Editorial: B.A.R. election recommendations
Over the past several weeks, we have been publishing our recommendations for the November 6 election. Below is a recap. All of our editorials are available online at www.ebar.com.
San Francisco Supervisors
District 1, which includes the Richmond, is one of three very competitive races this year and we're sticking with current Supervisor Eric Mar. Since taking office four years ago, Mar, a straight ally, has been a solid vote on the board for LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues. He is also devoted to his district, and discussed with us his record in bringing green jobs to the area, as well as his record in job creation as evidenced by small businesses along Clement Street.
In District 3, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu is working on increasing City Hall's attention to nightlife issues, noting that in the past year crime at or near popular night spots is down. He has been a steady leader of the board, noting that the tenor among supervisors began to change in 2008. Chiu brings a collaborative attitude to the board that is much needed.
District 5: An out bi woman for most of her adult life and a person of color, appointed Supervisor Christina Olague brings an important queer perspective to the board, which was missing before her appointment. Shortly after joining the board she worked with out Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos to request that the mayor backfill millions of dollars in federal AIDS cuts. She worked on programs that addressed the needs of LGBTQ seniors, supports the city's new LGBT Senior Task Force, and was an organizer at the Senior Action Network.
We also admire the courage she exhibited in her vote to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
District 5, second choice: We were very impressed with candidate London Breed in our meeting and she has a lot of good ideas. Breed is a straight ally and a native of the district; she grew up in public housing in the Western Addition. And she wants to put an end to the rampant violence, drug dealing, and other crimes that occur.
District 7: Francis "FX" Crowley, a District 7 native, has a firm grasp of the issues and has a record as a public servant, community volunteer, and leader of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union. He has a history working with LGBT folks, particularly in his union, where he said he consistently supported LGBT members to seek leadership positions. He thinks it's important that boards and commissions reflect the city's diversity and said he would recommend qualified LGBT candidates for such posts.
District 7, second choice: Norman Yee, currently president of the school board, is a strong ally to the LGBT community, particularly on matters pertaining to school curriculum and education. He has a reputation as someone who gets things done for children and families in the city and pointed out that for seven years now math and English test scores have improved in public schools.
District 7, third choice: Joel Engardio, who's gay, is running a grassroots campaign in his bid to serve on the board. He pointed out that in San Francisco there is new territory for LGBT candidates to pioneer. While the district is more conservative than many others in the city, there are shifts happening in some neighborhoods, where there's been an influx of new LGBT residents. Engardio has the support of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
District 9: Since winning office four years ago, Supervisor David Campos has worked hard for his Mission district and for the LGBT community, of which he is a part. It speaks volumes that no one filed to run against him in his re-election bid, making this an easy recommendation.
District 11: Supervisor John Avalos became the progressive standard-bearer following his second place finish in last year's mayoral race. He, too, is running unopposed for a second term and has our endorsement. A straight ally, Avalos has long been a leader of issues impacting the LGBT community.
SF Board of Education
Among the non-incumbents running, Matt Haney stands out and we recommend him for election. Haney has direct experience in San Francisco schools, having served on the district's Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee. He is a qualified candidate who can bring much to the city's public schools.
Incumbents Sandra Fewer, Rachel Norton, and Jill Wynns all have the knowledge and experience to continue serving on the board and we endorse their re-election. The school district is not in chaos like City College and some of that credit belongs to the board and its leadership.
SF Community College Board
City College of San Francisco is on the brink of possibly closing. The community college, long considered a necessary scholastic institution of San Francisco, may lose its accreditation due to serious problems that were addressed in a critical report issued in June by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The commission outlined a series of shortcomings, including an inadequate funding base, lack of a planning process, a failure to react to ongoing reduced funding, and inadequate administrative leadership.
We say it's time for new leadership – throw the bums out, if you will. There are four seats up on the community college board in November; we recommend three candidates: Rafael Mandelman, Amy Bacharach, and Rodrigo Santos.
San Francisco Propositions
Prop A: City College Parcel Tax. YES
Prop A authorizes a $79 tax on each parcel of residential and commercial property in San Francisco for eight years.
Prop B: Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond. YES
Prop B would authorize the city to borrow up to $195 million by issuing general obligation bonds to fund repairs and improvements to the city's parks and open spaces.
Prop C: Housing Trust Fund. YES
Prop C is a Charter amendment proposed by Mayor Ed Lee with support from the Board of Supervisors and many community organizations to create a Housing Trust Fund that replaces the redevelopment agency, which was eliminated by the governor due to the state's fiscal problems.
Prop D: Consolidating Odd-year Municipal Elections. YES
Currently the mayor, sheriff, and district attorney are elected in November of one year, and the city attorney and treasurer are elected in November of a different year. This measure proposes to consolidate off-year municipal elections with all the above-mentioned positions running in the same election.
Prop E: Gross Receipts Tax. YES
San Francisco is the only city in California that imposes a tax on payrolls. This is a job killer. Prop E would replace the payroll tax with a graduated business tax based on gross receipts. This is a much more equitable manner to tax businesses and will bring San Francisco in line with other similar cities in California.
Prop F: Water and Environment Plan. NO
Proposition F mandates the City and County of San Francisco develop a plan to accomplish two goals: the first is to create a more sustainable water system by adopting 21st century efficiency practices such as waste filtration, water recycling, water reclamation, conservation, better storm water capture, and other best practices. So far, so good. Everyone supports water conservation and renewable energy. And for over a decade, the city has worked intensely to upgrade San Francisco's water system. It's the second goal of the plan that should make Prop F dead on arrival: eliminating the Hetch Hetchy reservoir and returning the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to the National Park Service to be restored.
Often there is not sufficient rain or snowmelt to meet our needs and Hetch Hetchy provides a reliable source of water that would be folly to give up.
Prop G: Policy Opposing Corporate Personhood. YES
We find GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's statement that "corporations are people too," coupled with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, so odious that we have no difficulty supporting Supervisor John Avalos's measure.
Prop 30: Sales and Income Tax Increase Initiative. YES
Prop 31: Two Year State Budget Cycle and Government Performance and Accountability Act: NO
Prop 32: Special Exemptions Act. NO
Prop 33: Automobile Insurance Industry Pricing Act. NO
Prop 34: California Death Penalty Repeal Act. YES
Prop 35: Increased Penalties for Human Trafficking Act. NO
Prop 36: Three Strikes Law Modification. YES
Prop 37: Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods. YES
Prop 38: Munger Initiative. NO
Prop 39: Income Tax Increase for Multistate Businesses. NO
Prop 40: Referendum on Redistricting. YES
Dist. 9: Tom Radulovich, who was first elected in 1996, is the BART board's only out gay member. He pledges to strengthen BART's commitment to civil rights, environmental justice, and diversity.
Dist. 7: A banker by profession, incumbent Lynette Sweet helped lead the BART police department review committee that was established in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant shooting.
East Bay Races
Oakland City Council Dist. 3: Sean Sullivan has the experience and background to begin work immediately. He is a gay man who understands neighbors' concerns about public safety, and attracting businesses to the district.
Oakland City Council At-large: Out lesbian Rebecca Kaplan won this seat in a landside four years ago and deserves a second term.
President: Over the last four years, President Barack Obama had some major accomplishments regarding LGBT rights. Two stand out in our mind: one a major policy change and the other an important symbolic shift – the Democrats' gutsy move in December 2010 to push through repeal of the military's anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy with the full support of the president and Obama's May interview in which he came out in support of same-sex marriage. He deserves re-election.
U.S. Senate: Dianne Feinstein has been a solid voice in the U.S. Senate for LGBT rights since she was first elected in 1992. Now seeking re-election, Feinstein is the only choice for our readers and the Bay Area Reporter recommends her for another term.