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November 2015 endorsements

These are the SF Green Party Endorsements for the November 2015 election.  We will be mailing a postcard like the one below to all our members, so if you can donate to this effort please click the "Donate" link to the left.

 

Our complete Voter Guide is now posted.  Click "read more" to see full explanations of the reasons behind our endorsements.

 

Local candidates:

Mayor: #1 rank: Francisco Herrera , #2 rank: Amy Farah Weiss (this is a ranked choice seat, so vote for multiple people in order of your preference)

Sheriff: Ross Mirkarimi (sole endorsement)

Community College Board: Wendy Aragon (sole endorsement; this is NOT a ranked choice seat, so the person with the most votes wins, even if not a majority)

SF Board of Supervisors, D3: no candidate from District 3 sought the Green Party's endorsement

SF City Attorney: no endorsement

SF District Attorney: no endorsement

SF Treasurer: no endorsement

 

Local propositions:

NO on A: "affordable housing" bond with few restrictions and little oversight on what the money will be spent on

YES on B: more paid parental leave for City employees

NO on C: "ethics reform" that would stifle grassroots organizing against the Democratic Party Machine

NO on D: Mission Rock luxury development near the Giants stadium

NO on E: "sunshine and open government law" that would make it easier for corporations to stack public comment; also a stalking horse to circumvent campaign spending limits for next year's Supervisorial race in District 1

YES on F: real regulations on Airbnb and other fake hotel companies

NO on G: "renewable energy truth" act allowing PG&E to lie about how dirty their energy is

YES on H: clean energy act put on the ballot to counter PG&E's deceptive Prop G

YES on I: temporary moratorium on building luxury housing in the Mission

NO on J: "legacy business historic preservation fund" that would create a slush fund for the Democratic Party Machine to reward favored businesses

YES on K: initiative requiring development of 100% affordable housing on smaller publicly owned properties that are developed for housing, and a mix of luxury and affordable housing in larger developments on public property

 

Click below to read our complete Green Voter Guide:

 

 

Mayor:
Francisco Herrera (#1 choice)
Amy Farah Weiss (#2 choice)


Francisco Herrera is a musician, a long-time Green Party member, and an
activist with the Living Wage Coalition.  He is running for Mayor
in order to "bring the wisdom of the neighborhoods to City Hall."
In a speech to the League of Women Voters, he asked:

    How do we get City Hall to listen to the wisdom of our
    neighborhoods and respect our strengths? What kind of city do we
    want for our children and grandchildren - for ourselves?

Francisco started the "People's Campaign" to form a long-term effort
to develop a plan and vision of San Francisco as a city friendly and
affordable to working families.

Francisco's platform includes building more affordable housing,
eviction protection, a budget that prioritizes arts and human
services, safe streets and a better Muni system, public education, an
expansion of Healthy SF, an end to deportations and cooperation with
ICE, accountable policing, and more living wage jobs.

Francisco's campaign has been endorsed by the Green Party, the Peace
and Freedom Party, Tom Ammiano, John Avalos, Ross Mirkarimi, the
Tenants' Union, the League of Pissed Off Voters, SEIU Local 1021, and
AFT Local 2121, among others.

You can find out more at:
http://www.peoplescampaign.net/platform

Since this is a ranked choice election, we urge voters to rank more than
one opponent of Mayor Ed Lee.  For your #2 choice, we support Amy Farah
Weiss.

Although Weiss is a Democrat, she agrees with the Green Party on many
key issues.  She supports a more ethical and open government, public
power, and natural grass fields in parks.  Weiss agrees with the Green
Party on many aspects of City transit and development policy.  She
joins the Green Party in support of Props F and I, in opposition to
her own official Party's position.  You can read details of Weiss'
answers to the Green Party's questionnaire online:
http://sfgreens.org/questionnaires/weiss_mayor.html


Sheriff: Ross Mirkarimi (sole endorsement)

The Green Party strongly endorses Ross Mirkarimi for another term as
Sheriff.  In the face of constant attacks from Mayor Lee and the SFPD,
Mirkarimi has been surprisingly effective at continuing the legacy of
former Sheriff Mike Hennessey.  He has succeeded in lowering the costs
for inmates to stay in touch with their families by phone (a key
factor in lowering recidivism).  He has supported Five Keys, an
award-winning high school inside the jail, which has received
nationwide recognition including a $100,000 prize from Harvard
University.  Even LA County has established a branch of Five Keys
within their jail.  Mirkarimi has increased visiting hours for all
inmates, and houses transgender inmates according to gender identity.
He also helps to enroll inmates in Obamacare when they are released
from jail.  All of these factors have reduced recidivism and greatly
improved public safety in SF.

Sheriff Mirkarimi has made some tough decisions that have put him at
odds with Mayor Lee.  He strongly supports SF's "sanctuary city"
policy, which allows undocumented immigrants to cooperate with law
enforcement without fear of deportation.  In contrast, his opponent
Vicki Hennessy (no relation to the previous Sheriff) cooperated with
immigration authorities at ICE when she was briefly appointed interim
Sheriff, and she has promised to resume cooperation with ICE if
elected.  Mirkarimi is also is the only Sheriff in the state to have
an Eviction Assistance Unit, which protects tenants and slows
evictions.  This assistance, while short of an outright refusal to
evict (which would result in Mayor Lee suspending Mirkarimi), has put
Mirkarimi at odds with landlords and developers.

Just as in the SFPD, there have recently been some problems in the
Sheriffs' Department (including an inmate death, staged inmate fights,
and the death of a woman at SF General Hospital).  Sheriff Mirkarimi
responded appropriately and effectively in each case.  And in the case
of the inmate fights, Sheriff Mirkarimi even welcomed an FBI
investigation.  We suspect that his opponent, who is the favorite
candidate of the Deputy Sheriffs Association, would have maintained a
"blue wall of silence" in covering up internal problems.  The deputies
are resistant to having civilian oversight and control, and it is
unclear to us whether the department's problems were in fact concealed
by an insubordinate and defensive chain of command.  It is essential
that the Sheriff's Department be run by an independent civilian
outsider like Mirkarimi in order to avoid the department being
controlled by deputies and staff who would cover up such problems in
the future.

Mayor Lee, the SFPD, and the Chronicle have also attacked Sheriff
Mirkarimi by manipulating the political process and media perceptions
around a domestic conflict case that involved Mirkarimi and his wife
Eliana Lopez.  However, when Lopez was finally able to speak for
herself, it became clear that the Mirkarimi-Lopez family is strong,
loving, healthy and dedicated, and that the manipulations around the
case were indeed nothing more than cynical political maneuvering.  As
we said in our statement at the time
(http://sfgreenparty.org/issues/37-statement-on-sheriff-mirkarimi),
the appropriate response to the domestic disagreement was both
counseling and the empowerment of Ms. Lopez to decide for herself what
she wanted for her life and her family.  That response was embraced
wholeheartedly by Ross Mirkarimi, and their family became far stronger
through their shared adversity.  Partly because of how well Mirkarimi
and Lopez handled their personal conflict and the political firestorm
that surrounded it, the San Francisco Women's Political Committee is
supporting Ross Mirkarimi to be re-elected Sheriff.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's accomplishments, both personal and
professional, shine in the midst of the adversity surrounding both his
family and our City.  We strongly support re-electing him as Sheriff.



Community College Board: Wendy Aragon

Wendy Aragon is a long time activist who is seeking her first elected
office on the College Board.  We endorsed her in 2014, and she is
running again after coming within 2 percentage points of winning a
seat in that election.  She has good ideas for how the current Board
could have avoided the accreditation crisis, and her answers to our
questionnaire (http://sfgreens.org/questionnaires/aragon_ccb.html)
show that she supports many Green Party priorities, such as free
education, open government, and equal rights for non-citizens.  She
has also been out front in the campaign to take back City College from
the ACCJC, so we once again give her our enthusiastic endorsement.

College Board elections do not use ranked choice voting, or even
require a majority of votes to win.  Because two candidates with
backing from various progressive groups are running in this contest,
Aragon unfortunately faces a tough uphill battle to win this election
against the appointee of Mayor Ed Lee.  Overall, we think Aragon is
easily the best candidate: she is the most familiar with CCSF and its
politics, she is the only major candidate opposed to military
recruiting on campus, and she has no ambitions to use the seat as a
springboard to higher office.  She is also a woman, in a City where
women are under-represented in politics, and in progressive circles in
particular.  As a feminist party, we strongly believe that women
should not step back as candidates to allow ambitious men to lead on
our behalf.

In the last several elections, SF progressive groups have squandered
electoral opportunities by foolishly opposing each other in cases like
this College Board race, when discussions prior to making endorsements
might have cleared up misunderstandings.  Sadly, history may repeat
itself in this election.  Greens think we need to follow the model of
Richmond CA, in which Greens, progressive Democrats, and other
like-minded voters organized together in a solid, long-term alliance
well in advance of individual elections.  The Richmond Progressive
Alliance swept Chevron-backed candidates in 2014 elections, despite
being vastly outspent.  Aragon agrees that a San Francisco Progressive
Alliance is necessary, and we look forward to working with her and
other progressive groups after this election to ensure we don't
continue to be dominated by the so-called "moderates" from the
Democratic Party Machine.


SF Board of Supervisors, D3
No candidate from District 3 sought the Green Party's endorsement.

SF City Attorney: no endorsement

SF District Attorney: no endorsement

SF Treasurer: no endorsement

Local propositions:

NO on A

Prop A is a $310 million bond that is advertised by proponents as
being for "affordable housing."  In reality, this will be a slush fund
with little oversight that the local Democratic Party Machine will
use to pay off politically connected developers and nonprofits.  The
Green Party therefore opposes it.

Because of demand for workers and materials due to the explosion of
luxury housing, construction costs for affordable housing have risen
above $500,000 per unit.  Therefore, even if Mayor Lee spent 100% of
the Prop A bond money on truly affordable housing, only about 620
units could be built.  But the reality is far worse: Prop A is filled
with loopholes that would allow Mayor Lee to spend most of the money
on other things, such as "funding middle income rental housing units."
Prop A does not specify that even half the money be spent on housing
that would be affordable to current SF residents.

The Green Party is also concerned about using bonds to fund expenses
that should be part of SF's normal budget.  SF now has a $9 billion
budget, up from $5 billion in the Newsom years.  Residents have seen
little benefit from this increase: under Mayor Lee, the streets are
dirtier and Muni is even slower than when he took office.  $310
million for affordable housing is just a crumb from this huge pie.
Even with current low interest rates, bond funding means that
taxpayers will pay twice: once for overpriced land, and again for the
interest on borrowing money from Wall Street 1%-ers (see our full
Statement on Bond Funding, below).

Vote NO on Prop A, and demand that the next Mayor spend a higher
portion of our City budget on real affordable public housing.


YES on B

Prop B will provide more paid parental leave for City public
employees.  The United States provides far less paid leave on average
than other countries, and is one of only two countries in the world
that does not guarantee some type of paid parental leave for all
workers.  Although Prop B does not directly affect private employers,
it will indirectly pressure them through competition with the public
sector for skilled workers.

Importantly, Prop B provides leave for both parents regardless of
gender.  Studies have shown that paid paternal leave is important for
decreasing the gender pay gap.  As feminism is one of our key values,
measures that lower the pay gap are especially critical.


NO on C

Prop C would require "expenditure lobbyists" to register and file
monthly reports with the Ethics Commission.  An expenditure lobbyist
is defined as anybody who spends at least $2500 in one month to
influence other people to contact City government to advocate for
legislative or administrative actions.  Registering with the Ethics
Commission would cost a flat fee of $500 each year, and the monthly
reports would include details of all expenses related to influencing
government action.

The SF Ethics Commission put this measure on the ballot in order to
close a loophole that allows corporations to create "astroturf" groups
to lobby City government.  For example, SFBARF is a billionaire-funded
group that advocates for building more luxury housing.  Other
corporate astroturf groups lobby against restrictions on soda, or for
the preservation of utility monopolies, or against regulating the
conversion of rental apartments into illegal hotel rooms.
Corporations like PG&E, Airbnb and AT&T spend many times more money on
indirect lobbying through astroturf groups than they do on direct
lobbying.  Many City-funded nonprofits are part of the problem, spending
City money to lobby for additional funding.

Unfortunately, Prop C lumps in genuine grassroots groups with these
corporate astroturf campaigns.  For example, the Sunset and Richmond
residents who organized opposition to Mayor Lee's plan to replace
grass soccer fields in Golden Gate Park with toxic fake turf spent
thousands of dollars on outreach to their neighbors.  A neighborhood
group that puts out a single mailing to area residents could pass the
$2500 threshold to be defined as lobbyists, and the $500 registration
fee and monthly reporting requirements would be very onerous to small
groups that depend on volunteers and individual donations.  In
contrast, large corporations and their shell nonprofits could easily
afford these expenses.

Prop C also does not distinguish between money spent directly
influencing government officials and money spent on ads or studies
that ultimately result in ordinary citizens contacting their elected
representatives.  There's a huge difference between spending $2500 on
an ad asking people to call their Supervisor, vs spending $2500 to
directly pay people to pack a Board or commission meeting or flood an
office with phone calls.

The Green Party opposes Prop C, because it will stifle grassroots
opposition to the Democratic Party Machine, while not solving the
problem of well-funded corporate astroturf groups.  Even the local
Democratic Party, which is currently in the hands of developers and
corporate interests, endorsed Prop C because they do not see it
as a threat to their system of patronage politics.

Vote NO on C, and support alternatives such as the DISCLOSE act and
more transparency in how nonprofits spend City funds.


NO on D

Prop D would increase height limits for the Giants' proposed Mission
Rock development from the current 40 feet to 240 feet for some
buildings.  Since last year's Prop B (which we supported) became law,
public votes are now required to raise height limits along the
waterfront, in order to ensure that the proposed project will provide
sufficient benefit to the public.

The developers of Mission Rock have made all sorts of promises about
affordability of the project and the benefit to the public, but none
of those promises would be legally binding if Prop D passes.  We
suspect that, like most other development supported by Mayor Lee and
his allies, this project will almost entirely consist of luxury condos
that will be off limits to the current residents of San Francisco.

We urge voters to reject Prop D, so that the Giants can come back with
a better proposal for developing this site.


NO on E

Prop E is billed as a "sunshine and open government law."  It is the
only proposal on the ballot on which Greens agree with both the
Democratic and Republican parties:  vote NO!

Prop E would allow corporations to hire people from around the world
to make videos and send them to Board and Commission meetings, where
they would crowd out public comment from City residents.  Prop E would
allow our public debate to be dominated by hired trolls, with the same
level of insight as SFGate.com's comments section.

Prop E also looks like a stalking horse for David Lee, a probable
future candidate for Supervisor in the Richmond District.  By backing
a different campaign, such as a ballot proposition, candidates can
circumvent donation limits and build name recognition and donor lists,
just as Mayor Newsom did with "Care not Cash" and Mayor Lee did with
"Run Ed Run."

Greens support open government and sunshine, and some ideas in Prop E
should be recycled in a future ballot measure.  For example, Greens
support livestreaming and televising more commission meetings, and we
support allowing SF voters to submit public comments online rather
than having to show up to meetings in person.  However, Prop E is so
flawed that it belongs in the garbage bin.


YES on F

Prop F would create real regulations on companies like Airbnb and
VRBO.  These companies make huge profits from landlords who evict
tenants and convert properties into full-time unlicensed hotels,
avoiding zoning codes and other laws that apply to real hotels
and bed-and-breakfasts.

The current regulations on such companies were written by Airbnb, and
are by design completely unenforced by the City.  Prop F would require
reasonable limits (75 days per year) on renting rooms, and would require
companies like Airbnb and VRBO to report data to the City that would
allow SF to enforce these limits.

Airbnb is spending more than $8 million to defeat Prop F, including
innumerable billboards and TV ads promoting the lie that Prop F will
lead to neighbors suing their neighbors.  The reality is that
neighbors can already sue each other over nuisances, and Prop F does
not change that.  Airbnb is referring to a provision of Prop F that
would allow people living near an illegal hotel to sue the hosting
company as well as the landlord, if the City does not respond to
complaints about illegal rentals exceeding the new 75 day limit.

Opponents of Prop F also argue that tourists who stay in Airbnb rooms
spend money in SF and help businesses.  However, studies have shown
that the residents evicted to make room for illegal hotels would have
spent far more money than the tourists.  Airbnb is therefore a net
loss for SF taxpayers and businesses.

The fact that the Democratic Party Central Committee voted to oppose
Prop F just weeks after they received a $10,000 "contribution" from
Airbnb says a lot about how such companies, and our local Democratic
Machine politicians, operate.  Vote YES on Prop F and support a Green
alternative to politics as usual.


NO on G, and YES on H:

Prop G was originally put on the ballot by PG&E allies.  It would
manipulate the definition of clean energy so that our local community
based program, CleanPowerSF, would not be allowed to call rooftop
solar and other clean energy sources "renewable, greenhouse gas
free," while allowing PG&E to call these very same sources
"renewable, greenhouse gas free."  Under Prop G, PG&E could falsely
label its dirtier fossil fuel and nuclear energy mix "greener"
than the much cleaner CleanPowerSF.

Prop H was put on the ballot in response, and requires both PG&E and
CleanPowerSF to follow the same rules under state law defining what
can be called clean and renewable.  PG&E has decided to avoid a nasty
ballot fight by withdrawing support for Prop G.  Be sure to vote NO on
G and YES on H in order to support fair and accurate clean energy
reporting rules.


YES on I

Prop I would create a temporary moratorium on building luxury housing
in the Mission.  The Mission is one the City's most rapidly
gentrifying neighborhoods, and one in which many long-time residents
are being evicted.  Building luxury condos only encourages more
gentrification in the immediate area.  Mission landlords are falling
for "get rich quick" schemes by evicting all their tenants and
flipping their property for luxury condos while the housing market is
hot.  Long-established businesses are being forced out by skyrocketing
rents in trendy areas such as Valencia Street.

Prop I would call a "time out" on luxury housing, allowing 18 months
for Mission residents to draw up plans for where new development
should occur in order to displace as few current residents and
businesses as possible.  The Mission has always been a working class
neighborhood, and its transformation into a playground for the rich
has resulted in many priced-out workers having to drive for hours from
Vallejo and beyond to get to their jobs in the City.

Gentrification and displacement in the Mission should be a warning to
all San Franciscans about the dangers of libertarian capitalism run
amok.  The Democratic Party Central Committee, controlled by
developers and corporate investors, endorsed No on I, giving the green
light to more luxury condos and the finger to current Mission
residents.  The Green Party stands as an alternative, and we strongly
urge a YES vote on Prop I.


NO on J

Prop J claims to help local businesses avoid being displaced by
skyrocketing rents.  It would establish a "legacy business historic
preservation fund" to help pay the rent for certain long-time (20 or
30 year old) businesses.

We oppose Prop J, because not all legacy businesses could receive
funding.  Appointees of Mayor Lee would make the call, and use the
grants to reward favored businesses (i.e., those whose owners make
the right campaign donations) while ignoring the plight of others.

The recipients of Mayor Lee's Prop J slush fund would also only
receive a few hundred dollars per year per employee, at a time when
rents are doubling and tripling as the result of gentrification.
Although commercial rent control (which would solve the problem) is
banned by state law, the City has other legal means to address
commercial displacement.  For example, the City could use property
acquired by eminent domain to establish Community Land Trusts, and rent
space in land trusts to long-time businesses.  The threat of eminent
domain would also make landlords think twice about destroying icons of
SF culture in order to make quick buck.



YES on K

Prop K would establish priorities for building affordable housing on
surplus City-owned properties.  Currently, such properties are often
turned over to politically connected developers to build luxury
condos.  Prop K would require 100% affordable housing to be built on
smaller properties, and a mix of luxury and affordable housing on
larger properties.

Although Prop K could have been more aggressive about requiring 100%
affordable housing on all surplus City-owned properties, it is an
improvement over the status quo, so the Green Party supports it.


SF Green Party Statement on Bond Funding

The SF Green Party has often been hesitant to embrace bond
financing. In addition to being environmentally and socially
responsible, we are also fiscally responsible.  Bond funding requires
payments totaling about twice the actual cost of whatever improvements
are made, and passes costs on to future generations.  Because people
who buy bonds are almost exclusively the wealthy, as investors are
paid back over the 20-30 year life of the bond, wealth is transferred
from middle and low income taxpayers to rich bondholders.

Bond funding also helps rich people avoid paying their fair share of
taxes, since interest on municipal bonds is exempt from both state and
federal tax.  As noted in the California Voter Guide in 1992, over
35,000 U.S. millionaires supplemented their income with tax exempt
state and local bond checks averaging over $2,500 per week (that's
over $130,000 per year tax free).  They avoided paying federal and
state taxes on over $5 billion, which must be made up by the rest of
us.  The SF Green Party calls on the public to join us in working to
phase out this regressive and unfair subsidy of the rich and their
investment bankers (who take millions of dollars off the top when the
bonds are issued).

There are a few cases in which Greens have supported bond measures. In
general, we are willing to support bonds that are issued to in order
to build urgently needed, publicly-owned infrastructure, such as a
public hospital or high speed rail.  We generally oppose bonds that
fund ongoing maintenance projects; these should be paid for using City
revenues (which should be increased by raising taxes on the wealthy).