2024 Primary Ballot
Editor's Note: All election recommendations are the opinion of the author, the Westside Observer does not endorse candidates or measures and welcomes opinions to the contrary.
• • • • • • • • • • January 2024 • • • • • • • • • •
On June 19, 1972, one George Hoadley declared “Far more important to me is, that I should be loyal to what I regard as the law of my political belief, which is this: a belief that a country is best governed, which is least governed.” at the Ohio Constitutional Convention, the Third Constitutional Convention in Ohio’s history as a state.
Nevertheless, San Franciscans can demonstrate agreement or disagreement with that hoary shibboleth on March 5, 2024 (or before by mail, City Hall, and other designated places) in California’s primary. Confronting taxpayers and other voters are six ballot measures, one state measure, and presidential, Congressional and legislative primaries. Good government inspires your devoted Independent (since May 1985) and non-partisan scribe to gurgitate his well-honed recommendations.
We begin with the United States Senate, respecting which three prominent Democratic U.S. House of Representatives members (two from Southern California and one from Northern California) are campaigning for the nomination, and one equally well-known Republican seeks GOP approval for the November 5th General Election under a system which thrusts only the top two finishers into the runoff. I’m voting for former Major League baseball player Steve Garvey, who outshone the three participating Democrats last month in a television debate. Garvey is not just a baseball “jock”; he’s informed, bubbly, and straightforward. I served legislatively with two of the Democrats, Lee and Schiff, and they’re flawed with self-righteousness and partisan supremacy. The third, Katie Porter, is the choice for all you “progressives.” As I write, polls show Garvey running well enough to achieve the November runoff against Schiff.
I recommend David Lee, founder of the Chinese Voters League for Assembly District 19, an open seat encompassing our west side plus Colma, Daly City and South San Francisco in San Mateo Country, but I will not be unhappy if Supervisor Catherine Stephani from the Marina District is the Democratic candidate. Both are worthy legislators. Republicans need not apply. That’s also true regarding Assembly District 17 because incumbent Matt Haney seeks assured re-election, as opposed by Democrat Dale Otto and Republican Manuel Noris-Berrara. I’ll vote for Otto.
My longtime friend Nancy Pelosi will be justifiably re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in District 11 and Kevin Mullen will vanquish opponents in District 15, representing a small part of San Francisco and half of San Mateo County. He merits re-election.
Let’s not forget the State Senate where I’ve endorsed Republican Yvette Corkrean for the State Senate, hoping she’ll terminate Scott Weiner’s career in politics. Ms. Corkrean is a vibrant nurse whose headquarters is at 2269 Chestnut Street, Room 225, level-headed and unimpaired by partisan philosophy.
… my friend John Trasvina and others who care about public education, including Christine Linnenback, president of Friends of Lowell Foundation, and I, have submitted a policy declaration compelling the Board of Education to restore Algebra to the 8th-grade curriculum in our public schools. Vote “Yes”, please.”
There are also six local ballot measures. Proposition A constitutes more debt for San Francisco taxpayers as a borrowing of $300,000,000 for new rental housing ($240,000,000), developing and rehabilitating existing housing (30,000,000), and developing low-income housing (30,000,000). A property tax increase would be allowed if needed, and landlords could charge tenants 50% of any consequent property tax increase; the San Francisco Taxpayer Association (of which I’m president) recommends a “No” vote. City Hall already has some $500,000,000 in excess funds for such activity.
Proposition B represents another tax increase and an “earmark” of at least $16,800,000 annually for another 120 police officers next year, increasing by about $18,000,000 annually until fiscal year 2028-2029. This is the “brainchild” of Supervisor Ansha Safai, a mayoral candidate this November. Adding cops is a City priority, but you don’t need to condition it upon increasing taxes or conditioned upon same. Reject the “Cop Tax”; there’s enough money in City Hall’s $14,600,000,000 budget to fund more cops.
Proposition C merits approval, if only because it reduces another of San Francisco’s unjustified taxes, i.e., the transfer tax. I fought its imposition when I was a state senator because it exceeded the cost of recording documents in a sale or purchase of real property. Now, City Hall, with the notion of converting office buildings to housing, thinks the taxpayer tax is unjustified. I’ll play that silly game if we can eliminate the transfer tax. This measure can decrease such tax if a commercial property is converted to residential use. The Board of Supervisors couldn’t increase such tax.
The Ethics Commission, which remains as ineffective as four years ago when I was a commissioner but resigned because of its lackluster investigation staff, presents an ordinance to strengthen its ability to stop government corruption. It’s Proposition D, and I’ll vote for it only because Controller Ben Rosenfield, who retired on January 31 after a noble career, reports such an ordinance will cost taxpayers approximately $25,000 annually. Proposition E demonstrates good government by Mayor London Breed, whose re-election on November 5 I unequivocally support. It permits police to be police and utility drones, surveillance cameras, pursue violent misdemeanor suspects, and reduce paperwork; I urge its passage. I also urge passage of Proposition F, another policy ordinance by Mayor Breed, which requires anyone receiving municipal health services, employment assistance, housing, utilities and food from taxpayers to be screened for illegal drug usage if single and younger than 65. It’s common sense, yet Mayor Breed is criticized for Prop F by the left-wingers. Finally, my friend John Trasvina and others who care about public education, including Christine Linnenback, president of Friends of Lowell Foundation, and I, have submitted a policy declaration compelling the Board of Education to restore Algebra to the 8th-grade curriculum in our public schools. Vote “Yes”, please.
There are multiple candidates for U.S. President awaiting voter reaction and I won’t take your time to analyze each one. I hope former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley can give Republicans a choice other than Draft-Dodger Trump and Democrats provide someone besides Joe Biden for re-election. I do, however, recommend for the Democratic County Committee Greg Hardeman of the Elevator Union in Assembly District 19, Sal Roselli, and an old friend of mine in District 17, Nancy Tung, Esq., Chief Prosecutor in the D.A.’s office and Supervisor Matt Dorsey. For its Republican counterpart, I like moderate Jay Donde, Esq. in District 19 plus John Dennis, Yvette Corkran and Jeremiah Boehner. And in District 17, I recommend David Cuadro, Bill Jackson, Janice Wong, and Josh Wolff.
Don’t forget to reject state Proposition I, $6.4 billion dollar bond issue for social service housing which, with 40 years of interest, will cost about $810,000,000 annually for 30 years to repay!!!
Vote early and often on March 5, as wizened political elders used to tell me.
Although unusual but not unprecedented, there are two San Francisco Superior Court judges, well known for granting criminal defendants pretrial release to those defendants accused of felonies, who are challenged. Jean Myungjin Roland, a veteran prosecutor and Assistant District Attorney, who has served over 22 years in such office, merits election over incumbent Judge Beggert. Similarly, Chib Zecher, a trial attorney who served on then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s mayoral 2003 transition team and in 2019 was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Hastings Law School, merits election over another judge who repeatedly has released felony drug-dealing defendants without bail while felony charges against them were pending. Vote for the challengers.
Quentin Kopp is a former San Francisco supervisor, state senator, SF Ethics Commission member, president of the California High Speed Rail Authority governing board and retired Superior Court judge.