Look out, yo, this is the League's tumblr! Our members post random things we're pissed off (or excited) about here. Posts that have been formally approved by the Frisco League's steering committee say "OFFICIAL LEAGUE-APPROVED POST."

You can also find the latest from us on twitter or facebook.

Here's our page on the national League of Young Voters' site:
http://theleague.com/sf
And when it's election season you can find the League's Voter Guide here: http://theballot.org/sf

 

Spring 2014 Endorsement Meeting - Sat 4/19

Been meaning to come out to a League event? Want to get in on the ground floor for the June Election? Join us this Saturday for the Endorsement Meeting!

We’ll be discussing the different candidates and propositions for this election, then voting on the League’s official position. If you’ve donated (which you can do on the spot) and volunteered in the last year, you can vote for your favorites…but even if you can’t, this is a fun opportunity to learn about the big races and get ready for the election. 

Plus, we’ll be hanging out at Thee Parkside, which has delicious food and free-flowing spirits, so it’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon :)

Saturday, April 19th, 2014, 1pm - 4pm
Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St
In the back patio (kids are allowed!)

See you there!

Brief History of the City Hall Stairway

The grand staircase in San Francisco City Hall’s Rotunda is one of the City’s most dramatic locations. Harvey Milk was a big fan of the stairs. In the movie Milk, Harvey tells Cleve Jones: "When you come here, I want you to wear the tightest jeans possible. Never blend in. And no elevators. Ever. Always take the stairs, you can make such a grand entrance going up the stairs".

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The stairs have also seen some darker scenes. May 13, 1960 is known as “Black Friday.” Students protesting a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Un-American Activities were washed down the stairs by police with fire hoses!

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The stairway and rotunda will always be linked to the struggle for marriage equality, and since that victory, they’ve been the scene for countless gay marriages.

Here’s a picture from this year when immigration and domestic violence activists celebrated the passage of John Avalos’s Due Process for All ordinance.

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And here’s a selfie of some League members taken after we got the updated results of the 2013 election.

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And then … last night, Twitter rented out City Hall for their holiday party. Here’s the scene with their CEO giving a speech and (presumably) all of their big shots at the top of the stairs.

Now we know that anyone can rent out City Hall and lots of people have lavish parties there. But in the wake of the Twitter tax break and the way the Mayor genuflects before the tech industry, it’s a little disconcerting to see the lavish spread and twitter logo projected on the wall batsignal-style.

Just saying.

This is the undercover cop who beat both DJ and Orlando. His nickname is “Freckles.” He has no business being a police officer in San Francisco.‪#‎Justice4DJ‬
Rally Tuesday 11/19 at 5 p.m. at Valencia and Rosa Parks Lane. Then march to Mission Police Station.
http://uptownalmanac.com/2013/11/sfpd-assaults-black-cyclist-discover-he-was-only-packing-cupcake-and-juice

This is the undercover cop who beat both DJ and Orlando. His nickname is “Freckles.” He has no business being a police officer in San Francisco.‪#‎Justice4DJ‬

Rally Tuesday 11/19 at 5 p.m. at Valencia and Rosa Parks Lane. Then march to Mission Police Station.

http://uptownalmanac.com/2013/11/sfpd-assaults-black-cyclist-discover-he-was-only-packing-cupcake-and-juice

SF League of Pissed Off Voters’ Pissed Off Voter Guide - Nov 5, 2013

The Bite-Sized Ballot

  • Prop A - Retiree Healthcare NothingBurger - No Endorsement
  • Prop B & C - Luxury Condos on the Embarcadero - Hell No!
  • Prop D - Clumsy Symbolic Well-Meaning Rx Drug Statement - No

Candidates without Competition :(

  • Assessor-Recorder - No Endorsement
  • City Attorney - No Endorsement
  • Treasurer-Tax Collector - No Endorsement
  • District 4 Supervisor - No Endorsement

Prop A - Complicated (and pointless?) health care finance rule changes

In 2008, voters approved the creation of a Retiree Health Care Trust Fund to put money aside for retired City workers’ health care. Prop A would add restrictions on when the City could dip into that before it’s fully funded. The idea is to leave that money alone so it can gather interest and become self-sustaining. All of the Supervisors & the Mayor agree on this—but here’s the thing. They could just decide not to touch the money, rather than passing this extra law. Prop A also has confusing provisions that would allow the City to use the fund if two-thirds of the Supes, the Mayor, Controller, and Trust Fund Board all agree. So what’s the point of this thing? We don’t think Prop A is evil or scary, but we couldn’t come to a consensus on it. Some of us trust the City bean counters who endorse it. Some of us suspect that Supe Mark Farrell—the lead sponsor—is just using this to pad his resume for future political adventures. No endorsement - you make the call.

Props B & C - We Don’t Need More $5 Million Condos!

Both B and C deal with the proposal to build 134 luxury condos at 8 Washington Street, just north of the Ferry Building. Average tag? $5 million!! The towers would be twelve stories high, even though the area’s only zoned for eight stories. The project also includes a 320-space garage…even though it’s surrounded by public transit. The Board of Supervisors approved this whack project, but neighborhood activists gathered signatures for Prop C, to shoot it down. Then the developers put Prop B on the ballot to try to make their lame condos sound awesome. We need housing for normal people, not millionaires. Say Hell No to both B and C, cause if either one passes, developers will make bank building condos for the 1%.

Prop D - Prescription drug policy statement

This is a symbolic policy statement (ie, it doesn’t actually do anything). It asks the City to try and lower its prescription drug costs by negotiating with drug companies and by asking state & federal reps to sponsor legislation to reduce drug prices. It’s an ok idea, but SF doesn’t buy enough drugs to negotiate wholesale prices. Maybe California could? Ideally, we wish drug prices were regulated on a federal level. This prop was put on the ballot by an LA org that marched into SF without buy-in from the SF AIDS advocacy groups who’ve been fighting this fight at home for decades. It’s not terrible, it just tries to tackle very complicated procedures with a broad statement and without the support of local orgs. We say no.

Candidates

All of the candidates running for office this year are unopposed incumbents (technically Katy Tang has an opponent, but he has no website, campaign, or platform). This is lame! We think it’s a sign of unhealthy democracy that we don’t even have a choice. So why isn’t anyone running? well, it’s insanely expensive…and challengers have a massive electoral disadvantage running against incumbents. The citywide races (non-Supervisor and non-Mayor) have no term limits and no public financing, so we’re stuck with these career politicians till they decide to bow out. Even if they’re ok at their jobs, that’s problematic.

Speaking of unhealthy democracy, we’ve noticed a troubling trend: the Mayor appoints politicians to elected offices, who then win the next election primarily because of the advantage of incumbency. In fact, wait…that’s how we got this Mayor! So how do we fix this? We think all appointees should be ‘seatwarmers’ - legally prohibited from running when their position opens up.

Since we don’t have a choice for these races, we’re not endorsing candidates. Instead we’re focusing on what we want to see. If we were in these offices, here’s what we’d do:

Assessor-Recorder: (Incumbent: Carmen Chu) They’re responsible for assessing property taxes. And most of that comes from big skyscrapers downtown. The Assessor should be all up in the business of the corporations that own those buildings, because every time a building changes hands, they owe Real Estate Transfer Tax. Instead, the (appointed) incumbent is buddy-buddy with the Building Owners and Managers Association. That sucks. 

City Attorney: (Incumbent: Dennis Herrera) A progressive City Attorney would have more guts to stand up to the fat cat companies (like PG&E, AT&T and big banks) who get way too many breaks in this town. The incumbent has done good things like support gay marriage (but does that give you street cred in SF?), protect workers who were getting ripped off on health coverage, try to save City College, and go after Nevada for patient dumping. On the other hand, we’re hugely opposed to his use of gang injunctions, which disproportionately criminalize youth of color.

Treasurer-Tax Collector: (Incumbent: José Cisneros) Instead of putting the City’s money in crappy big banks, the Treasurer should be setting up a municipal bank (North Dakota has one! Supervisor John Avalos is working to make this happen in SF). The incumbent has done some good stuff (work against predatory payday lenders, enact financial literacy initiatives, even ask banks to improve their policies) but he doesn’t seem ready to take the big step of setting up our own bank to compete with the corporate goliaths.

Supervisor for District 4 (The Sunset): (Incumbent: Katy Tang) Before she was recently appointed by the Mayor, Tang was an aide for the previous D4 Supe, Carmen Chu — who was just appointed Assessor. Before that they worked together in the Mayor’s budget office. We had hopes that Tang would be different than her conservative predecessor, but so far, no such luck. She opposes CleanPowerSF and she worked to weaken the Due Process for All ordinance, using fear-mongering language about SF becoming a “safe haven” for criminal immigrants. She’s also raised over $150,000—including a pile of money from developers & people with business with the city. What does she need all that cash for when she’s essentially running unopposed? We say “No Endorsement”. 

UPDATE: Mike Murphy is a qualified write-in candidate for District 4 Supervisor. He’s running on a progressive platform focused on “stopping the revolving door” of unelected appointees in City Hall, opposing the privatization of our parks, and supporting sustainable development instead of condos for billionaires. He got into the race too late for our endorsement process, but if you live in the Sunset, check him out at murphy4supe.wordpress.com and decide for yourself if you want to write in his name on your ballot.

——

Our City is Changing

Housing in San Francisco is out of control. Ellis Act evictions are up 81% in the past year. No one we know can afford to buy a home here (most of us can barely afford rent). Tech wealth, displacement, the shriveling of cultural diversity in our neighborhoods - even issues like the America’s Cup boondoggle or the sword hanging over City College. It all seems to be part of a trend. Well, fuck. What can we do about it?

RENT CONTROL!

If you live in a rent controlled unit, your landlord can only increase your rent once a year . The percentage varies depending on your move in date, but typically the increase is less than 3%. State law (Costa-Hawkins) limits rent controlled buildings to anything built before 1980. Costa-Hawkins also prevents commercial properties from being covered by rent control, which means there is no way to prevent businesses from being evicted.

If we have rent control, why are so many people getting evicted?

Not all units are covered by rent control. Units that aren’t covered (buildings constructed after 1980, dorms, residential hotels, subsidized housing) can have their rent raised by any amount at any time. The Ellis Act gives landlords the option to “go out of business.” This means they can evict all of the tenants in a building (they can’t single out just one), and take the units off the market. They can not rent them for 5 years after evictions, unless they are rented at the previous rental rate. 

Policy Solutions

Increase the Affordable Housing Requirements - Currently, when developers build new market rate housing, they have to make 10% of the units affordable, or build the equivalent of 15% somewhere else in the City. That’s just not enough—especially for super-luxury projects like 8 Washington. The affordability requirement should have a progressive structure—the higher the price of the new housing, the more affordable units they should have to build. Remember, supervisors have power to change the planning code to add development perks (if they want to get more of something like parking or height, require they build more affordable units, or build units on site).

Linking Affordable & Market-Rate Housing - Right now, the affordable housing requirement is regressive: whether you’re building $10 million penthouses or modest Bayview duplexes, you have to make 10% of them affordable. That’s stupid, because the different projects have very different impacts on affordability. 

The fancier a new building is, the more jobs appear to provide services to the new residents. But since those service industry jobs don’t pay enough to afford market rate housing, we need more affordable housing to keep the balance - and the developers should foot the bill.

Protect our Flavor - Rising rents push out non-profits and arts orgs. We need creative solutions to save the spirit of the City: new office buildings could be required to donate space to non-profits, or we could extend rent control to nonprofits. 

Moratorium on New Market Rate Housing - The nuclear option. A lot of people argue that we have to live with this issue because of “supply and demand”. But because SF is so small and there’s so much demand, it’s not that simple. Yes, we need to build a lot more housing ‘to increase supply’, but if 90% of it is market rate, how many units do we have to build before rents come down? 10,000 units? 50k? 100k?

Legalize in-law units. Most ‘in-law’ units are attached to single family properties, and are unauthorized. The Asian Law Caucus estimates there are tens of thousands of these units, which are a significant source of low income housing. Each year 50-100 units are lost because they are not compliant. Why not bring the units up to code and convert them to legal housing? Then let homeowners create more in-law units to add to the mix!

Get creative. Luxury high-rises aren’t the only way to build more units. What about unused commercial spaces? Parking lots? This would create housing without displacing residents or businesses.

Adjust parking limits: Developers try to include as many parking spots as possible but ⅓ of homes in SF do not own cars. Parking takes up space that could be used for more units - plus it creates more traffic, impacts transit, and changes the demographics of the city.

Prioritize the people who already live here: The City could invest in loans and grants to help everyday San Franciscans stay in their homes or become homeowners. LA has city-funded short term rental assistance! It costs less than finding replacement housing once the renter is evicted, or than providing the services needed when people are homeless.

We also need stabilization of existing housing. If there is a bad history of Ellis evictions or TIC conversions by a particular landlord or developer, we could make it more difficult to merge units, demolish, or convert properties.

 Real estate speculators who buy a property but let current residents stay could get a tax break. And what about roommate legislation? That way, if the tenant who’s on the lease moves out but their roommates stay, the unit would still be considered occupied and rent increases would not apply.

Adjust Relocation Fees 

Tim Redmond, formerly of the Guardian, suggested a strategy on his new blog. The Ellis Act is state law, so it’s hard to fight, but the SF BoS controls the size of the relocation fees developers pay to evicted tenants when they use the Ellis Act within the City. Why not drastically up the fee so it provides tenants a realistic chance of buying a home here, and simultaneously squashes the landlord’s financial reward for turfing out our neighbors? 

Eat the rich - SF is an incredibly desirable place to live and do business, and it’s the diverse neighborhoods, immigrants, artists, do-gooders, and dreamers who make it that way - not the millionaires. If corporations and rich people want a slice of our awesome, they should pay their fair share;  progressive taxes & fees can fund housing and services to keep the city affordable.

Get Involved - This city is still 70% tenants. If we stick together and have each other’s backs we have a ton of power. Landlords and developers can only get away with quietly evicting our neighbors for so long.  Politicians running for office in a city full of renters need to be reminded that they cannot be elected (or reelected) without the support of renters. You can help - check out these organizations working against displacement and economic injustice in the City:

Direct Action for the 99%

These folks are all doing badass work in SF. If you like us, you’ll love them.

  • Causa Justa Just Cause - cjjc.org
  • Eviction Free Summer - evictionfreesummer.wordpress.com/
  • POWER - peopleorganized.org
  • SF Rising - sfrising.org
  • Tenants Together - tenantstogether.org
  • SF Tenant’s Union - sftu.org
  • Eviction Defense Collaborative - evictiondefense.org
  • Legal Assistance to the Elderly - laesf.org

Who is the League of Pissed Off Voters?

We’re a bunch of political geeks in a torrid but troubled love affair with San Francisco. We’re blessed to live in America’s most progressive city, but we’re cursed to live in a city where most of the youth who grow up here can’t afford to live here. Frisco has its own dark history of injustice: redevelopment, environmental racism, the “old boys” network. All of us lucky enough to enjoy the San Francisco magic owe it to our City to fight to keep it diverse, just, and healthy. What are you doing to make a difference?

This voter guide (our 16th in SF!) is how we educate our friends and peers on the issues, excite pissed off progressive voters, and remind sellout politicians that we’re paying attention.

We’re into

  • affordable housing not luxury condos
  • CleanPowerSF not dirty PG&E power
  • progressive taxation not budget cuts
  • equal rights not immigration raids
  • diverse neighborhoods not downtown interests

Know Your Voting Rights

October 21, 2013 is the deadline to register to vote. Online Voter registration is finally here! Register to vote online: http://RegisterToVote.ca.gov

  • Election day is November 5th, 7am - 8pm. Call 311 to find your polling place or go towww.smartvoter.org Also, anyone can vote at City Hall.

  • Early voting at City Hall: Weekdays from 8-5 starting on October 7th; then, starting the 26th, 10-4 on weekends too!

  • As long as you’re not on felony parole, you can vote. Even if you’ve committed a felony or you’re on probation, you can register & vote. Don’t let the Man disenfranchise you.

  • Voter Fraud Hotline: See something shady on Election Day? (800) 345-VOTE

Questions?  See http://sfelections.org/tools/voterkit/ or call 311!

Hang Out with the League!

Want to get involved, got a question about this stuff, or just wanna have a drink with us? Come to our monthly Happy Hour (Third Mondays) & come party on Election Night!  Stay up to date on all our events and local news at:

  • facebook.com/theLeagueSF

  • twitter.com/theLeagueSF

  • theLeagueSF.tumblr.com

  • theLeague.com/sf

  • theLeagueSF@gmail.com

Watch Phil Ginsburg Lobby Malia Cohen on Closing the Parks

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener delayed the vote on his controversial proposal to make it illegal to be in City parks after Midnight. There was a funny moment during the meeting that might explain why: in the background of this video clip, you can watch Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg (who supports the ordinance) talk to Supervisor Malia Cohen (who is one of the swing votes) for over seven minutes! It sure looks like he’s trying to convince her to support the ordinance, and from her body language, it doesn’t look like Supervisor Cohen is convinced!

To protest the ordinance, several League members participated in a “sleep-in” in Dolores Park Monday night with the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, the Coalition on Homelessness, and others.

The Milk Club is asking for help in calling the swing Supervisors (Malia Cohen, Katy Tang, and London Breed) to ask them to oppose the ordinance. Get more info here:

http://www.facebook.com/events/764970943528642/

If Phil Ginsburg can take 7 minutes to lobby Malia Cohen, you can take 1 minute to make three quick phone calls!

Stop the Shell Shock? More Like, Stop PG&E’s Bullshit!

Have you heard about this “Stop San Francisco Shell Shock”? If you live in the City and you use Facebook, google, or Pandora, odds are you’ve probably seen these misleading ads. In a nutshell, this is a last ditch attempt by PG&E’s union to block CleanPowerSF—the program to give San Franciscans the choice of buying 100% clean energy. CleanPowerSF is the single biggest step the City can take to directly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, and PG&E’s gang is doing everything they can to stop it.

Here’s the super short version:
- Do you want to have the option of switching to 100% renewable electricity? If so, you should support CleanPowerSF. Here’s the Facebook page to find out more: http://www.facebook.com/IHeartCleanPowerSF
- Or would you rather continue PG&E’s monopoly on electricity service in the City and continue to have no choice except to buy their dirty energy? If so, then forget about CleanPowerSF and feel free to click on those misleading “Stop the Shell Shock” ads.

When we try to figure out complicated or obscure local political arguments, we like to start by looking at who is supporting which side. This one is pretty clear:

Who Supports CleanPowerSF?
350.org
SF Bay Area Sierra Club
SF League of Conservation Voters
World Wildlife Fund
350 Bay Area
SF Organizing for America
Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano
John Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu, Jane Kim, Eric Mar, Ross Mirkarimi, Scott Wiener 
And of course, the League of Pissed Off Voters!

And Who Opposes CleanPowerSF?
IBEW Local 1245 (Union of PG&E employees)
Mayor Ed Lee (who says PG&E is “a great corporation”)
Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd, Mark Farrell
And that’s about it.

But Doesn’t Shell Suck?
Yes, unfortunately the initial contract for CleanPowerSF is with Shell, which is a big ugly energy corporation. BUT:
- Shell’s only role is to buy 100% renewable electricity for us on the wholesale market and deliver it to the City. None of our money will go to fossil fuels.
- The wholesale electricity market is big and complicated and unfortunately full of shady corporations. Shell was the only company willing to take on this first phase of setting up the contracts to buy 20 megawatts of clean energy.  
- This is a short-term (4.5 years) contract to get CleanPowerSF up and running. After that, the Public Utilities Commission can either take over the program themselves or make a new contract with someone else.

What’s Happening with CleanPowerSF Now?
Unfortunately, nothing. The Board of Supervisors approved the contract back in last September. The last step that needs to happen is the Public Utilities Commission needs to approve the maximum rate for CleanPowerSF. But, the PUC commissioners are all appointed by the Mayor—friend of PG&E who opposes CleanPowerSF—and he’s been leaning on them hard to stall or kill the program. 

But it’s getting harder and harder for them to delay. The PUC staff has dramatically improved the program since the Supervisors originally approved the contract last year: the price has decreased dramatically while also dedicating more money to building local renewable energy sources.   

What Can You do to Help?
Email the Public Utilities Commission (and please CC us and the Board of Supervisors!) and tell them to quit messing around and approve the “not-to-exceed” rates for CleanPowerSF! Seriously, email them now! They’re voting Tuesday, August 13th at 1:30 p.m. Here’s our email you can use as an example:

——
To: Public Utilities Commission (donna.hood@sfgov.org), Board of Supervisors (board.of.supervisors@sfgov.org), League of Pissed Off Voters (theleaguesf@gmail.com) 

Dear Public Utilities Commission,

Please vote to approve the proposed not-to-exceed rate for CleanPowerSF at your August 13th meeting. It’s been almost a year since the Board of Supervisors approved the contract for CleanPowerSF! Since then, you have discussed and deliberated and debated these rates to death. We understand you have concerns about what mix of renewable energy CleanPowerSF will have, where the energy will come from, and how much local power generation we’ll be able to build. We’re concerned about all that too. But here’s the thing: we can’t make progress on any of that until you approve the dang not-to-exceed rates! 
So please, no more splitting hairs or speculating on the future details of the program. Approve the not-to-exceed rates. That will give the Board of Supervisors their opportunity to evaluate the rates, and then the City can FINALLY sign the contract and get on to implementing CleanPowerSF. Once that happens, we’ll be right there with you to make sure we’re building as much green power as we can, as quickly as we can, with local, union labor. 
The threats of global climate change are too dire and too imminent for any further delay or debate. CleanPowerSF is the single biggest step we can take as a City to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and set an example for the rest of the country. Please approve the not-to-exceed rates for CleanPowerSF and let’s make this happen!
Most sincerely, 
(your name here)

The SF League of Pissed Off Voters Position on the TIC-Condo Conversion Legislation

There’s a nasty fight going on at City Hall where tenants and working-class homeowners are being pitted against each other. It’s a complex, wonky issue about allowing Tenancies in Common (TICs) to convert to condominiums, but it has huge ramifications for renters in the City.

There are three sides to this issue: renters, TIC owners AND the real-estate industry.  It is apparent that something needs to be done to create more affordable housing in San Francisco, but while this legislation promises us some, it also means losing 2600 properties to condo conversions – and it’s a signal to the real estate industry that it’s open season on evicting more tenants to create more TICs. That’s not the right way to create new affordable housing.

 

For some background on this legislation, and on the League, see the end of this letter. Here, we’ll lay out the League’s position.

 

The cliff notes version:

The proposed compromise on TIC-condo conversions makes us nervous. We’d be more comfortable with voting this whole legislation down and keeping the current system. But we’re standing by our allies in the tenant groups who have lived and breathed this issue for years. We support the current compromise, but it can’t be watered down any further.

 

Why is this so important for renters?

State law basically says that once something is exempt from rent control, it is forever. The City exempts condos from rent control - so once it’s converted, that unit can never be regulated again. Right now, there are hundreds of tenants who are renting units in TIC buildings. This legislation would put them at risk of losing their rent control.

 

The original legislation was, frankly, pretty scary - but it might contain some benefits for tenants, in the form of proposed amendments that came out of months of negotiations. There are two big wins for tenants in the amendments submitted by Supervisors Chiu, Yee and Kim – the 10 year moratorium on the lottery and the exclusion of 5 and 6 unit buildings from the condo lottery going forward. This 10 years of breathing room, we are told, will give pro-tenant organizations time to tackle some state laws like the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act and the Ellis Act. But not everyone is supporting this “win” for tenants, and we fear there are more changes on the way once this reaches the full Board of Supervisors. The expected efforts to change this legislation include taking away the language about the 10 year moratorium and eliminating the owner residence requirements.

 

So what’s the League all pissed about?

We don’t like legislation that moves the goal posts. TIC owners bought their TICs knowing the rules of the lottery. Changing the rules now – even with the 10 year moratorium – signals to the real estate industry that they might be able to change the rules again. We want to see the lottery go away altogether and stop TICs from being converted into condos.

 

In an ideal world, we would have added more amendments: We think the $4,000 to $20,000 fee for TICs to convert is too small. Ideally, the fee should cover the cost of building a replacement unit. Or at least, there shouldn’t be discounts below $20,000. We want to have an oversight agency to see the conversions through so that no “dirty” properties are able to convert. We also want to make sure that the lifetime leases can be enforced on a local and state level.

 

So we’re down to make this deal, but don’t fuck with us. No more giveaways to the real estate industry. It may not be a pro-tenant Board of Supervisors anymore, but it’s still a pro-tenant City. And if the Board gives in to the realtors, San Francisco renters will take this shit to the ballot.

 

What’s this all about anyway?

A Tenancy in Common (TIC) is basically a pseudo-condo where the residents in a building share joint ownership. They’re riskier than condos because if your neighbor defaults on his mortgage, it could mess you up too. Because they’re riskier, they’re cheaper than condos, which means that a lot of people who can’t afford condos roll the dice and buy TICs instead. Because their riskier, TIC owners pay higher interest rates than condo owners. Every year there’s a lottery to allow 200 TICs to convert to condos. When a TIC becomes a condo, the owners pay about $10,000 in fees, but they can get lower interest rates, and their home becomes instantly more valuable.

 

The good thing about TICs is they allow additional folks a chance to buy a home in the City. The down side, is that they’re usually created by landlords evicting or somehow displacing tenants and permanently removing rent-controlled apartments from the market. The TIC lottery is supposed to balance these competing interests. The reason we can’t allow all of the TICs to convert to condos is because that would create tremendous pressure for landlords to evict their tenants and convert their buildings into TICs.

 

Back in June of last year, Supervisors Mark Farrell and Scott Weiner introduced legislation so that TIC owners could bypass the lottery (where only 200 TICs are converted per year) and pay a one time conversion fee to convert their TICs into condos. The legislation was brought before the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee in January, and that’s really when the shit hit the fan. In the past few months, there have been negotiations on all sides to try to find some compromise.

 

Who is the League of Pissed Off Voters?

We’re a bunch of political geeks in a torrid but troubled love affair with San Francisco. We’re blessed to live in America’s most progressive city, but we’re cursed to live in a city where way too many of the youth who grow up here won’t be able to afford to live here. Frisco has its own dark history of injustice: redevelopment, environmental racism, the “old boys” network. All of us lucky enough to enjoy the San Francisco magic owe it to our City to fight to keep it a diverse, just, and healthy City. We’ve published 15 consecutive voter guides to educate our friends and peers on the issues, excite pissed off progressive voters, and remind sellout politicians that we’re paying attention.

 

The San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters

http://theleague.com/sf

http://facebook.com/theleaguesf

http://twitter.com/theleaguesf

http://theleaguesf.tumblr.com





One Member’s Post-Election Thoughts

So, what happened?  How’d we do?  What’s the results?  

 Here’s one of our members perspectives: 

Waking up (a little groggy after the awesome party at El Rio last night), here’s what I see:

 First, let’s not breeze by the biggest victory this election — two leaders in the progressive movement, Supervisor David Campos (9) and Supervisor John Avalos (11) have built such a strong community of supporters and are so well-liked and clearly unbeatable that the downtown money didn’t even run a candidate against them. That, in itself, is a huge victory and it’s important we acknowledge that. Much of the rest of this couldn’t have happened if we volunteer energy was needed in these other neighborhoods.

Second, President David Chiu, while he’s occasionally voted against our stance, has been a pretty consistent leader and vote for many of the things we believe in. And, he, too, faced no serious challengers from the Downtown landlords.

 Now, onto the victory — $940,000 and counting was spent for David Lee(or against Eric Mar).  That’s more than any other Supervisor race in SF history — and keep in mind, Supervisors used to be city-wide, so they needed a heck of a lot more money!  But, thanks to the early, silent victory of Campos and Avalos running unopposed, people were able to focus their energy in this hugely important race.  The Mar campaign was run well and, I think Supervisor Mar said it best to the SF Weekly: “We’re going to show the big business groups that they cannot mess with our communities, and that we will kick their ass every single fucking time.”

 In District 1, we pulled out a huge victory — Richmond residents were being drowned in anti-Mar literature from the big landlords and moneyed interests, and, yet, with the League of Pissed Off Voters and hundreds of other volunteers, Eric Mar won. This decisive victory —14 points — sends a clear message that you can’t just buy an election in San Francisco. And we should all be damn proud of that.

 And, let’s not forget District 7 — the Westside — who knows how that will go. We’ll have to wait and see, but right now, whether it’s Mr. Yee or Mr. Crowley, it’s not Sean Elsbernd’s hand-picked crony, Mike Garcia. That, too, is a win for San Francisco’s young people, renters, and MUNI riders.

 Finally, the shit storm that was District 5… Christina Olague’s campaign just didn’t come together until about three weeks before election day. Simply, you can’t win an election in that short of time. Julian Davis had seemed hopeful, but after the response to allegations, most people were so turned off, he was dead in the water. John Rizzo actually started to pick up steam in the last two weeks, as well — but that just doesn’t work.  So, we’re left with London Breed. The good part, is that she’s spent all election cycle proclaiming she’s for rent control and that we all just had her wrong — let’s hope so.  London Breed is a young black woman who grew up in government housing in the Western Addition. She is a true homegrown SF leader, and that is cool! She was put into office by the community she was raised in and by and now we have to hope that her allegiance is to that same community and not the big money elite who gave her the $200,000+ to help her win

 And — let’s not forget the local ballot measures.  The SF League had a five out of six — that’s pretty huge, too.

 So, that’s one person’s opinion — what do you think?  What are you excited or heart broken about? 

Help Spread Our Voter Guide

Hey y’all, three things:
1. If you haven’t already, check out our voter guide below and VOTE!
2. Come party with us at El Rio tonight! Free drink with your ballot stub.
3. Please reblog this. 

Printable Voter Guide: http://bit.ly/sfvoterguide
Full unabridged voter guide: http://theballot.org/sf

Quick Ballot Rundown:

President - Barack Obama
U.S. Senate - No Endorsement
House of Representatives, District 12 - No Endorsement
House of Representatives, District 14 - Jackie Speier 
State Senate District 11 - Mark Leno
State Assembly District 19 - Phil Ting
State Assembly District 17 - Tom Ammiano

California Propositions
Prop 30 - Sales Tax & Progressive Income Tax for Schools - HELL YES!
Prop 31 - Two Year Budget + Sketchy Business - No
Prop 32 - Screw Unions and Protect Corporations - HELL NO! 
Prop 33 - Car Insurance Shadiness…Again - No
Prop 34 - Repeal the Death Penalty - HELL YES!
Prop 35 - Troubling Human Trafficking Bill - Reluctant No
Prop 36 - Reform the ‘Three Strikes’ Law -  HELL YES!
Prop 37 - Label Genetically Modified Foods - Yes 
Prop 38 - Tax the Rich for Schools - HELL YES!
Prop 39 - Close “Multistate” Corporate Tax Loophole - Yes
Prop 40 - Reaffirm the State Redistricting System - Yes

Local Ballot Measures 
Prop A - Parcel (a kind of Property) Tax to Save City College - Yes 
Prop B - Borrow Money for Park Construction & Repair - Reluctant No 
Prop C - Affordable Housing Trust Fund - HELL YES! 
Prop D - Consolidate Odd-Year Elections - No Endorsement
Prop E - Reform the City’s Business Tax - HELL YES!  
Prop F - Mula to Study Hetch Hetchy Tear Down - No
Prop G - Symbolic Stand Against Corporate Personhood - Yes

Board of Supervisors
District 1 (The Richmond)
Eric Mar

District 3 (Downtown)
David Chiu 

District 5 (Haight / Western Addition / Panhandle / Inner Sunset) 
No Endorsement

District 7 (The Westside) 
#1 Norman Yee 
#2 Francis Xavier Crowley

District 9 (Mission & Bernal) 
David Campos

District 11 (Excelsior / OMI) 
John Avalos

BART Director, District 7 
Margaret L. Gordon

BART Director, District 9 
Tom Radulovich

Board of Education (4 seats)
Shamann Walton 
Gladys Soto 
Sandra Lee Fewer
Kim Garcia-Meza

November 2012 Voter Guide

Printable Voter Guide: http://bit.ly/sfvoterguide

November 2012 elections are November 6th, 2012 and the SF League of Pissed Off Voters are back with another real-talk Voter Guide to help you know you’re best bets in the voting booth.  

Before we get started a few quick notes: 

  • Election day is November 6th, 7am - 8pm. Call 311 to find your polling place or go to www.smartvoter.org Also, anyone can vote at City Hall.
  • Early voting at City Hall: Weekdays from 8-5, weekends from 10-4!
  • As long as you’re not on felony parole, you can vote. Even if you’ve committed a felony or you’re on probation, you can register & vote. Don’t let the Man disenfranchise you.
  • Voter Fraud Hotline: See something shady on Election Day? (800) 345-VOTE
  • Questions?  See http://sfelections.org/tools/voterkit/ or call 311!

Now, for the Quick Rundown:

President - Barack Obama
U.S. Senate - No Endorsement
House of Representatives, District 12 - No Endorsement
House of Representatives, District 14 - Jackie Speier
State Senate District 11 - Mark Leno
State Assembly District 19 - Phil Ting
State Assembly District 17 - Tom Ammiano

California Propositions
Prop 30 - Sales Tax & Progressive Income Tax for Schools - HELL YES!
Prop 31 - Two Year Budget + Sketchy Business - No
Prop 32 - Screw Unions and Protect Corporations - HELL NO!
Prop 33 - Car Insurance Shadiness…Again - No
Prop 34 - Repeal the Death Penalty - HELL YES!
Prop 35 - Troubling Human Trafficking Bill - Reluctant No
Prop 36 - Reform the ‘Three Strikes’ Law -  HELL YES!
Prop 37 - Label Genetically Modified Foods - Yes
Prop 38 - Tax the Rich for Schools - HELL YES!
Prop 39 - Close “Multistate” Corporate Tax Loophole - Yes
Prop 40 - Reaffirm the State Redistricting System - Yes

Local Ballot Measures
Prop A - Parcel (a kind of Property) Tax to Save City College - Yes
Prop B - Borrow Money for Park Construction & Repair - Reluctant No
Prop C - Affordable Housing Trust Fund - HELL YES!
Prop D - Consolidate Odd-Year Elections - No Endorsement
Prop E - Reform the City’s Business Tax - HELL YES!  
Prop F - Mula to Study Hetch Hetchy Tear Down - No
Prop G - Symbolic Stand Against Corporate Personhood - Yes

Board of Supervisors
District 1 (The Richmond)
Eric Mar

District 3 (Downtown)
David Chiu 

District 5 (Haight / Western Addition / Panhandle / Inner Sunset) 
No Endorsement

District 7 (The Westside) 
#1 Norman Yee
#2 Francis Xavier Crowley

District 9 (Mission & Bernal) 
David Campos

District 11 (Excelsior / OMI) 
John Avalos

BART Director, District 7 
Margaret L. Gordon

BART Director, District 9 
Tom Radulovich

Board of Education (4 seats)
Shamann Walton
Gladys Soto
Sandra Lee Fewer
Kim Garcia-Meza


Ready for the full breakdown of state propositions & local races? Keep reading! 

Statewide Ballot Measures

Props 30 & 38 - Temporary Taxes to Fund Education & Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs - Yes
These are both taxes on (mostly) the rich which will plug the gaping hole in CA’s education budget. If both pass, the one with the more votes wins — and they’re both pretty good.  We wish Sacramento would find a more consistent way to fund education (like repealing Prop 13!), but in the meantime vote ‘Yes’ to keep our schools above water. For the kids, yo!

Prop 31 Two Year Budget + Sketchy Business - No
So this calls itself a nonpolitical “good government” Prop - it changes timing on some State budget stuff, gives local governments that band together “authority to develop their own procedures for administering state programs” (including the opportunity to ignore state law, which is worrying) and a bunch of other misc stuff. Hidden in with the innocuous bits is a clause that gives the Governor power (in a “fiscal emergency”, which happens like every twenty minutes in CA) to “slash spending”, i.e. cut vital programs and services. Unilaterally. As much as s/he wants. This sounds like a right-wing Trojan Horse to us…vote No!

Prop 32 Screw Unions and Protect Corporations HELL NO!
This is the evil stepson of the terrible Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited $ in elections. Citizens United treated corporations & unions the same (gave them more rights to political speech) when they really aren’t (since when you give money to the political action committee of your union you’re trying to make a statement & you have a say in what it is, whereas when you buy groceries at Safeway you’re not & you don’t). This Prop plays a similar trick - it pretends to reduce the political power of both unions & businesses but really just hoses unions. It prevents either from taking contributions for political advocacy via payroll deduction. But corporations don’t do that - they just use money from their profits. Since unions have no profits, they ask members to contribute to their political work - and most members do so by deducting $ from their checks. Banning that cripples unions but allows corporations to continue to spend unlimited money to block safety & environmental laws, elect friendly politicians, & generally screw over people like you. We are the 99% - Hell No on 32!

Prop 33 - Auto Insurance Companies. Prices Based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage - No
This again? CA voted it down once in 2010 & the same insurance magnate paid for a signature drive to put it back on the ballot this year! This allows insurance companies to raise your car insurance rates if you have a gap in coverage…because, for instance, you decide to ride a bike instead for awhile, or have a financial crisis so sell your car & go without. Lamesauce. Vote No.

Prop 34 Repeal the Death Penalty! - HELL YES!
We’re not a fan of the f-ed up prison industrial complex, racial disparities in sentencing, or the systematic problems with our justice system. We’re also not a fan of killing people. Enough said.

Proposition 35 - Human Trafficking. Penalties - Reluctant No
So, um, this is awkward. We aren’t actually PRO human trafficking. Prop 35 would increase prison terms for human traffickers, require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders for life and hand over the keys to all their internet accounts for life. While well-intended, Prop 35 doesn’t address behavioral problems, and it fuels the growth of the CA prison system. The wording is vague and has unintended consequences. It further criminalizes sex workers, most of whom are women, transgender and immigrant people. It will discourage sex workers from seeking help, and it channels money into victim’s services and non-profits that work hand-in-hand with law enforcement, ICE and Homeland Security (forget about safe harbor). We say, reluctantly, no.

Proposition 36 - Reform Three Strikes Law! -  HELL YES!
The messed up “three strikes” law mandates an automatic life sentence for your third felony…no matter what it is. This reforms the law to only impose a life sentence when the third felony conviction is for serious or violent crime. Our prison system is packed & unfair - we say hell yes!

Proposition 37 - Label Genetically Modified Foods - YES
GMOs? OMG! What are we eating? This would require all products that contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) to say so on the label. It’s not a warning label - just an FYI, to help keep people more educated about what they’re eating. Monsanto and all the huge food corporations are funding the campaign against it - big surprise. California is one of the largest consumer markets in the US, so if we start requiring labels identifying foods, the whole nation will benefit.  We say yes :)

Prop 39 - Close “Multistate” Corporate Tax Loophole - Yes
Right now, multi-state businesses (like Internet retailers or big chains) can pick how to pay CA’s corporate income tax, and so they may pick a formula that’s cheap for them. This prop would close the loophole, & would generate $1B a year! Some of that money’s promised for education and clean energy, which sounds good to us.

Prop 40 - Reaffirm the State Redistricting System
Ugh! Again? The voters first created the Citizens Redistricting Commission in 2008, and upheld it in 2010. Leave it alone, already. This prop basically just says it again, “Senators can’t cherry pick their districts.” Voting yes affirms the Commission’s borders. This is so old news that even the people who worked to get this on the ballot threw in the towel in mid-July, but the zombie proposition lives on. We say yes…. again. (Fun Fact: We actually opposed the 2008 proposition that created this Commission because it excludes anyone under the age of 23 and anyone who’s recently changed political parties.)



Local Ballot Measures

Prop A -  Parcel Tax to Save City College - Yes
This asks all property owners in SF to pay $79 a year to fund our (struggling but essential) community college. You or someone you know has probably taken classes at City, & it’s a lifeline for adult students, low income folks, & English language learners. Let’s save it!

Prop B - Bond for Park Construction & Repair - Reluctant No
It makes us sad to vote ‘against parks,’ but we have three good reasons. First, Rec & Park needs money to hire more gardeners, rec directors, lifeguards, etc…but this $ is only for construction/repair. Second, we don’t like how Rec & Park prioritizes renting out parks and rec centers to private groups. Park advocates have been fighting for years to keep these facilities free and public. What good are fancy new parks if we’re going to lease them to private groups? Third, this was originally scheduled for 2014, and right now they still have money from the last bond. Let’s try again in two years.

Prop C - Affordable ‘Housing Trust Fund’ - HELL YES!
When redevelopment agencies were dissolved, everyone rallied to find a new source of income to build affordable housing. Prop C will recapture property tax $ meant for those agencies, plus some of the new cash from Prop E (see below). It’d guarantee $1.2 billion over 30 years for affordable housing - we say hell yes!

Prop D - Consolidate Odd-Year Elections - No endorsement
This was a tough one, so we’ll leave it up to you. Right now, the City Attorney and Treasurer are elected in odd years, but not the same one that the Mayor, District Attorney and Sherriff is. This prop changes the election cycle so they are all elected in the same years. To sync things up, it shortens the term of City Attorney and Treasurer to two years from 2013-2015, but then they go back to being four year terms again.
Some of us think it’s a great idea: electing the less-sexy City offices in the higher turnout Mayoral election years, save the City money, and save us all from election fatigue! But some of us also thought it was better to have City Attorney and Treasurer in their own election where the Mayor’s race wouldn’t distract from them. So, choose your own adventure!

Prop E - Reform the City’s Business Tax - HELL YES!
This would replace the City’s payroll tax (a tax on how much businesses pay their employees) with a tax on their gross receipts (how much money businesses make). This is has been in the works forever and we’re stoked it’s finally on the ballot. The payroll tax discourages businesses from hiring people. It’s also a flat (regressive) tax: small businesses pay the same rate as Wells Fargo and the Gap! And lots of fancy pants professionals (lawyers, architects, doctors, etc.) avoid the payroll tax because they’re considered “partners” not employees. The gross receipts tax will be progressive: big corporations pay a higher rate than Mom & Pops, and businesses that earn less than $1 million annually are exempt. Plus it’ll make SF $28M more a year, which we could seriously use for Muni or parks or other good stuff. Cool.

Prop F - $8M to Study Hetch Hetchy Tear Down - No
Right now, MUNI and all City-owned buildings get their power from the no-pollution-emitting O’Shaughnessy dam, which is awesome. Plus, the water is really tasty :) This Prop would allocate $8m to study what would happen if SF, which owns the dam, destroyed it and drained the Hetch Hetchy valley to have ‘a 2nd Yosemite.’ But actually doing that would cost billions, we’d lose green power, we’d have to spend more on electricity, and we’d use more energy pumping the water here. Plus the valley’s been submerged for nearly 100 years. We’d rather spend $8m on environmental priorities closer to home (like reducing asthma-causing pollution in poor neighborhoods) than on studying a plan to create a park for relatively wealthy hikers to enjoy decades from now.

Prop G -  Symbolic Stand Against Corporate Personhood - Yes
It’s really simple: corporations are not people, my friend. The idea of “Corporate Personhood” is a legal fiction that goes way, way back to scribbles in the margins of a note by Chief Justice Waite in 1886. If Prop G passes, it would be City sentiment that corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as real, alive, human people and should be subject to political spending limits. Of course, this wouldn’t be binding — it’s just a policy statement. Still, it’s nice to say how we feel, so we say vote yes.



Board of Supervisors, District 1: Eric Mar
Eric Mar is a thoughtful progressive whose presence on the Board of Supes ensures a slim majority for crucial stuff like rent control, clean energy, and Healthy SF. Downtown interests and real estate developers are pouring tons of cash into his opponent’s campaign, drooling at the chance to cash in on more condos. The City we love relies on Eric Mar - let’s keep him.

Board of Supervisors, District 3: David Chiu

Board of Supervisors, District 5: No Endorsement
In light of the recent political shit storm in D5, we have decided to not endorse a candidate. We won’t leave you completely hanging. Check it out — the District 5 Action group put together a helpful questionnaire and comparison of the candidates: http://www.d5action.org/election_resources

Although the League will not make an official D5 endorsement, we need to make it clear that we cannot stand behind the politics of London Breed. She supported the civil-liberties squashing Sit/Lie law, she supported the shady Lennar development deal in Bayview/Hunters Point, and she is receiving massive funding from big landlords. While we were conflicted about Julian Davis and other candidates — one thing we all agree on is: “Anybody but London Breed”.


Board of Supervisors, District 7
#1 Norman Yee
Current Prez of the Board of Education, Norman’s been an active proponent for early childhood education, pedestrian safety, local hire and keeping families in SF.  He won’t be leading the charge on the left, but he’ll be a stark improvement on the Board.

#2 Francis Xavier Crowley
A middle of the road candidate, he’s competent and has a lot of union support.

Board of Supervisors, District 9: David Campos
We didn’t endorse Campos the first time around, but he’s been a solid ally and has stood up for things we care about, including progressive taxation, clean municipal power, immigrant and worker rights, free MUNI for youth, and healthcare for all. He’s also running unopposed, so…four more years!

Board of Supervisors, District 11: John Avalos
He coulda been our Mayor - damn!  But he’s repping the Excelsior, OMI, and the progressive movement and we love us some Avalos, so we’ll take what we can get. He’s also running without an opponent - auto-win!

BART Director, District 7: Margaret L. Gordon
She served as Oakland Port Commission for five years after being a leader in the anti-idling efforts in West Oakland (trucks keeping their engines on while waiting at the Port is a huge smog & asthma creator). She’s a no holds-barred activist…let’s get her in there to shake up the sleepy-headed BART Board of Directors meetings. We sure wish she’d been on the BART Board during the Oscar Grant shooting aftermath…

BART Director, District 9: Tom Radulovich
He’s the head of Livable City and has been a consistent voice for smart investments to make BART better for everyone. From making sure the agency is properly pricing parking, to more reasonable bicycle rules, he’s looking out for the riders.

Member, Board of Education (4 seats) 
Sandra Lee Fewer (Incumbent) - Sandy is holding it down! We need to re-elect her fierceness to the Board of Ed.  A former community organizer, she is the Board’s no-nonsense mama bear, pushing through A-G requirements and working like a mo-fo to close the achievement gap.
Gladys Soto - We liked that Gladys (a mother of 2) is focused on bringing more diversity, equity and parent representation to the Board.
Shamann Walton - A challenger with the right priorities: the achievement gap, equity, & finding more funds for our schools.
Kim Garcia-Meza - Kim has deep roots in the classroom and in the community.  When she’s not running her own school, she’s fighting for equity and access on the SFUSD’s Bilingual Community Council.  And she’s the pick of Teachers 4 Social Justice!

Member, Community College Board  (4 seats)
William L. Walker - He’s a longtime youth activist, and the current Student Trustee on the Board (ie, he’s currently repping the students but has no vote). Queer, African-American and passionate as hell, we need more representation like this on the Board.
Steve Ngo - Not an original fave of ours, Steve has earned our respect with his intelligent debate on tough issues and his commitment to protecting ESL and ethnic studies courses.
Chris Jackson - From kickstarting Gateway to College to securing funding for green jobs for CCSF students, Chris has been solidly repping the southeast side of town.
Rafael Mandelman - A queer activist lawyer, Rafael is the former president of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club (the progressive GLBT political org in the City) and member of the Board of Appeals. He’s smart, committed, and a great guy.

Now, get out there and vote! Early Voting has started, and you can find your polling place at:  http://sfelections.org/tools/voterkit/ or call 311!