Vote like you matter. Live like you matter.
by Jeremiah Jeffries, Jeremiah’s Social Justice Voter Guide
This election feels like a crossroads. COVID has highlighted for us that we are connected and the decisions we make can lead to suffering or liberation, not only for ourselves but also for others in our lives. Those first steps may feel similar, so it’s hard to know.
Harriet Tubman didn’t know what would come of her efforts or struggle. Martin and Coretta King didn’t know what would come of their struggles. Elijah and Clara Muhammad did not know what would come of their struggles. Even brother Kaepernick did not know what would come of his actions. I humbly submit that part of our journey is not knowing what our efforts will lead to.
I don’t know that my vote will have a meaningful impact in the presidential race. What I do know is that, if I don’t vote, there is no chance my voice will matter. So: I vote because I must put forth my effort. Voting is the least anyone can do.
As many know, I support what Bernie Sanders put forth as a vision for the presidency. It is what so many activists and cultural workers have fought so long for since long before Bernie and will continue to fight for long after. Joe Biden does not have that. The democratic platform that was adopted at the convention continues to be problematic and fails in so many ways, in spite of best efforts to make meaningful change there.
Joe Biden is a continuation of the problematic policies and affirmation of capitalism – aka greed – that partner with current and historic racism and continue to plague our nation. These problematic policies and ideals have only worsened, with racism flourishing in the Trump administration. Biden represents an almost full return to the pre-Trump habits of government.
However, his choice of Kamala Harris, a Black woman, as vice president represents some potential energy for change. While Sen. Harris has not yet shown she is willing to throw down for the people against the forces of big money and white power, I am choosing to support her ticket on the chance that she could.
Doing nothing is not an option
Sen. Harris, like so many of the powerful Black women who paved the way for her, could step up and be fearless in helping to lead the executive branch. She potentially could be the political opposite of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who serves as an advocate for oppressive policy and law.
Vice President Harris could instead lead the way in holding our institutions to account. She could speak out for the poor and working class and support moving her colleagues in the Senate and the House to draft policy that leads to liberation versus incarceration. She has all the ingredients to do right by the people. Will she? I don’t know. However, I am going to put forth the effort to support her in doing that.
For the presidency of the United States my vote is for: the potential of Kamala Harris as the first Black woman to be vice president of the United States.
U.S. President and Vice President: Kamala Harris and Joe Biden*
Nationally, there is the electoral college – but locally, and for the state candidates and initiatives, it’s a direct popular vote! Your vote counts and directly helps determine the outcome of elections.
California State Senate District 11: Jackie Fielder
Jackie Fielder is an amazing improvement over the incumbent. She is bringing the energy and leadership we need. A strong woman of color with a heart of service and experience fighting for justice, Fielder has worked to end environmental racism and expand public banks to create more wealth and opportunity for working class people. We need her in the state Senate.
California State Assembly District 17: No Endorsement
California State Assembly District 19: No Endorsement
U.S. Representative District 12: No Endorsement
U.S. Representative District 14: Jackie Speier*
SF Board of Education – Vote for four
This is the leadership we need during this critical time. Public schools are essential institutions that forecast the wellbeing of our city and communities. Given the realities of inequity that COVID has underlined and highlighted for us, with many exclamation marks, it is more important than ever that we consider critically who we support and encourage into leadership.
We need leaders who know schools inside out and have a track record of work in education. These endorsements represent one of the most experienced and knowledgeable groups of candidates we have ever put forward. If elected, it will mean we have a majority of educators, parents and people of color on the Board of Education. I am proud to endorse:
Kevine Boggess, longtime policy advocate from Coleman Advocates for Families and Youth
Mark Sanchez, president of the San Francisco Board of Education and public school teacher
Jenny Lam, community-based nonprofit policy leader, public school parent and advocate with deep knowledge of the city and schools
Matt Alexander, longtime educator, teacher, principal and co-founder of June Jordan School for Equity and Organizer with Faith in Action
City College of San Francisco (CCSF) Board of Trustees – Vote for four
I am thrilled to support a strong, experienced, knowledgeable and predominantly women of color slate. I am proud to endorse:
Aliya Chisti, rooted in San Francisco, former educator and policy analyst who oversees the Free City College program. She’s a voice for students and knowledgeable about what CCSF needs.
Shanell Williams, experienced leadership for CCSF. From the Fillmore. She has led the board during some of its most difficult times.
Anita Martinez, labor leader and former head of AFT 2121. Experienced higher education faculty.
Alan Wong, fresh and earnest voice for the CCSF Board. Born and raised in San Francisco, Alan is knowledgeable and has been engaged in policy work for a long time. He cares about CCSF.
Special Note: Geramye Teeter Geramye is a young African American environmental activist. While not as experienced with CCSF or SF politics, he shows promise and hopefully will continue to develop his leadership skills and run a more viable campaign next time.
Board of Supervisors
District 1: Connie Chan Connie has lots of experience working on policy and has the values that represent San Francisco well. She has been working to serve San Francisco for many years as a public servant, her children go to public schools and she has shown her commitment to San Francisco and to making it a place for families.
District 3: Aaron Peskin While we don’t agree with Peskin on some things over the years, he has stood up for schools and for working class people in San Francisco and his staff has been one of the most responsive to issues people bring.
District 5 – Ranked choice
No. 1: Vallie Brown* We appreciate her years of service to D5, even when she wasn’t running for office. Her dedication to the neighborhood and her experience keeps her our number one choice.
No. 2: Dean Preston Has stepped up into the role of supervisor, though still not the leadership we are looking for. Preston, in his short time as supervisor, has produced legislation for working people and tenants.
Special Note: Nomvela O’Meara, organizer, activist and film producer, and Daniel Landry, arts nonprofit director, are two African American candidates with historical ties to the D5 community. However, neither have filed documents with the SF Ethics Commission to show their fundraising and efforts to develop their campaign. This highlights a need in the Black community for campaign development expertise and support.
District 7: Myrna Melgar (our sole endorsement) Myrna is by far the most qualified candidate for D7 in this election cycle. Her knowledge of housing, planning and community development is needed on the board. Her years of work in the community serving young people and their families, along with her extensive policy experience, will be a welcome voice to the Board of Supervisors.
District 9: Hillary Ronen*
District 11: No Endorsement Ahsha Safai* has built some affordable housing in his district and has been supportive of labor, but he has not provided the citywide leadership necessary to earn our endorsement. Avalos, though progressive in policy, has long standing issues around integrity, and with his mistreatment of women, has not earned our endorsement.
BART Board District No. 7: Lateefah Simon
BART Board District No. 9: Bevan Dufty*
*Please know that these are simply suggestions to bring out the best outcome. Naming them does not mean alignment of values or personal integrity or constitute an endorsement.
Vote like you matter.
San Francisco Propositions
These are the laws and policies that matter. This is where we help shape the city we want!
Prop A: YES. Bond measure for public health, homelessness, parks and streets.
Prop B: NO. Splits DPW to create DPW + Sanitation Department. Creates more expensive department heads and managers without increasing staffing to make SF streets cleaner. Adds another layer of bureaucracy and ultimately means less accountability.
Prop C: YES. Allows non-citizens to participate and serve on city commissions, boards and advisory committees. The experience and insight from these residents would be very beneficial, especially on city advisory bodies and commissions.
Prop D: NO. Creates more political appointment positions to oversee the Sheriff’s Department that replicate the role and work of the elected sheriff and elected district attorney. Having an elected sheriff is the public oversight of the Sheriff’s Department. The district attorney is the public advocate who holds our institutions accountable and prosecutes criminality in any office in the city. At a time of fiscal conservatism due to COVID, it does not make sense to create new layers of government that add little value to the experienced people in our systems.
Prop E: YES. Changes police staffing to allow for more evaluation and assessment of the need for and the number of officers required.
Prop F: YES. Small business relief tax. Makes changes to business taxes to increase revenue and provide relief for small businesses.
Prop G: NO. Vote at 16. Lowers the voting age to 16 and will make youth the target of political ads. We also do not advocate for 16-year-olds to go on trial as adults because we believe their decision making is not fully developed and they are easily influenced; see vaping ads and other problematic youth trends. There are amazing 16-year-olds. However, let them be 16- and 17-year-olds who are not responsible for the political outcomes of adults.
Prop H: NO. Ends public input in planning. Makes changes to the planning code that remove public input about what businesses operate in their neighborhoods and around schools.
Prop I: YES. Multi-million dollar home transfer tax. Increases transfer taxes on multi-million-dollar leases.
Prop J: YES. Public education parcel tax. Helps secure needed funding for public schools, while protecting elderly homeowners from being negatively impacted by not raising their taxes. It’s 2018’s Prop G part two.
Prop K: YES. Affordable housing measure. Helps the city purchase and participate in the creation and maintenance of affordable housing in SF.
Prop L: YES. Administration salary penalty. Creates a tax penalty for businesses that will overpay its administration while underfunding its workers.
Prop RR: NO. Caltrans regressive sales tax. A regressive tax that essentially pays for service that primarily serves the tech industry but asks everyone to pay for it. There would be revenue for this in the general budget if tech paid their fair share.
Prop 14: NO. Costly stem cell research bond. Bond to fund stem cell research to the tune of $260 million per year for 30 years. This is too costly for little gain in an industry without sufficient regulation to benefit the public. A drain on resources that should be going to secure our health and education safety net.
Prop 15: YES. Close the corporate loopholes. This proposition closes loopholes in property taxes that allows corporations to avoid paying taxes and direct that revenue toward public education. Prop 15 is a critical step in addressing the chronic underfunding of public schools.
Prop 16: YES. Addresses inequality in our public institutions. Allows public institutions to address race and inequality directly through funding priorities, jobs and programming, while opening up opportunities for women and people of color. Editor’s note: If enforced, Prop 16’s affirmative action can end the lockout of Blacks from construction!
Prop 17: YES. Restores voting rights to citizens who have been incarcerated and are out on parole.
Prop 18: NO. Early age voting. Narrowly lowers the voting age to permit 17-year-olds to vote in special and primary elections if they will be 18 years old by the general election.
Prop 19: NO. Real estate transfer rules. Real estate scheme for people with property to help their descendants and avoid paying taxes. Changes tax code to privilege homeowners who pass their wealth on to their children while allowing them to avoid paying their local taxes for new homes and allows them to find more expensive homes at the same tax rate. Also, in the case of natural disasters, allows them to relocate out of their municipality even after benefiting from local tax benefits.
Prop 20: NO. New penalties and overincarceration. Further penalizes and criminalizes non-violent offenders. This fake “tough on crime” measure is just mean and creates more mass incarceration by extending sentences and declaring crimes more serious based on material possessions.
Prop 21: YES. Rent control. Expands the authority of local government to enact some measure of rent control and vacancy control.
Prop 22: NO. Keeps Uber and Lyft Drivers without benefits. Allows rideshare companies to deny employment benefits to its drivers.
Prop 23: NO. Superficial regulation of dialysis clinics. A misguided attempt to regulate dialysis clinics that would have unintended consequences and does not provide any meaningful regulation. This measure creates unnecessary barriers – a doctor on-site is not medically necessary – to providing this service. While the industry needs more regulation, this proposition does not put patients at the center.
Prop 24: NO. Limits privacy protections. If you want to keep any privacy on your cell phone or tablet, VOTE NO. This is a truly deceptive piece of legislation that calls itself an initiative to protect consumer privacy, while it actually removes consumer protections from the one thing people use to share their personal and business information the most: cellphones, disguised as “device” in the proposition. This initiative also creates another layer of bureaucracy for people to navigate to address any privacy related concerns they may have had. This is a very deceptive proposition; please vote no and tell others.
Prop 25: YES. Eliminate cash bail. Eliminates and reforms our highly inequitable money and cash bail system and makes clear that public safety and flight risk should be the only criteria used to determine if a suspect should remain in custody.
Editor’s note: The Bay View takes exception and recommends a NO vote on Prop 25. While we oppose cash bail, we do not want to replace it with a risk assessment tool that’s supposed to measure the likelihood a suspect will flee or commit a crime but that experts say is biased by race and class. Despite the very popular call to “defund the police,” Prop 25 would also allow law enforcement to perform all pretrial diversion services – alternatives to jail – in place of nonprofit programs like San Francisco’s that have successfully diverted people for decades.
Jeremiah Jeffries is a San Francisco public school teacher and a co-coordinator of Teachers 4 Social Justice. He can be reached at email@example.com.