Report on District 9 Supervisor debate

I attended a debate among the candidates for District 9 (Mission neighborhood) supervisor this past evening, hosted by the Latino Young Democrats. They are a friendly group, before whom I previously spoke briefly against a couple of ballot measures (I forget which ones offhand). Last night's debate took place in the same venue, 362 Capp Street.

  Below is some correspondence about the debate that I posted to the SF Bay Area Renters Federation (SFBARF) list, where I learned about the event, but I'll say a few more words here.

  Based on what I saw, my recommendation at present is that the LPSF not recommend a vote for any candidate for D9 supervisor. Sadly, none of them seemed to me to be libertarian enough, or even significantly more pro-freedom than their rivals, to merit such a step.

  The YIMBY Party (side project / political arm of SFBARF) is supporting Joshua Arce, a decision regrettably made by the group's self-appointed "executive board" (consisting if I recall correctly of Sonja Trauss of SFBARF, Laura Clark of GROW SF, and Brian Hanlon of East Bay Forward) rather than democratically by the larger membership. While he probably is the most YIMBY candidate of the bunch, the process (or lack thereof) bodes ill in my opinion for the group's continuing to function as a grassroots organization run from the bottom up. But we will see.

  The two candidates I don't really say anything about on the SFBARF list, Melissa San Miguel and Mario España(?), were no better than Arce (a civil rights lawyer and non-profit housing administrator) or Ronen. I think I picked up fliers for all the D9 candidates at the event (as well as various other fliers), but must have accidentally set them down there and neglected to bring them home with me, as I cannot find them. So I don't have as much to say as I might otherwise.

  But I will note that San Miguel's main pitch seemed to be that she's from the neighborhood, is Latina, and isn't Ronen or Arce, whom she dismissed as factional candidates representing special interests and the "progressive" and "moderate" factions of SF politics respectively. Like at least Ronen and Arce, possibly also España, she opposes criminalization of homelessness, but seems to think the answer is lots of "investment" in providing homeless people with taxpayer-funded services. Her career has been as an "education advocate" for young people, women, and latinas. She wants to work on closing the education "achievement gap" and finds the 69% latina high school graduation rate deplorable, but naturally said nothing about non-government solutions to these problems. She boasted about having "expanded services" for 40,000 youth, and expanded the state budget for some program or type of educational spending (I forget what) by 2/3rds. San Miguel might have been the least libertarian candidate on stage.

  España(?) was probably the most vague. He tended to speak in generalities more than the other candidates. Claimed he isn't a "career politician", but noted in other remarks that he's spent 16 years in civil service and worked for Democratic congressman Tom Lantos. Sounds pretty "career" to me! Like the others he said he supports independent investigation of police shootings, but not federal Justice Department involvement. Whether this was due to some ideological preference for localism (he did talk a lot about wanting "local" solutions) or lack of interest in really holding police accountable was unclear. He says he is currently in middle management, and has always "advocated for older folks of color". Wants supervisors to do more "outreach in the community". Wants local "billion dollar companies" in the Mission to hire more local students. Local hiring was a big theme for him.

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))

P.S. – It was pointed out to me by another SFBARFer after I posted the comments about Hillary Ronen below that overcrowding is not the same thing as density, which seemed like a fair point; I don't know that Ronen is anti-density. (SFBARF supporters including myself generally support allowing urban infill housing and higher density as preferable to either high housing prices/rents and homelessness on one hand, or suburban sprawl and loss of wilderness/open space on the other).