How Green is Your Supervisor?
This is our report card for the SF Board of Supervisors in 2015. It shows the most important votes in 2015, 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 2014, 2013, and 2012 report cards.
|Supported Green Party position|
|Opposed Green Party position|
|Absent (Not re-elected)|
|D 1: Eric Mar||D 2: Mark Farrell||D 3: Julie Chris-tensen||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|
|Cypress security contract||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||N|
|More police, no more oversight||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y||N|
|Short Term Rental Regulation||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y|
|Roommates / rent stabilization||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Protect Sanctuary City Policy||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Transportation sustainability fee||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y|
|Approve 5M project||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
Details about the votes we scored
1) Board President (1/8/15).
At the first meeting of the Board of Supervisors every two years (when all the even or odd-numbered districts are up for election), Supervisors elect one of their own as Board President. This is an extremely powerful post, as Board Presidents can unilaterally assign other Supervisors to committees, and appoint members of some commissions. In 2003, Matt Gonzalez ran for Mayor on his record of accomplishments as Board President. In 2009, a new Board elected David Chiu as President, leading to a sharp decline in progressive legislation (Chiu used his "moderate" record and the resulting flood of corporate donations as a springboard to Sacramento).
Last year, Supervisors elected the "moderate" London Breed as Board President instead of David Campos, on an 8-3 vote. In 2016, President Breed responded by virtually shutting out the more progressive members of the Board from important committee assignments. 48 Hills covered the assignments.
2) Cypress security contract, vote to approve (4/21/15).
In April, the Board approved a $38 million Muni contract with Cypress security, to provide armed guards for Muni workers who handle cash. Greens argued that poorly trained, private security guards should not carry guns; instead, they should call for police backup if necessary. When record numbers of Black and Brown people are being killed by police and private security guards, adding yet another private armed force to our streets is a step in the wrong direction.
Disarming the guards would not only make us safer, it would have saved Muni $1 million that could have gone into better service. The SFPD should take responsibility for keeping City workers and residents safe, so the City shouldn't have to contract with additional private security firms.
3) Mission Zoning (6/2/15).
In June, Supervisor Campos introduced an emergency measure to create a temporary moratorium on building luxury housing in the Mission. His proposal was basically the same as last November's Prop I, which we also supported. As we said in our endorsement of Prop I:
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. 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.
Campos' legislation needed 9 votes instead of the usual 6 to pass, because it was an emergency measure. It's unclear to us why the Supervisors couldn't have accomplished the same thing through the usual legislative process, where it would have had a chance of passing. As it was, the measure lost with 7 yes votes of the 9 needed to pass.
4) More police, no more oversight (6/23/15).
The SF Police Department (SFPD) is one of City government's most expensive departments, costing taxpayers $548 million per year. At the same time, police have very little oversight: regardless of the priorities of neighborhood residents, police choose to spend their time ticketing bicyclists, going undercover to bust small-time drug users, or pointlessly herding homeless residents from one neighborhood to the next. Recently, some officers have even gotten away with murder.
Meanwhile, SF residents are growing increasingly frustrated with the SFPD's reluctance to fight violent crime, burglaries, and other more serious offenses. Most SF residents who have reported crimes have experienced the SFPD's apathy firsthand. But after years of battling to force SFPD officers to do foot patrols, the current Board of Supervisors appears to have given up, and have instead resorted to buying the cops' favor with initiatives like this one.
Rather than requiring police to prioritize violent crimes, or to save money by hiring civilians to do desk work, Supervisors kissed up to the police union by voting 6-5 to increase SFPD staffing levels (and costs to the City) beyond even the high levels approved by SF voters in 1994.
5) Short Term Rental Regulation (7/14/15).
In July, Supervisors tried to regulate Airbnb and other short term rental companies through the legislative process. After the legislation was blocked by 6 Supervisors, the regulations went to the ballot as Prop F. As we said in our endorsement of Prop F last year:
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 also lost at the ballot box, defeated by a $10 million ad blitz and a series of endorsements from politicians who sold us out.
6) Roommates / rent stabilization (9/22/15).
In September, Supervisors strengthened tenant rights by passing legislation that would protect tenants from evictions for a number of minor offenses (e.g., air-drying laundry) or for adding a roommate.
The roommate provision allows tenants to add as many people as are legal under SF's housing code, which is a critical protection for working class renters. Four Supervisors tried to block this provision, but failed.
7) Protect Sanctuary City Policy (10/20/15).
Last July, Kate Steinle, a San Francisco resident, was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant. The case received national attention, with politicians including Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Dianne Feinstein calling on SF to end our "sanctuary city" policy. This policy allows undocumented immigrants to cooperate with law enforcement without fear of deportation. Many large cities have sanctuary city policies, which generally improve public safety.
In October, Supervisor Mark Farrell capitalized on the national attention by proposing legislation to end SF's Sanctuary City policy. His move was tabled on a 6-5 vote.
8) Transportation sustainability fee (11/3/15).
In November, Supervisors approved a "transit fee" to be paid by residential developers, in order to pay for improvements to Muni required to support the additional residents who would move into the newly developed units.
Although state law allows SF to charge developers the actual costs of providing increased service, Mayor Lee negotiated a much lower fee, effectively cutting Muni services in order to subsidize his donors.
As Supervisor Avalos stated, "The mayor cut a deal with developers, and now that we are in the public part of the legislative process, the developers are trying to protect the deal they made in his office."
Avalos' attempt to raise another $35 million for Muni, along with another $13.5 million each year, was shot down on a 6-5 vote.
9) Approve 5M project (11/17/15).
In November, Supervisors approved "5M", a large redevelopment project in SOMA. The project required rezoning the area to much larger density than was previously allowed.
Opponents argued that the project would squeeze out the working-class and elderly Filipino residents of 8,000 nearby housing units, as well as violate area plans, codes, zoning designations and regulations.
Only 3 Supervisors stood up to the developers in favor of protecting SOMA's low-income residents.
10) Bike Yield (12/15/15).
In December, Supervisors approved a law that would allow bikes to yield the right of way to pedestrians and other vehicles at stop signs, rather than needing to come to a complete stop even when no other vehicles are present.
This law, called the "Idaho Stop" because it is already the law in the state of Idaho, has been supported by the Green Party for many years and is part of the Transportation Plank of our platform. The regulation would encourage traffic cops to focus on dangerous drivers, rather than waste time and taxpayer money staging bike stings.
Although six Supervisors voted to change the law, Mayor Lee vetoed it. Supervisor Christensen had been replaced by Aaron Peskin at this point, but Peskin joined Lee in opposing this common sense regulation.