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. ūüėČ

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.

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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The 17th Annual Sunset Community Festival

I got to go to the local Sunset Community Festival on Saturday which was actually called the Playland at the Beach Festival as well even though there was only a single sign up with info on the long defunct Playland. I have to admit that it was one of the better local gatherings I’ve seen. This is probably due to the fact that it was at the newly renovated West Sunset Playground which as I expected in the previous article on it, the mulch was being trashed by kids everywhere.

Because this is a community focused event that pulls political powers from around the city there were booths for just about every person running for Mayor of San Francisco. I got to meet with John Avalos [of course], Joanna Rees and Mayor Ed Lee, who I must say is much taller than he looks in pictures. Phil Ting was there, but had no booth and ran off shortly after I arrived. I was especially surprised to see that Carmen Chu, Fiona Ma and Leland Yee who tend to be all over the Sunset district had unmanned tables and were no shows. I would have liked to have a chance to bend Carmen’s ear for a few minutes to an hour to let her know what needed some attention in the Sunset District. Tony Hall has several older, conservative cronies out to push him as well, but he too was a no show which was odd considering his connection to the Sunset District. All in all I was surprised to hear John Avalos’ name mentioned by many of the people there. I think he may have a real shot at getting it since he’s staying away from the political infighting going on with other candidates for Mayor.

The day wasn’t all about politics though and I was glad to run into Tom Prete of Ocean Beach Bulletin and Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods group who had booths as well. I’ve included lots of pictures which you’ll see at the end in the slideshow and it was a fun, but crowded day. I do have to admit that the only downside I saw at the event was Bank of America’s booth that was handing out free stuff for spinning a wheel which had people lined up blocking the comcast and Run Ed Run booth so you couldn’t even get close since people wanted to win a frizbee, caramel corn or a few other things [like I said, they were lined up thick and I couldn’t really see.

The games arcade for the kids was packed to the gills with kids flying around in the multi-tiered bouncy houses they provided and there was also a flea market sort of set up near by where you could get anything from vintage vinyl to clothes to well, garage sale junk people wanted to get rid of. I was pleased to meet Pat and Virginia of the local NERT group that I’ll be writing about soon. If you need to know what to do in an emergency, NERT will teach you in 6 short, free classes. Other Avenues, the health food store that I’ve written about previously was there and I had to introduce myself so they had a face to put with the article I wrote.

There was also food from local places such as North Beach Pizza and oddly enough there was one booth selling deep fried oreo’s. I wanted to give it a shot, but I didn’t have any cash on me and apparently some of these booths haven’t heard of square that I’ve talked about before to allow them to take credit cards cheap.

For a community get together this was one that was done right. I was surprised that all I had to do for many of the booths there was mention  Baghdad By The Bay and they knew who I was immediately. I plan on visiting more of these local events in the future.

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Leland Yee: Outraged over animal abuse, but not shark abuse

I received an email from Senator Leland Yee yesterday about his outrage of the funding of a $750,000 grant for a Brooklyn artist to create sculptures for Muni who in the 70’s made a film where he made an art film in which he adopted a dog and chained it to a fence and then shot the dog.

I have to admit that I had heard of the film, but never saw it, but not only am I disgusted by the idea of this film, but so was the man who made it. He remarked that what he did was wrong and it was the stupidity of his youth that made him unable to see the bigger picture, yet at the same time, we have a California state Senator who while being disgusted by the shooting of a dog, sees nothing wrong with the dismembering of a shark and throwing its writhing, living body back into the ocean to die as being a Chinese cultural tradition.

To quote Senator Yee from his email:

This week, Ed Lee and the SFMTA approved spending $750,000 of taxpayer money on a central subway contract for Brooklyn artist Tom Otterness, who made a 1977 film in which he chained a dog to a fence and then shot and killed that dog on camera.

Yes, you read that correctly. He chained a dog to a fence and then shot and killed that dog.

This is a completely unacceptable use of taxpayer dollars.

I woke up early this morning to find a youtube video had been sent to me by an old friend of mine, Dave King. This is a video of Chef Gordon Ramsey tasting Shark Fin Soup for the first time to see what all the fuss was about. Not only do you get a chef’s analysis of the soup, but Ramsey also goes out to see how the shark fins are acquired.¬†Warning for those friends of mine who are defenders of animal rights, while sharks aren’t all warm and fuzzy like a dog or a cat [which also happen to be eaten as a part of “traditional Chinese culture” ¬†in China that I have written about before] this video does show the finning of sharks, in which case you might want to stop the video after Chef Ramsey leaves the restaurant.

Senator Yee, who is a candidate for mayor of San Francisco [which I might add he filed for just a week after being re-elected as Senator of California] has a problem with animal abuse as long as the animal being abused isn’t a shark. He talks about how shark meat is available everywhere, yet you can’t find it anywhere and the basis if AB 376 is an attack on “Traditional Asian Culture” when Chinese citizens are the only Asians who consume shark fin soup. In reality, this email isn’t an attack on a man who shot a dog, but an attack upon another fellow Chinese citizen of San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee. While as you all know I am not in favor of our interim Mayor running for re-election because it goes against the promise he had made that he would not run for re-election, I also do not like the focus that our Chinese candidates for Mayor are using to focus on getting the Chinatown vote. While Chinese make up 33% of San Francisco’s population, only 18% of them actually vote and the majority of the Chinese population isn’t living in Chinatown, but the majority of non-voting Chinese is.

Supervisor John Avalos and Attorney Dennis Herrera are making huge jumps in polls because of the fact that they are focusing on the population of San Francisco, not a small eight block area of San Francisco. We need a Mayor that will focus on all of the districts to bring about change. From the Sunset to the Bayview, from the Mission to North Beach and yes, also Chinatown, but not appearing to be only in favor of helping Chinatown.

Now with that being said, on to the movie:

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Ranked Choice Voting: Mea Culpa

Mea Culpa: latin, “my bad”. I made a mistake in my last post that was quickly pointed out to me by the people at Fair Vote. I made the correction on my last post, but felt that it needed a post of it’s own to explain it. Yes, you can vote for the same person in first, second or third places, but if they are eliminated in the first round your other two votes don’t count because they are considered to no longer be in the race. So while your vote isn’t eliminated you just don’t have a chance at your second or third pick, or so I thought…

I did some further research and it turns out that that according to sfelections.org this is the way it works:

To start, every first-choice vote is counted. Any candidate who receives a majority (more than 50%) of the first-choice votes is declared the winner.
If no candidate receives more than 50% of the first-choice votes, a process of eliminating candidates and transferring votes begins.

First, the candidate who received the fewest number of first-choice votes is eliminated from the race.

Second, voters who selected the eliminated candidate as their first choice will have their vote transferred to their second choice.

Third, all the votes are recounted.

Once the votes are recounted, if any candidate has received more than 50% of the votes, he or she is declared the winner.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, the process of eliminating candidates and transferring votes is repeated until one candidate has a winning majority.

Now I can see why some people who have spoken out against RCV/IRV [Instant Runoff Voting] don’t like it and it lends a bit more credence to my less than perfectly researched previous argument. If you vote for a losing candidate in the first round your first vote gets passed to the second round. [UPDATE: I did get through to the Department of Elections and they confirmed that if your first choice is eliminated that your second choice is selected. They admitted that the working was bad.]which makes me wonder what happens to your second round vote. Since you can only vote once. That would be invalidated if your first vote gets passed to the second round along with your second choice vote then you’ve voted twice. From what sfelections.org¬†is saying your first choice vote is passed to your second choice which means that making a second choice won’t matter if your first is eliminated. They don’t really say much about your third choice other than if 50% is not reached by a member that all votes are recounted.

If after the second choice no one has 50% then all votes are recounted and recounted again until someone finds the mistake and a winner is declared. This is were I see a flaw in the system and I expect to have lots of comments from fairvote.org on this one correcting me. [and Robert Richie did and I’ve made changes to the article]

Sfelections.org in their FAQ though contradicts itself by saying:

If I really want my first-choice candidate to win, should I rank the candidate as my first, second and third choice?
No. Ranking a candidate more than once does not benefit the candidate. If a voter ranks one candidate as the voter’s first, second and third choice, it is the same as if the voter leaves the second or third choice blank. In other words, if the candidate is eliminated that candidate is no longer eligible to receive second or third choice votes.

So which is it? Well, I think I’ve got the answer now, but the department of elections needs to work over their wording so it’s easier to understand. These contradictions are the main reason I don’t like RCV/IRV. On the sfelections.org website they have a link for more information at¬†http://ww.sfgov.org/election/rcv¬†that when you click on it takes you to a 404 page not found spot. The flash version of their website which I tried first doesn’t work at all. The website is registered to San Francisco Department of Elections so I can tell it is legit, but they seem to have a problem explaining how they work.

Now to be fair, Fairvote.org is run by Robert Richie¬†[no not Kid Rock] and is based in Maryland, so the responses I received ¬†to my last post were not from a San Francisco citizen. I did receive an email from Robert in addition to the comments. Mr. Richie apparently has a lot of clout behind him ¬†having appeared on C-SPAN, NBC, CNN, Fox [I won’t hold that against him] and MSNBC as well as writing articles for a number of high profile magazines and newspapers. He has helped me a lot in getting a better understanding of RCV. SF has never needed to hand count ballots and unless we get something like the hanging chad incident or one of the candidates refusing to accept that they lost there probably won’t be any hand counting used at all.

It always amazes me that baghdadbythebaysf.com has such a long reach that I pull a prominent East Coast political activist to send me an email [he worked for three winning congressional campaigns in Washington State].

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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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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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