Report from Dept of Elections

Sorry gang....we only landed one

A LPSF
I Faulkner
V Troy Reese
W SF Apt Association

Thanks for all the hard work....

By the way....after the drawing on the on-line streaming video, it caught an extensive "off mic" conversation with Terrance Faulkner and some other gentleman I didn't recognize. They were talking about how organized the Libertarians were and how they should probably review our arguments for consideration during the campaign and for possible paid arguments for the voter handbook. Then the tech cut the cord.

Michael Denny

Thanks for the update, Mike. Looks like the argument we backed against the regional BART bond measure proposal also made the cut – we're listed as opponents along with the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (never heard of 'em) and the Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers:

http://sfgov.org/elections/local-ballot-measure-status

  Too bad on the others, and that we didn't get the Prop. C argument in – apparently no others were submitted against the affordable housing loans. Not that it was a high-priority measure for us to oppose, imho.

  Interesting on the off-mic conversation – do you have the link for that?

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))

The link is here

http://sfgov.org/elections/selection-proponent-and-opponent-arguments-local-ballot-measures

But the third screen that contained that bit is no longer posted.

Mike

Hi Mike, Starchild, and All. Thanks to everyone who helped out on the
arguments. I think we pretty much covered all the major ballot measures
and I was proud of what we turned in today. I was not able to hang around
the house long enough to wait for the edit of Prop C (Changing Bond from a
government loan program to affordable housing acquisition) because one has
to allow for parking problems and TSA treatment at City Hall, and I
couldn't take a chance of missing the ball on all the measures.

Looking at the results on the DOE website, I am extremely upset about Prop
B, the CCSF parcel tax increase and extension. Last Friday I called the
DOE and discussed the pre-empting business with one of the folks there.
With the limited resources we have, I hate to have our people spend time
writing a beautiful argument and then you get down to the DOE and find out
that they won't accept the argument because it was pre-empted by one of the
politicians (this happened a year ago), so I checked with him as to how to
find out if a measure has been pre-empted. He definitely told me that if
someone is listed under the Opponent column, then it's pre-empted and
that's that. I checked "Local Ballot Measure Status" the morning of last
Saturday's meeting and was surprised to see Peskin's name listed as the
Opponent on 4 different measures, especially the sales tax increase measure
and the CCSF parcel tax. I remember that Mike kidded at the meeting that
maybe Peskin opposed the sales tax measure because it wasn't high enough.
So I told Les (who had spent time writing an argument against the CCSF tax
because he just "loves" that school) to forget us submitting it for the
free argument but to hang on to it because we might still use it as a paid
argument. So we didn't bother to submit anything against this measure
today.

When I checked their website tonight, Prop B (CCSF tax) had no opponent
argument submitted. What happened to Peskin? In fact his name is nowhere
to be found on any of the measures except perhaps Prop C as a proponent.
Was this a shenanigan? Errors on the part of the Dept of Elections? Seems
unlikely they could goof on that many measures. At any rate, what's done
is done, but I will call the DOE tomorrow morning and get to the bottom of
what happened for my own peace of mind, as well as future submissions. We
cannot pass up the free argument on an important issue, and that
"temporary" CCSF paracel tax needs a loud voice against it. I think we
definitely should submit a paid argument on this one--and it kills me to
pay good Libertarian money for what should have cost us nothing. Please
advise your thoughts on this. If there is a consensus, then I will ask Les
to post it on the Activist List, and we will submit it on Monday morning.

Now should we submit another paid argument? This will cost us another
$500, but our coffers our good, and this is a good year for Libertarians,
so I am leaning towards recommending a second paid argument as a good
investment. We have strong arguments already written for V (Sugary
Beverage Tax) and W (Real Estate Transfer Tax), so both are good candidates
for submission. V will probably have other paid arguments against it, so
it will stand out less, but then again the vote was close last time, so our
argument might help to get folks to vote NO and turn the tide. On W fewer
groups will oppose it because in SF you're supposed to hate the rich, so
our argument will get more exposure, but I think it's a shoo-in to pass.
Prop I (Dignity Fund) had a great argument, but there were already hard
feelings regarding the editing, so let's just leave that one alone. There
was also talk of submitting paid arguments in favor of non-citizens voting
in school board elections and 16 and 17-year olds voting in municipal
elections, but there was nothing even close to consensus on either measure,
so we should skip those measures as paid arguments but can engage the
conversation again when we make our final recommendations for the remaining
ballot measures that we didn't have time to finish up last Saturday.
Please advise your thoughts on a second paid argument.

I will post the proponent argument of A (school bond) when I get my hands
on it tomorrow, and I am happy to write the rebuttal over the week-end,
unless someone else prefers to do it. I will get the rebuttal from Wendy
for the BART bond and post it also.

Again thanks to the helpers--you were great!

Thanks!
Aubrey

I have attached a word document containing my ballot argument.

I just knew there was something fishy about Aaron Peskin submitting a ballot argument against the CCSF parcel tax. Perhaps we should lodge a complaint with the Ethics Commission or the Board of Supervisors. I will write a letter to the editors of the Chronicle to see if we can get some public disclosure of this outrage. Wouldn't it be nice to open a scandal at the Elections Department that was discovered by the LPSF??

We have $6,000+ in the bank. I think we should submit 2 or 3 paid ballot arguments. After all our biggest donor say specifically that he likes our ballot argument. Since he is contributing $150 per month, his contribution alone will pay for three paid arguments.

Les

Nice job Leslie….and I really like the idea of bringing the Peskin issue to the Chronicle.

Today a friend of mine who knows Peskin said that if we really want to piss him off, we should call his shenanigans “typical of something Donald Trump would do”. Don’t know exactly why but take it for what it’s worth.

Mike

Hi Les and All,

First, good job on the ballot arguments, everybody!!!

Secondly, my two cents on the Peskin situation. I do not find that situation acceptable. In my view, that was not just an oversight, but a deliberate way of preventing an opposing argument from being published. I just spent some time researching the Municipal Elections Code, but do not see a deadline for the Supervisors to withdraw their request for submission of an argument that would pre-empt all others. So, it might be that Pesking knew he was "doing nothing wrong." Only problem is, if voters allow him to get away with this, he will be emboldened in the future to do more.

To prove that I am not simply blabbing, I am willing to put my money where my mouth is and pay for Les's argument. Then LPSF can use more money for Facebook ads lambasting the status quo. (BTW, Les, thanks for the $165 check in reimbursement of JMExperts fixing the website; got your check).

Marcy

Marcy:

As of last Saturday we had $6,000+ in the kitty. There is no reason for you to personally pay for getting my argument published. I still plan to write a letter to the editor this weekend and also to send an email to Phil Matier about this matter to see if I can get him to look into it. I think we ought to pay for 3 arguments. This will cost about $1,500, but our biggest donor says this is why he is sending us so much money.

It looks like Peskin deliberately pre-empted the free arguments before the deadline and then withdrew his pre-emption afterward. This is certainly unethical, even if not illegal. I will post my letter on the activist forum before I submit it to Chronicle.

Les

Thank you, Les. Let me know if I can help with anything in this matter.

I keep thinking, "A republic if you can keep it." Let's try to keep it.

Marcy

Les,

  How would you feel about sending the letter to the editor as a group letter with a bunch of us signing on, and using the LPSF name? I'd like to weigh in on language. Otherwise I can write separately, but it seems like something we'd all agree on and could do jointly.

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))

Starchild:

I would not have any objection to a group letter, but……the email site for submitting such letters only has provision for one person to be the author. Perhaps you or someone else knows how to submit a group letter, but I do not. Unless we print it out and sign it manually and send it by snail mail. On the internet the sender has to give name, address and phone number and I assume a group letter would have to contain the same information.

I do not know whether it would increase the chance of getting published, if a number of people submitted separate letters on this issue. I have written many letters to the editor, but few get published.

Les

I assume we could put Libertarian Party of San Francisco and the party's number and address in the required fields, and then list ourselves individually as co-signers in the text of the letter.

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))

Hi Les and All,

Thanks, Les, for your LET's.

I would be in favor to escalate this issue in the form of a polite inquiry to the Elections Department, Ethics Commission, and the BOS Rules Committee. The question in my mind now is whether the Elections Department misquoted the rules and we accepted their statement.

San Francisco Municipal Elections Code Sec 535 seems to state one deadline for submission of arguments for everybody. It also appears to state that more than one entity can submit an argument for the same measure, regardless who the entities are. The preemption part comes after the entities submit their arguments. Not before. If the DOE indicated LPSF could not submit an argument because Peskin had already done so, they were mistaken. However, if we chose not to submit one trusting that the Supervisor would actually do it, we know better for the next time! But should still suggest a better set of rules to prevent Supervisors from misbehaving.

Another rule I feel needs clarification. I was under the impression that a minimum of 4 Supervisors were needed to place a proposal on the ballot. I see proposals with only 3 names. Anyone care to correct me if I am mistaken?

Marcy

Hi All. Thanks everybody for posting your thoughts--I asked for input and
I got it! Well, if Les, who is generally not keen to spend money, says go
ahead and pay for 3 arguments, then I think we should do it. I would say B
(CCSF Parcel Tax) for sure and also V (Sugary Beverage Tax) and W (Real
Estate Transfer Tax). Les makes an excellent point that our main
benefactor likes to see our arguments in the Voters Handbook, and since he
is putting his money where our mouth is, then we should use that money for
that purpose when it fights statism and promotes Libertarian common sense.
At $200/argument + $2/word, my estimate of the cost is closer to $2,000, if
we submit the original arguments as is. We could start editing them and
chopping them down as we've done in the past, but I think they're great as
is, so I recommend just keeping them intact and not starting with that
rewriting business again. Though, on Prop W, I would drop the words "Stop
the madness" near the end since I don't think it adds anything valuable to
what is already a great argument--and it saves $6. For Les' solid argument
against the CCSF tax increase, I would just drop the titles at the top and
just say Vote NO on B, and then just sign our name Libertarian Party of San
Francisco at the end, since its placement in the Voters Handbook will
indicate to any voter who can read that this is a paid opposing argument to
the measure at hand. Not even sure I would add our website afterwards
since it will already be on Prop A, but at $2, it's not a huge deal.

Starchild, I'm positive you can write an excellent arguments in support of
the 16 and 17 year olds voting and the non-citizens voting in School Board
elections, so I would encourage you to submit them as an individual. I'm
not that opposed to the non-citizens voting in school board elections, but
as I mentioned at the meeting, I think it will add extra and unnecessary
costs to the voting process, not to mention more possible fraud, due to the
necessity of having separate ballots for the non-citizens. For the younger
folks voting, I did think of one legitimate argument in favor, which is
that the older folks in SF are voting for bonds,debt, and setasides that
the younger folks will be stuck with for decades to come, and indeed that
is inherently unfair--taxation without representation. However, giving the
younger folks the vote when their parents are supporting them and virtually
all the taxes they pay comes from their parents--this will encourage more
voting for freebies since their parents essentially pay for the goodies.
Until kids start working and looking at the deductions on their paystubs
and paying the bills themselves, it all sounds groovy.

I forgot to scan the proponents' argument for A (SFUSD school bond) before
I left work, so I will just retype it in the morning and rather than
looking around for a scanner. It's pretty bland and says all the things
you would expect them to say, though I thought this sentence was especially
pitiful: "Explore methods for developing affordable housing for teachers."
Oy.

Now the Pesky Peskin business. Greg at the DOE confirmed that Peskin did
pre-empt B but he just didn't submit an argument against it. He agreed
that it was tacky but is totally legal. Basically we were bluffed. Indeed
we will make a big stink about this--after the arguments and rebuttal are
submitted on Monday. In fact, if the lines aren't too long on Monday (Greg
warned me it will a zoo on Monday morning), I may just pop over to the SF
Ethics Commission afterwards and talk to someone about how to file a
complaint about this shenanigan. The other ideas mentioned all sound
good--letters to the Editor and also a letter to the DOE, which I can do
myself after Monday--but I don't think complaining to anyone on the BOS
would do any good, though I could try Katy Tang, who I met at at a Joel
Engardio campaign event and she seemed somewhat reasonable. To be
reasonable I will write Peskin myself a short email about the incident and
ask him why he didn't submit an argument--let's see what he has to say for
himself, if he even answers at all. On this one, we will not allow
sleeping dogs to lie!

So to summarize, we will submit paid arguments on B, V, and W on Monday
morning at a cost of around $2,000 plus the rebuttal on A. Please indicate
your Aye, Nay, or additional thoughts.

Thanks!
Aubrey

Regarding which measures we do paid arguments on, if people are opposed to supporting F and N, then I suggest we put in something opposing Q (prohibiting tents on sidewalks) and supporting G (police oversight), perhaps instead of opposing V (sweetened beverage tax).

  That way we'd have balance at least in our paid arguments with two in support of civil liberties and two against taxes. (Of course we would still be the official opposition on A (school bonds) and co-opponents on RR (BART bonds), so we'd still lack balance overall unless we also supported F and N, but it would mitigate the issue somewhat.

  Restricting ourselves purely to opposing taxes when there are important civil liberties issues on the table makes us look like conservatives. Bad politics.

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))

Aye for placing 3 paid arguments: Props B CCSF Parcel Tax, V Sugary Beverage, W Transfer Tax, as Aubrey suggested.

I would like to ask if anyone noticed the following trend on the ballot proposals: although San Francisco already has a city budget larger than those of some countries as well as huge numbers of bureaucrats working at nice salaries, several ballot arguments propose "oversight commissions" on top of all the existing personnel. How many commissions on top of commissions does a city need? "oversight" appears to be the method du jour to grow City government. As for "homelessness," the best article I ever read on the subject was Sarosh's maybe a year or so ago (?), providing the point of view the City needs to generate and promote homelessness as another means of growth.

Speaking of Sarosh, Aubrey and Mike, did I see something about Sarosh suggesting a paid argument for one of the measures, which he volunteered to contribute to?

Marcy

Yes, I suppose our ballot measure arguments are skewed toward anti-tax measures. I believe there is a reason for this. Taxes are almost always bad, whereas many claimed “rights” under the civil liberties banner are not, in many people’s opinions, actually rights.

For example, the right to pitch a tent on a public sidewalk. I do not feel that this is a legitimate right. This is NOT a matter of the government versus people who want to live on sidewalks, but rather a conflict between citizens who want to live on sidewalks versus citizens who don't want people living on sidewalks in their neighborhood. People who are in favor of allowing others to pitch tents on property they don't own should buy some property and invite tent pitchers to occupy it.

As to the police oversight measure, I could support this PROVIDED the commission is NOT empowered to bring criminal charges against police officers.

Les

I agree with Starchild that LPSF focuses on economic, rather than "liberties" proposals. I believe the reason for that is that, as Les might have also alluded, economic issues are objective -- here is how much this will take out of my pocket. However, "liberties" things are amorphous -- what are the "liberties" we might be talking about when we talk of pitching tents? I view liberty as an absence of government's ever-proliferating laws, not as more laws to simply grow government.

This piece from the Police Accountability proposal might be helpful. It seems to me that the piece is saying that a whole bunch of people are sucking up taxpayers money but not doing their job, so we need a new layer of people sucking up more of our money to oversee the ones who are not doing their job. Hope this piece helps:

"(e) DPA shall recommend disciplinary action to the Chief of Police on those complaints

that are sustained. The Director, after meeting and conferring with the Chief of Police or his or

1 her designee, may verify and file charges with the Police Commission against members of the

Police Department arising out of sustained complaints; provided, that the Director may not

verifY and tile such charges for a period of 60 days allowing the transmittal of the sustained

complaint to the Police Department unless the Director issues a written determination that the

limitations period within which the member or members may be disciplined under Government

Code Section 3304, as amended from time to time or any successor provisions thereto, may

expire within such 60-day period and (1) the Chief of Police fails or refuses to file charges with

1 the Police Commission arising out of the sustained complaint, (2) the Chief of Police or his or

her designee fails or refuses to meet and confer with the Director on the matter, or (3) other

exigent circumstances necessitate that the Director verify and file charges to preserve the ability

of the Police Commission to impose punishment pursuant to SectionA8.343.

Question: What makes us think that the new layer of taxpayer-money users are going to do their job? Also, why are we adding layers, but keeping the exiting folks that are not doing a good job?

Marcy

Civil liberties are no less objective than economic liberties, in my view. Either you are criminalized for sleeping in your own tent in public, or you are not. While other cases can admittedly be more complex, so too can economic issues. For instance, government subsidizes renters via rent control, while simultaneously subsidizing landlords via policies that restrict the creation of new rental housing. It can be difficult if not impossible to determine who the overall winners and losers are in any particular case, relative to what their positions would be in a free market. But if you are in jail or being arrested or beaten by a police officer, you know it!

  The police reform measure (Proposition G) does not create "a new layer of people sucking up more of our money"; it renames the Office of Citizens Complaints as the Department of Police Accountability and gives them more oversight powers along with more independence from the mayor's office. The "Director" referred to in the excerpt below would be the same person as the current existing head of the Office of Citizen Complaints.

Love & Liberty,
                                ((( starchild )))

You can't really get a sense of Prop. G just from reading that excerpt, Les. The full text is at http://sfgov.org/elections/sites/default/files/Documents/candidates/Department%20of%20Police%20Accountability%20Legal%20Text.pdf . The summary at the start of that text reads:

Describing and setting forth a proposal to the voters, at an election to be held on November 8, 2016, to amend the Charter
of the City and County of San Francisco to: re-name the Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) as the Department of Police
Accountability (DPA); give DPA direct authority over its proposed budget; and require DPA to conduct a performance
audit every two years of how the Police Department has handled claims of officer misconduct and use of force.

  I agree with you that all tax issues are economic issues, but all economic issues are not tax issues. On most tax issues though, including the ones before us, our positions are going to tend to appeal more to people on the right, on average, than to people on the left. My point was that we should not present ourselves in a manner that makes us appear like conservatives, when we have a clear opportunity to do otherwise.

Love & Liberty,
                                ((( starchild )))