FSP Recommendations for Bay Area Voters

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For information on our national positions on the elections, click here.

A shorter summary of these positions is available at the bottom of this article. You may take the “cheat sheet” into the voting booth with you.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 11

Berta Hernandez is a socialist running for the Board of Supervisors on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket. Hernandez has a good platform which we would like to support, but unfortunately the Left Party she represents has a history of sabotaging efforts to radicalize the mass movements. They consistently favor those who prioritize racial/ethnic group organizing without linking it to the broader working class struggle. As a result, they push for limited reforms, while being dismissive of other socialists. Instead of taking a clear anti-capitalist stand, the Left Party says Jill Stein may be “the best opportunity for independent political action” in some areas. In previous presidential elections, they endorsed non-socialist candidate Ralph Nader as “a relatively credible left challenge.” By promoting the illusion that such candidates offer fundamental change, Hernandez and her party are leading workers into a dead end, so we cannot endorse her.

Prop 55: Extension of Tax Increase on the Wealthy—Vote YES

This extends for 12 years a tax increase on incomes over $250,000 passed in 2012. The $6 billion per year revenue is primarily dedicated to K-12 school and community college funds, and secondarily to healthcare in some years. It omits a sales tax increase included originally. Here’s a school tax we support—a redistribution of economic resources from the rich to support workingclass education. Supported by CA Labor Federation.

Prop 56: Tobacco Tax Increase—Vote NO

This adds a $2.00 per pack tax (for a total of $2.87) on cigarettes, including e-cigarettes. Part of the revenue supports healthcare for low-income residents, which should already be provided by taxes we already pay. We say NO to ‘sin taxes’ that take money out of the pockets the working class and poor. Opposed by Peace & Freedom Party and numerous taxpayer groups. We also oppose SF’s sugary drinks proposition for the same reasons.

Prop 57: Parole for Non-Violent Criminals—Vote YES

This increases parole chances for non-violent felons and allows judges, not prosecutors, to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults. Far too many non-violent ‘offenders’ are incarcerated and far too many young people are imprisoned. This measure would provide more rehabilitation opportunities for both groups. Supported by CA Labor Federation and League of Women Voters CA.

There are two competing death penalty measures; the one with the highest votes will be implemented.

Prop 62: Repeal of the Death Penalty—Vote YES:

Would repeal the state death penalty and change the maximum punishment to life in prison without parole, applicable to those currently sentenced to death. Supported by NAACP, CA Labor Federation and National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Prop 66: Restricts Death Penalty Procedures—Vote NO:

Would tighten controls and restrictions on reviews and appeals in death penalty cases, thus shortening the time from sentencing to execution. Opposed by: Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Latino Justice, CA Labor Federation.

As wrongly-convicted death row radical Mumia Abu-Jamal says, the death penalty is used to instill “terror in the minds of the working class, as a tool of class and racial discipline.” It is also used to intimidate political rebels. Its elimination is a step forward, even though the alternative of life in prison without parole is a cruelty also inflicted unjustly on the poor and people of color. Those who receive a death sentence deserve all the appeals available.

Prop 58: Multilingual Education Act—Vote YES

This repeals the ‘English only’ Prop. 227 passed in 1998. It requires that English learners be provided language education without barring them from bilingual or multilingual instruction. Prop 227 is a racist, anti-immigrant restriction that has caused many students to fail academically or be inappropriately placed in special education programs. Supported by: Chinese for Affirmative Action, SEIU and Am. Federation of Teachers 2121.

Prop 59: Overturn of Citizens United Act—Vote YES

This advisory ballot question asks whether California’s elected officials should use their authority to overturn the U. S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Citizens United gave corporations the same free speech rights as people, barring restrictions on their political spending. This heinous decision unjustly empowers capitalist mega-businesses and needs to be overturned. Supported by Friends of the Earth and CA Labor Federation.

Prop 63: Restrictions on Ammunition Purchases—Vote NO

This prohibits the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and requires individuals to obtain authorization from the California Department of Justice to purchase ammunition. We support the right of working and oppressed people to effectively defend themselves against an inhumane social order that is utterly dependent on armed force to survive. Gun control laws don’t stop violence; disarming the police and dismantling the Pentagon would. Opposed by: Peace & Freedom Party, Jews Can Shoot and Pink Pistols

Prop 64: Marijuana Legalization—Vote YES

This legalizes recreational marijuana (medical marijuana is already legal) and establishes a 15% sales tax, as well as cultivation taxes. There is no rational basis for marijuana prohibition. Despite the regressive taxes in this measure we support it because pot criminalization has provided a pretext for the racist and imperialist ‘war on drugs.’ We call for the full legalization of all drugs under community control and an immediate halt to prison construction. Supported by Youth Justice Coalition, United Food & Commercial Workers and CA Medical Association.

Police Accountability City Measures

Two Propositions, one in Oakland and one in San Francisco purport to address the dire problem of police killings.

Oakland Proposition LL: Creates a Police Commission to Oversee the Oakland Police—Vote YES.

Creates a new Police Commission with civilian commissioners, who are free of ties to the police and are not city employees, that would review policies and provide the Mayor with a list of candidates for Police Chief. It also creates a Police Review Agency to conduct investigations, with the power to recommend discipline to the Police Chief.

SF Proposition G: Police Oversight—Vote NO.

Replaces the Office of Citizens Complaints with Department of Police Accountability to review use-of-force policies and handling of claims of police misconduct. Puts the DPA budget in the hands of the Mayor, not the Police Department. The director is appointed by the Mayor from a list provided by the Police Commission and overseen by the Police Commission.

Both of these Propositions come up short in that they do not create independent oversight of the police. Only an Elected Civilian Review Board, with no ties to the police or city officials, and with the power to fire can have an impact on police departments steeped in racism and violence against the vulnerable. We give critical support to Oakland’s Proposition LL because it is a step in the right direction by using civilian commissioners, barring those with affiliations to the police and city, and by generating the possible candidates for Police Chief. However, we see SF’s Proposition G as a whitewash that is no improvement and recommend a NO Vote.

San Francisco Ballot Propositions

There are four tax or bond measures on the SF ticket that we oppose as regressive taxes, that is those that fall heavier on the poor and working class than on the rich. Working people cannot continue to bear the burdens of society while the rich and corporations avoid taxes, as Donald Trump brags he did with his federal taxes, and as Twitter did in SF in acquiring their headquarters.

  • Proposition A: School Bonds—Vote NO.
  • Proposition RR: BART Improvements—Vote NO.
  • Proposition K: An Increase in the Sales Tax—Vote NO.
  • Proposition V: Tax on Sugary Drink Distributors—Vote NO

There are two tax measures having to do with City College of SF (CCSF); one a progressive tax and one a regressive tax.

  • Proposition W: Real Estate Tax on Properties over $5 million-Vote YES. This raises revenue to cover free tuition at CCSF for city residents. Supported by: SF Labor Council and Community Housing Partnership.
  • Proposition B: City College Parcel Tax—Vote NO. This increases an existing tax by $20 for a total of $99 per parcel per year and extends it eleven more years until 2032. The SF Community College Board initiated this Proposition and says it is targeted for teacher salaries. However, the original tax Proposition (2012 Prop A) was misappropriated by the administration and there is no reason to believe that the same thing won’t happen again.

Two propositions would expand democracy.

  • Proposition F: Youth Voting in Local Elections—Vote YES. This proposition would change the voting age for city elections from 18 years to 16 years. Supported by: Am. Federation of Teachers 2121, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.
  • Proposition N: Non-citizen Voting in School Board Elections—Vote YES. Would allow non-citizen residents with a child in the SF Unified School District to vote for members of the Board of Education. Supported by: San Francisco Labor Council, American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, several officials from United Educators of SF.

Defeat two law & order propositions targeting the poor.

  • Proposition Q: Prohibits Tents on Sidewalks—Vote NO. This allows the destruction of homeless tents pitched on city sidewalks after a 24 hour notice and an offer of a shelter bed. This plan is about shuffling the homeless out of sight. San Francisco’s massive street population needs fundamental solutions like jobs, free public housing and nationalized healthcare. Opposed by: Coalition on Homelessness, Am. Federation of Teachers 2121 and the AIDS Housing Alliance.
  • Proposition R: Neighborhood Crime Unit—Vote NO. This increases the number of cops in high crime areas to protect private property and to target ‘street crimes.’ Given the epidemic of police murders of people of color and the vulnerable this is a dangerous measure. Opposed by: Coalition on Homelessness.

Two Propositions aim to improve services to the vulnerable.

  • Proposition I: Funding for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities—Vote YES. Mandates that a minimum of $38 million be set aside yearly (with increases) from the general fund until 2037 for services for this population. With all the demands on general funds, earmarking an amount for seniors and adults with disabilities ensures they will get some services. Supported by Am. Federation Teachers 2121, SEIU 1021, Centro Latino SF.
  • Proposition J: Funding for Homelessness and Transportation—Vote YES. Allocates $50 million per year for 24 years from the general fund for homeless services and $101.6 million for transportation improvements. This supports important causes without relying on increased taxes. Supported by: San Francisco Council of Community Housing Organizations

Two Propositions that reflect the gentrification drive in our city.

  • Proposition U: Housing Requirements for Market Rate Development Projects—Vote NO. Increases the income eligibility for new and existing rental units to make them affordable to those earning 110% of area median income. This pro-developer Proposition will reduce the stock of low income housing and would increase evictions from existing units. Enough profits for property developers; poor and working people need affordable housing! Opposed by: Am. Federation of Teachers 2121, SF Labor Council, United Educators SF.
  • Proposition O: Office Development in Candlestick Point and Hunters Point—Vote NO. Allows new office construction to exceed the city limits in an area neighboring a historically Black neighborhood. This favors profits from industrial development over building housing units, especially affordable housing. Another money grubbing scheme by a developer. Opposed by: San Francisco Tenants Union, PODER

Bay Area Candidate and Ballot Measure Cheat Sheet

You may take this into the voting booth with you.

President & Vice President

Write in Jeff Mackler for president and Karen Schraufnagel for vice president (Socialist Action)

California

Proposition 55: Extension of the personal income tax increases on incomes over $250,000 that were passed in 2012 to fund education and healthcare. Vote YES

Proposition 56: Increases the tax on tobacco by $2.00/pack. Vote NO

Proposition 57: Increases parole and good behavior opportunities for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes and allows judges, not prosecutors, to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults. Vote YES

Proposition 58: Repeals Proposition 227, thus allowing non-English languages to be used in public education. Vote YES

Proposition 59: Encourages the state’s elected officials to use their authority to overturn the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Vote YES

Proposition 62: Repeals the death penalty; life without parole would be the maximum punishment for murder. Vote YES

Proposition 63: Requires background check and Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition. Prohibits the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. Vote NO

Proposition 64: Legalizes recreational use of marijuana and imposes state taxes on sales and cultivation. Vote YES

Proposition 66: Changes and restricts the procedures governing state court appeals and petitions that challenge death penalty convictions and sentences. Vote NO

Bay Area BART District

Proposition RR: Authorizes $3.5 billion in bonds for BART improvements to be repaid through an increase in property taxes. Vote NO

Oakland

Proposition LL: Creates a civilian Police Commission and a Police Review Agency to conduct investigations. Vote YES

San Francisco

Proposition A: Approval for a $744,250,000 bond for rehabbing city schools; adds $1.59 per $100,000 of assessed value to property taxes. Vote NO

Proposition B: Increases an existing parcel tax and extends it for eleven more years to pay City College of San Francisco faculty and staff salaries. Vote NO

Proposition F: Changes the voting age for city elections from 18 years to 16 years. Vote YES.

Proposition G: Replaces the Office of Citizens Complaints with Department of Police Accountability to review use-of-force policies and claims of police misconduct. Vote NO

Proposition I: Earmarks funds from the general fund for seniors and adults with disabilities. Vote YES

Proposition J: Earmarks funds from the general fund for the homeless and for transportation. Vote YES

Proposition K: Raises the sales tax by 0.75% to 9.25%. Vote NO

Proposition N: Allows non-citizen residents to vote for members of the Board of Education. Vote YES

Proposition O: Allows construction of new office space at Candlestick Point and Hunters Point to exceed annual city limits. Vote NO

Proposition Q: Allows the destruction of homeless tents pitched on city sidewalks. Vote NO

Proposition R: Increases the number of cops in high crime areas to protect private property. Vote NO

Proposition U: Makes higher wage workers eligible for affordable housing. Vote NO

Proposition V: Imposes a tax on sugary drink distributors. Vote NO

Proposition W: Raises the real estate tax on properties over $5 million to cover free tuition at City College of San Francisco. Vote YES

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