Ok, there is a lot of stuff to vote on this time. Even just writing the titles and questions makes it long. The SF + CA voter guide is 500 pages. There are 52 things to vote on. You can read the short version up top with the summary of who I’m going to vote for and recommend you vote for. If you want to dive into why, then read on. I’m not going to go into every one since there are so many, but will dive into many highlights. The best meta-guide I’ve found is here so that is worth taking a look at as well. A nice guide for California is here.
Sample Ballot and Poll Site
You can find a pretty cool tool google made by searching for “sample ballot san francisco.” You can go to the official SF website here: http://sfelections.org/tools/pollsite/ to pull up your particular sample ballot and polling site. Here’s the PDF of my sample ballot. Pro tip: make a plan on what time you are going to vote and block it off on your calendar — you know send yourself a calendar invite.
The Short Version
President and Vice President: Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine
US Senator: Kamala Harris
US Representative District 12: Preston Picus
State Senator: Scott Weiner
State Assembly District 17: David Chiu
Judge of the Superior Court: Victor Hwang
Board of Education: Ian Kalin, Matt Haney, Phil Kim, Trevor McNeil
Member, Community College Board: Rafael Mandelman, Tom Temprano, Shanell Williams, Alex Randolph
Member, Board of Supervisors, District 9: #1: Hillary Ronen, #2: Melissa San Miguel
BART Director, District 9: Bevan Dufty
California Props (17 of them)
- 51 School Bonds. Funding for K-12 School and Community College Facilities. Initiative Statute. — Yes
- 52 Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. — Yes
- 53 Revenue Bonds. Statewide Voter Approval. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. — No
- 54 Legislature. Legislation and Proceedings. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. — Yes
- 55 Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. — Yes
- 56 Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare, Tobacco Use Prevention, Research, and Law Enforcement. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. — Yes
- 57 Criminal Sentences. Parole. Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. — Yes
- 58 English Proficiency. Multilingual Education. Initiative Statute. — Yes
- 59 Corporations. Political Spending. Federal Constitutional Protections. Legislative Advisory Question. — Yes
- 60 Adult Films. Condoms. Health Requirements. Initiative Statute. — No
- 61 State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards. Initiative Statute. — Yes
- 62 Death Penalty. Initiative Statute. — Yes
(note, only one of 62 or 66 would pass)
- 63 Firearms. Ammunition Sales. Initiative Statute. — Yes
- 64 Marijuana Legalization. Initiative Statute. — Yes
- 65 Carry-Out Bags. Charges. Initiative Statute. — No
(not, 65 is related to 67)
- 66 Death Penalty. Procedures. Initiative Statute. — No
- 67 Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags. Referendum. — Yes
San Francisco Propositions (25 of them)
LEGEND: Prop [_]: Summary Title — My Vote
- Proposition A: School Bonds — Yes
- Proposition B: City College Parcel Tax — Yes
- Proposition C: Loans to Finance Acquisition and Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing — Yes
- Proposition D: Vacancy Appointments — No
- Proposition E: Responsibility for Maintaining Street Trees and Surrounding Sidewalks — Yes
- Proposition F: Youth Voting in Local Elections — No
- Proposition G: Police Oversight — Yes
- Proposition H: Public Advocate — Yes
- Proposition I: Funding for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities — No
- Proposition J: Funding for Homelessness and Transportation — Yes
(note, J is related to K)
- Proposition K: General Sales Tax — Yes
(note, K is related to J)
- Proposition L: MTA Appointments and Budget — No
- Proposition M: Housing and Development Commission — No
- Proposition N: Non-Citizen Voting in School Board Elections — Yes
- Proposition O: Office Development in Candlestick Point and Hunters Point — Yes
- Proposition P: Competitive Bidding for Affordable Housing Projects on City-Owned Property — No
- Proposition Q: Prohibiting Tents on Public Sidewalks — No
- Proposition R: Neighborhood Crime Unit — No
- Proposition S: Allocation of Hotel Tax Funds — No
- Proposition T: Restricting Gifts and Campaign Contributions from Lobbyists — Yes
- Proposition U: Affordable Housing Requirements for Market-Rate Development Projects — No
- Proposition V: Tax on Distributing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages — Yes
- Proposition W: Real Estate Transfer Tax on Properties Over $5 Million — Yes
- Proposition X: Preserving Space for Neighborhood Arts, Small Businesses and Community Services in Certain Neighborhoods — No
- District Measure RR: BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief. — Yes
- Proposition Y: Get Rid of All The Propositions So There Aren’t So Many To Keep Track Of — Yes
President and Vice President: Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine
This one is a clear vote. Hillary has a number of good policies, Trump is a maniac and would not be a good leader for the US. His rise to popularity is a culmination of a lot of real issues in the US but in its worst form. The global trends around Brexit should be a large warning, even though recent polls show a large winning margin for Hillary and the New York times currently says she has a 90% chance of winning, ultimately people need to come out and vote. The things Trump has said about women, minorities, and Muslims are dangerous. What has been said about Muslims, about preventing them from coming into the country or having a religious test, or creating a database of Muslims is too close to what happened to Jews is Nazi Germany. These are the types of comments you cannot casually write off. If you are considering Trump because he is a political outsider — there are merits to that view — but the other factors should make you reconsider.
The arguments for voting third party are not strong at this point, mostly for practical reasons, but also that their is a fallacy of a false equivalence between Hillary and Trump which is highly inaccurate. I have a number of policy differences from Hillary but she is by far the best option to vote for.
The San Francisco budget is $9.6 billion. That is so much. And I think it is pretty poorly managed. My natural inclination is to vote yes on a positive social program but this is important context to remember — especially when a vote on a multi-million-dollar allocation may even cost more to administer the vote on it then the amount being voted on. I don’t know if that is true exactly, but it must cost quite a lot just to administer the SF election… Here’s a quick comparison of some large city budgets as a point of reference.
Note on the Proposition System
The proposition system seems to have stretched its limit at the moment, and this is unfortunate. I think it’s important for people to be civically engaged, and voting on budget allocations with a 500 page booklet is an impossible task for a city of 800,000 people. Say it takes 2 minutes to read a page, that would take 16 hours for a person just to read the pamphlets. I’d like to see a proposition that reforms the proposition system…
62 Death Penalty. Initiative Statute. — Yes
So state Prop 62 is related to 66, and they are about the death penalty. It is both a moral and economic imperative to vote on this one. I don’t believe we should have the death penalty, and it is also horribly expensive to enforce it. This is connected to Prop 66, which is changing the way it works. The reason to vote on this one is because if 66 gets more votes it seems it would cancel this one out.
66 Death Penalty. Procedures. Initiative Statute. — No
This would keep the death penalty and speed up the process. This is not a good one.
64 Marijuana Legalization. Initiative Statute. — Yes
It seems that it is about time to vote yes on this one. I think most people I know will probably vote yes, and I think there are lots of good reasons to vote yes. What I wonder about is — what are the compelling arguments against it?
Proposition B: City College Parcel Tax — Yes
This is a seemingly small change to the current $79 per parcel tax to increase funding for City College. It increases the funding by about $4 million. The goal is to use this to maintain core programs. I think it’s a yes vote.
Proposition C: Loans to Finance Acquisition and Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing — Yes
This Proposition will fund upgrades to certain at-risk buildings to turn them into affordable housing. This money will come from $261 million of unused bond money from a 1992 measure. I’m not exactly clear why this was unused, but it seems that they are finding a reasonable way to use it now.
Proposition D: Vacancy Appointments — No
This proposition is about new requirements to fill vacant positions on the Board of Supervisors, and that the Mayor would need to make a temp appointment, but that person could not run later.
The yes side says there is cronyism at play, that people are missing from key positions between appointments, and that there is a lack of democracy in this process., missing people lack of democracy
The ‘no’ side says there are already too many rules (which after researching this whole vote, I kind of agree with), but that it also creates a strange lame duck position — the oddest part is that person cant run afterwards. This seems like a no-vote.
Proposition E: Responsibility for Maintaining Street Trees and Surrounding Sidewalks — Yes
Now the city has to maintain the trees! The real question here is should this be voted on as a proposition. And the answer in all of these “set-aside” propositions, where some money is allocated for a specific purpose from the general fund is that these things are not either-or, or mutually exclusive. It is probably a good idea for the city to maintain the trees, and it also probalby should not be a proposition. We have to vote on budget amounts with a yes/no, while it is not clear that this amount is right and in some cases it is hard to find out what is currently being spent and how this compares to the existing budget or laws around this area.
I feel like the government should have resolved this one on its own.
Proposition F: Youth Voting in Local Elections — No
This would allow 16 year olds to vote in local SF elections. I think this could be reasonable to vote yes, but ultimately this seems like a slippery slope. Why 16 as the cutoff and why not 15? Or 17? Or 14? At some point there needs to be an arbitrary cutoff and making that when you are officially an adult makes sense.
Proposition H: Public Advocate — Yes
People are split on this one. On one side, the argument is that we don’t need the extra cost and beauracracy created by a new potentially $3.5 million office of the public advocate. On the other side the argument is that this could create outsized savings. It’s not clear which is true, but in the case where it does create the outsized savings, it seems like a win.
Proposition J: Funding for Homelessness and Transportation — Yes
I’m going to vote yes on J, but it does not seem effective to vote one-by-one on where certain money should be spent. This is also related to K because together it is a way to raise money for a specific purpose, yet only require 50% +1 votes.
Proposition K: General Sales Tax — Yes
K is related to J. This provides a 0.75% increase in the sales tax.
Proposition R: Neighborhood Crime Unit — No
So what this one says, is that when the city has 1971 police officers, 3% need to be assigned to a specific unit. One voter guide called it “Prop R: Micromanage the Police Department.” While this may have good intentions, again, this seems like an unnecessary restriction to vote on as a proposition. This system makes me so confused, it seems that the local government is unable to do basic things or allocate resources in any effective manner.
Proposition S: Allocation of Hotel Tax Funds — No
Way, way too much of this ballot is for allocating specific parts of the general fund to specific purposes. I don’t think that is necessary.
SF Voter Information: http://voterguide.sfelections.org/en
League of Pissed off Voters Guide: http://www.theleaguesf.org/guide
SF Chronicle Guide: http://projects.sfchronicle.com/2016/voter-guide/
Hoodline guide: http://hoodline.com/election
Ballot.fyi guide: https://ballot.fyi/
SPUR Voter guide: https://spurvoterguide.org/
SPUR voter guide in Haiku form: http://www.spur.org/news/2016-10-10/spur-ballot-recommendations-now-haiku
Earlier guide from June 2016 election:
I’ve written up my voter guide for the June 7th elections. Read the short version or the long version with more…medium.com