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June 2014 Endorsements

 

These are the SF Green Party Endorsements for the June 2014 election.  We are mailing the postcard below to all our members, so if you can donate to this effort please click the "Donate" link to the left.

 

 

Our complete Green Voter Guide is now posted with longer explanations for each endorsement; see below.

 

SF:

  • No on A, a $400 million local bond measure that claims to fund fire and police stations, but is not actually required to
  • Yes on B, the right to vote on Waterfront development that exceeds the current height limits.
  • Congress, D12 - Barry Hermanson (website)
  • State Assembly, D17 - David Campos (website)
  • Superior Court Judge, Office 20 - Daniel Flores (website)

Statewide:

  • Governor - Luis Rodriguez (website)
  • Lt Governor - Jena Goodman (announcement)
  • Controller - Laura Wells (website)
  • Treasurer - Ellen Brown (website)
  • Secretary of State - David Curtis (website)
  • Yes on 41, a bond measure to fund supportive housing for veterans
  • Yes on 42, a requirement for local govenments to follow open meetings and public records laws

Click below to read longer explanations for each of our endorsements:

No on Prop A

Prop A is a $400 million bond that is supposedly for the purpose of
improving public safety, including police and fire department
facilities.  The cost of the bonds would be paid back by a property
tax increase, although 50% of the costs could be passed through by
landlords to tenants.

The Green Party opposes Prop A for several reasons.  First, we are
generally hesitant to support measures that are funded by bonds,
because bonds are an unfair form of taxation that transfers wealth
from lower and middle class residents to the 1%-ers (see our full
Statement on Bond Funding, below).  Second, this bond has even less
oversight than usual, and the money could be used as a slush fund for
the Mayor's pet projects.  While Mayor Lee has discussed his supposed
spending plans with the Chronicle, the language of Prop A allows Lee
and the Board of Supervisors to spend the money on whatever they want,
without going back to the voters.  Given our Board of Supervisors'
reluctance to challenge the Mayor, is it likely that the money will be
well spent, or squandered on boondoggles such as America's Cup and tax
breaks for allies of the Mayor?

Prop A claims that it will result in improved public safety in the
next earthquake.  However, this claim is misleading at best.  Voters
already passed a $412 million bond, Prop B in June 2010, which was
supposed to fund some of the same projects that the Chronicle has
reported will be funded by Prop A (neighborhood fire houses and the
emergency water supply upgrade).  Most SF residents still support
these important projects.  Mayor Lee is trotting out the same projects
again, assuming voters won't remember that we have already paid for
them once!

According to Chronicle, almost half the bond money will go to the SF
Police Department for upgrades to their motorcycle unit and crime lab.
These costs could easily be paid for with the regular police budget,
since the department wastes millions every year on expensive toys such
as Segways, over-patrolling the airport, and inefficiency (e.g., many
tasks could be done by civilians or Sheriff's deputies rather than
more expensive police officers).

If we really want to improve public safety, we should support proven,
effective techniques such as community policing.  We should hire more
emergency services workers who live in SF, since many now live in
distant suburbs and would be unable to drive into the City after a
major earthquake.  And emergency response money would be much better
spent on training more NERT volunteers, rather than buying more toys
for the police.

Please join us in opposing Prop A.

Yes on B

Prop B requires developers who want to exceed the current height limits
for new development along the waterfront to obtain voter approval for
their project.

One of the Green Party's 10 Key Values is "Future Focus," which in
this case means considering the long-term effects of development.
Housing prices in SF are currently at an all-time high, which gives
developers a great incentive to build the largest buildings they can
get away with.  The developers get rich quick, and SF residents are
left holding the bag for hidden costs of the new development: higher
expenses for City services, increased traffic, slower Muni.  If tall
buildings are built along the waterfront, one of these social costs
will be a blocking of public access and views of the Bay, effectively
privatizing what is now a public benefit of living in our beautiful
City.

We are supposed to have checks and balances to prevent this.  We have
zoning laws and height limits for good reason: to allow development of
new projects that fit the culture of our neighborhoods and benefit SF
residents.  However, Mayor Lee has continued the tradition of
corruption of the Brown and Newsom years by allowing his campaign
donors to get away with anything they want, and the current Board of
Supervisors is less a check on the Mayor's power than a rubber stamp.
The last working check we have on uncontrolled, shortsighted
development is direct democracy.  Although we would prefer our elected
representatives do their job and represent all SF residents rather
than their campaign donors, holding elections to approve new
development is really the only effective way at this point to ensure
that new projects are really in the public interest.

Join us in voting YES on Prop B.

Congress, D12 - Barry Hermanson

Barry Hermanson is running as the Green Party candidate against Nancy
Pelosi.  As the Bay Guardian noted in endorsing Pelosi, she "has
presided over economic policies that have consolidated wealth in ever
fewer hands and dismantled the social safety net, environmental
policies that have ignored global warming and fed our over-reliance on
the private automobile, and military policies that expanded the war
machine and overreaching surveillance state."  They didn't mention her
opposition to Single Payer health care, or her repeated endorsement of
the most conservative Democrats running for local office in SF.  More
importantly, San Francisco does not have a representative who
represents San Franciscans; instead, Pelosi is a national spokesperson
for defending Democratic Party policies and anything President Obama
currently supports.  Although the majority of San Franciscans are
registered with the Democratic Party, most local Democrats (and Greens
and members of other smaller parties) disagree with Pelosi's positions
on the issues above, yet she places the needs of her political party
above her job of representing all of us.

The key question facing voters this June is whether Pelosi will face a
Republican or a Green this November.  Because of the "Top Two"
primary, all voters (regardless of party) will vote in a single
election June 3rd, with only the 2 leading candidates going on to the
November election.  If Barry Hermanson can beat the Republican, San
Franciscans will for the first time be able to go into November with a
clear choice: re-electing Pelosi, who does not represent San Francisco
values, or electing a Green who does.  In a two-way race, the
"spoiler" issue would be moot.  And although Pelosi has never agreed
to debate her opponents, Hermanson would challenge her support for
a long list of terrible policies including the ones mentioned above.

Getting a Green into the November election is our best chance to
change the political discourse on a number of issues.  Vote Barry
Hermanson for Congress this June to make it happen!

State Assembly, D17 - David Campos

Without a Green in the race, the Assembly contest comes down to
choosing between two Democratic Party Supervisors, who will go into a
rematch in November.  Despite both candidates being Democrats, their
political choices and attitudes towards the Green Party have been very
different.  David Campos has been most in agreement with Green Party
values, scoring 88% for two straight years on our Supervisors Report
Cards
(http://sfgreenparty.org/issues/60-sf-supervisors-report-card-2013).
His opponent, David Chiu, fell from 50% in 2012 to 38% in 2013.

The main issues on which Campos differs from Chiu have been related to
supporting corruption by the Lee Machine.  Four of the key votes on
which the two Supervisors differed related to Mayoral appointees: Chiu
was a rubber stamp for Mayor Lee, while Campos opposed the worst Lee
appointees.  Campos is also much stronger on civil rights: Chiu was
the swing vote in two new laws to impose curfews in public parks and a
ban on public nudity.  And of course Chiu was also the swing vote in
favor of appointing Mayor Lee as mayor in the first place, rather than
somebody (such as former Sheriff Hennessey) not beholden to the Willie
Brown/Gavin Newsom Machine.  As President of the Board of Supervisors,
Chiu has limited public comment and rarely bothers to listen to
differing opinions, a sharp contrast to the days when Matt Gonzalez
served as President and built bipartisan consensus.

Although both Campos and Chiu originally supported the construction of
toxic artificial-turf soccer fields in Golden Gate Park near Ocean
Beach, Campos has recently supported Green Party legislation to
require the project to use natural grass.  And Campos is supporting
legislation to allow voters to choose a replacement for whichever
Supervisor is ultimately elected to the Assembly, whereas Chiu
supports the status quo in which Mayor Lee would appoint a replacement
after the election.

Even though the winner of this contest won't be decided until
November, it's important to give Campos a head start on Chiu, who has
raised a record amount of money from developers and Mayor Lee's other
backers.  We strongly endorse David Campos for Assembly.

Superior Court Judge, Office 20 - Daniel Flores

Daniel Flores is in a three way race for Superior Court Judge.  Based
on his answers to the Milk Club questionnaire
(http://www.milkclub.org/candidate_questionnaires_june_election), he
seems to share many Green Party values.  In response to the
questionnaire, he responded that he supports issues including abortion
rights, same-sex marriage equality, anti-discrimination laws to
protect LGBT rights, rent control, and rights for non-citizens,
including drivers licences for all CA residents, voting rights in
local elections, and the DREAM act.

Flores' main opponent, Carol Kinglsey, is endorsed by some prominent
local conservatives, including Gavin Newsom.  Flores is also opposed
by Kimberley Williams, who has some progressive support.  However, in
response to the Milk Club questionnaire (in which she did not answer
any of the issue-based questions), she said "I fully support the
causes of the Democratic Party at the local, state and national
level."  Since those causes include illegal and immoral drone strikes
overseas, and massive unconstitutional spying at home and abroad, we
cannot support her.

Governor - Luis Rodriguez

Green Party candidate, Luis J. Rodriguez, has a new vision for
California, which, as a skilled poet and author, his own words can
best explain: "...our state is rich in resources, human capacity,
technological advances, and social innovation, yet has some of the
worst poverty and imprisonment rates.  There have always been two
states - one ripe for developers, corporations, financial
institutions, and robber barons.  The other state consists of the
working class and poor...  One state is beholden to the wealthier, and
more powerful part of the population, far smaller in number.  The
other state consists of the vast majority and growing - hardworking
people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and
genders, many of whom have lost their livelihoods, their homes, their
health, or are close to the edge."

"Here is the California story we can't cover up or push aside:
Increased job eliminations, evictions, home foreclosures as well as
cuts in welfare and needed services in the face of a deepening
poverty-creating economic crisis.  Which way for California?  Which
way for the country?  We have to envision, strategize and organize for
a singular integrated California that aligns its wealth, capacities
and governance for the health and benefit of everyone.  I'm convinced
we need more voices to address our growing impoverishment, our
deepening injustice system, and the continual poisoning of our
environment...  The solutions are in our hands.  Let's realize our
dreams of a better world; let's organize to make sure our needs are
met with an economy and politics that are... accessible and adequate
for all."

Luis J. Rodriguez is the author of 15 books of poetry, children's
literature, fiction and nonfiction, including the controversial and
best-selling 1993 memoir of gang life, "Always Running, La Vida Loca,
Gang Days in L.A."  He is also the co-founder of the nonprofit cultural
space "Tia Chu-cha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore," as well as
Chicago's "Youth Struggling for Survival," a gang and non-gang youth
empowerment project.  His writings have appeared in the New York Times,
Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and more.

Lt Governor - Jena Goodman

In a state where chronic underfunding of higher education and the
inequities it produces has become a rallying cry for students
statewide, Jena Goodman, the Green Party candidate, plans on focusing
her campaign on college and university campuses.  "It's time for a
greater student voice in our state's politics," says Goodman.  Jena
Goodman lives in Vallejo and served as president of the Associated
Students of Napa Valley College from 2012-2013, representing
approximately 8,000 students.  Today she attends UC Davis, studying
biodiversity and ecology.  At 28 years old, she will be the youngest
candidate and the only woman on the ballot for Lieutenant Governor.
She will also be the best candidate to represent the interests of
students and youth, and to inspire lots of them to become involved
with the Green Party.  Goodman was formerly Chair of the Solano County
Green Party.

Goodman's vision for a Green California includes free higher
education, living wage green jobs, and protecting California from
climate change.  "I believe higher education is the key to solving a
multitude of crises facing California," Goodman explained.  "I will
use my position as Lt. Governor (on the University of California Board
of Regents, California State University Board of Trustees, and Chair
of the Commission for Economic Development) to promote a green vision
for investing in free higher education to prepare workers for the
green economy, coupled with a Green New Deal program to create tens of
thousands of living wage green jobs.  By investing in education, we
can expand opportunity, pull people out of poverty and shift
California from fossil fuel dependency to a new green economy...  My
campaign is about grassroots democracy.  It's about giving voters a
real choice to vote for a green vision for California."

Controller - Laura Wells

Green Party candidate Laura Wells is a founder of the "No Corporate
Money" Campaign, in which candidates pledge to take no corporate money
and a critical mass of voters declare their intention to vote for
no-corporate-money candidates.  Wells's focus is on solutions, such as
implementing a State Bank to save money on interest and to invest in
California, not Wall Street bankers.  She would tax the super-rich the
way California did decades ago, when the rich could still get richer,
and it was a state filled with great opportunities.  Laura Wells
believes we can change our spending priorities from prisons to
schools.

Laura Wells is running in her second race for State Controller in
2014.  She was also the Green Party candidate for Controller in 2002,
an election in which she received a record-breaking half million
votes, and for Governor of California in 2010, where she advocated
establishing a State Bank for California and implementing fair
taxation policies.  At a 2010 gubernatorial debate that excluded all
third party candidates, Wells was arrested upon attempting to enter
the building to watch the debate, and charged with "trespassing at a
private party."  In 2006, she was on the executive committee of the
campaign that gained voter approval for Instant Runoff Voting in her
hometown city of Oakland.

Wells graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wayne State University in Detroit,
and earned a Masters degree from Antioch University.  She worked in
information technology in the financial industry for 20 years.  She
then served in a range of volunteer and professional capacities for
community and labor organizations, including Pesticide Action Network,
Women's Economic Agenda Project, and SEIU United Healthcare Workers.

Treasurer - Ellen Brown

Ellen Brown, the Green Party candidate for Treasurer, is an attorney,
founder of the Public Banking Institute, and the author of 12 books
and over 200 articles.  She is running for Treasurer on an innovative
platform that she believes can take California from austerity to
abundance.  In her book "Web of Debt," she showed how a private banking
cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people
themselves, and how we the people can get it back.  In "The Public Bank
Solution," her 2013 sequel, she traces the evolution of two banking
models (public and private) that have competed historically, and
explores contemporary public banking systems around the world.

Brown announced in January: "I am running for California State
Treasurer on a state bank platform, along with Laura Wells, who is
running for Controller.  Our vision is to transform California, the
world's eighth largest economy, into a financially sovereign state.
We are running on the ticket of the Green Party because it takes no
corporate money.  Candidates who take corporate money - and that means
nearly all conventional candidates - are beholden to large corporate
interests and cannot adequately represent the interests of the
disenfranchised 99 percent."

"There is another way to balance a state budget, one that leads to
prosperity rather than austerity.  California can stimulate its economy
and the job market, restore low-cost higher education, build
21st-century infrastructure, preserve the environment, and relieve the
state's debt burden, by establishing a bank that is owned by the
people and returns its profits to the people."

Secretary of State - David Curtis

We are fortunate to have David Curtis as the Green Party choice in the
California Secretary of State race.  David Curtis is easy to talk to.
His cell number is on his website, so anybody can call him and ask him
questions.  To date, David Curtis has received 60 donations from
actual humans, so he has zero obligation to get on his knees for
corporate America.  He has made a career of not being a yes man.  If
elected, can he certify the results of an election?  Yes!
But... elections?  The whole thing has been priced out of our range by
the SCOTUS ruling.  So a vote for David Curtis is basically for "No,
money is not speech."
David's goal for the office is to make elections as open and fair as
possible, and remove obstacles to participation so that we can get
representatives who are our peers.  If elected, David will oversee an
office of 500 people.  He was an associate of The Stubbins Associates,
a firm that grew from 100 to 700 people.  He would also be a trustee
of the state archives and the CA Museum.  David was a design leader on
two Guggenheim Museums and the Nevada State Museum, and is a licensed
residential designer who has worked in architecture since 1989.

Human activity is stressing nearly every species on Earth and Greens
in office acknowledge this reality.  David Curtis is a father who
lives with his partner and three children in the Lucas Valley of Marin
County.  He first registered with the Green Party in 2000 when Ralph
Nader ran for president.  David has been working actively with the
Green Party since 2006 as we try to become the cleanup crew for a
failing two party system.  David can deliver actual political reform;
his campaign is already doing it.  His financials are reported in
real time on his website.  Don't give your vote to a "more of the
same" duopoly candidate... same rape of the planet, same pre-loading
of the race with cash-on-hand displays, same monopoly interests, same
corruption, same inadequate representation of actual people.

Yes on 41

Prop 41 is basically an ammendment to a ballot measure passed by CA
voters in 2008, both of which are supposed to help military veterans
find housing.  The 2008 measure, which we opposed, authorized nearly a
billion dollars in bonds to be issued to help veterans buy private
housing.  Prop 41 would revoke the authority to issue $600 million in
bonds that were authorized in 2008, and replace it with the authority
to issue $600 million in bonds that would be used to build supportive
housing and multifamily housing (i.e., apartment complexes) for low-
income veterans.

We were opposed to the 2008 proposition (Prop 12) for several reasons.
First, we're often hesitant to support bond funding, a regressive
means of funding that primarily benefits the rich (see our Statement
on Bond Funding, below).  Second, the 2008 measure was to be spent
exclusively on private housing, not public housing.  As we said in our
2008 Voter Guide, we generally support bonds only for "urgent
investment in the public sector."

We are supporting Prop 41 for two reasons.  First, the $600 million in
new bonds is balanced by revoking $600 million in bonds that were
authorized in 2008.  Second, a much larger percentage (but not all)
the money would be used for investment in public housing, rather than
private development.  The Prop 41 money is proposed to be spent much
more intelligently than the 2008 plan: helping veterans who are
currently homeless will actually save the state money, by reducing the
amount of money needed for other services.  We would prefer that all
the Prop 41 money be used for public low-income housing projects and
supportive housing for homeless people (not just veterans), and we
would prefer the $600 million come from taxing the rich rather than
bonds.

However, Prop 41 is an improvement over the status quo, and therefore
we endorse it.

Yes on 42

Prop 42 requires local govenments to follow state laws that mandate
open legislative meetings and public access to records.  It is
somewhat controversial, because it does not require the state to
reimburse local governments for the costs of following such laws.

Open meetings and Sunshine (public access) laws are both essential
elements of a working democracy.  In recent years, local reporters
have used SF Sunshine laws to expose money being diverted from Muni to
other City departments (or simply disappearing from budgets), Mayor
Lee's hostility towards regulating tech companies (such as Airbnb and
Lyft) that are funded by his campaign backers, and diversion of City
bond funds away from their stated purpose.  Although City officials
make plenty of backroom deals today (including the original
appointment of Ed Lee as Mayor), and Board President David Chiu has
flouted the Brown Act by not giving adequate public notice for new
legislation, the amount of corruption would certainly be even higher
without open meetings and Sunshine laws.  Why else would Supervisors
allied with the Mayor put so much effort into trying to stack the
Sunshine Task Force with their cronies?

We also resent Jerry Brown's administration balancing the California
budget by shifting costs to local governments.  The costs of many
important public needs, from teacher pensions to public housing, have
been shifted to cities, while Brown spends more and more state money
on prisons and highways.  We'd prefer that CA continue to reimburse
cities for the costs of complying with open meetings and Sunshine
laws.  However, having the state pick up the tab is not always a good
thing: many local governments inflated the costs of complying with
these laws, or stonewalled information requests and then passed on
their resulting higher costs to the state.  Because "Decentralization"
and "Grassroots Democracy" are two of our 10 Key Values, we support the
requirement for local governments to be more democratic, even if the
state isn't paying for it.

We therefore strongly support Prop 42.

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).


Acknowledgements

Thanks to the Alameda County Greens for original drafts of statements
in support of our statewide candidates.