How Green is Your Supervisor?
This is our report card for the SF Board of Supervisors in 2016. It shows the most important votes in 2016, 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 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 report cards.
|Supported Green Party position|
|Opposed Green Party position|
|D 1: Eric Mar||D 2: Mark Farrell||D 3: Aaron Peskin||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|
|Rec & Park Set-asides||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Continue "Google Buses"||-||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Move Homeless People Around||N||-||N||Y||N||N||N||Y||N||Y||N|
|Homeless Shelter Crisis||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y|
|"Affordable Housing" Bonus||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y||N|
|Real Police Reform||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|Let Voters Elect our Electeds||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y|
|More Accountable Muni||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y|
|Less Mayoral Corruption||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y|
|Free City College||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||-||Y||Y||Y|
|Alex Nieto Memorial||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||-||Y||Y||Y|
Details about the votes we scored
1) Put Prop B (Set-asides for corrupt Rec & Park development) on June ballot (2/23/16).
This was a vote to put Prop B (SF Rec and Parks' over-the-top, skim-off-the-top slush fund) on the ballot. Greens strongly opposed Prop B, because, as we said at the time, 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. We love what's left of our parks and open spaces that we're not locked out of.
Putting this misleading set-aside before the voters was a huge mistake.
2) Transit Sustainability Fee on Non-Residential Property (2/23/16).
The proposal from John Avalos would have increased the one-time fee on large commercial projects by $2 from $19.04 to $21.04 per square foot (and that only applies on the portion above 100,000 square feet, if the project is large enough to qualify). It also would have required commercial projects in the pipeline that have not received Planning Commission approval to pay half of the difference between the new fee and the previous fee.
The proposed increase would have generated an estimated $2.4 million a year along with $30 million in one-time revenue for Muni.
Mayor Lee's allies, led by Scott Wiener, opposed increasing the fee, since Wiener had previously negotiated with developers and reached agreement to set fees at a particular level. Avalos argued even though Wiener's proposed fees were higher than they had been before, developers were still not paying their "fare share" to compensate Muni for the real costs of increasing service to new commercial developments.
Although the proposal to fund transit via higher developer fees was passed 6-5 by the Supervisors, it was later vetoed by Mayor Lee, and the Supervisors were unable to override the veto. Wiener was later elected to the State Legislature, after a campaign funded by the same developers whose low fees he'd protected.
3) Drop Environmental Review of Commuter Shuttles (2/23/16)
As reported by Mission Local, the Supervisors dismissed an appeal calling for environmental review of the Commuter Shuttle (aka "Google Bus") program.
Supervisors opposing the shuttles reached a compromise with supporters, allowing the program to continue for at least one more year, while capping the number of stops at 125.
Greens feel the "compromise" did not go nearly far enough, since shuttles continue to run on small neighborhood streets. Muni has even been re-routed off of Valencia Street in order to clear more space for commuter shuttles and fake-taxi services such as Uber.
The Supervisors' vote was unanimous. This goes to show how much a part of the "corporate community" the entire Board is.
4) Support Pointlessly Pushing Homeless People Around (3/22/16).
As we noted in our "No on Q" endorsement last year,
SF's current policy is to have cops push homeless encampments from one neighborhood to the next, until the camps are sufficiently out of public view or are concentrated in poor neighborhoods that the Mayor doesn't have to listen to.
After moving a large number of homeless people from Downtown to the North Mission in order to make room for a City-subsidized Super Bowl party, the SFPD cleared the resulting homeless encampment in early March.
Supervisors passed a resolution urging Governor Brown to declare a "State of Emergency" on homelessness in order to free up funds for supportive services.
Supervisors Wiener and Cohen tried to edit the proposition to remove some language mildly critical of SF's current policy as stated above, and instead substitute language praising Mayor Lee for removing the large camp in the Mission.
Even though the language changes this time were purely symbolic, the same supervisors (including Mark Farrell, who missed this vote) later put Prop Q on the ballot, in order to use homeless people as a wedge issue to help conservative politicians win office.
5) Declare Homeless Shelter Crisis (4/5/16)
This vote was to declare a "homeless shelter crisis" in order to make it easier to add supportive services for homeless people.
The usual anti-homeless Supervisors opposed it, although Mark Farrell switched his vote the following week once it was clear his side didn't have the votes.
6) Put Prop F (Youth Voting) on Nov Ballot (5/10/16)
Prop F would have allowed 16 and 17 year olds to vote in all municipal elections. This policy has been part of the Green Party platform for many years.
Only two Supervisors tried to prevent this basic improvement to our democratic system to go before voters.
7) Appoint Bruce Wolfe instead of David Pilpel to Sunshine Task Force (5/10/16)
In 2012, we scored the Supervisors' decision to purge long-time progressive members of the Sunshine Task Force, including Green Party activist Bruce Wolfe. In 2014, we also scored the Supervisors' decision to re-appoint the same conservative slate. This year, the Board finally voted to return Bruce Wolfe to the Commission. Wolfe is a reliable vote for government transparency, which is why he was purged in the first place, as documented in the Westside Observer.
8) "Affordable Housing" Density Bonus Program (6/28/16)
This was a vote on Katy Tang's proposal to allow developers to build higher buildings than currently allowed by zoning codes, if some of the units were affordable to "middle income" residents.
It would have increased the pace of gentrification throughout SF, as low-income renters were evicted and their rental units torn down and replaced by market rate condos, maybe with one cheaper unit in the basement as a token gesture of "affordable" housing.
Naturally, the "affordable" housing wouldn't have been made available to any displaced tenants or other people most affected by the gentrification boom.
Fortunately, Supervisors rejected this proposal and replaced it with another that allows density bonuses only for 100% "affordable" projects.
Since Scott Wiener was elected to the State Legislature, he is now trying to resurrect this pro-developer legislation on a statewide basis.
9) Real Police Reform (7/19/16)
This vote was on John Avalos' attempt to place $30 million of the police department's budget "in reserve" until the SFPD made quarterly presentations to the Board of Supervisors on their progress in implementing reforms (such as using de-escalation techniques instead of shooting people who don't immediately comply with their orders).
Unfortunately, six Supervisors showed their loyalty to the police union by shooting down this proposal.
10) Let Voters Elect our Elected Officials (Prop D) (7/19/16)
This was a vote to put Prop D on the November ballot. Prop D would have limited the Mayor's power to appoint his cronies to vacant Board seats, by prohibiting him from keeping the seat open (as he did with the District 8 seat vacated by Scott Wiener, thus gaming the timing of the next election) and requiring a special election to fill the position within 5 months. The Mayoral appointee would not have been able to run in the special election, allowing candidates to compete on a level playing field to fill the seat.
Greens strongly advocated for Prop D. By putting voters in charge, we should have decreased polarization of government and lessened the power of the local Democratic Party Machine.
This proposal was very similar to a vote that we scored on our report card for 2014, which failed on a 5-6 vote.
11) More Accountable Muni (Prop L) (7/19/16)
This was a vote to put Prop L on the November ballot. Prop L would have given the Board of Supervisors the ability to appoint three members of the Municipal Transit Agency's (MTA) board of Directors. The MTA is the City agency the oversees Muni, streets, and parking policy. Currently, the Mayor appoints all 7 members of the MTA Board, so the Board of Supervisors has almost no influence over Muni fares, parking meter costs, or bike lanes. Prop L would have also given the Supervisors more authority over the MTA budget.
Greens strongly supported Prop L, because it would have decentralized the authority of a single elected official (the Mayor) into other elected offices (Supervisors) who are more likely to be responsible to the voters of SF.
12) Put Prop N (Non-Citizen Voting) on Nov Ballot (7/26/16)
Prop N, which passed in November, will allow non-citizen parents, legal guardians, and caregivers of public school children to vote in local school board elections.
The Green Party strongly supported Prop N. Only Supervisor Farrell channeled his inner Donald Trump and voted against our immigrant communities.
13) Less Mayoral Corruption (Prop M) (7/26/16)
This was a vote to put Prop M on the November ballot. Prop M would have created a Housing and Development Commission, to oversee two departments: the Office of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
These Departments are a well-known way for Democratic Party Mayors going back to Willie Brown to hand out patronage contracts to their friends.
The SF Green Party supported a Yes vote on Prop M, as it would have shifted some Mayoral authority to other offices that are more responsive to the public, and lessened corruption.
14) Free City College (12/13/16)
After a huge grassroots movement to make City College tuition-free, voters passed a new funding source (Prop W, the tax on real estate speculation) to pay for it. However, Prop W funds go into SF's General Fund, and are not required to be spent on anything in particular. Mayor Lee decided to raid this fund to pay for his other priorities that were not funded after Prop K (the regressive sales tax that we opposed) failed.
Most supervisors recognized the importance of making City College tuition-free, in order to recover the enrollment numbers that were lost during the accreditation debacle. However, this vote at the Board was advisory; Mayor Lee is still not required to spend the money as directed.
15) Alex Nieto Memorial (12/13/16)
This was a vote to install a memorial to police shooting victim Alex Nieto at Bernal Heights Park. Nieto was shot 59 times by SFPD officers, who were never found guilty of any wrongdoing.
The vote was another test of loyalty to the police union, which did not want the memorial.
Several other votes were on issues we think are very important, but we did not score them for reasons explained below:
On Jan 12, the Supervisors voted 6-4 for the "bike yield at stop signs" law. This vote was basically the same as the one taken the previous December, so we didn't score it again. This law was vetoed by Mayor Lee before it could take effect.
On Nov 15, the Supervisors voted 6-3 for much-needed regulations on Airbnb, which we scored in 2015. However, this time it was just a publicity stunt by London Breed, who switched sides from her previous vote (when she was the swing vote in favor of the company). Breed was in a tight race for re-election against Dean Preston (a tenant activist who we endorsed) and she spent October campaigning on her sudden, new-found desire to regulate Airbnb. This was all for show, as Supervisors never had the eight votes to override the inevitable veto by Mayor Air-b-n-Lee.