What DCCC questionnaires reveal about Adachi reform, sit-lie and marijuana

Burning questions fuel 2010 candidate debates
Sarah Phelan
The financing behind Lynette Sweet's campaign HQ isn't the only question voters want answered before the November election rolls around

The DCCC makes its endorsements for the November election on August 11. And in preparation for that crucial endorsement, candidates filled out questionnaires that are posted online, providing fodder for those interested in Jeff Adachi’s pension reform, Mayor Gavin Newsom’s sit-lie ordinance, and the legalization of marijuana, amongst other measures.

But before we get to those issues, I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see that D. 10 candidate Malia Cohen, who has already secured the endorsements of Sally Lieber, Fiona Ma and Aaron Peskin, says on her DCCC questionnaire that she supports the death penalty.

Now, to be fair, advocating for or against the death penalty isn’t the duty of the Board of Supervisors. And I haven’t yet caught up with Cohen yet to clarify why she holds this stance, (or whether it was one big typo, though I somehow doubt it). So, I’ll be sure to update this post, once I have a chance to talk to Cohen, who was busy at yet another candidate forum, when I was writing this entry. UPDATE: Cohen says she does not support the death penalty, and that she inadvertently misanswered the question. (Thanks for clearing up the mystery, Malia, and being gracious about it in the process.)

I should mention that Peskin also endorsed D. 10 candidate Tony Kelly.

And I should also note that while D. 10 candidate Lynette Sweet’s questionnaire says she supports Jeff Adachi’s pension and healthcare reform, Sweet's campaign says that's not the case, pointing to how Sweet said at the Potrero Hill Democratic Club’s August 2 D. 10 forum that what Adachi did wasn’t a bad thing, but the way he went about it was.

I quoted Sweet saying those very words in a previous post, and Sweet’s campaign manager Shane Mayer told me that he forwarded what I wrote about that meeting to the DCCC to clarify Sweet's position. But Mayer got testy when I asked him about the rent, or rather the lack of rent, that Sweet, who Mayor Gavin Newsom has already endorsed, appears to be paying for her campaign headquarters at 25 Division Street (at Rhode Island).

As Beyond Chron tells it, the deal looks more than a bit fishy, and appears to be bankrolled by the Visovichs, a family with Republican leanings that supported Mayors Willie Brown and Newsom in past election campaigns.

 Mayer tried to dismiss the Beyond Chron article as a “hit piece”.

“The article focuses on only one candidate,” Mayer said. “We’re paying fair market rate, and using only a small portion of a warehouse. When we moved in, we didn’t have lights.”

But Sweet isn’t the only D. 10 candidate to come under Beyond Chron's fire in recent days: fellow D. 10 candidate Steve Moss also took flak for receiving $500 from Andrew Zacks, the landlord attorney famous for doing Ellis Act evictions.

While on the phone with Moss recently, I asked what he thought about Newsom’s sit-lie ordinance, Moss said he hadn’t made up his mind yet.

And in his DCCC questionnaire, Moss also waxes ambiguous on sit-lie. “There’s clearly a lack of civility in certain areas of the city," Moss wrote. "And in Bayview-Hunters Point, youth loitering can create conditions that create violence. However, it’s not clear to me that sit-lie is an appropriate response to this issue, and that it won’t result in unintended consequences. For example, sidewalks in Bayview-Hunters Point are also often used for peaceful gathering of neighbors, which is community-building and non-threatening.”

Makes me wonder what Moss and the rest of the candidates think about City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s recent gang injunction in Viz Valley...

UPDATE: I should add here that termed-out D.6 Sup. Chris Daly has just endorsed legislative aide and D.6 candidate James Keys, whose DCCC answers I've included in my round up of some of the candidate responses to this year's DCCC questionnaire. UPDATE: And for all the Glen "Anna Conda" Hyde supporters, my humble apologies for omitting your candidate's positions in my first post on this issue:

Chiu’s non-citizen voting in School Board elections
Supportive of non-citizen voting:  Adachi, Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier and D. 2 challenger Janet Reilly, D. 6 candidates Glen "Anna Conda" Hyde, James Keys, Jane Kim, Jim Meko, Debra Walker and Theresa Sparks. D. 8 candidates Rafael Mandelman, Rebecca Prozan and Scott Wiener. D. 10 candidates Isaac Bowers, Cohen, Chris Jackson, Tony Kelly, Dewitt Lacy and Eric Smith.
Opposed: D.2 candidates Farrell and Berwick, D. 4 incumbent Carmen Chu, and D. 10 candidates Kristine Enea and Lynette Sweet.

Newsom’s ban on dual office holding

Supportive: Berwick, Farrell, Glen "Anna Conda" Hyde, Meko, Enea.

"Yes. Better distribution of power," Anna Conda said.

Opposed: Adachi, Alioto-Pier, Reilly, Keys, Kim, Walker, Sparks, Mandelman, Sweet, Lacy, Kelly, Cohen, Wiener, Jackson, Smith and Prozan.
“This measure is the result of petty politics between the mayor and the Board,” Prozan, who contributed S100 to Newsom’s Lt. Governor campaign, famously wrote on her DCCC questionnaire.

Newsom’s Sit-Lie Ordinance
Supportive: Farrell, Alioto-Pier, Reilly, Chu, Sparks, Wiener and Sweet.
Opposed: Adachi, Berwick, Glen "Anna Conda" Hyde, Keys, Kim, and Walker. Mandelman and Prozan. Cohen, Jackson, Kelly, Lacy and Smith.

Adachi’s Pension Reform
Supportive: Adachi, Berwick, Meko, and Sweet
Opposed: Chu, Farrell and Reilly. Glen "Anna Conda" Hyde, Keys, Kim, Walker and Sparks. Mandelman, Prozan and Wiener. Cohen, Jackson, Kelly, Lacy and Smith.
No position, yet: Alioto-Pier.

Legalization of pot (Prop. 19)
Supportive: Adachi, Berwick. Glen "Anna Conda" Hyde, Keys, Kim, Meko, Sparks, and Walker. Mandelman, Prozan and Wiener. Cohen, Jackson, Kelly, Lacy, Smith and Sweet.
Opposed: Chu and Farrell

No position, yet: Alioto-Pier, Janet Reilly.

Hard to tell: Moss.

“I philosophically support this measure but am concerned that its economic and social implications haven’t been carefully considered, nor its interaction with federal law,” Moss wrote on his DCCC questionnaire.

Sparks for her part just clarified that she mistakenly answered "No" on two DCCC questionnaire items: "Do you opposeprivatization of essential government services," and "Will you oppose anti-worker initiatives that seek to undermine the ability of union leaders to carry out will of members and engage in political activities.”

“I meant to answer yes, as I explained at my DCCC interview," Sparks said. "I was confused by the double negatives."

While she was on the phone, Sparks also admitted that the pace on the campaign trail is getting intense with forums and meetings every night.

“David Campos, who has been a good friend since we were both on the Police Commission, recently told me, ‘win or lose, you need to schedule a few weeks off in November when the election is over,’” Sparks said.

Campos is right. To all the candidates on the campaign trial, here’s wishing you lots of energy and calm in the weeks to come. And see you at the DCCC forum.



Terrific round-up, Sarah!

In the heading "Chui’s non-citizen voting in School Board elections," David Chiu's name is misspelled.

It should be "Chiu" with the "i" and the "u" transposed.


Posted by Jacqui Gladys on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 8:06 am

Carmen Chu

Posted by mark on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 9:47 am

According to her Facebook status, Cohen is opposed to the death penalty.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 10:29 am

Curious why you don't include Anna Conda/Glendon Hyde's answers in your roundup. She was one of your "queers we love" in your Pride issue and one of the most progressive candidates in the race.

Posted by Ryan on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 10:43 am
Posted by Guest on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 11:03 am

Dear candidates,

I am happy to add your positions to this list as I continue to work my way through the heaping pile of DCCC questionnaires. But please be advised that if you inadvertently misanswered those questionnaires, I may end up inadvertently misreporting your positions...Thanks and good luck in your race.

Posted by sarah on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 11:24 am

Right, you just haven't gotten around to it, even though Anna is running one of the most serious and issue-based campaigns of all candidates and has received good reviews from public appearances and debates. Covering her campaign to push your Pride issue but not including in regular coverage is the worst of marginalization.

Posted by Ryan on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

I'm happy to send you compiled data from all candidates' position on these issues - it took me about 10 minutes to go through each completed questionnaire and pull it out. I don't buy the "heaping pile" excuse.

Posted by Ryan on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

I was on the website for the "civil sidewalks" law. It appears that the law will be Proposition L on the ballot. The group that came up with the name "civil sidewalks" law must have sat around for hours (or consulted a marketing firm) trying to come up a name for this law that the public could not possibly vote down, because who could be opposed to "civil sidewalks?"

I strongly oppose Prop L.

I read this on the website for the measure:

"Make no mistake, this is not about homelessness. Our supporters are the very people who help the homeless everyday. Our supporters are members of the ACLU, we are families, merchants and small business owners. We are fourth and fifth generation San Franciscans, and as San Franciscans it is our duty to make our city safe and to keep it thriving."

By mentioning the ACLU by name, it can give the impression that the ACLU supports Prop L, and that the supporters who are allegedly members of the ACLU are concerned about civil liberties. There is no way to prove that the supporters of this measure are members of the ACLU, and what they do not say is that the ACLU opposes sit-lie (see Ballotpedia). Something is very wrong when people feel they must resort to deceit and lies to promote their cause.

Going back to the 1970s and a bit of local history: In the 1970s Castro, they passed a similar law to target hippies that were laying around smoking pot or staring at the wall on acid or whatever, but what they really used it for was to target gay men who were flocking to the city to see this exciting new scene that was growing. There was this group called the Castro 14, guys who got put in jail for sitting on the streets. Harvey Milk was a huge opponent of this, and it eventually got repealed after he died because it was totally ridiculous and unfair and it was destroying part of the culture of the Castro.

Hopefully the voters will not be deceived by the lies and untruths being promoted by the "civil sidewalks" (Prop L) proponents.

I think the opponents of Prop L need to do whatever possible to defeat this measure. I cannot believe that such a measure is on the ballot in San Francisco.

Posted by Guest Bárbara Chelsai on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

You're making more than a marginal mistake leaving out the most progressive figure in this year's campaign for District 6. You're not only marginalizing Anna, you're marginalizing those of us who support her. Your excuse here is just as fishy as Sweet's rent issue.

Posted by Duane Gammill on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

Please do not exclude candidates when writing about topical political issues!

Posted by D.R. on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

Just because she wears a dress you can't take her seriously? Why no mention of her in your round-up?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

Where is the info about Anna Conda - she is on the ballot!??!
I find this truly worrying, mindfully leaving candidates positions from your editorials.

Posted by Adam B on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

WOW! How come there was no mention here of Anna Conda/Glendon Hyde and her positions? Could it be that she's too queer even for the allegedly progressive SFBG? Please, do not forget the Silence = Death adage. Anna/Glendon is one of the most promising, dedicated, innovative progressive voices in SF. In the best tradition of progressive queers, she reaches out to build coalitions, such as the unique Project 6+8 idea to ensure progressives don't lose yet again to reactionary forces in the city. And in the same tradition, she's does not confine her work to promoting the cushy agenda of the city's A-gays, who cannot see further than marriage as a social-justice cause.

Posted by aqr8 on Aug. 11, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

C'mon, you're supposed to be better than this. Anna Conda is a legit candidate, and leaving her out was just shoddy. Shame on you.

Posted by Guest A. H. Puppy on Aug. 12, 2010 @ 1:50 am

I was really surprised that we were not placed on this list discussing the issues. I understand the ideas that go behind making omission of this sort. Like as a drag queen what could I possibly have to offer?
Well my campaign is one of the top candidates in fundraising; none of it from machine politics; in lieu signature gathering, and the debate showings have gained us a whole slew of new followers because it is a passionate issue based campaign that we are running. That has garnered us a place on the endorsement list of both Manor House and TAC PAC. Also may I add that many members of the DCCC have congratulated me on my presentation before them.
Also I have graced your pages for my activism numerous times, been on the cover twice and have even written a few words for this paper because I believe in it's values most of the time. I genuinely appreciate the stance and the reporting about the War On Fun because it is a story that should be garnering even more attention.
Finally for anyone who didn't know about drag history; since queer history is thought not to exist; let me offer this. Drag Queens started the first gay rights battle right here in the Tenderloin. Drag Queens started the Gay Rights movement at Stonewall. Drag Queens are the story tellers and one of the strongest forces in gay life. A Drag Queen (Pollo delMar) spoke to the masses gathered in Dolores park after Prop 8 passed and united our spirits and our cause. Drag is about the voice and the strength that drag gives us to be noticed and not invisible. Drag queens raise millions of dollars every year for underfunded programs and we do it for free. This is what a drag queen is and does and so much more. Just in case you wanted to know.
I would like to thank everyone that wrote a comment and has supported me in this race. So far it's been beyond awesome! Thanks for reminding me that it's not true that if you ignore something or someone it goes away. Some times they come out more determined to prove just the opposite. Mostly though read about the issues in this race. Sit/Lie sets a dangerous precedent as do many other issues. Don't be fooled.... incarceration is not cheep and your tax dollars would go farther by PERMANENTLY HOUSING people with services. Do we really want to spend more money on punishing people?

Anna Conda/Glendon Hyde

Posted by Guest Anna Conda on Aug. 12, 2010 @ 7:51 am

To My Lovely friends at the SF Bay Guardian,
I heart you, but please give a serious contender her due. It is sometimes challenging as a queer progressive that our straight friends don't get it. So for what it is worth, Anna Conda is a well known, respected member of my community who is in my opinion one of the most progressive candidates to run for public office in recent memory.
I know that we all make mistakes, and I certainly do more often than I would like, but this was a big one, and Anna Conda is owed an apology, are our your queer progressive readers, and those who are our allies.
Don't rationalize, just apologize, do better, and move on.
This race is a challenging one for me, but I can say without hesitation that if I lived in District 6, I would be voting for Anna Conda. A vote for Anna Conda is a vote for liberation!
Prejudice, wrote a song about it, wanta hear it?
Free your mind, and the rest will follow:

Posted by Guest Gabriel on Aug. 12, 2010 @ 9:51 am

How is it that you've omitted Anna/Glendon from your election roundup? This looks awfully like PREJUDICE, darlings. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Anna/Glendon's candidacy is not a joke. S/he is one of the most promising progressive voices in SF. Wake up.

Posted by Guest Alwyn on Aug. 12, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

Including Anna Conda makes it a much better read. :)

Posted by Kitten Calfee on Aug. 13, 2010 @ 8:59 am

I was quite surprised/disappointed that you would leave out Anna Conda from this article, but am glad you quickly fixed this omission.

Please don't leave out Anna Conda - or any other serious mainstream candidate - from future election coverage again.

Posted by Guest (a faithful SFBG reader) on Aug. 15, 2010 @ 12:03 pm