Club Endorsements: President, SFUSD School Board, CCSF College Board, BART Board, California and San Francisco Ballot Propositions

Our membership has voted, and the United Democratic Club is proud to announce our endorsements for President and Vice President of the United States, SFUSD School Board, CCSF College Board, BART Board, California state propositions, and local San Francisco propositions.

We announced our endorsements in the San Francisco Supervisor races last month. You can access those endorsement recommendations here.

U.S. President and Vice President: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

This ticket includes the best candidates to build the nation back stronger by ending the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing us back to a healthy, thriving economy following the crippling recession we’re currently in and the resulting double digit unemployment, and pushing forward the momentum and movements of societal change and equity that have followed the murder of George Floyd. The United Democratic Club is proud to endorse Biden/Harris 2020.

San Francisco School Board: Michelle Parker, Jenny Lam, Alida Fisher, Matt Alexander

A Bay Area native and second-generation Chinese American, Jenny Lam is currently a member of the SF Board of Education, as well as Mayor London Breed’s Education Advisor. Jenny is an experienced community advocate and education leader. She fought for greater student educational opportunities through leadership positions in Chinese for Affirmative Action, GirlVentures and Oakland Asian Students Educational Services. In a short time on the Board of Education, Jenny has increased internet access, added more social workers and allocated more funding to help SF’s poorest and most vulnerable families. The United Democratic Club looks forward to continuing its partnership with Jenny so that every child can feel that school is a safe and welcoming place where they can succeed academically, as well as socially and emotionally.

As a longtime teacher and principal in SFUSD, and a 25-year San Franciscan who raised his children in the City, Matt Alexander has a deep understanding of how the school district works. Matt also serves on the Leadership Council of Immigrants Rising, a national organization that empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals, and co-founded June Jordan School for Equity (JJSE), a small, innovative public high school focused on inquiry-based learning, strong social-emotional supports, and building student leadership to affect positive change. Matt’s clear track record of educational innovation, fostering democratic decision-making, and organizing for real change make him an outstanding choice for School Board.

Alida Fisher is a mother of four children and a highly effective student advocate for years. In the twelve years her children have attended public school, Lee has been an active parent and volunteer at seven SFUSD schools. She serves as chair of the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education, as a member of the district’s African American Parent Advisory Committee, and as a Parent Mentor with Support for Families of Children with Disabilities. Alida’s record of passionate dedication to students, in particular those with special needs, make her a standout candidate for School Board.

CCSF College Board: Tom Temprano, Aliya Chisti, Victor Olivieri, Jeanette Quick

Born and raised in San Francisco, Aliya Chisti oversees the Free City College Program at the San Francisco Department of Children Youth and Their Families (DCYF). She has experience in the education field, working for former SF Board of Supervisors Board President Malia Cohen, United States Senator Patty Murray, and as a Fulbright Scholar appointed by President Barack Obama. Aliya’s campaign platform focuses on City College accessibility and opportunity for growth, transparency within the administration, and growing the awareness and community of City College of San Francisco. Additionally, if elected, Aliya will be the first Muslim woman to serve in elected office in San Francisco. We strongly endorse Aliya Chisti and encourage you to learn more about her campaign by visiting: aliyachisti.org.

Dr. Victor Olivieri is an immigrant, a US Army veteran, and a college professor. As an active leader within the California Democratic Party, he served as Co-Chair to the CA Democratic Party Resolutions Committee and worked on over 600 resolutions since 2016. Victor has experience in the operations of a large college, serving as Chief of Staff to Office of the Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor at the University of California, and being responsible for overseeing college budgets and building partnerships within the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Victor’s upbringing and experience provides a unique perspective in governing the college. We strongly endorse Victor and encourage you to learn more about his campaign by visiting: victorforsf.com.

Jeanette Quick is an attorney with 15-year career fighting for consumer protection and student rights, and as a specialist in financial regulation. Jeanette is also City College student of several years who knows firsthand what’s at stake at CCSF, and what is needed to end decades of financial mismanagement, stabilize funding sources, and ensure sustainable accreditation. City College, as one of the largest community colleges in the country, is an integral part of the lives of nearly 60,000 San Franciscans, and needs strong leadership and a clear vision to prosper. Jeanette Quick fits the bill. Learn more about Jeanette’s campaign at: https://www.votejeanette.com/

BART Board, District 7: Lateefah Simon

Lateefah is currently President of the Akonadi Foundation, an Oakland organization that funds and nurtures racial justice movement building to eliminate structural racism and expand opportunity for youth of color. Born legally blind, Lateefah has never driven a car and depends on BART everyday to get to work and take her daughter to school. Her priorities for BART are affordability, accessibility, and accountability for transit-dependent people and working families. We strongly endorse Lateefah Simon and encourage you to learn more about her campaign by visiting: https://www.lateefahforbart.com.

BART Board, District 9 : No Endorsement

California State Propositions

Proposition 14 renews California’s commitment to science by authorizing $5.5 billion in bonds for stem cell research and therapy development, with $1.5 billion dedicated to brain-related diseases. This measure builds on progress made by research funded by 2004’s Proposition 71 and continues California’s leadership in medicine and science.

The United Democratic Club believes in evidence-based public health practices and policies, and it is proud to support continued stem cell research and endorse YES on Proposition 14.

Proposition 15, Schools and Communities First: YES

The United Democratic Club is eager to support the Schools and Communities First measure, which will bring badly needed changes to the way we tax commercial properties, ensure that corporations pay their fair share, and allocate those proceeds to local school districts and local governments. Before COVID-19 this was already an urgent need, with Californian per-pupil spending being 39th in the nation. Now with COVID-19 and the ensuing Trump-triggered recession, the need to fill the hole in our local education budgets is even greater. Vote YES on Prop 15 and say yes to ending this corporate property tax loophole.

Proposition 16, End the Ban on Affirmative Action: YES

Proposition 16 is a constitutional amendment that would repeal Proposition 209, passed in 1996, from the California Constitution. Proposition 209 stated that discrimination and preferential treatment were prohibited in public employment, public education, and public contracting on account of a person’s or group’s race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Therefore, Proposition 209 banned the use of affirmative action involving race-based or sex-based preferences in California. Affirmative action promotes equal opportunity for women and people of color. Women and people of color are paid less, given fewer chances to access higher education, and are denied job opportunities. Affirmative action works to level the playing field by allowing the state to consider race and gender–without quotas–when making decisions about state contracts, hiring and education to eliminate systemic discrimination. We recommend YES on Prop. 16.

Proposition 17, Parolee Voting: YES

The United Democratic Club strongly urges a YES vote on Proposition 17, an amendment to the California Constitution that would allow people who are on parole to be re-enfranchised with the right to vote. In keeping with the club’s core value of upholding civic engagement and encouraging participation in our democracy, we believe it is integral to the survival of our democracy that we re-enfranchise those individuals who have served their time and have been released on parole. Additionally, we believe that this will serve as an effective way to more fully re-integrate those who have been in prison back into society.

Proposition 18, 17-Year-Old Voting Age: YES

Proposition 18 would allow 17-year-olds who will turn 18 years old by the time of the next November general election to vote in primary and special elections. This would allow young first-time voters to participate in a full election cycle, giving them the opportunity to amplify their voices in presidential primaries and shape the choices that they will be voting on in the November general elections. The United Democratic Club believes in robust civic engagement by all, especially young people, and this measure empowers their civic voice and participation in our community and political processes. Vote YES on Proposition 18.

Proposition 19, Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters: YES

Proposition 19, as well as ACA 11, expands Prop. 13 property tax portability for homeowners over 55 years old, people with severe disabilities, and wildfire victims (in other words, it allows these homeowner’s to transfer their current property tax rate when selling their home and buying a new one). It also restricts the ability of those who inherit homes to also inherit the lower tax payments when the home is not used as a principal residence — and only on the first $1M between the home’s original purchase price and its market value. This updated initiative could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue for local governments and school districts without raising property taxes and allocates additional revenue resulting from the measure into a dedicated Fire Response Fund, as well as opening up more housing inventory in California by incentivizing older Californians to downsize or move. We recommend YES on Prop. 19.

Proposition 20, Tougher Rules on Parole, Property Crimes: NO

Law enforcement agencies largely funded this campaign to exclude certain categories of those convicted of crimes from early parole consideration. Specifically, it allows prosecutors to charge repeat or organized petty theft as a felony, requires probation officers to seek tougher penalties for parole violators, and excludes those convicted of domestic violence and certain nonviolent crimes. The United Democratic Club supports criminal justice reform and this “tough on crime” measure would only undo the progress already made. We recommend NO on Prop. 20.

Proposition 21, Expanded Rent Control: NO ENDORSEMENT

The United Democratic Club supports rent control, but Proposition 21 is a re-attempt by notorious SoCal NIMBY Michael Weinstein to repeal Costa Hawkins, passed by the California Legislature in the 1990s. Unlike Proposition 10 in 2018, this attempt is a more reasonable measure that allows cities to add new rent control housing 15 years after a new building is completed. While the measure does have details that make it far more reasonable than the 2018 proposal, we’d prefer to see how Asm. David Chiu’s AB 1482, which created state-wide rental control, plays out in practice before going to the ballot again. We have NO ENDORSEMENT on Prop. 21.

Proposition 22, Classifies App-Based Drivers as Self-Employed: NO

Current California state law requires Uber and other app companies to provide their drivers with certain rights and protections. Proposition 22 is a ballot measure organized by Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Postmates and DoorDash that is aimed at denying drivers certain rights and protections, including unemployment benefits, paid sick leave and workers compensation. Prop 22 also exempts these companies from contributing to Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance programs on behalf of their drivers. Per a recent survey, most gig workers in San Francisco are people of color and many are immigrants, and we believe they deserve rights, protections and economic security. Vote NO on Proposition 22 to protect these vulnerable workers.

Proposition 23, Regulates Dialysis Clinics: NO ENDORSEMENT

Proponents of this controversial measure say it will protect dialysis patients by increasing regulation of the roughly 600 dialysis clinics in California, though critics say it would increase costs and cause some clinics to close. It would require dialysis providers to have an on-site physician, report data to the state and federal government on dialysis-related infections, get the state health department’s consent before closing a clinic, and prohibit insurance discrimination. Approximately 80,000 patients across California must receive dialysis treatment three times a week. SEIU-UHW appears to be the biggest proponent, while nearly 100 groups, including the California Medical Association, patient advocacy and veteran’s groups, and dialysis providers oppose the proposition, believing it would increase costs and worsen the doctor shortage. This boils down to a battle between private clinic operators and the union. We have NO ENDORSEMENT on Prop. 23.

Proposition 24, Stronger Consumer Privacy Laws: NO ENDORSEMENT

This measure seeks to regulate businesses’ use of consumer data and allow consumers to opt out of data collection. Proponents argue that it gives consumers more direct control of their data and allows them to choose which characteristics can or cannot be used for ad targeting, and requires protections for minors. Opponents argue that it contains many loopholes, may make it more difficult in some cases for firms to offer free services, and that privacy is a tricky area of regulation not suited for ballot initiatives. In general it is difficult to create privacy protections that do more than adding another box to check to access content, without being so burdensome as to suffocate the advertising-supported web. It’s unclear where this initiative will fall on that spectrum. We have NO ENDORSEMENT on Prop. 24.

Proposition 25, End Cash Bail: YES

Proposition 25 replaces the current money bail system with a system based on public safety and flight risk determinations, and it would limit detention in jail before trial for most misdemeanors. This eliminates a system where the wealthy can walk free until trial when poor people, often Black and Brown people, languish in jail (and lose income and potentially their jobs) or fall prey to unscrupulous for-profit bail bond companies. The current cash bail system is racist and unjust, essentially making poverty a jailable offense, while a new risk assessment system, if done correctly, would promote public safety and racial justice. The United Democratic Club supports rooting out racism from our criminal justice system, and strongly supports a YES on Prop. 25.

San Francisco City and County Ballot Measures

Prop A is a $487.5 million dollar bond that will not raise taxes. Funds will go towards public health and homelessness programs, as well as neighborhood parks projects. Even before the pandemic, San Francisco was in short supply of permanent supportive housing and substance use disorder facilities. Homelessness and mental health resources are even more important now, and so are the jobs that will be immediately created to build and staff the facilities. Because the city is asking voters to approve these new bond expenditures only as old bonds are paid off, the effective tax rate paid by homeowners will remain the same as it has been since 2006. The club supports allocating resources to making our city a more beautiful and compassionate place to live. We recommend YES on Prop. A.

Proposition B, Department of Sanitation and Streets, Sanitation and Streets Commission, and Public Works Commission: NO

No one in San Francisco would argue that the City gets an A+ for clean streets or transparent government. Prop B aims to address these issues, but the policy prescription comes up short. Prop B would split apart the Department of Public Works (DPW) into two different agencies, creating a new Department of Sanitation and Streets responsible for street cleaning, sidewalk maintenance, and sanitation (all duties currently vested with DPW), and 10 new commission positions to oversee it. Giving a government agency a new name doesn’t make it a more effective service provider. And while the SF Controller’s Office recommended instituting proper protocols to decrease corruption and increasing staff capacity for following them, this policy just adds more bureaucracy into the mix. Not to mention, the new department would cost the city between $2.5 to $6 million annually in increased expenditures. Prop B creates additional costs for the City without addressing the root causes of corruption and unclean streets. We recommend NO on Prop. B.

Proposition C, Removing Citizenship Requirements for Members of City Bodies: YES

This proposition will allow non-citizens to serve on San Francisco commissions which oversee city agencies and departments. With the passage of this proposition, San Francisco will be the first U.S. city to allow undocumented residents to serve on city commissions. All Californians, including aspiring citizens, can serve on state commissions thanks to Governor Newsom signing SB 225 into law. It’s time to make that level of equity and representation the case for the boards and commissions in the city and county of San Francisco as well. We recommend YES On Prop. C.

Proposition D, Sheriff Oversight Commission: YES

Proposition D will establish the Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board make recommendations to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on department operations, jail conditions, and use of force policy. In addition, it will create the Sheriff’s Department Office of Inspector General to investigate non-criminal misconduct by employees and in-custody deaths, as well as conduct community outreach prior to recommending policy changes to the Sheriff and Board of Supervisors. This proposition helps to establish transparency, oversight and accountability of the Sheriff’s Department and was submitted to the ballot by unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors. We recommend YES on Prop. D.

Proposition E, Police Staffing Levels: YES

Mandatory police staffing levels were arbitrarily set in 1994 at 1,971 officers, and does not account for the needs of our city. This proposition will remove the outdated mandatory minimum and implement a data-driven process to determine staffing levels requiring the San Francisco Police Department to submit a report and recommendation for police staffing levels every two years to the Police Commission, and require the Commission to consider the report when approving SFPD’s budget. This process will allow for public input into regularly assessing how effective the department is meeting the needs of the community. We recommend YES on Prop. E.

Proposition F, Business Tax Overhaul: YES

The Mayor and the Board of Supervisors collaborated to find a solution to unlock revenue that is currently tied up in litigation. Prop F will allow The City to spend revenue from two 2018 voter-approved tax measures for childcare and homeless services that has been collected, but not spent due to litigation. Prop F will also end the city’s payroll tax, and replace it with a revenue-neutral gross receipts tax. That’s important since payroll taxes are regressive: on average, low- and moderate-income taxpayers pay more of their incomes in payroll tax than do high-income people. The measure also provides tax relief for small businesses and industries that have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including restaurants, retail, manufacturing, arts organizations, and hotels. Prop F provides much-needed funding for our priorities during the pandemic, and helps to balance the budget in future years. Vote YES on Prop. F.

Proposition G, Youth Voting in Local Elections: YES

Proposition G will extend voting rights for 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in local municipal elections. In an era where voter participation is the difference between progressing our country forward or holding it further back, ensuring our youth’s voices are heard marks a potential milestone for our city. Studies have shown that 16 and 17-year-olds have the same level of civic knowledge as 21-year-olds. This past summer, we saw 16 and 17-year-olds marching in the streets for racial justice and equity. It’s time we give them an additional voice — by allowing them to vote in local elections. We proudly endorse YES on Prop. G and encourage you to learn more by visiting: vote16sf.org.

Proposition H, Streamlining City Permitting to Save Our Small Businesses: YES

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting recession has dealt San Francisco’s small businesses a crushing blow, and voters must act now to ensure our small businesses and merchant corridors, the heart and soul of the City, don’t go out of business forever, impacting the livelihood and investment of numerous small business owners, workers and impacted families. This measure will streamline permitting within each neighborhood’s unique zoning requirements to help existing small businesses adapt to the new realities of operating during the pandemic, and make it easier to start new businesses, too. The club supports small businesses and strongly recommends YES on Prop. H.

Proposition I, Real Estate Transfer Tax: NO

Proposition I is a poorly written tax that makes it even more expensive to build housing in San Francisco. This doubles the transfer tax on all real estate transactions above $10 million. If this were truly tax on luxury mansions, as proponents claim, we would be in support. Unfortunately, it is nearly the opposite of that. The vast majority of luxury mansions, those under $10M, would be exempted, while multifamily housing would be taxed. In particular housing development would be hit, as developers would pay the tax twice, first when purchasing a parcel and again when selling it. This includes affordable housing as well as for-profit. The housing development process is already highly taxed through impact fees and development agreements, so this could very well make projects infeasible to pursue and exacerbate the housing shortage. We urge you to vote NO on Prop. I.

Proposition J, Parcel Tax for San Francisco Unified School District: YES

In June 2018, SF voters passed Proposition G that would institute a $320 parcel tax that would help fund teacher salaries. Though it passed with 61% of the vote, the tax revenue is held up in litigation on whether Prop G had to pass by a 2/3rds supermajority.

Prop J will replace that existing parcel tax that the City Controller is currently collecting but can’t release it until the lawsuit is over. If passed with 2/3rds majority, this will help close SFUSD’s budget gap by as much as 57%. This measure will increase teacher wages to keep up with San Francisco’s high cost living while preventing deeper budget cuts that would be to the detriment of student learning and educational outcomes. We recommend YES on J.

Proposition K, Affordable Housing Authorization: YES

The United Democratic Club supports Prop K but wishes it actually did something to create more subsidized affordable housing. This proposal is merely a claim that San Francisco should build another 10,000 additional subsidized affordable housing units. At the end of the day, this is a meaningless increase because we haven’t capped out yet, and would prefer the political energy be put behind Senator Wiener’s efforts to repeal Article 34 from the state’s constitution. We’re ultimately in favor, just like we’re in favor of puppies and sunny days.

Proposition L, Overpaid CEO Tax: NO

Proposition L is a misguided proposal that will have no impact whatsoever on reducing income inequality, and is more likely to cause economic harm to low and middle-income workers than to overpaid CEOs. For any company doing business in San Francisco, the Proposal adds an additional tax if the ratio of CEO total compensation versus that of the median worker in the City is greater than 100:1. In spite of proponents’ presumption that it is a modest tax, impacted businesses — particularly in a severe economic downturn — are left with a clear incentive to minimize their exposure to this tax through a variety of means, including outsourcing or relocating workers outside of San Francisco, as is already common practice for many companies in the Bay Area. Further disruption to jobs will hurt low-workers at a time when they can least afford it, and the City should not put those workers at risk for the revenue that this proposal purports to generate. Moreover, recent academic research has concluded that tax policy changes have no effect on CEO compensation. The worst economic crisis in 100 years is not the time to disincentivize jobs in our city. Vote NO on Prop L.

Proposition RR, Caltrain Sales Tax: YES

Transit agencies have been devastated by COVID-19, especially Caltrain with its heavy reliance on rider fares for funding. This ⅛ cent sales tax across the three counties Caltrain serves will prevent a total halt in Caltrain service. Additionally, post-pandemic the revenue from this measure will allow Caltrain to expand service, reduce fares for low-income riders, and will replace the $15.6 million per year that SFMTA currently contributes to Caltrain, leaving SFMTA with much-needed funds for its own recovery. Allowing our transit systems to fail during this recession would have devastating long-term repercussions for our region, both environmentally and economically. For all these reasons, the United Democratic Club strongly recommends YES on Proposition RR.

We are an inclusive and progressive group of Democrats who believe that everyone should have a place in San Francisco.