Governor: Gavin Newsom
I continue to be pleased with his work as Governor over a very turbulent period. With the challenges of climate change growing ever more intrusive, I want to see as self-sufficient a California as possible. Our economy is the 5th largest in the world and we need as effective a leader as Newsom.
Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis
Seems to be doing a very good job judging by the state of the state.
Secretary of State: Shirley N. Weber
I like the job she’s been doing.
Controller: Malia M. Cohen
I’ve been pleased with her work in San Francisco and she handled the task of Board of Equalization well.
Treasurer: Fiona Ma
Another great, solid, long-term performer in the state’s best interests.
Attorney General: Rob Bonta
Done a good job since appointment, and doing an especially nice job at keeping the public informed; let’s keep him at it.
Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
Seems to be doing a good job; no compelling reason to disrupt things with a change.
Board of Equalization Member, District 2: Sally J. Lieber
Whether California’s Board of Equalization, the only elected tax board in the country, should exist at all is definitely a question. Certainly we need more protections against money flowing as campaign contributions to someone who may make a judicial decision for the donor. But while it exists we need good people elected to it. Lieber has good endorsements.
United States Senator (both term ending Jan 3, 2029 and remainder of current term): Alex Padilla
Easy choice. He was great as Secretary of State for California and it’s good to have him in the Senate.
United States Representative, District 11: Nancy Pelosi
In the primaries I was still in the same place I was two years prior on this. Pelosi served us very well in getting through four years of Trump/Pence/GOP policies without losing more ground than we did. Do I agree with her on everything? No. Is she as effective as anyone could be as Speaker of the House right now could be? Yes. Is there an obvious experienced next choice for Speaker of the House if she doesn’t remain in office? No. We need her insider savvy holding the line and taking the heat as we weather the next two years. (Also, it gives the progressives we’ve elected time to build a little more seniority and have a little bit better chance of important committee positions in any upward shuffle.) When the choice is Pelosi or a Republican, then I’m even more strongly in favor of Pelosi.
State Assembly Member, District 17: Matt Haney
I was impressed by Haney through the primary campaign, and am not a Campos fan.
Judicial positions: Yes
Judicial elections are bad. Judges should not be in the business of campaigning, raising money, and so forth; they should be appointed to life terms by the political branches, removable for cause. But here we are nonetheless. In California, justices of the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal are appointed by the Governor, with periodic referenda on whether to “retain” them. Justices are almost always retained. Between 1934 and 1986, no justice ever failed his or her retention vote. In 1986, three justices of the Supreme Court were voted out (arguably) because of their principled opposition to the death penalty. No Justice has failed a retention vote since then. So, vote yes on retaining appellate judges! The fact that there’s a vote at all is bad, but the least we can do is vote “yes.” Especially for Goodwin Liu who will be excellent.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony K. Thurmond
I’m glad I voted for Thurmond before and will do so again. Great endorsements. I first was drawn to him by his commitment to quality public school education and teaching critical thinking rather than a “teach the test” approach.
Member, Board of Education:
Member, Community College Board:
I’m neither a student nor a parent. Based on the candidate statements for BoE, I’m leaning Ann Hsu, Lainie Motamedi, and Lisa Weissman-Ward mainly because of the Scott Weiner endorsement.
Likewise for CCB, I’m voting for Thea Selby, whom I’ve supported in the past, and leaning John Rizzo because of the Scott Weiner endorsement and Murrell Green because of the Eleni Kounalakis endorsement and a strong candidate statement.
(I live in Dean Preston’s district and consider his endorsements a negative point for a candidate; he has not been a great advocate for the neighborhood and did some cruddy campaign stuff in the past when he first ran.)
Assessor-Recorder: Joaquín Torres
Seems to be doing fine.
District Attorney: Brooke Jenkins
Doing fine and good endorsements.
Public Defender: Mano Raju
Doing fine and hard to argue with that list of endorsements.
1 CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM: YES
Enshrine the right to abortion as a personal decision in the state constitution.
Planned Parenthood, NARAL, ACLU, California Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, League of Women Voters, and CA Democratic Party are in favor. Opponents (Republicans, California Conference of Catholic Bishops, Knights of Columbus, other abortion foes) say it’ll cost a bunch of money but current analysis is it will have no direct fiscal effects to the state.
26 ALLOWS IN-PERSON ROULETTE, DICE GAMES, SPORTS WAGERING ON TRIBAL LANDS: NO
Would legalize a bunch of sports betting at California American Indian casinos and racetracks. and tax it at 10%. Opposed by Republicans, existing casinos and racetracks, but also by SF Chronicle, LA Times, and Mercury News and East Bay Times Editorial Boards. There’s apparently been a bunch of lawsuit issues around sports betting and online gambling (see prop 27), and the funds this generates can fluctuate in ways that are risky for local government.
I’m not a big fan of gambling as a government revenue source—it’s exploitative in a way that other recreation isn’t. The immediate negative impact of this is probably going to be on existing card clubs. The long-term impact is probably going to be more money flowing into gambling as business and encouraging more gambling generally, which I don’t think is great for society.
27 ALLOWS ONLINE AND MOBILE SPORTS WAGERING OUTSIDE TRIBAL LANDS: NO
As above, but online which reaches even more people, even more easily, and even more likely to reach those to vulnerable to the harms of gambling. Seems to be an out-of-state gambling corporations power grab. The veneer on this one is funds for relieving homelessness, but best case likely would be less than $500 million per year with regulatory costs in the tens of millions. Opposed by the Democratic, Republican, and Peace and Freedom parties, which tells ya something.
28 PROVIDES ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR ARTS AND MUSIC EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Yes
Sets a minimum source of annual funding for K-12 arts and music education funding. Nobody is opposing this. Gotta love seeing “If you are aware of any opponents or opposing arguments, please send an email with a link to firstname.lastname@example.org”!
Edited to add: One argument I’ve since heard is that this set-aside is fine while the state has lots of money but could lead to tough choices if finances get tight. I personally don’t think that risk is high enough to offset the benefits of the continuity of funding, the employment that comes with that funding, and the creative and inspiring education which kids really need. I’m still a Yes.
29 REQUIRES ON-SITE LICENSED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL AT KIDNEY DIALYSIS CLINICS AND ESTABLISHES OTHER STATE REQUIREMENTS: NO, for the third time, NO
Back every other year with a crappy proposition, apparently, here’s SEIU-UHW spending about $8 million to try through government mandate to get the big dialysis clinic companies to change their processes and staffing. No other state requires a doctor on site, the patients who come to clinics already have a physician they work with, and this isn’t a matter for the ballot, particularly when there isn’t evidence the current arrangement has harmed patients.
30 PROVIDES FUNDING FOR PROGRAMS TO REDUCE AIR POLLUTION AND PREVENT WILDFIRES BY INCREASING TAX ON PERSONAL INCOME OVER $2 MILLION: YES
Great list of endorsements from firefighters, medical professionals, clean air advocates and other environmentalists. This impacts 0.2% of California taxpayers—that’s 1 in 500, because we’re a rich state. The rich here, as elsewhere, have benefitted from the same economy that helped create climate change and they’re rich enough to pay 1.75% more on the extra money they earn beyond the first $2 million (which should be enough for anyone). Note that Lyft has spent $35 million in support of this, leading Gov. Newsom to oppose it; but even though the state is doing a lot, we need to do more to decarbonize the state and it’s worth it even if Lyft benefits in the short term. LA Times Editorial Board opposes saying “Proposition 30 would push the top-earner rate to 15.05%, which is much higher than other states, most of which have income tax rates in the single digits” as if the other states have it right. I don’t think so, I don’t think we tax the rich enough and climate change is the most pressing problem we have, so let’s get that money to do something about it fast. The clock is running out on being able to make these changes.
31 REFERENDUM ON 2020 LAW THAT WOULD PROHIBIT THE RETAIL SALE OF CERTAIN FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS: YES
We do not need candy tobacco any more than we need candy asbestos. Will it cost Phillip Morris, ITG, R.J. Reynolds, Swedish Match, and American Snuff money? You know it must because they’ve shelled out nearly $21 million trying to get people to vote no. Big doners in support are Michael Bloomberg, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, American Cancer and Heart and Lung Associations. Fuck the cancer profiteers; vote YES.
City and County Propositions
A Retirement Funding: YES
Tidy up retirement security for people who retired before late 1996. Rubberstamp by electorate on unanimous Board of Supervisors action. No opposition.
B Adjustments to Sanitation and Streets Department Affiliation: YES
Move Department of Sanitation and Streets back under DPW after vote to move it out to a separate department in Nov 2020. (That vote also created a separate oversight commission, which yes on B does not eliminate.) This streamlines government staffing and therefore costs to the tune of around $2.5 million a year ongoing, possibly more. Supported by the mayor, city administrator and lots of the board of supes, but opposed by sanitation workers’ union and related workers. I gotta say, I haven’t seen an improvement in the state of our streets in the past year, so having additional bureaucracy doesn’t appear to be an approach that’s actually creating results. Better to save the money and lean into not having corruption in that department. The opposition arguments are basically all the same argument with a different “we are the [workers] who [do dirty job]” phrasing. There isn’t a nuanced opposition to this which suggests the diverse support is more valid.
C Homelessness Oversight Commission: YES
Creates an oversight committee for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Minimal fiscal impact. Rubberstamp by electorate on unanimous Board of Supervisors action. Opposed by Republicans and, in an odd combo, SF YIMBY. The latter is concerned it will slow down action and diffuse accountability, but if there were real worries there I don’t think we’d see an unanimous Board of Supes vote, so I stay Yes on this.
D Streamline Approval of Some Affordable Housing (from 80K+ signatures, pushed by YIMBY groups): YES
Fast-tracks multifamily affordable housing and still requires compliance with Planning and Building codes. Also requires certain projects to provide health care benefits to workers and apprenticeship opportunities. Minimal impacts on cost of government. Great endorsements including Habitat for Humanity, Scott Weiner, NorCal Carpenters Union, and SF YIMBY. Concerning opposition from SF Tenants Union, SF Labor Council, and Council of Community Housing Organizations who don’t like its definition of “affordable” and are opposed to building more market rate housing before below market rate. Personally I don’t think it is realistic to expect a ton of new below market rate housing to be build, but that an influx of any housing creates more affordable housing at the bottom of the total housing pool. San Francisco needs 82,000 more units by 2031 to preserve state and federal grants; we need to build and this will increase building.
If D passes with more votes than E, then E has no legal effect.
E Streamline Approval of Some Even More Affordable Housing (Poison pill for measure D; from certain generally anti-building members of Board of Supes in a 7 to 4 vote): NO
Fast-tracks 10+ unit, even more affordable than measure D housing and still requires compliance with Planning and Building codes. Has more requirements than D on compensation, workforce composition, and apprenticeship. Retains veto power of Board of Supervisors which measure D does not. Supported by many very very liberal organizations and individuals. Opposed by YIMBY groups. This promotes a lovely vision of more affordable, targeted to specific worthy groups housing, but suffers from the reality check of what building projects it will actually result in. It’s yet another case where the vision of nearly perfect won’t result in as much good actually resulting in the real world as the compromise with a good chunk of positive requirements. SF extreme liberals—and I chart pretty far left, so these are waaaaay left folks—have a real problem with holding out for ‘perfect or nothing’ and we end up with a lot more nothing.
If E passes with more votes than D, then D has no legal effect.
F Renew Library Preservation Fund For 25 Years: YES
Minimal impact on cost of government, as it just renews existing uses of property tax funds and other city revenues. Rubberstamp by electorate on unanimous Board of Supervisors action. No opposition. Libraries perform an absolutely vital service, even more so in an area like ours with profound income inequality.
G Grants to SF Unified School District: YES
Additional school district money for academic achievement and social/emotional wellness. Programs could include academic tutoring, math and literacy specialists, additional social workers, arts and science programming, or afterschool and summer enrichment. Nice requirements around school/parent/community involvement; it’s not a blank check for the school that gets the grant. Pretty significant fiscal impact, pulling money from General Fund to this allocation to the tune of $11 million next school year, growing to 35 and 45 the following two years, and 60 each year after that through fiscal year 2037-38. Rubberstamp by electorate on unanimous Board of Supervisors action. Widely supported by educators. Opposed by Republicans and anti-tax folks (the Howard Jarvis crowd). School kids got royally screwed by the pandemic; this is the chance to recover from it. We’re a rich city, it’s a solid investment, and it will pay off.
H Streamline Local Election Timing To Even Years, Change Minimum Number Of Signatures To Put Things On Ballot: YES
The election timing thing is a no-brainer; normal things around local office and measures elections don’t move so fast that we can’t do this every other year. Streamlines costs. This would extend the current terms of mayor, sheriff, district attorney, city attorney and treasurer by one year, and I’m fine with that. Currently to qualify for the ballot, a petition must include signatures from San Francisco voters equaling at least 5% of the votes cast for all candidates in the preceding election for mayor. As of July 2022, these petitions require a minimum of 8,979 signatures. That’s a really small percentage of the population to require all of us to research and vote on it. This only changes it to 2% of registered voters in San Francisco, which was 9,948 as of July 2022. Still pretty small, but better, and more tied to potential election participation rather than turnout. (Though it should be noted this will likely increase turnout.) Opposed by Ritchie Greenberg because it “undermines our democratic norms” and by other Republicans because the ballot in those years would be too long and voters would have to think too hard. Six ballot cards! Instead of the 5 we have this election. Oh the pearl clutching! Supported by pretty much everybody else.
I Cars On JFK Drive and Great Highway: NO
Got on ballot by signature drive. There are legitimate disability access concerns yes, but the new dedicated ADA space parking lot and the coming additional accessible shuttles (adding to the current every-15-minutes shuttle) are solving those issues, as well as the reduced traffic making things much more accessible for all. Measure I will also block the Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaptation Plan, which is just not okay. And it will mess up the lovely alternate weekend use of the Great Highway for non-cars. This is an end run around a two year public process that resulted in a workable compromise plan. Also probably will cost as much as $80 million in increased project costs to change the existing compromise plan. Some disability groups but by no means all, some museum groups, and some neighborhood groups, as well as driving advocates are in favor. SF YIMBY is opposed as are lots of of environmental groups, walking and biking groups, and SF Democratic party.
J People On JFK Drive: YES
This preserves the open spaces added during the pandemic on portions of JFK Drive and certain connector streets in Golden Gate Park, keeping them free from private cars seven days a week. The Mayor, Board of Supes, parks and green space fans, SF Democratic Party, waling and biking advocates, Scott Weiner, health care professionals, Honey Mahogany, nearby small businessfolk, SPUR, Church of 8 Wheels, YIMBY folks, etc. etc.are in favor. The folks who support I are opposed.
L Continue Half-Cent Sales Tax; Transportation Funding: YES
Continue the existing sales tax to pay for transportation projects another 30 years. Rubberstamp by electorate on unanimous Board of Supervisors action. No opposition other than anti-Muni gadfly David Pilpel and local anti-taxation/anti-government folks including of course Quentin L. Kopp.
M Tax Mostly-Vacant Residential Units In Three+ Unit Buildings: YES
Note that this isn’t an empty home tax as it exempts single family homes and duplexes, but it does incentivize getting people into existing housing or at least making some money from it to build new housing. This got to the ballot by petition. SF YIMBY is in favor, not because it will make a huge difference (brings in about $20 million annually since it probably affects about 8,000 not 40,000 units), but because it does something anti-development policymakers spend a lot of energy on and lets the focus move ahead to the real challenge of housing affordability not vacancy. Supported by SF Democratic Party, some housing access advocates, lots of local elected officials, diverse community groups, SF Tenants Union and related organizations, some labor unions, and the Coalition on Homelessness. Opposed by the SF Apartment Association and other landlords, and of course the anti-tax Howard Jarvis folks.
N Public Parking Under Music Concourse In Golden Gate Park Managed By Rec And Park Commission: YES
Placed on the ballot by Mayor Breed because the existing parking is expensive and sits vacant much of the year. Even with some subsidizing of parking for visitors, the City Controller says this may reduce government costs as it could allow refinancing existing debt. Walking advocates, neighborhood groups, SF Democratic Party, and SF YIMBY are in favor. No opposition.
O Additional Parcel Tax To Help Fund City College: Yes
This would not apply to those that don’t have to pay standard property taxes (e.g. certain non-profits) or to those in which one or more owners is 65 that fiscal year. Cheapest increase (one residential unit or for a duplex; or non-residential under 5,000 square feet) is $150 for 2023. Highest is non-residential over 100,000 square feet at $4,000.
This is opposed by Mayor Breed, Supervisors Peskin and Stefani, and (strange bedfellows) public conservative and anti-taxxer Quentin Kopp, on the grounds that a lot of money has already gone to City College, the school has had lots of problems, and there isn’t even a plan for spending the funds. Lots of large apartment landlords and realtors are also opposed (the latter apparently most incensed by the idea that commercial real estate will be “taxed like a taxpayer’s home!” I don’t think they workshopped that to see how it sounds from the outside.)
It’s supported by Board of Supes President Shamann Walton, the City College Faculty and Staff unions, Firefighters Local union 798 (because City College has fire training programs), and many diverse other individuals and groups including lots of educators.
I do see the reasons for a No, but I think there are stronger arguments for continuing to invest in City College as a vital tool in helping address income inequality in San Francisco. City College is a much needed ladder to help people have greater ability to earn a living.
Reduce your front-door distractions!
Once you’ve filled out and mailed or dropped off your ballot, put your “I voted!” sticker on a piece of paper and tuck it under the edge of your doorbell. Saves you from folks pointlessly coming to the door trying to swing your vote.