It’s Norman Yee by a Nose
In a race which wasn’t decided until several days after the polls closed, School Board member Norman Yee beat Labor leader F. X. Crowley by just 132 votes in District 7. The race was decided by Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), Yee received only 39.84%, a plurality, not a majority of the vote, with 60.16% of the voters in District 7 not choosing Yee as their first, second or third choice for Supervisor.
Yee’s victory came as something of a surprise to those who closely observed the reporting of the early absentee ballots on election night. In the initial report, Yee and the four minor candidates aligned with Yee received just 37.14% of the first choice votes. As the vote count continued on election night and in the days after the election, Yee and his allies performed better than they did in the early absentees, and when at the end the provisional ballots were processed and those which were found valid were counted, Yee and his allies had 50.95% of those votes.
Yee’s victory came as something of a surprise to those who closely observed the reporting of the early absentee ballots on election night. In the initial report, Yee and the four minor candidates aligned with Yee received just 37.14% of the first choice votes.”
Given the distribution of second and third choice votes of voters whose first or second choice candidates were eliminated from the running, that shift of more than 13 points was enough to put Yee over the top when all the first, second, and third choice votes were tallied. One explanation for this shift was that Yee and the minor candidates had a better GOTV effort than the other four candidates in the race.
The vote in five precincts of Parkmerced and San Francisco State University was also instructive of the ultimate district-wide results.
F.X. Crowley and Norman Yee received roughly the same percentage of the votes as they did district-wide in the vote at the polls, 22.56% and 28.22%, respectively in those five precincts, which constitute 8% of District’s vote, but Mike Garcia received only 10.02%, and the combined total for the four minor candidates was 24.88% compared to 11.66% for the district-wide vote at the polls. The vote in Parkmerced and at SFSU represented a strong progressive tilt and also a protest vote against Mike Garcia who strongly supported the Parkmerced project (which tenants feared would cause their displacement).
The Department of Elections has provided a detailed analysis of how the votes of the various candidates transferred in District 7 under RCV. (Please see the table below.)
Candidates were eliminated from consideration in the opposite order in which they placed, and when the combined totals for specific candidates would not add up to the next person in the ranking, several candidates were eliminated at the same time, but the data remain separate for the purpose of analyses.
Of the 31,385 first choice votes cast for the nine candidates for Supervisor in District 7, 14,457 first choice votes did not go to F.X. Crowley or Norman Yee. Of the 14,457 voters who cast first choice votes for other candidates, 6,507 or 45% had “exhausted” ballots and did not have a role in determining the final winner of the race. In most cases, those voters “bullet-voted” for their first choice candidate and didn’t select a second or third choice candidate. Of the remaining 7,950 voters whose 2nd or 3rd choice ballots were received by the two top vote-getters, F.X. Crowley received 58.2% of the vote versus Norman Yee who received 41.8%.
Had the ratio of 2nd and 3rd place transferred votes from Mike Garcia to F.X. Crowley and Norman Yee remained constant, and had another 400 of Garcia’s supporters not bullet-voted for Garcia but instead cast a second choice vote in the race, F.X. Crowley would likely have been elected.
Alternatively, had F.X. Crowley and Norman Yee received the same percentage of the fist choice votes in the late absentees and provisionals as they had in the early absentee ballots and vote at the polls, Crowley would have been elected by a margin of nearly 500 votes when all the votes transferred.
Finally, for those who keep track of such matters, although the number of registered voters in the City increased by 25,000 over the number registered for the last Presidential election (due largely to the inception of on-line voter registration which began the month before the election), the turnout in November was 364,875 roughly the same as in 2004, but 24,000 less than four years ago. Thus, Citywide turnout was down from 81.25% in 2008 to 72.56% this year.
Also, for the first time in a Presidential election, more San Franciscans voted by absentee ballot (52.9%) than voted at the polls.
Chrostopher L. Bowman has an M.A. in Political Science from Rutgers, is a former aide to State Senator Milton Marks and a campaign consultant since 1987.
Editors Note: This political analysis focuses on District 7; it is a small portion of the comprehensive report that is available HERE.
City College: Educating San Franciscans for over 75 years
As the largest community college in California, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) serves almost 100,000 students annually and is our own local resource and treasure. As a native San Franciscan and CCSF faculty member, I have witnessed the daily transformations that have taken place at the college.
Come and take a class with us in the spring semester. … We are not glamorous, we are not selective and we are not exclusive. We belong to you and we are a college for the community, your community... and we know we can depend on you. ”
Some of the transformations have been, in fact, miracles: a former foster youth who becomes the valedictorian speaker at graduation, a former prison inmate who transfers from CCSF to UC Davis seeking a law degree, a wounded veteran who leaves CCSF with a dream of a medical degree and a 4.0 GPA, a disconnected high school student who transfers from CCSF to SFSU with the goal of becoming a teacher in his own neighborhood elementary school. The stories and the miracles go on and on.
CCSF is a place where dreams are realized. It is likely that your neighbor, your daughter, your uncle or your co-worker has enrolled in our classes. It is probable that the police officer, the firefighter, the teacher, the nurse, the corporate executive, the chef, the gardener and the bank teller at your local financial institution found their career at CCSF.
Our doors have remained open to serve San Franciscans. We teach new immigrants English. We breathe deeply and smile wisely when the new crop of high school graduates from SFUSD and other local high schools arrive each year and remind us of what we don’t know — we help career changers develop new skills and we daily open our doors to students that simply want to learn.
We are also in the midst of a fiscal and organizational crisis. We have tried to continue to serve our community in the face of crippling budget cuts and reductions. We have tried to continue to serve San Francisco with fewer resources.
We have made some mistakes and some flawed administrative decisions. But we have a long history in San Francisco and we know we have many supporters. We know that we have transformed lives and empowered individuals. We know that we have leveled the field and have been part of social justice in action.
And now we need your help. We have been there for you and now we need you. Help us. Vote for Prop A on the local ballot and Prop 30 on the statewide ballot this November.
Come and take a class with us in the spring semester. Send your high school graduate to us. If we helped you or played a role in your educational journey, tell your story. If you work in San Francisco, ask your employer to support training and education for your co-workers. Help us to regain our strength. Help us to continue to serve San Francisco for another 75 years.
We are not glamorous, we are not selective and we are not exclusive. We belong to you and we are a college for the community, your community. We are San Francisco’s community college and we know we can depend on you.
Kathleen White is department chair of Child Development and Family Studies at City College of San Francisco.
A Clarification from last month’s Observer
Regarding the Candidate Forum article on page 7 of the October issue of the Westside Observer. “Andrew Bley wasn’t sure where he stood on prostitution” is not true. I know where I stand and where I do not; I do not propose legalizing prostitution in San Francisco. When that issue came up I had already been objecting to the overall format of the yes/no portion of the forum. A wide variety of multi-faceted, nuanced questions were being asked and we were told that we could only answer “yes” or “no” (we were actually given ping pong paddles with “yes” and “no” taped to either side). I objected to the black & white nature of this format and one of the moderators said to me, “well, at the end of the day, you have to vote one way or another.” My response to her was, “the day is far from over for many of these issues and they need to be examined and discussed before being voted upon.” I would happily discuss any of the topics raised in that portion of the forum (free/discounted Muni for youths/students, approval/rejection/amendment of Parkmerced development plans, whether sex laws should be strengthened/weakened/amended, etc.) but to reduce them to one side of a ping pong paddle does a disservice to the voters who are trying to discover not just how candidates would vote but also how they come to those conclusions.
Andrew Bley, Candidate for District 7 Supervisor
Central Council Candidate Forum
Over 200 people gathered for the West of Twin Peaks Central Council District 7 Candidate Forum. Before entering the auditorium, neighbors had to survive a gauntlet – a throng of partisans waving signs and declaring their support for candidates. Once seated in the classic auditorium, the show began with WOTPCC President Matt Chamberlain thanking the candidates for their participation, and noting that it was in 1936 at the Aptos School Auditorium that the Council was born. 76 years later, the same auditorium was still a place for civic discussion.
The 10 minutes of statements were in turn followed by a surprise round of questioning that only allowed for Yes or No answers, signified by paddles held by the candidates. Some answers allowed for universal agreement; no candidate supported removing Hetch Hetchy, and no candidate dared to support Sunday Parking meters in West Portal. Issues inspiring marked dissent among the candidates included …”
All nine candidates appeared and were afforded a brief time to introduce themselves, with all confirming they enjoyed living in District 7, were committed to protecting neighborhoods, and would be a great supervisor. The 10 minutes of statements were in turn followed by a surprise round of questioning that only allowed for Yes or No answers, signified by paddles held by the candidates. Some answers allowed for universal agreement; no candidate supported removing Hetch Hetchy, and no candidate dared to support Sunday Parking meters in West Portal. Issues inspiring marked dissent among the candidates included 1)free passes for MUNI youth; 2)public power; 3)the decriminalization of prostitution; and 4) the removal of Ross Mirkarimi. Answers were recorded and are available on the West of Twin Peaks website.
Not all candidates appreciated the chance to give direct answers. Andrew Bley wasn’t sure where he stood on prostitution, and Michael Garcia forcefully refused to answer about his support for Ross Mirkarimi, declaring that the City Attorney had advised him and other candidates not to state a position. Other candidates disputed his claim as untrue.
After the yes/no round, two moderators, respected local journalists Barbara Taylor and Joe Eskenazi, deftly asked questions that the candidates didn’t always want to answer clearly. All nine were asked questions, but attention focused on the top three frontrunners. Norman Yee discussed his leadership on the School Board. He suggested that the city should audit its departments, but at times struggled to give clear positions when put on the spot. Michael Garcia spoke well about his experience as a teacher and in government specially relating to land use/development on the Board of Appeals, though his answers sometimes required follow up questions from moderators to get a clear answer. FX Crowley quickly branded himself a moderate, referring to his biggest supporter, Dianne Feinstein. He gave answers that detailed his experience in the Arts sector and service on the Public Utilities Commission, and usually focused on substantive details, notinjecting much flash or personality. Journalist Joel Engardio, fighting to enter the top tier, gave polished answers, focusing on common sense as his platform, and was rewarded by an appreciate crowd.
After two hours, the September 22nd successful forum ended, the moderators were given copies of books on West of Twin Peaks, and Chamberlain thanked everyone and reminded them all to vote this November, or absentee, in this important race.
Don’t Mess With Success
San Francisco was recently named the “Greenest City in North America” by the North American Green Cities Index. Our City performed exceptionally in all categories, and was ranked #1 in the category of waste management.
Together, we are doing something right.
Yet an alarming measure, Proposition A, has been put on the June 2012 City ballot – a measure that would change the way your garbage and recycling is collected and handled. Prop A would undermine our efforts to reduce waste and has the potential to dramatically increase costs to both ratepayers and to the City’s budget.
Since 1932, San Francisco has partnered with Recology to achieve award-winning environmental success while maintaining rates comparable to the region. Recology, in partnership with the City, has built our recycling and compost program from the ground up, developing technologically advanced recycling facilities, investing to make our fleet of trucks greener, and working with our customers to make recycling and composting easier and more available. The effort has paid off: our City has already achieved a 78% recycling rate.
How have we achieved so much? It’s simple: take a community that cares, equip them with a local, employee-owned company that mirrors their values, and then regulate that company with a system that allows for innovation and flexibility. The result is a winning formula that the entire country is trying to replicate.
Prop A would jeopardize everything that makes the current system work so well. While it claims to be interested in competitive bidding, the initiative goes far beyond that by setting up a new waste bureaucracy that the City Controller estimates will “significantly increase the City’s costs”. In addition, Proposition A would:
Prop A would introduce 5 separate contracts, requiring each to be bid separately. That means that the work Recology has been doing for decades could be split up between as many as five companies with no history in the City. With five separate contracts potentially awarded to different companies, who picks up your trash and who picks up your recycling? Which company do you call if you have a problem?
Remove a System That Works
You know Recology. Over 10,000 San Francisco residents and businesses have given their keys to their local Recology garbage truck driver so that trash can be collected more effectively. You wouldn’t give the key to your home to someone you don’t trust. Recology’s employee-owners are members of your community, performing a service to our neighbors. We’ve spent decades building a system that San Franciscans know and trust, and Proposition A would put all we’ve worked for at risk.
Risk our Environmental Progress
San Francisco boasts the highest major city recycling rate in America. Recology built San Francisco’s recycling system from the ground up, and we’re committed to continuing to build the program. Prop A could put a huge out-of-state corporation in charge that may not be as committed to recycling and composting.
That’s why leaders across San Francisco, including the San Francisco Democratic Party, the San Francisco Republican Party, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, SPUR, Californians Against Waste, Assemblymember Fiona Ma, and Supervisors Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd have united in opposition to Prop A. Don’t mess with success. Vote No on Proposition A.