My Recommendations for the November 2015 Election
Over the past few years, I have received numerous requests from individuals asking how I feel about certain candidates, or issues, so I have decided to start a new tradition and share my ballot recommendations across the board. I encourage you to examine and study each issue and candidate and come to your own conclusion for your own reasons, but here are my thoughts:
Mayor: Ed Lee
Mayor Ed Lee was first elected in 2011 and is up for reelection this November. He faces no serious competition and for good reason. When he first was elected, our City’s unemployment hovered above 10%, and it is now at its lowest point in our City’s history at 3.2%. Mayor Lee, rightfully so, has now made addressing our housing shortage and affordability issues his top priority. The policies, programs, and investments that Mayor Lee is implementing today around housing, transit, public safety, parks, our local economy and quality of life are all moving our City in the right direction, will help our City in the long-run, and deserve praise. Mayor Lee deserves your support and a second term.
District 3 Supervisor: Julie Christensen
Mayor Lee appointed Supervisor Christensen earlier this year when David Chiu got elected to the State Assembly. Since Julie and I share district borders, I have had the opportunity to work up close with her in City Hall on issues that are making a positive difference every day in our neighborhoods. We’ve banded together to: support increased public safety investments, to address homelessness, to dedicate resources for affordable housing and eviction protections, to increase public transit capacity and service, to make pedestrian safety upgrades, and to make badly needed improvements in our parks and open spaces. I have gotten to personally know Julie well since she was first appointed Supervisor by Mayor Lee earlier this year. Julie is the embodiment of the type of independent, neighborhood-focused leader that we need here in City Hall now more than ever. Julie has over 20-years of neighborhood advocacy and leadership under her belt and has delivered time and time again on issues and projects that have made District 3 and San Francisco a better place.
Sheriff: Vicki Hennessy
Vicki was appointed interim Sheriff by Mayor Ed Lee when our current Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was on leave for his domestic violence dispute. While Ross has a term that has suffered through questionable, if not complete ineffective leadership at best, Vicki epitomizes everything our City could ask for out of a Sheriff. She has decades of department experience, the support of management and rank and file deputies, and the leadership needed to provide an immediate boost to morale in a department that desperately needs it now more than ever.
City College Board: Alex Randolph
Alex was appointed by Mayor Lee earlier in the year to the City College Board, and has been working tirelessly to revitalize City College, rebuild the public’s trust in the institution, and ensure that our students have access to an affordable education since then. Alex’s entire career has been devoted to and in public service as a former legislative aide, department staff, and under President Obama’s administration. His passion to serve, and decades of financial and policy experience make him the right choice to get City College back on track.
District Attorney: George Gascon
George was first elected District Attorney after he served as our City’s Chief of Police for a time under then Mayor Newsom. George has also taken progressive approach to criminal justice and his department is recognized nationally as a team who uses best practices and an evidence-based approach to improving public safety. His innovating diversion programs and neighborhood solutions are the right approach, and he deserves another term.
Treasurer / Tax Collector: Jose Cisneros
Jose was first appointed Treasurer by Mayor Gavin Newsom and has won subsequent elections ever since. Jose has brought his years of experience to improve the way residents pay their taxes and has made it more convenient by adopting modern methods to do so. Jose is also recognized nationally for all of his work around financial empowerment — especially in low-income and disadvantage communities, and has carved a unique and powerful role for his department. I served on the California League of Cities Board of Directors with Jose during his term as President, and was able to get to know him personally and as a leader, and believe he is a great public servant in San Francisco. I am a strong supporter.
Proposition A — $310 Million Housing Bond:
Our housing shortage and affordability issues are the top concern citywide. The housing bond will immediately address our City most pressing issue by provided desperately needed resources for affordable housing production, down payment loan assistance, site acquisition, and the rehabilitation of dilapidated public housing sites — all without raising taxes a penny. The last time the City attempted a housing bond it fell just short of the two-thirds threshold needed, and with housing being the most pressing issue of the day — we can’t let the bond fall short this year. The housing bond is a real solution to our housing crisis, and will make an impact for San Franciscans immediately. Vote Yes.
Proposition B — Paid Parental Leave for City Employees
San Francisco has some of the strongest family-friendly policies on the books, which has made our City’s employees happier and more productive. Proposition B allows City employees to take the maximum amount of paid parental leave for which they qualify. Paid parental leave is offered in most major developed countries across the world and is a strong indicator of enhanced employee productivity. San Francisco will lead by example by providing policies that will make our employees more productive for you. Vote Yes.
Proposition C — Fee and Reports for Expenditure Lobbyists
The public rightfully expects to know and understand who may be influencing their elected officials. Proposition C would require an individual, business or organization that spends more than $2,500 to influence an outcome to register as a lobbyist and pay a modest fee. Proposition C is a good government measure that closes a loop-hope in existing law. Vote Yes.
Proposition D — Mission Rock Development
Leave it to our world-champion San Francisco Giants to put forward a measure that is almost universally supported. Proposition D would approve the Giants Mission Rock Development that will allow for the construction of 1,500 new homes with 40% of the homes being affordable to low and middle income San Franciscans. Mission Rock will also build badly needed new retail and parks in a neighborhood that is lacking both. Vote Yes.
Proposition E — Requirements for Public Meetings
Unfortunately, Proposition E is a problem in search of a solution. While it has been marketed as an open government measure to promote transparency and access — the details of the measure prove otherwise. I’m all for streaming meetings on the Internet, but Proposition E could cost the City millions to implement and allow people from outside of our City borders to dictate City business with the click of a mouse. Vote No.
Proposition F — Regulation of Short-Term Rentals
Short-term rentals are already regulated in San Francisco and Proposition F takes that regulation to a new extreme that would hurt average San Franciscans and have multiple unintended consequences. Proposition F focuses on one player in the short-term rental market, and in my opinion will not solve the problem it is seeking to address. Ultimately these issues should be worked on inside City Hall, not put to the voters on the ballot. Vote No.
Proposition G — Defining Clean, Green, & Renewable Energy
There was a negotiation that was agreed upon by interested parties to take Proposition G off the ballot, but they were unable to do so before the deadline. No one is campaigning in support of G, and it should not have made the ballot in the first place. Vote No.
Proposition H — Approved Measure Defining Clean, Green, and Renewable Energy
Proposition H will define clean energy and renewable greenhouse gas-free energy in accordance to similar standards under state law, and was placed on the ballot in response to Proposition G. Vote Yes.
Proposition I — Mission Moratorium and Neighborhood Stabilization Plan
Proposition I would immediately stop the construction of new homes in the Mission District for 18-months, allow for the moratorium to be extended by the Board of Supervisors, and mandate that the City and neighborhood advocates comprise a “neighborhood stabilization plan.” Proposition I is the exact opposite approach we should be taking to address our City’s housing shortage and crisis. Proposition I is being driven by ideology rather than by facts. I called for an objective third party report from our City’s Chief economist and the results were clear: the moratorium will lead to higher housing prices citywide, will not stop one eviction from taking place, will not build one new affordable housing unit, will not stop gentrification, and will make it more difficult and expensive for the City to purchase land to build new affordable housing. Vote No.
Proposition J — Legacy Business Fund
Neighborhood small businesses are what make our City diverse and strong. With the rising costs of rents citywide, some long-time San Francisco staple small businesses are facing huge barriers to renewing their leases to keep serving the community that supports them. It is heartbreaking to see old neighborhood institutions forced out, and this is a small step to prioritize those businesses that make our neighborhoods so unique. Proposition J creates a legacy business fund of up to $3 million a year to help these businesses stay in San Francisco. Vote Yes.
Proposition K — Housing Development on Public Surplus Land
The City passed the Surplus City Property Law in 2002 which created a process to use the City’s surplus land for housing, shelter, or other services. Proposition K offers an update to the 2002 law. While I would have much rather discussed and passed this policy at the Board, so it could be amended when needed, Proposition K offers reasonable updates to the law that will build more badly needed housing. Vote Yes.
You can vote early any time before, or on Election Day at City Hall, or find your local polling place here: http://sfelections.org/tools/pollsite/.