How We’re Voting – Local Measures A – V

UPDATE: After consulting my chief strategist, Monsieur, I have changed some of my votes. Yes, I am a flip-flopper, but now I’m 100% sure.

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Yikes, this is really last minute, I know.

Voting in San Francisco is practically a part-time job. You’ll notice that I’m generally against local measures and propositions on the principal that our elected officials should be representing their constituents (voters) and not making “we” ill-informed citizens decide on major budget issues.

It’s fucking ridiculous that the voter information guide is the size of a phonebook. Half of this shiz shouldn’t even be on the ballot. I take voting and political action seriously, probably more seriously than most people I know, and to make a good decision as an informed voter takes hours of studying.

Ugh.

Anyway, quick and dirty, here we go:

Proposition A

Should the City issue $887,400,000 in general obligation bonds for building and/or rebuilding San Francisco General Hospital to improve earthquake security?

YES

Because: This vote will be made begrudgingly, but we really need San Francisco General. It operates the ONLY trauma center in the region. And we really need it not to go down in an earthquake.

The City needs SFGH to care for people in need of acute hospital care. The trauma center is also
needed. It would be a tragedy for the City to have to close the hospital because of a failure to do this seismic upgrading.

Proposition B

Should the City Charter be amended to establish a new fund called the San Francisco Affordable Housing Fund to increase City support for affordable housing?

YES

Because: Good for renters.

Proposition C

Should the City Charter be amended so that City employees cannot serve on certain Charter boards or commissions?

NO

Because: City employees, including firefighters and police officers, should be able to weigh in.

Proposition D

Should the proposed development Plan for Pier 70 be supported through additional hotel and payroll tax revenue?
In addition, should the development plan serve as a master lease that does not require additional oversight or approval from the Board of Supervisors, once the plan is approved?

YES

Because: Many of Pier 70’s historic structures are condemned. Without new funding these structures could be lost forever. Pier 70 is poised to become one of the City’s vital new neighborhoods, preserving the history that helped make San Francisco a world-class waterfront city.

Basically, this is an income opportunity for the City.

Proposition E

Should the City Charter be amended to adopt the signature standards set by the state to recall an official?

YES

Because: The 10% requirement for signatures on a recall petition for a supervisor is too low. Adopting the state requirement would prevent frivolous attempts to remove a supervisor.

Crappy supervisors can still be removed, but not in an abusive way where we’re recalling people left and right…and spending lots of money to do so.

Proposition F

Should all City elections, except special elections, be held in even-numbered years after the November 2011 election?

YES

Because: More people will come out to vote.

Proposition G

Should the City Charter be amended to allow City employees who took unpaid parental leave before July 1, 2003 to have the ability to purchase, at their own cost, retirement service credit for their unpaid leave?

YES

Because: It’s a no-brainer. We have paid parental leave now and shouldn’t penalize parents who took unpaid leave to take care of their babies just because those babies were born before 2003.

This measure would repair a gap in the City’s retirement policy without any additional cost to taxpayers.

Proposition H

Should the City Charter be amended to:
1) require the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to evaluate replacing PG&E making the City the primary power provider to San Francisco residents and businesses,
2) establish deadlines for reliance on efficient, clean renewable energy resources and
3) extend the authority of the Board of Supervisors to issue revenue bonds to any public utility facilities?

YES

Because: Okay, this was a tough one for me. It’s scary when we’re so used to the monopoly that is PG&E. But we need clean energy, now, actually yesterday, and PG&E needs some competition.

Also, public power could result in lower power bills for consumers. This is because the utility would be publicly owned and would not be answerable to stockholders (basically, stockholders of PG&E want it to make serious money and that’s about all they care about).

Proposition H would provide a level of accountability that cannot be obtained from PG&E. This is definitely a change, but it’s the change we need for the future in energy.

This proposition would require the City to use electricity generated from clean, renewable sources. These requirements are beyond what the state of California requires of private companies like PG&E.

Safety measures: Any revenue bonds issued must be approved by the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor. They must also satisfy requirements imposed by the Controller.

And, to ensure that electricity bills remain affordable, this proposition would also create an independent Ratepayer Advocate.

Proposition I

Should the City Charter be amended to create an Office of the Independent Ratepayer Advocate to make recommendations about the utility rates of the City’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC)?

NO

Because: The existing Rate Fairness Board holds public hearings and makes recommendations to the PUC regarding its proposed rates. A majority of its members already represent rate payers.

This proposition will add an additional layer of bureaucracy to a system that is overly bureaucratic.

This is a redundant position that is a waste of taxpayer money.

Proposition J

Should the City create a Historic Preservation Commission to replace the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board?

YES

Because: Proposition J actually makes this group do something to preserve historic San Francisco. Smooths things out, all good.

Proposition K

Should the City enact an ordinance which would limit police resources and procedures in prosecuting prostitution?

NO

Because: Okay, look. I’m not a fan of putting people in jail for drug use and prostitution and other non-violent crimes. I’m not anti-sex-worker. I have empathy for the kids who get thrown into the rough life of turning tricks in Polk Gulch.

Yet I am staunchly against this measure.

Why?

Because San Francisco’s dirty secret is that it’s a hotbed of human trafficking. Young women and children are literally ripped from their homes in, especially, Asia and Eastern Europe and shipped over to this city to work as slaves.

This measure would make it harder to prosecute human trafficking and would cripple funding to
fight this problem.

These aren’t just “pimps”, they are people who enslave kids, rip out their voices, and instill in them a fear of death if they attempt escape. These are nothing less than human rights violations.

It needs to stop. It takes a lot of investigation and resources to catch these assholes (and that’s a nice name for them) and this proposition would make it all but impossible for the DA and her deputies to find these guys. Please, please vote no on K.

Proposition L

Should the City guarantee first year funding for a Community Justice Center that handles cases in the Tenderloin, South of Market, Civic Center, and Union Square Neighborhoods?

NO

Because: The Board of Supervisors has already approved the funding for this project. This measure is unnecessary and does not need to be on the ballot.

Also, the CJC should be made available to all who could benefit from its services, not just those living in
specific neighborhoods.

The funding to be used for this program could be used to fund other vital services in the City, such as
programs for the elderly, those with HIV/AIDS, and survivors of domestic violence.

Proposition M

Should the City’s Residential Rent Ordinance be amended to prohibit specific acts of tenant harassment by landlords?

YES

Because: Landlords have used harassment and intimidation as a way to evict tenants. Discrimination and threats of physical harm often go unpunished. Proposition M would offer protection and remedies to tenants. Formal evictions are costly and time consuming for landlords. Proposition M would prevent backdoor attempts to remove tenants.

Proposition N

Should the real estate transfer tax rate be increased on certain properties and lowered on others where certain solar and seismic improvements have been made?

YES

Because: This only “hurts” the big real estate corporations that haven’t been paying their fair share. We need to close this tax loophole.

Proposition O

Should the City amend the Business and Tax Regulations Code to change certain fees and taxes currently charged on telephone lines?

YES

Because Proposition O would allow more flexibility in the City budget process by directing tax money to the General Fund and not earmarking the taxes for 911 uses only.
Taxes do not go up.

Proposition P

Should the composition of the San Francisco County Transportation
Authority Board (TA) be changed? Should the TA be urged
to use City staff to perform its functions rather than outside staff?

NO

Because: MUNI sucks and we need this independent and awesome SFTA.

Proposition Q

Should the City amend the Payroll Expense Tax Ordinance by expanding tax liability to include certain entities not previously subject to the tax?

YES

Because: We’re closing more tax loopholes here.

Proposition R

Should the City rename the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Facility the George W. Bush Sewage Plant, effective immediately upon the inauguration of the next US President?

NO

Because: Yeah, this is funny, but it’s disrespectful of the workers of the plant. This proposition makes a mockery of a well-functioning award-winning city water plant through this renaming
process. This proposition is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Let’s just forget about W.

Proposition S

Should it be City policy that voters approve ballot measures authorizing new budget set-asides only if a new source of funding is identified?

NO. GOD, NO.

Because: Voters should have the right to express their budget priorities at the ballot box exactly as they do now.

Which is too much “voter expression” as it is.

Proposition T

Should the San Francisco Department of Public Health be required to report on the demands for substance abuse treatment, develop a plan for meeting such a demand, and maintain sufficient levels of treatment services to meet the existing demand?

YES

Medical studies show that every dollar spent on substance
abuse treatment saves $7- $13 in public costs. San Francisco has established a good community-based
treatment system that should be available for all who need it when they are ready. Substance abuse treatment is less expensive than substance abuse related emergency care.

Proposition U

Should it be City policy that City’s elected representatives in the United States Senate and House of Representatives vote against any further funding for the deployment of United States Armed Forces in Iraq, except for funds specifically earmarked for troop withdrawal?

NO

Because: I’m against that damn war, but the voice of SF is not changing anything. This whole thing is silly.

Funding for the Iraq war will be not be influenced by a declaration of policy by San Francisco voters; this is a waste of taxpayer time and money.

The time of San Francisco officials would be better spent working on the myriad of issues affecting San Francisco over which they have control.

Proposition V

Should it be City policy to encourage the Board of Education to reverse its decision to terminate the JROTC program and to continue to offer the program in San Francisco public high schools?

NO

In 2005, San Franciscans voted overwhelmingly to prohibit military recruitment in our schools. The military’s policy of discrimination against the LGBT community is in direct violation of San Francisco School District policies. Targeting students at fourteen years old for military recruitment
is too young.


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2 Responses to “How We’re Voting – Local Measures A – V”

  1. Brent Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your premise that our elected officials should be deciding upon these things rather than dumping them on the ballot. It is un-freaking-believable how much work I’ve had to do tonight just to get a cursory, not all the convincing position on many of these. Horrible failure of our government.

    Thanks for your opinions.

    * * *
    Hey Brent!

    Okay, first: I know, right? Argh! I’m trying to be a responsible voter, but I’m really not all that jazzed about setting up our entire freaking system for the next 2-4 years. I guess we should be “thankful” that we have the “right” to “do this”.

    Anyway, it makes me feel really good that someone found this helpful.

    Also thought I should share the resources I used:

    http://smartvoter.org (awesome, non-biased and helped me understand pretty easily who was for and against the SF local measures as well as state props)

    http://sfcleanenergy.org (this site is pro-H but it answered all my questions about where the money to fund this project is coming from…hint: REVENUE BONDS, which are a LOT better than general obligation bonds)

    http://sfdemocrats.org (how the Democratic Party in SF is officially endorsing…I don’t agree with everything, but it’s helpful to see)

    Best of luck to y’all still up deciding. And pat yourselves on the back for not just voting willy-nilly, actually thinking about the issues…or worse, not voting.

    I’m not friends with people who can vote and don’t.

    xx, Holden

  2. BG Says:

    I came to the same conclusion on R — as funny as it is as a one-line news story for “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me,” when it comes down to actually doing this, it seems kind of infantile and beneath the dignity of this city.

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