Thursday, May 31, 2018

No on Proposition H and other short takes

A friend asked whether I was going to post my usual run-down of how I was voting on San Francisco's ballot measures -- and I said, no, I just couldn't get excited about any of them.

But on further reflection, that's not entirely true. Proposition H is a truly mendacious piece of garbage that demands denunciation. The Police Officers Association (POA) has been accustomed for decades to bullying Chiefs and politicians to protect bad cops who pay no heed to law or good order -- and getting away with it. Protest against unpunished killings of civilians and the revelation of a culture of corruption and racist text messages within the department led to a Blue Ribbon Panel investigation, intervention by the Obama-era Justice Department, and eventually the replacement of the Chief by an outside professional. In the wake of all this, the civilian Police Commission spent months negotiating a policy for equipping the cops with Tasers (electric stun guns) under careful rules to discourage misuse. (I'm not trusting, but at least they made rules.) This pissed off the POA; hence Prop. H.

Prop H would undermine important policies by the Police Commission and the Police Chief that require de-escalation before use of force.

If Prop H passes, San Francisco police will be allowed to use a Taser on someone who is unarmed and poses no immediate physical threat, or on someone who says no to a police order due to confusion or mental illness. The Prop H law would also undermine much of the de-escalation training the police department is undergoing. ...

If it passes, it can only be changed through another expensive election or a four-fifths majority vote by the Board of Supervisors. It's reckless and unprecedented to strip the Chief and Commission of their power to regulate how a dangerous weapon is used by police officers.

No on H (No to this POA power play) has lined up the entire political community, including our very conservative interim mayor Mark Farrell, all the major mayoral candidates (except Angela Alito who is running for office in some bygone decade), the District Attorney who too often defers to the police, and the current Police Chief. The NO campaign is what I call an ethical shower opportunity; city elites get to improve their odor, cheaply. Let's just hope we the people can kill this terrible POA power grab.
Okay -- here are my short takes on some of the other city propositions:
  • Yes on C: fund Child Care for low and middle income San Franciscans.
  • No on D: funding for some kind of housing. Why not to vote for housing? Because this thing is just dirty politics designed to kill the Child Care proposition; if D gets more votes, even if Prop. C passes (though with less votes), Prop. C is wiped out. Kind of the definition of "rigged," don't you think? This piece of trickery is why Supervisor Breed can't win my vote for mayor.
  • Yes on F: Funding for lawyers for tenants facing evictions. Now that's a real housing proposition. Landlords won't be able to run over undefended tenants.
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