my choices are, or debate as you see fit 🙂

Anyway, rock on without me for the next 3 weeks & if you want to follow my campaign adventures in OH, just check my blog: www.deeptrouble.com (.ps I love blog comments)

‘deep

.ps
Jeez! All the way to Prop V!? This has taken me FOREVER TO WRITE! UGH. This is ridiculous! The combination of “we know everyone is coming out to vote” & “political tit-for-tat” has made a ridiculously LARGE # of measures.

—————–

(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 (or devalue :-)) my opinions you should know the following:

• My opinions come from my experience in local politics over the past 13 years & the tons of candidate interviews I’ve done with the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters & the SF Bicycle Coalition & 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 President of the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters & on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. While my views are definitely shaped by my activities in these organizations, my endorsements do NOT represent their views.
• 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 REALLY a bad way to govern. Most of the things done in ballot measures SHOULD be done in the normal legislature, where they are easier to fix if they turn out wrong. Another problem is that you have to boil complex issues down to yes/no votes – which rarely is a good idea. But this is what we have, so keep in mind that some good ideas make bad ballot propositions & a lot bad ideas can be made to be sound like good sense in ballot initiative form because the devil is often in the details. And also note that often, these measures are grey – there is often a lot of balancing going on…..
• 90% of my experience & knowledge is about local issues – so understand that state issues are a little greyer for me unless I say otherwise. Thus, some of the endorsements (as marked) below are taken from compiling what the California League of Conservation Voters, the SF Bay Guardian, and the Sierra Club have had to say.

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
————————————-

President: Obama
If this is an open question for you, you are probably reading the wrong slate.

US Congress 8: Nancy Pelosi
While some may argue that voting for Cindy Sheehan (as a protest vote, she has 0 chance of winning) is the thing to do & I do have misgivings and disagreements with Nancy, I just don’t see the upside of undercutting a powerful local voice when she agrees with me 90% in a Congress that disagrees with me 50% of the time.

US Congress 12: Jackie Speier*
I don’t know much about Jackie but the CA League of Conservation Voters likes her.

State Initiatives:
1A: YES – HIGH SPEED RAIL
This much delayed bond measure will start the funding for California to build a new High Speed Rail system connecting SF to LA but eventually Sacramento to SF to LA to San Diego. If I didn’t love it because it was a great way to get people out of cars, or love it because it would represent a hugh Green House Gas emissions win (it will reduce instate plane flights DRAMATICALLY as well as reduce car trips), or love it because it represents a big investment in CAs decaying infrastructure & will dramatically improve service on our very own CalTrain, I’d vote for it because it will get me to LA in 2 & a 1/2 hours door to door (4 by air? 8 by car?) & I’ll probably be able to bring my bike 🙂 YES YES YES

2: Yes – Standards for Confining Farm Animals*
This really seems to be a simple matter of allowing farm animals raised for food to stand up, turn around, basically MOVE in their pens. Decency.

3: No – Children’s Hospital Bond Act*
Money for Children’s Hospitals is a good thing, but according to the Guardian, too much of this goes to private hospitals that have big endowments & less goes to public institutions, due to the way this measure defines “children’s hospitals” Seems like a no to me.

4: NO – Waiting Period & Parental Notification for Abortion
More attempts to whittle away at abortion rights. What about minors who have difficulties with their parents.

5: Yes – Nonviolent Drug Offenses Sentencing*
Expands treatment-over-incarceration options for drug sentencing. Yes.

6: NO – Prison Funding
Mandates more general fun money for the prison system that is already too big and way the hell too expensive (not to mention a political sacred cow)? Um. no. And we are broke as it is? Hell NO.

7: NO – Bad Renewable Energy Generation
The California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club are dead set against this as a deeply flawed “renewable energy” measure which will really kill off small scale renewable companies and was put on the ballot as a cash grab in green clothing. VOTE NO.

8: NO NO NO (.ps no!) – Eliminates Right of Same Sex Couples to Marry
Oh God. We may very well lose this one & almost entirely because of funding. I’ve chipped in a bit but will try to do more. I doubt I need to convince any of you of how important this one is. Even if it didn’t directly effect so many people I love dearly, I would be appalled at this one on basic human decency and civil rights grounds. The fact that it is a close race that we are losing because of heavy funding from Christian groups (esp. out of state Mormons) is such a huge slap in the face. PLEASE consider giving money immediately to this one: http://www.eqcapac.org/

9: No – Limiting Parole Options and Lengthening Stays In Prison*
Put n by one So Cal Republican millionaire who wants to get tough on crime. Duplicates some existing laws and limits parole option leading to more crowded prisons. Bleagh. No.

10: NO – Alternative Fuel Vehicles & Renewable Energy Bonds
The California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club are dead set against this scam in green clothing too. This time it is T. Boone Pickens attempts to get CA to spend a LOT of money on natural gas in the name of clean energy vehicles. Guess what business Pickens is in? NO

11: No – BAD Redistricting Measure*
This measure changes our broken redistricting system to one that unfairly favors Republicans: This line from the Guardian puts it well: “But as Assemblymember Mark Leno points out, the makeup of this incredibly powerful commission would be dependent only on party affiliation — five Democrats, five Republicans, and four independents. That’s not an accurate reflection of California’s population; Democrats far outnumber Republicans in this state. ”

12: Yes – Veterans Bonds*
A $900 Million bond to help veterans buy farms and homes. Given how poor our veterans services often seem to be. Yes.

State Senate: MARK LENO
In addition to his great voting record as a progressive, Mark is a friend of mine who has been a great vote on environmental issues, and has actively pursued environmental and other progressive measures that have meant a lot to me. Also I’ve always been impressed with his ability to talk to people he disagrees with. Good stuff.

State Assembly 12: Fiona Ma
Fiona Ma, who was an AWFUL Supervisor on environmental issues esp. and progressive issues in general has been a surprisingly GOOD environmental Assemblywoman. She has hired some smart staff & has been pushing High Speed Rail & is generally doing good things. Go fig.

State Assembly 13: TOM AMMIANO
What I said in the June Primary still goes: wish I had more to say, Tom is a friend and a leader. He has been a great progressive voice for a long time in SF, I could go on and on. But even more fun is that he is running against a Republican woman who I went to high school with. She was NOT a nice person then. I’m skeptical she is one now.

BART Board: TOM RADULOVICH!!!!
It always is a big joy for me when I get to vote for one of my best friends, but it is an even sweeter joy when you know that that friend is the best politician you know and someone you look up to immensely. I love Tom and wish I was more like him in many ways. I should disclose that I’m his campaign treasurer.

Judge: Gerardo Sandoval
What I said in the June Primary still goes: He has been just an OK supervisor, but he will be a much better Judge than the Wilson appointee he is running against.

SF Initiatives:
A: Yes – San Francisco General Hospital Earthquake Safety Bonds
This bond would secure funding to rebuild SF General to modern seismic standards. A failure to secure this funding would mean that we’d be forced by state law to close SF General since it doesn’t meet seismic safety requirements. YES

B: YES – Establishing Affordable Housing Fund
Prop B is a set aside from property taxes (which fund the City’s General Fund) to create an Affordable Housing fund to consistently build new affordable housing in San Francisco for the next fifteen years. That is a pretty serious thing to do, but the problem is very very acute and we as a City have consistently failed to do enough about. Housing in SF is too expensive and the City is getting mor ena d more expensive for working families to live here. This is a serious crisis and this is a necessary solution. YES.

C: No – Prohibiting City Employees on Commissions and Boards
This is badly formed legislation that would ban any City employee from serving on a City Commission or board even if it was unrlated to the area he/she works in. No

D: YES – Financing Pier 70 Waterfront District Development Plan
Proposition D will fund the restoration historic buildings at Pier 70, clean up 150 years of environmental contamination and create up to 20 acres of open space overlooking San Francisco Bay. YES

E: yes – Changing the # of Signatures Required to Recall City Officals
This is a pretty straightforward measure in the sense that it will make the number of signatures required to recall a city official based on the number of people in the official’s jurisdiction which is how state law does it for other counties. The political issue behind this is about the various attempts last year to recall Supervisors which were really mean political vendettas, but regardless, this is good policy. Yes.

F: Yes – Holding All Scheduled City Elections Only in Even-Numbered Years
There are ups and downs with this one, but in the end, I feel that there are WAY too many local election cycles and turnout i pathetic for important issues as it is. It would help things if we had to go to the polls less often. And it would mkae my life MUCH easier 🙂

G: yes – Allowing Retirement Credit for Unpaid Parental Leave*
This is a really boring measure to allow a small set of …snoooooooore… city employees enjoy a retirement benefit that others ge…t. i don’t care. Guardian says yes.

H: YES YES YES – Setting Clean Energy Deadlines; Studying Options for Providing Energy; Changing Revenue Bond Authority to Pay for Public Utility Facilities
Prop H sets a clear mandate for the City to phase out fossil fuels for energy production in about 30 years. THAT IS GROUNDBREAKING IN THE WORLD’S FIGHT AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING. Hells yeah!
In addition, to reach that end, the SFPUC is ordered to study how to achieve these goals & to include in this study expanding on the current Community Choice Aggregation program, contracting out energy production to a new utility, or creating a municipal utility district (MUD) like the highly successful and green one in Sacramento. This makes PG&E angry and even though they have failed to meet their required MINIMAL clean energy targets they have the gall to say this is the coming of Satan and have spent literally millions against the effort. They also raise the false specter of “bonds without a vote” – but many city agencies already have this power & on some level PG&E already has more power to write blank checks in that it just passes its bad investments on to us, the consumers. SERIOUSLY VOTE YES – Sierra Club, Guardian, SFLCV and all other serious enviro organizations say YES>

I: no – Creating the Office of an Independent Rate Payer Advocate
Hmmm – Ok I’m a little confused on this one. Basically this creates an Office of Rate Payer Advocate to advise the SF Public Utilities Commission. The SFPUC manages our power, water & sewer systems. The Rate Payer Advocate would advocate on behalf of consumers and generally keep an eye on the PUC. The Guardian says no because this is superfluous if H passes (H creates a similar position) & thus to vote No. But what if H loses? The other argument to be made is possibly that the very job of the PUC Board is to do this stuff & thus this is duplicative. But The PUC board is often a bunch of political employees (and usually LAME ones) at that. This was put on by the style-over-brain-cell Alioto-Pier so I can’t imagine it to be useful, but it sounds OK to me now in hindsight (I voted no already). Does anyone have a better line on this?

J: Yes – Creating a Historic Preservation Commission
I’m surprised we don’t have one already given how many historic buildings we have in our historic city. As an aside, it is good for the environment because up to 30% of landfill comes from destroying buildings – who knew?!

K: YES -Decriminalizing Prostitution
A simple common sense question is: Is prostitution ever going away? I think that answer is no. So then the next question is what can we do to reduce the negatives associated with prostitution. The biggest step we can do would be to decriminalize it so as to be able to protect the women (& men) involved and mitigate health risks. YES.

L: No – Funding the Community Justice Center*
Near as I can tell, this measure is just grandstanding by Newsom. The CJC has already been created. It has already been funded. Newsom just wants to get points for creating it and “fighting for the people against the Supes” so he put this on the ballot and tinkered with the funding. Lame. No.

M: Yes – Prohibiting Specific Acts of Harassment of Tenants By Landlords
Current rental law prohibits a landlord from just kicking someone out without cause, however there is no protection against a landlord just intimidating or harassing a tenant until the tenant “decides” to leave. This stuff happens. Ugh. This will improve the situation. Yes

N: yes – Progressive Property Transfer Taxes*
This measure will increase the property transfer tax (when a building is bought or sold) on properties that are worth $5 million or more. Thus this will only effect larger corporations who traditionally use all kinds of accounting gimmicks to weasel out of taxes anyway. Yes.

O: Yes – Administrative Change To Fix 911 Funding
As far as I understand it, this is a pretty arcane “technicality-fix” that will preserve 911 service in the face of some legal challenges to the way it is funded. It won’t cost us anything new & is needed. And boring as hell. Just do it. Yes.

P: No – Political Appointees to Transportation Authority
This would remove the Transportation Authority (TA – which controls spending of state mandated transportation funds in SF) from Board of Supervisors oversight & instead place it under control of the Mayor and the President of the Board of Supes . The problem is that as it is now, the TA often acts as a check against misguided transportation policies coming out of the mayorally controlled Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA – which runs Muni & the Dept of Parking and Traffic). By handing the Mayor more control over the TA, this system of checks and balances will collapse. To be sure, this system of checks and balances has its flaws, but this alternative is worse. So NO.

Q: Yes – Close Payroll Expense Tax Loophole & Reform*
Currently firms with partners (like large law firms) avoid the payroll tax for their highest paid employees since they are “partners” not “employees” – this closes that loophole. It also exempts more small businesses from having to pay the payroll tax which I have mixed feelings about, but in general am supportive of. Vote Yes.

R: No – Renaming the Oceanside Water Treatment Plant
I originally signed to put this on th ballot, but since then I’ve reconsidered and wish I hadn’t. God knows I hate G.W.’s Presidency, perhaps even more so than the next guy. But does our City’s infrastructur eand its employees deserve to take the venting of that rage? The water treatment plan in question is one of our better operating ones, and it IS a very important facility – is that how we show our respect? Also what of the employees who have to go to work there every day? I’m sure many of them are good dedicated workers – what does this say to them about how we value there jobs? NO.

S: no – Budget Set Aside Policy Statement
This is kinda a tough call. This measure will possibly make budget set asides harder to create.” Budget set asides due suck. A set aside says “regardless of what else, we will spend some percentage of the City’s General Fund on whatever”. That sucks because it means everything else automatically gets less & that our elected representatives have less ability to dynamically make decisions – a.k.a do their jobs. But as heinous as they are they are sometimes very necessary (see Prop B above) & moreover this measure is more about political fighting between Newsom (slapping at Daly’s Prop B) than real policy. This measure is a statement of policy & has no real teeth. In the end I say No.

T: Yes – Free and Low Cost Substance Abuse Programs*
This measure requires the City to expand its successful substance abuse programs which currently are underfunded and have a long waiting list. Yes.

U: no – Policy Against Funding US Forces in Iraq
I’m sure this will win resoundingly, and since it does nothing, it is an easy vote either way, but I’m still against it. I hate the fact that we are in Iraq, but I don’t just want to “pack up the tents and head home”, we have a moral obligation to pull out in a responsible fashion only once the safety of the Iraqi people can reasonable be assured. If we can not assure that safety due to our continuing presence (as some argue), absolutely we should leave, but not abruptly.

V: No – Policy Against JROTC in SF Schools
This much ballyhooed issue would be a bigger question mark for me if not for the fact that the US Military discriminates against gays. Allowing such a group to discriminate against gays in schools is really problematic.

Supervisor D1: ERIC MAR!
This one is an easy call – Eric is a longtime progressive leader on the School Board where he has proven his ability to push a smart progressive agenda while working with people he disagrees with & in contentious situations. He is by far the best progressive candidate in District 1 & will make a GREAT Supervisor.

Supervisor D3:
1) DAVID CHIU
2) Denise McCarthy
3) Tony Gantner
I strongly recommend David Chiu in District 3 and REALLY REALLY hope you don’t spend ANY VOTES on Joe Alioto. David is a friend and a really good guy. He has strong enviro & bike credentials and is a smart policy person. Given the nature of his competition and the way Ranked Choice Voting works, I highly recommend voting for someone else for 2 and 3 so that downtown -puppet Joe “elect-me-for-my-name” Alioto doesn’t get the nod. He is spending HUGE amounts of money from downtown interests to win this race &it might just work. This is part of a remarkable effort by downtown interests to elect a series of pro-downtown Newsom types to the Board.

I’d vote 2nd for Denise McCarthy, who I know little about but have heard good things & third for Tony Gantner who frankly isn’t great, but will never win & will also provide a bulwark against Alioto getting more votes.

Supervisor D5: ROSS MIRKARIMI!!!
Ross has been a fantastic supervisor, championing great environmental votes (plastic bag ban), great transportation stuff, & really good safety and crime work. He’s a smart and saavy leader & is really doing good work at City Hall. I really really hope you vote for Ross in D5! None f the challengers really matter.

Supervisor D7: sean elsbernd
I hope none of you live in 7. None of the candidates are particularly good enviros. Sean Elsbernd will win, regardless. I don’t actually dislike him even though I disagree with him on many many votes, I think he is principled and smart.

Supervisor D9:
ummm…. CAMPOQUEZANCHEZ?

Ugh. Multiple really Good Candidates SUCK! No seriously, this is a good thing. If any of the front running candidates win, we in D9 (my home & a significant chunk of ‘Deepistan!) will get a great district Supervisor. I’ve been trying for weeks and weeks to figure out how I’d pick between them & tell you guys my thoughts. I can’t. In the end, I’ll tell you my order, but really I think you should make up your own mind. All 3 of them are great and I’m not sure you can make a poor choice.

Notes (alphabetically):
David Campos is a smart attorney whose legal training would probably serve him very well on the board. His commitment to the under-served in D9 is very very very real – this Ivy League & Stanford lawyer came to the US as an undocumented immigrant and is deeply personally committed to giving back. He strikes me as very smart and very even tempered.

Eric Quezada is a great community organizer and street fighter who has lived and worked pretty much all his life in District 9 fighting for neighborhood groups and causes – especially affordable housing and anti-gentrification issues. He has more experience in land use and planning (critical in the Mission) than either of the other two. He is soft-spoken but steely and I respect him a great deal. He is also my neighbor in that he runs Dolores Street Community Services across the street.

Mark Sanchez has been a great member of the School Board, very progressive and very capable. He has impressed be by being aware of his own failings as a politician and fixing them as well as being really earnestly excited about being D9’s supervisor. Like Mar above, I think he is very good at working with people he disagrees with as well as holding strong to his beliefs.

Endorsements: Guardian SFLCV Sierra Club SF Bike Coalition

David Campos #1 #2

Eric Quezada #2

Mark Sanchez #3 #1 #1 (only) #1 (only)

So, my vote (sorry for people I’ll offend) was Sanchez, Campos, Quezada. But I strongly recommend any order of the 3. And second & third votes will become important on this one I’m sure so I hope you vote for these 3 guys in some order.

Supervisor D11:
1) JOHN AVALOS
2) Randy Knox
3) Julio Ramos
I don’t know John personally, but he was strongly recommended by many people whose opinion I hold in high regard, and as a long time assistant to Chris Daly, I know he is well versed at City Hall and is very smart. He has also been endorsed by all the major progressive organizations. This races is much like District 3 with a downtown/Newsom backed candidate (Safai) who probably would be a big loss relative to a real progressive like Avalos. Like 3, the #2 & #3 votes will also be important. I recommend Knox & Ramos for 2 & 3.

Board of Education:
Sandra Fewer
Bobbie Lopez
Rachel Norton
Norman Yee
I don’t have lots to say about the School Board other than I interviewed many of the candidates with the SFLCV and these are the ones who most impressed me.

Community College Board:
Mary Hernandez
Chris Jackson
MILTON MARKS
Bruce Wolfe
I don’t have lots to say about the College Board other than I interviewed many of the candidates with the SFLCV and these are the ones who most impressed me. I will add that the incumbent, Milton Marks, is a friend and a really good environmentalist who I trust a great deal on College Board issues & I strongly support him.

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