Guardian forum: Everybody loves public power

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Leland Yee and Bevan Dufty share a laugh at the Guardian candidates forum. Photo by Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal.

The Guardian candidates' forum was a blast -- standing room only at the LGBT Center, a great, lively crowd, and most of the candidates for mayor showed up. Not Ed Lee, though -- we invited him, but he was a no-show. That's typical -- he's skipped the vast majority of the mayoral debates and events, and when he does show up, he leaves early.

We set out to pin the candidates down on five key issues that came out of the Guardian's summer issues forums. Shaw San Liu, our moderator, forced the mayoral contenders to give us yes-or-no answers, and our all-star celebrity panel of answer analyzers (Sue Hestor, Corey Cook and Fernando Marti) weighed in and raised signs to tell us whether the candidate had said Yes, No, or Waffled.

The questions:

1. Will you support the creation of a municipal bank to offer access to credit to small business instead of relying on tax breaks for economic development?

 2. Will you support a freeze on condo conversions and the development of new market-rate condos until the city has a plan and the financing in place to meet the General Plan goal of 60 percent of all new units available at below market rate -- and then index new market-rate housing to the creation of affordable units?

3. Do you have a viable plan to bring $250,000 a year in new revenue into the city to address the structural budget deficit?

4. Will you agree to opt out of the federal secure communities program and will you reverse Mayor Newsom’s policy and direct all local law-enforcement agencies not to cooperate with immigration authorities?

 5. Will you support a proposal to either buy out PG&E’s San Francisco facilities or build a new city grid through a bond act so that San Francisco will control its own energy distibution system?

Only John Avalos answered Yes to all five. But it was remarkable how many of the candidates supported most or all of the progressive agenda we've developed. Every single candidate voiced support for a municipal bank. And every one of them said Yes to buying out PG&E's distribution system so the city could run it's own electric utility.

They had a lot more trouble with the notion of a freeze on new market-rate housing and condo conversions, and not all of them could explain how they would bring in $250,000 in new revenue. But I give them all credit for showing up and facing the tough questions and saying that, for the most part, they wanted to promote a progressive agenda.

Here are the scores:

John Avalos: Y, Y, Y, Y, Y

David Chiu: Y, W, Y, Y, Y

Bevan Dufty: Y, N, Y, Y,Y

Dennis Herrera: Y, W, Y, Y, Y

Phil Ting: NA. NA, Y, Y, Y (He came late and missed the first two)

Joanna Rees: Y, N, N, Y, Y

Leland Yee: Y, W, W, Y, Y

Jeff Adachi: Y, W, Y, Y, Y

Terry Baum: Y, Y, N, Y, Y

So five waffles on housing policy; nobody wants to stand up and say that we're building too much housing for the rich and that it has to stop until we catch up with affordable housing. (At least Dufty was honest and told us he doesn't want to cut off TIC and condo conversions).

I'm waiting for the video and I'll post it when I get it.

Comments

Tim, you are wrong in your last paragraph, "So five waffles on housing policy; nobody wants to stand up and say that we're building too much housing for the rich and that it has to stop until we catch up with affordable housing. (At least Dufty was honest and told us he doesn't want to cut off TIC and condo conversions)."

Terry Joan Baum includes a moratorium on building housing for the rich in her platform and even said so on Wednesday night. According to my notes, this is what she said:

"Yes, I would support a freeze on condo conversion. But a freeze is not far enough. We need a moratorium. ... We don't need any more housing for the rich. ... until we have supportive housing for homeless people. Live/work was a farce. ..."

Posted by Sue on Sep. 23, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

I wasn't at the forum and so couldn't comment with authority, but figured that Baum had indeed said something at the forum to this effect.

Please update your report to reflect this SF Guardians...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 23, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

cause the wealthier folks who seek that type of housing to instead pursue existing properties that currently house tenants. So by squeezing supply, it would drive up home prices and rents, while encouraging more evictions and loss of rental housing.

It's a dead-end idea which is why none of the viable candidate support it.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 10:32 am

A significant portion of those most effected by the lack of, and destruction of, affordable housing, in San Francisco and elsewhere, and most severely impacted by 'Wall Street's' criminal activities, are 'ethnic minorities. However one of the elitist bigots who trolls here has the answer,
"We need to get more of The Poors out of this city so we can have a higher per capita income and less Poors. We're well on our way....".
Gosh, so simple, why didn't I think of that.
http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/09/22/report-black-wealth-has-nearly-disappe...

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 10:34 am

Latest censes shows whites at under 50% of the population. And that discounts all the illegals.

Nice to know you feel compassion for the suffering of white people.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 10:47 am

Whites are still the most populous when compared individually to each specific ethnic group. And the history of white domination gives whites disproportionate control over policies and the economy.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 11:20 am

Economic strata has nothing to so with it?

It's interesting that when people of all races climb the economic pyramid they all seem to have the same mindset around economics, as we descend the economic pyramid people tend to have the same views.

There are exceptions such as poor born againers and upper middle class whites addled with guilt, but in general class and status seems to be a better indicator of power than race.

It's also interesting that celebrating culture is a leftist given, but mentioning differences in culture that may explain where people end up in the economic heap is a no no. People from one strata tend to stay in that area, plumbers tend to produce plumbers and electricians, doctors produce doctors and lawyers. etc...

To deny the real world we have to make everything about race, because once the door is open to what in reality is a lot of self selected class and status the facade falls apart.

Posted by meatlock on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

It is absolutely correct that class is the key issue, however, it is also profoundly important that centuries of racial oppression and prejudice, disproportionately leverages people of color and indigenous peoples into the lower classes, in vast numbers. This simply cannot be ignored, and must be aggressively actively corrected so that those peoples can achieve class parity with the rest of us.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

But making stereotypical presumptions about race as a substitute for that is going to miss the mark much of the time. Obama's daughters don't need any help, while there are more poor whites in the US than any other ethnicity.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

changed?

So we need to force people who are the spawn of a certain class into another class against their will?

If a person grew up around a culture that encourages going into the trades, they need to be forced into politics or business?

How do you suppose we do that?

How do we make a person who wants to work on cars become senator or a CEO? How do we force a person making a series of personal choices make the right choices and become a fortune 500 CEO or congressman?

Your argument seems to be that "sure people span more of their own kind, but thats racist."

Posted by meatlock on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

attributed wrong.

Posted by meatlock on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

I really don't understand why they don't simply move out to Concord or Stockton where they can get a lot more for their money.

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

Correct Eric. As those of who have been involved for decades know, compassion is color blind.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 11:40 am

I hope the SfBG is a slight smarter than the average power rabbit when it comes to what stance each candidate has taken in the pass on PG$E legislation. And will print that knowledge. Other wise all you are printing is a pandering.

Posted by Jerry Jarvis on Sep. 24, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

This forum was a total failure because you had a group of people that agree with each other 99% of the time.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

As well as their idea of a total success - when they can have a rhetorical circle jerk without a single dissenting opinion on anything - just everyone making amens to the greatness of "the movement" and congratulating themselves on how ideologically pure they are.

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

So, who do these guys represent?

In a bit of a surprise move to someone who takes the advice of Marc Salomon and Eric Brooks seriously, the SF Green Party just released their endorsements for Mayor and doggone if they didn't ignore Marc and Eric's advice and give their third nod to only Progressive with real chance to win ... as in, Jeff Adachi.

They went with their own Terry Baum (mine too, I'm a registered Green) for the top
spot and John Avalos in the number two spot.

Here's the link:

http://sfgreenparty.org/endorsements

I'd like to hear an explanation from my good buddies Marc and Eric now?

Go Giants!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

Explanation of what exactly H?

Of the fact that the SF Greens can think for themselves and as a group made a decision which is different than my own (only on the third rank choice).

We have still decided to oppose both Props C and D, and that is very important.

Adachi got in at third rank because of his past record.

Yee didn't get ranked third because of -his- past record.

I can understand the reasons of my fellow Greens, but disagree.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

I'd like an explanation for why you hate Jews so much. Is it just garden variety anti-semitism or did you have a really bad experience with a Jew one time which led you to believe that they're all bad? After that we can move on to discussing your hatred of lesbians and women as well.

Go Giants!

LS

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

?

Snapples is certainly not Judith Berkowitz.
Judith Berkowitz is a lesbian conservative political activist who is extremely supportive of Israel, and pushed hard as, the President of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, for passage of the Sit Lie Law.

While Lucretia The Trollop Sister Snapples fits this description exactly, and her writing style is eerily similar to Judith Berkowitz, there is definitely no way that Lucretia the Troll Snapples is Judith Berkpwitz.

See for yourself, does this really look like the face of Lucretia Snapples?
https://profiles.google.com/sfjberk/about

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

So, who do these guys represent?

In a bit of a surprise move to someone who takes the advice of Marc Salomon and Eric Brooks seriously, the SF Green Party just released their endorsements for Mayor and doggone if they didn't ignore Marc and Eric's advice and give their third nod to only Progressive with real chance to win ... as in, Jeff Adachi.

They went with their own Terry Baum (mine too, I'm a registered Green) for the top
spot and John Avalos in the number two spot.

Here's the link:

http://sfgreenparty.org/endorsements

I'd like to hear an explanation from my good buddies Marc and Eric now?

Go Giants!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

What this means is that there are people on the left who will support Adachi for Mayor. Green Party members are activists who know well all of the ins and outs of ballot propositions, have a critical national perspective and value labor more than just as an input for production.

They respect Adachi for tackling tough issues head on and devolving into a PR soundbite pol, which is the norm. Given how little comprehensive coverage the city's financial problems get, even Green Party members may not know all the bad numbers San Francisco is facing, and they probably don't think Adachi got every detail right either in 2010 or now but they understand that the alternative is a fiscal crackup and San Francisco desperately needs truthful, candid leadership in the Mayor's office. Focus group tested talking points won't solve this fight.

To solve our fiscal problems requires leadership. Adachi is the only person is this contest with the courage to fight. He may not get every detail right. He won't kiss the right ass at the right time but he knows what San Francisco's core problem is and is prepared to spend political capital to fix it. In a better economy Leland Yee, Dennis Herrera or Ed Lee would be fine but they do not have the capacity to contront the daunting economic challenges of these times.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

And I've got this bridge in New York that I bought for a song.. Called the 'Brooklyn'.. I can sell it to you real cheap; a couple hundred bucks - all yours!

Why are so many people, such fools...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

This bears repeating:

"In a better economy Leland Yee, Dennis Herrera or Ed Lee would be fine but they do not have the capacity to contront the daunting economic challenges of these times." Says it all. Wish more people understood the economic challenges ahead.

Good to see the greens supporting Adachi.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

From the Controller's report, the Prop A mandated "5 Year Financial Plan" adopted on June 7, 2011:

Page 5:

"Employee pension costs, wages and other benefit growth are the single largest driver of cost growth and the imbalance between revenues and expenditures, growing by $648 million, or 32 percent, during the five years of the plan."

Page 11:

"... if the City does not take corrective action, the gap between revenues and expenditures will rise from $283 million to approximately $829 million from 2012 to 2016."

source: http://sfcontroller.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2460

On the Left, there was outrage at all of the following: Bush's claim about WMDs that never existed in Iraq; global warming skeptics who shill for Big Oil; fresh water economists who have obliterated a public appreciation for macro-economics; or Michelle Bachmann's latest claims about Gardasil and HPV, but why can't otherwise rational people accept that employee benefit changes are a key element to make SF government whole.

Even if $250 million in new revenue for CCSF existed tomorrow, that would not solve the scale of the problem San Francisco now confronts.

On the Left people who in other contexts wish away "inconvenient facts" are justifiably ridiculed as not serious. So why is it impossible at a critical time in local politics to address this core issue that is an existential threat to every City program and department. Even ambitious new tax revenues, alone can not solve it. In the absence of pro-active solutions, the Charter requirement of a balanced budget means the budget gap will be solved with cuts. $1.4 billion has been cut from City budgets since 2008.

To win in November, progressives need to engage this well educated electorate with facts, and with an honest narrative on how to solve San Francisco's money problems. The 2010 district election results were a wake up call to stop obscuring this reality in order to hang onto a calculus that worked well through 2008. Yes challenging assumptions and relationships formed over years is hard. It can be painful to give up. That's a price worth paying to be relevant now.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2011 @ 11:55 pm

"...why can't otherwise rational people accept that employee benefit changes are a key element to make SF government whole."

Perhaps because we are *not* just looking a single tree in the forest (the so-called "math"), but a whole range of factors that will impact the City's future. Look, two-thirds of US corporations pay zero federal taxes due to tax loopholes, dodges, deferrals, havens in the Cayman Islands, etc. The same f olks who got bailed out by the US taxpayers and walked away with huge bonuses.

As Robert Reich blogs, "The top 1 percent’s share of national income has doubled over the past three decades (from 10 percent in 1981 to well over 20 percent now). The richest one-tenth of 1 percent’s share has tripled. And they’re doing better than ever." So tell me, why can't these folks share in the sacrifice being demanded of workers?

Furthermore, how is it that they have managed to divert your attention from their role in crashing the economy to hating on public workers? I'll tell you why? During the past decade, a host of right-wing foundations, think tanks and pundits have been churning out a steady stream of disinformation about public employees.

You want to make SF government whole? I'm afraid that the folks you're listening to don't share your aims. Their goal is to downsize government and break the back of the unions.

Take George H. Hume, who is one of the biggest backers of Adachi's Prop D. He is on the board of the Hume Foundation. The Hume's are big funders of right-wing think tanks like the Claremont Institute. Ken Masugi, a director at the Claremont Center has revealed their game plan~
“What is the strategy for dramatically shrinking the federal government? Tax cuts are essential. But playing off one part of the welfare state against another is going to have to be a part of that strategy.”

This is exactly what these pension 'reform' measures are abuot. They were dreamed up by extremist foundations and think tanks. And the right wing has taken its fight to the cities. If we care to 'make government whole', it is essential that we wake up to their game and fight back.

Posted by Lisa on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

doesn't mean that SF public sector pensions are somehow magically affordable on the current basis. Your comments seem to imply that San Francisco can just reach into some Bermuda hedge fund or Swiss bank or Wall Street bank and magically procure the hundreds of millions that would be necessary to prop up these pension commitments at their currently unsustainable level.

You really should work at a national or international level if you want to see changes of that order. SF's problems are far simpler and much more local - the revenues that the City can reasonably collect are woefully inadequate to support municipal pensions, and so the only other choices are either scaling back the benefits (Prop D) or laying off the people who will collect them (the alternative if D fails).

Work with what you've got - your pie-eyed, doe-eyed, dewey-eyed sensibility about global injustice won't pay off the city's debts. It's an irrelevance because it's way beyond the scope of the City to control that.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

Lisa means well I believe but don't think she is very clear on the math of the pension issue. You hit the mark here.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

From the Controller's report, the Prop A mandated "5 Year Financial Plan" adopted on June 7, 2011:

Page 5:

"Employee pension costs, wages and other benefit growth are the single largest driver of cost growth and the imbalance between revenues and expenditures, growing by $648 million, or 32 percent, during the five years of the plan."

Page 11:

"... if the City does not take corrective action, the gap between revenues and expenditures will rise from $283 million to approximately $829 million from 2012 to 2016."

source: http://sfcontroller.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2460

On the Left, there was outrage at all of the following: Bush's claim about WMDs that never existed in Iraq; global warming skeptics who shill for Big Oil; fresh water economists who have obliterated a public appreciation for macro-economics; or Michelle Bachmann's latest claims about Gardasil and HPV, but why can't otherwise rational people accept that employee benefit changes are a key element to make SF government whole.

Even if $250 million in new revenue for CCSF existed tomorrow, that would not solve the scale of the problem San Francisco now confronts.

On the Left people who in other contexts wish away "inconvenient facts" are justifiably ridiculed as not serious. So why is it impossible at a critical time in local politics to address this core issue that is an existential threat to every City program and department. Even ambitious new tax revenues, alone can not solve it. In the absence of pro-active solutions, the Charter requirement of a balanced budget means the budget gap will be solved with cuts. $1.4 billion has been cut from City budgets since 2008.

To win in November, progressives need to engage this well educated electorate with facts, and with an honest narrative on how to solve San Francisco's money problems. The 2010 district election results were a wake up call to stop obscuring this reality in order to hang onto a calculus that worked well through 2008. Yes challenging assumptions and relationships formed over years is hard. It can be painful to give up. That's a price worth paying to be relevant now.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 12:01 am

...with a declining stock market and more raises to police and fire. The new info will be out in January when the City's actuary does its annual report. Do not be surprised to see pension costs of $1 billion a year when just three years ago they were $200 million.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 8:58 am

I don't read 'Snapples',

I didn't read Arthur. Nothing to be gained. I read all of what Salomon writes and most of Brooks stuff except when he gets a fresh batch of meth and does telephone book long epistles. I learn lots from them. I read all of 'the Commish' and almost none of Pelletier. Read all of the Guardian authors and their pieces except for the 'Johnny Radio' thing which just takes too much time.

I think Matt Smith's the Weekly's most talented writer although he ranges from genius to moron from week to week. I enjoy Eskenazi's writing best of that publication's staff cause, well, cause he's more readable and consistent with great historical allusions and the like.

I prefer Elizabeth Stevens on Bay Citizen but haven't seen any of her work for several weeks and am assuming Hellman dumped her although none of the staff will confirm or deny that.

I like Wildermuth and Rachel Gordon best on the Chron and think that Kevin Fagan's on that level but doesn't do the political thing. I think Diaz is great and I'm glad to see him writing more. I think Gwen Knapp is the best sports reporter in town and I never miss 'Click and Clack' (yeah, I know they're syndicated).

I hate people one at a time based upon their merits and demerits. I detest most, people who hide behind their religion when attacked for their cruelty and avarice. People like the Fishers and Hellmans and Jerry Falwells and Randy Tates. I have no use for groups formed to steal from the people or spread hate be they the KKK or the 'Friends of the Library'.

Adachi for Mayor!

Baum for Mayor!

Avalos for Mayor!

Hall for Mayor!

Go NIners!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 9:34 am

For the record, I don't take meth or any other human made chemicals.

However I did just score an espresso maker at Goodwill for ten bucks...

I just made three shots of espresso this morning, and this short disclaimer is all that emerged ;)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 10:16 am

Agreed h. I also admit to enjoying much of Melissa's stuff, plus she's cuter than a boxcar load of buttons; love her silky blouses on Necessary Conversation but I think she looks better as natural blonde and could lighten up on the eyeshadow, but I'm just feeling a little bitchy today. Rebecca at SFBG is doing good stuff; hope Sarah finds an outlet soon; still miss Daniela Kirschenbaum.
I would generally read Ruthie once a week just to make sure it was the SOS. Yeah, Eric sometimes gets a little 'speedy' but God love him, he's committed, passionate and takes no prisoners. I remember years ago when I first got involved in BVHP, he was sometimes the only other white face in the audience at the House of Smoke 'n Mirrors.
I have found that if you try and skip the bigoted, elitist posts; from Snippy-Snappy and P.T-douchebag in particular; the 'discussions' here can still be pretty informative and thought provoking, even with the 'nameless guests'.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

It is 'rumored' that our resident Hagfish recently made a 'guest' appearance on "Fear Factor".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBAk0KS9VRk

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

They are urging a NO vote on both Prop C AND Prop D. It appears that they have ranked Adachi in THIRD PLACE for mayor because we (progs) don't have much of choice when it comes to the third slot. For most of us, Baum and Avalos are obvious. But when it comes to #3 , it's either Leland Yee or Jeff Adachi. I don't like either choice, and I imagine that the Greens would have preferred a stronger slate of progressive candidates to choose from. But it is what it is.

I agree with Eric that the Greens picked Adachi because of his past record as Public Defender, NOT because of his pension 'reform' initiative, which they don't support~ have never supported. In fact, they have expressed strong reservations about it. So don't go thinking that this constitutes a strong endorsement of Adachi's It's not.

Posted by Lisa on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

You can't credibly support Adachi and oppose Prop D. That's an entirely inconsistent and unsustainable position.

And when you consider that any liberal who becomes Mayor will inevitably move to the center politically, it's clear that you fail to understand the political reality here.

Adachi can only win by being tough on the public sector unions, because that's what the majority of voters want to see. He's a genius if he can simultaneously pull the wool over the eyes of liberals like you.

You need to jump off the fence. Avalos can't win and Baum will finish dead last. So it's only your third choice that will count. If you want it to count against the unions, then Adachi is a prudent vote. That's a decision I could support.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

@Lisa. For any 'progressive', Terry is the ONLY choice for #1, as I have stated elsewhere she can't 'win', but then Matt didn't 'lose' when he gave Hairboy a run for his dirty money. Her first place votes will most likely transfer to John or Jeff. John is still my #1. I think 'progressives' are throwing out the baby with the bathwater and over-reacting in their rejection of Jeff. Yes, he could have been more open and inclusive initially, but he was the first to have the cojones to draw attention to one of the elephants in the room that Lee the Liar and others picked up on.
Of course 'blaming' working folks for the criminal activities of the "1%" and trying to make the rest of us cover their debts is unconscionable and counter productive, but I suggest that we don't blame the messenger, just question the premise and vote according to your heart. No one is perfect. But this time it is not a choice between the lesser of evils, it is a choice between the 'better' of two proven representatives of the people.
1) BAUM
2&3) AVALOS, ADACHI.
[4) HALL]

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

Pat, Adachi is not just a 'Messenger', he -wrote- Prop D, (with the assistance of none other than Joe Nation).

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

The end result is far superior to Prop C including among other things Adachi doesn't require the same contribution of a $50k employee as a $100k employee and he touches no one's health care, including retirees.

For those of us who are voting for one or the other, this matters.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

in what will become an annual routine:

The unions are invited to make concessions that will make their benefits sustainable and affordable, and therefore make their jobs safer. The unions intransigently decline. Then the voters have to cram down those concessions on them via the ballot box.

So there's no need to get that excited about whether to vote for C or D; it#s only important that you vote for one of them. They are just a one-year short-term fix - it comes nowhere close to a long-term solution. We'll be back here again next year, and every year, until sanity, sustainability and credibility is fully restored.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 9:14 am

Prop D caps all new hire pensions at 140k. This is a critical reform that needs to happen now- not later.

Voters also need to send a message to City Hall - stop coddling the City's highest paid workers. Prop D generates more general fund savings because it requires higher contributions of the highest paid.

And yes, much more will need to be done.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 10:09 am

the more important thing is to pass one of them. I prefer D myself, although I'm less concerned with capping pensions as I am to ensure all pensions are fully funded.

But the point to bear in mind is that this is just a first step - we will have to far more in future years to rein in costs and benefits, and ensure that workers are contributing most, if not all, of the costs of their own pension in the same way as private sector workers routinely do.

We quite simply can't afford anything else. So I'll vote for both C and D, to increase the chance of either passing. But overall, I think Lee with be a stronger Mayor than Adachi, and I expect Lee to get much more aggressive about the unions once he has a clear voter mandate to do so.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 10:37 am

Anyone who thinks these pension 'reform' measures are good or necessary should go to http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/search

then use the site's search field to find programs covering 'austerity measures'

and listen for a while about the all out assault that the rich are waging against the rest of us through these measures.

This nonsense is simply IMF and World Bank style 'Structural Adjustment Programs' being brought home to the west, because the global south is no longer tolerating them.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

It's ordinary working folks who are having to fully fund their own pensions and are appalled that local politicians have not tried to manage the unfunded pension liability in any real way.

It's dangerously irrelevant to try and write off the pensions debacle as just another vast right-wing conspiracy. The main group agitating for pension reform are ordinary people and voters, who see no reason why they should subsidize the generous pensions of others.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

the rich are hoping to dupe just enough ordinary folks who aren't paying attention and get them to buy into the flawed frame that the only way to balance the budget is to do it on the backs of working people.

That, and a healthy dose of voter suppression. If poor people voted at the same rate rich people do, we'd get some very different outcomes.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

to swing any election. Even in San Francisco, there are only a handful of billionaires. The average family income in SF is about 70K per annum, and the same for the average voter.

Everyone agrees there's a pensions shortfall - Tony Hall puts it at 7 billion. So there's a problem - pretending there isn't is sticking your head in the sand. Given that doing nothing is not an option, then your choices are:

1) Modifying the terms of the pension commitment
2) Massive cuts in public services
3) Large-scale layoffs.

Prop's C and D are #1 there and, whatever you feel about it, it's better than the others. The net impact of it will be that public sector workers will still be paying less for better pensions than the average voter. That's the real issue driving voters' intentions. Nobody rich is telling me this makes sense - it's obvious.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

Actually, the ONLY people telling you this makes sense, are rich people. ALL of the advertising for this crap is paid for by multimillionaires and billionaires. Without them, this stinking narrative wouldn't even EXIST.

Now maybe you would believe it anyway, but the advertising isn't meant for you. It's meant to reframe the debate in a way that working people who could go either way, would buy into this class warfare against their own interests. Although if you're not rich, I'm not convinced even you'd buy into it if you haven't been primed to think this way by a half century of right-wing reframing.

And btw... you're wrong that the average income of SF voters is the same as the average income of SF residents. That's not true at all in California, judging by Field Poll exit polls. Voters skew rich, and that's not by accident. To the ruling class, that's a feature of the system, not a bug. And yes, that skew affects outcomes in close elections.

But you're right, you can't pass anything on the votes of just the rich. You need a strong propaganda machine to convince the working class to vote against their own interests. Oh and of course undemocratic 2/3 rules to pass any revenue measures help too. Why is it that you have to have 2/3 to raise taxes but only a majority to cut services? I'd do it the other way around! But I'm not the one who came up with those rules. Rich people protecting their interests did.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

voters approved it? That makes no sense.

And of course it's mostly those with money who sponsor publicity. That's inevitable because you need a lot of money to pay for TV ads etc! But then unions sponsor lots of publicity too, so it's not as if the debate is one-sided.

I wasn't convinced by "the rich" to realise that our pensions are unfunded. Nor was Adachi. Nor was every other City and State that is saying the same thing. For that matter, Europe is having exactly the same discussions. To dismiss this broad-based global realization as merely a whim of the wealthy is disingenuous.

The deficit on pension is in the billions, just for SF. That's not a conspiracy - it's a fact. You can stick your head in the sand and dismiss it as Tea Party propaganda. But in the end, the bill still has to be paid. And right now, the piggybank is empty.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 7:35 am

What if voters approve a 9/10s rule?
What if voters approve a rule that says from here on out, everything has to gain a majority of white people or it doesn't pass?
What if voters approve a 999.999% rule, with the stipulation that if PaulT votes against it, it fails?

You might think these things would be democratic, because voters approved them, but I would beg to differ.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 7:55 am

things voted on by the peasants and how to think about them.

RCV is great because a progressive might win, top two is bad because a progressive will never win, redistricting is unfair because there are more republicans than democrats so the democrats can't write their own districts, 2/3's is bad because progressives can't raise people's taxes, prop 209 is bad because SF can't help itself from being racist although the progressive claim SF is progressive,...

Really it's all about getting your way and having a fancy argument around it wrapped in your "morals." No progressive position would be complete without harping on race in some way.

Posted by meatlock on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 8:31 am

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