By Starchild, LPSF Outreach Director
UPDATED NOV. 22 – A hearing on this issue has been scheduled for the November 30th, 10:00 a.m. Budget & Finance Committee hearing, Room 250, SF City Hall (see http://sfbos.org/sites/default/files/bfc113016_agenda.pdf , item #12).
In a libertarian society where property ownership was not artificially priced out of reach of many people by government regulations and landlords and tenants stood on an equal footing, it would make sense to allow landlords to dictate any terms whatsoever to their tenants.
But in a world where development is heavily restricted, renting via services like AirBnB is subject to time limits and other restrictions, it is difficult or impossible to divide real estate parcels and sell them off piecemeal as smaller lots, and leases are typically offered to prospective tenants on a take-it-or-leave-it basis rather than being subject to negotiation between parties operating on a more or less equal footing, I believe most Libertarians would probably want some protections in place to guarantee the kind of rights that we would naturally tend to enjoy if property rights were upheld as they ought to be.
Imagine a situation in which a big grocery corporation like Safeway made a deal with landlords: Prohibit delivery persons from other online grocery services entering your building, and in exchange we'll give you a lucrative kickback. Pure libertarianism holds that a property owner has an absolute right to control who comes onto his or her property, and thus would have every right to enter into such a deal with Safeway and enact rules binding tenants accordingly, so that they would have no ability to contract with competing grocery delivery services. But if we wish to maximize freedom and choice in the world we live in now, common sense suggests that we would not want to implement enforcement of that absolute right until other reforms have restored a more naturally level playing field no longer distorted by various government interventions.
Election season is finally over, after unprecedented mudslinging, unexpected revelations, and extraordinary developments.
On the national level, now we wait for the Electoral College to either accept results or revolt. There is no federal requirement on how state electors vote, and no state requirements in 21 states. Gary Johnson failed to receive the 5% in popular votes that would have assured Libertarians a place on the ballot next time around, but his 3.2% showing was the best for a third party in over 20 years. Hopefully, next time around an even greater number of voters will stop believing they owe their vote to main-party candidates, and continue to shake off the yoke placed around their necks by the two-party establishment.
On the City level, although the “Yes On Everything” syndrome was still apparent, there were are few “NOs.” Voters listened to Bernie Sanders and voted “NO” on Proposition K, the General Sales Tax. They also miraculously decided not to expand the size of government in some instances by voting “NO” on H (Public Advocate Department), M (Housing & Development Commission), and U (Affordable Housing Requirement). The Board of Supervisors lost three certified left-wingers due to terms limits (Avalos, Campos, and Mar), and gained two (Fewer and Ronen). District 11 Ahsha Safai is the more “moderate” kind. These are preliminary results, and because of ranked-choice voting there is a possibility things could change.
We at the LPSF certainly hope that the next eight years will be more pleasant than the last eight years. We also hope that neither the nation nor the City go off the cliff of perpetually expanding government and increasing debt.
Below you will find a short write-up on all 25 local ballot measures. Our litmus test for judging the ballot measures is whether they increase the scope of government intrusion in our lives. If they do, we oppose them. If they require more tax money or increase government debt, that definitely grows the beast, and we oppose them.
Most of the ballot measures this year, as always, move in the wrong direction toward more government micromanagement of our lives, so you will see a lot of NO recommendations. However a few measures actually loosen up rules and regulations—albeit sometimes for the wrong reasons—and curb government power lust, even in a small way, so we are happy to recommend a few YES votes.
Below you will find a short write-up on all 17 California state ballot measures. As always, we study ballot measures to see if they increase the scope of government or not. If they do, we oppose them without hesitation. This year, as usual, we see a large number of state measures that sound good upon the first reading that are really just feel-good measures that will only make life worse for most folks but will definitely benefit specific interest groups. The special interest groups have been working overtime to make sure they get a share of the relatively good California economy. We caution folks to consider that the good times may not last forever, so let’s not tax ourselves and our children to economic death. We also advise our readers not to give away our right to live as we choose as long as we aren’t hurting or defrauding anyone else—several of the ballot measures below are asking you to do just that. Please take the time to look at the measures with a skeptical eye, and as always we advise that, if you find a measure too confusing or something just doesn’t sit right with you—vote NO because we already have a million laws on the books and we don’t need any more bad laws!
Joe Dehn, Chair
Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County
Here it comes again, as it does every election -- people warning you not to "waste your vote" by casting your ballot for the Libertarian candidate. They tell you that your vote won't make a difference, or try to scare you into voting for "the lesser of two evils" and tell you that if you don't do as they say you will "really be voting for" the other candidate (who is, in their opinion, a worse evil).
This advice is completely backwards. As more and more people are realizing, both Trump and Clinton are horrible choices for President. Some of the reasons they are horrible are the same, some are unique to each candidate, but they both add up to BAD. Even if your vote could somehow help one of them, we will all lose if either of them is elected. On top of that, your vote here in California can't possibly make a difference in which one of them ends up in the White House. The Democrat always wins the popular vote in California, and will get all of the California's electoral votes as a result -- unless the election is a landslide in the other direction nationally, in which case the election will be decided before the polls even close here.
A parcel tax is a very bad way to raise money for any purpose. It is a fixed sum of money that must be paid without any regard to the financial circumstances of the payer or the value created by spending the money. No organization will spend money efficiently or wisely, if has a revenue source that cannot be cut off. Private business tends to be productive precisely their customers can refuse to hand over their money. Public agencies tend to be wasteful and bloated because taxpayers cannot.
The students at City College will have no incentive to moderate their demands for more services because someone else is being forced to pay the bills. Demand will have no limits because those individuals who consume the educational services will have no reason to weigh costs and benefits. The students reap the benefits and the taxpayers bear the costs. Nor will the providers of education have any reason to limit their demands for higher compensation and more generous fringes. In the real world there are always opposing interests.
Libertarians don't care for one size-fits-all decisions. Therefore, the Libertarian Party of San Francisco issued its majority recommendations for the November 8th Elections like everybody else, but added below the minority opinion. Read on!
If you understand the Non-Aggression Principle and apply it consistently, it's usually pretty easy to determine the correct libertarian position on most of the ballot measures presented to voters. While some of them are complex and involve various trade-offs that lead to disagreement among our local activists when making our voter recommendations, we usually come to the same conclusions on all the measures that involve a simple, clear choice, and it's rare that I find myself voting differently than the LPSF has recommended.
This year the local ballot held a couple exceptions to that rule, however. The first was Proposition F, a measure that would allow San Francisco residents to vote starting at age 16 (current law
arbitrarily disenfranchises anyone under age 18). This should have been an easy yes.