In case you were wondering what the right answers are ;) here’s a subset of them:
- Bart Board of Directors District 8 –> Bert Hill
Bert Hill is a local urbanist who is running on a platform of re-focusing Bart on improving existing facilities and service, rather than spending more on costly suburban expansions that serve comparatively few people. He’s running against incumbent James Fang, San Francisco’s only elected Republican. James has happily kept Bart focused on expanding deeper and deeper out into the suburbs, rather than investing in our urban core. Eric Fischer over at transbay blog has a good writeup on Bert and James.
- Prop AA (Vehicle registration fee) –> Yes
Adding a $10 annual vehicle fee is a miniscule step in the right direction of reducing our subsidization of private vehicle ownership. Nothing wrong with me having my own car, but there is something wrong with everybody else paying for my car and its associated infrastructure.
- Prop E (Same-day voter registration) –> Yes
Making it easier to vote is a good thing.
- Prop G (Fix Muni) –> Yes
Muni operator salaries are currently set by formula in the city charter to the 2nd highest in the nation. This is such a joke I don’t know where to start. And it’s in the city charter. Prop G will remove this, and hopefully set things up so Muni can hire part-time operators and reform some “work rules”, which as far as I can decipher, is a code word for “loopholes that allow some operators to game the system into getting more $$ for less work”.
- Prop I (Saturday voting trial) –> Yes
This one’s important. I spent some time collecting signatures to get it on the ballot.
It’s a historical artifact dating back to horse-and-buggy days that has us voting on Tuesday. Voting on Tuesday gives people who have have weekdays off an easier time voting than those that don’t. This consistently skews the results of our voting process away from the actual sentiment of the population. You see this effect in polls all the time – the difference between “all respondents”, “registered voters” and “likely voters”. Each time you step down this chain, you generally find the result turning more to match the views older, whiter, wealthier voters. The result is systematic over-representation of some population groups and systematic under-representation of others. And the effect is not insignificant – 5% is a common differential between the views of “all respondents” and “likely voters”.
The Saturday trial voting would occur in the next election cycle, SF only. There would be voting on both Tuesday and Saturday. The Saturday election would be completely privately funded. Afterward, the results would be analyzed to see if there was any noticeable effect on voter turnout.
- Prop L (Sit/lie) –> No
Another important one. If you vote on two things this election, vote on this one and Prop I.
This would make sitting on the sidewalk a crime. Are you joking? Look, we all understand the upper haight has a problem with annoying street punks. The solution isn’t to restrict our right to use public space. The solution isn’t to give the police another “we can fuck with whoever we want” tool. I’m not sure what the solution is but it would have the following properties: 1) specific to the upper haight 2) implemented on a trial basis with an automatic expiration 3) would NOT restrict our right to use general public space!
- Governor –> Jerry Brown
Streetsblog DC did a good writeup of why Meg Whitman would be a step backwards for California.
- Prop 19 (Pot legalization) –> Yes
Just like I don’t like the government telling me who I can and can’t marry, I don’t like it telling me what I can and can’t smoke.
- Prop 23 (Oil Industry thinks you’re an idiot) –> No
Tell the dirty oil companies to f*ck off.
- Prop 25 (Budgetary legislative vote requirement reduction) –> Yes
One of the reasons California has continuously yearly budgetary problems is that we are one of the few states to require 2/3 of the legislature to agree on a budget in order for it to move forward. Thus any political party or coalition with control 1/3 or more of the legislature has the power to hold up the budgetary process as much as they’d like. This creates a situation ripe for abuse – the minority party is able to slow the state government down to a halt, thus increasing voter disenchantment with the political establishment, thus making it more likely the majority party will be voted out on the next election cycle. Prop 25 would fix this by reducing the legislative vote requirement to a simple majority.
That’s everything that’s on the ballot that I feel a) is important and b) I know at least something about. There’s plenty on there that I don’t know much about that looks important. For those issues, I encourage you not to just try to figure it out on your own – I think you’re better off outsourcing that process to organizations you trust. Here are a few of my go-to’s:
Remember to vote on Tuesday (so that next election you can do it on Saturday!)