Commentary

Commentary: Julie Pitta

Richmond Dems’ November 2022 Election Endorsements

By Julie Pitta

The City’s political clubs offer the average citizen an opportunity to engage with San Francisco’s often-lively elections. The 35-year-old Richmond District Democratic Club is among the oldest and most respected of these clubs. Before every election, candidates and representatives for ballot propositions make their case to club membership, hoping to earn a coveted endorsement. Although I am not a current member of the Richmond Dems, I appreciate the thoroughness of their endorsement process. I also find that their picks align with my own.

To earn an endorsement, candidates and reps for ballot propositions fill out a questionnaire and make a brief appearance before the club’s general membership. Those receiving more than 50% of the votes get the nod.

In the November 2022 election, voters will decide on federal, state and local candidates, a handful of state propositions and more than a dozen local measures. I’ll focus on the most hotly contested local races. For the rest of the club’s endorsements, click here: http://www.rddcsf.org/positions-endorsements.

District Attorney: John Hamasaki

Interim District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’s short tenure has been filled with controversy. Jenkins is under fire for failing to disclose the $170,000 payment she received from nonprofits connected to the recall of her former boss, Chesa Boudin. (Jenkins claimed she was a recall campaign volunteer.) She is also being slammed for insisting on discredited criminal justice policies like The War on Drugs and trying teenagers as adults.

Most recently, she was hit with a California State Bar complaint, alleging professional misconduct. For details, click here: https://www.ktvu.com/news/state-bar-complaint-filed-against-sf-interim-d-a-jenkins-by-retired-judge.

Hamasaki, a criminal defense attorney and former police commissioner, will free the DA’s office from the political posturing of Mayor London Breed and her appointee, Jenkins. Hamasaki is enthusiastically endorsed by the Richmond Dems.

San Francisco Unified School Board: Alida Fisher and Lisa Weissman-Ward. (A third candidate failed to receive enough votes for an endorsement.)

Fisher, a mother of four San Francisco public school students including a child with special needs, earned an endorsement for her tireless advocacy on behalf of special needs students and her deep understanding of San Francisco Unified. Of the three mayoral appointees, Weissman-Ward has distinguished herself for quickly learning the budget process and district policy.

Community College Board (two-year term): Adolfo Velasquez. 

City College of San Francisco has been caught in a downward spiral: With class cuts, fewer students enroll; declining enrollment reduces state funding.

Velasqueza 20-year educator who has served as chair of the of Educational Opportunities and Programs serving low-income students, has a deep knowledge of the challenges facing City College. His election would be an important step toward returning CCSF to a full recovery. 

Community College Board (four-year terms): Vick Chung, Anita Martinez and Susan Solomon. 

Chunga former student trustee, Martinez, a teacher, dean, vice chancellor and president of the faculty union, and Solomon, a retired teacher and union leader, also understand City College’s critical needs.

Prop O will raise $45 million for City College through a progressive parcel tax, giving these able educators the funds they need for maintain essential programs like ESL and nursing. The Richmond Dems say vote yes on Prop. O.

Note: I will be voting for Martinez, Solomon and William Walker, a former student trustee and a gifted educator. Walker was a voice of sanity during the recent redistricting process.

Additional note: District 1 resident Marie Hurabiell is also running for CCSF board. Her political experience includes serving as former President Donald J. Trump’s appointee to the Presidio Trust. Recently, Hurabiell apologized for a racially insensitive social media post. More than three-quarters of City College’s student body are BIPOC. It’s clear Hurabiell fails to grasp the basic needs of the community she hopes to serve. She also opposes Prop. O. Hurabiell would be a disastrous choice for CCSF. 

San Francisco Propositions

Housing: Yes on E; No on D; Yes on M.

Prop. E is the only affordable housing initiative on ballot. Prop. D is a grab by real-estate looking to access public money for upscale housing. Prop. M would tax corporate landlords who keep units off the market to drive up rent. Currently, there are more than 60,000 empty homes in San Francisco.

Transportation: No Position on J; No Position on I; Yes on N; Yes on L.

Prop. N would bring the de Young Museum’s expensive and under-utilized parking garage under city control to potentially reduce parking fees. The Richmond Dems was divided on Prop. J, which permanently closes JFK Drive and Prop. I, which calls for reopening JFK Drive the Upper Great Highway to cars. Prop. L, a proposed extension of the half-cent sales tax for public transit, prioritizing low-income communities.

Note: I will vote for Prop. J and against Prop. I. Street closures will bring the City closer to its environmental goals.

Recent San Francisco election have seen low voter turnout. Let’s reverse that trend. A vote for Prop. H, which would combine federal, state and local elections, will improve voter participation.

A former Senior Editor for Forbes Magazine and Staff Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Julie Pitta is a neighborhood activist. Email her at julie.pitta@gmail.com Follow her on Twitter: @juliepitta.

3 replies »

  1. Hard to say that yes on J and no on I will “bring the city closer to it’s environmental goals” when there have been ZERO environmental impact studies on the closure of JFK and the GH. More idling cars going at a slower speed in stop and go traffic means MORE CO2 emissions. Not to manage the damage to the dunes, protected plover nesting grounds etc from people using the dunes for BBQs and picnics because they are not entering Ocean Beach at designated parking lots with access to the beach when the GH is closed to cars and Chain of Lakes in GG Park which is now a commuter route instead of a “naturalized road” like the GG Park Master Plan designated it.

    Like

  2. Street closures just create more pollution.

    And entitled techies are driving to JFK and UGH and then getting on their bikes?

    Like

  3. Thanks for your call-out to William Walker for CCSF Board. He is an asset to San Franciscans, and needs to be encouraged to continue to be involved inf efforts to improve San Francisco for all of us. I too was really impressed by his map making skills, his diplomacy and his care in trying to influence the awful redistricting process. He must be encouraged to continue his leadership. I met him and spoke to him personally while we were watching toddlers in the Panhandle playground; my husband and I took turns lobbing hard questions at him and he is very well versed.

    Liked by 1 person

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