Saturday, August 23, 2008

Green Party questionnaire

San Francisco Green Party Supervisor Candidate Questionnaire

1. There are 10 sections to this questionnaire. Each section corresponds with the 10 Key Values of the Green Party.
2. Each section begins with a written question and ends with several multiple-choice questions.
3. The multiple-choice questions are answered by checking the box in the appropriate column to indicate which is closest to your position:

(plus)+ means: Support/Agree/Yes
(minus) - means: Oppose/Disagree/No
(question mark) ? means: Undecided/Don't know/No opinion
[Rob's note: I'm substituting "Yes" and "No" for the graphically murky Green Party system]

4. The world is too complex to always break down neatly into yes/no/maybe choices, so feel free to clarify any answers to multiple choice questions with a few words.
That's very sensible. This is the only questionnaire I've received that acknowledges this reality.

Candidate Name: Rob Anderson
Phone Number:
Name of Campaign Manager: that's me
Are you receiving public financing? No
Signed voluntary spending limit? Yes
2nd, 3rd endorsements in District:
Major Endorsements: No endorsements, major or minor. Haven't asked for any and don't expect to get any.
Favorite Incumbent Supervisor: Carmen Chu
Least favorite: Chris Daly
If the election were held today, Who would you support as Board President? Maybe Carmen Chu, if she was interested in the job.
Who would be your second and third choices? No one
First choice for Mayor in November 2003? Gavin Newsom
Choice for Mayor in December 2003 runoff? Gavin Newsom

1) Grassroots Democracy: What are your thoughts on Instant Runoff Voting, and District Elections? How have they worked to date? What would you change in the future?
All IRV does is save the city money by avoiding runoff elections. The assumption behind IRV is that there's more than one acceptable candidate, which is simply not true in an intensely partisan political culture like ours. I routinely vote for my first/only choice three times.

[ ] [ ] [?] Sub-government such as Neighborhood Assemblies, Networks or District Councils

[ ] [ ] [?] Some commissions should be democratically elected.

[ ] [ ] [?] The Mayor should appoint all commissioners.

[YES] [ ] [ ] Residency requirements for elected officials should be strictly enforced.

[ ] [ ] [?] Ethics Commission needs more funding.

[YES ] [ ] [ ] Ethics Commission meetings should be televised.

[YES] [ ] [ ] Ethics Commission should prioritize investigating violations from well-funded campaigns.

[ ] [NO] [ ] My campaign accepts corporate contributions

[ ] [NO] [ ] My campaign accepts contributions from paid lobbyists or related entities having any interest in City and County of San Francisco

2) Ecological Wisdom: Please outline your view of the major environmental and ecological issues facing San Francisco and yourproposed policies to address them.
Ecological issues, whatever that means, are not the most important issues facing SF.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Halting Lennar's construction in Bayview until the health of the residents can be independently assessed.

[YES] [ ] [ ] Phasing out diesel tour buses
And phasing out Muni’s diesel buses, too.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Public Power

[ ] [ ] [?] Community Choice Aggregation
I don’t know what this means.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Tidal power that might be harnessed in San Francisco Bay should be publicly controlled.

[ ] [NO] [ ] New runways in the bay at SFO

[ ] [NO] [ ] Reducing or eliminating parking minimums in new housing and commercial developments

[YES] [ ] [ ] Peaker power plant planned for Potrero Hill

[YES] [ ] [ ] New power cable planned to transverse the Bay

[ ] [NO] [ ] Transbay Terminal Tower

[ ] [NO] [ ] Congestion tolls on Doyle Drive

[ ] [ ] [ ] Natural Areas Program
I don’t know what that is.

3) Social Justice:

A) What is your assessment of homelessness in San Francisco, and what solutions do you propose?
Mayor Newsom has made a good start in dealing with the city's homeless problem, with Care Not Cash, Homeward Bound, the emphasis on supportive housing, and Project Homeless Connect. City progressives have been unhelpful on the homeless issue, vaporizing about "root causes," while people live and die on our streets. City progressives were oddly tone deaf politically on the issue, too, defending the status quo when it should have been obvious that city voters wanted a new approach to dealing with homelessness and the associated squalor on our streets and in our parks. Gavin Newsom was able to capitalize on this political negligence and use the issue to get elected mayor. Good for him.

[YES] [ ] [ ] Project Homeless Connect

[YES] [ ] [ ] Care Not Cash.

[YES] [ ] [ ] Community courts

[YES] [ ] [ ] SF's minimum wage law

[ ] [ ] [?] SF's health care mandate
Jury’s still out on this one.

[YES] [ ] [ ] SF's sick leave requirements

B) What are your views on housing affordability, what public sector strategies have worked, which have failed, and what are your proposals?
I don't know that anything has worked very well. I have no proposals to offer, but the least we can do is not make the situation worse by okaying big projects that create housing for the rich, like the Rincon Hill highrises, which Supervisor Mirkarimi supports.

[ ] [ ] [?] Community Land Trust
I don’t know what that means.

[ ] [ ] [?] Rent Control is too strong

[ ] [NO] [ ] Elected Rent Board
Terrible idea that would lead to all kinds of political posturing.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Amnesty for illegal in-law apartments

4) Nonviolence: What are your solutions for SFPD accountability while making the streets safer?
I have no such solutions and evidently neither does anyone else.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Prioritize SFPD enforcement of moving violations

[ ] [NO] [ ] Support expansion of foot patrols

[ ] [NO] [ ] Demand stricter accountability in future MOUs with the SFPD

[ ] [NO] [ ] The Board of Supervisors should be able to set policies and priorities for the SFPD through legislation

[ ] [ ] [?] Support legislation in California that would overturn Copley decision and re-open public access to records of police misconduct.

5) Decentralization: What are your thoughts on the Kaufman Charter of 1996? Does it need revisiting?
I don’t know what the Kaufman Charter is, and I’m not going to look it up. If you really wanted an answer from candidates who aren’t insiders, you should include a brief summary of that policy with the question.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Bring the Housing Authority under the Board of Supervisors

[ ] [NO] [ ] Bring the Redevelopment Agency under the Board of Supervisors

[ ] [NO] [ ] Will you create formal district councils to advise you?

[YES] [ ] [ ] Two aides for each Supervisor are sufficient

[ ] [NO] [ ] Charter amendment allowing voters to choose the replacement of an elected official being recalled on the same ballot as the recall vote

6) Community Based Economics: What economic policies, including taxation, land use from the Planning Department, and investment from the Redevelopment Agency would you propose that would drive capital into our communities and keep that capital here for residents?
I have no such plans, but it’s bad public policy to provide developers with zoning changes and incentives to build highrises (Rincon Hill) and overdevelop particular neighborhoods, like the awful Market/Octavia Plan and the UC/Evans proposal on lower Haight Street, both of which Supervisor Mirkarimi is pushing.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Legislation limiting formula retail outlets/chain-stores

[YES] [ ] [ ] Conditional Use permit required for big box stores

[ ] [ ] [?] The biotech payroll tax break

[ ] [NO] [ ] Municipal broadband

[ ] [ ] [ ?] Conversion of some golf courses into soccer fields
If the city can't manage the golf courses without subsidies from the taxpayers, we should turn them over to private management firms.

7) Feminism: Women continue to be underrepresented in city government. Why do you believe this is the case? Is this a bad thing, and if so, what would you do to remedy this?
I don’t know that this is even true. I don't know of anything preventing women from participating in city government.

[ ] [ ] [?] The City should help SFUSD provide child care for children of working parents

[YES] [ ] [ ] The DPH should provide reproductive health services
But only for the indigent.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Require parental consent for minors seeking an abortion

[ ] [NO] [ ] Require parental notification for minors seeking an abortion

8) Respect for Diversity: Tell us what you believe are the best and the worst aspects of San Francisco's diversity. How would you try to protect the best while trying to change the worst?
I don’t know what this means. It sounds like PC blather.

[ ] [ ] [?] Multilingual government and education

[ ] [NO] [ ] Undocumented immigrants should have equal access to education and health care

[ ] [NO] [ ] Non-citizen residents should be able to vote in all local elections

[YES] [ ] [ ] Full rights for transgender persons

[ ] [ ] [?] Boards and commissions now reflect the ethnic diversity of San Francisco

[ ] [ ] [?] Boards and commissions now reflect the political diversity of San Francisco

[ ] [ ] [?] My campaign reflects the diversity of San Francisco
My campaign reflects my political perspective. Why would/should it reflect anything else? Politics is about ideas, not sucking up to various interest/ethnic groups.

9) Global and Personal Responsibility: What are your thoughts on the Board of Supervisors taking positions on state, national and international issues?
They can’t even formulate sensible city policies. Why do we want them to pontificate about state, national, or international issues?

[YES] [ ] [ ] City government cooperating with the PATRIOT Act

[YES] [ ] [ ] City government cooperating with ICE

[YES] [ ] [ ] Fleet Week and the Blue Angels flyover

[ ] [ ] [?] Business taxes are too high

10) Sustainability: What does the Transit First City Charter provision mean to you? How has Transit First fared in recent years, and how would you enforce that Charter Provision if elected?
Actually, SF seems to think it's a "bicycles first" city, not a "transit first" city. Muni mostly needs more money for buses and drivers, since it's the only practical alternative to driving for most people.

[ ] [ ] [? ] MUNI should be funded greater levels and be free to the rider
No, Muni needs more money, but why should it be free to anyone but the neediest?

[ ] [ ] [?] Downtown Transit Assessment Tax to support MUNI

[ ] [ ] [?] Citywide Transit Assessment Tax to support MUNI

[ ] [NO] [ ] Higher residential construction along neighborhood transit corridors, which may include raising height limits by two to three stories.
No, no, no! The transit corridors theory is false, and the way it’s being applied in SF is bad for our neighborhoods.
[ ] [NO] [ ] Diversion of money set aside for seismic retofit projects into a solar energy incentives program

[ ] [NO] [ ] State law change that lets bicycles treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs
It was dumb of the bike people to even float this, since many people already think they are jerks and scofflaws. Just to test public opinion, why don’t we put this idea on the ballot?
[ ] [ ] [?] I ride MUNI, bicycle and/or walk instead of driving on a regular basis
I ride Muni and walk. I would never ride a bike in SF or anywhere else, because it's too dangerous.

[ ] [NO] [ ] Bus Rapid Transit on Geary

[ ] [NO] [ ] Allow residents to park on the sidewalk without getting a ticket, unless their neighbors complain

[ ] [NO] [ ] Central Subway
You mean the Rose Pak/Willie Brown Big Dig? This is a major boondoggle in the making!

[ ] [NO] [ ] Congestion pricing in downtown San Francisco

Your positions on selected current and past Propositions:

[YES] [ ] [ ] 2008 Prop A (SFGH Bond)

[ ] [ ] [?] 2008 Prop B (SF Affordable Housing Fund)

[ ] [NO] [ ] 2008 Prop E (Increase number of signatures required to recall Supervisors)

[ ] [NO] [ ] 2008 Prop H (SF Clean Energy Act)

[ ] [NO] [ ] 2008 Prop K (Prostitution/Sex Workers enforcement)
A terrible idea. I call it the Pimp Protection Act.

[YES] [ ] [ ] 2008 Prop N (Property Transfer Tax)

[ ] [ ] [?] 2008 Prop P (Transportation Authority)

[YES] [ ] [ ] 2008 Prop V (JROTC)

[YES] [ ] [ ] 2008 Prop 1 (High Speed Rail Bond)

[YES] [ ] [ ] 2008 Prop 2 (Treatment of Farm Animals)

[ ] [NO] [ ] 2008 Prop 8 (Limit on Marriage)

[ ] [NO] [ ] June 2008 Prop F (Bayview Affordable Housing)

[YES] [ ] [ ] June 2008 Prop G (Bayview Development)

[ ] [NO] [ ] 2007 Prop E (Question Time)

Due Date: Friday, August 29
Please submit by email to For more information, call Erika McDonald at 337-1499. The SF Green Party will invite candidates who return completed questionnaires to attend our endorsement meeting. This will be scheduled on Wednesday evening, September 3, from 6-9 pm. If you are unable to make this time, please be in touch with us at Our meetings are held at our office at 1028A Howard St, near 6th Street. Completed questionnaires will be posted on our website,

John-Marc Chandonia (


"It's silly to overlook the dangers of cycling..."

It's flattering to get a comment from Robert Hurst, a good writer and a sensible fellow who also happens to be a dedicated bike guy. Hurst corroborates what I've been saying about the dangers involved in cycling, but, not surprisingly, he thinks the risks are worth it:

Interesting to see my book quoted here. I believe it's silly to overlook the dangers of cycling in traffic, and there is a faction of cycling advocates who seem to want to do that. On the other hand, I hope I made clear in my book that the benefits of bicycling far outweigh the risks. Also, I think building a lot of new multi-use paths in SF is a damn good idea. They are extremely useful for transportation purposes.

Not sure what he means by the "multi-use paths," but presumably he simply means "bike lanes." But Hurst agrees with me about doubting the wisdom of encouraging children to ride bikes in city traffic:

While [John]Forester claimed that even children could ride safely on busy streets using the vehicular-cycling principle, our way is unquestionably for adults…The streets demand from us an awareness and maturity that would be very rare in a child.

The city and the SF Bicycle Coalition want to encourage the city's school children to ride their bikes to school, a reckless, irresponsible idea that endangers children and will make the city vulnerable to litigation as soon as the first kid is flattened by a bus while riding a bike to school.

See for example today's story about a "wrongful death" suit filed by the family of the father and his two sons killed by illegal alien and gang member protected by the city against the big bad federales who would have deported him---the bastards!---before he had a chance to kill anybody.

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