As a San Francisco focused non-partisan organization, SF Moderates actively supports and endorses candidates who share our values, and recommends common sense positions on local ballot measures. We tend not to focus our efforts on State level races or propositions.
Recap of the November 4, 2014 election:
By Mike Sullivan
The November 4, 2014 election was a great election for our SF Moderates group. Of the 11 ballot propositions where we took a position, we supported the winning side on all 11 — a 100 percent success record for the first time in our 13-year history.
The biggest candidate race was between David Chiu and David Campos for State Assembly. They’re both from San Francisco’s left, but most moderates (including SFModerates) supported Chiu as the less doctrinaire of the two candidates. Two days after the election and the race was still too close to call. At last count, Chiu has a 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent lead. But the remarkable thing is that David Campos, the candidate supported by the vast bulk of San Francisco’s far-left progressive wing, wasn’t able to pull out a victory even in Assembly District 17, the eastern half of San Francisco that traditionally skews the furthest left.
Other than the Chiu/Campos race, there wasn’t much drama in the “top of the ticket” races, as most of the Supervisor candidates had either no, or weak, opposition. We were thrilled to see Nick Josefowitz’s surprise victory in the BART board race, defeating long-time incumbent James Fang. Josefowitz will bring a breath of fresh air and fresh ideas to the BART Board. Supervisors Mark Farrell, Katy Tang and Scott Wiener all won in walk-aways, and we’re happy to see our #2 choice Malia Cohen apparently victorious (after ranked-choice voting plays out) in District 10.
It was a good night for moderates overall in San Francisco. On the big issues where the far left and moderates staked out different positions, moderates came out ahead.
Prop G, the housing tax, was perhaps the best example, going down to defeat by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin after a pitched battle. Even in a city that is 62 percent renter, this proposal to place a whopping tax on buildings that are bought and sold within five years went down handily, as a sizeable percentage of renters calculated that it might apply to them someday as future owners. And on the battle over building turf soccer fields near the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco families turned out in droves to volunteer as “Yes on I” signs popped up in the windows of soccer and softball-playing households.
So it was a great night. But don’t overplay the results – there were a couple of things going on that helped explain why it was such a good night for moderates.
First, the far left overplayed its hand in some cases. Prop G is a good example. There have been dozens (hundreds?) of anti-landlord, pro-tenant changes to San Francisco’s rent ordinance over the years – so that there aren’t many levers left to pull to make things even harder on property owners. And of those that are left, they are likely to either (1) be thrown out by the courts as unconstitutional or (2) be rejected by the voters as just too extreme. Prop G falls into the latter category – a tax of up to 24 percent of the value of a home (not 24 percent of the profit on a sale, but 24 percent of the value) was just too much for voters.
Prop H, which was written to stop the Beach Chalet soccer field renovation, is another example. After opponents lost at the Recreation and Park Commission AND at the Board of Supervisors AND at the Coastal Commission AND in the courts, it wasn’t enough – they had to try again at the San Francisco ballot. Many voters (even some who oppose turf fields) voted against Prop H simply because they thought process was being abused.
And second, the far left was split on some measures. Props H and I are good examples of that. Although moderates coalesced around No on H and Yes on I – to allow the construction of the Beach Chalet soccer fields, and most of San Francisco’s far left went the other way, there were some exceptions – with the now-defunct Bay Guardian endorsing No on H and Yes on I.
One last comment: we are proud of the 25,000 votes garnered by our board member Lee Hsu in his board of education race. It’s tough for a first-time candidate with no name recognition to win in a citywide race. I hope he runs again, and he can be proud of the fact that he helped raise issues in the race that needed to be raised, particularly around the City’s broken kindergarten assignment system.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
(ranked choice voting)
#1 Marlene Tran
#2 Malia Cohen
Prop A: YES
(General Obligation Bond for Transportation — provides $500 million to fund transportation projects)
Prop B: YES
(Adjusting Transportation Funding for Population Growth — increases the voter-approved funding set aside for Muni to reflect past ten years of population growth and also requires an increase in each subsequent year that the city’s population grows)
Prop C: YES
(Children and Youth Fund; Public Education Enrichment Fund; Our Children, our Families Council; Rainy Day Reserves — renews and increases the Childrens’ Fund, extends the Public Education Fund, and changes school district access to funding from the city’s Rainy Day Reserve)
Prop D: YES
(Health Benefits for Former Redevelopment Agency and Successor Agency Employees — provides retiree healthcare benefits to former Redevelopment Agency staff)
Prop E: NO POSITION
(Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages to Fund Food and Health Programs — taxes distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages)
Prop F: YES
(Pier 70 Development Site Height Limit Increase — approves development of 28-acre inland portion of Union Iron Works Historic District, part of the Pier 70 complex)
Prop G: NO
(Anti-Speculation Tax — taxes residential properties bought and sold within a five-year period)
Prop H: NO
(Grass in Golden Gate Park Athletic Fields — requires that all athletic fields in Golden Gate Park west of Crossover Drive be maintained as natural turf, without nighttime sports field lighting.
Prop I: YES
(Renovations of Playgrounds, Walking Trails, and Athletic Fields — if approved with more votes than Prop H, would allow the approved Beach Chalet Athletic Fields renovation project to move forward)
Prop J: YES
(Minimum Wage Increase — raises the minimum wage in San Francisco to $15 an hour by July 1, 2018)
DECLARATION OF POLICIES
Prop K: YES
(Affordable Housing Goals — affirms the city’s commitment to a set of affordable housing goals)
Prop L: NO
(Policy Regarding Transportation Priorities in San Francisco — directs the Mayor, Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to alter existing transportation programs and pursue policy priorities that benefit motorists.