20 questions for Fiona Ma - Page 2


1.   What kind of health care system do you support for California? Ma’s opponent, Janet Reilly, has made single-payer health care her top campaign priority and issued a detailed plan for what that would entail. Health care is one of just five issues that Ma discusses on her website (the others being Housing, Education, Budget/Jobs, and Transportation), vaguely indicating she support universal coverage and stating, “I support state measures to provide incentives for business owners to cover their workers and other such efforts, but we need the political will on the national level to be successful.”  The first part sounds as if she’s advocating tax breaks to businesses that offer private insurance health plans to their employees. The caveat at the end sounds like she doesn’t intend to do much of anything until the feds do. But then, during the only debate that she’d agreed to have with Reilly, Ma said that she support a single-payer health care system, without offering any other details. This is arguably the most important issue the Legislature will face in the next few years and we have a right to know whose side Ma would be on.

2.   What will you do to protect renters and rental units in San Francisco? Again, it was the sole debate and its aftermath that yielded much confusion about where Ma stands regarding renters. She has made no secret of her strong support for increasing homeownership opportunities and her record is one of opposing local efforts to slow the number of Ellis Act evictions. But at the debate, she went further by declaring, “The Ellis Act is sometimes the only way for some people to become homeowners and I support it.” After being criticized for the statement, she defended herself in a piece on BeyondChron.org that only seemed to dig a deeper hole, arguing that she supports “ownership units [that] are affordable to San Franciscans of all income levels.” And how exactly is that going to happen?

3. What’s up with the $20 million?    In that same Beyondchron.org column, to defend her bad record on renters, Ma cited an effort that she made earlier this month to amend the city’s $20 million housing subsidy program to prioritize those who have been evicted under the Ellis Act. City officials said it would have had little practical effect and the gesture seemed to contradict you statements of support for Ellis Act evictions. Why should we see this as anything but a crass political deception?

4.      Why have you been unwilling to provide details about your policy positions - even on the five issues you raised on your website - so voters would know how you intend to vote?

5.      How do you intend to increase revenues coming into the state, which you will need for even the broad goals you cited in education, transportation, and business “incentives”? We’re particularly interested in this answer after watching Ma chair the city’s Revenue Advisory Panel two years ago. That body was charged by the mayor’s office with recommending new revenue sources, and ended up recommending none.

6. Are you just a pawn of downtown business?At luncheon speeches that she gave to SFSOS and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce over the last couple years, Ma you blasted and belittled her colleagues on the board while fawning over the business community. What is she willing to do to show her independence from downtown?