Seven Candidates File for Supervisor in District 7

The deadline, or nomination period to run for candidacy for District 7 Supervisor is now complete and six candidates have provided information to the public about their campaigns.

Of the Seven candidates who must complete the nomination process by the filing deadline, only six provided the Department of Elections with contact information, and the Westside Observer was unable to find infomation about Kenneth Piper, the seventh candidate. Information will be added to our website when it is available.

The Westside Observer is in process of compiling questions to the candidates which will be posed to the contenders to provide the public with side-by-side comparative information to distinguish each prospective Supervisor from the others. (Readers may submit requested questions to the editor for possible inclusion in the questionnaire.)

Joel Engardio

We must change the decades-long practice of City Hall ignoring the needs of families when it comes to housing, schools and quality of life. 

We must radically rethink an out-of-control $12 billion budget. Every program must be audited and we should only pay for what works. I’m focused on the basics: clean streets, less crime and more effective services.

As vice president of Stop Crime SF, I’m also focused on public safety and victims’ rights. Everyone involved in the criminal justice system must be held accountable for doing their job to the highest standard.

I’m endorsed by former Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, Assessor Carmen Chu and former Supervisor Katy Tang.

Learn more about my
and background:

Stephen Martin-Pinto

Stephen Martin-Pinto is a fifth generation San Franciscan. He is a veteran of the Marine Corps reserves with deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Georgia and is currently a Major.

In 2014 he returned to San Francisco and is now a firefighter. He has served as president of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, secretary of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council, and commissioner of Veteran's Affairs for San Francisco.

He is running on a platform of zero tolerance for crime and litter, aggressive expansion of MUNI metro, slashing fees and regulations for small business, fiscal responsibility, early foreign language learning in public schools, and the elimination of corruption in city government. He currently lives in Sunnyside with his family.

Ben Matranga

I was born and raised in District 7 and as Supervisor, I’ll work every day for middle class families and restore independent leadership at City Hall. I will fight for our neighborhood values and ensure that our priorities of affordability, safety, quality of life, and planning for future generations are always advanced.

I met my wife at St. Ignatius and today we’re raising our daughter in West Portal. A 5th generation San Franciscan, I know first-hand that our neighborhoods are a truly special place — where neighbors look out for one another and where you can build a better life for your family.

Join Treasurer Fiona Ma and hundreds of neighbors supporting our campaign. Visit or call me directly: 415-484-5870.

Myrna Melgar

Myrna Melgar is a long-time Westside resident and experienced housing and economic development expert. She is running for District 7 Supervisor to be an independent champion for the Westside and deliver real results for our community.

Myrna has dedicated herself to public service, working in and out of government for the last 30 years to improve the lives of San Franciscans. She served as Director of Homeownership Programs for Mayor Gavin Newsom, Executive Director of the Jamestown Community Center, and President of the San Francisco Planning Commission. She expanded homeownership opportunities, supported small businesses and created much needed housing while protecting our neighborhood character.

Myrna lives in Ingleside Terraces with her three daughters and her husband Sean Donahue.

Emily Murase

Emily was twice elected School Board President. She led anti-bullying efforts, championed world languages, and initiated "Peace at Home" anti-domestic violence campaign for families of our students.

Appointed by then-mayor Gavin Newsom to become Director of Department on the Status of Women, she held that position for over 15 years. Her pioneering work included leading the family violence council, gender equity project, and anti-human trafficking work by the California State Legislature, National Association of Counties, U.S. Department of Justice, and United Nations.

A graduate of Lowell High School, Emily received her BA from Bryn Mawr, master’s from UC San Diego, and PhD from Stanford. She lives in the D7 Lakeshore neighborhood with her husband and daughters.

Vilaska Nguyen

Vilaska’s family fled the communists during the Fall of Saigon and lived in a refugee camp before emigrating to Alaska. When he was born his parents named him after the Inuit word for “Mainland.” Vilaska's dad was a longshoreman and his mom was a postal worker. They both instilled in him a deep respect for public service.

Vilaska worked at the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs as a legislative liaison, advocating for legal protections for API families before moving to the City to attend USF’s School of Law. For the last 15 years Vilaska has worked in the criminal justice system as a trial attorney in the PDs office, standing up for families and protecting their civil rights.

JUNE 2020

Questions Raised in Unusual Challenge to Superior Court Judges


While it is unusual that incumbent San Francisco Superior Court judges are challenged, they are required to run for election, just like our politicians. Westside voters on both sides of the contest in the June election have submitted these arguments Pro & Con:

Vote for Change in the Courts

Four very accomplished public defenders have decided to run for Superior Court Judge against incumbent judges in this year's June 5th election. As has been the case since 1849, Article 6 Section 16 of the California Constitution provides that trial judges have regular elections where challengers can run for the office. As a community, we decided that there is a public benefit from judicial campaigns, which give voters the opportunity to interact with judicial candidates.

This makes complete sense, since it is our superior court that is tasked to hear controversies that impact people directly each day. Judges decide our landlord-tenant, divorce, child custody, neighbor and many important disputes. What better way to hold these elected officials accountable, but through a democratic process?

In accepting the job, these incumbent judges have been aware that they must stand for election every six years. Remarkably, there has been debate as to the propriety of this election. Some have gone so far as to state that it is an "assault" on the judiciary. But the notion that democracy is an attack is nothing short of absurd if not un-American. Candidates for office do not threaten judicial independence by running for office in a democracy. The real threat here are the judges and lawyers who have resorted to criticism that undermine the very constitution they have sworn to uphold. The voters, and not past governors like Pete Wilson, should decide who their local judges are and whether they want the status quo or a change in their courts.

Having been a resident of the Sunset, I speak from experience. Currently, our auto break-ins are rampant (SFPD reported 30,000 in a year), recidivism is high, and victims of crimes often feel offenders are not held accountable. San Franciscans have repeatedly voiced their discontent with a money bail system that is unfair, where the wealthy are set free and those who aren't are not—despite having been charged with the same crime. Upon one thing, most San Franciscans will agree: what is currently going on in our criminal justice system is not acceptable—the courts are failing us. These experienced Public Defenders propose an alternative to the status quo.

Niki Solis, has 22-years of experience representing minors, supervising lawyers and handling complex litigation and trials in the adult courts. She currently serves on the Criminal Law Advisory Committee of the State Bar. She is an immigrant who was brought to this country at age one by her parents who put 7 children through catholic school. Solis graduated with honors from SFSU, received a scholarship to U.C. Hastings, has been a resident of this city for 29 years, is a mom of two boys and was vice president of the Fairmount Elementary PTA. Solis would be the first formerly undocumented judge in San Francisco history. After thorough vetting, she received the same "well qualified" rating from the Bar Association as her judicial opponent who is a nine year incumbent.

Phoenix Streets is a native San Franciscan who has tried more felony cases in the last two decades than any of the other 100 attorneys in the San Francisco Public Defender's Office. A Navy veteran, he was on active duty during the gulf war. He was raised by a single mother in a household of nine children. He is a resident of and has deep roots in San Francisco. His opponent lives in Piedmont, and was neither born nor raised in San Francisco.

Maria Evangelista, also a native San Franciscan, is a resident of Miraloma Park. She attended St. Joseph's Elementary school, graduated valedictorian from St. Paul's High School and with honors from SFSU. A child of immigrant parents, who came to California to pick grapes, Evangelista was one of the very first Mexican American women to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School. A 14 year veteran public defender, handling felony cases, she has been trained in the specialty courts: Behavior Health Court, Veterans Court, Drug Court, and the Community Justice Court. She is a current board member of La Raza Centro Legal, which provides legal services to the poor and working-class in areas of immigration and senior services. She is endorsed by Kitman Chan, the head of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Her opponent lives in Marin and drives into San Francisco to make decisions that impact our San Francisco community.

These public defenders have garnered support and endorsements throughout the community. With deep roots in San Francisco, they have bravely stood up to challenge a failing system mired in dysfunction. Readers of Westside Observer and all San Franciscans would be well served in voting for change and for these public defenders.

E. Leigh Moyer, Westside resident, Communications Specialist, UC Berkeley

June 2018

Westside Should Support Incumbent Judges

The challenge to four incumbent Superior Court Justices has led to an unprecedented showing of support from local and statewide elected officials including Governor Brown, Senators Feinstein and Harris, and all four candidates for Mayor.

Andrew Cheng, Curtis Karnow, Cynthia Lee, and Jeff Ross are highly qualified and committed judges of the San Francisco Superior Court that are being challenged by four members of the Public Defender's Office in the June 5th election. Each of these four judges is incredibly qualified, intelligent, and committed to improving our San Francisco Communities.

Judge Andrew Cheng, has served on the court for nine years, after a career as a Deputy City Attorney and then an Assistant U.S. Attorney. At the U.S. Attorney's Office, he was promoted through the ranks, eventually serving as Chief of that Office's Civil Division. He has served at the Hall of Justice, presiding over criminal cases, and in the Civil Division, where he presided over a landmark trial resulting in a $3.5 million verdict against a landlord who wrongfully evicted a family from their home. Like his colleagues on the bench, Judge Cheng is well regarded by lawyers and judges alike. He has been involved in the community, volunteering after hours at a court-sponsored voluntary mediation program, and at a community forum where members of the public meet judges and learn about the court.

Judge Curtis Karnow practiced civil litigation at two prominent San Francisco firms before becoming a judge five-plus years ago. He heads the court's Complex Litigation Department, where he rules on some of the most challenging cases filed in the Superior Court. In one such case, he ruled in favor of San Francisco's City College and against the accrediting agency that was determined to shut the college down.

Judge Karnow wrote a seminal article about bail reform, advocating that persons accused of crimes be released based on whether they are dangerous, and not on their ability to afford a bond for bail set at high amounts. That article has been cited by state and federal judges in cases requiring judges to set bail at a level that is affordable, and to detain only people who are truly dangerous. In his spare time, Judge Karnow writes material to teach grade school and high school students about the law and our legal system.

Judge Cynthia Ming-Mei Lee has served on the San Francisco Superior Court for 20 years following her successful career as a leading prosecutor in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. She was elected as the first Asian-American woman to serve as Presiding Judge of the entire court. At that time, the court was facing huge financial challenges, with dwindling resources. Under her leadership, the court emerged from the crisis stronger and enabled to continue its vital work on behalf of the public. Judge Lee was recognized by the Commission on Women for instituting mandatory domestic violence training. She also founded the Veterans Justice Court and co-founded a program to reduce truancy in schools.

Before he was appointed to the bench, Judge Jeff Ross practiced family law and was a criminal defense lawyer who headed his own firm and later practiced at a prominent larger firm with deep San Francisco roots. He worked without pay on civil rights cases with the ACLU, and represented defendants accused of drug crimes and worse, including a death row inmate in a highly complex appeal. He has served on the court for nine years and was the first judge to preside over the Veterans Justice Court, which has helped military veterans obtain housing, mental health, drug treatment and employment services, often resulting in dismissal or reduction of criminal charges against them. In his spare time, he founded the Law Academy, a program for underserved youth in our public schools that teaches them about the law, provides them experience working for legal employers, and gives them the vision and tools to pursue a college education.

These judges should not be re-elected because they are incumbents. They should serve another six-year term because each has executed their authority as judge to advance important social justice goals, while treating all with respect, exercising discretion appropriately, and applying the law.

San Franciscans are lucky to have a bench that reflects the full diversity of our community, and has dedicated, ethical and experienced judges like Andrew Cheng, Curt Karnow, Cynthia Lee, and Jeff Ross. That is why I am urging voters to keep our court free from the corrosive influence of politics by voting to retain these four excellent judges.

John O'Riordan, Westside Democratic Party

June 2018

Westside Mayor's Forum Attracts Full House

debate photo

In spite of forecasted rainy weather, an estimated crowd of over 300 people gathered to listen to four candidates vying to replace recently deceased Mayor Ed Lee at the June 5 election. Former Board President Angela Alioto, Board President London Breed, Supervisor Jane Kim and State Senator Mark Leno appeared together on the stage of the Irish Cultural Center at 45th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard on Wednesday, the 28th of February. Event organizers, The Irish Caucus of the California Democratic Party explained that minor candidates were not invited, because more than four candidates would make the program unwieldy. As spectators began to arrive, campaign staff and supporters chanted, waved signs and offered literature.

The forum began at 7 pm and the candidates found few things to disagree with each other about, but all agreed that the homeless crisis is out of control. The major departing point, however was what to do about it.

The question was addressed first by London Breed, who characterized it as a "mental health" crisis, one that must be resolved by taking "Conservatorship" from the DA's Office and putting it in the City Attorney's Office so homeless people can be treated like children's conservatorship. She argued that taking away the civil liberties of "the most challenging" homeless people to get them off the streets is the most humane thing to do. "We have to make uncomfortable decisions."

Jane Kim said 60% of $250 million dedicated to homeless goes to housing 10,000 people no longer on the streets through direct subsidies and SRO hotels. The approximately $100 million left serves the 17,000 people who enter our system each year. Not all are on the street, many sleep in their cars, or find temporary housing. 7,000 people, on average, are in our shelters and that means the expense is $4-10 thousand dollars each for services. Salt Lake City housed their homeless through its Housing First policy, and so can we. We need more shelters. She spent a night in a shelter and learned that we lock people up for 14 hours without any services and that people are much older and sicker than she had thought. She wants more nurses and medical services available.

Mark Leno said that 70% of our homeless were living in a home in San Francisco before they became homeless. So keeping people in their homes prevents the situation from getting worse. We shouldn't be treating people through the criminal justice system, it's not working. A mental health justice center is a better option than jail.

Angela Alioto faulted the current elected officials for dropping the ball on the Ten Year Homeless plan she put in place as Homeless Czar for Gavin Newsom in 2004. By 2011 "we housed over 11,400 in permanent supportive housing." This housing featured a crisis clinic on each ground floor. "We know what works," she said. "Shelters do not work, programs that put people through six months of mental health program then dump them back on the streets is throwing money away."We're spending $67,000 for every homeless person and that could be used to house people, Navigation Centers are also dead-ends - good for 120 days, then back out on the street." We need a coalition of the wealthy businesses, state, federal and local governments to sit down at one table and solve this problem."

Be sure to vote on June 5th.

candidates for Mayor

March 2018

candidates for district 7 supervisor.
Candidates respond to questions in the "lightning round" at the District 7 supervisor forum at the West of Twin Peaks Council. Shown are Farrell, Yee, Matranga, Engardio and Young responding to the question: "Is your campaign taking public funds?" Photo: Bill Wilson

Supervisor Candidate Debate Highlights Differences

In front of nearly 100 community members, West of Twin Peaks Central Council hosted a forum for the five District 7 Supervisor candidates at the Forest Hill Clubhouse. Discussion topics included affordable housing, marijuana legalization, and neighborhood safety. With Proposition Q on the upcoming ballot, which could prohibit homeless tent encampments, the candidates were in agreement about one thing: the mentally ill homeless need to be a top priority.

During two-minute introductions, each candidate made their case for changes they intend to make once elected. John Farrell says he will challenge government spending, while newcomer Joel Engardio intends to ask tough policy questions. Ben Matranga and Michael Young, both San Francisco natives, similarly plan to be vigorous and energetic voices of the people at City Hall. Incumbent Supervisor Norman Yee, also a native, intends to bring beat cops back into the neighborhood.

crowd shot
An overflow crowd listened intently at the candidate forum at the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

Balancing the budget was the first talking point and Young was the first to speak up. He proposes a look at pensions.

"Staff is the most expensive budget," Young says. His suggestion is a selective hiring freeze.

Matranga wants to take a closer look at wasteful spending, while Engardio, Farrell, and Yee intend to focus on revenue generating debts like the water department.

"The Mayor's Office keeps adding special project individuals, which has tripled in last few years," Yee says. "The budget is based on neglected infrastructure."

For Proposition 64, the legalization of marijuana, Engardio and Young take a liberal approach. In 2014, Supervisor Yee created zoning restrictions making it impossible to open dispensaries within 500 feet of a school or another marijuana vendor.

candidate questionnaire

"I support the legalization of it," Young says. "It's the wave of the future."

"We have to make sure our neighborhoods are safe and people aren't lighting up in parks," Engardio says. He believes it can be regulated. "We can benefit from those tax dollars."

With Prop 64 still pending voter approval, one immediate issue facing the neighborhood is safety.

Farrell recently received emails for two break-ins. "This is unheard of," he says, proposing stronger relationships between businesses, neighbors and the police force.

Photo of spectators
Spectators who came late to see the debate at the Clubhouse were not able to be seated, or even standing room.

"When I came in they had no training of new police officers," Yee says. He believes District 7 is left out of heightened security because of low crime rates and has been fighting to get more officers assigned to the police station.

Matranga, who has the number one endorsement from SFPD, says the increase in staffing needs to happen now. "We know how long it takes to hire, train, get on the streets and assign to different beats. We have to own that."

In addition to neighborhood safety, pedestrian safety is also a focus. A pilot project in Twin Peaks that closes off the eastern portion to vehicles will provide a safer experience for walkers and cyclists.

Engardio believes the project symbolizes tension between residents and tourists, calling the process unfair and not transparent.

"We can't ban access and cars. This needs to be done smartly and thoughtfully," he says.

Young adds that neighborhoods and community groups feel unheard at City Hall.

"This is a democracy," Young says. "We have to include everyone in the discussion."

In regard to affordable housing, Yee feels that District 7 is doing its fair share.

"There are three developments along Ocean Avenue," Yee says. "We have Mercy housing that was completed a year ago and Park Merced is going to produce additional housing and units. They are going to ram the Balboa Reservoir project down our residents' throats and I'm going to be totally against it."

"I hear from a number of seniors that say they want their adult children and grandchildren to stay in San Francisco," Engardio says. "It would be nice if there was a nearby condo where they could stay in their neighborhood." He says adding more housing for millennials and the elderly will be a win-win situation.

Meanwhile, Matranga points out that an elevator building is five stores or more, which he is against.

"It's too much density and would destroy character," he says.

"The bottom line is that it's the government's responsibility to provide low and moderate income housing," Farrell says. "I will bring more housing by identifying revenues."

Another type of housing discussed is Proposition Q that prohibits tent encampments on City sidewalks. All candidates are in favor of the ban, except one.

"I'm against this," Young says. "I would like to look at resources provided. No one aspires to be homeless. Nobody wants to be living in a tent on the street. If you provide the services, they will come."

Young insists that we be laser focused on the mentally ill, calling for more care beds.

"This Prop would put the burden on the SFPD," he says. "The mentally ill homeless will go into the justice system and impact the tax payers."

Farrell, who supports Prop Q, suggests a phone number where one could call and get homeless services immediately.

"These people have to be taken care of," he says. "We need to provide more funding to get people into housing. We have to get the homeless the mental healthcare they need and the city has the money."

Yee points to the new Department of Homelessness.

"I'm very supportive of what they're doing. They're talking to people that are putting up tents and helping them find resources. It's all about building housing that's affordable for them."

Engardio, also in favor of Prop Q, calls the tent encampments unsafe and unsanitary.

"We have to nip it in the bud now. One-third of homeless are mentally ill and suffering on the street," he says. "You can throw money on housing and job programs, but it won't help them. We need to focus on the mentally ill and move the needle somewhere."

Homeless encampments aren't the only unwanted newcomers to District 7. An influx of coyotes also became a topic of discussion.

"We have two options: to kill them or look at long term," Young says. "They have become habituated to humans and hazing is a tough sell in the short-term, but in the long term that's helpful."

"We can't mass kill them like the 1920s," Engardio says. "We have to follow the science. We need to look at the experts and come up with a humane plan."

Farrell is looking to Animal Care Control.

"If we kill them, they'll come back," he says. "Have them [Animal Care Control] educate people on how to deal with coyotes. Give them proper tools of hazing."

Matranga suggests a graduated scale of aggressiveness.

"When I talk to a mother who says that a coyote was on the school ground at 9am, then it's gone too far. We make ensure the children are safe and never harmed."

Tony Taylor is a San Francisco journalist.

October 2016

Let's Elect Our Elected Officials
- YES on Prop D

balance graphic

Dis really very simple — if a Supervisor position became vacant, then you, the district voters, would get to elect your interim Supervisor right away to fill out the term. Wait, you say. Don't we do that now? Well, actually, no. Right now the Mayor appoints the interim Supervisor, who serves until the next election. This appointment could last for a few weeks or, with the recent change in San Francisco election laws, up to two years.

What is wrong with this picture?


In an August 2016 public presentation, former Mayor Willie Brown stated that he told his appointees:
"You are free to vote any way you wish when you're elected. But if I appoint you, you only have one constituent — and that's me.”

First of all, the existing procedure violates the basic constitutional principle of separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislative branches. No other mayor of a major city or county in California does this, and even the Governor of California cannot unilaterally fill a vacant seat in the legislature.

Second, in terms of your own district interests, it gives the hand-picked appointee up to two years to vote the Mayor's way - which may not be your way - on the Board of Supervisors.

The loss of separation of powers in the case of appointments by a mayor is not just a hypothetical concept. In an August 2016 public presentation, former Mayor Willie Brown stated that he told his appointees,

"You are free to vote any way you wish when you're elected. But if I appoint you, you only have one constituent — and that's me."

Third, the existing mayoral appointment procedure gives the power of incumbency to the mayoral appointee. Incumbents generally have a head start over the other candidates through giving out favors, getting name recognition, and raising funds for their next campaign.

And, lastly, currently the Mayor can take as long as he or she wants in filling a position. This has resulted in long vacancies in elected offices. Some seats have remained vacant for months.

Opponents to Prop D say that there is no basis for recommending changes. Well, actually, there is. A little-known agency, the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), produced a report back in 2013. This report was called "Study on How Jurisdictions Fill Vacancies to Elected Offices Between Election Cycles." The LAFCo Report analyzed equivalent jurisdictions to learn how elected-position vacancies are filled.

LAFCo found that the current ability of the San Francisco Mayor to unilaterally appoint a member of the legislative branch for the remainder of a term is inconsistent with practices in both large California cities and California counties. The report therefore concludes that:

". . . the City and County of San Francisco acts in a manner not consistent with the great majority of governing bodies. . . . More specifically, a governing body such as a Board of Supervisors, City Council, or Board of Education, holds the discretion to either call for a special election or make an appointment to the vacancy . . .

"When we look at California's most populous cities, we again see a departure from what is more normative of practices used for filling vacancies in public offices. Of the ten cities surveyed here, no other city among the most populous grants total discretion for appointments, let alone without strict time parameters for action necessary, to one individual."

Proposition D works to correct that specific imbalance of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches of our City government:

1. Prop D would require that the Mayor select an appointee for all vacant elected offices within 28 days.

2. For the Supervisor seats, Prop D would require that the mayoral appointee be TEMPORARY. A Special Election would be held within a short period of time in your district, so that you could decide whom you want to represent you right away.

3. The Mayor's TEMPORARY appointee would not be allowed to run in the Special Election. This would eliminate the power of incumbency and encourage an open election in which candidates from outside of City Hall have a chance of at least being considered.

Opponents to Proposition D say that a Special Election could cost "millions." Well, actually, they are wrong about that, too. According to the Controller, it could cost about $340,000 once every four years — that is $85,000 a year, approximately $.0009 % of San Francisco's annual $9.6 billion budget. The price of democracy was never so little.

When could this new policy be applied? Very soon - in January, either Jane Kim or Scott Wiener will be relocating to Sacramento — and the Mayor gets to appoint their replacement. In Supervisor Kim's slot, the appointee will hold that position until the next election in June 2018. Unless we pass Proposition D.

Please join a broad spectrum of groups supporting Proposition D - including the Sierra Club, The Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, the San Francisco Democratic Party, San Francisco Tomorrow, and the League of Women Voters.

Let's elect our elected officials - please vote YES on Propositiovn D!

Larry Bush and Katherine Howard

October 2016

George Wooding's D-7 Candidate Questionnaire


Choose Your D-7 Board of Supervisors Favorite

This may be a sneaky way to choose your new District 7 Supervisor. The Westside Observer conducted a similar blind survey four years ago, which was an eye-opener for many of our readers.

Despite your current candidate preferences — between candidates Norman Yee (our incumbent Supervisor), Benjamin Matranga, Mike Young, Joel Engardio, or John Farrell — this survey may cause you to select another District 7 candidate instead of your current favorite.

All of the District 7 Board of Supervisor candidates were asked identical questions. Responses to each question were limited to a maximum of 60 words. Candidates were not allowed to answer questions in a way that would allow readers to guess who they were.

No candidate's answer was edited or changed in any way, unless they inadvertently identified who they were. Only two responses by one candidate were edited to remove identifying information. Each candidate was assigned an alphabetical letter (A to E). The candidates keep the same letter throughout the questionnaire.

At the end of the questionnaire, you will be asked to pick your preferred candidate by selecting in order the alphabetical letter(s) of candidate responses that you liked the most.

Responses to Questionnaire

1. How will you reduce the increasing amount of crime in District 7 without increasing the cost of police protection?

A. Build a stronger relationship between police and residents via community forums, neighborhood watch groups, businesses, and schools. Promote education on crime prevention and safety. Utilize existing programs to support police and provide them with the equipment and training needed to do their job. Increase police patrolling. Offenders (especially high risk and repeat criminals) must be taken off the streets.

B. Increased and better police presence in the neighborhoods and for SFPD to prioritize beat patrol for officers. Would encourage a stronger relationship between police officers and business owners and residents. I would form a taskforce consisting of individuals from police personnel to community members and policy makers to create a police staffing plan for the future based on best practices.

C. When property crime is up, more police protection is worth the cost. Let's make sure we have enough police officers on patrol and look to other areas of the budget to make cuts. Years of low crime justified less police presence on the west side, but now it's time to prioritize the level of protection District 7 needs and deserves.

D. Demand the District Attorney prosecute crimes as felonies instead of misdemeanors when the option is available. Vehicle burglaries are less common in Daly City since Daly City prosecutes and punishes these crimes as felonies whereas San Francisco prefers to prosecute them as misdemeanors. We can and should do better.

E. Public safety is my top priority. I will fight to ensure San Francisco hires enough police officers to stop this neighborhood crime wave. I will fight to ensure that our officers have the right tools, training and equipment they need, including Tasers. I am proud to have worked with and earned the support of our City's public safety workers---Police Officers and Fire Fighters.

2. The San Francisco Natural Areas Program (NAP) plans on cutting thousands of non-native trees in the City and replacing them with native trees — mostly saplings. What are your thoughts on this?

A. I am against it. Over time our native trees have adapted alongside non-native ones and cutting them down now will affect the current ecosystem and its habitat. This is an unnecessary expense that wastes funds that could be otherwise used to provide essential City services and programs such as affordable housing, transportation, and family issues.

B. The NAP sets a very dangerous precedent for San Francisco and I am deeply concerned with the clear cutting of trees. We need a plan that removes dead and dying trees to keep our residents safe. This plan is a clear example of a long process that doesn't reflect the feedback that was received and results in very problematic recommendations.

C. If a tree is in danger of falling, cut it down. But NAP doesn't make sense. At what point in time is "native" defined? Go back far enough and everything was sand. It's also irresponsible to spend money on an evolutionary experiment in our parks when we have failing playgrounds. Recreation for people and pets should be the priority in city parks.

D. When practicable, we should live according to our environment's natural demands rather than work against it. A SLOW, gradual replacement of non-native species will preserve our city's aesthetics as we congruently return to our environment's natural state. Remember that, the 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm was exacerbated by non-native, Eucalyptus trees whose oils fed the inferno that destroyed 3,000 homes.

E. I would like to learn more about the current state of the ecological health in our significant natural areas. Funding for important environmental stewardship must be provided to protect and preserve our parks. As our population grows, the uses of these facilities becomes much more frequent and we must ensure that all users benefit from our parks system.

3. How do you intend to increase affordable housing and middle-income housing in District 7?

A. I will identity overlooked revenue sources, hold City departments accountable, cut waste, and allocate funds to build housing. Support increasing height limits in commercial districts to build more affordable and middle-income housing. Allow legalization of in-law units, as long as they are up to code. Many already exist and provide housing without changing neighborhood aesthetics. Support expediting the permit/appeals process.

B. I don't believe in a one­size fits all approach to affordable housing. I want to see a significant investment in our down payment assistance loan program for first time home buyers allowing young families to get support from the city when purchasing a home. I strongly support at least 50% affordable and middle­income housing for the Balboa Reservoir housing development.

C. We can preserve single-family neighborhoods while helping families stay in San Francisco. With community input, let's build middle-income housing above retail stores along Muni lines. The new homeowners will revitalize commercial districts by demanding more amenities and we'll create housing for our kids. Seniors looking to downsize can consider an elevator building nearby and stay in the neighborhood they call home.

D. Before we build new housing at Stonestown and Balboa Reservoir, we need an honest conversation about the limits of affordable housing mandates without government subsidies. Private financing can only fund so much before going out of business; we would have to commit government resources to meet the remaining demand for affordable and middle-income housing.

E. My friends I grew up with can no longer afford to raise their families in the City where they were born. The basic bargain used to be that if you worked hard, your children and their children could look forward to a better life based on hard work and opportunity. Today, that compact is threatened by the increasing cost of living and lack of responsiveness at City Hall.

4. What are your top transportation priorities for District 7?

A. Safety, efficiency, and planning for future growth.
Immediately address high injury corridors. Support Vision Zero. Design our streets to better support its traffic (including pedestrian and bicyclists) in a more efficient and safer way. Modernize MUNI, improve reliability, and ensure there are enough vehicles to support the system. Support the undergrounding of the M line and the Ocean Ave Corridor.

B. We need better service. We need more frequency on our bus lines. More reliable vehicle on those same routes. When changes are proposed we need clear and meaningful community involvement. We need to end the war on cars waged by the SFMTA. Finally we need better paratransit services which a lot of our resident use.

C. We must underground the M-line from West Portal to Daly City BART. This will serve new housing at Parkmerced and SFSU with more capacity (four-car instead of two-car trains). We'll have a real, end-to-end subway all the way downtown for a faster commute. This will solve the St. Francis Circle traffic tangle with above-ground trains and improve 19th Ave. congestion.

D. Crossing the metro tracks on 19th, West Portal, and Ocean is a risky adventure for pedestrians and cars. We should underground the metro and free up precious street space to accommodate more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares and encourage slower vehicular traffi C. Maximize the use of refuge islands, raised surfaces, and traffic calming techniques.

E. I have worked directly to take on the City's transportation challenges and will prioritize pedestrian safety and improve MUNI reliability. At City Hall, I cut red tape and delivered more than 13 miles of street safety improvements on time and under budget. I will fight to make MUNI safer, cleaner and more reliable and reduce traffic congestion.

5. How would you handle District 7's coyote problem?

A. I will support providing necessary funds to the SF Animal Care and Control for their training in handling of this problem as well as educating residents in prevention and safety, and for purchasing hazing instruments needed to condition coyotes to fear people and minimize conflict.

B. The city needs to work with neighborhoods and neighbors to address the problem. The current "leave it alone" mentality is simply unacceptable. People need better information and better options to deal with coyotes. The city needs to work with neighbors to address their concerns and do a much better job at tracking and monitoring coyotes.

C. Just trapping and killing coyotes in District 7 won't work when more will trot over the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin County. We must give San Francisco Animal Care and Control the resources it needs to collaborate with counterpart agencies in other counties to find a scientifically informed, humane and sustainable solution to keep the entire Bay Area safe.

D. I favor "the harder right over the easier wrong". We must re-instill the fear of humans into coyotes by teaching neighbors "hazing" techniques: making loud noises and waving arms when encountering coyotes. This has worked in Denver, Vancouver, and Los Angeles. Killing coyotes is costly, dangerous, and studies show that coyote populations usually bounce back even after aggressive killing campaigns.

E. My campaign has knocked on over 10,000 doors and held nearly 20 house parties all across District 7 listening to neighborhood concerns. I have heard from numerous neighbors regarding an increase in coyote activity including very serious concerns about coyote incidents near our elementary schools. I support funding the Department of Animal Care & Control to have the expertise to fully and appropriately address this issue. This is not currently happening.

6. What are your top three (3) City budget priorities?

A. 1) Identify current revenue sources that have not been addressed. Review revenue practices to ensure all revenue sources are identified. 2) Hold City departments accountable, streamline and cut unnecessary expenditures. 3) Prioritize essential services and programs. Ensure vital City needs are met. Audit non-profit agencies and City contracts to ensure services are provided and necessary.

B. Public Safety, Pedestrian Safety and a fair share for District 7. We need more resource for SFPd. We need more investment to make our streets safer for pedestrians. We need to ensure that District 7 gets its fair share of resource for important capital improvements like sewers and road re-pavement and important programs like child-care and senior centers.

C. The biggest budget threats are the salaries of too many city employees (nearly 30,000!), unfunded liabilities that will balloon and a reliance on "set-asides" that limit accountability. At $9.6 billion, the budget has doubled since 2004. Nothing is twice as good. We need to investigate how our money is being spent, measure for results and only pay for what works.

D. 1) Police: by 2018 we will lose 400 police officers to early retirement. Current academy classes will produce only 200 more officers – we need more classes! 2) Housing: help hard working families avoid low-income status by creating more middle-income housing; this is good for our city's stability; 3) City government hiring freeze until we sort out the swollen city budget.

E. My top three budget priorities are public safety, addressing quality of life concerns, and funding vital services like road repaving, tree maintenance, and graffiti removal. The Board of Supervisors recently passed the largest budget in our City's history — $9.6 billion — yet it is not balanced and relies on tax increases to fund basic services. I will use my experience in finance to root out waste, fraud and abuse to ensure that real fiscal discipline and accountability is prioritized at City Hall.

Heard enough? Please pick your preferred candidate by selecting in order the alphabetical letter(s) of candidate responses that you liked the most. Then compare your preferred responses to the legend of names of D-7 candidates and their corresponding alphabetical letter revealed below.

Legend of D-7 Supervisorial Candidates

A. John Farrell

B. Norman Yee (Incumbent, D-7 Supervisor)

C. Joel Engardio

D. Mike Young

E. Benjamin Matranga

George Wooding, Westside resident and President, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods. Feedback:

September 2016

candidate pictures

District 7 Election for Supervisor Draws Challengers

While the final date for candidates for supervisor to file nomination papers is June 14th, these candidates for District 7 have responded to our inquiries.

Joel Engardio

San Francisco is changing fast. In District 7, we face unprecedented challenges. But what do we get from City Hall? Complacency. We need a new supervisor – a bold, responsive and independent leader.

If we want our kids and grandkids to stay in San Francisco, we need a forward-looking vision. I want to revitalize our commercial districts, stop the westside crime wave and be an advocate for homeowners and middle-income families.

Norman Yee, our current supervisor, voted against more police officers as crime spiked. He supported a proposed transfer tax on properties – a tax that would have hurt families. On most issues, it isn't clear where he stands.

When the San Francisco Chronicle endorsed me in ٢٠١٢, it said: "Norman Yee is a low-key politician whose campaign platform is a roster of tame ideas that show none of the boldness or specificity offered by Joel Engardio."

The choice is clear in 2016.

The Chronicle also said "Joel Engardio is rich with ideas" and "would be a worthy successor to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, City Hall's astute fiscal hawk."

I'm a homeowner near Lowell High School. I've lived in San Francisco 18 years of my adult life. I work for a tech company that makes health care more accessible and affordable. And I have a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Learn more at and read my award-winning Examiner column. Your #١ vote for Joel Engardio will let me put those words into action at City Hall.

415-577-6251 |

John Farrell

I am running for District 7 Supervisor because I have the qualifications, experience, and dedication to make a difference. D7 is at a crossroads as our City population is projected to increase to 1 million. I will be a leader that stands up for our neighborhood values to ensure they are being addressed, values such as safety, affordability, preserving the character of our neighborhoods, and planning for future generations. Our current supervisor voted against an increase in police staffing as crime goes up. Further, City Hall must be made accountable. I know the workings of City Hall and that business as usual has got to change.

City Experience:

• Financial Director for Treasure Island Development Authority

• Assistant Assessor, Budget and Special Projects

• Senior Management Assistant for Port

• Mayor's Budget Analyst

• Senior Analyst for Harvey Rose, Budget Analyst for Board of Supervisors

• Park Director, Recreation and Parks

• Specialized in streamlining and identifying new revenue sources. Track record of generating millions to the City.

• 5th Generation San Franciscan. Grew up and raised family in D7. My family has been in public service for nearly a century. My grandfather was a Muni driver. My father is the retired Controller appointed by Joe Alioto. My uncle was a SFPD Sergeant.

• Neighborhood activist

• Small business owner/Real Estate Broker. Help families with affordable housing, in foreclosure, and displaced tenants.

• Education: St. Ignatius '77 | USF '81 B.S. Finance | GGU '86 MBA

• Endorsements: Judge Quentin Kopp (ret.), Former D7 Supervisor Tony Hall

Contact info: (415)218-6337 | |

Ben Matranga

I am Ben Matranga, a West Portal homeowner running for Supervisor to prioritize and address public safety and quality of life issues in our neighborhoods.

As a fifth generation San Franciscan born and raised in District 7 who met my wife in high school at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, I want to keep our City livable for generations to come.

My priorities include:

Fighting to make sure San Francisco has enough police officers to meet the demands of our growing City.

Ensuring that our officers have the tools, training and equipment they need.

Supporting the active enforcement of quality of life laws that prevent camping on sidewalks and prohibit aggressive panhandling.

Using my experience in finance to root out waste, fraud and abuse to ensure that vital City services are funded.

Opposing tax and fee increases that squeeze working families out of the middle class.

Demanding that senior Planning staff meet on a regular basis with neighborhood leaders, not just developers.

Requiring, as a matter of law, that the Planning Department inform neighborhood organizations before introducing significant rezoning proposals.

Strengthening City Ethics laws by banning lobbyists from making campaign contributions.

Requiring reporting of special interest spending to influence City decisions.

Please join Fiona Ma, Barbara Kaufman, Angela Alioto and the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council (#2) in supporting our campaign.

You can learn more at or by calling me at tel:415-484-5870"415-484-5870.

Norman Yee

I am honored to serve in the City where I was born, raised and have worked on behalf of, to represent the District 7 community I have lived in for 30 years. Becoming a grandfather this year, I am more aware than ever of the multi-generational needs of our residents, from seniors to families and young professionals. To start, we need to ensure that we are safe at home and when we're out in the neighborhood. Although more measures are needed, I have secured 12 additional police officers for District 7 precincts and added beat cops on West Portal and Ocean Avenue, and have been a leader on our City's Vision Zero initiative, particularly around pedestrian safety. I have been a champion of children and families' issues, and in a second term I will focus on improving our parks, increasing access to child care, and increasing senior services.

 I have ensured that District 7 received its fair share of city funding and have consistently dedicated funds for a Participatory Budgeting process for District 7 residents, allocating more than $1 million over 3 years for neighborhood improvement projects. I have, and will continue, to be your voice at City Hall to keep our neighborhood characteristics and support reasonable growth. I believe that my career working to improve the lives of San Francisco families, including the past four years as your Supervisor, will make me an effective representative for District 7. I hope I can count on your support this November. and

Mike Young

I'm a native son of San Francisco, a product of our public school system, and a Park Merced resident.

My education at Roosevelt Junior High and Lowell prepared me for degrees at U.C. Berkeley and Harvard. I served two years in the San Francisco Mayor's Budget Office, 10 years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, and 10 years as a U.S. diplomat in South Korea, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Pakistan.

I believe in San Francisco, and believe I can serve our neighbors with strength and empathy at City Hall.

San Francisco seems at a crossroads. The stresses from success as a world-class city have resulted in increased crime and congestion. District 7 residents experience car break-ins and burglaries; traffic on our streets grows more crowded and dangerous, affecting adversely the quality of our lives.

As Supervisor, I will ensure we have adequate police protection in our district and that growth doesn't occur at the expense of neighbors in San Francisco's historic Westside, while enforcing fiscal discipline on our City's already swollen budget. I will be as close as a phone call or email away from everyone in our district. You'll find a real person, not a voicemail, in my office.

I will serve you with honesty, integrity, and compassion. I ask voters to grant me the opportunity to represent District 7 at City Hall and enhance the great history of San Francisco for the benefit of our neighborhoods, country, and future generations.


District 7 Candidate for Supervisor Mike Young was incorrectly identified as Mike Lee in our June introduction to D7 candidates.

The Westside Observer regrets the error and wishes him well in his campaign.

Thank you. 415-866-6470 | 

If more candidates file, we will make sure to give them equal time, if they contact us with their information. We have asked for a 250 word statement of intent, a photo and some contact information.

This election will take place on November 7th.

The June 7 Primary Election is not a part of the election for supervisors. The candidates in the Primary Election are for Judge and County Central Committees, as well as the initial election for State Senator. Ballots for this election are currently being cast at City Hall and by absentee. Please remember to vote.

June 2016

Election 2014

SF Voters’ Choices

San Franciscans went to the polls to provide direction to the city on many different topics, from taxes, on sodas and turf on playing fields to raising the minimum wage and a large transportation bond. With the uncertified results in, here is what the electoral landscape looks like.


… Measure I, to renovate the fields at the Beach Chalet with artificial turf, lighting, and bleachers was approved by a similar 55-45 margin. As we go to press, SF Park and Rec is already starting work on the project.”

In the five, even-numbered districts where supervisors were up for reelection, all five current supervisors (Farrell, Tang, Kim, Weiner and Cohen) won their contests handily, with only the District 10 race moving to a round 2 of ranked-choice voting.

On a statewide basis, Propositions 1 and 2, the Water Bond and Rainy Day fund propositions won easily, as did the Proposition to reduce certain criminal acts to misdemeanors (Prop 47). The propositions dealing with Healthcare (Prop 45), Drug Testing for Doctors (Prop 46) and Indian Casino Gaming (Prop 48) all were defeated handily.

In the District 17 Assembly race, a very tight race is showing that as of today, Supervisor David Chiu is holding a 2400 vote (2%) lead over Supervisor David Campos. In District 19, Phil TIng was re-elected. Former Supervisor Fiona Ma won her Board of Equalization election with 67% of the votes. Both Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu and Public Defender Jeff Adachi were re-elected, as they ran unopposed.

For most local voters, the numerous local measures on the ballot were some of the most hotly contested items on the ballot. Measure A (Transportation Bond) passed with 71 percent of the voters voting yes. Measure B (Match Transportation Funding to Population Growth) also was passed with 61% of voters approving. The Children and Families Measure (Measure C) was approved easily with 73% of voters in agreement. Measure D, approving health benefits for employees of the (now disbanded) Redevelopment Agency was also approved with 55% of voters voting yes. Measure E, the hotly contested proposed tax on Sodas and other Sugary beverages was defeated as 54% of voters voted against the measure.

In two real estate related measures, voters approved the proposed plans for Pier 70 (Measure F) with 72% voting approving. Measure G, the proposal to enact a Real Estate Transfer Tax on parcels sold within 5 years of purchase was turned down as 54% of voters voted no.

(It looks like artificial turf for GG Park)

The two measures that will determine the future of the western end of Golden Gate Park were decided by almost equal tallies. Proponents of keeping the natural grass playing fields in Golden Gate Park were rebuffed as Measure H, requiring the fields to be maintained in their natural grass state, was defeated by a 54-46 tally. The corresponding Measure I, to renovate the fields at the Beach Chalet with artificial turf, lighting, and bleachers was approved by a similar 55-45 margin. As we go to press, SF Park and Rec is already starting work on the project.

Measure J, raising the San Francisco minimum wage level was approved by 76% of the voters. Measure K, setting up a process to fund and build affordable housing, also won handily with 65% of the vote. The final measure on the local ballot, Measure L, attempting to implement a new policy directive for transportation management within SF, failed by a 61-39 margin.

The final ballot choices focused on the local School District, the Community College District and the BART District 8 Board Position. In the SF School Board election, Emily Murase, Shamann Walton and incumbent Hydra Mendoza were elected to new terms. Local parent Lee Hsu fell slightly short in his bid to be elected to the board. The Community College Board will also have new members, Thea Selby and Brigitte Davila will join incumbent John Rizzo, who was re-elected. The Westside will have a new BART Director as newcomer Nicholas Josefowitz unseated incumbent James Fang by approximately 4600 votes.

November 2014