The ‘Deep Slate: June 2010 Edition

[Ed. Note: 10/31/2015: This “post” was originally an email I sent to my friends on 06/08/2010. I have posted it today in 2015, and backdated for archival/search purposes]


Hi folks!

Please go vote today! For many seats this is a primary election – which actually matters – but there are also numerous important ballot measures, both on the state level (HELL NO ON 16) and locally PROP G: HELL YES!)

(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

Boxer has been a good progressive voice on most issues in the Senate and has been a champion on Climate Change stuff – YES!

Congress: Pelosi
Pelosi has been decent (not great but decent) as a legislator, and has been quite good as a leader of the Dems in the House – yes.

Governor: Jerry Brown
The best option going as far as I know.

Lieutenant Governor: Janice Hahn*
I don’t know much about Hahn, but I’m in the anyone-but-Newsom camp. The Guardian says Hahn & she don’t look like Gavin to me. Gavin has been all press release, no policy. He talks a good game and then does very little – I’m tired of it & don’t want to see more of the same in Sacto.

Secretary of State: Debra Bowen*
Controller: John Chiang*
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer*
Attorney General: Kamala Harris*
Insurance Commissioner Member: Dave Jones*
State Board of Equalization: Betty Yee*
i don’t know much of these people – this list is combined from Guardian & the California League of Conservation Voters
Judge of the Superior Court (6): Linda Colfax*
Judge of the Superior Court (15): Michael Nava*
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson*

State Senator: um. leland yee – I can’t bring myself to endorse Leland Yee – he was a horrible vote as a Supervisor for anything environmental
State Assembly: ma – she has been good on High Speed Rail issues – but I still remember how bad she was as a supe….
State Assembly: Tom Ammiano
Tom has been a leader here for a long time & his short tenure at the Assembly has already been dramatic for numerous good reasons (Medical Marijuana anyone?)

Democratic County Central Committee:

These DCC races are where I know the most & have met with the most candidates at one time or another. THE BOLD are people who I think very highly of! Please do vote for DCCC this is sneakily important stuff. The DCCC controls what ballot measure & candidates get the Democratic Party endorsement & thus go a long ways to what wins in local elections.

—– 12 ——-
Chris Gembinski
Connie O’Connor
John Avalos
Hene Kelly
Melanie Nutter
Sandra Lee Fewer
Jake McGoldrick


Joe Julian
Michael Goldstein
Kim-Shree Maufas
Carole Migden

— State Propositions —

13: Simplify Property Tax Assessment Laws with regards to Seismic Retrofitting of Existing Buildings*
This one does seem like just a simplification of existing seismic retrofit support in the face of the great evil that is the historic Prop. 13

14: Open Primaries
This measure would allow Republicans and independents to vote in Democratic Primaries and vice versa. NO NO NO. This would just force candidates to the middle and allow for sabotage of good candidates.

15: Rudimentary Steps to Public Financing of Elections
Public financing is the best known way of taking the influence of money out of politics. Period. This measure removes a historic ban on public financing & uses public financing in elections for Secretary of State.

The Guardian lays it out perfectly here: “T deceptively titled “Taxpayer’s Right to Vote Act” was dreamed up and funded entirely by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the monopolistic utility that is worried it could face actual competition here in San Francisco (and elsewhere) from municipal electricity programs that would offer customers a greener energy mix and more accountability than PG&E executives will ever demonstrate. Rather than accept some healthy competition, this sleazy corporation has opted to spend some $35 million to exterminate all possibilities of municipal electricity programs cropping up anywhere in the state in a bid to preserve its octopus-like grip on the energy market in Northern California. Prop. 16 would require a two-thirds majority vote at the ballot before any community choice aggregation (CCA) program — or any attempt at creating or expanding a public-power system — could move forward. That’s an extreme hurdle — -and PG&E knows it.”

17: Auto insurance Industry $$$ grab
A cynical bill put on by Mercury Insurance to tweak auto insurance rules in it’s favor & make more $$$.

— San Francisco Propositions —

A: Continue Existing School Facilities Special Tax
YES – This measure renews an existing property tax that funds seismic and saftey related building improvements at City schools. Pretty easy yes.

B: Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond
Yes – funds needed seismic work on emergency preparedness infrastructure & replaces some city emergency facilities at the Hall of Justice.

C: Film Commission
yes – A reasonable measure in terms of the fact that we continue to need a Film Commission – and this makes some of the appointments go to the Board of Supes rather than all to the Mayor, and makes there be actual requirements for serving on the commission.

D: Retirement Benefit Costs
yes – a step to reigning in our ballooning City pension costs.

E: Budget Line Item for Police Department Security for City Officials and Dignitaries
Yes – transparency in the City’s spending on protecting dignitaries – in line with other law enforcement type agencies.

F: Renters’ Financial Hardship Applications
Yes – better protections for renters in tough economic times.

G: Transbay Transit Center
A simple measure affirming City policy to bring High Speed Rail to a newly rebuild transit hub a the site of the Transbay Terminal rather than a less well connected hub a few blocks away.

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