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.