It's easier than ever to join the Green Party! California residents can now register online, and you no longer have to print out and mail in a paper form. And although same-day voter registration recently passed, it is not yet in effect. You have until October 22 to register for this November's election if you have moved to a different address.
We've already made our endorsements, but we're keeping these responses up for the record. We received the following responses from candidates:
Supervisorial Candidates: Sherman D'Silva (D1), Eric Mar (D1), Mark Bruno (D3) [received Sep 13], Joe Butler (D3), David Chiu (D3), London Breed (D5) [received Sep 12], Julian Davis (D5) [received Sep 12], Hope Johnson (D5) [updated Sep 12], Christina Olague (D5) [received Sep 20], Ellard Resignato (D5), John Rizzo (D5) [received Sep 14], Lynn Gavin (D7), Glenn Rogers (D7), John Avalos (D11)
BART candidate: Tom Radulovich
The Green Party's presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein, has become the first Green Party member in history to qualify for federal matching funds! It means that some of our tax dollars will be diverted away from drone warfare and crony capitalism, towards a movement for real Democracy in the United States.
Dr. Stein recently released a statement thanking her supporters and discussing the campaign's next steps.
(Correction to a prior version: The Nader 2000 campaign also qualified for matching funds, as reported by Ballot Access News).
The SF Green Party has made the following endorsements for the June 2012 election:
(see longer explanations for the propositions below)
Prop A (garbage contract) - No
Prop B (Coit tower) - Yes
Prop 28 (term limit reform) - Yes
Prop 29 (cigarette tax) - Yes
President. Although the corporate parties have wrapped up their primaries, we still have a close contest between physician Jill Stein and actor/comedian Rosanne Barr. We generally do not make endorsements in a contested Green Party primary, but we hosted a presidential debate on May 12. You can watch the debate below and decide for yourself!
Congress, CD8 - Barry Hermanson (Green Party).
Barry Hermanson is a long-time Green activist, who is perhaps best known for his work on the Living Wage Coalition, and for co-authoring San Francisco's minimum wage ordinance. As a result of this successful ballot initiative, we now have the highest minimum wage of any big city in the US. Barry has recently been actively campaigning for Medicare for All, and for a huge decrease in US military spending (starting with an end to our foreign wars and occupations).
The top two finishers in the June election will be the only candidates on the ballot this November. Let's vote to have Barry face off against Nancy Pelosi on issues like jobs, immigration, medical cannabis, taxes, and public education, rather than some Republican!
No on A (garbage contract). Prop A is a direct assault on San Francisco's role as a leader in recycling and waste diversion. It is couched in the language of competitive bidding and transparency, but it is really another effort to wrest control over public services from the people served and put more power into the hands of big corporations. The long-time waste service company, Recology, is employee-owned and local, two attributes which are both in accord with our Ten Key Values and are key reasons why San Francisco is the city that others want to emulate when it comes to pursuing the goal of zero waste.
Proponents of Prop A argue that San Francisco pays more for garbage service than surrounding cities, forgetting that we demand and receive a higher level of service due to hills and stairways, and mandatory recycling and composting that other cities don't bother with. The cities whose lower costs are extolled by proponents often lack composting or recycling in multi-family dwellings and commercial units. For example, San Jose's multifamily compost collection is mixed with garbage, so although it is composted, the compost cannot be used for growing food.
The big two private garbage companies, Republic Services and Waste Management, have multiple citations for improper waste disposal and dangerous working conditions. They have also faced strikes by disgruntled employees. These compainies fundamentally do not believe in zero waste. They are basically hauling companies. Using their services is antithetical to Green values.
The Green Party normally does not support private/public partnerships; we prefer to provide public services directly through a municipal department. However, that choice is not before us. The current structure for waste collection has been extremely successful and facilitates exporting our model to other municipalities.
Finally, Prop A calls for contracting with the garbage provider for only ten years. It is the stability of the long-term relationship that has made possible the investment in waste diversion and reduction programs, which are now being copied by cities across the country. Recology is regulated by the Refuse Collection and Disposal Rate Board, whose members are the City Administrator, the General Manager of the SF Public Utilities Commission, and the City Controller, not elected representatives. An argument can be made for more stringent oversight, but we should be proud of what we have achieved and not seek to subvert it. Vote No on Prop A.
Yes on B (Coit Tower). Prop B is a non-binding policy statement opposing the increasing use of Coit Tower for private parties. The Green Party views San Francisco's public parks and spaces as the common property of all residents, which should be managed for the benefit of all of us. Under Recreation and Parks' Director Phil Ginsburg, our parks and other common areas have become increasingly more privatized, subject to entry fees and other restrictions on public use. In particular, Coit Tower is frequently closed to the public in order to host private parties for rich people.
Our parks should be maintained through taxes and remain open to all, rather than being viewed as private rental spaces for the 1%. Vote Yes on B.
Yes on 28 (term limit changes). Prop 28 would change the term limits for state legislators. Currently, legislators can serve up to three 2-year terms in the Assembly, and two more 4-year terms in the Senate. Prop 28 would change this limit to a total of 12 years in either house (i.e., up to 6 Assembly terms or 3 Senate terms, or some mix of both totaling 12 years).
Like most Californians, the Green Party agrees that the current system of government in California is broken. Constitutional features such as voter-mandated initiatives with no funding source, and supermajority requirements for raising revenues, make the state virtually ungovernable. As Joe Mathews and Mark Paul suggested in their book, "California Crackup," one necessary step to fix this is Proportional Representation. In other words, if 10% of Californians vote to support the Green Party, Greens should have ~10% of seats in the Assembly and Senate. This would eliminate the "spoiler effect" and other problems with winner-take-all elections, and possibly encourage more Californians who are frustrated with the electoral process to re-engage and participate.
Prop 28 is not the sort of fundamental reform that is needed, but it is a minor improvement over current law. Term limits give more power to lobbyists and political machines, and Prop 28 slightly weakens term limits. It gives legislators more time to govern, instead of constantly thinking about their next step to higher office.
In the grand scheme of things, Prop 28 is just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. But since it's on the ballot, vote Yes to support a slightly improved arrangement.
Yes on 29 (cigarette tax). Prop 29 would raise the cigarette tax by $1/pack, raising more than $700 million per year. This money would be used to support cancer research and anti-smoking campaigns.
California's cigarette tax is currently 87 cents/pack, among the lowest in the US. A $1 increase would bring us more in line with other states that do not depend on tobacco as a major crop. 75% of the funds raised would go to cancer research, providing an important boost at a time when the federal government is slashing research funding with their misguided "austerity" programs. Another 20% would go to anti-smoking campaigns, which (along with the increased prices) would result in reduced rates of smoking, especially among youth.
Prop 29 will reduce public health care costs and provide badly needed research funds. The Green Party strongly supports it.
Other offices. We generally do not endorse non-Greens in primaries, although we may make endorsements for the general election
San Francisco Green Party: Statement in Support of Sheriff Ross
Mirkarimi Remaining in Office as the Duly Elected Sheriff of San
Based on the following criteria, which are vitally important to our
community and to families struggling with domestic conflict, the San
Francisco Green Party strongly supports Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi
remaining in his duly elected office. We will accordingly defend and
support any Supervisor or other decision maker who stands for what is
right in supporting, and where possible voting, in favor of retaining
Ross Mirkarimi as the duly elected Sheriff.
1. We Must Set a Strong Example for Other Families Experiencing
Sheriff Mirkarimi made a powerful public act in admitting his role in
his family's struggle with interpersonal conflict, apologizing and
accepting responsibility for that role, and most importantly,
beginning counseling and education in order to become a better person
and to keep his family healthy and intact. This action has set an
example for other men and families in domestic conflict, to address
their problems by openly admitting them and seeking help.
To punitively remove Sheriff Mirkarimi from office in response to his
important act of taking open public responsibility for his family's
health and well-being would send a terrible message to other families
in conflict. It would show them that to openly admit their problems
and seek help will bring harsh retribution and punishment instead of
support and empowerment. To set such a precedent would encourage other
men and families with domestic conflict problems to adopt the outdated
shame-based approach of seeking to silence themselves and hide their
problems. This would run counter to fundamental principles of good
domestic conflict intervention.
2. We Must Support San Francisco's Ethic of Redemptive Justice
It has long been a powerful ethic in San Francisco to end the
historically failed revenge and punishment-based approach to community
justice. Our experience in San Francisco has clearly shown that is far
more effective to employ methods of prevention rather than reaction,
and to provide those who have entered our justice system with
education, support, and job security, to give them a path to dignity
and redemption, and to becoming better citizens.
These modern methods, founded and championed by the previous Sheriff,
Michael Hennessey, were also strongly supported by Sheriff Mirkarimi
in his role as a Supervisor, resulting in reduced crime his district
and the City as a whole. Sheriff Mirkarimi must be held to the same
standards, and be given the same support, that he has defended
throughout his life of public service
3. We Must Continue the Sheriff's Strong Defense of Undocumented
Citizens, People of Color, Constitutional Rights, and the Right to
Public Protest, Against Unconstitutional Interventions by the Federal
Sheriff Michael Hennessey set an outstanding precedent in the
Sheriff's Department by refusing to the greatest extent possible to
participate in unconstitutional federal 'law enforcement' actions by
the Departments of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, and the FBI, in order to protect undocumented citizens,
people of color, protesters, and our fundamental democratic civil
rights and privacy.
Recently we have witnessed extremely alarming national trends toward
demonizing and disenfranchising undocumented citizens and people of
color, and violently cracking down on public protests like those of
the Occupy movement at the behest of corporate interests. Even more
alarming are recent revelations that the FBI and the San Francisco
Police Department have engaged in secret agreements to
unconstitutionally spy on and investigate people of Arab descent
and/or Islamic faith, peace activists, and others in the name of
It is imperative that we have the strongest, most progressive champion
of civil rights possible in charge of the Sheriff's Department, in
order to ensure that the legacy established by Sheriff Hennessey
continues uninterrupted. It is clear that the public elected Sheriff
Mirkarimi, based on his proven ability to build on his predecessor's
legacy in the face of national political pressure.
4. We Must Not Enable Political Gamesmanship in Our City Government
A misdemeanor conviction in a family conflict case, which the court
itself has decided will be best resolved by family counseling and
education, clearly does not constitute sufficient reason to remove an
effective and dedicated public servant from office.
We can only conclude that members of the Downtown political machine
and its media allies have cynically seized upon this case as a means
of removing the one progressive citywide elected executive in San
Francisco from his position, in order to advance a more reactionary
and corporate-oriented control over our local government and our
Progressives on the Board of Supervisors know well the recent
manipulations by Downtown forces, which have led to retreat from the
progressive accomplishments that we have achieved in San Francisco
over the past decade.
The recent FBI scandal noted above and the Mayor's subsequent veto of
good legislation that would have corrected this problem, as well as
other reactionary policies encroaching in San Francisco, such as the
Sit-Lie Law and the Mayor's use of it to expel Occupy organizers, are
red flags warning us that progressives need to draw a line in the sand
and not allow Downtown to further erode progressive gains in San
We call on the progressives of the Board of Supervisors to therefore
not only do what is right, but also do what is politically wise, and
not allow corporate interests in City Hall to further entrench
themselves by undermining the will of the voters and appointing a
Sheriff who would be far more in line with the interests of the 1%,
than the interests that we as progressives support.
Although the corporate presidential primaries have wrapped up, the Green Party still has a contested primary, and CA Green Party members' votes this June could determine our presidential ticket.
Several leading contenders have made the news recently. Jill Stein was recently interviewed by Grist.org, where she discusses the last time she beat Mitt Romney in a debate. Roseanne Barr was recently endorsed by 2008 Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney and by the Green Party's Black Caucus.
We are organizing a presidential candidate forum during the upcoming state Green Party plenary in SF. It will tentatively be held on the evening of May 12, and Jill Stein, Roseanne Barr and Kent Mesplay are all confirmed to attend.