Olague explains her support for RCV repeal measure

Sup. Christina Olague

  Sup. Christina Olague has drawn ire from progressive circles over her pivotal co-sponsorship of a proposed charter amendment that aims to eliminate Ranked Choice Voting in all citywide races. It takes six members of the Board of Supervisors to place the repeal measure on the November ballot and she is the sixth co-sponsor.

Olague has long ties to the progressive community and was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the District 5 seat, one of the city’s most progressive, in January after Ross Mirkarimi was elected Sheriff. This week, she joined Sean Elsbernd, Carmen Chu, Scott Wiener, and Malia Cohen – all considered moderate/conservative supervisors – in supporting Sup. Mark Farrell’s proposal to replace RCV with runoff elections for the mayor’s race and other citywide offices.

“To me, this isn’t a progressive or moderate issue. This is a democratic one here in San Francisco,” Farrell said during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, where he introduced the measure, which will have a hearing next month. “Ranked Choice Voting has continued to confuse and disenfranchise voters here for over a decade and, in my opinion, it’s time to restore our voting system to the one person, one vote rule.”

Farrell’s sentiments mirror a similar line trumpeted by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, a supporter of runoff elections and longtime opponent of RCV. A recent poll commissioned by the Chamber, which claims 58 percent of respondents prefer runoff elections, has been discounted as biased and based on misleading statements. Farrell, who was elected to the District 2 seat in November using RCV, said he would have prefers to eliminate RCV altogether in San Francisco but said, “This is a significant step in the right direction.” A proposed ballot measure by Farrell and Elsbernd to eliminate RCV was rejected by the Board of Supervisors last month.

Steven Hill, who helped crafted the city’s voter-approved RCV system, criticized the move to repeal it: "Critics of RCV have long maintained that voters are confused and even disenfranchised and yet they have offered no credible evidence to support these claims. In fact, the evidence shows just the opposite, that voters understand what they have to do with RCV, which is to rank their ballots, 1, 2, 3, and they are using their ranked ballots effectively.”

In an interview conducted as she was departing the Westbay Community Center on Thursday, Olague initially rebuffed our request to discuss her support for Farrell’s amendment (just as she had an earlier request by the Guardian), but she ultimately relented.

Here’s what she had to say:

Olague: “What it is is that it begins a conversation.  There was talk of eliminating RCV altogether, which I certainly don’t support.  There was talk from a lot of different corners, not just moderate circles, but progressive circles as well, that maybe we need to examine it and see how has it or has it not really been – has it really helped us reach our goals in the way that we had originally intended that it would.”

SFBG: What were those goals?

Olague: “I think it was to try to make sure that more progressives were elected… and make it easier for people who had lesser means to prevail… So I think maybe it is time to reflect on that a little bit.”

SFBG: What parts of RCV don’t you like or don’t support?

Olague: “Well, I think it’s just time to have a conversation about it.  I’m not even sure that I’m against it, per se. When I signed on to it, I believed it was looking at keeping some of the citywide races, where there are fewer numbers of candidates engaged, to reverting back to a runoff, and keeping the races where we have a diversity of candidates and numerous candidates, which are the district races, as they are – which is ranked choice voting.”

“Now there’s some people who say what we need to do is, well, maybe revisit that and maybe just, rather than have it apply to all citywide races, maybe it should just apply to the mayor’s race.”

“So I think there needs to be a conversation and there needs to be a reflection on its effectiveness.  I think that’s what [Sup. John] Avalos and even [Sup. David] Campos were thinking that there needs to be more education – and I do think there needs to be more education as it relates to RCV.”

SFBG: Voters don’t seem to be confused about filling out an RCV ballot, but maybe there’s confusion about how votes are tallied and candidates are eliminated.  It would appear that there’s a myth being spread that voters are confused about filling in a RCV ballot, but that doesn’t appear to be the case…

Olague: “Do you know that?  I think when you talk to people out there on either side of spectrum, politically, I think there’s still a lot of – I don’t think that people have necessarily concluded that this is the most effective way of achieving certain goals.  But, you know, I think it starts a conversation and it may end up that the voters decide, you know, let’s just leave it the way it is, we’re happy with it.”

SFBG: And how would you feel if RCV is completely eliminated?

Olague: “Well it’s not going to be eliminated because there’s nothing in the charter amendment asking that RCV be eliminated.  What I was concerned about was that there was a push to eliminate it altogether, which I don’t support.  What this does, I figured I’ll meet them halfway because I can’t support a complete repeal of RCV and currently the way this charter amendment is drafted, what is does is it keeps RCV in the District elections.  That stays the same, and the citywide elections would be reverting back to a runoff, so it goes to a more citywide for a runoff, ranked choice voting for District [elections]. There is an argument to be made for why that should be the case.”

SFBG: Wouldn’t this eliminate a diversity of candidates if there were a repeal of RCV in citywide races?

Olague: “So let’s have the debate and people may decide, you know, if it’s not a good idea. People may decide they want to push to amend the charter amendment as it is before us.  Some people are thinking it should just apply to the mayor’s race and not other citywide races like public defender and others. So maybe there’ll be amendments to the charter amendment before it even hits the ballot.”

SFBG: Why do you think some people are up in arms over your support on this?

Olague: “I guess, you know, I mean – I just think that everyone is going to sit around and wait for something, right?  They’re, sort of, laying in wait, right? So it’s just what it is, you know – it’s like people are going to agree with me sometimes, they’re not going to agree with me other times.  There are some things that I am doing that is progressive, there are some things people will perceive as not being progressive.”

SFBG: Did you come to this decision by yourself, or was there any influence or pressure from others to vote the way you did on this?

Olague: “No.  I just think it’s funny because it’s like I don’t really succumb to pressure.  I’m willing to start the conversation at some kind of a compromise.  To me, this is as close to a compromise as we’re going to get and then it can start the conversation. So I think the conversation will start and people can assume all kinds of things, and they will.”

SFBG: So you voted in good conscience?  You didn’t have any doubts about your vote?

Olague: “I vote in good conscience, but sometimes you have to go with a compromise.  It’s not completely what you want and it might not be completely what you don’t want, but the alternative might be something that is completely unacceptable, which could be the complete elimination of RCV.”


A version of this story also appears on Fog City Journal, which is run by Luke Thomas.



She doesn't succumb to pressure?


Posted by Guest on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

And she appears to recognise that it's irrelevant to an assessment of RCV as a good thing whether or not it happens to elect more "progrssives". The purpose of a voting system is not to skew the results.

She wants to analyse RCV on it's own merits. That makes perfect sense to this D5 voter.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

How lame can you get. Olague doesn't really know if RCV should be repealed, but well, why not join with Mark Farrell to make him happy?

Just a few weeks ago, she said a September primary was a really bad idea. She was right. Now she is backing one. That will mean THREE elections in some even-year elections, which will be lower turnout for all of them.

This whole proposal stinks, but it does makes the rich guys happy. The Super PACs can have a field day bashing candidates with less money. Maybe Olague has decided she needs their money this fall to win. Sad to see.

Posted by Pete on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

Just look at Obama, clinton etc. It's inevitable.

But likewise, all right-wing extremists become more moderate in power too. It tells you more about the effect of power than anything else.

It's easy to carp from the sidelines, as Tim has spent his life doing. But when you are given real responsibility, you have to act for everyone in the city, and not just the narrow constituency that might have once been in your bed.

Olague is showing the maturity and independence that this D5 voter expects from her representative.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

She's showing "independence"? Well, I guess so, if you mean "independent" from her own argument in February that September primaries are a really lousy idea.

Posted by Pete on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 6:18 am

accuse her of inflexibility and intransigence.

She's listening to people and taking note. Problem?

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 8:58 am

Frankly, it was disturbing for me to watch white male progressives pillory Jane Kim, as a women and POC, when she had barely had time to get her "sea legs" on the BOS's. I do understand and share their concerns about the Twitter deal, etc. Still, I felt that that the "hazing" she was subjected to was fairly merciless. So, I hope Christina can avoid that, at least until she has had the chance to prove herself one way or the other.

It might not be bad thing to open up a conversation about how well RCV is working for progressives. Perhaps it could stand some tweaking. I am a little more concerned about the motives of the conservatives/mods on the board and the Chamber of Commerce. If Christina is really a progressive, she should be concerned about this too. She said she doesn't want to see RCV eliminated. Well and good...but the objective of the folks she's allied herself with is likely just that. I hope she's given this some thought.

Posted by Lisa on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

equality one minute and then play race and gender cards the next. If you want equity, then quit asking for special treatment.

Moreover, the agenda here is clearly not about the idea that "It might not be bad thing to open up a conversation about how well RCV is working for progressives". That's effectively admitting that you want RCV to skew the voting system to benefit your politics, which is the exact same thing you're accusing the moderates of doing!

RCV should be assessed in terms of whether it saves costs while not giving a different result from other methods of elections. RCV isn't designed to rig elections - it's designed to simply make the process cheaper and more effective.

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

"A recent poll commissioned by the Chamber, which claims 58 percent of respondents prefer runoff elections, has been discounted as biased and based on misleading statements."

Yes. By you. And by nobody else except for a few strong pro RCV supporters that you quoted.

Do you realize how weak you make your positions seem when you resort to such poor propaganistic practices? It is really a disgrace. You guys deserve the ridicule you get. Every word of it.

Posted by troll on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

Did you read the Jones analysis of the poll and the actual question? That was totally unethical on the part of the Chamber of Commerce and utterly lame that other journalists didn't ask to see the question before reporting on it.

Posted by Pete on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 6:19 am

They provided both positive and negative arguments for RCV. You didn't like the fact that they included the negative argument.

In any event, for the SFBG to say that the poll was being questioned, when it was questioned nowhere else other than in their own paper by non-neutral parties, shows why their propaganda needs to be identified and laughed at.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 6:58 am

@pete - I notice that your response is totally lacking in any type of factual reference (probably a good idea).

For the record the SFBG Steven Jones 'analysis' pointed out that the researcher told people that last November's Mayoral election has the lowest turnout in 35 years.

He is right, there was one lower Mayoral election. Gavin Newsom running unopposed in 2007. But that was also a ranked choice election.

So the researcher should have said:

"the last TWO Mayoral elections have been Ranked Choice and have had the two lowest turnouts in the last 35 years"

Does that make you feel any better now, @pete?

Posted by RCV is weak nonsense on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 7:16 am

The Chamber's question is a crock. You never see real polls do this kind of "push poll." E even the final question after the push poll was weird.. They didn't ask a straightforward question like. "Do you support keeping ranked choice voting for city elections in San Francisco or replacing it with a system with a runoff between the top two candidates."

And @Weak, your stats are wrong on turnout. Check out Agnos runoff turnout in 1987:

Posted by Pete on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

In the November 1987 Agnos election the turnout was 51.18% compared to 42.47% in the 2011 RCV Mayoral election.

In the December 1987 runoff the turnout was 40.46% (153,720 votes). This year's instant runoff involved only 141,617 votes, or 30.5% of the electorate.

Okay, now you can try telling me that there were another 55,000 people who voted for neither Lee nor Avalos, who's votes are nowhere to be seen in the final, official tally that made Ed Lee Mayor and that they should be counted anyway.

Fine. Take your 55,000 people who didn't get a chance to vote for either Lee or Avalos and include them. So there is one run-off in the past 35 years where the turn-out was even remotely as pathetic as this year's RCV Mayor's race.

Posted by RCV is weak nonsense on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

I'm not saying this to be inflammatory. I am genuinely curious.

Does Olague sound really stupid to any of you?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

You just have to really, really want to be one. But Olague is merely being diplomatic and politically shrewd here, hedging her bets to lay in a middle course. Ability to compromise is the hallmark of a good politician.

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

because it helps candidates with less funding- at the same time Tony Kelly and Marlene Tran and Lynette Sweet were aced by a system that gave D10 a very inexperienced representative-RCV is not really an instant runoff-its closer to a lottery

Posted by Guest on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

this is what happens when you have stupid people like Luke Thomas try and tackle a real issue. He's a fool and has no clue. the guardian is dead, long live the guardian!

you fools keep on latching on to gimmicks when you don't realize what's happened. Progressives are doomed. at best you all play ethnic politics. you have NOTHING to say to the people who move here now to make things and do things. YOU ARE USELESS.

Sit down, and SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Also we dare you post this comment, but we know you won't because your Soviet style progressivism doesn't allow for dissent!

Posted by Necessary Attribution on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

The Pro IRV people are the ones that are being very dishonest.

The Pro IRV people compare first past the post elections (one election, whoever gets the most votes wins) which have not been held in San Francisco in over a century to IRV.

When you compare IRV to runoff elections you find that IRV results in fewer third parties getting elected (it basically doesn't happen in IRV) to runoff elections (Rember Gonzalez vs Newsom, Gonzalez got less than 20% of the vote and if IRV had been in place it would have been a non-event.)

One thing that the anti IRV people don't get is that Perata would have been clobbered in a run-off in oakland. The anybody but Perata was really strong, and would have been stronger had the crook been in a two way race with Jean Quan.

It is really strange that all the vested interests seem to be arguing for what is in their own worst interest, but welcome to politics where dogma is more important than reality.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 10, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

You're talking about Gonzalez in the runoff, but Gonzalez wouldn't even have made the runoff in 2003 if this proposal had been used.

In 2003, Gonzalez advanced to December in a November election when voter turnout was 46%. But he was ahead of third-place finisher Angela Alioto by only 3.5%: 19.6% to 16.1%. On top of that, he split the vote with Ammiano, who got 10.3%.

In September, the turnout would be a lot lower than November. Major cities using September primaries have September turnouts between 5% and 25%. The September electorate would also have different demographics. Gonzalez would almost certainly have had less support.

The advantage of RCV is that it lets elections be decided in November when turnout is highest. If there's going to be a primary in September when turnout is low, we shouldn't be eliminating so many candidates. Why not advance three or four to November, and then let the high turnout election decide among the top candidates?

Posted by Chris J. on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 8:51 am

We really deserve more than just two candidates in November.

Really, we won't be overwhelmed.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

But I'd settle for just two GOOD candidates.

Posted by Grog on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 2:18 pm


"When I signed on to it, I believed it was looking at keeping some of the citywide races, where there are fewer numbers of candidates engaged, to reverting back to a runoff, and keeping the races where we have a diversity of candidates and numerous candidates, which are the district races, as they are – which is ranked choice voting.” Christina Olague, 3/10/12

Results for first RCV Mayoral Election "where there are fewer numbers of candidates engaged"

Top 12 results out of 16 Candidates in November 2011:

Votes Percent
ED LEE 59663 30.72%
JOHN AVALOS 37395 19.25%
DENNIS HERRERA 21882 11.27%
DAVID CHIU 17893 9.21%
LELAND YEE 14566 7.5%
JEFF ADACHI 12515 6.44%
BEVAN DUFTY 9193 4.73%
TONY HALL 6914 3.56%
JOANNA REES 3096 1.59%
TERRY JOAN BAUM 1662 0.86%
PHIL TING 1013 0.52%

5 Asian Americans
2 Latinos
3 Women
1 Gay Male
1 Straight White Male


Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 2:54 am

That's a great point. Thanks for making it.

Posted by Pete on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 6:17 am

Interesting that she doesn't have any shame in admitting that RCV was implemented to further the agenda of the progressives. Few progressive will openly say that their goal was based in just wanting to get over. All the other reasons are just red herrings, anyone with any sense knew that they were all just making it up as they go along.

No real reason to trust the progressives in anything.

It is also interesting that the Bay Guardian claims to be a check on local government and people trying to take advantage, unless they are getting over of course. Fundamentally dishonest.

Posted by So depressing on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 3:57 am

it will give them more electoral success. At least some of them are willing to admit that. But admit it or not, it means that their word cannot be trusted on this or any other voting methodology.

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

What is it about progressives' desire for fair elections without the corrupting influence of money that you don't understand? As Steven commented ("SF Chamber Poll Distorts the Facts...again"),
"The Guardian has supported RCV because it addresses the problem that I identified, but that doesn't mean it necessarily skews toward more progressive candidates, and our intention was never to try to do so. We just want fair elections where the corrupting impact of disproportionate spending by the wealthiest 1 percent is minimized, but that doesn't guarantee any particular outcome."

Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

"Progressives" typically never have much money so obviously they are going to prefer an election system that reduces the utility and influence of funds. Why? Because it gives them a greater chance of winning. (Or so they think anyway).


Posted by Grog on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

The SEIU and other groups have it's own spending and polling schemes that you will never see questioned here.

Also you seem to have missed that rare moment of progressive honesty where the subject at hand states the obvious, RCV is about winning.


Posted by matlock on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

Sorry Christina but your shilly-shallying doesn't cut it with me. Don't you realize that this is just part of a downtown effort to get rid of rcv entirely. They don't like it because it diminishes the influence of big money on elections, duh, and they've been attacking it from the get-go. It's not too late for you to change your mind, right? Remember, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Posted by barry eisenberg on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

For exampel, by denying Avalos a shot at a runoff.

That's the irony here. We shouldn't be judging RCV on whether it's skew is helpful to your cause or not anyway. But even if we should do that, it's not at all clear that RCV helps liberals at all.

Posted by Grog on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

I think the Progressive thinking is that, while RCV hasn't really helped them yet, it MIGHT at some point during the future. They know that their possibilities are limited without it.

Someone earlier called it a lottery and there is some validity in that RCV can take someone's 5th choice, someone they are obviously indifferent about, and count it as if it was their 1st choice.

So in other words just shaking up the votes before opening creates a measure of randomness that might work towards the Progressive's benefit.



Hey, it's worth a shot!

Posted by RCV is weak nonsense on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

actually adopt the very worse form of voting method since that would mean that even low probability outcomes may occasionally happen.

Understandable, if you have a narrow agenda, perhaps. But far from the original principle of RCV which is to give the same result as a runoff but without the expense and delay of a runoff.

Posted by Grog on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

I've never understood why low probability outcomes can occasionally happen with:
RCV or
December runoffs or
September primaries or
presidential elections or
Muni or
my boss at work or
the weather,


they seem to happen all the time with comments.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

US President is negligible. For an obscure SF district election, it's at least reasonable, not least because usually the voters don't usually know any of the candidiates.

So Progs want District elections because it increases their odds of a low-probability outcome i.e. a far-left candidiate sneaking in under the covers.

Their theory is the same with RCV despite the fact that, in practice, it routinely bites them in the butt.

It's hard work being hopelessly liberal.

Posted by Grog on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

Luke Thomas' article and much of the blog commentary is centered on Christina Olague's shift on Mark Farrell's IRV Charter measure, and how it treats the Board of Supervisors differently from other citywide elected offices.

What is less known about Farrell's charter amendment are the provisions detailed below. In press accounts, the only change Farrell has made to his original proposal is the carve out the Board of Supervisors from IRV repeal.

Here are the most anti-democratic provisions of the Farrell measure that apparently Christina Olague has signed up for:

-- The Dept. of Elections is not allowed to place ANY ballot measures on the odd year, September primary election ballot.
--McGoldrick's charter amendment which requires appointees to run for elective office at the next scheduled election is diluted. Instead, appointees will face election at the next "odd year" municipal election.
-- An unconstitutional 65% threshold for election in the proposed odd year, September municipal primaries
-- No write in candidates are allowed in runoff elections.

This is far more than a "conversation" about Instant Runoff Voting, this is an assault on participatory democracy.

The Board of Supervisors does not have the amended Farrell IRV amendment up online yet, so it will be worthwhile to watch what happens to it in the committee process.

This is the file of Farrell's original legislation: http://www.sfbos.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/bdsupvrs/bosagendas/materials/bag...

Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

>-- "The Dept. of Elections is not allowed to place ANY ballot measures on the odd year, September primary election ballot."

Well, we don't even have a September election now so I don't see where this would change anything for the worse. All I hear about from RCV supporters is that the turnout in September will be minuscule. Now it is an assault on democracy that you can't place any ballot measures on it and have to wait for the large November turnout?

>--"McGoldrick's charter amendment which requires appointees to run for elective office at the next scheduled election is diluted. Instead, appointees will face election at the next "odd year" municipal election."

I'm not sure if that is true but I'll take you word for it. It is hardly the end of the world as we know it in any case and is not essential to this measure. Tell your Supe to object to it and they'll take it out of it bothers you that much.

>-- "An unconstitutional 65% threshold for election in the proposed odd year, September municipal primaries"

And the constitution says that you can't do that...where?

>--"No write in candidates are allowed in runoff elections."

When did we ever have write in candidates in run-off elections? (Hint, they are called 'run-offs' for a reason). Write in you candidate in the general election and if they are one of the top two then you can vote for them in the run-off.

>--"This is far more than a "conversation" about Instant Runoff Voting, this is an assault on participatory democracy."

Well that one I can't argue with. Letting the people vote on this measure is obviously an assault on participatory democracy. Some logic you just can't fault.

Posted by RCV is weak nonsense on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

The left oppose people being given the chance to vote on this in the name of democracy.

Posted by Gregorio on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

Whether we like it or not, the reality is that Instant Runoff Voting (aka Ranked Choice Voting) is going the way of the dodo if this measure makes it to the November ballot, which it seems it will.

The only hope for those who want to prevent the vote splitting or spoiler problems, and always be able to fearlessly support your favorite candidate, is to support Approval Voting. It's far and away the simplest alternative voting method, and it's better than Instant Runoff Voting in pretty much every way. See this petition.


Posted by Clay Shentrup on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

'RCV is weak nonsense' makes a legit point regarding write in ballots. Good point.

The Warren Court in several key decisions worked to give life to the concept of political equality meaning one thing—one person, one vote. Just as Proposition 13 empowers minorities to block cities and school districts from raising enough revenue to provide core public goods, a 65% primary threshold actively frustrates the majority rule. Some votes end up counting more than others when super majority, 65% or 2/3 vote requirements are in play. So for that reason critics of Farrell's measure feel it's anti-democratic.

Taken as a package, and as written this measure dials back the ability of majorities to act. In addition to the 65% rule, it prohibits voters from making decisions during the proposed municipal primary. It prevents voters from being able to choose whether or not to retain an appointed incumbent at the next scheduled election.

To the more narrow political question of how this affects Christina Olague, she's made an error. It is one she may be able to recover from but IRV definitely has a core of smart, dedicated supporters who are well represented in endorsements organizations across San Francisco. She has damaged her own credibility with progressives by supporting Farrell's measure, after opposing an earlier version at the Board of Supervisors on February 14th. This issue gives an opportunity to London Breed, John Rizzo or any other potential challengers mulling the D5 November contest that they otherwise would not have had. It takes several endorsements that were Christina's for the taking before this, and puts them into the undecided category.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

change certain rules, not least the US Constitution. The US Senate requires 60/100 to stop a fillibuster. And so on. There's nothing magical about 51%. and in fact civil rights laws were passed with less than 50% support. Problem?

Support for Prop 13 routinely polls in the high 60's, which makes sense since 2/3 of Californians own homes, and even tenants benefit from their landlords having lower costs.

You're trying too hard.

Posted by Gregorio on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 10:15 am

Gregorio says about Prop 13: "and even tenants benefit from their landlords having lower costs."

There is NO correlation between costs and rents. My family has owned apartment buildings for 4 generations. They all have zero mortgage loans and unbelievably low Prop 13 property tax bills. I blush at the low property taxes on the apartment buildings.

But even though the apartments only need a few thousand dollars of manintenance a year, we always charge the highest rent possible. The rents are as high as the neighboring apartment complexes that were purchased much more recently that still have huge mortgage costs and 20 times the property tax. But as good capitalists we're only acting as the government tells us to do - maximze revenue and minimize costs, which leads to higher profits. The high profits attract other producers, which lowers the cost.

The market/capitalist philosophy seems to work well for lowering the prices and/or increasing the quality of computers, cars, clothes and many other manufactured products, so I'm sure the philosophy must be correct when it comes to housing production too.

There's an awful lot of spin doctoring on this blog with points of view common among the Chamber of Commerce, BOMA and SPUR types, but they usually do a better job disguising their lies and obfuscating the truth. You may want to ask around for some pointers.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

No LL can afford to rent at a loss, which is what can happen under rent control. So a LL has to watch costs very carefully. There would no doubt be many more LL's declaring bankruptcy if Prop 13 was abolished, property taxes then doubled, but the market would not support higher rents.

But if you oppose Prop 13, then you surely must oppose rent control, which does for tenants what Prop 13 does for owners. Everyone has to get their own bailout, right?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

Last time I attempted, and failed, to get the City's invitation to the Blue Angels Air Show on the ballot, I thought it was four.

But, that was such a bust I may be remembering it incorrectly. I couldn't get anyone but Chris Daly to answer and say he'd sign. Everyone else but Aaron Peskin either ignored the calls and messages, or pretended to, and Aaron Peskin considered it for a week, then said no.

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 11:04 am

Supes' perception that they didn't want their name associated with a petty-minded attempt to deprive the city of it's sole opportunity to see a fantastic aerial spectacle while honoring those who serve in our defense?

Had that occured to you?

I suspect a more material and less specious proposal might have solicited more co-operation.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 11:21 am

How dare you have an opinion counter to the ones they hold for your own good.

Imperial fascist warmonger.

The Blue Angels thing is the ultimate in NIMBYism, all the Chris Daly like carpetbaggers show up to San Francisco because it is so enlightened above and beyond where they came from. So they try and enforce the uni-mind here, that they claimed to be escaping.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 11:52 am

Guest, I don't believe Ann was commenting on WHY the Supes didn't take up her effort, so you don't need to act like a jerk and comment on the merit of the idea. But since you did, I think it's fair to reply that supersonic jets flying tight formation over densely populated areas, and burning thousands of gallons of jet fuel in the process, and disrupting business, is something that the citizenry might want to question. Seems material and not specious - I think if it were being done by a private party, and not our military, you'd be less dismissive of a proposal questioning it.

Posted by yentu on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

a private party. And the citizenry love the Angels, apart from a few extreme left-wing, party-poopers. And that explains why the Supes gave Ann the cold shoulder. It has nothing to do with whether a more reasonable and plausible proposition might have gotten traction. It was subject-specific.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 1:25 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

I suspect "Yent" knows all about filth.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

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