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Posts Tagged 'Mayor'

Voting Day Is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is voting day in San Francisco and the big focus is on who to vote for for mayor. Everything else is kind of gravy, but everyone want to know who the next mayor will be. As you know I am fully in favor of John Avalos and I’d like to talk about politics in San Francisco for a minute.

San Francisco is an odd city, especially if you look at this election. We have democrats, independents and progressives. Democrats we know, but in San Francisco they tend to be more moderate almost leaning to the Republican side of things, but Republican or GOP isn’t a word you want to mention in San Francisco. Tony Hall, is registered as an independent, but at the Irish Cultural Center he said he was a Republican. In San Francisco, that takes some cohones. In some ways, I like Tony Hall because he’s an old school Republican, before the Tea Party screwed them up. He has a rockstar voice and he’s also a singer. I can imagine him singing Sinatra and I’m sure he has. The other Independent is wealthy entrepreneur Joanna Rees. While I’m sure she would never admit it, she’s wealthy and an independent which usually says Republican. Alice Cooper, the antithesis of the image of the right wing in appearance is wealthy and a Republican. I can respect that since he’s puts it up front and admits it. He’s not running for Mayor of San Francisco, but I think it might be interesting if he did.

Then you have the progressives. Well they call themselves progressives in my mind because they want to distance themselves from the conservative Democrats who are looking more like Republicans. They stand up for the shrinking middle class and growing poor people in the city. They’ve had money problems like the rest of us and don’t own a Mercedes or BMW. They drive, say, a volvo and not one of the S90 volvos, but those ugly, boxy, safe things. They aren’t like a Matt Gonzales progressive who had to have a suit bought for him, but are more cleaned up and not afraid to talk to the people of San Francisco.

I’d like to think I had a hand in it, but I’m sure I didn’t. John Avalos did not jump in on the smear campaign against our interim Mayor Ed Lee. He let the others do the talking [in a bad way] and kept to the point. John had his people at the enrollment fair Saturday where parents were there to find out information about the schools in San Francisco they’d like to send their children to. Leland Yee posted a piece of paper on my door telling me how much he had done in the past for schools. I wasn’t at the fair, but my wife was and described a man who sounded like it could have been John Avalos, but I can’t say for sure, but at least his people where out there and talking to the public.

Dennis Herrera was a man who at the beginning was my first choice, but that ran downhill quickly since he wouldn’t talk with me at any of the meet ups he planned and when he took the low road with the ads against Ed Lee I had to drop him like a hot coal. I don’t like smear campaigns because the people who run them focus on how bad someone else is and not on what they are going to do. I didn’t like the push for the importance of the Chinatown vote when most people in Chinatown aren’t voting U.S. citizens. 15.7% of San Francisco and most of them are of Chinese ethnic origin. This isn’t to say I have a problem with Chinese. I have a great many friends who are Chinese and of other Asian decent. I do have a problem when people focus on one ethnic race over others. This race like all others is about the Mayor of the people of San Francisco, not who’s going to help out a certain ethnicity within San Francisco. That’s the job of the Supervisors to deal with in our still somewhat segregated neighborhoods.

So I now urge you to take a serious look at John Avalos as a choice for Mayor. While not a requirement, John was born in the United States and focuses on the U.S. and it’s needs as well as that of San Francisco as a whole and not a segmented group. He is for improving our school system which is in a horrible state at the moment. He also was at the forefront pushing for local hires on all San Francisco contracts. This is a man who is a part of this city and is working hard to bring this city back to where it should be. If he’s not your first choice then at least make sure that he’s on your second or third.

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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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I Endorse John Avalos for Mayor of San Francisco!

Concerning politics when I was younger, I did what I had to. I voted but I usually went along with party lines and didn’t get to involved with getting in any deeper. This year with a large number of people in the Mayoral race I started to dive in more. I have met several of the candidates and one of them has stood out above all others and that is John Avalos.

He held a meet and greet, not a fundraiser at the Pizza Place in the outside lands of the Sunset. Not exactly one of the best places to choose, but he was one of the few people to venture out that far into a hard working class neighborhood. He offered beer and pizza who all who came and made a point of talking to everyone there. When I had a minute I was able to pull him out of the crowd to talk with him. My first impression is that he didn’t talk to me like a politician running for office. He talked to me like a person who lived in San Francisco and wanted to fix the problems in all parts of the city. We both have something in common in that we both have a child with special needs. We talked about that and found we had a lot in common. We talked about jobs and how unemployment needed to be turned into employment and people who were skilled laborers shouldn’t be lumped in and given the same bare minimum offerings as unskilled laborers. I already have a college degree, so there was nothing that the employment office could offer me in training because it would cost too much.

The best part of all was at the next Mayoral debate I attended and tweeted heavily until my fingers were sore I walked in and when John saw me he came over and shakes my hand and was glad to see in addition to actually remembering my name. I can’t say that about any of the other candidates who I’ve met.

John is one of the few people who on his website lists the issues he wants to address as Mayor of San Francisco. This is rare in the current race where instead of talking about what they want to do for San Francisco all of the candidates have been taking swipes at Mayor Ed Lee for deciding to run for re-election to a seat he got by promising not to run for re-election. Sure John took a swipe too, but it was a small one during the debate in the Castro. No where near as strong as Leland Yee who called for Mayor Lee’s immediate resignation if he wanted to run which is ridiculous or Dennis Herrera who attacked his character repeatedly for not being a man of his word while saying little else about what he planned for San Francisco or lastly Joanna Rees who thought that the empty chair on the stage had been saved for Rose Pak to tell Mayor Lee what to say.

John Avalos has received the top endorsement of the San Francisco Democratic Party. For someone who has been labeled a progressive and gets the top support of the Dems what exactly does that say about the other Democrats running for Mayor. Avalos is also back by the United Educators of San Francisco, because John whats to fix what is wrong with our schools and knows that that is an important part of the cities future. He also received the number two endorsement by the Sierra Club which I feel he should have gotten the top spot since he does not hold a love for any part of a shark that the Sierra Club agrees with, yet endorsed Leland Yee as number one who is in favor of shark fin soup made from a fish that is a top level predator whose body contain enough mercury from pollution to make them unsafe to eat.

Now let’s take a look at the issues John Avalos wishes to address. I’ll only list the topic headings, you can read the rest on his website under issues:

  1. Championing a Just, Equitable and Balanced City Budget
  2. Preserving Neighborhood Character and Supporting Small Businesses
  3. Enhancing Opportunities for All San Franciscans,
  4. Creating Affordable Housing and Protecting Renters
  5. Protecting Our Health and Environment
These are all things that our city needs and it is my believe that from his previous track record that John Avalos is the man to do it. Now lets look at the lesser reasons to vote for him.
  1. He is a Latino American. He can help bridge the gap between races and bring the city together.
  2. He got a rocking hairdo that looks like it takes half the time to get together than Gavin Newsom’s shellacked to perfection hairstyle
  3. He rocks a goatee like no other
  4. He’s got a touch of grey hair which gives him a distinguished look
  5. He looks good in a suit.
Looks mean a lot in politics and John Avalos would be a good face to put on the city of San Francisco. He’s got that look of a business man who’s not afraid to throw back a beer with the people around him and he doesn’t look down on others. To me that means a lot in this city. I urge you all to vote for John Avalos in the coming election because he will bring back San Francisco to being the great city it once was and I sincerely believe that he will carry through on his promises unlike others before him. He has never gone back on his word and he will be there for the city. While I’d like to think I carry a lot of clout in San Francisco, I hope to at least affect a good number of you into reading my words and thinking about what I have said.

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Phil Ting for Mayor: My Thoughts

I have tried to post regularly, but now with a crazy work schedule and creeping overtime I have had to pull back a little. Once I get adjusted and settled in this should change. Now onto the article.

When I first heard that Phil Ting was running for Mayor of San Francisco I decided to keep an eye on him. He was the county assessor, so he knew about real estate, finance and taxes. He started off with a great title for his campaign, Reset San Francisco. I kind of liked that idea. He also talked about Muni reform, score again. It wasn’t until I attended my first Mayoral debate that a few questions started to rise.

He stated that while he has been in office that the city has come in under budget every year. OK, then why is our city in the red? Is someone budgeting more funds than we can afford to pay for? In my mind I don’t care whether or not San Francisco comes in under or over it’s budget, but whether or not San Francisco comes in at the end of the day in the black.

His statement that Muni needs to change is something everyone is talking about. When I worked downtown I didn’t have too much problem with Muni. The buses and streetcars I usually get from my house take me downtown in about 40 minutes without much walking. I have other friends such as Greg Dewar [@njudah] who would beg to differ with me, but he doesn’t use the same Muni route as I do so I won’t argue with him on that. Apparently the N-Judah has lots of problems that need to be fixed since it is the busiest muni route in San Francisco.

Where Phil Ting really got me was on his repeal of Prop 13 so that people of San Francisco would be paying the real property taxes they owe. I took offense at this because the comment was targeted at me, even though not only is everyone in California benefitting from Prop 13 and that it is a state law that a Mayor cannot overturn his comment was aimed at those people who purchased a house before the first dot.com boom and have lived in them ever since. It takes about 10-15 years after purchasing a house to notice a difference in your property taxes. That is, if your home value continues to increase. Currently we’re in a down swing so it might take closer to 30 years now.

Phil used this as the excuse for why we are so low in state school ratings for achievement. I suppose he forgot that when the California State Lottery went into effect that a major portion of the profit was to go towards school funding. It was originally specified that it could not be used for teacher pay raises, but that’s where it went at first because the teachers were so underpaid that not too many people wanted to be teachers.

But let me move back to Proposition 13. Currently the taxes on your house can be raised only 1.1% per year. People are saying that is the reason that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in. I did a check of  the top 10 most expensive cities in the US to live in and yes, San Francisco was listed as number five, but out of the 10 cities only two were in California and those were San Francisco and Los Angeles [which according to the report is even more expensive to live in that San Francisco], so can Prop 13 be blamed for the failing of our schools and how expensive it is to live in California? No. New York City, Honolulu, and Miami are the top three. All in states without a Prop 13, but much higher taxes. I have a friend who I am sorry to say that his mother died recently and he received his mother’s house in upstate New York along with her rent controlled apartment in downtown Manhattan. The rental property is a deal since his mother has lived there for many years and due to rent control he doesn’t even pay $1000/month for his gorgeous almost penthouse like view of Manhattan. The two bedroom house on the other hand he has to pay $12,000 per year in property tax as well as $4,000 per year in school tax. His parents have owned the house upstate for many years longer than when my parents purchased our house in the Sunset District back in 1954. My friend has also been unemployed for longer than myself and he has to pay $10 for a pack of cigarettes in downtown Manhattan. This is not a cheap place to live and even though they have no equivalent of Prop 13, it is still the most expensive city to live in. Two bedroom condo’s sell for close to $2,000,000 there not including the HOA monthly fees. My friend has about enough cash to last him a year and half and then he’s in big trouble if he can’t find a job.

So let’s say we repeal Prop 13 like Phil Ting wants to do and say property taxes increased to 5% each year with a reassessment to bring homes benefitting more it being brought up to modern day reality. I could possibly live with that even though it would triple my yearly property tax, but from what I understand, if you home goes down in value the tax doesn’t really, it just doesn’t increase. The idea behind prop 13 was to help residents remain in their homes by not having to pay more in taxes as they got older and on a limited income. This was hijacked by businesses who got added in and they don’t want to sell their spaces they own because they can rent them out for more [rental control doesn’t apply to businesses] and gain more on their investment. Since we have a much higher turnover rate in businesses who are renting their locations in California, not just San Francisco this means that business property owners gain more than homeowners.

Therefore, I think Phil should start by speaking more directly about his plans for prop 13 by trying to amend it to include only homeowners and not businesses. That way some of the businesses that were cheap in say the SoMA area when they were purchased that now charge a fortune to rent out would be paying more into funds of the state so that which would trickle down to San Francisco and San Francisco wouldn’t have to tax businesses to be here like most cities in the US. This would help San Francisco more than a total repeal of a state law that an SF Mayor can’t do, but Phil Ting could work toward that. If prop 13 were removed completely people would start to leave San Francisco, but not by a lot so property prices might drop a bit because of the tax increase. It could also theoretically drop California from it’s current ranking as the 8th largest global economy. Phil, keep this in mind.

Monday, I will announce my official endorsement for the Mayor of San Francisco and my reason why.

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Rose Pak: If it’s not Chinese it’s crap! Unless you’re talking about Leland Yee

Rose Pak, the power house iron Queen of Chinese politics in San Francisco has had a few things to say about our State Senator and Mayoral candidate Leland Yee today.

Ms. Pak being the head of the Chinese Chamber of Congress has never held a political office, but her voice carries weight even though she herself has a bit of a colorful past. If you are Chinese, she is THE force to be reckoned  with. I mention Chinese because she doesn’t really focus on much else.  She has stated that her goal is to put more Chinese into political power and works on bringing more Chinese to the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the voice of the Chinese, but unfortunately, being a political power she is not the voice of the people. As you well know, I want our next mayor to ignore color and race and speak for all the people of San Francisco, not one group that is fastly  growing to be the largest majority in the San Francisco Bay Area.

That being said…

She voices concerns over Senator Leland Yee who also speaks for the Chinese people of the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the state. This is kind of a who do you cheer for fight in my book. Ms. Pak is behind the Run Ed Run campaign to get Mayor Ed Lee to join in the campaign [I like Mayor Lee by the way and think he’s been doing a pretty good job] and she isn’t a politician so I’m going to have to give a nod to her.

I have spent a lot of time in Chinatown and it does indeed need help. Someone like Rose Pak has done a huge amount to help out the Chinese who live there. Rose, hats off to you. Now what exactly is her problem with Senator Yee?…and I quote:

Leland Yee is one of the most morally corrupt politicians I’ve ever encountered in 40 years. From the first day he stepped in as the school board member, lying to get his children to the preferred assigned school using a phony address, selling his services to Chinese-American parents who would cut an arm or leg to get their kid to the right schools … he did all of that.

So I don’t think he stood for anything decent in our community except to come and take money and then claiming to be the first Asian this and Asian that, but he doesn’t impress me. He doesn’t stand for anything except corruption and bribery.

OUCH! She has been quoted that if politics are a blood sport then she is going to play them as a blood sport. That sounds more like a decapitation than a first blood blow. I do have to agree with her. If I remember correctly a long, long time ago a man named Gordon Lau came and talked to my High School class. He was the first Chinese politician in San Francisco and he got some serious heat.

I have never paid much attention to what Ms. Pak has had to say, but now I think I will turn an ear towards her. I might get my face slapped for what I just wrote, but if it comes from Rose Pak I think it will be an honor. Just as long as any swearing is in Cantonese since I don’t understand swearing in Mandarin.

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San Francisco Mayoral Forum

Tonight I’ll be heading over to the United Irish Cultural Center to listen to several of the candidates for mayor tell me why I should vote for them. This is my first time getting involved with anything close to real politics and also my first time stepping into the U.I.C.C.

Scheduled to appear tonight are:  Leland Yee [who’s staff apparently doesn’t like me very much], Phil Ting, John Avalos [a man who took several minutes out of a campaign stop to talk to me personally], David Chiu, Joanna Rees, Bevan Dufty, Michela Alioto-Pier, Dennis Herrera and Tony Hall.

Since I’ll be visiting the United Irish Cultural Center, it seems only fitting that I wear my green suit in honor of Irish heritage even if I’m not Irish myself. It also doesn’t say if there will be drinks or snacks available, but I’ve been told they have an excellent restaurant that I might stop by for some potato leek soup, cod and chips with a slice of Bailey’s cheesecake to finish it all off.

From what I’ve been reading about the political candidates running for mayor, none of them are straying too far from each other for fear of losing a place in the second or third tier of the ranked choice voting. I’m assuming then that many of the candidates tonight will probably be saying the same thing unfortunately, that is unless Rose Pak shows up with the Run Ed Run crew. The only other thing that could get interesting is if I get pulled aside by some of Leland Yee’s crew to have a word about some of my previous posts regarding him.

If I end up spending the night in the bar then at least I’ll have a few friends to sit with me. Slainté!

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John Avalos For Mayor

Yesterday I had a chance to meet with Supervisor John Avalos at a campaign meeting with the members of the Sunset District. I have to say that while he, like the majority of others who are running for Mayor wasn’t born and raised in San Francisco, but I do have to admit he connected with the people because his district, The Excelsior isn’t much different than the Sunset.

The evening started off good when after I walked in I was accosted by Andy Wernette, Twitter’s own Terrapin_SF. Ah yes, the bloggers are here. I got introduced to Tom of Ocean Beach Bulletin, Greg from N-Judah Chronicles and Andy’s wife @Michfit. While we attacked the perils of blogging and how much google’s adsense sucked Supervisor Avalos was wandering around schmoozing the crowd. There is always a bit of game playing when you deal with politics in public, but I have to admit that John didn’t make you feel like you were being played. He made you feel like he was one of us.

The best part about the evening is that I receive emails daily from people running for Mayor who offer you a chance to come out and have coffee with them while they tell you how we’re the greatest city and they’re going to make it better. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Supervisor Avalos invited the Sunset District out for beer and pizza and he picked up the tab. John, you know the working class Sunset District I have to say. While pizza and beer are cheap, coffee is cheaper. John Avalos kicked it up a notch by feeding the huddled masses at The Pizza Place which is in my opinion the best pizza place in the Sunset.

Supervisor Avalos gave a speech on the points he wanted to make of what he would do as Mayor. He is a progressive with his eyes on preserving the ecology of San Francisco favoring grass and nature over concrete and astroturf. A rather humorous point was met during his speech when he mentioned high taxes for properties valued at over $5 million dollars which brought about a boo from one person who then yelled taxation is Communism! OK guy, go back and take your political science course again and prove to me that you passed, then I’ll let you vote. John’s speech wasn’t long, but he got to the point quickly. I was lucky enough afterwards to introduce myself and get to pull him outside to talk privately for a few minutes.

I’ve got to say that John is not a blow dried, hollywood style political figure. I told him my story and we talk about raising kids in San Francisco [which he thinks the schools need to do a better job of teaching]. He really did seem like one of us. I lived in the Excelsior for 6 years and it was a great place to live at the time. I’m glad to be back in the Sunset though and it was good to hear that we had a lot in common and John had an interest in looking after all of San Francisco, unlike some other Mayoral candidates who will go unnamed at this time.

John Avalos for Mayor. I think he is someone to keep an eye on right now.