Interesting Study by UC Professor [1 Attachment]

Dear All,

Professor Elmendorf requested LPSF's assistance via the LPSF Website Inquiries. I called him, he explained his research (which basically involves revealing how politicians tell you what you want to hear, regardless of their professed political philosophies), and today I e-mailed LPSF's ballot recommendations going back to 2004 (all posted, public information).

Dr. Elmendorf also asked if the LPSF sent questionnaires to political candidates (responses for which, when compared to responses sent to other political parties, could reveal duplicity on the part of the respondent). And if we did, would we consider using some or all of the questions he posed on the document attached and pasted below. Dr. Elmendorf explained that such questions aim to be subject specific (did you vote for or against Proposition 8?), rather than philosophical (do you believe in the freedom to marry?).

I indicated that LPSF does not routinely send questionnaires to candidates, but if we decided to do so, we would consider his questions. When I sent the ballot recommendations today by e-mail, I told Dr. Elmendorf that our own candidates often respond to questionnaires sent by various organizations, and if he felt such information would be useful in his research, I would ask our candidates if they would be willing to share their responses with him.

Good that folks are finding us on our great website (thank you again, Rob!).

Marcy

Proposed Questions for Mayoral Candidates in San Francisco (2011)

                                                                                Cheryl
Boudreau, U.C. Davis, Dep’t of Political Science

                                                                                Chris
Elmendorf, U.C. Davis, School
of Law

                                                                                Scott
MacKenzie, U.C. Davis, Dep’t of Political Science.

Economic Redistribution Questions:

Prior to 2002, San Francisco provided
cash grants of up to $410 per month to homeless individuals. In 2002, San Francisco adopted the “Care Not Cash”
program, which greatly reduced the size of these cash grants and devoted
additional resources to services such as housing, drug treatment, and job
training for the homeless. In your
opinion, which is the better policy?

1) The current “Care Not Cash” program

2) The previous cash-grant program

3) Don’t know

Do you support charging entry
fees to non-city residents for use of San Francisco’s botanical gardens?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

In 2010, San Francisco increased the city tax on sales
and leases of properties valued at 5 million dollars or more. The tax on properties valued at 5 million to
10 million dollars increased from 1.5% to 2%.
The tax on properties valued at 10 million dollars or more went up from
1.5% to 2.5%. Do you support these
increases in the real estate transfer tax?

1) Yes

2) No

3) Don’t know

Do you support using San Francisco taxpayer
dollars to help finance the campaigns of candidates running for mayor?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Business Development Questions:

Do you support San Francisco giving tax
breaks to businesses that agree to locate in economically distressed areas like
the Tenderloin district?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Businesses in San Francisco with a
payroll of more than $250,000 are required to pay a city tax of 1.5% of total
employee compensation. No other city in California has a payroll
tax. Critics say that the payroll tax discourages
businesses from hiring, and that it puts San
  Francisco at a disadvantage relative to other cities
in recruiting new businesses. Supporters
say that the payroll tax is an important source of revenue for San Francisco, and that eliminating the payroll
tax would require the City to raise other taxes or cut services. As between repealing the payroll tax or
leaving it unchanged, which do you think is better?

1)
I think it would
be better to repeal the payroll tax than to leave it unchanged

2)
I think it would
be better to leave the payroll tax unchanged than to repeal it

3)
Don’t know

In
2004, San Francisco
passed a law that allows property owners to establish community benefit
districts. Under this arrangement,
property owners pay an annual fee to address the special needs of their
neighborhood, such as sidewalk sweeping, graffiti removal and additional
security. Some people believe community
benefit districts are an efficient way to provide services since any fees that
are collected must stay in the district and are managed locally. Other people believe that these districts
result in unequal services and reduce support for taxes and fees that benefit
the entire city. Do you support the
establishment of community benefit districts in San Francisco?

1)
Yes,
I support the ability of property owners in different parts of San Francisco to establish community benefit
districts

2)
No,
the law allowing property owners to establish community benefit districts
should be repealed

3)
Don’t
know

Do you support San Francisco’s policy of
requiring contractors who bid on large public projects to guarantee that a
significant percentage (at least 20%) of the work will be performed by city
residents?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Do you support setting aside
a significant portion of San Francisco
city contracts for local business enterprises, especially small businesses?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Immigration/Noncitizen Questions:

Should the City allow
non-citizen residents of San Francisco who are 18 years of age or older and
have children living in the San Francisco Unified School District to vote for
members of the Board of Education?

1) Yes

2) No

3) Don’t know

In 2009, San Francisco began turning over undocumented
youths arrested for felonies to federal immigration authorities for possible
deportation. The Board of Supervisors
subsequently directed the City not to turn over undocumented youths unless they
have been convicted of a felony,
rather than simply arrested. What is
your opinion on this issue?

1)
The City should
turn over undocumented youths only if they have been convicted of a felony

2)
The City should
turn over undocumented youths upon arrest for a felony

3)
Don’t know

Quality of Life/Social Order
Questions:

In 2010, the City amended its
Police Code to prohibit sitting or lying on a public sidewalk in San Francisco between 7
a.m. and 11 p.m., with certain exceptions.
Do you support this policy?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Should San Francisco stop enforcing laws against
prostitution, and stop funding or supporting anti-prostitution programs?

1)
Yes, the City
should stop enforcing anti-prostitution laws and programs

2)
No, the City
should continue enforcing anti-prostitution laws and programs

3)
Don’t know

Do you support San Francisco prohibiting
individuals from loitering outside nightclubs?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Landlord/Tenant Questions:

Some people in San Francisco think that
all tenants should be protected by rent control, regardless of the tenant’s
income or wealth. Other people in San Francisco think that
tenants should be protected by rent control only if they are lower or middle
class, and cannot afford to pay market-level rents. What is your opinion on this issue?

1) All tenants should be protected by rent control

2) Only tenants who cannot afford to pay market-level
rents should be protected by rent control

3) Don’t know

Some people think San Francisco should
allow owners of homes and apartments to use their property as short-term
vacation rentals, so long as the owner pays the City’s hotel tax of 14%. This would generate new revenue for the City. Other people think the City should prohibit
short-term vacation rentals and crack down on violations, because short-term
vacation rentals reduce the number of places available for permanent residents
to rent. What is your opinion on this
issue?

1) The City should permit short-term vacation rentals, as
long as property owners pay the City’s hotel tax

2) The City should prohibit short-term vacation rentals,
and crack down on violations

3) Don’t know

Should San Francisco allow tenants to apply to the
Rent Board to postpone most rent increases if they become unemployed, their
wages decrease by 20% or more, or they do not receive a cost of living increase
in their government benefits and those benefits are their sole income?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Health/Welfare Questions:

Do
you support San Francisco
providing free or low-cost health care to city residents who cannot afford
private health insurance and who do not qualify for health-care coverage from
the federal or state government?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Do you support San Francisco requiring
restaurants to abide by strict nutritional standards when selling food that
comes with toys or other items that are targeted at children?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Do you support San Francisco banning the
sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, including grocery stores and retailers
that have pharmacies like Target and Wal-Mart?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Do you support San Francisco imposing a fee on businesses that
distribute alcoholic beverages in order to pay for the health-related costs
associated with the use of alcohol?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Environment Questions:

Do you support San Francisco’s recycling law
that requires all residents to separate recyclables, compostables, and
landfilled trash?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Do you support San Francisco banning the
construction of new buildings more than forty feet tall that would cast a
shadow on a public park?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know

Do you support San Francisco’s
introduction of “smart” parking meters, which vary the hourly parking rate
(from $0.25 to $6.00) depending on the level of demand for parking on the
block?

1)
Yes

2)
No

3)
Don’t know