How Green is Your Supervisor?
This is a report card for the 2013 Supervisors. It shows the most important votes in 2013, from a Green Party perspective, and whether each supervisor supported or opposed our position. Some of the votes are on amendments to legislation.
It was difficult for us to pick legislation to score this year, because the Supervisors were unanimous in the vast majority of their votes. All too often, the Board served as nothing more than a rubber stamp for Mayor Lee. For example, in one boondoggle revealed by Weekly reporter Joe Eskenazi in a recent article, Mayor Lee ordered $38 million in failure-prone hybrid buses, which were paid for and arrived in Alameda weeks before an oblivious Board of Supervisors voted (unanimously, as usual) to authorize the purchase order.
While several Supervisors scored well this year, a Greener Board of Supervisors would be much more proactive about pushing for things that benefit working people, such as passing a Living Wage mandate, creating a municipal Bank of San Francisco, fixing Muni, building truly affordable housing, and creating more municipal utilities (e.g., public power, internet, and cable TV departments). As demonstrated by Matt Gonzalez in 2000, or Kshama Sawant in Seattle several months ago, the election of just one radical to a legislative body can really shift the political spectrum. We hope such people will step forward to run for office in SF this November!
|Supported Green Party position|
|Opposed Green Party position|
|Not yet appointed|
|D 1: Eric Mar||D 2: Mark Farrell||D 3: David Chiu||D 4: Katy Tang||D 5: London Breed||D 6: Jane Kim||D 7: Norman Yee||D 8: Scott Wiener||D 9: David Campos||D 10: Malia Cohen||D 11: John Avalos|
|Fund Public K-12 Education||Y||N||Y||-||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Appoint Corrupt Commissioner to Port Commission||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Expose Influence Buying at DA's Office||Y||N||N||N||N||N||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|Appoint Ethical Candidate to Ethics Commission||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|Non-resident fees at Botanical Garden||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Enable Raid on Retiree Health Care Funds||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Close Parks at Midnight||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
Fund Public K-12 Education (1/15/13). In 2012, due to state and federal cuts to public education, around 2000 SF high school students were not on pace to complete all the classes they needed to graduate. Supervisor Kim wanted to allocate $2.2 million from the City budget to give to the school district in order to add more after school and summer classes. $1.4 million would come from a voter-created school fund, and the other $840,000 would come from City reserve funds. Four Supervisors wanted to raid the schools' "rainy day fund" (against the wishes of its creator, Tom Ammiano) instead of using City reserve funds. A final vote on the proposal took place in 2013, after which Mayor Lee used a line item veto to avoid spending the $840,000. Supervisor Tang had not yet taken office, but her predecessor, Supervisor Chu, voted against the proposal;
Appoint Corrupt Commissioner to Port Commission (3/26/13). Mayor Lee appointed Mel Murphy, a developer with a long and corrupt history, to the Port Commission, which would empower him to direct taxpayer funds to other cronies of Mayor Lee as Port properties are developed. This is the same Mel Murphy whose house mysteriously collapsed last December after he was denied a demolition permit. After the collapse, evidence came to light that Murphy had avoided paying fees to build on the property through his connections at the corrupt Department of Building Inspection. Seven of the Supervisors rubber-stamped Mayor Lee's crony appointment.
Expose Influence Buying at DA's Office (5/14/13). In order to prevent public officials from taking bribes, the City has a law that prevents them from taking large gifts without having the Board of Supervisors approve the gift in advance. District Attorney George Gascon was caught receiving $26,000 in furniture for his office from a number of donors who were involved in the "Run Ed Run" campaign for Mayor Ed Lee, which also flouted laws regarding campaign contribution limits. Although there were many questions about the connection between the D.A.'s failure to investigate the funding of "Run Ed Run," the Board of Supervisors overwhelmingly passed a measure retroactively approving the donation. The Board even shot down Supervisor Avalos' proposed amendment to require Gascon to file the usual Ethics forms that report the identities of all the "donors" (some, but not all of whom were reported by the press, and many of those had contributed money to the same Supervisors). The latter amendment is the vote we scored.
Appoint Ethical Candidate to Ethics Commission (6/4/13). The Ethics Commission is the City commission that levies fines against local campaigns and candidates (mostly grassroots campaigns that make minor mistakes on their paperwork, while ignoring serious violations by Machine candidates). Mayor Lee nominated Brett Andrews to fill a vacancy, despite conflicts of interest pointed out by the Friends of Ethics. More ethical parties recommended a different applicant, Hulda Garfolo. However, when the vote was called the question of sending Andrews' application back to committee for further review (and possible substitution), the majority of the Supervisors decided instead to rubber-stamp the Lee appointment.
Non-resident fees at Botanical Garden (7/16/13). In 2010, the Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to support partial privatization of Golden Gate Park by allowing a "nonprofit" controlled by rich supporters of Mayor Newsom to build a wall with a toll booth around the Botanical Gardens (aka Arboretum), and to charge non-residents $7 to enter. Supervisors Alioto-Pier, Avalos, Campos, Chiu, Chu, Daly, Elsbernd, and Maxwell supported this sellout legislation, with only Supervisors Dufty, Mar and Mirkarimi opposed. As the Green Party predicted, Supervisors have enthusiastically supported extending this "temporary" fee again and again when faced with budget deficits. This time, the Board extended the fee for another 10 years, essentially handing off the 55 acres of Golden Gate Park to the rich.
Enable Raid on Retiree Health Care Funds (7/16/13). Supervisors voted unanimously to place Prop A on the ballot. Prop A was Supervisor Farrell's measure that enables elected or appointed officials to raid retiree health care funds to pay for their pet projects, as we said in our endorsement statement opposing Prop A.
CleanPowerSF (9/17/13). This was a symbolic vote, skewering Mayor Lee for his undemocratic blocking of the launch of CleanPowerSF. Although this vote alone wasn't critical, it caps a long series of supermajority votes at the Board in favor of giving PG&E customers a cleaner alternative for buying their electricity. In this vote, Supervisors Farrell and Tang, by siding with Mayor Lee and PG&E, showed how out of touch they are with working San Franciscans.
Close Parks at Midnight (11/5/13). As part of the Lee administration's push to privatize our parks, Supervisor Wiener led the charge to criminalize public use of City parks after midnight. Despite a number of objections by people who routinely enjoy using our parks at night, Supervisors snuck this vote in the night of the 2013 election, when few were paying attention.
This January and February, we have 8 weeks to gather signatures from 10,000 voters in order for Green Party candidates for statewide office to be allowed to appear on the June election ballot.
The Green Party candidates currently running for office (in SF) are:
- Luis Rodriquez for Governor
- Laura Wells for Controller
- Ellen Brown for Treasurer
- David Curtis for Secretary of State
Barry Hermanson for Congress
More info (and signature forms for the statewide candidates that you can print out yourself) are on the Green Party of California's website.
The SF Green Party has endorsed the following candidates and propositions for November 2013. See below for longer explanations.
Don't forget to connect the arrow next to "write-in" as well.
- A: NO - potential raid on retiree health trust fund
- B: NO - wall on the waterfront / more condos for millionaires
- C: NO - (similar to B) wall on the waterfront / more condos for millionaires
- D: YES - statement in favor of cheaper prescription drugs
Other Local Offices:
Voter Guide (detailed explanations):
Supervisor, District 4 - Mike Murphy (write in) (campaign website: www.Murphy4supe.org)
Mike moved to San Francisco from Western New York State in 1996.
He lives with his wife and 5 year old son in the Outer Sunset, and
has been registered Green since he arrived in the City.
As citizens we should have a say in decisions that affect our lives.
In a common Machine strategy, SF politicians are promoted before they
term out, the Mayor appoints their successor, who is elected, and
reelected in our one-party town. The only rule for aspiring
Democratic Party politicians is: "obey the Mayor." We saw the price
of disobedience: District 5 Supervisorial appointee Christina Olague
was kicked to the curb.
In addition to providing an independent voice for residents of the
Outer Sunset, Mike is also strongly in favor of protecting Golden Gate
Park from commercial development. The Mayor and his buddies want to
install acres of artificial turf in Golden Gate Park at the Beach
Chalet Fields, and light that industrial park up every night until 10
pm. The field would be made of toxic astroturf created by chopping up
recycled tires. It would have a profound negative impact on local
wildlife and the environment. The field would benefit a private
foundation called City Fields, which would marked the new field to
private soccer leagues.
Rather than supporting the current Supervisor, a rubber stamp for
Downtown developers and Mayor Ed Lee, write in "Mike Murphy" for
District 4 Supervisor. And don't forget to connect the arrow next
to the write-in slot as well: the Department of Elections has
already proven that they will not count any votes that they aren't
absolutely, legally required to.
NO on A (potential raid on retiree health trust fund)
In June 2008, voters established a retiree health care trust fund to
help pay the health insurance costs of retired City employees. The
Green Party supported that measure, even as we continued to fight to
replace for-profit insurance with less expensive and better Single
Payer coverage. Under existing law, money contributed by current City
employees goes into a trust fund, which cannot be spent until 2020,
and only then on insurance costs. City College employees pay into a
separate trust fund, with identical restrictions. The current trust
fund governing and distributing board consists of of five members: two
at large (public employees), one Board of Supervisors, and one member
each appointed by the Controller and Mayor. This gives SF public
employees a semblance of comfort in knowing that their funds are under
safe lock and key, in contrast to the workers of San Mateo Co, who saw
significant losses due to risky investments.
This year, Supervisor Mark Farrell introduced Prop A, which addresses
loopholes in the way funds may be spent starting in 2020, along with
changing structure of the governing board. These restrictions will
supposedly help protect taxpayers from future raids on the funds.
However, in fact Prop A does the opposite, by allowing the trust funds
to be spent immediately under certain circumstances. If Prop A
passes, the Mayor and Supervisors could spend money from the City fund
with a supermajority vote, starting as early as next year. It is
unclear who would control the City College trust fund, but we are
worried that the funds would be controlled by the unelected "special
trustee" who has usurped control of City College from the elected
board. We are very worried that in either case, the funds would not
be spent for their intended purpose--just as federal pension funds
have been plundered for the purpose of "balancing the federal
We urge voters to protect the trust fund by voting NO on Prop A. If
there really is a problem with the way funds will be managed starting
in 2020, there is still plenty of time to fix this, without
introducing loopholes that may allow the money to be stolen by corrupt
politicians. Join us by standing against government fiscal
intervention and in solidarity with unions (including SEIU 1021) in
opposing Prop A.
NO on B and C (wall on the waterfront / more condos for millionaires)
Prop B is an initiative pushed by well-funded developers that will
overturn existing height limits for a single development along the
west side of the Embarcadero just north of the Ferry Building. It
will create a wall of 12-story condos, blocking out afternoon sunshine
along the waterfront and producing a "wind tunnel" effect that would
make it unpleasant to walk along the Embarcadero. Prop B is
particularly bad because it would set a precedent that zoning laws do
not apply to people with enough money to fund an initiative campaign:
like so many laws supported by the City's elite, they would apply only
to the "little people" and not to those in power.
Voting NO on Prop C is another way to reject the same project. After
the developers bought off the majority of the Board of Supervisors,
Mayor Ed Lee, and former Mayor Gavin Newsom, this giant condo project
sailed through the planning process. Prop C is a referendum that
would reject the Board of Supervisors' earlier decision to approve
this project. Because of the way referendums are written, a NO vote
on Prop C is (just like a NO on B) a vote against the project.
A lack of affordable housing is driving poor and middle class people,
artists, and other long-time residents out of the City. We need a
moratorium on most new market rate condo development, more City
support for cooperative housing models such as community land trusts,
and a procedure for legalization of in-law units without adding
additional parking requirements. We also need more public parks and
open spaces for people who can't afford huge yards: although the slick
Prop B ads show pictures of beautiful parks, the vast majority of
parks created by their proposal would be like a private country club:
open to the public by invitation only.
Join us in rejecting this abuse of the initiative process by greedy
developers! Vote NO on both B and C.
YES on D (statement in favor of cheaper prescription drugs)
Unfortunately, this measure is only a policy statement. Regular
people should be able to negotiate better prices for prescription
drugs, a benefit that the Veterans Administration has long enjoyed.
VA drug costs are half the price that the rest of us pay. If the City
had the ability to negotiate on behalf of the Public Health
Department, there would be a projected savings of $23 million annually
which could be used on other needed services.
Jose Cisneros is currently running unopposed for reelection.
As we said in 2009, we appreciate Cisneros'
efforts to lower taxes on SRO residents, and his work with banks to
provide less costly alternatives to check-cashing companies for SF's
poorest residents. However, we would like Cisneros to be more
proactive in pushing for changes to laws that would benefit City
residents. For example, state law severely limits the types of
investments that a local Treasurer can make. City funds must be
invested in commercial banks and government bonds, and may not be
invested in projects such as community land trusts, alternative
energy development, or even home loans to local residents. Rather
than working to create a publicly-owned Bank of San Francisco that
could invest City funds in such projects, Cisneros has focused on
making deals with private banks. Cisneros should also call for
reform of Prop 13 to allow higher taxes on commercial property.
Assessor - no endorsement.
Carmen Chu is running unopposed for election to
the office she was appointed to by Mayor Ed Lee, a
politician who himself was originally appointed Mayor by the Board of
Supervisors. Carmen Chu is no stranger to political appointments, as
she was originally appointed to her seat on the Board of Supervisors
by Mayor Gavin Newsom, who himself obtained a seat on the Board of
Supervisors after being appointed by Mayor Willie Brown. This maze of
political payback in a 1-party town is confusing, but is best
illustrated in a cartoon by Joe Luby:
As Supervisor, Carmen Chu proved to be a reliable rubber stamp for
Mayors Newsom and Lee, and for the 1% they represent. Always a
reliable Democratic Party hack, she scored a perfect 0% on our 2012
Supervisorial Report Card, in which we scored votes on important
issues from a Green Party perspective:
Carmen Chu did not participate in our endorsement process.
Dennis Herrera is running unopposed for re-election.
We support Herrera's office's efforts in suing the
ACCJC in order to keep City College open and public, and we supported
his lobbying on behalf of marriage equality rights. However, Herrera
has been reliable corporatist on too many other issues. In 2007, he
sided with the Lennar Corporation in blocking a citizen-led initiative
regarding Bayview-Hunters Point redevelopment from being placed on the
ballot, even though the residents had gathered a sufficient number of
signatures. By ruling that the petitions were invalid because the
signature gatherers had not attached copies of a phone book-sized
piece of legislation they were seeking to overturn, Herrera set a
dangerous precedent that will allow authorities to reject any petition
that they believe shouldn't be allowed before voters on similar
technicalities. Herrera also promised 8 years ago to enforce the
Raker Act (which would bring public power to SF), and he hasn't made
any moves towards doing so. He's also been unwilling to enforce open
records (Sunshine) laws.
Herrera did not participate in our endorsement process.
The SF Green Party will host a candidate forum this Wednesday, 9/25--come ask questions to candidates in the races for D4 (Sunset) Supervisor, City Attorney, Assessor, and Treasurer. The forum will take place from 7-9 pm in the Community Room at the Taraval/Parkside Police Station, 2345 24th Ave, in the Sunset. The event is open to the public and all are invited!
Please read candidates' answers to our Supervisorial questionnaire in advance, so we don't ask them questions they've already answered on the record. We received the following response from D4 Supervisorial candidates (all 3 were invited but only one responded):
Supervisorial candidates (D4): Mike Murphy (write in candidate)
Note that we do not currently have questionnaires for the other citywide contests; all candidates from those contests were invited.
The Green Party's 2012 Presidential Candidate, Jill Stein, has recently spoken out on many issues, from trying to stop the war drums against Syria to fighting the Trans Pacific Partnership. Dr. Stein will be visiting the Bay Area from September 15-18, including an event in San Francisco on Monday, September 16!
The SF Green Party & Occupy SF Forum present:
2012 Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein
Mon 9/16, 6-9 pm
Location: UNITE HERE Local 2 Action Room
209 Golden Gate Ave @ Leavenworth
near Civic Ctr BART
Free! Donations to Occupy SF and SF Green Party are welcome.
Seats 150+, so invite anybody interested in building an alternative to the 2-party system.
If you live in the North Bay and can't come to our event, Jill will also be speaking at the Petaluma Progressive Festival (http://www.progressivefestival.org/) on September 15.
She will also attend several house party fundraisers for Single Payer Now in Oakland and SF: RSVP to either for details on locations:
After Wednesday's historic Supreme Court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage in CA, and overturning part of DOMA, the Green Party put out a press release praising the decisions. But after this weekend's celebrations, there's still much work to be done, as New York Green Drew Langdon acknowledged:
We commit to continue the struggle because we understand that equality means more than marriage equality. The struggle continues, as we work to make full protections for our transgender siblings a reality. The struggle continues as we ensure that every LGBTQI person has enough food to eat, a roof over their heads, and the proper care for a healthy life. The struggle continues as we work to ensure the basic dignity and human rights that we all deserve.
The Supreme Court ruling removes the last remnants of protection for poor and minority voters and will openly invite new and creative ways to repress the most vulnerable people in our society.
What the Supreme Court should have done is expand the principles of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into the emerging Jim Crow states of Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
The Green Party thinks we need far stronger protections than those that had been guaranteeed by the Voting Rights Act, including an acknowledgement of everybody's right to vote and have your vote counted, and fair access to run as a candidate.