November 2019 Endorsements

These are the SF Green Party Endorsements for the November 2019 election.


We are handing out postcard-sized copies like the one shown on the right.  If you can help distribute these, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We are also mailing our endorsements to all our members.  If you can donate to help cover our printing and mailing costs, please use the "donate" link to the left!


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


SF Candidates:


SF Ballot Measures:

  • NO on A (housing bonds for mostly private housing)
  • no position on B (tiny changes to a commission name and appointments)
  • NO on C (JUUL ballot measure)
  • NO on D (Uber/Lyft ballot measure)
  • NO on E (allow private development on public open space in SF)
  • YES on F ("sunshine on dark money")


Click below to read our complete Green Voter Guide.




Ventresca for Mayor


Joel Ventresca is a longtime neighborhood activist and environmental commissioner. He was very active in the fight for public power back in the early 2000s. The Green Party previously endorsed him in his campaign for a board seat on the Municipal Utility District, which never got created due to a narrow campaign loss for Prop I in 2001.


Ventresca is the only candidate in the contest who's running a populist campaign with positions to the left of Mayor Breed. In response to the Green Party's questionnaire, he supported much of the Green Party's agenda, including support for public power, social housing (democratically-run, publicly owned rental housing, for people of all income levels, with rents capped based on income), commercial rent control, a ban on Airbnb, more democratic oversight of the Housing Authority, and free Muni. He's not perfect: like nearly every other Democratic Party candidate, he's endorsed the Uber-sponsored Prop D, which will allow Uber and Lyft to continue to cause traffic congestion and drive people away from Muni.


As we expected, Mayor Breed has continued the same pro-corporate, anti-neighborhood policies as her predecessors Ed Lee, Gavin Newsom, and Willie Brown. Ventresca is not running much of a campaign, but San Franciscans should vote for him as a signal that we're not happy with business as usual.



Boudin for District Attorney


In the contest for DA, our endorsement was an easy decision: we enthusiastically awarded our sole endorsement to Chesa Boudin. We believe that this race could present a unique opportunity for San Franciscans. It was refreshing to read Boudin's questionnaire about how he would involve the community in the decisions his office makes. We are weary of prosecutors who make decisions based solely on the likelihood of getting a conviction. We believe they should be made in the interests of justice. It would be exciting to have both a District Attorney and a Public Defender who believe strongly in restorative justice.


His opponents have criticized Boudin for his current work in the Public Defender's office, and don't believe an attorney can make the transition from Public Defender to DA. This is nonsense. Public Defenders make great DAs (and vice versa) because they know the strategy of the other side. This is why rich criminals nearly always hire former prosecutors as their defense attorneys.


Boudin would greatly improve public safety in SF by focusing DA resources on serious and violent crimes, not victimless crimes that are easy to prosecute and "run up the stats." In response to our question about police shootings of numerous victims (Alex Nieto, Alice Brown, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Giovany Contreras Sandoval, Herbert Benitez, Javier Lopez Garcia, Jessica Williams, Luis Góngora Pat, Mario Woods, Matthew Hoffman, Nicholas McWherter, and O’Shaine Evans), he stated that it is "hard to imagine why not even a single officer in any of these shootings was charged." In contrast to our last couple of DAs (Gascon and Harris), who essentially turned a blind eye to these shootings, Boudin would do the right thing and bring in an outside agency to investigate.


We are pleased that Boudin is not the only candidate in the race running on progressive values. Leif Dautch, like Boudin, is against the death penalty, and supports restorative justice. However, he gave less direct answers to our questions about police staffing levels and investigating shootings by police officers. We therefore chose to only award our endorsement to Boudin.


We wish we could support a woman for this office; however, the leading female candidate, Suzy Loftus, has shown she's unfit for the job. In 2012, she allegedly helped cover up the SFPD's failure to test rape kits, and even went so far as to personally mislead one of the victims about the situation. As a result, both Loftus and the City are being sued in a case that's currently being petitioned at the US Supreme Court. Loftus is also being disingenuous in her promise to prosecute car break-ins, since the cases would have to be investigated first by the SFPD. Loftus declined to participate in our candidate interviews, so we were unable to have her address these serious concerns in person.


Nancy Tung, the other candidate running for DA, stated that she would not have charged any of the police officers who shot civilians. She also supports increasing the size of the already bloated SFPD, and keeping Juvenile Hall open. Although she is opposed to the death penalty, she does not agree with us on enough other issues for us to consider endorsing her.



Raju for Public Defender


Mano Raju was appointed Public Defender after the tragic death of Jeff Adachi. He is currently running unopposed to finish Adachi's term.


Raju is endorsed by Matt Gonzalez, Adachi's former lieutenant at the Public Defender's office, and a former Green Party Mayoral candidate. Raju shares many values with the Green Party: he is strongly opposed to the Death Penalty and gang injunctions, and he will fight to have the Public Defender's office funded at levels similar to the SFPD.


Greens strongly supported Adachi for Public Defender, not only because he shared many of our values, but because he was willing to fight the Mayor and other conservative Democrats in City Hall on behalf of his clients. We hope that once elected, Raju can live up to Adachi's legacy.



Preston #1, Brown #2 for D5 Supervisor


Dean Preston is a long-time tenant activist and attorney. In endorsing him for Supervisor over London Breed in 2016, we wrote:

He is especially good on issues of rent control and tenants' rights, and his answers to our questionnaire show that he agrees with us on enough other policy issues that he really should be registered Green instead of Democrat.

We have a few policy differences with Preston. He supports Uber's Prop D, which will allow fake taxi companies like Uber and Lyft to continue to cause traffic congestion and drive people away from Muni. And the political club he is heavily involved with, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), generally does not endorse Greens. When Greens joined SF Berniecrats last year in gathering signatures to put a social housing initiative on the ballot, Preston did not support the initiative, and several DSA members petitioning for Prop C actively discouraged voters from signing petitions for social housing. However, Preston now says that he supports social housing in principle.


The appointed incumbent Supervisor, Vallie Brown, is a former aide to Ross Mirkarimi. Mirkarimi and Brown passed a groundbreaking plastic bag ban, as well as CleanPowerSF. Brown continues to support public power and municipalizing PG&E's private distribution system in SF.


Although she was appointed Supervisor by Mayor Breed, Brown has maintained her credibility as an environmentalist: she recently passed legislation to start phasing out the use of natural gas in City-owned buildings, as well as requiring large buildings to purchase 100% renewable energy. Brown agrees with the Green Party on many more political positions than her predecessor, Mayor Breed. In our legislative scorecard, Breed scored 16/71 (23%) over 6 years as a Supervisor, while Brown has gone 3 for 5 (60%) since being appointed last year.


However, Greens have strong policy differences with Brown with regards to building market rate housing. Although Brown claims that building more million dollar condos will lower housing prices for everybody, evidence shows that this instead leads to gentrification and displacement. This in turn exacerbates the climate crisis, as low-wage workers displaced to distant suburbs often must commute long distances by car in order to keep their jobs in SF.


In the end, both leading candidates in this contest share many key values with Greens, but both also have serious flaws. We ultimately decided to endorse both, and to rank our endorsement in the order we suggest voters rank them using RCV. In the end, the choice comes down to a free market fundamentalist who wants to put 'stack and pack' housing all over the neighborhood, vs a non-profiteer who has his own political club.


We support many of Supervisor Brown's efforts, and her track record is good enough to award her our #2 endorsement. However, we think Dean Preston is better on the key issues of housing and tenants' rights, and would better represent a very progressive district. We therefore endorse him in our #1 spot.



No endorsement for School Board


After former School Board President Matt Haney won the District 6 Supervisor's seat, Mayor Breed got to fill the resulting vacancy on the School Board. Breed chose her Education Advisor, Jenny Lam. Lam is currently running to finish Haney's term, while still holding her full time job of advising Mayor Breed.


We have some major policy differences with Lam. She is very supportive of JROTC, the purpose of which is to recruit young students to join the military. Greens support developing non-military leadership programs, such as one based on NERT emergency response training, led by the SF Fire Department. Lam is also very supportive of standardized testing. Standardized testing wastes both time and money: it eats up nearly two months of class time in the SF public schools, and money that should be spent in the classroom is diverted to private (politically connected) testing corporations. Lam's politics aren't all bad: we supported her efforts to legalize non-citizen voting for the School Board. And among all the candidates in the race, Lam is clearly the most knowledgeable about our schools. She has two kids in the public schools herself, and has been involved for years.


However, our biggest concern with Lam is not the policies she supports, but rather her close ties to the Mayor's office. The School Board is supposed to be an independent body from the rest of SF government, so having a Board member who directly reports to the Mayor is very problematic. The School Board is a part-time job, and some of its members struggle to balance their full time careers with this position. Lam, on the other hand, is paid full time merely to advise the Mayor. Because she can spend all her time working on the Mayor's education priorities, this gives her an unfair advantage over the other Board members, who only serve part time.


Two other candidates joined the race at the last minute to challenge Lam: Kirsten Strobel, who has experience working with the school district through the Legal Services for Children non-profit, and Robert Coleman, who has been involved in various arts and poetry programs in the schools. Both seem to have been inspired to run by the fight over whether to remove racist, but historic, murals at Washington High School.


Robert Coleman shares many Green values, and was briefly registered Green in the aftermath of the Matt Gonzalez for Mayor campaign. He agrees with us on many key issues, including JROTC, standardized testing, and non-citizen voting. However, his knowledge of the myriad of challenges facing the San Francisco Unified School District appears to be limited. He was able to identify some of the problems with the school assignment system, but does not have a plan to fix it.


Kirsten Strobel is a development director at SF FILM. She seems more knowledgeable than Coleman about the SF schools, based on her answers to our questionnaire, and she has worked with SFUSD students through her work at Legal Services for Children. However, she doesn't have much direct involvement in the schools. She also supports JROTC, and opposes non-citizen voting, stating that it may lead to election fraud. That's a non-starter for us.


It's great that the SF arts community is getting involved and running candidates for the School Board. However, we've met some SFUSD art teachers who have found mouse droppings and other major problems in their school classrooms. Artists should care more about these everyday problems than about preserving racist murals.


The decision to not endorse in the school board race was a tough one. We like to support citizen candidates, and we like to see competitive elections. And Jenny Lam's conflict of interest is far too large for us to seriously consider endorsing her.


But the problems that plague SFUSD are complicated: segregated schools, a misunderstood assignment system, widespread shortages of teachers and staff, major facilities problems, and lack of transparency in bond spending. We need citizen candidates to step forward who have both a direct interest in our schools, and enough knowledge and experience to tackle these problems.



No endorsement for College Board


Ivy Lee is running unopposed for college board. She declined to answer our endorsement questionnaire, so we did not make any endorsement.



No endorsement for City Attorney


City Attorney Dennis Herrera is running unopposed again. Once again he has earned our non-endorsement. Herrera seeks, and will extend into a second decade, his service to the elite interests that operate SF’s political machine. Herrera is effectively the head of the neoliberal legal apparatus that shovels money into the treasure troves of the super-rich, members-only SF socialite club that funds politicians and the non-profit industrial complex. This City Attorney works for the City establishment. Since 2001, he’s written the agreements and has had a hand in the crafting and non-oversight of the City’s crony contracts. Herrera has cost the city millions in settlements, wasted tens of millions, and enabled fleecing taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars more.


Dennis Herrera should be shown the door, or, at the very least, forced to look out it at the destitution he has helped bring about. Don’t vote for him, ever, for any elected position.



No endorsement for Sheriff


Paul Miyamoto, long-time veteran of the SF Sheriff's Deptartment, is running unopposed. He's running on an "experience, not politics" platform. Greens believe that law enforcement, like the military, needs careful civilian oversight in order to avoid getting out of control. The Sheriff's Department is no exception, and it thrived under three decades of management by Mike Hennessey. After the deposition of Sheriff Mirkarimi in 2015 by Mayor Lee and his allies, the department has gone downhill.


Miyamoto has the endorsement of the the DSA (Deputy Sheriffs Association) and he doesn’t need ours.



No endorsement for Treasurer


City Treasurer Jose Cisneros was a crony appointee, stuck in place by our erstwhile Mayor Gavin Newsom. At a past Green endorsement meeting, Cisneros claimed not to know the difference between a bank and a credit union. He was, however, up to snuff on the difference between a payroll tax and a gross receipts tax, which he was proud to help implement in order to facilitate the tech/real estate takeover of the City.


The Treasurer directs the Office of the Tax Collector and works with the Assessor-Recorder's Office to ensure that residential property taxes are collected routinely at the maximum rate, and commercial property taxes are, in theory, fairly administered without showing any political favoritism.


Cisneros is running unopposed, and will continue enjoy making $206,424 per year and putting in a good 20 years at a post that should be replaced by an algorithm and staff at a public bank. He doesn’t deserve a vote.



No on A


Prop A is a $600 million bond to pay for the construction, acquisition, and repair of "affordable housing" projects. Although about 1/4 of the bond would go to public housing, and a small amount would go to worthwhile projects like the SF Community Land Trust, the vast majority would subsidize private developers to build private "affordable housing." As with most such project, only a fraction of "affordable housing" is actually affordable to people who currently live here.


Prop A is a re-run of 2015's Prop A, a $310 million bond to do the same thing. In 2015, we endorsed "No on A" and wrote in our Voter Guide that Prop A would be:

... a slush fund with little oversight that the local Democratic Party Machine will use to pay off politically connected developers and nonprofits.

A report online details how the 2015 money was actually spent. As we expected, some of the worst developers in the City, including John Stewart Co, received funding.


Did SF taxpayers get our money's worth? In the detailed reports (PDFs linked from the site above), we see that the City paid between one quarter and one half of the total cost of various private housing projects, but got none of the equity. The City's portion of the costs were roughly $200,000 - $300,000 for each unit, before bond interest. With interest, the cost to taxpayers approximately doubles (see our Statement on Bond Funding, below). Therefore, Prop A pays private developers to build "affordable housing" at nearly the same price as it would cost to build new public or social housing ($600,000 - $700,000 per unit).


Although some of the Prop A money would be spent on worthy projects, we recommend a NO vote on Prop A. We hope others will join us instead in working towards directing City resources towards real public investments in such as social housing.



No position on B


San Francisco's commissions have a big problem. For almost all commissions, the Mayor appoints a majority (and often all) of the commissioners, who vote on very serious matters that profoundly impact the lives of San Franciscans. This system (known as a 'strong Mayor' system) is deeply undemocratic and gives one lone elected official far too much power. Furthermore, because the Mayor's race is such an expensive election, powerful wealthy and corporate interests often have so much influence on the Mayor that they strongly impact the Mayor's appointment decisions.


San Francisco needs put a stop to this by ensuring that the 11 member Board of Supervisors, which is San Francisco's local legislature, appoints more of the members of each commission than the Mayor does. On the most important commissions, members should be directly elected by voters.


Prop B does not address this problem. It changes some of the qualifications for three of the seven members of the Aging and Adult Services Commission, but still unacceptably leaves the Mayor in charge of appointing all seven commissioners. This leaves San Francisco with a fundamental lack of democracy on that commission.


Prop B is a slight improvement over the status quo, by requiring representation from some groups, such as veterans, who may have previously been under-represented. But Green Party members also believe that passing Prop B would give the public a false sense of reform, when not much is really changing at all.


Because of this, we decided not to take a position for or against Prop B.



No on C


Prop C is a measure sponsored by tobacco companies that would overturn regulations approved by SF voters and the Board of Supervisors, and replace them with new regulations written by the tobacco industry.


Prop C would repeal the ban on the sale of vaping products passed by the Board in June 2019. It would also repeal the voter-approved ban on the sale of flavored tobacco (Prop E, from June 2018). Prop C would also enact some minor changes in the way tobacco products are regulated in SF.


In 2018, we wrote:

We continue to be concerned that flavored tobacco and other vaping products, such as JUUL, are marketed to kids. We strongly oppose corporate-sponsored ballot measures to overturn prior elections. Corporations should be prohibited from spending money to put measures on the ballot. Only humans, not corporations, should be allowed to spend money and otherwise participate in democracy.

There are other good reasons to oppose Prop C.  There is no regulation on the so-called "inert" chemical ingredients of vaping products, so we have no idea what is in vaping products or what their health effects are.  Based on the precautionary principle, we think such ingredients should be tested and proven safe before they are sold.  We also have environmental concerns about the single-use plastic that vaping cartridges are made from.



No on D


Uber and Lyft are responsible for the huge increase in traffic congestion in San Francisco. A 2019 study showed that these companies caused 2/3 of a 62% rise in congestion between 2010 and 2016. Traffic has only gotten worse since then. Traffic slows Muni buses and taxis. It causes dangerous air quality, increased greenhouse gas emissions, injuries and deaths for pedestrians and bicyclists, and lost time and increased stress for everybody.


To "mitigate" these impacts, Prop D would add a token 15 - 33 cent increase to the cost of a typical $10 Uber or Lyft ride. It is projected to raise $35 million per year, supposedly to relieve traffic congestion.


We oppose Prop D because the tax is far too small compared to the size of the problem. $35 million is tiny on the scale of our City budget, and will have almost no impact on traffic.


What is really needed? A USF report estimated that making Muni free to all riders would cost less than $200 million per year. A tax rate just five to ten times higher than proposed in Prop D could pay for free Muni, along with increased and better service. Good, reliable, free public transit, along with a tax of a few bucks on each Uber and Lyft ride, might actually get some people out of cars and onto Muni.


Uber and Lyft run totally counter to San Francisco's strong labor and environmental values: not only do their drivers not have unions, labor rights, or normal employee benefits, but the companies create massive carbon emissions by incentivizing drivers to commute long distances. Revenue flows up to their executives, while all the social and climate costs are passed down to us.


When it comes to the climate crisis, we can’t keep kicking the can down the road. If we want a viable future for our children, we need real change, not photo ops for politicians and their corporate buddies.


In response to those who think a 15 cent tax is "a start" or "the best we can get," remember that raising the tax further, to the 5-10x higher levels that would be needed to actually improve traffic, would require a whole new ballot measure with another 2/3 threshold. If Prop D passes, and the voters see that it doesn't do what it claims to do, namely "mitigate traffic," they won't support an increase. So we need to get this right the first time.


According to a Matier and Ross column from this March, D3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin was taken to dinner by Uber and Lyft representatives, including Peskin's former aide who now has a job at Uber. They all agreed to a tax that Uber and Lyft both supported. This was bribery. And the fact that Uber and Lyft both wrote and endorse Prop D is evidence that these corporations agree with us that the Prop D tax will be too small to cause any decrease in their ridership.


In the middle ages, wealthy sinners could buy "indulgences" from the Catholic Church in order to keep right on sinning. Let's not let the public officials from the Church of City Hall sell us out in the same way. Please join us in voting NO on D!



No on E


Prop E is a misleading initiative that claims it will streamline "housing for educators." If that's all that it did, we'd be 100% in favor. Unfortunately, Prop E also contains a loophole that will open up public lands zoned as "open space" to private housing development. Because of that, we can't support it.


Prop E creates a new, streamlined process for private developers who are building housing that is classified as either "100% affordable" or "educator housing." The "100% affordable" category includes housing that is supposed to be affordable to families making 80% of Bay Area median income ($98,500 per year). Unfortunately, most working class families who currently live in SF don't make anything close to that! The "educator" category includes housing for families making up to 160% of the Bay Area median income ($197,000 per year), so long as at least one resident is an employee of the SF public schools or the Community College of San Francisco.


Prop E also removes the restriction against developing housing on land currently zoned "open space" - a category that includes parks, shorelines, and the tops of hills. Prop E does not allow building housing on land that is being used as a park; however, the Rec and Parks Department could make parks eligible for development by transferring the land to a different City department.


Greens believe that what little public land we have should be used exclusively for public benefit - including in many cases, publicly owned social housing. Private development of public open space should not be allowed, even if well-intentioned. And unfortunately, Prop E will do little to help current SF teachers and other residents, who will struggle to afford new housing that's misleadingly described as "affordable."


Therefore, we support a NO vote on Prop E.



Yes on F


Prop F, called the "Sunshine on Dark Money" initiative, would prohibit some corporate contributions to candidates running for local office, prohibit personal contributions (for some offices) from people with pending or recently resolved land use matters, and expand the requirements for disclosing the true source of funds for PAC spending.


It is already illegal for most corporations to donate directly to candidates in local races. Prop F would close a loophole that allows limited liability company (LLC) and partnerships to give money. In our view, these are basically the same as corporations, and only actual human beings should be allowed to contribute to candidates.


Prop F would also prohibit "pay to play" contributions from people with land use issues pending or recently resolved by the City. This regulation was proposed in 2018 at the Board of Supervisors, but was shot down by Supervisors Breed, Cohen, Safai, Sheehy, Stefani, and Tang. As we wrote in our 2018 report card, these contributions are basically legalized bribery.


Finally Prop F would make it easier to find out the true source of funds for "independent expenditures" (PAC spending), which is the main way in which corporations currently influence our elections.


Greens support all 3 of these reforms and enthusiastically recommend a YES vote on Prop F.



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).