Longtime freedom-oriented observers of politics in the City by the Bay won’t be greatly surprised that exactly none of the local measures on the March 3 ballot are worth supporting. The Libertarian Party of San Francisco recommends voting NO on all five. Here’s some brief thoughts on why:
Proposition A – $845 million City College “Job Training, Repair and Earthquake Safety” bond
According to a faculty union representing teachers at City College, spending on administration has grown to comprise 10% of the school’s personnel costs, up from 7% just five years ago.
An October bulletin published by the union describes how students, teachers and community members recently had to “push back on exorbitant raises” for top administrators, “including a proposal to compensate Associate Vice Chancellors at $275K/yr.” Meanwhile, City College enrollment is down from 90,000 in 2011-2012 to 65,000 today, according to a piece by Marc Joffe of the Reason Foundation. “With so many San Franciscans living on the streets, investing in educational infrastructure seems to be an especially odd priority,” he writes. We agree. Vote NO on Prop. A.
Proposition B – $628.5 million “Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response” bond
Another massive tax-and-spend measure in the name of “safety”. San Franciscans have already voted time and again to appropriate money for earthquake preparedness and emergency services. Just last year voters adopted a $425 million bond measure billed as protecting the city from flooding and earthquakes. As with all bond spending, this measure is wasteful – the controller estimates that borrowing $628.5 million will end up costing taxpayers over $1 billion by the time the principal is repaid with interest to the companies financing the bonds. A nice deal for Wall Street financiers perhaps, but not so great for overtaxed residents including tenants, who could see up to half the cost of the measure passed along to them in the form of higher rents.
Proposition C – Retiree Benefits for Former SF Housing Authority Employees
The Housing Authority is a local agency, but has been funded by the federal government. Now some former SFHA employees are being hired by the city government. This measure would make them eligible for city government retirement benefits based not just on their time as municipal employees, but also based on the years they spent drawing federal government paychecks. This sounds like a recipe for double-dipping, and most government employees are already over-compensated compared to people doing similar work in the voluntary sector. Increasing government employee compensation also means stealing more money from the taxpayers to pay for it. We say Vote NO.
Proposition D – Vacancy Tax
This measure would tax owners of commercial storefront property for allowing it to sit vacant, incentivizing landlords to rush to fill leases quickly rather than taking the time to consult with community members and groups and seek out tenants who are a good match for their neighborhoods. The usually statist editors of the Bay Area Reporter newspaper correctly point out that retail vacancies are growing nationally “as a result of the convenience of online shopping, competitive prices, and speedy delivery”, and that “the challenges of doing business in San Francisco” , among them “bureaucratic red tape and a protracted permitting process, onerous taxes, scarcity of workers” make the problem even worse here. They note that instead of “doing the hard work of cutting the red tape that frustrates and discourages businesses from operating in our neighborhoods,” the Board of Supervisors “punted and placed Prop. D on the ballot.” We agree – please vote NO.
Proposition E – Limits on Office Development
This measure would limit the amount of office space that can be built in San Francisco unless the city government meets its goals for the development of “affordable” housing. More housing is urgently needed, but development of new office space should not be held hostage to this need. Creating laws like this based on guesses about what future needs will be is a bad idea. Limiting creation of office space will also pave the way for politicians to hand out special exemptions based on political favoritism and corruption. One such loophole already built into the measure would allow new office space development in exchange for affordable housing being built off-site, but would require such off-site housing to be located “within an economically disadvantaged community”. In other words, new housing for poor people would have to be located in places where poor people already live, further reinforcing the de facto segregation of the city into poor and wealthy areas, as driven by past government policies like redlining, rather than allowing market development to happen organically. Vote NO on Prop. E.
Aside from voting to oppose the ballot measures, the LPSF also voted to support three candidates in this election:
Starchild for State Assembly (write-in)
Such is the lack of democracy in this largely one-party town that incumbent Assembly member David Chiu was the only candidate to fill for his District 17 seat that comprises the eastern half of San Francisco, leaving an opening for a write-in candidate to run in the primary and automatically appear on the November ballot without having to feed the State by paying a filing fee of hundreds of dollars. LPSF chair Starchild decided this was too good an opportunity to pass up, and decided to collect the signatures needed to be that candidate. The erotic service provider and freedom activist says the core of his campaign message will be the idea of a consent-based society in which government does not tell people what to do with their own bodies and resources, and you can live your life as you choose so long as it does not involve initiating force or fraud against others. “Consent is not just about sex, it matters in every aspect of our lives,” Starchild asserts. He also pledges to champion the rights of homeless people, immigrants, sex workers, independent and homeschool families, the kink and poly communities, people in the cannabis and psychedelic communities, and others who have been marginalized and harmed by the statist quo, while cutting the 6-figure salaries and lavish benefits of those in government who are profiting off the backs of the poor and the victims of government taxes and fees.
Maria Evangelista for Superior Court Judge
Like newly elected district attorney Chesa Boudin, Maria Evangelista is a public defender who has worked at the award-winning SF Public Defender’s Office built by the late Jeff Adachi. Her opponent, by contrast, is a former prosecutor. In a criminal justice system that has given the U.S. what is widely reported to be the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, we need more judges whose background is in trying to keep people out of jail, rather than trying to lock them up. Evangelista’s parents emigrated from Mexico to work as farm workers and took refuge here in San Francisco as undocumented migrants, and her mother collected recycling to help make ends meet, so she has first-hand experience of being poor and on the wrong side of the authorities, if not the law (the Feds actually have no constitutional authority to criminalize or regulate who migrates to the U.S., only the process of becoming a citizen). “Every day I see how our courts have failed to meaningfully address homelessness, car break-ins, and violence”, she writes. “Everyday I see how the courts are disproportionately arresting and imprisoning people of color. We are stuck in a cycle of catch, imprison and release.” It is notoriously difficult to find solid information on the policy positions of candidates for judge, but from her background we believe Maria Evangelista is likely to be the more pro-freedom candidate in this race, and recommend Libertarians support her for Seat 1 on the Superior Court.
John Dennis for Congress
There was some dispute in our ranks as to whether we should be recommending a vote for a Republican in a partisan race, but John Dennis has a history of engagement with the freedom movement dating back to Ron Paul’s first campaign for president back in 2007, when he walked the streets alongside many of us canvassing for the libertarian Republican and lifetime Libertarian Party member. A plurality of our committee felt that history, and his positions aside from some regrettable stances on immigration and homelessness, make him a more pro-freedom choice than establishment incumbent Nancy Pelosi or any of her other challengers. John is against overseas wars and in favor of cutting Pentagon as well as other government spending, auditing the Federal Reserve, a return to sound money, and reining in warrantless spying on Americans by the federal government. While we cannot endorse candidates of other parties, we recommend a vote for John Dennis for Congress in District 12 as the best choice in a race without a Libertarian candidate.
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