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    March 3 Primary: The Second Most Important Election Day of Your Life

    By Louise “Lou” Fischer–

    November 3, 2020, will be the most important Election Day ever for every living, breathing human being in the United States and probably the world. The second-most important day is California’s upcoming Primary Election on March 3, 2020. After 3+ years of sheer powerlessness, on March 3, we finally get a teeny-tiny modicum of control (for however much longer this country remains a democracy) to pick a candidate, such as Elizabeth Warren, who will hopefully topple the lying, cheating, scheming, “impeached for life” megalomaniacal demagogue who is our current president.     

    If you live in San Francisco, local and state elections comprise the usual uncontested races, a few sleepy ballot measures and a “once every four years” crazy extravaganza for the little-known Democratic County Central Committee—known as the “D-triple-C” or DCCC—in which political nerds fight it out on a woefully unlevel playing field for the prize of “representing the Party.” If you are registered as a “Decline to State” voter, make sure to request a Democratic crossover ballot, otherwise you won’t be able to vote for Elizabeth Warren for president or for candidates running for DCCC. ( https://sfelections.sfgov.org/ )

    Here are my suggestions and some predictions for San Francisco. And as I say before every election, don’t blow this off. Every vote counts. 

    U.S. President

    I like Elizabeth Warren; she’s a brilliant policy wonk, former teacher, and professor, so she knows how to explain things. However, I think California will go either to Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden—dramatically different ends of the Democratic spectrum, but this country still loves old, white men. I love my 89-year-old father; he is old, white, and even though he too is a brilliant academic at Yale University, I wouldn’t vote for him for president. Although if it meant beating Trump, I’d vote for a rodeo clown for president with a barrel-man for a running mate. So, go ahead Dad; if the deadline hasn’t passed to get on the Connecticut ballot, I totally support you! 

    U.S. Congress

    Vote for Nancy Pelosi if you live in congressional district 12 (and then grab the nearest sheaf of papers and rip them up ceremoniously with glee) and Jackie Speier if you live in CD 14.  

    California State Races 

    Former Alice B. Toklas Co-Chair State Senator Scott Wiener has 2 opponents: one is a Republican and the other is a young (25) Native American, Mexicana, progressive queer educator and organizer. I’m all for young, radical women jumping in and running for office, but I’m going to stick with Scott, who holds one of the most progressive records in the entire State Legislature. Also, I’m a networking and power nerd and Senator Wiener’s record on net neutrality and his plan for public takeover of PG&E appeal to me. I also believe in “dancing with the one that brung ya,” and I’ve been dancing (cheek to belt buckle) with Scott for over 20 years.

    In the Assembly, vote for David Chiu (AD 17) and Phil Ting (AD 19). They are running unopposed so there’s no suspense in those races.    

    Superior Court Judge (3 seats) 

    This race is San Francisco’s “made for TV” moment—6 telegenic, intelligent and well-spoken women, 5 of whom are women of color, running for 3 open seats. The last time I was this excited about a woman becoming a judge was when Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan cut off Senator Lindsey Graham’s incessant questioning of her whereabouts on Christmas by proudly stating that “like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.” I’ve met with all 6 candidates and I wish I could vote for all of them, but that’s not how an election works.

    Seat #1, I like Maria Elena Evangelista; Seat #18, I like Dorothy Chou Proudfoot; and for Seat #21, I like Kulvinder “Rani” Singh. I might be writing more about them in October, because if no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, the top 2 candidates (in this case the only 2 in each race) compete in a runoff in the general election in November.

    State and Local Propositions

    Proposition 13: Bonds for Public Schools – Vote YES

    This authorizes $15 billion in state bonds for construction and modernization of public education facilities. Have you seen the condition of California public schools, community colleges, and universities? Don’t ever vote against education. 

    Prop A: City College Facilities Bond – Vote YES

    Sure, it’s a lot of money ($845 million sale of bonds), but upgrades and investment in new facilities are long overdue. Don’t ever vote against education. 

    Prop B: Earthquake Bond – Vote YES

    This authorizes $628.5 million in bonds to retrofit emergency facilities and infrastructure. I work on Emergency Measure proceedings for a State regulator and it’s a conflict of interest to say much more, other than you should vote YES because a big earthquake is coming, so <redacted> and also <redacted> and furthermore, <redacted> <redacted> <redacted>, you get my drift. 

    Prop C: Retiree Health Care Benefits for Former Housing Authority Employees – Vote YES

    Short story is that 25 mostly low-income and at-risk residents will get screwed out of health benefits because of an idiotic rule in the City Charter that can only be modified by a ballot measure. Vote Yes. 

    Prop D: Vacancy Tax – Vote YES

    This is a tax on neighborhood commercial vacancies; it isn’t perfect, but we have to start somewhere. The measure is written to protect small businesses and landlords and will allow for amendments as circumstances change. I was in the Castro last week and was appalled and saddened by all the empty storefronts. Maybe this will help.

    Prop E: Limits on Office Development – Vote NO

    This is a controversial measure; it links the approval of new office development to the construction of affordable housing. As a housing advocate, I was originally going to vote Yes, until I studied the impact and saw that it was a big Catch-22. The proposition’s sponsors are delusional if they think that limiting job growth will make San Francisco more affordable. It is the “George Costanza opposite theory” of housing policy, because reducing office development would also reduce impact fees that pay for the affordable housing and therefore would produce less affordable housing, not more. Don’t be swayed, vote No. 

    Democratic County Central Committee

    The DCCC’s purpose is to register voters, raise money, organize voters; generally the work of hard-working grassroots organizers who want to participate in Democratic politics. It’s not supposed to be taken over by elected officials with big name recognition who use the DCCC as a slush fund to raise unlimited contributions and set themselves up for future endorsements. 

    In this election, there are 56 candidates running for 24 seats (14 seats in AD-17 and 10 in AD-19). In AD-17 (east side of the city), 11 candidates out of 35 are either current or former elected officials; that leaves 3 seats for the “regular folks.” This is demoralizing for the grassroots candidates who know they can’t win against a sitting Supervisor. I’m not going to name names, but 4 candidates represent some of the most challenging districts in the City, and I’d sure rather have them focusing on open-air drug dealing, homelessness, and car break-ins rather than volunteering on the DCCC. Vote for the following grassroots candidates:

    Vote the Grassroots Slate (* Indicates LGBT Candidate)

    Assembly District 17 (East Side)  Assembly District 19 (West Side)
    Kristen Asato-Webb*

    Nima Rahimi

    Mike Chen

    Austin Hunter*

    Tyra Fennell

    Victor Olivieri

    Mick Del Rosario

    Carole Migden*

    Bivett Brackett

    Tami Bryant

    Vallie Brown

    Steven Buss

    Nancy Tung

    Cyn Wang*

    Jane Natoli*

    Kat Anderson

    Mary Jung

    Mawuli Tugbenyoh*

    Nadia Rahman

    Seeyew Mo

    Suzy Loftus


    By the Numbers

    19 – Days until the March 3 primary (from publication date) 

    20 – Democratic candidates for president on the SF ballot

    9 – Well-known candidates that are still running (as of this writing) 

    6/22 – June 22, Elizabeth Warren’s birthday (vote for Elizabeth)

    35 – AD 17 DCCC candidates on the Ballot 

    14 – Seats available

    6 – Elected officials holding other offices that are running for DCCC in AD 17

    5 Former elected officials with big name recognition running in AD 17

    21 – Total number of AD 19 DCCC candidates on the Ballot 

    10 – Number of seats available

    6 – Elected officials holding other offices who are running for DCCC in AD 17

    Louise (Lou) Fischer is a Former Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and has served as an appointed and elected Delegate for the State Democratic Party. She is a proud graduate of the Emerge California Women’s Democratic Leadership program, was a San Francisco Commissioner, and has served in leadership positions in multiple nonprofit and community-based organizations.

    Published on February 13, 2020