Email with endorsements for the November 4, 2008 California state and San Francisco city election
Myself, OE, Evil, and Chudi sat down for a few hours and examined the various ballot initiatives in SF and the state. In case anyone is interested, here's what we came up with (with further discussion below).
We took into account what was written in the voter guides, endorsements by the Chronicle and Guardian, and then decided for ourselves. If someone couldn't decide either way, they sometimes went with a coin toss.
Our designation for each was weather we were "fur it" or "agin it". Decisions were unanimous (at least within a coin toss) unless otherwise specified.
1A: Fur (3-1)
2: split (2-2)
12: Agin (3-1)
SF City Propositions
B: Agin (3-1)
O: split (w/ coin toss)
Prop 1A: High-speed rail bond
This bill is going to be very expensive. The bond is for $9 billion, but we know the cost of these projects can't be predicted and they tend to go way over budget. Expense and questioning the usefulness of taking a train to LA only to need to rent a car to get anything done down there we reasons cited against it. Ultimately though, OE, Chudi, and Big Guy decided we wanted the country to have a rail infrastructure and were willing to spend what it takes to put it there (or at least take the first step).
Prop 2: Animal protections
As meat eaters, we were each personally divided on this one. For certain animals (you know, the cute ones we have as pets), we already provide protections against cruelty. Saying that a farm animal should have enough room to at least stretch their limbs out doesn't seem to be asking for much. But then it would raise food costs and we're still planning to slaughter them anyway. We thought maybe we would work personally to uphold this standard for the food we buy if not have the state mandate it. (FYI, Ira Glass visited a chicken farm, decided that chickens were as unique/conscious/whatever as dogs and cats, and then became a vegetarian. Something to think about.)
Prop 4: Parental notification for abortion
We acknowledge that teens should be in contact with their parents before getting an abortion and believe clinics do everything they can to encourage these kids to do so. They are not cheering for the kids to get a secret abortion. It is interesting to note, also, that nearly any other medical procedure you'd get does required parental consent for under-age kids. But then we thought that requiring the consent would lead to late-term/illegal abortions or babies being left in dumpsters. We'd rather have them get it done right away before (in our opinion) the moral, legal, and practical consequences get sticky.
Prop 6: Prison spending
We decided this was yet another "tough on crime" bill that seeks to further increase the prison population. We want less people in prison, especially for nonviolent crimes (we're in favor of Prop 5 for this reason).
Prop 7: Renewable energy
While sounding good on the surface, we decided this bill was mainly a corporate grab, especially by some rich dude in Arizona who has a lot of natural gas. Heck, it's a renewable energy bill that even the Green Party is against. What does that tell you?
Prop 9: Victims present at parole hearings
If you want a hearing to be an objective look at the law, the last person you'd want there is a member of the victim's family. We want rational thinking people to decide if a criminal has repaid his debt to society.
Prop 10: Alternative fuel vehicles
(see Prop 7)
Prop 11: Redistricting commission
We love this bill. Gerrymandering is one of the key ways members of Congress prevent there from being a real contest in an election. Some of those districts are ridiculous. Big Guy likes that it will help third parties.
Prob B: Affordable housing fund
We were torn on this one. We would love for teachers, nurses, and other underpaid people to have a place to live in SF. But we weren't sure this would actually give them that. In general, we're not a big fan of public housing in this city, it seems to put the residents into a lower class, divide them from the rest of us. At the same time, we like helping people out.
Prop F: Mayoral election in even numbered years
The last election was boring, pretty much a coronation for Newsom. But the one before it was very interesting and it would have been a shame to lose it in the noise of state/federal elections. Having the election on odd numbered years costs more, but gives more attention to our local government race. It's worth the price.
Prop H: Clean energy act
When we started getting a ton of no-on-H mail, we knew there was a big corporation trying to knock it down. Indeed, PG&E is funding the opposition, with the support of corporate-friendly politicians like Newsom. Prop H calls for evaluating other ways of getting power, including possibly creating our own municipal utility district. 900 cities in the US have done this, and the ones we know about all seem pretty happy with it. I don't know of anyone thinking it was a mistake and wanting to go back to PG&E. The Prop H opponents say it's a "blank check" because the SF board of supervisors would be able to get bonds without voter approval. But the board can ALREADY do this for many other city tasks, such as the Public Utility Commission, which provides us with our water. So naturally, if electricity becomes a public utility, it will get the same treatment. And at least the board is accountable to the people for money it spends, while PG&E isn't.
Not to mention, one of the main goals in Prop H is to get SF using renewable energy faster than anyone else. PG&E is going to miss the state-mandated goals because they have no real consequences if people can't jump ship.
Unfortunately, while we are all for Prop H, we think that the millions of dollars PG&E is spending (money from our own electric bills) will probably win out. Thanks to the propaganda, we ourselves were largely against Prop H until we looked at it carefully.
Prop J: Historic Preservation Commission
Currently the Mayor appoints a group of people to handle this. This would give the Board of Supervisors ability to approve/deny potential members. Sounds good to us. Plus, the opponents couldn't even be bothered to write a paragraph on why they oppose it in the voter guide.
Prop K: Decriminalize sex work
Yeah, we don't think prostitution should be a crime. Because we're crazy left-wing pinko commies I guess.
Prom M: Protect tenants against harassment
Renters in SF already have it pretty good in terms of legal protection. This Prop doesn't seem to outlaw anything that isn't already outlawed. In theory, us renters should be in favor of this, but we didn't think it was necessary.
Prop P: Transportation Authority Changes
Newsom is always putting his buddies in charge of Muni, paying them a lot, and then steering the money however he likes. He's trying to do it again. Amazingly, even the pro-Newsom supervisors are against this one. Try to find someone fur it. Not us.
Prop R: Rename Sewage Plane for Dubya
We think this is a funny idea and we have always been pro-humor. We don't think the employees will take offense to it.
Prop U: Defund the Iraq war
Nancy Pelosi isn't too concerned with the opinion of her constituency. San Francisco is totally against the war, but she has pushed forward every war appropriations bill since she became Speaker. So much for "No more blank check." If she doesn't hear us, maybe she'll hear this.
Prop V: Bring back JROTC
We're certainly not pro-military. Then again, we know that there is some need for it. But that doesn't matter here, because hardly any of the kids who do this go on to the military. Teachers and parents say it's a great after school program. Who are we to disagree?