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June 2016 Endorsements

These are the SF Green Party Endorsements for the June 2016 election.  We will be mailing a postcard like the one below to all our members, so if you can help, please click the "Donate" link to the left.

 

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

 

Five candidates are on our primary ballot in California, competing to be the Green Party nominee for President.  (Note that we do not generally endorse in Green Party primaries).  They are:

Local candidates:

Barry Hermanson for Congress, CD12

Victor Hwang and Sigrid Irias for Judge (dual endorsement)

 

Local propositions:

YES on A: bond for SF General Hospital

NO on  B: Set-asides for corrupt Rec & Park department

YES on  C: Charter Amendment for Affordable Housing

YES on  D: Office of Citizen Complaints

YES on  E: Paid Sick Leave

 

Other propositions:

No position on AA: Parcel tax for Bay restoration

No position on 50: Legislative suspension process


Early endorsement for November:

Francisco Herrera for Supervisor, District 11

 

If you re-registered in order to vote in another party's primary, please re-join the Greens after June 7 to help us stay on the ballot!

 

Click below to read our complete Green Voter Guide:

 

Congress, D12 - Barry Hermanson



Barry Hermanson is running as the Green Party candidate against Nancy
Pelosi.  As the Bay Guardian noted in 2014 in endorsing Pelosi, she
"has presided over economic policies that have consolidated wealth in
ever fewer hands and dismantled the social safety net, environmental
policies that have ignored global warming and fed our over-reliance on
the private automobile, and military policies that expanded the war
machine and overreaching surveillance state."  They didn't mention her
opposition to Single Payer health care, or her repeated endorsement of
the most conservative Democrats running for local office in SF.  More
importantly, San Francisco does not have a representative who
represents San Franciscans; instead, Pelosi is a national spokesperson
for defending Democratic Party policies and anything President Obama
currently supports.  Although the majority of San Franciscans are
registered with the Democratic Party, most local Democrats (and Greens
and members of other smaller parties) disagree with Pelosi's positions
on the issues above, yet she places the needs of her political party
above her job of representing all of us.



The key question facing voters this June is whether Pelosi will face a
Republican or a Green this November.  Because of the "Top Two"
primary, all voters (regardless of party) will vote in a single
election June 7th, with only the 2 leading candidates going on to the
November election.  If Barry Hermanson can beat the Republican, San
Franciscans will for the first time be able to go into November with a
clear choice: re-electing Pelosi, who does not represent San Francisco
values, or electing a Green who does.  In a two-way race, the
"spoiler" issue would be moot.  And although Pelosi has never agreed
to debate her opponents, Hermanson would challenge her support for
a long list of terrible policies including the ones mentioned above.



Getting a Green into the November election is our best chance to
change the political discourse on a number of issues.  Vote Barry
Hermanson for Congress this June to make it happen!




Victor Hwang and Sigrid Irias for Judge (dual endorsement)



Multiple candidates are running for a position as Superior Court
Judge, seat 7.  In the June election, if no candidate gets more than
50% of the vote, the top two finishers will face off in the November
election.  Greens are impressed by the qualifications and values of
two of the candidates, Victor Hwang and Sigrid Irias.



Victor Hwang is a current member of the Police Commission, and has
extensive experience as a public defender (in contrast to most judges,
who previously worked only as prosecutors).  He is opposed to the
Death Penalty and is against arming police with Tasers.  He also has a
strong background on civil rights, including having helped defend Wen

Ho Lee against racially biased false accusations.


Sigrid Irias is a past president of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers
Association, and she has some experience as a pro tem judge.  She
has an excellent record in favor of tenants' rights.



Greens hope that one or both of these excellent candidates will
make it to the November election.



YES on A: bond for SF General Hospital



Prop A is a $350 million bond measure, most of which ($272 million)
will go towards a seismic retrofit of SF General Hospital.  Although
the newly built hospital building meets seismic standards, other
buildings on the same campus, including buildings that provide mental
health and drug addition treatments, are unsafe and need to be
retrofitted.



Smaller parts of the bond will go the Fire Department's Ambulance
Deployment Facility ($58 million) and to new homeless shelters and
service facilities ($20 million).


Greens support this bond measure because, unlike most bonds put
forward by Mayor Lee's administration, the legal language of Prop A
requires specific amounts of money to be spent on the above projects.
While many of Mayor Lee's proposals amount to slush funds (see our
endorsement of NO on Prop B), Prop A has proper oversight.  Greens
rarely support bond measures (see our statement on bonds, below), but
often do when the money will be used for public infrastructure, such
as a public hospital.



We also note that our public hospital (paid for by a bond measure that
Greens supported in 2007) has been named after a private donor, who
put up very little money relative to the amount that taxpayers have
been asked to contribute.  It is unfortunate that this bond measure
does not include language requiring the restoration of the original
name, "SF General Hospital."  Greens do not support naming our public
infrastructure after friends of local politicians, especially as
taxpayers continue to be asked to pay for improvements to this
infrastructure.



We urge the Board of Supervisors and Mayor to restore the proper name
of SF General Hospital before they come back to the voters again in a
few years asking for more bond money to upgrade additional buildings
on the site.

 



NO on B: SF Rec and Parks' over-the-top, skim-off-the-top slush fund

 

Even the Mayor's paper, the SF Chronicle, got it right.  It would be
wrong to vote in favor of Prop B
.



The San Francisco Green Party strongly recommends voting NO,
absolutely NO, on Prop B.



Prop B would guarantee that the SF Rec and Parks Department (RPD) would
continue to operate as the City's premiere venue for trading in
political favors.  It's no longer the City's dirty little secret that
RPD managers Mark Buell and Phil Ginsburg are a conduit for the
corrupt activities, favoritism, influence peddling, and the occasional
scandal that plague City Hall.  That erstwhile secret is now openly
discussed on the streets of San Francisco.



The details are almost too awful to bear.  Prop B would amend the
City's Charter to provide a steady revenue stream to fund RPD's
privatization schemes at the expense of other discretionary items in
the budget (such as medical care, emergency housing, and in fact, all
money in the General Fund which may be used for public purposes).



Prop B requires only a simple majority to pass. San Franciscans would
pay dearly (estimates range as high as $4.5 billion over 30 years) for
the privilege of being assed out of their parks by public-private
partnerships.  San Franciscans would pay and pay again in use fees (as
RPD management has shown tireless dedication to the monetization of
our commons) and in unknown losses of public services due to budgetary
shortfalls caused by this RPD train robbery.



$4.5 billion that could fund other needed services.  No specifics. No
oversight.  For a Department that has been censured for deleting
emails to cover up sweetheart contracts, installed materials known to
be hazardous to human health on playfields and playgrounds, sprays
toxic herbicides and pesticides in Parks without proper notice, has
lied to CalRecycle to get grant money, wants to replace high school
sports with second-tier pro soccer at Kezar, fences off the Western
half of Golden Gate Park for a month or more each summer into fall for
concerts, wants to build a pro-style sunken tennis stadium in the
Eastern half of Golden Gate Park, has plans for an indoor soccer
stadium near the Beach Chalet, wants to build a water treatment
facility with the PUC to detox runoff it's rendered toxic with
hazmats, would like to allow one of its donor partners to build a
hotel with boutique shops at the Palace of Fine Arts, evicts
threatened and endangered species from its properties, and the list
goes on.


We love what's left of our parks and open spaces that we're not locked
out of.  Voting NO on B won't diminish them.  Rec and Park is already

City-funded.  Voting NO on B might send a message that we care to be
resourceful rather than impoverished, and, that we care enough about
our parks to see them under new management--that would be a sweet
amenity.



YES on C: Charter Amendment for Affordable Housing



Prop C would allow the Board of Supervisors to update the minimum
amount of "affordable" housing that is required in large new
developments.  It also sets interim requirements that are higher than
existing law, requiring 25% of the units to be affordable to rent for
people making the median income (currently approximately $71,000 per
year for a single person, plus around $10,000 more for each person in
the household), vs the current minimum of 12% of the units.


Although "affordable" units in new development won't necessarily be
affordable to people who currently live in SF, Greens see Prop C as a
step in the right direction.  It is important to allow the Board of
Supervisors to be able to change the limits in response to the boom
and bust cycle of the SF economy, rather than having to go to the
voters every time to make minor changes to the law.



YES on D: Investigate Police Shootings


SF has an Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) that is supposed to
investigate charges of police misconduct.  Prop D would require
the OCC to investigate all police shootings, and would also
require police to cooperate with those investigations.



Police throughout the United States generally operate with impunity,
almost never facing legal consequences even in cases where they
callously disregard the lives of the people they are supposed to be
"serving and protecting."  Recent cases in SF include the police
killings of Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez Lopez, Mario Woods, and Luis
Gongora.  None of the officers involved in those cases were even
charged with a crime, much less punished.


The OCC is a toothless organization, without the power to actually
fire or even discipline police officers.  However, Prop D is a tiny
improvement to existing law, because officers are not currently
legally required to cooperate with OCC investigations.



Much more work on police reform is needed to actually make a
difference.  The culture of the SFPD needs to change, especially their
"anti-snitching" culture that requires all officers to cover for a few
violent sadists.  Reform starts at the top, and a new police chief
would be a start.  We also need to reform state law, including the
"police officers' bill of rights" that gives police more rights than

ordinary citizens.



The status quo is unacceptable, and will require a lot of work and
dedication to fix.  We thank all the people who have raised
public awareness in SF recently.  Let's pass Prop D, but not
stop there.
 


YES on E: Paid Sick Leave


Prop E would amend SF's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to make it
easier for employees to actually use the paid sick leave they
are entitled to.  Under Prop A, employees could use paid
sick leave in more circumstances, such as to avoid domestic
violence, or to take care of a foster parent.  Employees would
also begin to accrue sick leave on their first day of employment,
and would keep any sick leave they had accrued if they were
temporarily laid off and then rehired.


Greens support much stronger rights for workers, including
the requirement to provide workers with paid vacation and
personal days.  Workers should also be allowed to reschedule
or turn down work shifts without being penalized.  However,
Prop E is an improvement on the status quo, so we support it.

 



No position on AA: Parcel tax for Bay restoration



Prop AA is a multi-county initiative that requires a 2/3 majority vote
to pass.  It is a parcel tax of $12/parcel on property owners (Google,
Apple and single family homeowners alike) in the Bay Area.  The
proceeds of the tax (approximately $500M over 20 years) may be used
for projects chosen by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority,
a government agency made up of local elected officials.


Most of the projects that the backers of Prop AA promise to spend
the money on are worthwhile and necessary.  With rising sea levels,
wetlands restoration is a critical priority.  Bike and pedestrian
paths are also much-needed infrastructure.


Despite those promises, the SF Green Party has taken no position
on Prop AA.  We are skeptical for the following reasons:


1. The worthwhile projects promised by the backers of Prop AA are not
legal requirements.  It's possible that instead of wetlands, we'll get
seawalls and beach armoring to protect valuable private real estate.
Bad actors in the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (namely,
Supervisor Scott Wiener) and People for a Clean and Healthy Bay (Bob
Fisher) have track records of environmental irresponsibility.  Greens
worry that they would take their projects to protect real estate

interests and elite donors to the feeding trough first.



2. The SF Bay Restoration Authority is a bond funded entity.  So far,
in its eight year existence, SFBAR has managed to craft legislation,
pitch it Bay Area Counties, and commission studies which resulted in a
rough plan to justify this parcel tax.  Some proceeds of this parcel
tax would pay for interest debt on the bond that created the
Authority, rather than necessary projects.


3. The legislation emphasizes public-private partnerships. The SF
Green Party strongly opposes privatization.  With respect to
safeguarding our natural resources, giving control over that critical
function to an elite class (especially those who have actively worked
to create environmental problems) is a travesty.


4. The SF Bay Restoration Authority operates under the authority of
the Association Bay Area Governments (ABAG) an appointed body of
elected officials from 101 Bay Area communities that is under fire.
 



A number of influential environmental organizations have signed on in
support of AA.  Their good work should be honored and supported, not
subject to the whims of in-the-pocket politicians.
 



No position on 50: Legislative suspension process



Prop 50 would prevent state legislators who are suspended by their
colleagues from being paid or receiving any benefits for the
duration of their suspension.



Prop 50 was motivated by recent cases in which three legislators
(including San Francisco's Leland Yee) committed serious crimes,
but continued to be paid after being suspended.



Greens agree that voters should be able to recall legislators.
However, the legislative suspension process, in which any legislator
can be suspended by a 2/3 vote of their colleagues, has several
serious problems.  First, there is no requirement that the suspended
legislator must have committed any crime--suspensions can occur for
any reason, including ideology.  Second, the voters who elected the
suspended legislator have no input in the process; all their
colleagues who vote on the matter represent different parts of
California.



Prop 50 would compound an already flawed process, because there would
be no recourse for wrongfully suspended legislators to get their
back pay restored if their suspension was reversed.

 

Prop 50 has the potential to lead to serious abuses, similar to the
coup currently underway in Brazil, or Mayor Lee's suspension of former
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi immediately after he was elected to office, for
"official misconduct" that allegedly took place prior to his taking
office.  At least in the latter case, Mirkarimi's pay was restored
after his suspension was overturned.



Greens therefore made no endorsement of Prop 50.



Francisco Herrera for Supervisor, District 11



Francisco Herrera is a musician, a long-time Green Party member, and an
activist with the Living Wage Coalition.  In last year's Mayoral
election, he finished 2nd, with around 1/3 of the voters
ranking him ahead of Ed Lee.  Francisco's result was the best
finish by a Green Mayoral candidate since Matt Gonzalez, despite
running a campaign with almost no funding.



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.



Greens have made an early endorsement of Francisco's campaign to
succeed John Avalos as Supervisor in District 11.  Please donate to
his campaign today, so he can qualify for matching funds and run a
more high-profile campaign.  Greens need representation again at the
Board of Supervisors, and District 11 needs a representative who can
convince Mayor Lee to listen to long-ignored neighborhoods.



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).