How Green is Your Supervisor?
This is our report card for the SF Board of Supervisors in 2014. It shows the most important votes in 2014, from a Green Party perspective, and whether each supervisor supported or opposed our position. Some of the votes are on amendments to legislation. Compare to our 2013 and 2012 report cards.
|Supported Green Party position|
|Opposed Green Party position|
|Excused Absence (Vacation or Resigned)|
|D 1: Eric Mar||D 2: Mark Farrell||D 3: David Chiu||D 4: Katy Tang||D 5: London Breed||D 6: Jane Kim||D 7: Norman Yee||D 8: Scott Wiener||D 9: David Campos||D 10: Malia Cohen||D 11: John Avalos|
|Sharp Park Golf Course||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|"Google Bus" Pilot Project||-||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Support Landlords Over Evictees||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y||N|
|Kick Angela Chan off Police Commission||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N|
|Muni Ad Contract||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||N|
|Revisit Sunshine Task Force Appointments||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|Muni Riders Subsidizing Sunday Drivers||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N|
|Let Voters Elect our Electeds||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|More City Funds for Muni||N||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||-|
|Home Monitoring of Inmates||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||-|
|Limit Airbnb Rentals to 90 Days||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y|
|Collect Airbnb Back Taxes||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y|
|AT&T Building Permit||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y||Y|
|Table "Black Lives Matter" Resolution||N||Y||-||Y||Y||N||-||Y||N||Y||N|
Details about the votes we scored
1) Sharp Park Golf Course (3/25/14).
Sharp Park is a public golf course in Pacifica, which is owned and run by the City of San Francisco. It was built on wetlands that are home to several endangered species, including the California Red-Legged Frog and San Francisco garter snake. According to a SF Weekly study in 2010, the golf course costs SF taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to maintain ("Bleeding Green") and will cost even more in the future with sea level rise. These funds should be devoted to maintaining our public parks that are actually in the City, and on eliminating fees for visiting and using SF parks (such as the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park). In March, Supervisors voted to move forward with an upgrade project, rejecting environmentalists' calls to first study how the construction would affect wildlife.
2) "Google Bus" Pilot Project (4/1/14).
For some time, corporations located on the Peninsula have contracted large, mostly double decker, buses to carry their workers in and out of San Francisco. These "Google buses" (most of which belong to other tech companies) illegally parked at Muni stops, and often ran on small streets that were not designed for buses. Critics argued that Google buses lead to gentrification (over 2/3 of no-fault evictions were within four blocks of a shuttle stop) and slow down people commuting to jobs in the City by blocking Muni buses during commute hours. Rather than impose additional regulations on these buses, Supervisors voted 8-2 to retroactively legalize their use of Muni stops for a $1 fee, and not to impose any further regulations.
3) Sabotaging Increased Ellis Act Eviction Payments (4/8/14).
Landlords who evict tenants under the Ellis Act are currently required to pay each tenant around $5200. In April, Supervisor Campos wrote legislation to increase these payments to reflect the difference between the evicted tenant's rent payments and the market rent for similar apartments. The rationale was that evicted residents might still be able to afford to live in SF for a year or two, if they were evicted for no reason other than to increase profits for the landlord.
Supervisor Breed led an effort to sabotage the program, by introducing a "hardship exemption" that would exempt almost all landlords from making such payments. Her amendment, which we scored, failed on a 6-5 vote.
Ultimately, the Board voted for a "hardship exemption" that would only benefit middle class landlords and not wealthy speculators. The legislation to increase payments passed, but is currently on hold pending a lawsuit.
4) Kick Angela Chan off Police Commission. (4/29/14).
This was a vote by seven Supervisors to remove Angela Chan from Police Commission. The vote was described by these members as a contest between two well-qualified candidates; however, both candidates could have served since there was another open seat on the commission at the time. Chan had been an effective voice advocating for immigrant rights and against arming the SFPD with tasers. Seven Supervisors voted to replace her with the co-chair of the "Run, Ed, Run" committee, a group formed to collect and spend illegal campaign donations to Mayor Lee.
5) Muni Advertising Contract (5/20/14).
In May, Supervisors sold advertising rights on Muni buses, including doubling the number of "fully wrapped" buses. These "full wrap" ads are especially bad because they make it hard to see out of the bus, making Muni even more unpleasant for passengers. The contract only brings in $325,000 per year from the wraps, a drop in the bucket for a system that costs over half a billion dollars per year.
6) Sunshine Task Force Appointments (5/20/14).
In 2012, we scored the Supervisors' decision to purge progressives, including Green Party member Bruce Wolfe, from the Sunshine Task force. In 2014, they re-appointed the same conservative slate, including several candidates who are frequently absent or have Ethics complaints filed against them. Four supervisors voted to send the appointments back to the Rules committee, so this is the vote we scored.
7) Muni Riders Subsidizing Sunday Drivers (6/17/14).
The SF Municipal Transit Agency (MTA) is a City department that manages all ground transportation in SF, including public transit. In 2012, the MTA began requiring drivers to pay parking meters on Sundays from noon-6 pm. Sunday meters brought in approximately $11 million/year to help fund various projects, including street repairs and Muni. Local businesses also supported Sunday meters, since more turnover in parking spaces meant easier parking for their customers who drove. However, Mayor Lee called for free parking on Sundays, and the MTA board (all of whom are appointed by the Mayor) obeyed. This led to a budget deficit, which was only partly covered by a subsequent Muni fare increase.
Environmentalists appealed the MTA's decision to the Supervisors, reasoning that the new policy favoring cars over Muni should require an environmental review, but they were rejected on a 9-2 vote.
We note that while we support Sunday meters in commercial areas, we do not support the MTA's expansion of parking meters into residential neighborhoods.
8) Let Voters Elect our Electeds (7/15/14).
Most of the current "City Family" got their start in politics by being appointed by another member to fill a vacancy. As a result, we haven't seen leadership this inbred since the Spanish Habsburgs. Greens strongly supported a ballot measure to fill vacancies using special elections, but this was blocked by six members of the Family, including four who launched their political careers from City jobs or appointments: Breed, appointed to the Fire Commission by Mayor Newsom in 2010; Cohen, once Newsom's confidential secretary; Tang, appointed to the Board by Mayor Lee in 2013; Wiener, a former deputy City attorney hired by Dennis Herrera.
9) Put Prop B (Muni Funding) on Ballot (7/22/14).
Last November, we supported Prop B, which dedicate more money to Muni operations from the City's general fund, increasing funding with population growth. These payments could be replaced by a local increase in the vehicle license fee (VLF), if voters approve that in two years. This ballot measure was in response to Mayor Lee's broken promise to support a VLF on the November ballot. When the Supervisors voted to put this measure on the ballot in the face of the threats from Mayor Lee, four tried to prevent public input.
As Greens support Muni being fully funded from our tax dollars (and free to the riders), Prop B was a step in the right direction.
10) Home Monitoring of Inmates (7/22/14).
In July, Sheriff Mirkarimi proposed allowing inmates who are too poor to afford bail, but who are not a safety risk, to be given the option of staying home with electronic monitoring using ankle bracelets. This policy would both lower the number of repeat offenders (by allowing them to maintain family ties) and also save taxpayer money. Five Supervisors rejected the proposal out of personal animosity towards the Sheriff, rather than acting in the public interest.
We hope the Supervisors will revisit this at a time when Supervisor Avalos can participate in the vote.
11-12) Airbnb Legalization (10/7/14).
Airbnb is a company that allows homeowners and tenants to sublet their units for short periods (days). Its major investor, Ron Conway, is also one of Mayor Lee's biggest political supporters. Short term rentals were illegal in SF, but Conway's support for Lee put him above the law. In October, Supervisor Chiu led the charge to legalize Airbnb's business model, effectively rezoning the entire City into a hotel district. We scored two critical amendments to this proposal:
- Five supervisors tried to limit rentals in each unit to 90 days per year, but this was blocked by six supervisors who thought every home could potentially be a full-time hotel.
- The same five supervisors also tried to force the Treasurer to collect back taxes owed by Airbnb on previously illegal rentals, before the new law could take effect. Six supervisors agreed with Leona Helmsley that "only the little people pay taxes."
13) AT&T Building Permit (11/4/14).
In September, the Planning Commission gave AT&T a conditional use permit (a waiver of zoning regulations) to allow them to build a new wireless telecommunications center on top of an existing 3-story building. Residents of the building and more than 50 neighbors objected to the plan, stating that the new towers would be higher than the rest of the neighborhood and block views, as well as emit high levels of electromagnetic radiation. The Supervisors sided 6-5 with AT&T, allowing them to build the project.
14) Prezageddon (11/18/14).
After Supervisor Chiu used Ron Conway's "donations" to secure a seat in the State Legislature, he engineered a vote to appoint his replacement to the Board Presidency, before such a vacancy even occurred! Such a move was unprecedented, and was denounced by former Board Presidents from across the political spectrum. Supervisor Avalos led a motion to delay the vote, but this failed as the outgoing President voted for his own replacement.
15) Do Black Lives in SF Matter? (12/16/14).
In the midst of "Black Lives Matter" protests throughout the country and around the Bay Area, Supervisor Avalos introduced legislation affirming the right to protest, and commending the SFPD for their handling of local protests. While we disagree that the SFPD are significantly different than their colleagues from around the country, this was an important symbolic vote in favor of the right to protest. The measure was sent to die in committee over Avalos' objections.