If you're registered Green in SF, you should have received this card in the mail:
These are our endorsements for November 2012; click on them for longer explanations:
- 30: YES - Jerry Brown Tax Plan
- 31: NO - State Spending Cuts
- 32: NO - Limit Political Contribution from Unions
- 33: NO - Increase Car Insurance Rates
- 34: YES - End Death Penalty
- 35: NO - Misleading Human Trafficking Initiative
- 36: YES - 3 Strikes Reform
- 37: YES - Label GMO Foods
- 38: NO - Munger Tax Plan
- 39: YES - Clean Energy Jobs Act
- 40: YES- Keep Citizen -drawn Districts
- A: YES - Save City College
- B: NO - Bond to Fund Park Privatization
- C - did not reach consensus on supporting or opposing Housing Trust
- D: NO - Fewer Elections
- E: YES - Gross Receipts Tax
- F - did not reach consensus on supporting or opposing Hetch Hetchy Study
- G: YES - Oppose Corporate Personhood
- D1: Eric Mar
- D3: No endorsement
- D5: #1 John Rizzo,
- #2 Julian Davis, Christina Olague (dual #2)
- D7: No endorsement
- D9: David Campos
- D11: John Avalos
School Board: Sandra Fewer, Kim Garcia-Meza, Gladys Soto & Shamann Walton
City College Board: Rafael Mandelman
BART Board, D9: Tom Radulovich
State Assembly, AD17: Tom Ammiano
State Assembly, SD11: Mark Leno
Congress, CD12: No endorsement
For President of the United States: Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, career teacher of internal medicine, and an environmental health advocate. Her "Healthy People, Healthy Planet" teaching program emphasizes the link between human health, climate security and green economic revitalization.
Jill realized that politicians were grossly remiss in protecting children from toxic threats, and in 1998 began to advocate for the environment as a human health issue. She worked with parents, teachers, and groups seeking to protect their communities from toxic exposure and in 2003 co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities.
Her efforts to protect public health have won her several awards, including Clean Water Action's "Not in Anyone's Back Yard" Award and the Children's Health Hero Award.
After witnessing big money's power to stop health-protective policies, Jill became an advocate for campaign finance reform and helped pass the Clean Election Law (later overturned by the Massachusetts Legislature).
In 2002 Jill was the Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, and was widely considered the best informed and most credible candidate in the race. She also ran for State Representative in 2004 and for Secretary of State in 2006, when she won the votes of over 350,000 Massachusetts citizens.
In 2008 Jill helped formulate a "Secure Green Future" ballot initiative. It called upon legislators to speed the pace of moving the state economy onto renewable energy and making development of green jobs a priority. The initiative won over 81% of the vote in the 11 districts where it was on the ballot.
Jill graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973 and from Harvard Medical School in 1979.
For Vice President:
Cheri Honkala was born in poverty in Minneapolis. She grew up watching her mother suffer as a victim of domestic violence. At the age of 17, her 19 year old brother Mark, who suffered from mental health issues, committed suicide. He was uninsured and could not get the help he needed. At the time of Mark's suicide Cheri was a teenage mother living out of her car and going to high school.
After losing their car to a drunk driver, Cheri and her son Mark moved into an abandoned HUD home. Cheri began helping other poor families and became a pioneer in the modern housing takeover movement. For the past 25 years Cheri has been an advocate for the poor and homeless in America. She co-founded the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and the Poor People's Economic Rights Campaign and has organized tens of thousands of people at marches, protests and tent cities. At the 2000 RNC Cheri led a march of over 100,000 people. She also addressed 148 government representatives on poverty at the U.N.
Cheri is internationally respected for her anti-poverty work. She was named "Woman of the Year" by both the Philadelphia Weekly (1997) and Ms. Magazine (2001).
In 2011 Cheri was the first woman to run for Sheriff of Philadelphia and the first and only Sheriff candidate nationwide who pledged to stop home foreclosures by the big banks. Running under the Green Party banner, her platform was to "Keep Families in Their Homes."
Prop 30 is a plan to increase income taxes on people earning more than $250,000 per year, while at the same time increasing the state sales tax by one quarter percent. The SF Green Party endorses Prop 30, but with many reservations.
On the positive side, the Green Party supports progressive taxation, and Prop 30's tax increases are mildly more progressive then at present, on some of the state's highest income levels.
We have concerns about Prop 30's regressive increase in the sales tax--although small, it will affect individuals at all income levels. A version of Prop 30 without the sales tax (the Millionaire's Tax) was much more popular, but was undercut by the Democratic Party and Jerry Brown, who insisted on adding on the sales tax.
We are also concerned about this missed opportunity to pass a much larger tax increase for the highest income brackets. Even if Prop 30 passes, it will leave many needed services unfunded. The public may falsely believe that California's fiscal crisis is solved, and may be unwilling to pass necessary tax reforms (such as we list below) in the future.
Governor Brown is blackmailing Californians into supporting Prop 30: if it does not pass, dire consequences for the state's most vulnerable would follow - $6 billion of automatic 'trigger' cuts for our public schools; health care providers and recipients; providers and recipients of in-home supportive services; and a growing number of others needing the social safety net. (Brown will continue to fund prisons, of course, whether or not Prop 30 passes.)
In the long term, Greens believe in comprehensive tax reform including a progressive income tax; natural resources extraction taxes such as an oil severance tax; pollution taxes like a carbon tax; closing corporate loopholes and eliminating corporate welfare; addressing the problem in Prop 13 that commercial land is not being taxed via enacting a split roll, and more comprehensively enacting a land value tax where the socially-created value of land is retained by society; and legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana - all while cutting income taxes for the average worker and payroll taxes for small businesses, so that we reward work and a healthy environment, penalize pollution and waste, and keep the unearned profit out of speculation and monopolies. Of course, the only Gubernatorial candidate in 2010 who would talk about such policies, Green Laura Wells, was excluded from the debates.
However, given the choice before us, and the draconian cuts to schools that will result if Prop 30 fails, we urge all Greens to support it.
The Green Party believes that the state needs comprehensive reform of its tax and budgeting processes. That is what Prop 31 attempts to do, by combining a series of broad reforms to the powers of local government, the state legislature and the Governor.
However the Green Party opposes Prop 31 based upon its content, seeing it as unconditionally accepting of an austerity approach to governing, rather than suggesting alternatives to it.
Under Prop 31, the Governor would be granted power to declare a fiscal emergency, and then unilaterally cut the budget and eliminate programs, if the legislature fails to act within 45 days. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sought such powers in 2005 through Proposition 76, which California voters rejected in a landslide. The Green Party rejects such concentration of power in place of a system checks and balances, and it sees it as the wrong answer to the right question. If we are questioning what tools do we need to address fiscal emergencies, why not eliminate the 2/3 requirement to raise taxes by the legislature instead? Or if that is too ambitious, why not give the Governor the power to unilaterally raise taxes on taxpayers whose income is in the top 1% in California, rather than cutting programs that benefit millions of Californians?
Amajor underlying cause of the state's ongoing structural deficit has been new funding mandates in voter-approved ballot initiatives that don't identify a funding source. A logical response is requiring that such ballot initiatives must identify funding sources for any new mandated spending. Instead of addressing this, Prop 31 would establish 'pay-as-you-go' budgeting that would only cover new or expanded programs, and tax reductions proposed by the governor or passed by the legislature. This would make it harder for the legislature to increase spending, unless they cut something else at the same time, or raise revenue.
Prop 31's authors argue this would prevent the legislature from committing to long-term spending without a funding source. But since raising revenues requires a two-thirds vote and so is almost impossible, this de facto institutionalizes in the constitution a systemic bias to at best freeze service levels, rather than expand revenues, as the state attempts to meet its basic needs. Passing laws that cost money, without knowing where the money will come from, from is a bad idea. But requiring that new or expanded programs must identify their funding source, without changing the 2/3 requirement for new taxes, is just a recipe for gridlock and cuts to needed services.
The SF Green Party opposes Prop 31 and recommends a 'NO' vote.
Proposition 32 is a frontal assault on the ability of unions to participate in the political process, to the advantage of corporations, disguised as campaign finance reform. The Green Party unconditionally opposes it.
Proposition 32 is a remake of so-called "paycheck protection" measures rejected by voters in 1998 and 2005. Those propositions were clear attacks on labor's political fundraising. Proposition 32 tries to be clever, purporting to restrict corporate money as well, by prohibiting corporations and unions from making deductions from paychecks to finance their political activity.
But corporations don't take deductions from paychecks for political expenditures. Instead, they take directly from their corporate funds, and this measure proposes nothing to stop that.
By contrast, payroll-deducted contributions are unions' primary means of raising money from their members, which they can then use for political expenditures. For this reason, Proposition 32's effect would be to greatly weaken the political voice of unions in favor of the political voice of corporations.
The Green Party's alternative is the public financing of elections, combined with fair ballot access laws, free radio and television time on the public airwaves, and inclusion in all debates for all ballot-qualified candidates and parties.
SF Greens strongly oppose Prop 32.
Prop 33 would allow car insurance companies to raise rates on drivers with a lapse in insurance.
This measure is a repeat of Prop 17 from 2010, which we also opposed. It is funded by the car insurance industry, and authorizes discrimination in pricing against people who have past periods of NOT OWNING an automobile. It would penalize students, people who commute by bicycle or public transit, low income people, and car share users.
Prop 33 is a great example of why we need to get corporate money out of politics--while grassroots campaigns struggle to get on the ballot, it is a small investment for a large corporation to put a measure on the ballot that is only designed to increase its profits.
Just say NO, again.
The Green Party has unconditionally opposed capital punishment since the party started. Non-violence is one of our key values, and opposition to the death penalty is a key part of our state and national platform, and the Global Greens Charter.
Making matters worse, in practice the death penalty is applied disproportionately in a racially biased manner, and to the least advantaged and most vulnerable in society, meaning this is a profound civil rights issue as well. This bias extends to the race and economic class of the victim.
Therefore, the Green Party believes that the death penalty should be eliminated immediately and unconditionally, and endorses Prop 34 to help bring this about.
However, by automatically converting existing death sentences to life imprisonment without parole, Prop 34 would de facto eliminate funding for appeals which are provided today for those sentenced to death. If Prop 34 passes, funding of appeals for all those sentenced to life without parole must also be reinstated.
Despite flaws in Prop 34, it is very important to pass this measure this year rather than waiting for a better version. National anti-death penalty lawyers expect that once more than 50% of US States ban the death penalty, they will be able to ban it nationwide. Therefore, Californians owe a responsibility not only to ourselves, but to the rest of the country to help end this barbaric practice.
The SF Green Party therefore strongly supports Prop 34.
Prop 35 is yet another step in further criminalizing consensual sex between adults, masquerading as a "get-tough" approach to fighting human trafficking.
As a feminist party, the Green Party completely opposes human sex trafficking, and would support a legitimate attempt to fight it. We further oppose trafficking of immigrant labor by large corporations, who sometimes keep "employees" in conditions indistinguishable from slavery. However, Prop 35 is more focused on criminalization of sex work, and contains a number of provisions that would give police and district attorneys more ammunition to go after adult sex workers and their clients. These provisions would ultimately endanger the same sex workers that Prop 35 claims to protect--sex workers who are victims of violent crime could be further victimized by police when they report the crime.
Prop 35 extends the definition of "human trafficking" to include many crimes that today can be prosecuted under solicitation or statutory rape laws--the effect is to vastly increase penalties for such crimes. It would further criminalize consensual sex between older teenagers (now considered statutory rape), and encourage police to set up stings of people seeking sex services online by piling on additional trafficking charges.
Prop 35 would misdirect police resources away from violent crimes (including REAL human trafficking), by increasing the penalties against consensual adult sex work. If Prop 35 passes, police and DAs will make headlines by claiming to bust traffickers, while in reality wasting public money on stings targeting consensual sex between adult prostitutes and their clients. In SF, police already waste enormous resources targeting immigrant workers who solicit commercial sex in the Mission and South of Market, while ignoring violent crimes in these same neighborhoods.
We encourage Greens to vote "NO" on Prop 35.
In 1994 the Green Party opposed the original 'three strikes law': Prop 184 'Increased Sentences. Repeat Offenders (Three Strikes), that California voters passed that year. Since then, the Green Party has consistently supported efforts to amend Prop 184, including via Prop 66, which was unsuccessful at the ballot box in 2004.
The multiple problems with the original Three Strikes law that the Green Party warned about have come to pass - our prisons contains thousands of people serving sentences up to life imprisonment for non-violent (and other often relatively minor) 'third strike' crimes. Stories of injustice in sentencing resulting from the present law are legendary.
The law as written is costly, ineffective and unjust. Out of 7,575 inmates serving time for a third strike, 46% were convicted of a nonviolent or non-serious offense, according to a 2005 report from the Legislative Analyst's Office. More people are incarcerated for life under the three strikes law for shop lifting and petty theft under $400, than there are inmates who have been sentenced to similar terms for rape and second degree murder combined.
By contrast, Prop 36 is an enormous improvement over the present Three Strikes law. It inserts the words "violent and serious" before the word "felony" when referring to any of the three convictions being considered for sentencing. As a result, no longer will citizens face indeterminate lifetime sentences for having committed three low level felonies in the course of their lives. Only three violent and serious strikes will result in life sentences. The initiative also allows present three strike prisoners who had committed a non serious non violent crime on the third strike to request re-sentencing consideration to be determined by a judge.
The initiative does, however, exclude some citizens from benefiting from the changes its passage will bring. If either of the first two convictions included a murder, rape, child molestation, or selling cocaine or heroin to minors, the third felony, no matter how minor or how many years subsequent to the prior conviction, will result in a sentence unchanged by this initiative. Many people mature throughout the decades of their lives, and a minor incident in middle age can ruin an otherwise rehabilitated person's life, due to crimes for which time has years since been served.
Despite these limitations, passage of Prop 36 will result in less injustice on a major scale and is worthy of a strong Green Party endorsement.
Prop 37 would require that foods containing genetically engineered ingredients be labeled as such, and we urge all Californians to vote YES on this important initiative.
Genetically engineered foods (also known as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs) have not been proven safe, and numerous studies have found adverse effects in lab animals including disruptions in the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and digestive, immune and reproductive systems. To date, no long-term studies have been done with humans. In addition, most genetically modified (GM) crops in the U.S. are engineered to have one of two traits: 1) Produce a toxin that kills insects when ingested (crops with this trait are registered as pesticides with the EPA); or, 2) be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate so that the crop won't die when sprayed. Both of these traits result in increased exposure to toxins in our food.
In addition to empowering us make better choices about our own health, labels would also help us avoid products that ultimately harm the environment. Because the majority of GM crops are engineered to resist herbicides, the use of these chemicals has risen drastically in the last several years. These herbicides often end up polluting our waterways through run-off and also threaten the well-being of the farm workers and surrounding communities that are exposed to the sprays. The overuse of these chemicals has also resulted in a wave of "superweeds" that have grown resistant to them.
Prop 37 will give us the power as individuals not to buy GM products. When similar labeling laws passed in Europe, consumers completely rejected GM products and the producers reformulated them to remove GM ingredients. Thus, Prop 37-like legislation ultimately drove most GMO foods out of Europe.
While we wholeheartedly support Prop 37, we hope this is just the beginning of labeling requirements for GMOs. Prop 37 does not cover restaurant food, nor animal products that come from livestock that have eaten GMOs, but are not themselves genetically engineered. We hope to cover additional GMO foods in the future should Prop 37 pass.
While the SF Green Party believes the state of California needs comprehensive tax reform and increased education funding, we oppose Prop 38 for several reasons.
Prop 38 increases income taxes on the middle class in order to fund education. This perpetuates the idea that "shared sacrifice" is needed to resolve our schools' budget problems, rather than more progressive taxation on the highest income levels, which is what Prop 30 does (albeit not as strongly as the Green Party would prefer).
Incredibly, Prop 38 starts increasing income tax at $7,000/year taxable income (even though personal, dependent, senior, and other tax credits, among other factors, would continue to eliminate all tax liabilities for many lower-income tax filers), whereas under Prop 30, only the top five percent of income earners would pay increased taxes. Under Prop 38, the top tax rate would increase by just 2%, compared to 3% under Prop 30.
Neither Prop 30 nor Prop 38 offer the kind of comprehensive change the state needs. Given that these are our only choices this year and that draconian trigger cuts go into effect if Prop 30 does not pass, the Green Party opposes Prop 38 and endorses Prop 30 as the best short-term approach to a long-term crisis.
Prop 39 does several related things at once that the Green Party favors: closes a corporate welfare tax loophole and addresses the state's budget structural deficit, while creating new green jobs and addresses climate change. For these reasons, the Green Party enthusiastically endorses Prop 39.
The corporate welfare tax loophole was the result a last-minute, middle-of-the-night-deal at the end of the 2009 budget negotiations in Sacramento, that gives an unfair advantage to out-of-state corporations that create few jobs in California. Prop 39 would eliminate this loophole.
Historically in California, corporate taxes have been calculated on a formula that considered three factors: a company's sales, workforce and property. But the loophole allows out-of-state corporations to use whichever of the three factors costs them less. This means these corporations can pay taxes based on the amount of business they do in our state, or they can pay taxes based on the number of buildings and employees they have here. This means companies that employ few people here. but have plenty of sales in the state do well by our tax system, and companies with significant operations and large workforces in California are handicapped.
The result is that this loophole now costs our state budget $1 billion per year of lost revenue and tens of thousands of lost jobs.
Prop 39 will fix this problem by requiring out-of-state companies to pay taxes based on their sales in California (the "single sales factor"). By closing the loophole that rewards corporations that locate jobs and investments in other states, the state's Legislative Analyst's office estimates this will create a net gain of 40,000 jobs in California by generating an incentive to create, bring and keep jobs in California. It would also bring in an estimated $500 million in additional state General Fund revenues in the first year and $1 billion a year thereafter.
Prop 39 would render a second major benefit by dedicating a portion of the increased revenues to energy efficiency programs that will create jobs and reduce public energy costs for years to come. Sixty percent of the revenue for the first five years going into clean energy retrofitting of existing buildings, creating up to 30,000 new additional jobs. After five years, all such revenue would go directly into the general fund.
Vote YES on Prop 39.
The SF Green Party endorses Prop 40, which would preserve the State Senate Districts drawn up by the Citizens Redistricting Commission in 2011.
The SF Green Party supported Prop 11 in 2008, which created the commission, and we also supported Prop 20 in 2010, which expanded the duties of the commission to include drawing congressional districts.
Although the Green Party continues to lobby for a Proportional Representation (PR) system, while we're stuck in the current single representative system, citizen-drawn districts are an improvement over legislator-drawn districts. The process for choosing the redistricting commission is complicated but fair, similar to the process for choosing a jury. Greens were blocked from serving on the current commission by the Democrats in the State legislature, but it may be possible to get Greens appointed to future commissions.
Vote Yes on Prop 40 to keep the Commission's districts.
Prop A is a parcel tax to fund City College. We support Prop A, because although it's essentially a flat tax on property owners, it is a more progressive means of funding City services than bonds or a sales tax. And without it, City College is likely to fall victim to the vultures of privatization. Privatization advocates are using a fiscal crisis precipitated by the State of California to attempt to take over the college, eliminate classes that serve local residents, and impose austerity on its employees.
City College has served San Franciscans well, especially members of poor and immigrant communities. Thanks largely to the efforts of former Green Party member John Rizzo and his recently deceased colleague Milton Marks during their tenure on the College Board, a formerly corrupt college administration has been vastly improved in recent years.
We would prefer to see an overhaul of the parcel tax system that allows expensive commercial properties to be taxed more than housing owned by individuals, but until that is achieved, parcel taxes are one of the best ways, other than a progressive income tax, to fund essential services.
Save City College by supporting Prop A!
Prop B is a bond to fund SF parks. Although the Green Party loves parks, the Recreation and Parks department (RPD) is one of the most corrupt departments in the City, and we refuse to support throwing more taxpayer money away until the current departmental leadership is replaced.
We have concerns that the Mayor is proposing to fund the parks via a bond, one of the most regressive means of funding City services (see our Statement on Bonds, below). While we sometimes support bond funding for building important infrastructure (e.g., SF General Hospital), park maintenance should be paid for using ongoing revenues such as property taxes.
However, our major concern is that the RPD has been wasting money left and right, then crying poor when they go over budget. Park employees routinely are pulled off of park maintenance duties to perform illegal election work for pro-Machine candidates during campaign season. RPD also wastes $300,000 each year subsidizing Sharp Park, an endangered species killing golf course in San Mateo County. RPD diverted millions from other parks to upgrade Harding Park to get it ready for a private PGA tournament. They continue to subsidize a private parking garage under Golden Gate Park, and are currently covering green spaces throughout the City with toxic (and expensive) artificial turf.
Worse, RPD has been working to privatize our parks, adding entry and use fees that exclude many residents and visitors from using our own public space! It is leasing and renting clubhouses, swimming pool lanes, and other public spaces to private interests. Recently, free pickup soccer games at a local park in the Mission were booted in order be replaced by a politically connected tech company. This company rents play time on soccer fields using a mobile app, charging players over 4 times the amount the company pays in fees to the City. The RPD recently hired property management staff (at 6 figure salaries) in order to explore even more opportunities to sell our own public spaces back to us.
Until this corrupt City Hall regime is replaced, don't send them any more money. Vote NO on Prop B!
Prop C would create a dedicated trust fund to create affordable housing and promote home ownership. The Green Party strongly supports efforts to create affordable housing, but we also had a number of concerns with this specific plan and therefore did not reach consensus on either supporting or opposing this proposition.
Although we recognize that SF needs to spend more on affordable housing, Prop C doesn't allocate nearly enough money to make a dent in the problem. Prop C would spend only 20-50 million per year, mostly on construction of new rental units. This would build only a handful of truly affordable units. Prop C also has too many concessions to developers, including relaxing the current requirements for building on-site affordable units. Worse, Prop C will create a new fund that will be managed solely by the Mayor's Office. Without proper oversight by the Board of Supervisors and other elected officials, we risk losing our investment to corrupt, politically connected developers and non-profits.
Greens were split between supporting Prop C as an incremental improvement over the status quo, vs. sending it back to the drawing board in favor of a stronger measure. We therefore took no position on Prop C.
Prop D would consolidate City elections, moving the elections of the City Attorney and Treasurer to the same year as the elections for Mayor and Sheriff. We oppose this proposition as undemocratic, since fewer elections would result in even more power for the Mayor and only benefit corporate-funded campaigns and candidates.
More elections crowded onto a single ballot will result in even fewer voters paying attention to important down-ticket offices such as Sheriff and City Attorney. These offices wield vast power, and deserve more attention from voters. Moving them into a single election when fewer voters will pay attention will benefit well-funded corporate candidates and their campaign consultants, but will not result in more informed voters.
Eliminating elections will also result in more propositions being crammed onto a single ballot when we do have elections. Do we really want a repeat of 2008, when local propositions ran through the alphabet all the way from A to V? Again, more things on one ballot will result in less voter attention and will only benefit wealthy campaigns and political consultants.
Finally, Prop D will consolidate more power in the Mayor's office, because Mayoral appointees fill vacancies until the next election. Even if we someday elect a mayor less corrupt and partisan than the current one, Greens support the principal of decentralization, or spreading power among more elected offices.
We successfully prevented then-Supervisor Jake McGoldrick's ill-advised attempt to do the same thing in 2008 (it was pulled from the ballot), but the new regime in City Hall is back for another attempt. Vote NO.
Prop E would replace the current payroll tax, which penalizes businesses such as restaurants that hire many employees, with a tax on gross receipts. The Green Party strongly supports it.
Green Mayoral candidates since Matt Gonzalez have been campaigning on this important reform, which will result in a much more fair tax burden across many different types of businesses in the City. Prop E would impose different tax rates depending on the type and size of business, and the smallest businesses would pay no taxes at all.
Prop E is supported by small businesses, as well as by a wide coalition of progressive and conservative politicians. Thanks largely to the efforts of John Avalos, it also would bring in more than $28 million than the current business tax brings in.
Vote Yes on E.
Prop F would fund a study of the feasibility of replacing the Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite National Park, and restoring the valley to a more natural state. The Green Party did not reach consensus on supporting or opposing this proposition, so we decided to present arguments on both sides.
Both sides agree that this is a bad time for such a proposal. In the current climate of austerity, it is unlikely that either the state or federal government will agree to pay the costs associated with the restoration project, and this is a project that should it be done, should be done right.
The Hetch Hetchy valley in Yosemite National Park was flooded in 1913 in order to build a reservoir to supply water and hydroelectric power to San Francisco. Proponents of replacing the dam argue that the valley could be restored to the beauty of Yosemite Valley, while the same water could be collected in reservoirs downstream for use by residents of San Francisco. The study would determine how much power and water capacity would be reduced by moving the dam, as well as how the move would affect water quality.
Opponents argue that the study is a waste of money, because the cost of replacing the dam would be enormous, well into the billions of dollars, and we might never go through with the plan. Because we would have to both replace large portions the water storage and delivery system, and also increase spending on filtering our water, there is a danger that voters would not give the final OK to the proposal.
Proponents argue that the benefits of restoring a 2nd Yosemite Valley could far outweigh the costs, and that we cannot make a final decision without at least performing a study. Furthermore, the study commissioned by Prop F would include investigating the feasibility of water recycling and conservation measures to replace any water lost by moving the storage downstream. These conservation measures could be beneficial to SF whether or not we ultimately decide to remove the dam.
Because we are almost evenly split on the measure, we urge voters to study this proposition further and make your own decision.
Prop G is a policy statement opposing the principle that corporations are people. Therefore, it is a no-brainer to support it.
The only concern we have with Prop G is that it focuses too much on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which allows unlimited corporate contributions to campaigns. We think that other aspects of corporate personhood are equally troubling. For example, CA's Prop 13 gives corporations the same tax benefits as people, even though corporations are effectively immortal.
Although Prop G is purely symbolic, it may be a step towards amending the US Constitution to include language indicating that corporations are not people. We therefore recommend a Yes vote.
The SF Green Party enthusiastically endorsed Eric Mar for D1 Supervisor four years ago. With Mar in a tight race to hold onto his seat for another four years, it's important to elect him again.
Eric Mar has been a solid progressive vote on many issues, from Clean Power SF (i.e., allowing customers to choose environmentally sound alternatives to PG&E) to tenants' rights issues. Despite attracting much conservative ridicule, Mar has been effective: his Happy Meal ban inspired McDonalds to serve more healthy kids' meals. Mar's values are very close to Green Party values, as indicated by his answers to our candidate questionnaire.
Mar's opponent is terrible, a solid machine vote who supports privatizing City parks and services, and allowing landlords free reign. We need to re-elect Eric Mar and encourage him to re-assert his progressive voice in his second term.
We did not endorse any candidate. Although David Chiu applied for our endorsement, we have concerns about a number of his positions, including his role in elevating Mayor Lee to power. He also supported corporate tax breaks for Twitter and other successful internet startups, at the expense of other local businesses.
John Rizzo (#1)
Julian Davis and Christina Olague (dual endorsement for #2)
John Rizzo earned our top endorsement, due mainly to his great work in rooting out corruption at City College. Rizzo is a former Green Party member, whose answers to our candidate questionnaire show is still aligned with our values. He is a strong proponent of public power and community choice aggregation, and he is opposed to development projects (such as 8 Washington) that benefit millionaire investors and politically connected developers at the expense of the rest of us. We endorsed Rizzo despite his unwillingness to take a stand on reinstating Sheriff Mirkarimi.
Julian Davis and Christina Olague share a dual endorsement for our #2 slot. Of all the Democrats running for Supervisor in this election, Davis' answers indicated he is the closest to Green Party values. However, we endorsed Rizzo #1 ahead of him because of Rizzo's proven track record in office.
Christina Olague is another former Green Party member who was appointed by Mayor Lee to hold the seat vacated by Ross Mirkarimi when he was elected Sheriff. Olague still shares many of our values, especially around issues such as public power and transportation. She is extremely well-informed on development issues, and opposed many of the same boondoggles (Treasure Island and Parkmerced redevelopment) that were opposed by Greens. She did support 8 Washington (which we strongly opposed), at the behest of building and trade unions. However, she was also an early backer of Ed Lee for Mayor, despite the obvious corruption in his regime. We gave her a share of our #2 endorsement because she has shown signs of independence from Ed Lee, and because one of her leading challengers, London Breed, has such a poor track record on development issues that she must be kept out of office.
No candidate who applied for our endorsement was sufficiently aligned with Green Values to merit an endorsement. We therefore did not take a position in this contest.
Although David Campos is unopposed for re-election, we are pleased to endorse him for another term.
Four years ago, we had our doubts. We endorsed Mark Sanchez, a Green running against Campos, as a clear alternative to the Democratic Party machine. However, Campos has exceeded our expectations and done a great job in representing the progressive voice of District 9. He has been closely involved with efforts to reduce violent crime in the Mission. He has also been an outspoken champion for immigrant rights.
We are especially pleased with Campos' leadership on Clean Power SF. We enthusiastically endorse him for another term.
John Avalos is also running unopposed, and we are happy to recommend him for reelection.
Avalos was our #2 choice for Mayor last year (behind Green candidate Terry Baum), and we expect that he'll continue his strong progressive record into a second term. John was one of only a few Democrats who opposed the Lennar development project, a giveaway of City money to a developer with deep Democratic Party ties, as well as a health hazard for nearby residents. He has very strong environmental credentials, including pushing the idea of restoring the budget-busting Sharp Golf Course to wetlands. He has a strong civil rights record, opposing City cooperation with ICE while supporting a municipal boycott of Arizona due to its racist profiling of immigrants. He also agrees with the Green Party on strategies for increasing City revenue, such as Public Power and creating a Municipal Bank.
Avalos has filled a vacuum in progressive leadership that resulted from the departure of Matt Gonzalez from the board, and he has led several key initiatives supported by Greens, including a local hiring law. We strongly endorse him for another 4 years.
We are endorsing 4 candidates for 4 open seats: incumbent Sandra Fewer, and newcomers Kim Garcia-Meza, Gladys Soto, and Shamann Walton.
Sandra Fewer has been an ideal board member from a Green perspective--she has made tough decisions on personnel matters, while maintaining an overall progressive perspective. She is opposed to wasting scarce education dollars on military recruiting programs like JROTC, and she is strongly opposed to the bipartisan (Democrat and Republican) agenda of privatizing public schools in favor of charter schools.
Kim Garcia-Meza would bring another teacher's voice to the board, in addition to being an advocate for Spanish-speaking parents. She is also opposed to subsidizing JROTC in our schools, and is generally opposed to privatization. Although she supported SB 1381, the Democratic Party bill to cut kindergarten spending, she has promised to work on a policy to allow SF parents whose kids are ready to start kindergarten to enroll in school. Like the Green Party, she supports banning armed police officers from school.
Gladys Soto is a Latina parent with two kids in SF public schools. She also agrees with us on eliminating subsidies for JROTC and banning armed police officers from schools. Like Garcia-Meza, she would be a strong voice against further privatization of schools.
Shamann Walton was a little more ambiguous in his answer to our JROTC question, but appears to oppose subsidizing the program. He also opposed SB 1381, and is sensitive to the needs of parents who want to start public kindergarten rather than enrolling their children in another year of private preschool. He is opposed to school privatization and generally aligned with Green Party values on other school issues.
We recommend a vote for all 4 candidates: Fewer, Garcia-Meza, Soto, and Walton.
With four seats open, we are only endorsing a single candidate: Rafael Mandelman. Mandelman has unsuccessfully run as a strong progressive candidate for elected office before, but this may be one he can win. If so, he will follow in the footsteps of Milton Marks and John Rizzo in fighting against corruption in City College administration.
Because progressives are solidly in the minority on the College Board, it is especially important to have one person who can do the heavy lifting. Mandelman's grasp of the issues shows he can be that person. With City College in a dire crisis right now (see our Prop A endorsement), it is important to have at least one board member who will stand up to the pro-privatization forces currently eyeing the college.
Tom Radulovich is a former Green Party member who has served on the BART Board for the past 15 years. In that time, he has often been the only voice of sanity on a Board stacked with suburban conservatives. We are happy to support him for another term.
As just one example, Radulovich was the only vote against the Oakland Airport Connector boondoggle, which will divert over half a billion dollars from badly needed BART maintenance into building a new airport train that will run at about the same speed as the current bus connection, but at over twice the cost to passengers.
Radulovich has a deep understanding of transit-related issues, and is easily the best San Francisco could hope for as our representative on the BART Board.
We've endorsed the following candidates in local partisan races. Note that there are no Greens running in these races; because of the Top 2 primary, only the Democrat and Republican are on the ballot in November.
Since being elected to the State Assembly, Tom Ammiano has built a strong track record of spearheading legislation of importance to San Francisco voters. He has been a champion for tenant rights, immigrant rights, prisoner's rights, and medical cannabis users' rights.
Several of Ammiano's recent important pieces of legislation were just vetoed by our Democratic Party Governor. One bill would allow journalists access to interview California prison inmates, which is essential to allow Californians to stay informed about conditions in our prisons. Another bill would give domestic workers the same rights as other workers to rest and meal breaks, as well as to overtime pay. Both bills represent San Francisco values, and Ammiano deserves another term to fight to get those laws enacted.
Leno has been a champion of two causes of great importance to Greens: single payer health care, and community choice aggregation. The latter will allow SF residents to buy Green energy, a key step on the path to public power.
Leno's history with single payer healthcare is especially informative about the state of the California Democratic Party. When Democrats in the legislature knew that the Republican Governor would veto a bill enacting Single Payer Health Care, they put it on his desk in order to wave about as a campaign issue. But when Leno tried to pass the same bill with a Democratic Governor, it was blocked by his fellow Democrats.
We expect that Leno will continue this fight when returned to the State Senate for another term. We hope that he can convince his fellow Democrats to pass this important piece of legislation.
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).