In my slate card, viagra I mis-copied the SF Bay Guardian recommendations. In fact, pharm the SFBG endorses a YES on all eight city props.

Vote early, vote often,


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Friends, Romans, Republicans:

Welcome to the Granick Slate Card for the June 8, 2010 California Primary Election. The hot national issues are Drill, Baby, Drill and Arizona checking the IDs of suspected non-Amuricans, in other words “illegal” people. Will we confront these issues in this election? Not so much. Primaries are really about picking our best candidate for the general election and punishing those incumbents who’ve done us wrong. I’m a registered Democrat, so my picks are for those races. Unfortunately, time is short so my explanations are terse, or non-existent, but as usual I have lots of links to other authorities if you want to check my math. So, without further ado, the picks.

Governor (Dem): Jerry Brown

Lt. Governor (Dem): Gavin Newsom
I’m not a huge fan of Newsom’s anymore. I think he started strong and then got personally ambitious and distracted, leaving a lot of San Francisco’s needs on the table. Still, he’s an interesting and smart politician and I think the job of Lt. Governor requires ambition if one is to make anything of it.



Friends, Romans, Republicans:

Welcome to the Granick Slate Card for the November 3, 2009 San Francisco Citywide Election. I know, I know, you had no idea there was an election tomorrow, and neither did I. So without further ado, here is the lowdown on the 5 city ballot measures and the two city offices. (Apologies if you do not live in San Francisco, as this will not help you at all. You probably don’t even have an election to vote in.)

OFFICES: No Opposition Candidates

City Attorney: Dennis Herrera

Treasurer: José Cisneros


The propositions this year are about money, and ways the city can make some and plan to spend it, given the deep budget deficits as a result of the recession. My theory is that we should plan for the long run, and that informs my recommendations

PROPOSITION A: Two Year Budget Cycle: Yes
Should the City Charter be amended to require the City to develop binding long-range financial policies, to adopt a two-year budget cycle, and to create a five-year financial plan to forecast expenditures and revenues?

It’s a good idea to consider more than just the next year when budgeting.

PROPOSITION B: Board of Supervisor Aides: No

Should the City Charter be amended to allow members of the Board of Supervisors an unspecified number of aides?

We’re in a deficit. The Board of Supervisors should not now be authorized to hire more than the two aides they are currently allotted. If there is a need for more aides, we can find out what that need is and authorize that, not remove any limits.

PROPOSITION C: Candlestick Park Naming Rights: Yes

Should the City be allowed to enter into naming contracts for the stadium at Candlestick Point?

I have strong distaste for naming rights. However, the last naming contract for Candlestick was $700K a year from When that contract expired, the park reverted to its original name. This seems a low-impact way to bring in a lot of money in a budget cycle that requires more revenue.

PROPOSITION D: Mid-Market Special Sign District: No

This would create a special district allowing more signs and billboards along mid-Market Street, with some of the revenue earmarked for various beneficial services. Once these billboards are built, there’s no going back. The idea that more signs will revitalize the neighborhood seems a strange proposition. If we are going to look for ad revenue to help make up the budget shortfall, I’d rather something that doesn’t leave us with a lot of billboard infrastructure we’ll never stop using.

PROPOSITION E: Advertisements on City Property: No

Should the City prohibit any increase in advertising on any City owned property, such as buildings and street furniture (news racks, transit shelters etc.)?

I don’t like more advertising, but I don’t think that we should tie our hands now and vote to freeze advertising at current levels. This should be decided more flexibly. Some advertising is more pernicious than others.


SF Chronicle

Prop. A: YES
Prop. B: YES
Prop. C: YES
Prop. D: NO
Prop. E: NO

SF Bay Guardian

That all, Race Fans! See you at the ballot box.

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All the ballot propositions went down in flames with the exception of the one limiting legislator pay.  It will be interesting to see what we do now to balance the budget.  See you next time at the polls, mind Friends, health Romans, ailment Republicans…


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Friends, Romans, Republicans:

I was surprised to learn that the special election on ballot measures that are supposed to help alleviate California’s chronic budgeting problems is Tuesday.  Thanks, Courtney!  So, quickly, here are the summaries of the six propositions and the official Granick Slate Card positions.

For more information, visit the San Francisco League of Women Voters or the Sacramento Bee editorial page:

The Backstory:  California’s budget process is a mess.  One of the biggest problems is that most of the money is earmarked for particular causes by past propositions and can only be reallocated through another proposition.  This is ok during flush years, because there’s some cash to move around.  But during lean years, it doesn’t give legislators anything to work with to balance the budget or allocate funds where they most need to go.  This is a lean year.  And so we have a bunch of measures placed on the ballot by the Governor and legislature to raise taxes and reallocate money and hopefully balance the budget. It would be nice if our elected officials could do their jobs without involving us, the voters, in this arcania, but that’s not where we are, so on to the voting.  Which is Tuesday, remember.

Prop 1A: Tax hike, spending limit: Yes

• It would extend by one or two years the taxes that lawmakers approved in February on retail sales, vehicles and income. This would generate an estimated $16 billion between 2011 and 2013.

• It would give the governor new authority to make midyear spending cuts during periods when state tax revenue unexpectedly dips.

• Lastly, it would prevent lawmakers from spending surplus tax revenue during good times, so it could be saved for lean years.

This is the measure that will bring the tax-hating Californians out in droves.  But even if you vote no on this, you should vote yes on 1D and 1E.

Prop 1B: Insures more money for schools:  No.

Hello, ballot mandated earmarks are how we got into this mess in the first place.

Prop 1C: No

If Proposition 1C passes, the state would be authorized to borrow now against future proceeds that a revamped lottery would bring.  I think borrowing against pretend future money is also not a sound budgeting practice.

Prop 1D: Would redirect unspent tobacco tax funds slated for certain childhood education programs to the general fund: Yes

Apparently, there’s unspent money obtained from taxing tobacco which has been designated for early childhood education.  As of June 30, 2008, the state commission had about $400 million in unspent funds and the local commissions about $2.1 billion. Proposition 1D amends the California Children and Families Act to allow temporary use of a significant proportion of Proposition 10 funds to pay General Fund costs for existing programs for children up to age 5. This would free up an equivalent amount of General Fund money for other purposes.  In other words, this Prop would temporarily redirect that unspent money into the general fund where it would be spent on similar programs, freeing up other general fund money for allocation to other services.

Prop 1E: Would redirect unspent mental health funds to the general fund: Yes

There’s also tax money from people making more than a million dollars a year that’s designated for mental health services.  This prop is the same idea as Prop D.  It would temporarily transfer funds from mental health programs under that act to the General Fund, where it would be used to cover the general fund’s payments for that same program, thus freeing up money for other services.

Prop 1F: No Pay Raises in a Deficit Year: Yes

This proposition would prevent lawmakers and other state elected officials from receiving pay raises if the state budget was expected to end the fiscal year in a deficit. Populist vindictiveness can make voting on ballot measures fun again.

Thanks for reading, see you next time:


“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof.”– V for Vendetta

cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut and vote cut

Prop 1A: Yes

Prop 1B: No

Prop 1C: No

Prop 1D: Yes

Prop 1E: Yes

Prop 1F: Yes

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Slate Card issues before every California election and may be copied and freely shared for any non-commercial purpose, with author attribution.  Derivative works need not make any attribution.

Friends, Romans, Republicans… lend me your ears.

REMINDER: Guess what!  The election is tomorrow.  Remember to vote, and to get your Democratic family members in those important swing states to vote.

UPDATE:  I’m officially endorsing David Campos in District 9.  Upon further research, being reminded that others whom I respect are supporting his candidacy, meeting the man on Cortland Avenue on Halloween, and learning of his outreach efforts and longstanding interest in the District, I recommend a vote for David Campos.

MORE:  There’s a great story in the SF Bay Guardian this week about the legacy of district elections and the progressive supervisors of the last eight years.  Highly recommended reading and very even-handed, honest reporting.  Its called Class of 2000.  I can’t find it on their website, but I will update with a link if/when I do.

Also, some unconfirmed information on the train proposition (1A), which I oppose, is attached below.

See you at the polls.


November 1, 2008

To:  Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances & Associates in California

Subject:  High-Speed Rail Bonds, Prop. 1A  —  As I See It

Dear Friends–

Over the last few weeks an increasing number of people, knowing my background, have asked how to vote on Prop. 1A, the high-speed rail bond measure.  California voters are gaining an increasing awareness that voting for a proposition on the ballot–and supporting the ideals purported to be behind that proposition–are two very different things.

I am in favor of high-speed rail in California.  That said, I must vote AGAINST this bond measure.

As most of you know, I worked for a passenger rail advocacy group the past six years.  As such, I followed the project closely and attended most all of the High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) board meetings held in Northern California. I have many reasons to be concerned.  $80 million dollars has been spent on “planning”, yet with all this money spent on consultant salaries, the route is still a broad, conceptual line.  If the project is funded, there is a high probability that it will never be built.  The official estimated cost for the project is $45 billion.  Some industry insiders I have spoken with believe that it will easily cost $80-$100 billion.

High-speed rail should be as straight as possible, both for speed and energy consumption.  Instead, the line veers in a 42-mile extra-long loop to hit open lands near Mojave to serve KB homes.  The route takes Pacheco Pass to, among other reasons, serve a not-yet-built community on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley near Santa Nella.  It veers 30 miles east from LA before going south because wealthy communities on the coastline don’t want it going through their towns.  Tiny Visalia even managed to get a study commissioned to bend the line east towards them so they could have a stop.

Think about energy for a moment.  Just the extra 42 miles to go through Palmdale means every train, every day, forever, will go 42 extra miles.  Think of the energy that will use.  Is that green?  Besides the other environmental problems associated with Pacheco Pass, it is a higher pass than Altamont Pass, thus taking more energy for every train, every day, to climb over the mountains.  Is that green?

Pacheco Pass was chosen as the preferred route by HSRA and “spun” as more environmentally friendly, even though the route passes through a huge wildlife refuge and opens up huge tracts of land to housing outside present urbanized areas.  To justify the decision, an HSRA board member with ties to San Jose insisted in a radio interview recently that the environmental problems with building Altamont Pass and a rail bridge at Dumbarton were “huge”, while those involved with crossing Pacheco and Grassland Wetlands were “minor”.  Even the group charged to protect the refuge near Dumbarton said it preferred the Altamont route.  Grassland, though you may never have heard of it, is on the Pacific Flyway and is the largest contiguous wetlands in the Western United States.  Using Pacheco would bisect this most important bird sanctuary, not to mention cutting a new transportation corridor through Pacheco Pass where no railroad has ever been built.

Some environmental groups were satisfied by recent legislation that “banned” a station between Gilroy and Merced.  That sounds great, except another law passed in 15-20 years could reverse the ban just as easily as the ban was created.   Why would this happen?  One of the largest greenfield developments, the Villages of Laguna San Luis, is proposed to be built around the banned station. Citizens of this future development will eventually demand a stop on the train running right through their community so they won’t have to drive to work in the Bay Area.  This station, by the way, is on the property of a bankrupt dairy farm owned by a state representative, whom the organization I used to work for found, through a public records request, had a $50,000 contract with the HSRA to “attend meetings”.  When asked for a public records disclosure of worked performed, they were told there was “no written product”.

$950 million of the Prop. 1A money is supposedly for other rail and transit agencies that will someday connect with high-speed rail.  Almost certainly that $950 million for conventional rail is fake, just like the money you voted for in Proposition 1B a couple of years ago was fake (in terms of being an increase in funding for rail transit).  The legislature simply zeroed out the traditional funding source for transit, then backfilled the loss with 1B money.  You the people voted for more rail money and got nothing, except a shell game in which you ending up paying for more bonds that are now paying down the state debt.  With the state budget in shambles, it is highly likely the same thing will happen with the $950 million for conventional rail in Prop. 1A.

Ron Roberts, the president of the Southern California Association of Governments and chairman of the Metrolink Commuter Rail Service (a service which stands to gain tens of millions of dollars if 1A passes) said “The high-speed bond measure only allows $9.9 billion when the actual cost for the first phase from San Francisco to LA is closer to $40 billion. That does not cover phase two from LA to San Diego through Riverside County.  Anyone south of LA will pay the price and never get the rail service if the bill is passed, and if the other $30 billion is not found, no one in California will ever ride on a high-speed train unless they go to a foreign country.”

High speed rail doesn’t currently exist in the US, thus making California the guinea pig of the Western Hemisphere.  Every mile and every town is its own large construction project, with the potential to morph into its own version of Boston’s “Big Dig”, the grand-daddy of transit cost overruns.  The HSRA is even using the same primary consultant that Boston did, which isn’t necessarily a foreshadowing but doesn’t exactly endear me with trust.  As much as you may want to see high-speed rail built “at any cost”, at some point the money simply won’t be there.

I co-wrote an article on the high-speed rail routing in the Central Valley, published in a 2002 edition of the newsletter of the advocacy organization I worked for.  The idea was that the express trains didn’t pass through the Valley towns, which are served by very fast conventional trains, while the express trains run on a straight alignment outside of town, thus saving billions by not having to buy numerous individual private properties, expand overpasses, relocate railroads and utilities, build sound-walls, overhead structures and trenches.  That’s how it’s done in Europe.

But the politicians in the San Joaquin Valley towns all want the big shiny trains stopping in their town, to put them on the map.  It’s like a 21st Century version of the spaghetti western film genre.  “If our town gets the railroad, we’ll grow like a weed, if it goes around us, all we’ll see are tumbleweeds.”  However, when the citizens realize what 220mph trains, a four-track trench, land-takings and years of construction really mean, the townspeople will revolt.  This project will be laden in lawsuits for years to come.

AB 3034 requires that the HSRA submit a financial-level business plan (set to the standards for any large public works venture) by October 1.  They don’t have one; and they won’t have one before the election.  Joe Vranich (whom I often disagree with–but not on this issue) testified recently in a hearing by Senator Alan Lowenthal regarding the lack of this business plan:

The Authority’s projection of 117 million annual riders is so far from reality that I have to call it what it is—science fiction. The Authority’s projection is far higher than what is found on high-speed rail systems around the world. The Authority anticipates an average load factor of nearly 85 percent. The Federal Railroad Administration’s study for California placed the average at 51 percent. The TGV system in France—which I’ve been on and I love—claims a load factor of 71 percent. The Authority’s projected load factor is nearly 20 percent higher than the very impressive French figure . . . The Authority projects intensities that are far above those achieved in Japan, France and the Boston–Washington Corridor.

Among the unreal estimates is that the trains will connect San Francisco with Los Angeles in 2 hours and 42 minutes. For that to occur, the trains would have to operate at an average speed of 197 mph, a feat that has yet to be accomplished anywhere in the world. That combined with routing problems means the trip is likely to take an hour longer.

High-speed rail holds great promise in certain sections of the country. But the work of the Authority is so deficient that if the current plan is implemented it has the potential of setting back the cause of high-speed rail throughout the United States. The Authority has not learned the lessons: What caused Texas high-speed rail to fail? What caused it to fail in Florida? What caused the prior project to fail between Los Angeles and San Diego?  A common element in the failures were high ridership estimates, low cost estimates, disregard for local environmental impacts and the planners losing credibility. The California Authority is repeating all of the mistakes as if they have never read a single page of history.

It is time to dissolve the California High Speed Rail Authority. Give it no more funding than is required for terminating contracts, transferring data and duties to a more responsible agency, and conducting an orderly shutdown.  High-speed rail in California may be salvageable—after all this poor work—but someone else must be in charge. If the Authority is unable to conduct studies that have credibility, then how will they ever effectively deliver a mega-construction project on time and within budget?  (end Vranich quotes)

Only $8-9 billion of the (supposed) $45 billion will be covered by the bond, while none of the other money is secured.  Where will the rest come from?  There are vague ideas about federal dollars, such as a stimulus package that hasn’t been written yet, or pots of cash – one such source mentioned is the CalPers retirement fund.  Then there are all those private investors the HSRA keeps talking about that are waiting in line to risk a billion here and a billion there.  The $650 million annual debt payment on the Prop. 1A bonds will equal half what California spends on ALL public transit annually.  Think about THAT for a moment!  Then realize that debt payment is only for the $10 billion bond, not on the full $45-$100 billion cost!

Unlike Prop. 1A which falls woefully short on project construction costs, the $2 billion from Proposition 116 from 1990 fully funded its rail projects, which are the intercity and commuter trains you see today.  Lacking as they may be compared to European trains, they are among the most successful passenger trains in the nation.  As if to add insult to injury, the Authority has twice in the last year “redirected” money from Prop. 116 for “planning”, by having the money funneled from projects that would have built actual rail infrastructure on California’s current routes.  As someone who campaigned for Prop. 116, I take this as a personal slap in the face.

I know you WANT to vote for this.  So do I, but knowing what I know I cannot.  I’m asking you to trust my judgment on this one.  In 15-20 years, if 1A passes, maybe we’ll have funded pieces of some transit systems, some right-of-way acquisition, a lot of lawyers, politicians, consultants, planners – but not a railroad.  And all this will delay for years many of the real rail projects we need because the legislature will say, “why bother, aren’t we building high-speed rail?”

It breaks my heart to vote against the ideal of a project I believe in so strongly.  Most everything I hear the proponents of this project say about high-speed rail is correct, but those truths are about a real, completed system, not Prop. 1A.  Please join me in shedding a tear for California while voting NO on Prop. 1A.

–Alan C. Miller

Note:  This is a one-time email. I am writing this as an individual, not in association with my past or current affiliations or employers.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.


Friends, Romans, Republicans:

Welcome to the Granick Slate Card for the November 4, 2008 Presidential Election. I know, I know, we’ve been waiting eight long excruciating years for this. So without further ado, here are my picks for the twelve state propositions, twenty two San Francisco propositions and various other offices of varying levels of importance including….

PRESIDENT: Barack Obama!

Finally, someone to vote enthusiastically for. I haven’t been this excited about my candidate for President, ever. Smart, educated, inspiring, honest-yet-pragmatic (you really think that he should have gone for public financing? Ha!). If you don’t already know why you should vote for Obama, you’ve got bigger problems than this slate card can cure, but here’s a reason you may not have thought of: Levi Johnston. Give the redneck boyfriend a break. Out of the spotlight, he may yet be able to avoid an unwanted (yet somehow more sacred than any two gay people’s) marriage.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 8: Nancy Pelosi

I like Nancy Pelosi. She’s smart, powerful, effective and experienced. You can read her biography here: Her most viable challenger in this election is Cindy Sheehan, the mom who’s son died in Iraq and who has made ending the war (and impeaching George Bush for lying to get us into the war) her reason for running. I may disagree with Pelosi about some aspects of getting us out of (an into) Iraq, but I wouldn’t trade someone with power and experience on many issues for someone new who has a single issue.

STATE SENATE: District 3: Mark Leno

Here’s what I said about him during the primary:

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.

STATE ASSEMBLY, District 13: Tom Ammiano

I love Ammiano. He’s the Democrat in the race. Harmeet Dhillon is the Republican. I saw one of her billboards on Gough Street last night. It said, Does Ammiano Really Represent You? Um, yeah, he does.

JUDGE: Gerardo Sandoval

This is a difficult race, because I don’t know that Sandoval will be a good judge, but we do know that Mellon has been one hostile to civil rights and to the attorneys who come before him. He had to be removed from criminal cases for mistreating criminal defense attorneys and their clients. That belies a bigger attitude problem with the justice system, one which makes me think that Mellon should not be presiding over civil trials either.

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER; San Francisco Unified School District

I have never given school board endorsements and just because I have two babies in this district doesn’t mean I’m going to start paying attention now. Actually, I have started paying attention, but not enough to make an endorsement. The big issues seem to be whether SF should continue to have the Junior ROTC program and whether we should have neighborhood schools, i.e. preferences for families who live near the school they apply for. I don’t know enough about the JROTC program to say whether I support having it. I know that for some families, joining the military is an important way to improve the family finances, so I can’t automatically be against this feeder program. I’m for neighborhood schools, but it appears that most of the people running for the board are too. So, I decided to rely on someone more educated than I but with the same principles. My friend went to a forum for the candidates and recommends the following people:

– Norman Yee
– Rachel Norton
– Emily Murase
– Jaynry Mak

BOARD OF DIRECTORS; San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District; District: Tom Radulovich

Tom is the incumbent and by all accounts is doing a fine job, so he should keep the post.


Proposition 1A: High-Speed Train: No

$9.95 billion in bonds for high-speed train service linking Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area

I know a lot of environmentalists probably will support this proposition, but it concerns me. The reason why high-speed rail works in Europe and Asia is because there are densely populated cities and not much in between. We have suburban sprawl and exurbs. We are also wedded to our cars. I wonder whether people really will take the train, especially in the numbers that would be required for this venture to break even from year to year. The independent budget analyst says that maintaining the train would cost 1 billion dollars a year, and we have no idea whether passenger tickets would cover the cost. I don’t see how they could. At the $110 round trip ticket price they are telling us a ride would cost, that would mean that more than 9 million people have to ride it every year, which is one fourth the population of California. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Here’s a counterpoint from my colleague here at the EFF Peter Eckersley:

The Bay Area is an urban planning disaster. Life in Silicon Valley requires a
car; keeping a car in San Francisco is so inconvenient and expensive that half
the people here don’t have them. The freeways connecting the two spaces
frequently grind to a halt. A 200-220mph train would shorten the trip from
downtown to Silicon Valley to 15-20 minutes, making public transit between the
two spaces far more feasible. It would get cars off the road, reducing jams
for the same price as the new freeways we’ll have to build otherwise. Aside
from those parochial benefits, it would be the fastest, lowest-hassle way to
get to LA, offer sensible commutes from the Central Valley to the Peninsula
and the City, and give California the ability to move the 20 million extra
people who will be living here in the next couple of decades.

PROPOSITION 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals: Yes

Shall certain farm animals be allowed, for the majority of every day, to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around?

Its a moral imperative to treat the animals that feed us well. My concern is that this will raise costs of food, and probably more than the penny an egg they say. Still, there could be economic benefits. Currently, the farms that want to do good are at a disadvantage against the ones that don’t care, and this should level the playing field within California, though it will put us at a financial disadvantage vis a vis out of state producers. Still, with transportation costs, we may still find that our farms can compete. The people I worry about are those who are borderline able to afford food now, but we must find another way to address that problem.

PROPOSITION 3: Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program: Yes

Shall $980,000,000 in general obligation bonds be authorized for construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of eligible children’s hospitals?

I support bonds for infrastructure investment.

PROPOSITION 4: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy: No

Shall the California Constitution be changed to prohibit abortion for an unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent, legal guardian, or, in limited cases, substitute adult relative?

People who are pro-choice should not be seduced by these wedge measures placed on the ballot by the anti-choice people.

PROPOSITION 5: Nonviolent Drug Offenses, Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation: Yes

Shall $460,000,000 be allocated annually to improve and expand treatment programs?

Proposition 36, a similar but less comprehensive measure we passed eight years ago, saves 2 dollars for every dollar spent on treatment. Also, it has produced a non-relapse rate of above 30% which is a huge success story when you are talking about dealing with addiction. Prop 5 expands on the success of Prop 36.

PROPOSITION 6: Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws: No
Shall of minimum of $965,000,000 of state funding be required each year for police and local law enforcement?

This proposition and Prop 9 are put on the ballot to (1) build more prisons and (2) send more people there. Incarceration is expensive and wasteful. Plus, here’s what the Bay Guardian says about the main proponent of Props 6 and 9:

One man is largely responsible for both the misguided “tough on crime” propositions on this year’s ballot: billionaire Broadcom Corp. cofounder Henry Nicholas, who has poured millions into the two campaigns. But a funny thing happened to Nicholas on the way to becoming California’s poster boy for law and order. In June, he was indicted on numerous counts of securities fraud and drug violations (including spiking the drinks of technology executives with ecstasy and operating a “sex cave” staffed with prostitutes under his house).

Sex cave.

PROPOSITION 7: Renewable Energy Generation: No

Despite the nice title and lofty goals, this is a poorly written proposition that majory environmental groups join with industry to oppose. The same is true for Proposition 10, which you should also vote No on. For more, visit the Union of Concerned Scientists website here:

PROPOSITION 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry: No

Shall the California Constitution be changed to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry providing that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California?

If you think same sex couples should be allowed to marry, you will vote NO on this proposition, which seeks to amend the state Constitution. A Yes vote means No Gay Marriage.

PROPOSITION 9: Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole: No

See above for Prop 6.

PROPOSITION 10: Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds: No

See above for Prop 7.

PROPOSITION 11: Redistricting: Yes

Shall the authority for establishing state office boundaries be changed from elected representatives to a commission comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and representatives of neither party selected from the registered voter pool in a multilevel process?

Since representatives come from districts, the composition of the district has everything to do with who gets sent to the state house. Thus, the voice of like-minded voters can be diluted by splitting communities into two separate districts, or magnified, by combining two geographically disparate but arguably sympathetic areas into one district.

Whoever controls the districting has a lot of control over who gets and stays in power. Remember when Texas redistricted in 2003?

So, when people talk about making the system more fair, they are probably the party out of power. Thus, Prop. 11 comes on the ballot to take the power to draw up districts away from the powers-that-be (the overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature) and give at least some say to the powers-that-would-like-to-be, a committee that would include half Republicans.

Opponents like the Bay Guardian argue that’s giving too much say to people whom the electorate has already decided we don’t want. Proponents argue that the process has to be fair if voters’ choices are going to matter. I think the choice here comes down to whether you are cynical about democracy, or philosophical. After reading that the League of Women Voters strongly supports Prop 11, and contrary to what I’ve learned from watching politics all my adult life, I’ve decided to be philosophical and vote yes. If Republicans disgust you more than democracy charms you, then vote No.

Here’s another view from guest opinionator Peter, which he wrote to convince me when I was leaning No.:

Gerrymandering is a practice that removes power from a large subset of voters,
and places it into the hands of the institution which has the power to draw
arbitrary or near-arbitrary electoral boundaries. In California and most
other US states, that means the party holding a majority in state government.
Republicans used gerrymandering to keep control of Congress in the 90s, but
with the Democratic party now in a position of political strength,
there is a choice: either play the same dirty game, or change the rules so
that districts are drawn fairly. If you’d like politicians in Sacramento
(Democratic today, Republican tomorrow) to decide who California sends to the
House of Reps, vote no on 11. If you’d like voters to decide, vote yes on 11.

PS – Don’t buy the argument that Gerrymandering protects minorities. Drawing
crazily shaped districts that are 70% African American is a trick by
Republicans to win more seats. Minorities have a fair shot at two
representatives if there are two districts where they make up 35% of the

PROPOSITION 12: Veteran’s Bond Act of 2008: Yes

Shall a nine hundred million dollar ($900,000,000) bond be issued to provide farm and home aid for California veterans?

Continues to make it easier for veterans to buy homes. Important in this market.


* Proposition 1A: Vote YES
* Proposition 2: Vote NO
* Proposition 3: Vote YES
* Proposition 4: Vote NO
* Proposition 5: Vote NO
* Proposition 6: Vote NO
* Proposition 7: Vote NO
* Propostion 8: Vote NO
* Proposition 9: Vote NO
* Proposition 10: Vote NO
* Proposition 11: Vote YES
* Proposition 12: Vote YES
* S.F. Prop. A: Vote YES
* S.F. Prop B: Vote NO
* S.F. Prop H: Vote NO
* S.F. Prop K: Vote NO

Guardian Recommendations:

1: Yes
2: Yes
3: No
4: No
5: Yes
6: No
7: No
8: No
9: No
10: No
11: No
12: Yes

League of Women Voters Recommendations:

We recommend a “YES” vote on Propositions 1A, 3, 5, and 11 and a “NO” vote on Propositions 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.


PROPOSITION A: Bonds for SF General Hospital: Yes

S.F. General is the backbone of San Francisco’s public health system. If you ever get shot, you want to go to S.F. General. Bonds cost money, though. How much would Prop A cost you?

# Based on these estimates, the highest estimated annual property tax cost for the owner of a home with an assessed value of $400,000 would be approximately $197.77.

# Landlords would be allowed to pass through 50% of the annual property tax cost of the proposed bond to tenants as permitted in the City Administrative Code. Based on these estimates, the highest estimated annual cost for a tenant in a unit with an assessed value of approximately $131,000 would be $32.96.

Both the Chron and the SFBG say Yes.

PROPOSITION B: Affordable housing set aside: No

Readers of the slate card know that I oppose set-asides. There are a lot of public needs out there, and we pay our Representatives in the legislature to allocate between them. Set asides tie our representative’s hands, and ours into the future. So I almost never vote for set asides, no matter how much I like the cause.

Prop B would take a portion of property tax and portion of general funds and put it aside for affordable housing. I think housing is a major issue in San Francisco. I have friends who can’t afford rent and who can’t event think about buying here, and those are people with post-graduate education as a general rule. If we want a truly vibrant and diverse city, we need to fix the housing problem. But set asides are not the way. We are going to have a budget shortfall for next year, and this money must come from somewhere. That’s 2.7 billion dollars out of the budget over the next 15 years. This is just not a good year for that.

PROPOSITION C: Prohibiting city employees from serving on committees: No

This proposition, which is supposed to be about keeping city committees representative of the people and not the politicians, is drafted too broadly and would keep anyone paid by the city from serving. Vote no.

PROPOSITION D: Pier 70 Rehabilitation: Yes

Gives the Board of Supervisors the ability to approve a broad land-use plan for Pier 70 instead of approving individual projects and leases. It would also allow tax revenue generated by the new development to be used to pay off bonds issued to build projects like parks and sidewalks.

Who’s for it: San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Democratic Party, Dogpatch Neighborhood Association and others.

Who’s against it: No formal opposition has been filed with the San Francisco Department of Elections.

More information: To learn more about the port’s Pier 70 plans, go to For more on the pier’s history, go to

PROPOSITION E: Signatures for recall: Yes

Change the number of signatures required to recall city officials. From 10% to 20% of registered voters. Makes it harder to recall elected officials, which should be hard.

PROPOSITION F: Election schedule: Yes

Change election schedule so the mayor, sheriff, district attorney, city attorney and treasurer are elected in even-numbered years, rather than odd ones.

On the one hand, grouping city elections into years with Presidential, Senate or House of Representatives elections saves money and means less elections and better turnout. On the other hand, off-year city elections means people can focus on city issues and we won’t have Proposition Overload lettered from A to VV rather than A to V, like this year. I think people are tired of so many elections and that voter turnout is more important than “focus” so I’m voting yes.

PROPOSITION G: Unpaid parental leave: Yes

From the SFBG: “Proposition G brings equity to city employees who started families before July 1, 2003. Currently this group is unable to benefit from a 2002 charter amendment that provides city employees with paid parental leave. Prop. G gives these parents the opportunity to buy back unpaid parental leave and earn retirement credits for that period.”

PROPOSITION H: Energy and public power: No

Here’s how Proposition H would work

— If approved by voters, it would mandate the city to meet the following deadlines for use of clean electric power sources (excluding nuclear power): By 2017, they must represent at least 51 percent of the city’s electricity needs … by 2030, at least 75 percent … by 2040, 100 percent or the “greatest possible amount.”

— The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission would be required to study cost-effective options to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the “costs and benefits of making the city the primary provider of electric power in San Francisco.” The study would be due by May 2009.

— Once the study is complete, the Board of Supervisors would have the authority to acquire, construct or complete the electric system serving the city. Supervisors also could use revenue bonds to finance the takeover of “any public utility” – including, for example, cable television – without a public vote.

Source: Ballot Simplification Committee

I do not mind a study, especially if it can be done cheaply, but I do not approve of letting the Board of Supervisors issue bonds to takeover PG&E or another public utility without coming back to the voters after the study is finished. So I am voting no.

PROPOSITION I: Create Office of an Independent Rate Payer: No

An independent ratepayer advocate would be appointed by the city administrator and tasked with advising the SFPUC on all things related to utility rates and revenue. It is not clear to me why we need this or why it has to be done by proposition.

PROPOSITION J: Historic Preservation Commission: Yes

A reorganization of the city Landmarks Commission. No formal opposition.

PROPOSITION K: Prostitution: No

What it does: Would decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco, deny funds for the First Offender Prostitution Program commonly known as “john school,” and forbid the city from using state or federal funds that involve racial profiling to identify human trafficking victims.

I think prostitution is a demand-side problem, and that the legal system is often the least pernicious way in which these women are victimized. I know there are people who freely and happily choose the life, but most of the prostitution that we see on the streets and in the courts is a result of drug addiction or worse. This story in the New York Times Magazine (The Girls Next Door, January 25, 2004 — changed any libertarian view I might once have had about prostitution. It needs to be policed. The women can’t protect themselves, but its not because they are afraid of the law, they are afraid of their pimps.

All the major women’s groups are against this.

PROPOSITION L: Community Justice Center: No

Fund the Community Justice Center, a Tenderloin court to prosecute misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.

This is already funded for 2.6 million dollars, and this Prop would insure 2.7 million. Why is it on the ballot? Mayor Newsom is afraid that Supervisor Daly will try to take funding away. We pay them to work these problems out without us.

PROPOSITION M: Prohibit Harassment of tenants: Yes

Change the residential rent ordinance to prohibit specific acts of harassment of tenants by landlords | Full description

PROPOSITION N: Transfer tax rates: Yes

Double the real estate transfer tax on properties valued at more than $5 million to 1.5%. I’m for taxing expensive real estate.

PROPOSITION O: Access line and phone users tax: Yes

Prop. O would not raise taxes or increase the fees most people already pay. It would simply replace what was a modest “fee” of a couple of bucks a month to fund 911 services with an identical “tax” for the same amount, while also updating the technical definition of what constitutes a phone line from a now defunct 1970s-era statute. The only people who might wind up paying any new costs are commercial users of voice-over-internet services.

PROPOSITION P: Transportation Authority Board: No

Change the composition of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board

Here’s what the SFBG says: Prop. P’s opponents — including all 11 supervisors, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, and the Sierra Club — point out, the measure would put billions of taxpayer dollars in the hands of political appointees, thus removing independent oversight of local transportation projects.

The Board of Supervisors, which currently serves as the governing body of the small but powerful, voter-created Transportation Authority, has done a good job of acting as a watchdog for local sales-tax revenues earmarked for transportation projects and administering state and federal transportation funding for new projects.

PROPOSITION Q: Payroll expense tax: Yes

Require law, accounting and other partnership firms to pay payroll tax based on annual compensation partners receive and increase the number of small businesses that are exempted from paying the tax

PROPOSITION R: Renaming sewage plant: No

What is: The measure would rename the city-owned Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

I think this is an idea that might seem funny at first, but which no one wants to live with, never mind be asked to actually vote on. Why treat waste disposal workers with such disregard? Theirs is an important and socially valuable job. Why have to drive by a building with W’s name on it year after year after year?

Chronicle Related story: Friends come up with idea over beers (7/18/08) Ah, democracy. Still, vote no.

PROPOSITION S: Budget set-asides and replacement funds: No

Require future voter-mandated set-asides of money for particular uses to identify where the money will come from

If there is anything I dislike as much as set-asides, its policy statement propositions. People know that the money has to come from somewhere, and that often no one knows where. Rather than vote for this, just keep that in mind when confronted with a set-aside.

PROPOSITION T: Substance abuse programs: Yes

As you see with my support of Prop 5, substance abuse treatment saves money. Here’s what the SFBG says: “Proposition T would require the Department of Public Health (DPH) to make medical and residential substance abuse treatment available for low-income and homeless people who request it. DPH already offers treatment and does it well, but there’s a wait list 500 people long… Prop. T would expand the program to fill that unmet need. The controller estimates an annual cost to the General Fund of $7 million to $13 million, but proponents say the upfront cost would lead to significant savings later. For every dollar spent on treatment, the city saves as much as $13 because clinical treatment for addictive disorders is cheaper than visits to the emergency room, where many low-income and homeless people end up when their untreated problems reach critical levels.”

PROPOSITION U: Troops deployment money: No

Call for policy against funding of the deployment of armed forces from Iraq
No. We need to fund the people who are in Iraq, and protect those that stay, even as we draw down troops. This proposition is naïve.

Prop. V: JROTC: No

Asks school board to reconsider decision to end JROTC. School board voted it out because of their opposition to military/war.

If you don’t like the school board’s decision, then vote for school board members that will reinstate JROTC, not a pointless ballot request.

Chronicle Recommendations

Proposition A YES
Proposition B NO
Proposition C NO
Proposition D YES
Proposition E YES
Proposition F NO
Proposition G YES
Proposition H NO
Proposition I NO
Proposition J NO
Proposition K NO
Proposition L YES
Proposition M NO
Proposition N YES
Proposition O YES
Proposition P NO
Proposition Q YES
Proposition R NO
Proposition S YES
Proposition T NO
Proposition U NO
Proposition V YES


Seven of the 11 seats on the board are up for election, Three incumbents, supervisors Sean Elsbernd, Ross Mirkarimi and Carmen Chu are running to keep their seats, while four seats are wide open because the previous officeholders are termed out.

These district supervisor races are all about the battle between the left and the left left in San Francisco, and they have all the heat of any internecine warfare. Are you for Newsom or for Daly? If you have a stake in that dogfight, then most of these races are decided for you. If you think that fight is silly, and that the Mayor is right about some things and the more progressive members of the Board about others, then the choices are harder to make. I haven’t followed these races closely, and the only person running whom I know a lot about (and enthusiastically support) is Randy Knox in District 11. So I’ve simply given you the Chronicle’s summary of the races and who supports whom below. I hope this helps.

I list the SFBG endorsed candidate after the blurb. No endorsements on these races posted on the Chron website.

District One: Sue Lee, former planning commissioner and director of the Chinese Historical Society of America; Eric Mar, school board member and San Francisco State University instructor; Alicia Wang, City College instructor. Other candidates: Nicholas Belloni, Sherman D’Silva, George Flamik, Jason Jungreis and Brian Larkin.

What’s at stake: The Richmond District seems certain to elect a Chinese American to the board. The current progressive supervisorial bloc has endorsed Mar; Mayor Gavin Newsom has endorsed Lee.


District Three: Joseph Alioto Jr., attorney; Claudine Cheng, attorney and president of the Treasure Island Development Authority; David Chiu, chief executive officer of an online technology company; Anthony Gantner, attorney and founder of the North Beach Merchants Association; Denise McCarthy, nonprofit executive. Other candidates: Mike DeNunzio, Lynn Jefferson, Wilma Pang.

Major issue: development

What’s at stake: Cheng, Chiu and McCarthy have raised more than $100,000. Chiu is backed by progressives, while Newsom has picked Cheng. The district covers North Beach, Chinatown, Russian Hill and much of downtown.

SFBG: 1. Chiu, 2. McCarthy, 3. Gantner

District Four: Supervisor Carmen Chu squares off against Ron Dudum, a small businessman and perennial supervisorial candidate. David Ferguson is also running.

What’s at stake: Dudum came in second to Supervisor Ed Jew in 2006, but Jew later resigned amid extortion charges and his failure to prove residency in the city. Chu was appointed by the mayor. Now voters will get their say.

SFBG: Ferguson

District Five: Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who faces Rob Anderson, should be able to keep his seat.

What’s at stake: Mirkarimi, who backs a ballot measure to explore public power in the city, will show whether he has coattails. Mirkarimi, who represents the Western Addition and Haight-Ashbury, is rumored to be gunning for board president in January.

SFBG: Mirkarimi

District Seven: Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who faces Julian Lagos, should keep his seat.

What’s at stake: In a last-minute decision, former Supervisor Tony Hall decided not to run against his former aide to reclaim his old seat. He told The Chronicle it would have impacted his retirement benefits too much.

SFBG: Elsbernd, even though they don’t like his politics.

District Nine: David Campos, civil rights attorney and police commissioner; Eric Quezada, director of Dolores Street Community Services; Mark Sanchez, public school teacher and president of the Board of Education. Other candidates: Vern Matthew, Eva Royale, Eric Storey and Thomas Valtin.

What’s at stake: The district, covering Bernal Heights and the Mission District, is a progressive stronghold. Three well-liked progressives with strong credentials are facing off.


District 11: John Avalos, former aide to Supervisor Chris Daly; Ahsha Safai, who worked in the Newsom administration. Attorney and former Board of Appeals President Randall Knox also filed papers, accompanied by Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Bevan Dufty. Other candidates: Adrian Bermudez, Mary Goodnature, Eli Horn and Myrna Lim.

What’s at stake: The Excelsior district will likely be the prime battleground between progressive and moderates, with former staffers of archenemies Daly and Newsom squaring off against each other.

Editor’s Note: I support Randy Knox. Randy is a criminal defense attorney, so I’ve known him for many years. He’s a smart guy, gets along well with people, very progressive but not a knee-jerk type of person. I think he’d be great.



Ok, team, that’s all. Before the clip and vote, here are some resources I used in case you want to look deeper into the issues:

SF Chronicle:
SF Bay Guardian:
Smart Voter (find your ballot!):
California Voter Foundation (follow the money!):
League of Women Voters:



PRESIDENT: Barack Obama!

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTITIVES, District 8: Nancy Pelosi

STATE SENATE: District 3: Mark Leno

STATE ASSEMBLY, District 13: Tom Ammiano

JUDGE: Gerardo Sandoval

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER; San Francisco Unified School District

– Norman Yee
– Rachel Norton
– Emily Murase
– Jaynry Mak

BOARD OF DIRECTORS; San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District; District: Tom Radulovich


Proposition 1A: High-Speed Train: No

PROPOSITION 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals: Yes

PROPOSITION 3: Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program: Yes

PROPOSITION 4: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy: No

PROPOSITION 5: Nonviolent Drug Offenses, Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation: Yes

PROPOSITION 6: Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws: No (Sex Cave)

PROPOSITION 7: Renewable Energy Generation: No

PROPOSITION 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry: No

PROPOSITION 9: Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole: No

PROPOSITION 10: Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds: No

PROPOSITION 11: Redistricting: Yes

PROPOSITION 12: Veteran’s Bond Act of 2008: Yes


PROPOSITION A: Bonds for SF General Hospital: Yes

PROPOSITION B: Affordable housing set aside: No

PROPOSITION C: Prohibiting city employees from serving on committees: No

PROPOSITION D: Pier 70 Rehabilitation: Yes

PROPOSITION E: Signatures for recall: Yes

PROPOSITION F: Election schedule: Yes

PROPOSITION G: Unpaid parental leave: Yes

PROPOSITION H: Energy and public power: No

PROPOSITION I: Create Office of an Independent Rate Payer: No

PROPOSITION J: Historic Preservation Commission: Yes

PROPOSITION K: Prostitution: No

PROPOSITION L: Community Justice Center: No

PROPOSITION M: Prohibit Harassment of tenants: Yes

PROPOSITION N: Transfer tax rates: Yes

PROPOSITION O: Access line and phone users tax: Yes

PROPOSITION P: Transportation Authority Board: No

PROPOSITION Q: Payroll expense tax: Yes

PROPOSITION R: Renaming sewage plant: No

PROPOSITION S: Budget set-asides and replacement funds: No

PROPOSITION T: Substance abuse programs: Yes

PROPOSITION U: Troops deployment money: No


District One: No Granick choice

District Three: No Granick choice

District Four: No Granick choice

District Five: Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

District Seven: Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

District Nine: All good

District Eleven: Randy Knox

For you political junkies out there, this movie is not to be missed — Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

Boogie Man

I’m not just saying this because our friend Stefan Forbes made it. Read for yourself, and maybe we’ll see you at the theater:




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.


To find your polling place, go here,/a>: (A great site with tons of resources, btw)
SF Chronicle
SF Bay Guardian Endorsements:


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

To subscribe to the Granick Slate Card, visit http:// The Granick
Slate Card issues before every California election and may be copied and freely shared for any non-commercial purpose, with author attribution. Derivative works need not make any attribution.

All You Need is Hate – Stanley Fish

Hate Springs Eternal – Krugman

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