GRANICK SLATE CARD
PRIMARY ELECTION, information pills June 3, visit 2008

Friends, Romans, Republicans*:

Welcome to the Granick Slate Card for the June 3, 2008 Primary Election. Lots of fun stuff on the ballot, though unfortunately we can’t vote for who is more wronged, Obama because Hillary insists that Florida and Michigan voters be counted even though Obama didn’t campaign there because they weren’t supposed to count, or Hillary because Obama insists that she death wished him by even mentioning RFK. Debate it elsewhere, we aren’t even talking about it here. No, we are not.

*Actually, its a primary and I’m registered Democrat, so the candidate picks below are only helpful for Democratic voters. If you aren’t registered D, see the “Some Housekeeping” section.

Some Housekeeping:

Its recently come to my attention that some fair citizens of San Francisco* are registered Independent, meaning American Independent Party. The AIP is not the fair-minded agnostic who just wants a chance to vote their conscience in a open primary, no. It is, according to those perennially youthful lads Matier and Ross, “anti-immigrant, anti-abortion, anti-NAFTA and anti-tax party”. For those of you in the same boat as Ms. Siebel, you might want to re-register. To become the independent voter you always wanted to be, you should pick “decline to state”. You can do so here.

*Who else made this gaffe? Why, future First Lady Jennifer Siebel did! So you are in good company. Reportedly, she went to Stanford!

Now that that’s settled, we’re off to the races.

United States Representative; District 8: Nancy Pelosi, Democratic

Pelosi is powerful. Pelosi brings home the bacon. Pelosi will face anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan in November. Pelosi will win this primary. Pelosi.

State Senator; District 3; Mark Leno

This is a tight race and, to my mind, one of two reasons to turn out and vote next Tuesday. Assemblyman Mark Leno is running against the incumbant Carole Migden and former Assemblyman Joe Nation. Nation made a name for himself with pro-environment legislation, before terming out of the State Assembly in 2006. He’s generally considered the most conservative person running for this seat, possibly because he says he’ll work across party lines, possibly because he takes money from the landlords promoting Prop 98 (see below) and also possibly because he’s the only straight guy. Hey, straight people can be liberals, too!

My vote goes for Leno. He’s been effective, principled and pragmatic. The Chron, which endorsed him, says “Leno’s work in shepherding his same-sex marriage legislation – bringing it from pipe dream to passage in 2005 and 2007, only to be vetoed each time by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – was a textbook example of how an understated tenacity can pay off in the world of politics.” He was also instrumental in passing a state health care bill last year.

Sadly, Senator Migden’s personal and professional judgement make it impossible for me to vote for her, especially with Leno in the race. Remember the hit-and-run freeway crash, which she blamed on medication she is taking for previously undisclosed cancer, and the record fine from the Fair Political Practices Commission for campaign-finance law violations that included use of donations for personal expenses? How about the time she punched the “yes” button of a Republican legislator when he was in the toilet or something while her bill was being voted on in the Assembly? If there weren’t another great candidate, you might force yourself to overlook these things, but there’s Leno.

State Assembly: Tom Ammiano

He’s movin’ on up from the Board of Supervisors. He’s funny. He’s from New Jersey. He worked his ass off for this city. He authored the city’s domestic partners law. He authored the living wage law. He created the Children’s Fund and the the Rainy Day Fund law. He looks great in a dress. We’ll miss you, Tom, and we’re proud of you.

Democratic Party County Central Committee; San Francisco County

Here’s who I know who is running in my district, the 13th.

Michael R. Farrah, Jr.

Here’s who the Bay Guardian endorses:

13th Assembly District

Bill Barnes, David Campos, David Chiu, Chris Daly, Michael Goldstein, Robert Haaland, Joe Julian, Rafael Mandelman, Aaron Peskin, Eric Quezada, Laura Spanjian, Debra Walker

12th Assembly District

Michael Bornstein, Emily Drennen, Hene Kelly, Eric Mar, Jake McGoldrick, Trevor McNeil, Jane Morrison, Melanie Nutter, Connie O’Connor, Giselle Quezada, Arlo Hale Smith

Superior Court Judge; San Francisco County: Mary Mallen (Not Thomas Mellon)

Current Judge Mellon should not be retained due to a general disrespect for public defenders and apparent fear of the people who appear before him as defendants and witnesses (see here. Gerardo C. Sandoval, a former public defender, is a doofus. That super doofus Sean Hannity outsmarted him. Mallen, another former public defender is my choice.

State Propositions

Proposition 98: End Rent Control, and Then Some: NO
Proposition 99: Protect Homeowners from Eminent Domain: Yes

These propositions are an effort to redo a previous proposition on eminent domain that was narrowly defeated by Californians in November of 2006. 98 takes all the parts of that proposition and makes it worse by including language that would defeat rent control. 99 is more narrowly tailored to prevent the government from taking a single family dwelling to sell that land to another private party.

The problem is that eminent domain, often used by government and environmentalists to stop private property owners from destroying communal resources, has more recently be used to take the little guy’s land and give it to developers or other property owners. The US Supreme Court approved the practice, so people feel that ED is out of control. Still, government power over real estate serves an important social function when properly deployed for parks, wetlands, reasonable rent control and the like. Proposition 98 has no balance whatsoever. It would encourage property owners to sue the government whenever it restricts the ways owners use their land, including zoning, land use and environmental reglations. Proposition 98 bars state and local governments from using eminent domain to acquire an owner-occupied residence, as defined, for conveyance to a private person or business entity. This one is balanced and acceptable.

Local Measures

Proposition A School Parcel Tax – Yes

$198 per parcel annually for schools. An effort to fix underfunding because of the anti-property tax movement of the 1970’s.

Proposition B Changing Qualifications for Retiree Health and Pension Benefits and Establishing a Retiree Health Care Trust Fund – Yes

This prop increases the years of service required for City employees to qualify for employer-funded retiree health benefits from 5 to 10 or 20 years, while increasing retirement benefits for those who do qualify. A way to save the city money while providing for long-term employees.

Proposition C Forfeiture of Retirement Benefits for Conviction of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude in Connection with City Employment – No

Not a big enough problem to be worth the litigation over whether something is morally turpitudinous enough to merit the penalty. And yes, that is a word.

Proposition D Appointments to City Boards and Commissions – No

Another one of these non-binding policy statements San Franciscans love, this one saying more men and women of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and types of disabilities be appointed so that the interests of these people is better represented. It is both banal and false. Banal because everyone in San Francisco believes in equal opportunity for all who want to be in public service and false because the proposition assumes that identity politics is the truest way to egalitarianism, which I don’t believe is borne out by history.

Proposition E Requiring Board of Supervisors’ Approval of Mayor’s Appointments to the Public Utilities Commission and Creating Qualifications for Commission Members – No

This is another one of those salvos in the ongoing fight between our allegedly conservative mayor and the allegedly progressive Board of Supervisors over who has the most control. Right now, the mayor appoints people to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Board can only reject that person with a 2/3 vote. This would change that to a majority vote. A 2/3 vote should be enough of a safeguard against political hacks, without making PUC appointments a political football. If you trust the supervisors but not the mayor, you’ll vote the other way on this.

Proposition F — No
Proposition G – YES

This is the other reason to vote in this election and is a hot political potato.

Hunters Point is neglected and languishing. Previous voter-approved ideas, like a shopping mall, have failed because there was not a comprehensive vision or a financial plan to make improvements work. Until now. Proposition G was placed on the ballot to get voter support for a Lennar Corp. development plan. The plan is elaborate, and promises parks, businesses, housing, clean up of the Navy Yard with federal money, a way to keep the 49ers and a way to use the land if they leave for Santa Clara. While Lennar’s initial promise was for 25% affordable housing, the corporation has upped its ante to 32%, (and thrown in a chunk of change for job training and home ownership programs) due to opposition from Prop F. It has also promised to build some of the housing for the poorest people, and some for the lower middle class. The plan, if it happens in this economic market, will be great for the area. That is why Sophie Maxwell, the supervisor for Bayview/Hunters Point is in favor of G.

Proposition F is the poison pill for Proposition G. Pushed by people who don’t trust Lennar’s promises can be enforced would require 50% of the housing to be affordable. The problem is that Prop F doesn’t say how that plan could be financed. Lennar says it can’t afford to do the development at that rate. Also, during the debate on KQED the other day, one of the Prop G proponents said that no project in the City has ever had more than 30% affordable housing. So if F passes, then the most likely scenario is that, once again and still, Hunters Point sits neglected. Lennar will drop its plan, and the area is unlikely to get another suitor.

Affordable housing is really important, as is avoiding gentrification that drives current residents away, as is avoiding the “barbell effect” where the really poor and the super rich can get access to homes in the city, and everyone else has to leave. The Lennar plan provides that housing, maybe not as much as you’d theoretically like, in the context of a well-conceived detailed plan that can actually happen. F puts the kibosh on that progress. And waiting carries its own price. Black residents are already being forced out of the Bayview area by a mixture of gentrification and violence. There’s always something not to like, but that is not a good excuse anymore. Vote yes on G and no on F.

Proposition H Prohibiting Elected Officials, Candidates, or Committees They Control from Soliciting or Accepting Contributions from Certain City Contractors – No

This is a poorly crafted rule that does not define the “controlled committees” that it allegedly regulates. As a result is will not make government cleaner. Both the Chronicle and the Bay Guardian are against it.

Thats all, folks. Remember to vote early, vote often. Polls are open from 7A to 8P. Viva la democracia.

HELPFUL LINKS

To find your polling place, go here,/a>: http://smartvoter.org/ca/sf/ (A great site with tons of resources, btw)
SF Chronicle
Endorsements: http://www.sfgate.com/endorsements/
SF Bay Guardian Endorsements: www.sfbg.com

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United States Representative; District 8: Nancy Pelosi, Democratic

State Senator; District 3; Mark Leno

State Assembly: Tom Ammiano

Democratic Party County Central Committee

Michael R. Farrah, Jr.

13th Assembly District

Bill Barnes, David Campos, David Chiu, Chris Daly, Michael Goldstein, Robert Haaland, Joe Julian, Rafael Mandelman, Aaron Peskin, Eric Quezada, Laura Spanjian, Debra Walker

12th Assembly District

Michael Bornstein, Emily Drennen, Hene Kelly, Eric Mar, Jake McGoldrick, Trevor McNeil, Jane Morrison, Melanie Nutter, Connie O’Connor, Giselle Quezada, Arlo Hale Smith

Superior Court Judge; Mary Mallen (Not Thomas Mellon)

Prop A: Schools: Yes

Prop B: Retirement: Yes

Prop C: Moral Turpitude: No

Prop D: Policy on Appointments: No

Prop E: PUC Appointments: No

Prop F: Poison Pill: No

Prop G: Lennar Plan for Hunters Point: Yes

Prop H: Controlled Committees: No

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