[SFGP] Greenzine: Green Voter Guide for Super Tuesday, March 3
Announcement list for SF Green Party, updated weekly
announce at sfgreens.org
Tue Mar 3 07:31:47 PST 2020
SF Green Party Weekly News and Events
Today is the March Primary! If you're registered Green, you can
help choose our nominee for President this November. It's still a
wide-open contest, and California voters can make a difference. Our
complete Green Voter Guide to today's SF election is below. Please
feel free to forward to other voters who might be interested. It's
also posted on our website:
Barry Hermanson also just published an article on Single Payer
health insurance in the Bayview newspaper:
Green Voter Guide for March 3, 2020
Since we have a contested Presidential primary, Green voters will
decide on our nominee and strategy for the November election. The
national Green Party has a page on the candidates here
(https://www.gp.org/2020/), and most of them answered detailed
questionnaires, available here
The SF Green Party has met with several outstanding candidates,
but we feel that it is our members' right to make a choice without
our thumb on the scales. Please read the questionnaires above,
and pick the candidate who will best represent our Party in November.
Prop A is a $845 million bond measure proposed by the College Board,
which would be used to repair buildings, do seismic retrofits, and
create more job training facilities. Because it's a bond to fund
education, it requires a 55% supermajority to pass rather than a 2/3
supermajority. Despite our reservations about bond funding (see
Statement on Bonds, below), we recommend a Yes vote.
City College's main (Ocean) campus is in urgent need of repairs. Many
of the buildings have leaky roofs and are subject to flooding. They
also have old infrastructure such as heating and cooling systems, and
have not been retrofitted to meet modern earthquake safety standards.
The funds from Prop A would be used to fix these problems, as well as
to update classrooms and labs, which would allow City College to offer
more vocational classes.
City College is an important public institution that continues to be
attacked by neoliberal forces who are opposed to spending money on
free public education. Although Greens would prefer that the funds
for repair be included in the regular budget, or raised via a more
progressive revenue source than bonds, the public costs of delaying
urgent repairs would be too high.
Greens therefore recommend a Yes vote on Prop A.
Prop B is a $628 million bond measure submitted by the Mayor and the
Board of Supervisors. It requires a 2/3 supermajority vote to pass.
The funds would be used for various earthquake safety and emergency
response projects, including the Emergency Firefighting Water System
(EFWS) Project for the City's western neighborhoods. Greens were
split on this proposal. Some of us thought the projects funded by
Prop B, especially the EFWS, would be a worthwhile public investment
(despite our reservations about bond funding; see Statement on Bonds,
below). Others of us were strongly opposed due to the lack of
specificity in what would be funded, and because voters have already
approved funding for many of the projects that would supposedly be
funded by Prop B. Because we were unable to come to consensus, Greens
did not take a position on Prop B.
Greens all agreed that the Emergency Firefighting Water System, which
is the main purpose of Prop B, would be an important public benefit.
However, voters in 2002 approved Prop P
(https://sfwater.org/index.aspx?page=121) which allowed for the SFPUC
"to incur bonded indebtedness to finance capital improvements" for our
Water and Sewer systems. Proposition P was set to expire on January
1, 2013, then again in 2016, and again in 2019. Each time the terms
were set to expire, the Board of Supervisors extended them. It's now
set to sunset in 2025. Prop P included provisions to fund things like
the EFWS project but has lagged in identifying, funding, and
The other projects Prop B would fund are largely non-specific, already
funded by previous bond measures approved by voters, or could be
funded as part of the ordinary budget process. The include
"Firefighting," "Police," and "Disaster Response" facilities and
infrastructure, but no specifics are provided. Those appear to have
been thrown in to Prop B just to win public support. Prop B would
also fund an upgrade of the existing 911 call center, an investment of
significantly less than $1.2 billion, which could be funded
immediately with existing tax revenue.
In 2010 and 2014, voters approved similar bond measures
for $400 million and $412 million, respectively. Because of our
concerns about specificity and redundancy with funding already
approved in other bond measures, Greens did not come to consensus to
either support or oppose Prop B.
Prop C would provide retiree health benefits to employees of the SF
Housing Authority who were working for that agency when it was taken
over by the City last year. It requires a simple majority to pass,
and Greens recommend a Yes vote.
The SF Housing Authority oversees public housing and Section 8 voucher
programs. It has been at the center of corruption scandals for
decades, as Willie Brown and his Mayoral successors used the agency to
steal money that was supposed to go to poor people. Former Green
Party Supervisor Matt Gonzalez took a lot of heat for trying to wrest
the agency away from Mayoral control back in 2001
(https://www.sfgate.com/politics/amp/Supervisor-pushes-plan-to-disband-housing-2923316.php), but he failed in the face of strong opposition from the
Last year, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),
which had been running the agency, finally allowed it to be taken over
by the City
The agency's workers therefore became City employees. However, their
years of service to the agency did not allow them to qualify for
retiree health benefits, because they had not been City employees
prior to the takeover.
Greens strongly believe that the employees should not be penalized for
corruption in the agency's leadership. We therefore endorse a Yes
vote on C.
Prop D would tax vacant ground floor commercial space in neighborhood
retail corridors, thus providing an incentive for landlords to lower
rents to the point where new businesses could afford to move in. It
was sponsored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, and requires a 2/3 supermajority
to pass. Greens strongly recommend a Yes vote.
Despite a booming local economy, vacant storefronts are everywhere in
Often, this is a result of commercial landlords raising rents to the
point where long-time businesses are forced to close or move out.
Due to a prohibition on commercial rent control in California,
landlords can raise rents to any level as soon as the lease expires.
Because there is little cost to landlords to maintain vacant storefronts,
they then keep the store vacant until another business comes along
that is willing to pay an exorbitant price. Because only certain
types of high profit margin stores can afford these rents, the
character of our neighborhoods has changed.
Prop D would create a new tax on commercial landlords who keep their
spaces vacant for more than 1/2 of the year. There are exceptions for
renovations and disasters, and the tax would not apply to non-profits
or public property. The tax would start at $250 per year per linear
foot of frontage (i.e., the width of the storefront). For vacancies
lasting more than a year, the tax would increase to $500/foot in year
two, then to $1000/foot for vacancies lasting more than two years.
Prop D would allow these rates to be amended by 2/3 of board, in case
of unforeseen impacts.
Prop D is a long-overdue attempt at curbing neighborhood blight caused
by our tech-fueled economy. We expect it will result in lower
commercial rents and more diverse businesses. Greens therefore
were in unanimous consensus in recommending a Yes vote.
Prop E is a scheme hatched in 2018 by former Mayor Mark Farrell and
Supervisor Aaron Peskin
to streamline the building of 5.7 million square feet of office space
(approximately three Salesforce towers) and 15,000 new apartments (a
mix of market rate luxury condos and "affordable" units) in SoMa.
Following this building glut, future office space development would be
restricted unless more "affordable" housing is built, or until
developers put yet another pro-gentrification scheme onto the ballot
that supersedes this one. Prop E requires only a simple majority vote
to pass. The Green Party is strongly opposed to it.
Real estate money in the form of faceless corporate players who
dominate local politics has shown up again in Prop E. The back story
of Prop E is Back-To-The-Future-complicated. In 1986, voters
approved Prop M, an annual cap on office space development, in an
attempt to curb excess capital investment in real estate that
threatened to consume large swaths of the City. Since then, trickles
of public benefit have been squeezed from developers engaging in the
Planning Department’s beauty contest
between corporate overlords competing for coveted boardrooms with
views. "Progressive" career politicians have agglutinated concession
cash and stashed it with nonprofit allies who provide valuable
resources for their election campaigns. "Moderates" just take stacks
of cash (or the occasional prepaid debit card).
This false dichotomy between progressives and moderates rears its ugly
head in Prop E. Although TODCO (Tenants and Owners Development
Corporation, the sponsor of Prop E) is one of the better non-profit
developers, the concession that is buried in the legal text of Prop E
reads like a straight-up sellout. It allows for a "Central SoMa
Incentive Reserve" to be created, and gives the Planning Commission
the go-ahead to "approve up to an additional 1.7 million square feet
in total of office space located in the Central SoMa Special Use
District" from developers who have already entered the beauty pageant.
In addition, the annual Prop M cap on office development would become
an annualized amount, meaning that developers could "borrow" against
their their next 10 years of Prop M space. This provision allows 4 million
square feet of office space already in the pipeline for Central SoMa
to be built all at once, rather than a little bit each year. As a
result, developers could bullrush the market to find places to stash
their capital while it's hot, leaving Central SoMa even more clearly
in their crosshairs.
After the 5.7 million square feet of new office space (4 million
previously approved plus 1.7 million added by the "incentive reserve"
above) are built in SoMa, Prop E would also demand that 15,000 new
units of housing be built in the neighborhood, before any further
offices could be built. This would effectively upzone Western SoMa,
as the developer advocacy group SPUR has wanted for 20 years. This
means 150 new 100-unit buildings, which would cause massive demolition
and displacement of current residents. Much of the new housing would
be luxury condos, which would only create further gentrification.
Unfortunately, nearly all "progressive" Democratic politicians and Dem
clubs have lined up behind Peskin, while closing their eyes to these
San Francisco is not an "Office Park", but a living thriving community
of offices, small businesses, renters, stores, and homes and the
balance needs to be maintained. Those of us who have been here for
many years have seen the flight of small businesses out of SF, and
with them goes much of the character of the City. More office towers
will not maintain our City's character.
Prop E would impose, after this initial give-away to developers, a
link between office production and housing production, specifically
"affordable" housing production which is supposed to help San
Franciscans who have suffered and will suffer as a result of
hyper-gentrification. As always, the term "affordable" begs the
question: "Affordable to whom?" Green Party members who live and work
in SoMa would like to see limits on office development, and housing
that is affordable to those of us who currently live here - without
a huge handout to developers.
In short, Prop E would change the Prop M annual limit on office
space, and would allow up to 6 times that limit to be started now. The
Measure's requirements of building "affordable housing” and
conformance to the General Plan will be sidelined until some projects
in the pipeline are built. Loopholes such as in lieu fees "to a
transit or housing fund of the City" could be exploited to avoid
actually building any affordable housing for years, if ever.
Please vote "No" on this boondoggle!
Prop 13 looks like a $15 billion school bond. Unfortunately, a
not-so-obvious provision hidden in Prop 13 is a prohibition on
charging fees to real estate developers in order to fund schools.
Therefore, the long-term effect of Prop 13 would be to shift funding
for school construction from a progressive revenue stream (developer
fees) to a regressive one (bonds that help the rich become richer; see
our Statement on Bond funding, below). Therefore, the Green Party is
If passed, Prop 13 would allocate $15 billion for school construction:
$9 billion for preschool to K-12 (including $500 million for new
charter schools), $2 billion for community colleges, $2 billion for
the California State University, and $2 billion for the University of
This "bond mixed with a developer fee waiver" model would be a repeat
of Prop 51, which passed in 2016. At the time, we wrote in
However, Prop 51 was put on the ballot by a group of real estate
developers and construction companies, and contains a little-noticed
provision. Currently, cities can charge fees to developers in order
to partially offset the costs of providing City services to new
developments; these services might include new schools, increased
public transit, water and sewer infrastructure, etc. Prop 51 would
prohibit school districts from raising developer fees in order to
pay for new schools, thereby resulting in lower fees (and higher
profits) for the developers.
We urge you to vote "No" this time as well.
It's a daunting task to find a dynamic candidate to run against the
the most powerful Democrat in the House of Representatives. Green
Party voices have been shut out by the "Top Two" system in an election
where San Franciscans will determine which candidate has necessary
progressive platform to differentiate themselves from the moderate
stances of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Two such candidates in question, Tom Gallagher and Shahid Buttar,
certainly do hold relatively progressive stances that resonate with
the 10 Key Values of the Green Party. However, at our endorsement
meeting, both gave painfully detailed explanations as to why they
won't, or can't, switch parties. Neither candidate tried to build a
unified progressive alliance (including Greens) in order to reach
consensus on who might lead the progressive cause against Pelosi.
This begs the question as to how much the political establishment
values the perspective of Greens and other third party progressives.
SF's "progressives" act like they're open to more diverse political
views than they actually are.
The ongoing dilemma about whether Greens should support such Democrats
must be considered in light of two candidates who aren't intrepid
enough to do the party switchover, even when such candidates might
bring over their supporters and create a more vibrant Green party in
this election and beyond.
So in 2020, Greens have once again been shut out of having a stake in
the Congressional election. Perhaps with Pelosi apparently not
running again next time, 2022 might bring a more open and transparent
attitude to the process, and the healing that is long overdue.
We therefore did not endorse any candidate this time around.
Three candidates have been certified for the District 11 State Senator
contest. Unlike our famously partisan "non-partisan" City elections,
candidates for state offices are identified on the ballot by party
affiliation or non-affiliation. Voters were tricked into rigging
elections by passing a legislatively referred constitutional amendment
that established a "Top Two" primary system in 2010. Two Democrats or
a Democrat and and a Republican will therefore advance to the November
election after the March primary.
Active members of the SF Green Party have expressed
significant concerns about endorsing any member of either corporate
party for partisan contests, and we wish that the crippling effects of
the "Top Two" system on our already crippled democracy could be
remedied by unrigging our elections. We did not endorse any of the
three candidates in this election.
Incumbent Scott Wiener has stood in direct opposition to the Green
Party's 10 Key Values since he served the corporatocracy as a SF
Supervisor. He consistently earned among our lowest grades on Green
Report Cards for 6 years before shuffling off to Sacramento as a
reward for community disservice and servitude to his deep-pocketed
donors. He sided against Green Party activists on issues regarding
the environment, public education, privatization, corporate hegemony,
government and police accountability, rent control, gentrification,
sanctuary city policy, black lives matter, and transparency in
government. Now, installed in Sacto, he is making a career out of a
ham-fisted attempt to turn over the state's housing stock to corporate
investors via a fake grassroots, free-market fundamentalist,
propagandized legislative campaign that incorporates a trickle-down
model similar to 1980's Reaganomics, SB827/SB50. Wiener is the epitome
of a corporate tool run amok in the state capitol. He is fully-funded
by the tech/real estate cabal in this contest.
Jackie Fielder (Democrat) and Erin Smith (Republican) are also on the
ballot in this primary election. We appreciate that Ms. Fielder took
the time to meet with SF Green Party members at our endorsement
meeting, but we were in consensus that no candidate has earned our
This election cycle, there are three open seats on the Superior Court.
We sent each candidate a short questionnaire asking them their
opinions on the death penalty, reproductive rights, corporate
personhood, and other issues.
These are questions that judicial candidates often refuse to answer,
citing the code of conduct linked below:
(Candidates for judge) shall not: with respect to cases,
controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court,
make pledges, promises or commitments that are inconsistent with
the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of the
This time we asked candidates about their history of activism around
these issues, and the answers we received were enlightening.
We were pleased to learn that all the candidates for these three open
seats are female. Women are still very under-represented in our
judicial branch of government.
We awarded a sole endorsement to Maria Evangelista for Seat 1. For
the other two seats, we felt that both candidates were sufficiently in
accord with our 10 Key Values, so we dual-endorsed both of them. Green
voters are encouraged to read each candidate's website and choose
Superior Court Judge, Seat 1: Maria Evangelista
Maria Evangelista is a long-time public defender and a board member of
La Raza Centro Legal, which provides legal services to the immigrant
community. Although we did not endorse her in the last election due
to lack of information about her political viewpoints, this time we
were able to discuss her history of activism against the Death Penalty,
for reproductive rights, and for immigrant rights. We are now
confident that she upholds the Green Party's 10 Key Values, and she
has earned our strong endorsement in this election!
Evangelista ran previously in 2018, when she challenged an incumbent
judge. Contesting a sitting judge can be a controversial move in the
legal community. Former Green Party Mayoral candidate Matt Gonzalez,
who is now Chief Attorney for the SF Public Defender's Office, wrote
about Evangelista and other public defenders running for judge at the
time. His essay also raised interesting questions regarding the
merits of contesting judicial elections:
Superior Court Judge, Seat 18: Dorothy Chou Proudfoot and Michelle
Tong (dual endorsement)
Dorothy Chou Proudfoot has no history (that we're aware of) in
activism opposing the death penalty, but she does have a history of
fighting for women's rights, and she has promoted the careers of both
women and underrepresented minority candidates. She has also been
supportive of tenants' rights.
Michelle Tong is a public defender, who has a long history of fighting
on behalf of social justice issues. In general, Greens are inclined
to support public defenders over prosecutors and corporate attorneys.
She has the support of most of the progressive community.
We were impressed with both candidates, and therefore encourage
Greens to choose their favorite.
Superior Court Judge, Seat 21: Rani Singh and Carolyn Gold (dual
Rani Singh was a prosecutor who previously worked under progressive
DA Terence Hallinan. Although she worked as a prosecutor, she
opposes the Death Penalty and was an early supporter of legal
marijuana. We think that her values seem very consistent with ours.
Carolyn Gold was very forthcoming in her answers to our questionnaire.
She opposes the Death Penalty and supports public financing of elections,
upholding Roe vs Wade, and decriminalization of drug use.
We are happy to endorse both candidates for this position, and
encourage Greens to choose your favorite.
SF Green Party Statement on Bond Funding
The SF Green Party has often been hesitant to embrace bond financing.
In addition to being environmentally and socially responsible, we are
also fiscally responsible. Bond funding requires payments totaling
about twice the actual cost of whatever improvements are made, and
passes costs on to future generations. Because people who buy bonds
are almost exclusively the wealthy, as investors are paid back over
the 20-30 year life of the bond, wealth is transferred from middle and
low income taxpayers to rich bondholders.
Bond funding also helps rich people avoid paying their fair share of
taxes, since interest on municipal bonds is exempt from both state and
federal tax. As noted in the California Voter Guide in 1992, over
35,000 U.S. millionaires supplemented their income with tax exempt
state and local bond checks averaging over $2,500 per week (that's
over $130,000 per year tax free). They avoided paying federal and
state taxes on over $5 billion, which must be made up by the rest of
us. The SF Green Party calls on the public to join us in working to
phase out this regressive and unfair subsidy of the rich and their
investment bankers (who take millions of dollars off the top when the
bonds are issued).
There are a few cases in which Greens have supported bond measures.
In general, we are willing to support bonds that are issued to in
order to build urgently needed, publicly-owned infrastructure, such as
a public hospital or high speed rail. We generally oppose bonds that
fund ongoing maintenance projects; these should be paid for using City
revenues (which should be increased by raising taxes on the wealthy).
To submit events for our newsletter, please email a short blurb to
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