San Franciscans go to the ballot boxes on June 5. Here are the CCC blog endorsements for this election:
SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR
We utilize a 1-2-3 ranked choice vote. My #1 choice is, without any reservations, Mark Leno. I've known Mark as an assemblyperson and a senator fr a very long time, especially through his activities at the Public Safety Committee. He has a pragmatic and compassionate approach toward crime control and vast experience in handling a variety of issues, and what's more, he knows how to create coalitions - a very important skill in our city. His politics, and those of Jane Kim, align, but I think he brings to the role experience and cohesion that make him the superior candidate.
#1 Mark Leno
#2 Jane Kim
Prop 68: $4B Bond for Parks, Drought Protection, Climate Adaption - Yes
Prop 69: Require Diesel Tax to Be Spent on Transportation-Related Items - Yes
Prop 70: Give Republicans & Corporate Democrats Power on Cap’n’Trade Funds - No
Prop 71: Delay Effective Date of Ballot Measures Until All Ballots Are Counted - Yes
Prop 72: Rainwater Capture Systems Won’t Trigger Property Tax Assessments - Yes
Regional Measure 3: Raise Bridge Tolls $3 Over 7 Years to Fund Transportation Projects - Yes
Prop A: Authorize Public Utilities Commission to Issue Clean Energy Bonds - Yes (of course.)
Prop B: Commissioners with conflicts of interest must quit these jobs before becoming political candidates for Board of Supervisors - Yes (this is just sensible, clean politics)
Prop C: Commercial rent tax for child care and early education for all - Yes. Sensible proposition and laudable goal.
Prop D: Commercial rent tax for housing - No. This sounds like a good idea, but the proposition itself is not very sound and would support very little housing.
Prop E: Upholding the ban on flavored tobacco products - Yes. You've probably seen the ads around town stating that "prohibition doesn't work." They are, of course, funded by Newport, the biggest maker of menthol cigarettes. This is a facet of prohibition that exists even in regulatory schemes: these flavored products tend to appeal particularly to teens, which is a segment of the population that needs special protection from tobacco and its harms. Even in Prop. 64, which legalized marijuana, we retained prohibitions and crimes for selling to minors. For more on the tobacco companies' stubborn fight against warning the public of their deadly products, read Siddhartha Mukherjee's excellent book The Emperor of All Maladies.
Prop F: This is crucial: It offers a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. Sometimes this is a fate worse than what the criminal justice system could dish at you, and civil Gideon rights make a lot of sense. Yes.
Prop G: Parcel tax to offer a raise for teachers. Yes.
Prop H: The San Francisco Police Officer's Association (POA) is strongly pushing this measure, which would give them control over tasing policies, essentially allowing them to establish regulations that will allow San Francisco police to use a taser on someone who is unarmed and poses no immediate physical threat, or on someone who disobeys the police due to mental illness. Vote No. Tasers are extremely dangerous and unhealthy, which is why our Chief of Police, our District Attorney, and our Public Defender oppose the measure.
Prop I: A proposition requiring that San Francisco not steal sports teams from other cities. Do what you want, who cares.
Governor: Gavin Newsom. I will not apologize for this. Newsom is a solid choice with lots of experience in politics, and given that California will be opposing Trump in and out of court, experience and backbone is more important than political purity.
Lieutenant Governor: Gayle McLaughlin
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
Controller: Betty Yee
Treasurer: Fiona Ma
Attorney General: Dave Jones
Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen
U.S. Senator: Kevin de León, who is taking a brave, strong position against the Trump Administration and its Nazi bans and policies. (I've heard valid points in support of Diane Feinstein, and I think that would also be a reasonable choice here: experience is arguably very important in the situation in which we find ourselves.)
Congress, District 12: Nancy Pelosi
Congress, District 14: Jackie Speier
State Assembly, Districts 17: No Endorsement
State Assembly, Districts 19: Phil Ting
Good arguments on both sides of this one. I was initially inclined to support the defense attorneys running for judge:
Superior Court Judge, Seat 4: Phoenix Streets
Superior Court Judge, Seat 7: Maria Evangelista
Superior Court Judge, Seat 9: Kwixuan Maloof
Superior Court Judge, Seat 11: Niki Solis
It's important to mix things up on the bench, and judges with public defender backgrounds are woefully rare. We need people on the bench who come from the opposite end to dilute the prosecutorial groupthink that prevails there.
But folks who are familiar with the sitting judges remind me that just because something makes political sense in general does not mean it is relevant on the particular. The way to diversify the judiciary is to elect defense attorneys in the first place, not to replace folks that might not necessarily be the ones that need replacing. So, consider your options.
Which brings me to another judicial issue. This is hugely important.
I'd like to add a word here on the Santa Clara ballot. As many readers probably know, there's a huge effort there to recall Judge Persky because of the much publicized Brock Turner sentence. This is a cynical effort to exploit #metoo sentiments and our distaste for Turner to unseat a fair and balanced judge who has followed probation recommendations and who does not discriminate against defendants of color (we know; we checked his record.) Scaring judges with public mobbing yields only one result: harsher sentences, and the first people in line to suffer are defendants of color that look nothing like Brock Turner. This is pointless virtue signaling and identity politics on steroids, designed to appeal to well-meaning but misinformed voters, and while it purports to be about feminism and equality, its outcome will be the exact opposite. Vote on the facts, not on hype and mob hysteria. VOTE NO ON THE RECALL. SUPPORT JUDGE PERSKY.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond