SlateCardNov07 (pdf)

The Granick Slate Card is now available for this upcoming Tuesday’s election here in San Francisco. Download and remember to vote early and often.

Huzzah, syphilis

Jennifer

GRANICK SLATE CARD
SAN FRANCISCO ELECTION, ask NOVEMBER 2007

Friends, Romans, Republicans:

Welcome to the Granick Slate Card for the November 6, 2007 San Francisco citywide election. What, there’s an election? Yes! And even though none of the officeholder races are competitive, there’s still a whole mess of ballot measures and a fantastic assortment of mayoral candidates to consider. So, let’s get started.

Mayor: Gavin Newsom

In what other city would you have a nudist activist, a homeless cabdriver and an anarchist blogger running for Mayor in a field of 18? Its amusing, but where where these people when we held elections for the more mundane office of Supervisor? That’s where people learn about the business of running a city and about the issues confronting its citizens. Of course, its more fun to run for a big fancy office like Mayor, and boy howdy do you get a lot of attention. But I wouldn’t waste even a protest vote on a candidate who doesn’t have a real commitment to city government. Lots of people have an issue or two they care about, but the city has a lot of issues, and the mayor has to care about, and know how to do something about, pretty much every one. If for some reason you hate Newsom, serious people, if not serious candidates, worth mentioning include Quintin Mecke. He has never held elective office, but at least he runs a non-profit that fights crime and violence on city streets. Dr. Ahimsa Sumchai is also a serious person running on an important issue, environmental waste and dangerous pollution in Hunter’s Point.

You can read the paper for biographies of the rest of the personalities running for mayor, and feel proud that they reflect the diversity of psychological health in San Francisco, but in the end, Newsom will win. His approval rating is around 70%, and that’s after fucking his friend’s wife, also his employee, admitting a drinking problem, and sticking with a girlfriend who has to have the worst judgment, grammar and capitalization abilities any graduate of Stanford University has ever displayed.

District Attorney: Kamala Harris: She’s running unopposed.

Sheriff: Mike Hennessey: He does a great job running our chronically overcrowded jails and providing programs for the sentenced population. I’m always proud to vote for Hennessey.

Propositions

Prop A: Muni Reform: Yes

Gives $26 million per year to Muni and creates a single agency for all transportation issues, including cars, bikes and public transit.

Prop B: Commission Holdovers: Yes

Right now, a city commission appointee serves until her term expires, which gives her some independence. However, if the mayor does not officially reappoint or replace her, she serves in limbo at the mayor’s behest until he does something about it. B limits the length of limbo to 90 days. This way, instead of having people end up serving at the mayor’s whim, we preserve their independence by assuring them an official appointment of a specified term of years.

Prop C: Public Hearings for Ballot Measures: Yes

C requires supervisors and the mayor to hold a public hearing 45 days before putting any measure on the ballot. This would end last-minute legislation laundered through the referendum process without public debate or constitutionality review. A public hearing for those who care about and are impacted by the measure is far more democratic than tossing things on the ballot at the last minute and seeing who will vote for it without the benefit of that vetting.

Prop D: Library money: No

Libraries are important parts of our public infrastructure. In recognition of this, a Library Preservation Fund was established in 1994 to ensure a certain level of funding for libraries. The Fund is due to expire next year, and this would extend it for 15 more years, but with some important changes. The 1994 funds were earmarked for operations – increasing hours and acquiring books. The new Fund would allow expenditures and procedural short cuts for issuing bonds for “any lawful purpose of the Library Department” including construction and related equipment. That means less money for hours and books, as well as an increase in bond expenditures without the usual public oversight. I would vote yes for something that just continues the current Fund as is, and we have time for that law to pass before expiration.

Prop E: Mayoral presence at Board of Supervisors meetings: No

This is a recap of Prop I from last election, which requested that the mayor to appear once a month at a Board of Supervisors meeting to answer questions, like in the U.K. The measure passed, but apparently Newsom won’t come to the meetings. So Prop E would make it mandatory. I’m willing to let the mayor decide what would be a productive expenditure of his time, and not micromanage him so that some supervisors can publicly showcase their disagreements with Newsom. The man has hardly made himself unavailable, giving full unedited interviews to local newspapers, meeting regularly with community groups and the like.

Prop F: Police Pensions: Yes

This would give airport cops, who are now part of the SFPD, the same pension rights as the rest of the force. What do you have against airports?

Prop G: Golden Gate Park Stables: No

Prop G would create a special fund for the renovation of the historic (and dilapidated) horse stables in Golden Gate Park. The city would match every $3 in private donations with $1 in public money, up to a total of $750,000. I like saving the quirky old things that make San Francisco special. However, I don’t like budgeting by the ballot, because we don’t know what other things we might want or need on which this money could be spent. Apparently, the Board of Supervisors considered this budget allocation and rejected it on the grounds that the city had other important expenses. I can’t vote yes for this unless I know that I disagree with that assessment, and I don’t. This is why we elect people to set the city budget. We can’t do it piecemeal by voting for every cool thing that comes along.

Prop H: More New Parking Spaces: No

This would remove limits on the number of parking spaces and lots developers can create as they build more housing. More parking means less housing, more cars, more congestion. Its nice to have parking, but that’s why they call it the suburbs. San Francisco doesn’t need big parking lots in China Basin or SOMA. It needs better public transit and more affordable housing. So vote no.

Prop I: Office of Small Business: Yes

Prop I would allocate $750,000 to set up an Office of Small Business to help mom and pop shops with regulations, permitting etc. The funding would be for one year only, so we can see if its worthwhile. Small business is the backbone of any vibrant city, and meeting all our regulations can be difficult for people who just want to run a restaurant or a shoe repair shop. In truth, our current bureaucracy should be able to do this for people, but its one year and it could be a good model for fixing the existing office. Vote no if you believe government inertia means we’ll be stuck with this office from now on regardless of whether it works or its functions could be performed by an existing agency.

Prop J: Public/Private Partnership for Free Wireless: No

There are more factors that go into a good public wireless service than free. There’s private. There’s fast. There’s accessible. There’s limited advertising. Some of these things are more likely to come from a municipal wireless service rather than a public-private partnership. So let’s evaluate available wireless proposals and consider cost as part of a bigger package.

Prop K: Street Ads: No

Prop K is a policy statement that the city should reject more street-furniture advertising deals. I hate covering everything with ads. But sometimes we need money for something and ads are a good way to pay for it that doesn’t involve entrance fees or tax expenditures. (Muni wireless may be one of these things). Any ads should be limited and tasteful. But we should never say never as a matter of policy in a vacuum.

That’s all for this election, race fans. See you again for the Primaries in February.

NEXT PAGE: CLIP AND VOTE

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Mayor: Gavin Newsom

District Attorney: Kamala Harris

Sheriff: Mike Hennessey

Prop A: Muni Reform: Yes

Prop B: Commission Holdovers: Yes

Prop C: Public Hearings for Ballot Measures: Yes

Prop D: Library money: No

Prop E: Mayoral presence at Board of Supervisors meetings: No

Prop F: Police Pensions: Yes

Prop G: Golden Gate Park Stables: No

Prop H: More New Parking Spaces: No

Prop I: Office of Small Business: Yes

Prop J: Public/Private Partnership for Free Wireless: No

Prop K: Street Ads: No