US Representative District 12:
I'll be voting for Nancy Pelosi.
John Dennis seems like an earnest enough guy, but the first thing I see on his webpage is a plea to "End the Fed." The Federal Reserve is vilified and misunderstood. Whenever I see a plea to end it, I know that there are other dog whistles a-blowing in the wind:
- Dramatically cut federal spending immediately. Savings could be realized by abolishing the Departments of Education, Commerce and Agriculture and reorganizing the Department of Homeland Security. Budget savings for these changes would be approximately $300 billion.
- Abolish capital gains taxes for at least 10 years, if not permanently. This will attract the necessary offshore capital to start businesses and create productive jobs.
- Drastically cut, with an eye toward ending, the income tax. This puts real buying power back into the hands of the consumer.
State Assembly, District 17:
I report, you decide. State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano proposed a bill that would bar law enforcement from cooperating with Federal Immigration holds for non-violent offenders; this is considered a justice issue in the immigrant community, as ICE holds often lead to summary deportations, render asunder families and is a cog in our unjust and cruel immigration policy - one that is arguably racist.
On the other hand, Governor Brown (not at all the hippy-dippy cartoon from the 1980s) vetoed the bill, with lots of cheer-leading from those opposed to immigration reform or in favor of stricter enforcement of immigration (presumably targeting Latinos).
Tom Ammiano's opponent, Jason P. Clark, praise Governor Brown for his veto of AB1081.
Whatever Clark's motivation, he has some unfortunate company, and Ammiano's bill, while characterized as flawed by opponents, was lobbied and offered up as humanitarian relief against an increasingly militarized ICE.
I tend to side with Ammiano, and for Clark to call Ammiano out as out-of-touch with "California voters" is a dog-whistle. I think Clark is on the wrong side of the debate, acknowledging that he has at least put together a coherent and un-shrill argument in favor of siding with the Governor on AB1081's defeat:
That said, Clark opposes attempts to dismantle Hech Hechy, is pro-development of SF's blighted districts and is a "proud member" of the LGBT community - all areas where if I am not in total agreement, I and willing to cede some ground.
Most Californians will not be significantly effected either way unless they have a personal stake in immigration policy, a growing and plural minority who will have an increasing influence on local politics in years to come.
I will stick with the incumbent, SA Ammiano, however I urge you to vote your conscience.
BART Director, District 9:
Of the much maligned local public transportation systems, BART trails behind MUNI as most hated (although a close call against Caltrain, which IMO has shown improvement since the switch over this summer).
Here's how I would rank my choices:
1) Peter Klivans
A seemingly non-political "outsider", Klivans, an attorney, says all the right things in his ballot information packet:
- Extend service to Oakland Airport, Silicon Valley and the Marina
- Improve sanitation of trains and stations
- Improve customer service and employee visibility
- Encourage development near transit corridors and
- Lateral transfers between BART and MUNI
- Make BART more bike friendly
3) Tom Radulovich, BART Director
This would be an upset vote, sending a message to the establishment.
San Francisco Board of Education:There are three seats opening up and 12 candidates running. Here's a quick run-down:
Sandra Lee Fewer: Incumbent and endorsed by Mayor Lee. Her webpage contains the standard bureaucratic bons mot and platitudes.
Kim Garcia-Meza: CV includes lots of early childhood development work as an educator. Endorsed by Fewer (see above) and Norman Yee, current BoE President. Union leader and SBO.
Matt Haney: UC Student Association Executive Director, Standford JD, community organizer and former State Senate legislative aide.
Victoria Lo: Pediatric healthcare professional, interested in engaging low-income and minority students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Rachel Norton: Incumbent. No particularly controversial positions or endorsements.
Beverly Ho-A-Yun Popek: Educator, SF native. Budget hawk.
Paul Robertson: SBO, USMC. Worked with CORE.
Sam Rodriguez: Parent and policy wonk/operative/etc with a lot of high-gloss endorsements (including with Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom). Do not see any radical or revolutionary (eg, game-changing) proposals.
Gladys Soto: Parent of public school student. Focus on outreach to Latino community. Emphasis on early education (K-3). Pro- "Restorative Practice", which educates children throughout disciplinary and administrative actions. Endorsements: Campos, Leno, Fewer.
Shamann Walton, MPA: "Executive Director." One giant paragraph of corp-babble and passive voice.
Jill Wynns: Incumbent. 20 years on BoE. Money raiser. Endorsements: Ma, Leno, Chu, Yee, SF Parents PAC.
Community College Board:Dr. Amy Bacharach: Professor and policy wonk. Promises to bring faculty perspective to college board. Endorsements on web page.
Dr. Natalie Berg: Incumbent. "Students first."
Nathan Cruz: Financial analyst. Oh boy. Touts successful budget cuts among accomplishments. Went to Diablo Valley Community College and earned Masters in Public Policy from Carnegie-Mellon.
Chris Jackson: Incumbent. Cutting for the cure. Ensure re-accreditation of City College. Expand vocational curriculum.
Hanna Leung: Workers' Compensation Attorney. Chinese immigrant outreach. Endorsed by SF Board of Supervisors and Local 21 (teachers' union).
Rafael Mandelman: Local government attorney. Holds degrees from Yale, Harvard and Berkeley. Worked with various locally known and loved non-profits and commissions. Endorsements include Ammiano, Assesor Ting, Treasurer Cisneros and Sup. Avalos.
Steve Ngo: Trustee, Education Lawyer. Incumbent since 2008. Endorsed by Ammiano, Controller Chiang, DA George Gascon, Avalos and Campos.
Rodgrigo Santos: Structural Engineer. "Cares about education." Endorsements include Gascon.
George Vazhappally: SBO. Actually, it says "Small Businessman". Don't know if that means he, as a man, is small, or his business is small. Or, like, small business, man. Enthusiastic use of all caps, the first seen so far in the city voter guide. Also, he is a successful businessman. He asks for your vote.
William L. Walker: Student Trustee, SF CC District. "It's time for a student to lead." Take your best shot, champ.
...And finally, the ballot measures (there a zillion of them, so we're going to just blast through them).
San Francisco Municipal Ballot Measures:A: City College Parcel Tax.
B: Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.
C: Housing Trust Fund
D: Consolidating Odd-year Municipal Elections.
E: Gross Receipts Tax
F: Water and Environment Plan
Undecided. Measure added to ballot by petition. Board of supervisors opposes, national environmental group support. Leaning toward yes.
G: Policy Opposing Corporate Personhood.
Yes. Non-binding and symbolic.