Thursday, May 12, 2016

Yet another primary election: some San Francisco choices

For many San Franciscans, yet another primary election means the arrival of a weighty hunk of newsprint. It doesn't have to be that way and the online version is actually pretty well designed by the standards of a ballot pamphlet.

Sure -- by now we all pretty much know where we stand on Bernie and Hillary. But what about all the other local contests? A friend asked me for a cheat sheet, so here goes.

The story in U.S. Senate race is Attorney General Kamala Harris, the endorsed Democrat versus ??? for the November ballot. ??? will likely turn out to be Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, also a Democrat. This is a consequence of the crazy top two primary system California has stuck itself with -- and the fact that the California GOP has pretty well collapsed at the state level. I support Harris as slightly more progressive than Sanchez, though I don't expect much.

The significant local office on the ballot is CA State Senate, District 11 (east side of the city mostly.) That's the seat Mark Leno is term-limited out of. That contest pits Supervisor Jane Kim v. Supervisor Scott Wiener. Kim has become a stronger and stronger supporter of affordable housing, tenant rights and firing Police Chief Suhr. Wiener never met a real estate profiteer or developer he didn't love. Because of the top two primary nonsense, we'll have to vote on this contest again in November.

The other local legislative offices don't much matter. The incumbents are going to win with little opposition in November, whether we like 'em or not. There's a judge race too. I don't think we should be electing judges and I know nothing about these people, so no comment.

Weirdly, some of San Franciscans most important votes will come in what I think of as the "Student Council" races, the contests for membership in the Democratic County Central Committee. This body gets to make Democratic Party endorsements in the November election; having them make progressive choices can really help get us better Supervisors and state legislators. For the last couple of years, the real estate interests, tech companies and developers have managed to take control of the committee -- after all, who bothers to vote on the "Student Council"? Well, we have to if we want better local office holders. So, I'll list here some progressive choices, courtesy of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.

SF Democratic County Central Committee, Assembly District 17:
Alysabeth Alexander
Tom Ammiano
John Burton
David Campos
Petra DeJesus
Bevan Dufty
Jon Gollinger
Pratima Gupta
Frances Hsieh
Jane Kim
Rafael Mandelman
Sophie Maxwell
Aaron Peskin
Cindy Wu

SF Democratic County Central Committee, Assembly District 19:
Keith Baraka
Brigitte Davila
Sandra Lee Fewer
Hene Kelly
Leah LaCroix
Eric Mar
Gabriel Medina
Myrna Melgar
Norman Yee

This election's batch of local propositions are unexciting, except that Prop C needs a big YES vote to remind the powers-that-be they must get moving to fix the housing shortage. It may not accomplish a lot, but it is a start.

The other props have only token opposition from fringe folks so I imagine they'll all pass, even Prop D from the Supervisors calling for automatic investigations of police shootings. Wait for the November ballot for more fireworks over housing, homelessness, and our trigger happy cops.


Hattie said...

What a complicated ballot.

Rebecca Gordon said...

Is John Burton the son of Phil and Sala? A collateral relation? Or none of the above?

janinsanfran said...

John Burton is Phil's younger brother -- not young anymore.

Beth said...

Thanks Jan! Voted by mail, but since my signature changes daily, I'm never sure I'm counted.

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