These are the SF Green Party's endorsements for November 2016.
A complete Green Voter Guide is now posted. Click "read more" to see full explanations of the reasons behind our endorsements.
- Supervisor, D1 - Sandra Fewer
- Supervisor, D3 - no endorsement
- Supervisor, D5 - Dean Preston
- Supervisor, D7 - no consensus
- Supervisor, D9 - Hillary Ronen
- Supervisor, D11 - Francisco Herrera (Green Party) (website)
- School Board - Mark Sanchez and Matt Haney
- College Board - Rafael Mandelman, Tom Temprano, Shanell Williams
- Superior Court Judge - Victor Hwang
- BART Board, D9 - no endorsement
- NO on 51 - limits on developer fees, masquerading as a school bond
- no endorsement on 52 - the CA legislature could extend the hospital fee in order to obtain federal Medi-Cal matching funds, without going to the voters
- NO on 53 - require voter approval for revenue bond-funded projects (although we still vehemently oppose Jerry Brown's Delta tunnels plan)
- YES on 54 - recording legislative sessions, allow time to read bills before voting
- YES on 55 - extend income taxes on rich people
- YES on 56 - increased tobacco taxes
- YES on 57 - increase parole opportunties (we don't think ANY kids should be tried as adults)
- YES on 58 - reform (and eventually repeal) Prop 227, California's English-only education law
- YES on 59 - advisory measure to repeal Citizens United (unlimited corporate political donations)
- NO on 60 - condoms in porn (we support better health care and testing regulations, and oppose criminalizing the sex industry)
- YES on 61 - make state agencies pay the same price as the US Dept of Veterans Affairs for drugs
- YES on 62 - ending the Death Penalty in California
- NO on 63 - restrictions on ammunition that don't apply to retired police
- YES on 64 - legalize recreational use of marijuana
- NO on 65 - attempt to undermine plastic bag ban
- NO on 66 - speeding up Death Penalty cases
- YES on 67 - upholding the statewide single-use plastic bag ban
- YES on A - school bond (although we have our usual reservations about bonds)
- YES on B - parcel tax to fund City College
- NO on C - $260 million bond to fund displacement of SF residents by private landlords
- YES on D - allow people to vote in special elections to fill vacant Supervisorial seats, rather than having them filled by the Mayor
- YES on E - City will maintain street trees, rather than property owners
- YES on F - allowing 16-17 yr olds to vote in local elections
- YES on G - an almost meaningless renaming of the Office of Citizens Complaints, that will at least make their budget independent of the SFPD's budget
- YES on H - decentralizing some of the Mayor's power into a new citywide elected Public Advocate position
- NO on I - set-aside of some of the SF City Budget to a Mayor-controlled agency that would provide services to seniors and adults with disabilities (although we support more funding for this purpose, the Supervisors can fund such programs without creating a new agency that's ripe for corruption and unaccountable to the voters)
- NO on J - set-aside of some of the SF City Budget to fund homeless services, housing, and transportation improvements (like Prop I, this would give more power to the Mayor, encourage corruption, and have less oversight by our elected Supervisors)
- NO on K - increase the regressive sales tax to 9.25%
- YES on L - gives the Board of Supervisors some appointments to the SFMTA, and allows them to reject the budget with 6 votes instead of 7
- YES on M - creates a Housing and Development Commission, which would decentralize Mayoral power and give the Board of Supervisors more input into development
- YES on N - allowing noncitizen parents/guardians of SFUSD kids to vote in school board elections
- NO on O - further gentrification of Bayview
- NO on P - a measure that encourage corruption by allowing the Mayor more opportunities to pick politically connected developers to build projects, with a lack of public transparency
- NO on Q - symbolic "open sidewalks" measure to encourage police to ignore serious crimes and instead push homeless people from one block to the next
- NO on R - misleading "safe neighborhoods" measure to create a full-time police unit specifically to push homeless people from one block to the next (it will create much more UNSAFE neighborhoods by taking police away from investigating serious crimes)
- NO on S - set aside hotel tax income to be used for arts and programs to help homeless families. As is the case with Props I and J, these programs are something the Supervisors could fund now if they wanted to, without going to the ballot
- YES on T - restricting gifts and contributions from lobbyists
- NO on U - changes the definition of "affordable housing" to "unaffordable to most residents who live here"
- no consensus on V - 1 cent per ounce soda tax, that would go into the SF General fund. We did not reach consensus on endorsing either yes or no on this proposition.
- YES on W - real estate transfer tax on $5 million+ properties
- YES on X - preserve space for arts, small business, and community services in Mission, SOMA
- YES on RR - $3.5 million bond to fund BART maintenance, with extreme reservations due to the BART board's near-perfect track record of mismanagement and boondoggles
Click below to read our complete Green Voter Guide:
Jill Stein is a Harvard-educated physician and longtime teacher of internal medicine, as well as a mother and an environmental health advocate. She has led initiatives promoting healthy communities, local green economies, campaign finance reform, green jobs, racially-just redistricting, and the cleanup of incinerators, coal plants, and toxins. In 2002, Stein was the Green Party candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, where she easily won the only gubernatorial debate she was allowed to participate in. After her run as the Green Party's 2012 Presidential nominee, she continued to promote Green policy through the "Green Shadow Cabinet" organization.
In August, Stein chose longtime human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as her running mate. Baraka has served on the boards of Amnesty International, Center for Constitutional Rights, Africa Action, and is currently an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. He also served as a policy advisor on the Green Shadow Cabinet, and has written for Black Agenda Report.
The Democratic and Republican parties continued their "race to the bottom" in 2016 by nominating two of the most unpopular candidates in history. Democrat Hillary Clinton has never seen a war she didn't like, from supporting the Bush invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to being the leading voice within the Obama administration in favor of the disastrous military campaign in Libya. Her domestic record isn't any better: she supports more militarized police and sent millions of families into poverty by championing "welfare reform." She supports expanding government spying on Americans and has accused political opponents and critics of being Russian agents. As Secretary of State, she solicited bribes from dictators and Wall Street corporations in exchange for government favors (such as a weapons sale to Bahrain following a large "donation"). Republic Donald Trump is an unstable bigot, whose infamous misogyny and corrupt business practices are extreme even among his fellow plutocrats. Trump initially ran to Clinton's left on a few important issues, opposing US military attacks on other countries and the TPP (a treaty that would give corporations veto power over our regulations and laws). However, given Trump's instability and Clinton's dishonesty, both can be counted on only to expand war and militarism abroad, while supporting corporate rule at home.
Because Stein and Baraka were barred from participating in televised debates, few people really know what they stand for. Public opinion has been poisoned by a Democratic Party misinformation campaign, falsely alleging Stein is "anti-vaccine" or "anti-science." Stein has polled highly among young people and others who have heard her platform. We are optimistic that even if she does not win, she could earn 5% of the popular vote in this election, which would ensure public funding and increase ballot access for the Green Party. Reaching the 5% threshold would allow us to get our message out to an American public who are justifiably disgusted with politics as usual.
Sandra Fewer is a school board member who we endorsed in the past as an excellent fit for that position. Although she has little political track record outside of educational issues, her responses to our questionnaire show that we are mostly in agreement on policy. Like us, Fewer supports public power, more democratic control over City commissions (e.g., elections or split appointments), police foot patrols, non-citizen and youth voting in local elections, regulating Airbnb, and free Muni. However, we have disagreements on some environmental issues: she supported putting toxic artificial turf in Golden Gate Park, has no position on Bus Rapid Transit on Geary, and supports the Natural Areas Program, which involves closing large areas of our parks to the public and liberal use of carcinogenic weed killers. She also bought into the interdepartmental scam to trade a SFUSD property in the Mission to developers who will likely attempt to execute their gentrification scheme on the neighborhood. Until there is some transparency, a robust public process, and a Planning Department that does more than respond to developers requests, voters should be wary of multi-parcel swaps. Despite these policy disagreements, we think she's the best choice for D1 residents for Supervisor, and we give her our sole endorsement.
The incumbent, Aaron Peskin, did not seek our endorsement. His opponent, Tim Donnelly, is a populist who is to be commended for running a citizen's campaign. However, we disagree on enough policy issues that we are not endorsing anybody in this contest.
Dean Preston is a long-time tenant activist and attorney. 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.
Preston has had an uphill battle in challenging an incumbent, London Breed, current President of the Board of Supervisors. Breed is an African-American woman with a compelling personal background. However, on key contested votes at the Board of Supervisors in the last three years (see our Supervisorial Report cards for 2013, 2014, and 2015), Breed has sided with the Green Party on only 6 of 33 votes (18%). She's rubber-stamped the worst Mayoral appointees to commissions, and she was the swing vote in favor of allowing Airbnb to write its own regulations, which are both unenforceable and onerous by design. As Board President, she stacked Board committees with conservative Supervisors, leading to many issues being decided on this ballot when they should have been taken care of legislatively.
Preston's votes would be much better aligned with the progressive politics of D5, a district that has elected several Green Party representatives in the past. He has our sole endorsement.
Norman Yee has been an improvement over his predecessor, Sean Elsbernd, who opposed the Green Party on every important contested vote at the Board in 2012 (see our report card). In the last four years, Yee voted with the Green Party on 44% (14 of 32) of key contested votes (see our report cards for 2013, 2014, 2015). Yee agreed with us on Airbnb regulation and supported CleanPowerSF, but he sided with Scott Wiener on a midnight curfew on our public parks. Yee also voted to block John Avalos' proposed law that would have allowed bikes to roll through stop signs in cases where the bike rider has the right of way. Yee also opposes Prop D (letting voters elect our elected officials) on this November's ballot.
We therefore did not reach consensus on endorsing any candidate in D7.
Hillary Ronen currently serves as Chief of Staff for David Campos, the current D9 Supervisor. We expect that her policies would not change much from her predecessor. In her answers to our questionnaire, Ronen agrees with most Green Party policies, although she supports the Natural Areas Program and did not take a position on most of our ideas for increasing Muni funding.
Our biggest disagreements with Ronen are on issues of decentralization and democracy. Like Campos, Ronen has close ties to City-funded nonprofits, and would be unlikely to radically challenge the Democratic Party machine if that funding were to be threatened. We would have preferred to support Ronen as part of a ranked choice slate along with other candidates such as Edwin Lindo, a SF native who gained name recognition as one of the "Frisco Five" (which successfully campaigned for the removal of SFPD Chief Suhr following a wave of SFPD killings of civilians). Lindo has more of a base than Ronen among residents of the Mission, and has skills and experience that, were they to run on a slate together, would ultimately make either of them a better representative once elected.
Unfortunately, many progressive Democrats (Ronen included) see ranked choice voting as useful only if it helps their side to win, rather than looking at the impact ranked choice voting has in expanding the range of choices available to voters. Ronen indicated on her questionnaire that she would like to re-examine SF's ranked choice voting system. A lack of cooperation between progressive candidates in D9 was presumably a factor in Edwin Lindo's decision to drop out of the race.
Joshua Arce is also running as a "progressive" in this contest, although he opposes regulating Airbnb and lists London Breed as his favorite incumbent Supervisor. Unfortunately, Ronen's avoidance of ranked choice strategy has the potential to elect more conservative candidates such as Arce. Despite this concern, we're giving our sole endorsement to Hillary Ronen.
Francisco Herrera is a musician, a long-time Green Party member, and an activist with the Living Wage Coalition. In last year's Mayoral election, he finished 2nd, with around 1/3 of the voters ranking him ahead of Ed Lee. Herrera's result was the best finish by a Green Mayoral candidate since Matt Gonzalez, despite running a campaign with almost no funding.
Herrera started the "People's Campaign" to form a long-term effort to develop a plan and vision of San Francisco as a city friendly and affordable to working families.
Herrera's platform includes building more affordable housing, eviction protection, a budget that prioritizes arts and human services, safe streets and a better Muni system, public education, an expansion of Healthy SF, an end to deportations and cooperation with ICE, accountable policing, and more living wage jobs.
As in District 9, Greens had hoped to support a slate of candidates who share our values. Unfortunately, Kimberly Alvarenga rejected Herrera's overtures to run on a ranked choice slate, and after we made an early endorsement of Herrera, she declined to answer our endorsement questionnaire or seek a ranked/dual endorsement from us. Like Hillary Ronen in D9, it appears that Alvarenga does not "get" ranked choice voting, and therefore we are very concerned that D11 may be lost to a Democratic Machine candidate as a result.
We were impressed by the questionnaire answers from Socialist candidate Berta Hernandez. Although we agree with Hernandez on the vast majority of policies, she was previously part of Carlos Petroni's "Frontlines" group, which had a history of co-opting other activist movements rather than building momentum on their own. The Green Party is "eco-socialist," and we have a history of working well with socialists, including Kshama Sawant and Chris Hedges. However, we are opposed to co-opting other activist groups, as Petroni's group tried to do to the SFGP following Matt Gonzalez' mayoral campaign in 2003. Hernandez is also not endorsing Herrera due to his "being too conciliatory towards Democrats."
Greens therefore awarded our sole endorsement in D11 to Francisco Herrera.
Mark Sanchez is a long-time teacher, and was the SF Green Party's first elected official in 2000 when he won his school board seat. He recently switched his affiliation to Democrat in order to run as part of a slate of progressive candidates for the DCCC. Before running for office, he founded the groups Teachers for Change and Teachers for Social Justice. As a school board member, he led opposition to the corrupt administration of Arlene Ackerman, which ended with her resignation in 2005. Sanchez was elected Board President in 2007, and hired a new Superintendent, Carlos Garcia, who was much better than his predecessor. Sanchez also led school board opposition to JROTC program. He served through 2009 and has since worked as Principal at several SF public schools.
Matt Haney was elected to the school board in 2012, and was recently elected as Board President. Like Sanchez, he opposes JROTC funding, supports non-citizen voting, supports increased teacher pay, and opposes high-stakes standardized testing.
Since there are four seats on the school board up for election, we are pleased to endorse both Mark Sanchez and Matt Haney.
The Green Party was part of a coalition that fought back against the attempted takeover of City College by an accreditation board that was trying to privatize our public college and sell off its properties to developers. We therefore support candidates who have good insight into how the crisis occurred and what might be done to head off future attacks. Although the immediate takeover threat has been averted, City College now needs to recover its enrollment. We looked for candidates who share our values, such as free education, open government, and equal rights for non-citizens, and we generally oppose candidates who don't show sufficient skepticism towards "public-private partnerships" that result in reduced public oversight and invite corruption and theft.
Rafael Mandelman has served on the Board since 2012, and he did a great job during the accreditation crisis and since. Tom Temprano is a long-time Milk Club activist who shares many Green values and gave excellent answers to our questionnaire. Shanell Williams is a former College Board Student Trustee, who fought hard during the accreditation crisis, and is well aligned with Green Party views on public education.
The College Board has four seats up for election, so we have endorsed all three of these candidates.
Victor Hwang is a current member of the Police Commission, and has extensive experience as a public defender (in contrast to most Judges, who previously worked only as prosecutors). He is opposed to the Death Penalty and against arming police with Tasers.
We dual-endorsed Hwang in the June election. As no candidate got more than 50% of the vote, he is now in a runoff against a more conservative candidate. Therefore, we are happy to endorse Victor Hwang again.
We did not endorse any candidate in the BART Board race. Bevan Dufty, the leading candidate, is a career politician who has the Machine's go-ahead to take this seat. He did not take any public position on the Oakland Airport Connector boondoggle. Other candidates for the position did not seek our endorsement. Therefore, we did not endorse any candidate in this race.
(Note that the Alameda County Green Party has endorsed Lateefah Simon for BART Board D7, which is almost entirely in the East Bay, but also includes parts of SF. Since the Green Party is decentralized, we defer to GPAC's judgment in this race.)
Prop 51 pretends to be a $9 billion school bond, which we might have considered supporting: despite our usual reservations about bonds being primarily a tax on the poor and middle class (see full statement below), $8 billion is targeted at public K-12 schools and community colleges, with $1 billion going to charter schools (which we oppose) and technical programs.
However, Prop 51 was put on the ballot by a group of real estate developers and construction companies, and contains a little-noticed provision. Currently, cities can charge fees to developers in order to partially offset the costs of providing City services to new developments; these services might include new schools, increased public transit, water and sewer infrastructure, etc. Prop 51 would prohibit school districts from raising developer fees in order to pay for new schools, thereby resulting in lower fees (and higher profits) for the developers.
We should fund our schools without giveaways to developers. Vote NO on 51, and support Prop 55 instead.
Prop 52 would continue an existing program under which hospitals are charged fees, which are used by the State to get federal matching funds to pay for Medi-Cal. Those matching funds are then given back to the hospitals, supposedly to cover the costs of uninsured patients and low-income children. It would prevent the legislature from making any changes to the program without a 2/3 vote.
We agree that continuing to obtain federal grant money for Medi-Cal is a good thing, and we want the program to continue. However, Prop 52 does not need to be on the ballot--the legislature can extend the hospital fee program indefinitely without voter approval. SEIU-United Healthcare Workers is opposing the measure, calling it a money grab by the hospitals, which are not required to open their books to prove that all the funds raised actually go to uninsured patients and low income children.
Greens believe that single payer health care (i.e., improved Medicare for all) is the only viable solution to rising medical costs. In the interim, this matching fee program is a useful stop-gap, but does not need to be on the ballot. We therefore took no position on Prop 52.
Prop 53 would require vote approval for all large ($2 billion+) projects that would be funded by revenue bonds. Greens are usually opposed to bond-funded projects (see our Statement on Bonds, below). However, there are many cases where they're justified for public improvements, and putting up another barrier to public investment would be a bad idea.
We are still vehemently opposed to Jerry Brown's Delta tunnels plan, which would divert Northern California water to drive greater sprawl in Southern California. However, Prop 53 is too broad an approach to blocking this one project. Vote NO.
Prop 54 would prohibit the legislature from passing any bill until it has been in print and published on the Internet for 72 hours prior to the vote. It would further require that the legislature make audiovisual recordings of its public proceedings and publish the recordings online within 24 hours, and allow any individual to record any open legislative proceedings either through audio or visual means and use these recordings for any legitimate purpose.
Prop 54 is important in order to prevent "gut and amend" legislation, where a legislator sneaks in an entirely new bill as an amendment, without any notice. This prevents the public from having time to read the new bill and organize opposition to bad legislation.
We think that even 72 hours is inadequate time to review complex legislation, so Prop 54 should be stronger. However, it would be a great improvement over the status quo (0 hours), so we support it.
Prop 55 is a renewal of most parts of Prop 30, which we strongly endorsed in 2012. Prop 55 would keep in place three higher income tax brackets (1% to 3%) for Californians who earn more than $263k per year; if Prop 55 does not pass, that tax will drop back to 9.3% in 2019. Prop 55 does not extend the statewide sales tax increase (which we opposed). Like Prop 30, Prop 55 would go to fund public education, which is a great investment of our tax dollars.
We therefore strongly support a YES vote on Prop 55.
Prop 56 would raise taxes on tobacco by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase in other tobacco/nicotine products, including e-cigarettes. Over 80% of the tax revenue would go towards treatment of tobacco-related diseases through Medi-Cal. The rest would go to prevention, education, tobacco-related disease research, physician training, dental disease prevention, and prevention of interstate smuggling.
CA has the 37th lowest cigarette taxes among all US states, at only 87 cents per pack. We supported Prop 29 in 2012, which would have raised taxes by $1/pack. Although that lost narrowly, it is worth trying again.
Despite the regressive nature of the tax, we are supporting Prop 56 because it will provide badly needed funding for Medi-Cal, while reducing smoking rates.
Prop 57 will allow judges, not prosecutors, to determine when kids should be tried as adults. It also allows more opportunities for parole for people convicted of nonviolent felonies, and earlier parole for prisoners with good conduct or who take rehabilitation or education classes in jail. Prop 57 would relieve prison overcrowding without causing any significant harm to public safety.
The Green Party doesn't believe that ANY children should be tried as adults, and we also believe that the criminal justice system needs major reform in order to focus more on restorative justice rather than locking people up. There are already far too many nonviolent criminals in jail, and that will still be the case if Prop 57 passes.
However, because Prop 57 is a step in the right direction, we endorse it.
Prop 58 repeals most of Prop 227, the "English-only education" law that passed in 1998. Prop 227 required that students who had been in California schools for over a year be taught entirely in English in classrooms with other English-speaking students.
Prop 58 would allow both English- and Spanish-speaking parents more opportunities to place their children in bilingual dual-immersion courses. It would also allow local school districts more control over their curricula, and would allow further reforms to be made to Prop 227 laws without going back to the voters.
Greens strongly support local control of education, and an end to discriminatory English-only laws. Vote YES on 58.
Prop 59 is an advisory measure that would ask our representatives in Congress to work to repeal "Citizens United," the Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited corporate bribery of our politicians.
We need to end the entire legal framework that declares that corporations are people, and entitled to the same rights as people. It should be legal to pass laws forbidding corporations from lying about their products, or from interfering in the political process.
Although Prop 59 is purely advisory, it raises public awareness of the problem, and therefore we urge a YES vote.
Prop 60 would require producers in the CA adult film industry to ensure their performers use condoms during sex in filming, and to pay for medical exams, vaccines and other health services for the performers. Prop 60 would allow any citizen to bring a lawsuit against the producers for non-compliance--which often include the performers themselves, in cases where they produce their own videos.
We support better medical care and STD testing, but oppose the requirement for condom use. We expect that if this law were enforced, porn production would be driven underground in CA, or moved to other states.
Greens support (fully consensual) sex workers, and oppose attempts to criminalize the sex industry. Vote NO on 60.
Prop 61 would regulate drug prices by requiring state agencies, such as Medi-Cal and CalPERS, to pay the same prices that the US Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) pays for prescription drugs.
Although we would prefer single payer health care and, or at least stronger regulation of drug pricing, we expect that Prop 61 will help lower drug prices for Californians. Because the USDVA buys so many drugs, it is able to negotiate better prices from drug companies. Medi-Cal is prohibited from doing the same thing by the 2003 Medicare Act.
Groups opposing Prop 61 have raised concerns that drug prices are often kept secret, so the new law will be difficult to enforce. However, we expect that whistleblowers will help to expose companies that break the law by charging state agencies higher prices.
Prop 61 would allow our smaller state agencies to take advantage of the federal agency's clout. Therefore, we endorse a YES vote on 61.
Greens have always opposed the death penalty as immoral. Prop 62 would end it in CA, changing the maximum sentence to life without parole. This would also apply retroactively to the 741 prisoners currently on Death Row. Ending the death penalty in CA would bring us one step closer to a nationwide ban, as lawyers would be able to argue more effectively that the penalty is "cruel and unusual."
Regardless of your stance on life without parole, most would agree it's a better option than the death penalty. We strongly support YES on 62.
Prop 63 would prohibit the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, defined as those holding over 10 bullets. We support this prohibition, and would even support a smaller limit. However, that was already signed into law via SB 1446 in July; and, like all recent gun-control measures, Prop 63 EXEMPTS active and retired law enforcement officers from their restrictions.
Prop 63 would also require all civilian purchasers of ammunition to pass a background check and obtain CA Department of Justice authorization (which involves being entered into a DOJ database). It would restrict people from giving ammunition to others.
Prop 63 exempts both current and retired law enforcement officers (which includes IRS officers, park rangers, etc.), some of whom were forced to retire after violently misusing their power. Thus, Prop 63 fails to hold accountable some of the most out-of-control abusers of firearms.
With Black Lives Matter and other groups fighting for police accountability, we cannot support a law that exempts cops and retired cops. Vote NO on 63.
Prop 64 would legalize the adult use of marijuana. The SF Green Party has forever championed the legalization effort and encourages a YES vote on Prop 64 as a step in the right direction against the wrongfully-directed war on drugs that has unfairly targeted and incarcerated countless members of our communities.
Prop 64 was put on the ballot through the citizens' initiative process and is the only one of many that cleared the high bar. This proposed statute has flaws, but the Green Party's key value of social justice and equal opportunity overrode active members concerns about the more problematic parts of the law.
Especially since the Ray-Gun years in the White House, people of color have been persecuted, prosecuted, and incarcerated as part of the dollars-for-bodies war on drugs to generate profits for the prison-industrial complex. Politicians, including those in robes, super-predatory law enforcement officials and broken-windows opportunists, have made careers out of punishing petty drug offenses and consensual crimes. Prop 64 "Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions." Victims of racial profiling and unwarranted incarceration will be set free. Tens of millions of dollars will be saved as those in jail for minor pot offenses will no longer waste their lives in prison. This alone is enough to support legalization of a plant-derived, natural substance that so many use for recreational and medicinal purposes anyway.
Greens expressed concerns regarding the regressive nature of the taxes that Prop 64 imposes on weed and its cultivation: a 15% tax on marijuana products, and cultivation taxes of $9.25/ounce on buds and $2.75/ounce on leaves. Greener Greens will likely buy the leaves and make the butter, or grow their own. Also problematic is how production schemes might affect small-scale growers. Some, including principal members of the Humboldt Growers Collective, have expressed concerns that a big tobacco-style takeover might ensue.
Still, Prop 64 places some initial limits on the size of growing ops and, if it passes, legislators who care about Community-Based Economics and Economic Justice would have the opportunity to make changes to the law. Those legislators would be Greens, so we should elect Greens every chance we get, and remember to vote YES on 64!
Prop 65 is another scam proposition put on the ballot by corporations that manufacture plastic bags. It would require that all carry-out bag fees be turned over to the state Wildlife Conservation Board.
Prop 65 is an attempt to split environmentalists from grocers, who currently keep all bag fees (and thus favor the ban). If it passes, grocers are likely to stop selling heavy-duty reusable bags, since the fees would be turned over to the state.
Bans and fees on single-use plastic bags are a signature piece of legislation for the SF Green Party, having been first legislated in the US by Ross Mirkarimi, when he was registered Green and represented D5 at the Board of Supervisors. Let's keep the ban alive by voting NO on 65 (and YES on 67; see below).
Prop 66 would keep the Death Penalty in CA, and limit appeals in Death Penalty cases to 5 years. It would also allow Death Penalty cases to proceed with inexperienced attorneys. Even worse, Prop 66 would block Prop 62 (Ending the Death Penalty) from going into effect if Prop 66 gets more votes.
Vote NO on 66 and YES on 62.
Prop 67 is a referendum on SB 270, which enacted a statewide plastic bag ban in 2014. Plastic bag corporations put this on the ballot in order to delay or overturn the law.
Confusingly, because this is a referendum, a YES vote upholds the law passed by our legislators and a NO means overturn it. In order to keep the bag ban, vote YES on 67 (and don't forget to vote NO on 65).
Prop A was put on the ballot by unanimous vote of the SF Board of Education. It requires a 55% supermajority of votes to pass. A Yes vote on the measure will allow the SF Unified School District to incur debt of $744,250,000 by issuing General Obligation Bonds. This debt, and the interest on it, will be paid by property owners whose taxes will be increased. The text of the legislation indicates that sale of the bonds will be put to use in a variety of ways, primarily to modernize and repair aging structures. These uses would likely result in a lasting benefit to our schools and one which will exceed the time required to issue and pay off the bonds. However, like all bond measures, which the Green Party often oppose (see our Statement on Bonds at the end of this Voter Guide), this one has its problems.
The SF Green Party would prefer that Developer's Fees foot this 3/4 Billion Dollar Bill. We would also prefer School Board Members who are responsible, accountable, and who act in the public interest independent of political forces that have devastated our communities. Not all of them are or do, and they are responsible for placing this money order.
On balance, we think the benefits of Prop A outweigh the drawbacks, so we encourage a YES vote.
Prop B is a $99 annual parcel tax to fund City College. SF residents and businesses currently pay a flat $79 annual tax for City College. Prop B would renew the tax before it expires in 2020, and also increase it by $20/year.
Parcel taxes are a more progressive form of taxation than bonds or sales taxes, and thus are sometimes a good option for increasing local taxes. However, they are still not fair: large downtown corporations pay the same amount as small property owners.
In this case, the increase is small and the money will provide a crucial investment in public education. Therefore, we strongly endorse Prop B.
Prop C would alter the terms of a bond passed by voters in 1992, in order to allow money from the bond to be used for different purposes. The 1992 bond authorized the City to borrow money, and loan it out at low interest rates to SF residents who are seismically retrofitting their multi-unit buildings.
Prop C would change the law to allow the bond money (up to $269 million) to be borrowed and then loaned to private building owners in order to allow other types of retrofitting.
Greens are generally skeptical of bond funding (see our Statement on Bonds, below), as this is a very regressive form of taxation. In this case, the money will be used to benefit private homeowners, not public housing. In addition, the money from Prop C will be used to retrofit affordable housing, kicking out any tenants while the retrofitting is done. Although tenants will technically have the right to return, many will be displaced, because they will be forced to move (either far away, or to a vastly more expensive unit) while construction is underway.
We support preservation of safe and affordable housing. But Prop C won't do what it says--instead, it will inevitably fund more gentrification and displacement, and will harm rather than help current SF residents. Vote NO.
Currently, when there's a vacancy at the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor appoints a loyal ally to the position. That person dutifully rubber-stamps Mayoral legislation, appears at City-funded public events, and then gets to run as an incumbent with name recognition in the next election (which may not take place for over a year). Because so many of our current elected officials have first been appointed to office through this system, most trace their loyalties back to Willie Brown, who appointed Gavin Newsom, who appointed Ed Lee, etc. Voters in the Sunset haven't had an open election for Supervisor in 14 years!
Prop D would limit the Mayor's power to appoint his cronies to vacant Board seats, by prohibiting him from keeping the seat open (as is often done to game the timing of the next election) and requiring a special election to fill the position within 5 months. The Mayoral appointee would not be able to run in the special election, allowing candidates to compete on a level playing field to fill the seat.
Prop D would correct a flaw in our current system, in which the Mayor is effectively in charge of both the executive and legislative branches of local government. By putting voters in charge, we should decrease polarization of government and lessen the power of the local Democratic Party Machine.
Let's elect our elected officials! We strongly urge a YES vote on Prop D.
Prop E was put on the ballot by unanimous vote of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. It is a Charter Amendment and requires a simple majority of votes to pass. Prop E would turn responsibility of the City's street trees back over to the City, from property owners who were strapped with that task in budget cuts caused by the last recession. It will initially set aside $19 million, to be adjusted in the future according to revenue projections.
The Green Party encourages a Yes vote on Prop E. However, we have our concerns:
First, the City has a policy against set-asides. Most of the City's budget is already set aside, and revenues that not pre-allocated are already minuscule. Supervisors fight like chickens in a cage for handfuls of grain over what's left. That should change. Prop E is also a set-aside, which we are only supporting because it creates a new City-funded service.
Second, Prop E will likely result in more wasteful and damaging public/private partnerships that the City Attorney's office will sign off on. Mayor Lee's buddies at PG&E doesn't want trees messing up their power lines (which they were supposed to put underground). The SF Department of Public Works (DPW) and SFUSD contract serial tree killers who make more from tree removal than pruning, and the head of DPW, Mohammed Nuru, an old crony appointee, has been involved in a number of scandals. Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for all the scandals in the trees. What it comes down to is that property owners will have to advocate for their trees (and maybe hire a certified arborist who actually cares about them for an indy assessment) when the city's private contractor comes by with a chainsaw.
We support Prop E, but expect the Supervisors who put this on the ballot to keep a close eye on how the funds are actually spent.
Prop F would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in all municipal elections. This policy has been part of the Green Party platform for many years. Young people are as well informed as other voters on policy and candidates, and in many cases are more affected by the outcome of the elections. Beginning to vote while still in high school also establishes a habit of good citizenship that should last a lifetime.
Our current cutoff age of 18 means that many people first become eligible to vote while away at college, so there are often questions about whether students should register at their college address or their parents' home address. This results in lower voting participation among students. Lowering the cutoff age to 16 would give students several some experience at voting before transitioning to college.
We strongly support a YES vote on Prop F.
Prop G is political posturing that should never have been placed on the ballot. It renames the "Office of Citizens Complaints" (OCC) to the "Department of Police Accountability" (DPA) and places their budget directly under the Mayor, rather than having the office included in the SFPD budget.
Most people will never notice the difference. Instead of complaining to one City board about bad policing, then being ignored, SF residents will be able to be ignored by an entirely new department! As we saw the the Frisco Five protests, direct action is the only way to make changes, short of electing a new Mayor to oversee this mess.
On the plus side, Prop G would make the new DPA's budget more independent from the SFPD's, and if Prop H also passes, the new Public Advocate will appoint the director of the DPA. Because Greens support decentralization of municipal power, we support a YES vote on Prop G.
Prop H is about decentralization. In 1996, the SF City Charter was rewritten to give SF a "strong mayor" system of government, in which most City policy is the Mayor's responsibility. If voters want change, our main opportunity comes every four years in the Mayor's race. Unfortunately, because the Mayor's Office is in charge of so many things, he could do a terrible job in one area (e.g., police oversight) while keeping enough voters satisfied to win re-election.
Prop H would create another citywide elected official, the Public Advocate, and move some Mayoral duties and powers to this position. Those responsibilities and powers would include investigating citizen complaints and whistleblower reports, appointing the director of the new Department of Police Accountability (should prop G pass), and putting legislation on the ballot. As a result, voters will have another elected official besides the Mayor to hold accountable for problems under their jurisdiction. We therefore support a YES vote on Prop H.
Prop I is a set-aside to fund services for seniors and adults with disabilities. Although Greens think these services are a worthy cause that should be funded, we don't support Prop I because it would tie up funds and prevent future Supervisors from allocating money in response to more urgent priorities.
If today's Board of Supervisors wanted to fund seniors and adults with disabilities, they could do so. But instead of making tough decisions about what other programs to cut, or what taxes to raise, they're passing the buck to the voters.
Prop I would create a new agency, fully controlled by the Mayor, with no supervision or control by the Board of Supervisors. Like Muni and the Department of Recreation and Parks, the new agency would be a ripe opportunity for pay-to-play schemes and other forms of corruption.
Prop I should not be on the ballot. Vote NO, and ask your Supervisor to fund these programs through the normal budget process instead.
Prop J would set aside a minimum amount of funding from the SF City Budget to fund homeless services, housing, and transportation improvements.
We oppose Prop J for the same reason we oppose Prop I: it would create another niche within City government with no oversight from the Board of Supervisors, thereby encouraging pay-to-play schemes, bribery, and other forms of corruption. Supervisors should fund these programs directly rather than cluttering up the ballot.
Prop K increase SF's sales tax to 9.25%; if it does not pass, the tax will drop to 8.5% at the beginning of next year.
Sales taxes are regressive, meaning that poor people pay a proportionally higher share of their income in sales taxes than rich people do. Just as bond-funded projects transfer middle class income to the rich, sales taxes transfer poor people's income upwards.
SF's budget should rely on more progressive forms of taxation, such as property taxes. Let's start eliminating our dependence on sales taxes by voting NO on K.
Prop L would give the Board of Supervisors the ability to appoint three members of the Municipal Transit Agency's (MTA) board of Directors. The MTA is the City agency the oversees Muni, streets, and parking policy. Currently, the Mayor appoints all 7 members of the MTA Board, so the Board of Supervisors has almost no influence over Muni fares, parking meter costs, or bike lanes.
Prop L would also give the Board of Supervisors more influence over the MTA's budget, allowing them to reject the Mayor's proposed budget with a simple majority (6 votes) instead of a supermajority of 7 votes.
Greens support Prop L, because it decentralizes the authority of a single elected official (the Mayor) into other elected offices (Supervisors) who are more likely to be responsible to the voters of SF. A mix of Mayoral and Supervisorial appointees should be much more responsive to the people of San Francisco than the current MTA Board is.
Prop M is another decentralization issue. It would create a Housing and Development Commission, to oversee two departments: the Office of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
Both departments currently report only to the Mayor. The new Commission would be split between people appointed by the Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, and the Controller.
Like Prop L, Prop M would shift some Mayoral authority to other offices that are more responsive to the public. We therefore support a YES vote.
Prop N would allow noncitizen parents, legal guardians, and caregivers of public school children to vote in local school board elections. This is a third try at passing 2004's Prop F, a measure sponsored by Matt Gonzalez, then President of the Board of Supervisors and its first Green Party member. Prop F failed by 3%, and its successor, 2010's Prop D, failed by even more. We hope that with Democratic Party voters' disgust at Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump's xenophobia, it will finally pass this time.
The Green Party has long supported voting rights for noncitizens in local elections. Immigrants pay taxes, so why shouldn't they have a say in how local government is run? Non-citizen voting in local elections was common in the United States until the anti-immigrant hysteria of the 1920s, and is still practiced in other countries today.
We hope that all SF voters will join us this year in supporting immigrant communities with a YES vote on Prop N.
Prop O was put on the ballot as a "citizens' initiative" which, in this case, means that a big money developer paid a bunch of citizens to collect the necessary signatures to qualify it for the ballot. It requires a simple majority of votes to pass.
Prop O would allow for "exclusions" for certain properties from the cap on office space that voters who were disgusted by rampant Tech 1.0 development approved in 1986. In the current political climate, if developers want to see changes to zoning/planning codes made, they can just buy politicians and try to get them to legislate those changes. So, why didn't they? It could be that this measure is on the ballot due to the rising cost of politicians. In any event, developers, represented by Five Point Holdings, LLC were able to retain the services of former Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and current School Board member Shamann Walton to front their measure as signers of the official argument in favor of the measure.
FivePoint is the largest developer of coastal communities in California. Lennar Corp is FivePoint's parent company and is the developer working over the neighborhoods in the vicinity of their projects at Candlestick Point and Hunter's Point Shipyards (CP/HPS). Prop O would exempt office space development in CP/HPS from the City's cap of 995,000 square feet/year. Thus, FivePoint could build bigger/faster to capitalize on cheap financing in order to cash in on the ass-end of the Tech 3.0 boom and ass-out working class residents who will suffer from cost increases in basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter).
Prop O is a canned gentrification scheme and will tax existing infrastructure (water, sewer, transit). It will further decimate what remains of the City's African-American community while degrading our urban environment. Recent news of Lennar's fake-testing of brown-field soil samples at the Shipyard lead us to believe that their toxic waste trails are all over the Bayview.
Environmental Justice is a form of Social Justice and No Justice is served by Prop O. Prioritizing profits and a potential IPO for Lennar/FivePoints over the health and welfare of our community scored zero points with SF Greens. We strongly encourage a NO vote on Prop O.
Prop P would require that the City solicit and receive a minimum of 3 bids for any development of affordable housing on City-owned property. On face, it seems that would be a good idea. However, the reality is that competition on such projects is limited by thin profit margins. (It's possible that putting up an additional hurdle here might forestall affordable housing altogether.) In addition, it's already the case that contracts are governed by generally accepted practices for governmental fund accounting which encourage appropriate advertisement, solicitation, and approval of such contracts. Prop P contains NO metrics by which the Mayor would choose the winning bid--presumably, he'd pick one that had written members of his "City Family" the largest checks.
This pay-to-play scheme is propped up by the San Francisco Association of Realtors, the California Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. Also, added to the roster of poster children for the real estate slate, Supervisors Katy Tang and Mark Farrell, who consistently score zero or near zero on SF Green Party Supervisorial report cards.
Filings with the Ethics Commission reveal connections that shed light on the real estate slate's sphere of influence. In these documents are a number of sketchy connections between the Prop P campaign, so-called "Democratic Clubs," and opposition to measures D, H, L, M (the SF Green Party says YES to all these props) that would decentralize and limit the overreaching power of the Mayor's office. While it's possible that no actual bags of money are changing hands, there's enough in the filings to warrant a money-laundering investigation.
We strongly encourage a NO vote on Prop P.
Prop Q would make it illegal for homeless people to set up tents on public sidewalks. It would give the SFPD authority to remove homeless encampments after giving 24 hours notice, and would allow the police to take homeless people's property, then throw it away after 90 days.
SF's current policy is to have cops push homeless encampments from one neighborhood to the next, until the camps are sufficiently out of public view or are concentrated in poor neighborhoods that the Mayor doesn't have to listen to.
It is already illegal to camp on sidewalks, but there's no point in having cops hassle homeless people unless there are shelters open for them to sleep in. Prop Q would waste police time on pushing homeless people around rather than investigating real crimes.
Aside from the bad policy, propositions like Prop Q serve two other purposes for the Democratic Party Machine. First, they clutter the ballot with issues that don't need to be decided by voters, thereby depressing voter turnout. Second, they provide a loophole in campaign finance laws: ultra-rich people like Ron Conway can give unlimited amounts of money to proposition campaigns, which can then be spent on favored political consultants, local media, and on other activities that promote corrupt politicians like Ed Lee and Mark Farrell.
Vote NO on Prop Q to reject these corrupt practices and bankrupt public policy.
Prop R would create a full-time police unit dedicated to "quality of life" crimes. In reality, that would mean more police officers wasting their time pushing homeless people from one neighborhood to the next.
Like Prop Q, Prop R is a complete waste of money, and would result in decreased public safety as our highly paid police officers would spend less time investigating serious crimes and instead work overtime to hassle homeless people.
Voters should not only reject Prop R, but also the corrupt politicians who clutter our ballot as they buy favors from our Police union.
Prop S is a local Prop put on the ballot as a citizens' initiative. It requires 66 2/3% of the vote (2/3 majority) to pass. Prop S will legislate allocation of the City's Hotel Tax for specific purposes, which include payments to established governmental and grant funding organizations whose mission is to support the City's culture through the arts. Prop S will also establish a Neighborhood Arts Fund and an Ending Family Homelessness Fund. Currently, Hotel Tax revenues go into the General Fund and can be allocated by the Board of Supervisors for similar public purposes.
Funding the arts, supporting local artists, and equitable distribution of public resources to address systemic injustices that deprive members of our community of their basic human right to housing, are all within the purview of our elected and appointed officials. Setting aside revenues from an existing tax does not change the job description of members of the Board. Our Supervisors should want a vibrant arts community, a vital cultural city, and a resilient and supportive City that cares enough to ensure basic human rights like housing.
While well-meaning in its intent, the intended results of Prop S could (and should) be prioritized at City Hall by legislators who care to listen to their constituents in their communities, instead of being Prop-ed up on the ballot as set-asides. Many who contributed to getting Prop S on the ballot and beyond truly do care about the cultural heart of the City and the welfare of all who call SF home. Others invested out of self-interest and, likely, to promote their own questionable standards of taste. A real work of art would be a functional Board of Supervisors. A real feat would be a concerted effort to change a dysfunctional economic system that leaves families without homes.
We therefore encourage a NO vote on Prop S.
Prop T would prohibit lobbyists (people paid to influence politicians) from giving gifts to City officials. It would also prohibit "bundling" (having one person collect a number of small campaign contributions and give them to a candidate).
Prop T would close some current loopholes in campaign finance law, by making some common "pay-to-play" practices illegal. It wouldn't close every loophole, but it's a good start. We strongly support it.
Prop U claims it would create more affordable housing--by changing the definition of the word "affordable." Currently, City building regulations require a certain percentage of housing to be build for people of various income levels. Prop U would give count any housing that's affordable to upper middle class people (people making 110% of the area's median income) towards these limits, thus eliminating any requirements to build housing for lower income people.
This Orwellian proposition does nothing to help build real affordable housing. Vote NO.
Prop V is a 1 cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks sold in SF (approximately 12 cents for a can of soda). Like Prop E two years ago, the tax would apply to soft drinks (both corn syrup and sugar-sweetened), as well as sugary sports drinks, energy drinks, iced tea, and juice drinks that are not 100% made from fruits or vegetables. It would also apply to the concentrates used to make soft drinks in commercial soda fountains. The tax would NOT apply to diet sodas, milk and milk substitutes, baby formula, nutritional supplements, or concentrates for home soda fountains.
Greens did not reach consensus on whether or not we should support Prop V, so we'll present arguments on both sides. We all agreed that sugary drinks are a serious health risk (see the article by UCSF researchers: https://accelerate.ucsf.edu/uploads/pilotawards/1331566366/the_toxic_truth_about_sugar.pdf), especially as a cause of diabetes. Many SF residents who get diabetes live in low-income neighborhoods with few healthy alternatives. Big soda corporations push sugary drinks heavily in poor neighborhoods, and Greens agree that SF should set policies that help people who live there switch to healthier foods and beverages. All Greens agreed that whether or not we support the tax, other methods for reducing sugar consumption discussed in the UCSF study (e.g., a ban on sales of all sugary drinks in schools and other government buildings) would also be worth trying. We are encouraged by the success of the Berkeley soda tax in reducing consumption there.
Greens failed to reach consensus on several points. Greens supporting NO thought the City should put the carrot before the stick, and subsidize healthier alternatives before instituting a regressive tax. Greens supporting YES thought that the money raised by the tax would be required to create the necessary subsidies. Greens supporting NO saw racism in the choice of which drinks to tax and which to exclude, when many excluded drinks are equally unhealthy or worse. Greens supporting YES thought that we have to start somewhere, and later try to expand the tax to diet drinks and sugary milk drinks such as lattes.
Prop W would raise the real estate transfer tax on properties valued at $5 million or more. It would generate $27 million per year to go into SF's General Fund.
Prop W is one of only a few examples of progressive taxes that cities like SF area legally allowed to enact under State law. Since we generally oppose sales taxes, bonds, and other forms of regressive taxation, we hope voters will take this opportunity to make rich people in SF pay their fair share of the costs of living here.
Prop X would preserve space for arts, small businesses, and community services in the Mission and SOMA communities. Currently, many such locations are being redeveloped into more profitable residential developments or office space for tech companies.
Prop X would require that developers who want to buy and convert these types of buildings get another level of approval from City government. It would also require the developers to provide replacement space to displaced community groups.
Although Prop X should apply city-wide, it is a good start at preserving some of what's left in our neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by gentrification. Vote YES on X!
Prop RR is a $3.5 billion bond to fund BART maintenance (e.g., repairing and replacing tracks, making electrical system upgrades, repairing tunnels and other structures, etc.).
BART has hundreds of thousands of daily riders, and it is clear that the system needs major repairs. BART is a critical piece of public infrastructure; if it shuts down (or breaks) for any significant time, the entire Bay Area economy would take a major hit as a result of transit gridlock.
Unfortunately, BART management decisions over the past few years leave us with very little confidence that the money will be well spent. BART directors wasted nearly $1 billion on the Oakland Airport Connector, a monorail that replaces a prior bus route with little increase in convenience and major increases in cost (both to riders and the cost to build the system). BART management wasted millions to bring in union-busting consultants in the last labor dispute. They are wasting additional millions to convert BART elevators into restrooms, while keeping the existing restrooms closed. BART can't get working escalators, but they always find homeless people to blame for the problem. BART management also spends inordinate amounts of money on BART police without requiring adequate civilian oversight.
Prop RR is like a hostage situation, with a group of Democratic Party Machine politicians holding the Bay Area economy prisoner unless we agree to their demands. Unfortunately, fixing BART governance is not something we can accomplish soon, so we have no alternative other than voting YES on RR.
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).