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Posts Tagged 'Ed Lee'

Is The Party Over In San Francisco?

As I travel around San Francisco every day I’ve been noticing changes that aren’t looking very good anymore and I’m beginning to believe the party is over.

People aren’t smiling anymore. People aren’t going out as much anymore. People talk more about how tough it is to live here than how great it is to live here. These are signs that there is a shift in San Francisco happening. I do run into people that aren’t like this, but they tend to be older and in more traditional careers that treat their employees like, well, employees. These are usually older people in their mid 40’s at least who have a job that isn’t usually tied to the tech industry and and have lived here for a long time so they’ve got themselves a good set up. Maybe they were able to buy a house when a person could actually buy a house who wasn’t a millionaire. 20 years ago when my wife and I got married we could have bought a house for $200,000. It would have been small, but it still would have been better than some of the apartments that people are living in now that a little more than oversized porta-potties.

Jobs now in the city are paying less at a time when money is worth less unless you’re a programmer which then makes you salaried with little time off to enjoy the things in the City. Even back in 2010 I was being offered jobs at almost twice what the same jobs are going for today. There are a proliferation of contractor positions, but those jobs treat you more like an employee without the benefits and contractor jobs used to pay better than employee positions because they could drop you at any time. Now contractor positions pay less and give you set hours to work and if you take a sick day then be careful because they’ll probably drop you for not doing your job. That’s not the way contractor positions are supposed to work, but very few people are making enough money to take these companies to court since lawyers aren’t very cheap.

The people I’ve noticed who aren’t suffering as much are construction workers, school bus and muni drivers, firemen, police. These are jobs that are more traditional in that you’re paid reasonably with benefits, time off, paid overtime. Personally I’d give up the free lunch and snacks for an extra couple of bucks an hour because I can bring my lunch or buy it cheaper and it’s usually better tasting and better for me. I met a guy worked for our local garbage collectors. He’s making $27/hour and told me the garbage truck drivers make $47/hour. OK, you have to deal with rats and garbage, but that’s a better living than a graphic designer with a Master’s degree being offer a job for $17/hour by a startup as a contractor [ok, not all are like that, but there’s quite a few out there]. Of course there are the doctors and lawyers which there are a lot of in San Francisco as well as health care workers who also make decent salaries. These are the people who smile now. These are the ones that go out to dinner on the weekends and sometimes even during the week. They have the money and time on their hands to really appreciate the City.

I laughingly remember five years ago when I’d pick up kids fresh out of college who would say things like, My Dad got me an apartment and gave me his credit card and is giving me a year to make it in San Fran. Oh joy, Daddy just paid for a year long spring break and my right hand twitched in a smacking motion because they said San Fran [side note: I would even accept Frisco over San Fran]. These people were always going out to a bar or some nightclub every night of the week and they were always asking for a bottle of water in the mornings because they were so hung over from the night before. These people are gone now. I called them long term tourists because I knew they were going to go back home eventually.

Things like that have to happen in order to keep San Francisco what it is, so while even I am struggling to get by right now I know for me it will eventually get better because I was born and raised here and have been through this before. I can handle it. I know where to get a burrito for less than $15 or not spend $4 or more for toast. I don’t take Uber or Lyft to work everyday or order gourmet artisanal food delivered from one of the new food delivery startups that pops up every other week.

San Francisco will never return to the old days and by old days that depends on your age. My Mom isn’t around anymore to remind me she used to pay 5¢ for a candy bar. I find myself starting to say things like that, but it’s more like I remember going out to a bar with $20 for the evening and coming home with change…and I used to drink a lot.

Change is good, but change can also be painful. Let’s hope this leads to something better in the end.

San Francisco “Convenience Fees”

This has been sitting in the back of my head for sometime and managed to make its way to the front last night. San Francisco government seems to think that they are doing you a favor by letting you pay your property tax and parking tickets, etc. by charging you an additional fee to so online. In my mind this is garbage as they are saving money while charging you more money for helping them save money.

I am not a big enough political entity to in turn charge them back a convenience fee for the hassle of me filling out a check and dropping it in the mailbox so that they can then spend more money to have several individuals process the check that if paid on the web would all be handled mechanically without a person having to touch any of it.

This is a nonsensical process that needs to stop. I would like to call upon our illustrious Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors to correct this problem. By paying online the electronic payment is much more convenient for not only the payer, but more importantly for the payee. This is a system that makes life easier for our government more so than for the citizens of San Francisco.

Unemployment now is paid onto a debit card which you can go online and set up so that the payment is automatically transferred to your bank account a several days sooner than if they mailed you a check and you deposited it into your bank. This makes sense. San Francisco Government needs to move into the 20th century even though we are now in the 21st century.

San Francisco government needs to progress, not regress.

Is Rose Pak Racist?

Rose has been getting a lot of attention lately in her support for our Mayor Ed Lee. She may need to to think before she speaks though. She was quoted as saying, I want to help MY community. To me that is wrong. It’s about THE community not a person’s racial community. If I were to say oh, I don’t know, I want to support the white people then someone would invoke Godwin’s Law and link me with Hitler and the KKK.

Rose Pak, the Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce is fighting to help her people in Chinatown. I respect that. Chinatown needs help. It’s broken down in many places and needs a big upgrade, but at the same time to focus on a very small group of people who have very little political clout [not Klout] her efforts sound a bit like Don Quixote. If you want to get the Chinese vote in San Francisco, you have to get out of Chinatown where there are very few registered voters. If you want the Chinese vote you need to go places like the Richmond or the Sunset District. THAT is where the Chinese voters are.

This is actually beside the point. Rose Pak’s work to me is dividing San Francisco. There is no political person of another race in San Francisco who is trying to give political power to their race other than Rose Pak. OK, she’s friends with Willie Brown, but that’s from a political perspective. I have yet to hear about Rose and Willie having a meet up that didn’t involve tea and Chinese food. Rose has been referred to by many as the Iron Queen of Chinese Politics. That’s fine if you’re in China, but she’s not. She’s in San Francisco which is a part of America and in my mind we should all be American’s first and what other culture you’ve come from second.

I learned this when talking to a friend from Ireland. I told him I was Italian and Austrian and he said, I thought you were American? Well I am, but my family came from Italy and Austria, granted that was a couple of hundred years ago and I can barely speak German and my Italian is atrocious. I do like spaghetti and spaetzle, but I also like to eat a burrito or Indian food and I don’t focus on the color of a person’s skin unless that’s their only motivation for getting up in the morning.

Rose would do best to help THE community of San Francisco than to just focus on the Chinese. Chinese already make up 33% of San Francisco’s population. I think you’ve done a good job, now it’s time to move on work on helping the other 67%.

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Sour Grapes

Well the election is over and while John Avalos refuses to issue a concession speech I have to say that I don’t think the rank choice voting method is a good thing. Moderates hate it, Progressives love it yet it turns out my prediction yesterday was off. We had to go through 11 rounds to elect Ed Lee who will probably still have to face up to voter fraud that of course was no fault of his own, but the fault of his supporters who helped elderly Chinese voters vote for him.

I’m not sure if you can really consider an area that occupies roughly an eight block radius as the tipping point for vote. While one third of San Francisco is Chinese, not all of them are U.S. citizens with a right to vote. I’m sure that the majority of Chinatown has less U.S. citizens which would make them have even less voting power. You have more Chinese U.S. citizens in the Sunset and Richmond district, so to me the Chinatown vote to get Chinese voters is irrelevant. If anything the Chinese voter power play should have been in the Sunset district which is the largest district with the largest Chinese population.

The appointed mayor who is now an elected mayor has done a decent job. Once he decided to run things changed in my opinion. Of the 850,000 people in San Francisco only 16.6% voted for mayor. That is a dismal turn out especially when you have groups of people literally forcing people to vote and telling them how to vote. At this point I’m almost thinking that we need a Tony Hall ass kicking to change this city.

I have in the past been attacked by people who back RCV trying to show me that it’s a good thing, but we still have people working to count the last remaining ballots to determine that indeed there is no one else that is going to beat Ed Lee’s 61% lead. If so that would mean more than 100% of the people voted which we already know isn’t possible when only 16.99% of the population voted. I suppose I should feel honored when people from the other side of the country are writing to me telling me my thinking is wrong. Actually, I do. That means I have some real clout in the United States. Not like Klout on the internet.

Now that the election is over I would like to ask our newly elected Mayor Ed Lee to step up and lead the people…all of the people and not show any partisanship to any particular racial group in San Francisco. I also think that he should consider using John Avalos as an advisor since he pulled 38% in the end and you certainly want the thoughts of 38% of the San Francisco voters on your side. Yes, I admit that I was one of the #AnyoneButEdLee group and that’s a large number of people in San Francisco, but I guess we were all split on who to vote for so we watered down a battle waged on 16 fronts.

Rose Pak, Willie Brown, let’s sit down and have some tea and talk about San Francisco I have a lovely dim sum place in Chinatown in mind. 😉

The Election!

Yesterday was election day and now due to ranked choice voting [RCV] we still have no idea who the new Mayor is. Ed Lee taking 31% has started to hint at a victory, but he doesn’t realize that RCV favors the far left more than the conservative democrats in this city. If you look at the list the bottom is pulled and the second and third choice are added to the ballot. Most of the bottom rung candidates are what San Francisco likes to call, Progressives.

In some cases I think anarchists might even be better. There are eight write in candidates and I haven’t heard of even one of their names. My biggest shock was that Terry Joan Baum actually got more votes in the first round than Mr. Reset San Francisco Phil Ting. I guess we like things just the way they are. As the far left is weeded out we’ll eventually start to see the far left moving a little more to the right and my prediction is that Supervisor John Avalos’ name will start to pop up.

I believe this to be especially true when the second and third choice votes for Cesar Ascarrunz are divided up. I was surprised to see that Cesar was running again after all the years he’s consistently run and lost. He has pulled a bit of the latin vote in SF over the years and the fact that our number two in the first round has a last name of Avalos and is a latino will probably help him out. Avalos came in second in the first round with only 18% of the votes. This was surprising to me even though I offered my endorsement to him since I did not receive one piece of political junk mail from him which makes him very green so I’ll assume that several of Terry Joan Baum’s second and third choice voters will go to him.

Dennis Hererra sent out an email yesterday that almost read like a concession speech. As I mentioned in my last post that initially I liked Dennis until the smear campaign started. Again, I don’t like smear campaigns because they don’t focus on the candidate, but more on what the other candidates are doing wrong. John Avalos took the high road. Ed Lee has acted like a rockstar without a band. He took a Ted Nugent attitude and just assumed because he was the mayor he would get the spot. Senator Leland Yee who was all over the place talking about how wonderful he was until he found it better to stop talking about himself and start focusing on how Ed Lee was a traitor to the cause came in the first round with very disappointing 8.93%. I guess I won’t be seeing him at the Tennesse Grill anytime soon.

I do not like ranked choice voting because of the fact that it is now the day after the election and we still have people counting votes in overtime. We still don’t know who the mayor is as well as the sheriff or district attorney. We may not know for up to a week as people work overtime to count and recount the ballots and then when it is announced we’ll have people crying foul! which could carry this on for over a month. If we had the standard voting method with a run off it would take a couple of days for the decision. Granted, there would be time in between, but then people would be able to get on with their lives. San Francisco needs a fix and we need it fast. So now I unofficially ask you to vote in a run off. Ed Lee or John Avalos. Who would you choose. Any other comments will be deleted.

Ranked Choice Voting: I don’t like it

This is the first #SFMayor election that will use ranked choice voting. I never liked it for the supervisor elections and I don’t like for the mayoral race and now I’m going to tell you why. First, I cite Oakland who had Jean Quan elected as mayor that was a dark horse from the start. I won’t knock her or Oakland because I don’t live there, but it was obvious from the news reports that they were all reacting as if Chicken John became mayor. The second reason is that ranked choice voting hasn’t been explained very well. If you like one candidate and no others don’t vote for them as your first, second and third choice. You vote will be disqualified. Even if you put the same name down for two categories your vote will be disqualified. This lowers the amount of people who will be able to vote because not everyone knows that rule [thank you Michela Alioto-Pier for pointing that out at one of the debates]. I was informed that the previous statement was incorrect. That you could put the same name down for all three, but if your first choice makes the cut your other votes won’t count again. So if you have three people that you would like to see as mayor vote for three, but you can just put one name or the same for all three.

Bruce Reyes Chow [@breyeschow] who also endorses John Avalos has challenged me to list my second and third choices and I am taking him up on that challenge. It is a difficult one because it’s more about who I don’t want than who I do want. Let’s look at who I don’t want as mayor first:

  1. Mayor Ed Lee: He became mayor by choice of the former mayor Gavin Newsom and the board of supervisors because said he would not run again for mayor, yet he has gone against the premise that got him into office and is now running for mayor. He has gone back on his word and I cannot vote for a man who cannot keep a promise.
  2. Senator Leland Yee: I cannot vote for a man who calls me a racist. As I tweeted yesterday he or one of his minions used the hashtag #racism in a comment to me speaking out in favor of AB376 the ban on shark fin sales in California because he feels it is a threat against an Asian cultural tradition. It isn’t at all. It’s against an Chinese cultural tradition, that should be put aside because of the damage it is causing to the world’s oceans. It is a Chinese cultural tradition just like foot binding and eating of dogs that has been cast away in the U.S. and most parts of China. I cannot vote for a person who plays the race card when what I speak of is about conservation and ecology and not race. I also don’t like the fact that he filed to run as Mayor of San Francisco a week after being re-elected to the Senate. This makes me think that he sees being a Senator less valuable than being the mayor of San Francisco. There was also the shoplifting arrest in Honolulu that he talked his way out of along with being pulled over for cruising Capp street under suspicion of looking for prostitutes. One thing I know about Capp street is that if you aren’t in a band heading to rehearsal space you’re either there for hookers or drugs.
  3. Phil Ting: I cannot vote for a man who wants to reset San Francisco beyond his abilities. He wants to repeal Proposition 13 as Mayor of San Francisco to make housing more affordable. Prop 13 is a state law that the Mayor of San Francisco can speak out about, but not change.  He also misses the point that while San Francisco is listed in the top 10 expensive cities to live in, it is only one of two cities in California under Prop 13. New York, Miami, and Honolulu being the top three all in states with no Prop 13, but they do have addition school taxes to help students that California doesn’t.
  4. Bevan Dufty: He’s on my not sure list. He has worked for the underdog for most of his political career. He worked for Shirley Chisolm and Billie Holiday was his godmother. He seems like an alright guy, but I don’t see anything outstanding that makes me lean in his direction.
  5. Jeff Adachi: Last minute entry into the mayor’s race just like Ed Lee. That’s a showboating maneuver I don’t like. While I like his ideas on pension reform I don’t like the grandstanding.
  6. David Chiu: He’s on my short list since he was temporarily mayor and didn’t push to be full time mayor after Gavin Newsom was elected Lieutenant Governor. He kept to the letter of the law and that’s a good thing in my book. He doesn’t own a car which gets my green side going, but in an emergency is he going to call a cab?
  7. Michela Alioto-Pier: Jesus, she has politics in her veins like no one else running. First she’s from the Alioto family which she reminds us of on a regular basis as well as the fact that Joseph Alioto was her grandfather. She started in politics at 17 by being appointed to the President’s National Council on Disabilities Advisory Board by President Ronald Regan. She went on to work with Vice President Al Gore and many other politicians. She hasn’t had the best attendance record for the Board of Supervisors meetings part of which could be attributed to her being in a wheelchair, but she’s a sweet girl who looks a lot younger than she is and part of me feels that the next SF Mayor needs to be a bit more hard assed to get the job done.
  8. Joanna Rees: Not a politician at all. She’s an business woman, an entrepreneur. She makes a living making money. That’s a good thing.Maybe this city needs a Mayor who isn’t a politician. She also has been getting out to all the neighborhoods, though I do have a bit of pet peeve that she spent most of her Sunset time in the inner Sunset and didn’t get anywhere near my part which is a whole different breed of people. She’s still on my short list.
  9. Tony Hall: This is a guy who is old school San Franicsco politics and this man has the cohones to admit he’s a conservative. This guy will not hold back his punches when necessary and he has done a lot for all parts of San Francisco. I admit that I’m a Democrat and he’s not, but he’s an old school conservative, not a get your hands off of my money, tax the poor type of republican that’s destroying the party of today. He has a great presence and a voice like velvet fog. Tony is on my short list as well pushing for the second or third spot because of his past work. I do think he has a chance at getting the job done.
  10. Dennis Herrera: Dennis has also done a lot for San Francisco. It’s all over his website. He’s also traveled to all parts of the city to meet with the residents which I like. He’s taken some tough problems in San Francisco head on and against all odds that could break a person’s career, yet he’s still kept it together. He works for the working class that is a fast shrinking part of San Francisco and he want to bring that back. Dennis is also on my front runner list for my second and third choices.
So there you have it. While Tony Hall and Dennis Herrera look like they might be my second and third choices, I still can’t count out Michela, Joanna or David. John Avalos has won me hands down as number one, but these other five will have to step it up now for my second and third choice votes.
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Interim Mayor: When a Temporary Tattoo Becomes Permanent

OK, I like many of you out there have been wondering, scratching their heads or screaming out loudly during public assemblies [Leland Yee] about the Interim Mayor of San Francisco running for being a real Mayor of San Francisco. I decided I should look this up. Here is what I found for the definition of interim. This specifically refers to a person in an interim role:

An interim official is a person who is filling an official role temporarily. This can be in between two other people, or when the normal person is temporarily unable to do it and somebody else must fill in temporarily or without following the ordinary protocol. For example, a school can have an interim principal, or a country can have an interim prime minister. The interim person may also be called an acting principal or acting prime minister, as they do not have the official position, but serve in the same manner. A specific usage of this term is the interim leader in Canadian politics. The Episcopal Church uses interim clergy to support parishes following the departure of a rector (senior priest) to work with the parish on grieving, the development of new leadership, a rebirth of relationships with a Bishop and diocesan staff, and to encourage discernment for the future without the influence of the former rector – the people of the parish being the “Church.” This helps with the call of a new rector.

Source: Wikipedia

So essentially what we are looking at is a person who has been asked to fill a temporary position that will relinquish said position when the time comes. I have to admit that I’ve liked Ed Lee as the Interim Mayor of San Francisco, but he was just that — an Interim Mayor, not meant to run for re-election [are you hearing me Rose Pak? or ????????????] The term Interim is the equivalent of the term temporary. If you went to a booth at a fair and got a temporary tattoo only to find out that people later voted to make it permanent you’d be a little upset wouldn’t you?

Ed Lee was not supposed to run, nor is he supposed to run for re-election. His post was temporary otherwise he would have been called the Mayor of San Francisco, not Interim Mayor of San Francisco. I am at odds with Senator Leland Yee’s demand that Interim Mayor Lee resign if he wants to run for Mayor, I believe he should step out of the race all together and let a Mayor be elected from those who were bound by the title to not continue on past their selected time was up as was originally stating in his choice for being the Interim Mayor.

Then during the next Mayoral election, Former Interim Mayor Ed Lee can make an attempt to run for Mayor without having to feel like he is reneging on his original agreement. Bruce Reyes Chow asked me in response to my endorsement for Supervisor John Avalos for Mayor who my second and third choices will be. While I am still deciding on my second and third choices and I will post them here [especially since I’ve been nominated as one of the best local politics bloggers by SF Weekly] I can say for sure that Interim Mayor Ed Lee will not be either my second nor third choice in this election. When he took the office there was a promise that he would not run again and he has broken his promise. Therefore he will be crossed off my list.

If you haven’t already, please go to SF Weekly and vote for me as the Best Local Politics Blogger. You have until 8/30/2011 and I’ll appreciate it if I only get into the top three.

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