Vote: Feb 5 Primary

February 4th, 2008

Update: Election Results in Parenthesis  182K (45%ish) votes cast in SF (from Usual Suspects), California results from sfgate, from LA Times. Now back to original.

Everybody should vote – AND should spend some time understanding what they are voting on. Like my voter guide last fall, i’m listing my recommendations with links to more info. Do your homework – Official SF Dept of Elections and these local voter guides – SFBG, SPUR, Green Party, SF Chronicle, Usual Suspects. Here’s my recommendations for San Francisco – Endorsements for February 5, 2008:

President, Democrat: Obama (Obama: 52% in SF, 42.4% in CA; Clinton: 44% SF , 51.8% in CA)
President, Republican: McCain (McCain: 53% in SF, 42% in CA; Romney: 22% in SF, 34% in CA)

Proposition 91: No – Gas Tax (No 58%)
Proposition 92: No – Community Colleges (No 57%)
Proposition 93: Yes – Term Limits (No 53%)
Propositions 94–97: NO – Gambling (Yes 56% – all 4 same)

Proposition A: YES – Parks Funding Increase (Yes 72%)
Proposition B: No – Police Retirement (Yes 65%)
Proposition C: No – Alcatraz into Peace Center (No 72%)



Oh jeez. this is a national issue, with lots of coverage. Here’s a few summary ones: On The Issues, 2008 Election ProCon, Financial view from opensecrets, NYTimes, and as a honorable mention sidenote: GlassBooth, MoveOn, Vote Smart. And everybody has their opinions on the candidates, so here’s mine. For Democrats, i like Obama for his vision, speaking skills, where he stands on many issues, and things he says he will do. But I also like Clinton on many issues. Most importantly, I think she has the experience to get her agenda accomplished. I like McCain alot for a republican. He’s a non-nonsense, tough fighter – wants to end global warming (YAY), fiscal conservative (yay), fix campaign financing (YAY) but also wants to stay in Iraq (Boo). He’s also been around, and will make a good leader. Did i successfully avoid the question? Maybe I should get into politics.

Update: Voted for Obama. Why? well, I think an Obama-McCain battle will be better for Dems. I also feel idealistic, wanting a strong leader and change .. even if he doesn’t have experience. And it seems republicans really hate Clinton, often for personal reasons, which makes me think more would rally for McCain if he was against Clinton in November. However, I learned Obama’s health plan is not as good as Clintons.

Prop 91, transportation funding: Strong NO

Everyone’s voting no on this – shouldn’t even be on the ballot (but legal foo keeps it there). Something about Gas tax.

Prop 92, community college funding: Weak No

In 2004, when the legislature raised student fees to $26 a unit, 305,000 students dropped out. By comparison, the UC system has 180,000 total students. Wow. I guess we better give Community colleges more money. Wait a second .. this does alot more than that, good for community colleges but good for education? And it doesn’t specify source of funds. UC system will prolly lose, as other things from the general fund. Another sounds good, but financially unsound. And with budget issues in sactown .. i say no.

Prop 93, term limits: weak Yes

This one is tricky. Right now elected officials can do 6 years in state assembly (3 2-year terms) and 8 years in the state senate (2 4-year terms) for a total of 14 years. This proposition changes the term limits 2 ways – from 14 years max to 12 years max, but allowing those 12 years to be in either senate or assembly (so can do 6 2-year terms or 3 4-year terms). Some say prop 93 is an attempt to shift power from lobbyists back to elected officials – lobbyists don’t have term limits, and often win over newly elected officials. I never found any statistics that showed how many senators/assemblymen hit that 14 year mark, not sure how that matters. But it will allow incumbants to keep on doing what they’re doing. Specifically, 42 incumbants who are being forced to retire due to term limits, will have more time if prop 93 passes. Some say the real problems still exist, such as gerrymandering, and this does nothing to fix that, making elections more competitive. I’m not a fan of prop 93 per se, However, i say yes cuz i think it sends a message that we want to fix things.

Props 94-97, Native American casinos: Weak No.

Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 are basically the same, just different tribes. They seem to help the richest tribes, and not help most of the poor ones. Doesn’t really help out California budget issue, either, altho it does give some money. No clear reason to vote yes.

Prop A, park bond: Strong YES

This bond will give $186 million to new and existing parks in SF. The money spent will be monitored more closely than before, with monthly reports available on the web, hopefully raising the bar for financial accountability in our government. I love parks, and it would take alot for me not to vote for them. I am also fiscally responsible, and even tho this one ain’t perfect, it tries.

Prop B, police retirement: Weak No

SF needs help with its police force, especially since many of them will be retiring soon. This prop allows retiring police officers to defer retirement for 3 years. Financially, its unclear if this is good or bad – retiring officers get paid more than younger ones, but not if you include training. I agree police need help, but this clearly does not solve the problem of police force size, it merely delays the problem. Some suggest having civilians do desk jobs, and put those officers on the streets. Cbanging policy so police focus on violent crime will work. Of course hiring more young officers is beneficial.

Prop C, peace center: Weak No

Having a peace center on alcatraz does sound appealing. But i like history, and i enjoy the alcatraz tour, so losing that does not sound appealing. And since this plan for the peace center is a plan without alot of details, i can not endorse it.