Bay View Voters Guide endorses Jeremiah’s Social Justice Voter Guide for San Francisco’s Nov. 5 election

The San Francisco Bay View newspaper so thoroughly and heartily agrees with the choices and the reasoning for making them laid out here by Jeremiah Jeffries that we present them in place of the Bay View Voters Guide.

by Jeremiah Jeffries

Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019! This is NOT the presidential primary – that is in March 2020! – however, it is an important election to vote in locally. In fact, this ballot is smaller than normal, because there are no statewide elections. Also, many of the offices are uncontested; however, it is still important to vote and show your support for the various candidates and the values they represent.

The Board of Education and San Francisco City College Trustee elections are a special election to finish the remaining one-year term for the appointed elected offices. This election is for one seat on the Board of Education for one year and one seat on the City College Board for one year.

CANDIDATES

Board of Education: Jenny Lam

Jenny Lam is by far the best candidate. She knows schools and parent organizing well. She has two children, one in middle school and one in high school. She has been an education leader for over 20 years. She has done everything from parent and community organizing for civil rights to girl empowerment to bringing needed technology infrastructure to public schools. She is the one candidate to support for Board of Education in this election this year and again in November 2020.

SF City College Trustee: Ivy Lee

Ivy Lee is one of the most thoughtful and principled trustees on the City College Board. She was one of the chief architects of the free City College tuition for San Francisco residents to attend City College. Her drive for fiscal accountability and responsibility will serve the college well.

Re-elect our Mayor London Breed. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

San Francisco Mayor: London Breed*

London Breed, who rose from public housing to City Hall, is the No. 1 and only choice. She was born and raised in San Francisco. She’s complicated. While some of her political relationships are problematic, she has elevated some amazing women and men of color into positions of power. I know she cares about this city and the people who live here and have been displaced, even if she doesn’t have all the answers or gets it wrong sometimes. Her heart is in the right place. Good and bad, she is the first Black woman mayor this city has produced and she should be given the chance to do right by it or not.

Public Defender: Manohar Raju

Considered one of the best public defenders in the city if not the country, he will be able to both carry on the proud legacy of Jeff Adachi and forward the work of the Public Defender’s Office to serve as a community bridge and protector from our horribly broken injustice system.

Standing with Jamal Trulove, who served seven years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Chesa Boudin announces as DA he’ll establish a Wrongful Convictions Unit to investigate claims of innocence. The Bay View proudly endorses Chesa Boudin and asks readers who live in San Francisco or know anyone who does to vote for him and spread the word that we can elect the most progressive DA in the country. – Photo: SF Examiner

District Attorney, No. 1 and only choice: Chesa Boudin

Chesa brings a critical lens to policing and the prison industrial complex. He has extensive experience as a public defender and advocate for children whose parents are incarcerated, which informs the perspective he will bring to the role of district attorney. He has experienced, first hand, how our justice system impacts families and undermines the justice and rehabilitation it seeks to give.

Chesa is also newer to the local political scene and is less embedded in the current system and its political players, which makes it possible for him to go after corrupt elements and politicians in San Francisco. He is unbought and unafraid. He comes with a desire to do right by the people and bring necessary legal reform and police accountability. With Chesa, more than any other candidate, we may have the chance to really make significant accountability and reform with the police. That makes him, regardless of his personal growth areas, worth voting for.

Why not Suzy Loftus? Conflict of interest. The DA needs to be someone who will not just prosecute your everyday criminals but really must be someone who has social justice in their heart and will be the top cop who goes after corruption. Suzy is too tied to the political structure, the police department, the police officers’ association and the wealthy powers that be to truly hold them accountable, root out corruption, or disrupt or resist the prison industrial complex. Her experience as a prosecutor makes her qualified, but it also hurts her and narrows the perspective she can bring to the office. She has been feeding our corrupt injustice system for too long to get my support.

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Vallie Brown

Vallie has been consistent in showing up for all aspects of her district community. She has been there to do the work, even when it was difficult or challenging. Vallie was not ambitious in her service to D5. For over 15 years she has worked to improve and support the people in the district no matter who was in office or who the supervisor was.

Now she has been called to serve in this leadership role, and while it is not a role she takes to naturally or sits comfortably in, it is a role that she has earned, and she deserves the chance to grow and do something with it. I don’t always agree with her, but I do trust that she will make decisions that put the needs of her district above her own as she has done for many years, even before running for office. I also know she has a respect for the Black community and is not afraid to take into account their voices or keep their needs in mind as she makes policy. D5 needs that in a supervisor.

Why not Dean Preston? Dean has been running for this office before and has tried to tear down anyone who gets in his way. And while he has been good on housing issues, his hubris, entitlement and lack of reflection on his privilege and fragility gets in the way and makes him seem just like all the other self-proclaimed progressives – of wealth – who act as if they have more right to spaces of power and who only show up when it aligns with their ambition. He is not the one we have been waiting for, rather the one we have been trying to get out from under on the left. To him and others like him with similar ambitions, if you want to be truly progressive, look around and support strong progressive people of color.

Public Defender: Manohar Raju

Considered one of the best public defenders in the city if not the country, he will be able to both carry on the proud legacy of Jeff Adachi and forward the work of the Public Defender’s Office to serve as a community bridge and protector from our horribly broken injustice system.

City Attorney: Dennis Herrera*

This race is uncontested and we have failed in our responsibility to put forth a better candidate. To be fair, Dennis has done some things right during his terms in elected office, but he does not provide the leadership we need.

Sheriff: No vote or write in your choice

While this unfortunately is an uncontested race, the candidate who is running has been complicit in the blue silence that allows police corruption and abuse to go unchecked and unaccountable. Not offering any real solutions to police accountability or how he even holds his own officers accountable, I cannot support this candidate or anyone who runs for this position who has not made that clear.

Treasurer: Jose Cisneros

I hope he will help lead San Francisco to establish the first public bank in California!

*Please know that these are simply suggestions to bring out the best outcome; this does not mean alignment of values or personal integrity or constitute an endorsement. [The Bay View, however, is fully endorsing Mayor London Breed.]

SAN FRANCISCO PROPOSITIONS

These are the laws and policies that matter. This is where we help shape the city we want!

Prop A, Affordable Housing Bond: Yes!

This bond will bring needed dollars to support the growth and maintenance of various kinds of affordable housing in San Francisco, including senior housing, educator housing, middle income and public housing. If the city needs to raise taxes eventually to help pay back this bond, there is also a provision that calls for the cost of increasing taxes to be shared equally by tenants and landlords.

In real money terms, this tax increase would only be imposed if the city finds itself in financial trouble and needs to raise taxes to pay off this bond. This means the additional cost would be $171 a year or about $14 a month for a single homeowner with no tenants whose home is valued at $1 million. If it is a rental property with one tenant, both the landlord and the tenant would equally pay $86 a year or about $7 or $8 a month. For each additional tenant in that home, the tenant would pay that $7 to $8 a month divided by the number of tenants, and the cost to the landlord would remain the same. There is also citizen oversight and regular audits built into the bond.

Prop B, Department of Disability and Aging Services: Yes!

This is an amendment to the City Charter that changes the name of the Commission and Department of Aging and Adult Services to Disability and Aging Services to better describe the work of the commission and department. This charter amendment also changes the makeup of the city commission that oversees the department and manages the funds to increase representation and ensure the voices of seniors, veterans and people with disabilities are included.

Carol McGruder, co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, who has fought for decades to protect people – especially Black youth, a major target – from the poison pedaled by Big Tobacco, speaks at a rally on the steps of San Francisco City Hall opposing Prop C.

Prop C, Vapor Products Deregulation – or the Profit over Public Health measure: NO!

This misleading pro-addiction proposition has tried to manipulate voters and threatens the health of our entire community. Prop C was created by the same cigarette companies that have been poisoning folks for years. If the FDA won’t stop them from addicting a whole new generation, we have to do it locally.

This law allows those corporations that profit most to set the law and regulations for these types of addictive products. The measure tries to frame the harm it does in comparison to cigarettes when it’s just an additional harmful product that doesn’t replace cigarettes, but just adds to the market of addictive and poisonous products that are available.

Prop C also tries to use “harm reduction” model language for a harmful product to confuse voters and imply a health benefit. This is corrupt and bad policy from people we know have ignored, completely disregarded or profited from the negative public health outcomes of these products. Just say NO!

Prop D, Traffic Congestion Mitigation Tax: Yes!

Prop D would put a tax on Uber and similar ride companies to pay for public transportation and pedestrian safety. It’s time these companies pay more of their fair share. In some ways, this tax is not large enough to recover the real cost of the environmental and safety impacts these companies have had on the city.

Prop E, Affordable Housing and Educator Housing: Yes!

This is an amendment to San Francisco’s Planning Code that will allow mixed use affordable and educator housing to be built on public land, while at the same time protecting parks and current existing housing. These amendments also fast track these types of projects to allow them to get built faster, by shortening the approval timelines to 90-180 days (three-six months) through the Planning Department.

Prop F, Campaign Contributions and Campaign Advertisements: YES!

This proposition would bring more sunshine to who is funding what in campaigns and increase reporting and requirements for campaign advertising. While not comprehensive, it is another important step in meeting the need for transparency in the political process.

A special note about the upcoming presidential primary and election

Vote and encourage everyone you know to vote for Bernie Sanders in the March 3 presidential primary. Our primary election was moved up from June to March so California would have far more influence over the nomination. Let’s use it to make Bernie president of the United States! Here, he speaks at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in March. – Photo: Nati Harnik, AP

If you are doing the same thing you did last presidential election, you should not expect a different result. We will remain under a Trump administration whose damage will be felt for decades, if not generations.

If you are waiting for the primary to be over before taking action, that is not enough to get us to a better world and it may be too little too late to bring the change we need. Waiting also increases our chance of remaining under a Trump administration..

If you think you can casually vote for whomever you want in the primary based on one issue, racial representation or personality and then pay more attention and support whoever gets the democratic nomination, you are being grossly irresponsible, increasing our chances of remaining under a Trump administration or electing the candidate closest to Trump in ideology, relationship to capitalism and/or policy or who will make superficial change that doesn’t get to the root causes of the oppression and historical and ongoing trauma of the American experience.

We cannot wait until the primary to throw our full support behind a candidate. What we do now and who we support leading up to the primaries matters and will have the biggest impact on the outcome.

I have been working to articulate a metaphor (that is not gendered, violent, sports or war related) that captures the distinction between candidates, and gives a clear direction for where we should all put our political and personal energy to bring about the best outcome for the country.

The Trump administration has been a climate chaos storm of corruption, greed and meanness of our own making. They have been blowing through the levees of policy and judicial appointments to threaten to destroy the veneer of peace and the promise of a government that works for the people.

In nature, the greatest barrier against these types of storms is trees. Deep rooted trees that clean our air, hold our soil, provide shade and bring abundance to the people.

There is only one candidate whose roots in policy, values and conviction are deep and strong enough to really protect the American people, to heal, grow and champion the policies that will bear the most abundance for the people. For all people. Join Dr. Cornel West, Danny Glover, Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. Join us in supporting Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders is the old growth redwood forest that we need to clean our air, purify our water and afford us the breath to work and build and shape our own lives. We need to support him and the vision he amplifies from us – and be clear his ideas and policies are simply what come from listening to the people, who have expressed, for years, what we need from our government – and we need to support him now, in the primaries.

Don’t wait until after the primaries when we may have a limited choice on what’s possible. Don’t wait, hoping the Democratic Party, that has done so wrong for so long, will do right and give us the best possible option in the primaries.

We need a candidate who is principled and wise, who is also unafraid to challenge capitalism and the institutions of capitalism, who has deep roots in justice for all and policy that is compassionate and visionary. Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate who will do this. We have to do the work now to ensure we have the best possible chance of defeating Trump in November 2020.

Peace and Empowerment,

Jeremiah Jeffries

Jeremiah Jeffries in his classroom – Photo: David Young, Hoodline

Jeremiah Jeffries is a San Francisco public school teacher and a co-coordinator of Teachers 4 Social Justice. He can be reached at empower75@gmail.com.