Logan’s San Francisco and California June 8th Voter Guide

California State Office (Democrats):

Governor: Jerry Brown – I mean, I’d love to vote for the MoveOn founder, but Brown is the only chance the Dem’s have of taking back the Statehouse.

Lt. Governor: Gavin NewsomPro: Gavin is a Democrat who could probably win. Con: I disagree with almost all his positions in San Francisco. Pro: He’s more mainstream which stands out like a sore thumb in SF, but he might be considered progressive statewide. Con: He’s a career politician and he’s very clearly using this a stepping stone/consolation prize for not being able to get the Gov position. Pro: Lt. Governors almost never amount to much. Pro: If he gets elected, he’ll leave SF a year ahead of schedule and Aaron Peskin might get appointed as interim mayor, eventually leading to his election to a full term as mayor. Con: We will be inflicting Newsom on the rest of the state.

Secretary of State: Debra Bowen

Attorney General: Kamala Harris

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson – My friend Matty and I talked about this, since Matty is a teacher. He recommended I vote for Tom Torlakson. Here’s what Matty says: I support Tom Torlakson because I don’t believe that the way to improve California’s public schools is to impose sanctions on them if they don’t do well.  They need more help, through funding and other resources.  Nobody wants to ‘fail.’  Humiliating and chastising teachers who teach in schools that are labeled as ‘failing’ does not improve them.  It’s just common sense.  I completely disagree with his competitor Gloria Romero’s stance on every issue.  She is more about blame and shame (which seems to be very popular among business types when viewing education) than help and support.

DCCC: These are my progressive picks for DCCC. I know a little something about each of their politics, and therefore feel good about endorsing them.
Rafael Mandelman – I know Rafael really well, and fully support him both for DCCC and in his bid for City Supervisor.
David Chiu
Alix Rosenthal
Aaron Peskin
Debra Walker
Robert Gabriel Haaland
David Campos

San Francisco Propositions
Prop A – Yes
Seismic Safety for Schools

Prop B – Yes
Seismic Safety for Fire Houses

Prop C – Yes
Revamp the Film Commission – Only good part about this otherwise useless prop is that it splits authority between Mayor and Board.

Prop D – Yes
Change to Retirement Benefits for new City Employees

Prop E – No
Would make SFPD report how much they spend on protecting local elected officials. While I’m normally for transparency, it seems like there might be some merit in keeping the protection of elected officials secret.

Prop F – Yes
Would let tenants who have been hit by tough times (hello, 12% unemployment and 25% underemployment!) apply for protection from rent increases.

Prop G – Yes
Requires that Transbay Terminal shall be SF’s high speed rail terminus. Somewhat irrelevant, but worth voting yes for anyway.

California State Propositions
Prop 13 – Yes
Exempts seismic retrofits from property tax reassessment

Prop 14 – NO
Open Primaries: Top two vote-getters advance to general election, regardless of party. This would almost certainly prevent third party candidates from ever getting on general election ballots. Booo!

Prop 15 – Yes
CA Fair Elections Act – Creates public financing for Sec of State races.

Prop 16 – NO!!!
PG&E power grab. Would require 2/3 voter approval for any locality to create a public power utility. This is essentially PG&E’s attempt to prevent the public sector from competing with them in any way, shape, or form. This is FUCKED UP.

Prop 17 – NO!
Would allow auto insurance companies to raise your rates if you’ve ever had gaps in coverage. Hi, all you SF bike riders who don’t own cars, this affects YOU if you envision owning a car ever again in this state.

8: The Mormon Proposition – A Documentary

When and where can I see this? I want tickets.

Schwarzenegger Signs Harvey Milk Day Bill

Good for you Arnold. Via the Sacramento Bee:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two gay rights bills, one honoring late activist Harvey Milk and another recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.

In the last of hundreds of bill actions taken before midnight Sunday, Schwarzenegger approved the two bills by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

The governor last year vetoed the measure declaring May 22 a state day of recognition for Milk, suggesting that the former San Francisco supervisor be honored locally. But he subsequently named him to the California Hall of Fame.

Leno’s SB 54, meanwhile, requires California to recognize marriages performed in other states where same sex marriage is legal.

In a signing message, Schwarzenegger said California will not recognize the couples as married but will “provide the same legal protections that would otherwise be available to couples that enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships out-of-state. In short, this measure honors the will of the People in enacting Proposition 8 while providing important protections to those unions legally entered into in other states.”

Meg Whitman Against Gay Marriage

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Meg Whitman gave an interview that shows that she has good general goals, but her politics are dead wrong. She wants to create more jobs, control State spending, and fix our schools. Okay, good so far. But, the she says she is against gay marriage and doesn’t see how her stance is a slap in the face to gay and lesbian couples. Oh really?! You oppose gay marriage and want gays to still vote for you? HA! Watch her interview here.

Note: Tom Campbell, a Republican contender for governor in 2010, is pro gay marriage. If you’re a gay or lesbian Republican in California, I urge you to at least vote for the candidate that believes in your equal rights.

TomCampbell2

Schwarzenegger Won’t Defend Prop. 8 in Federal Court

Good for Arnie. Via the LA Times:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declined to defend the constitutionality of Proposition 8, telling a San Francisco judge that the legality of the anti-gay marriage measure is for the courts to decide.

The governor’s decision to remain neutral in a federal challenge to Proposition 8 means no statewide official will be defending the measure in federal court. continued…

California: The Ungovernable State

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This article in The Economist is great. A must read on California’s constitutional crisis. Via the Economist article:

As California ceases to function like a sensible state, a new constitution looks both necessary and likely

ON MAY 19th Californians will go to the polls to vote on six ballot measures that are as important as they are confusing. If these measures fail, America’s biggest state will enter a full-blown financial crisis that will require excruciating cuts in public services. If the measures succeed, the crisis will be only a little less acute. Recent polls suggest that voters are planning to vote most of them down.

The occasion has thus become an ugly summary of all that is wrong with California’s governance, and that list is long. This special election, the sixth in 36 years, came about because the state’s elected politicians once again—for the system virtually assures as much—could not agree on a budget in time and had to cobble together a compromise in February to fill a $42 billion gap between revenue and spending. But that compromise required extending some temporary taxes, shifting spending around and borrowing against future lottery profits. These are among the steps that voters must now approve, thanks to California’s brand of direct democracy, which is unique in extent, complexity and misuse.

A good outcome is no longer possible. California now has the worst bond rating among the 50 states. Income-tax receipts are coming in far below expectations. On May 11th Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor, sent a letter to the legislature warning it that, by his latest estimates, the state will face a budget gap of $15.4 billion if the ballot measures pass, $21.3 billion if they fail. Prisoners will have to be released, firefighters fired, and other services cut or eliminated. One way or the other, on May 20th Californians will have to begin discussing how to fix their broken state. Continued…

Miss USA California Opposed to Gay Marriage

Is anyone seriously surprised by her answer? I mean, just listen to the cheering of the audience after her answer. Not to mention that she went to San Diego Christian College. Um, DUH! Of course she’s going to hate homos and their gay marriage.

What’s more, The Miss USA pageant is an antiquated and chauvinistic system that celebrates anorexic “beauty” that’s only skin deep, in most cases. So, why do we effing pay any attention to the pageant or the contestants anyway?

My California WorkShare (i.e. Partial Unemployment) Saga

Two months ago my company reduced my hours to half-time and started paying me half-pay. They did this to try to avoid laying me off during this not-so-great economic time. Not long after, my good friend Apollo informed me about California’s WorkShare program. WorkShare is a division of the EDD (Unemployment dept.) and it allows employers who reduce their employees’ hours (instead of laying them off) to apply for partial unemployment benefits.

In my case, because I was reduced by 50% I am eligible for 50% of what I’d normally earn on unemployment. Normally I would receive $450 per week if I were completely unemployed. Under WorkShare I am eligible to receive $225 per week. That’s about $1000 per month which will definitely help me survive this downturn and reduction in pay.

Enter the bureaucratic nightmare that is the EDD. My company enrolled in the program in mid-February. I got my initial paperwork from the EDD around that time informing me that I’d been enrolled (which is apparently different than processed). Every two weeks my employer and I submit a form listing the details of my continued part-time employment. I have dutifully submitted these forms since mid-February.

About a month ago my coworker started getting her weekly checks. I still haven’t received a single check. So, I’ve been calling the EDD/WorkShare for the last couple of weeks and leaving voicemails trying to get some answers. Then the voicemail option went away completely. A voice simply comes on saying they’re too busy to take my call, please call back some other time. I’ve been redialing this entire week.

Today I finally spoke with someone — the one person who deals with WorkShare new claims. It tuns out that my personal claim was only processed and input into the computer as of this week!! Now, they’ve had it on their desk since mid-February and are just getting around to inputting it into their computers? Okay, I can probably buy that. Times are tough and I’m sure a lot of people are applying for this program. I’m an understanding person and can empathize with some clerk staring at a ceiling-high stack of papers waiting to be entered into the computer.

Here’s where I got pissed off… It turns out that the New Claims Department (where I sent my initial application) is completely separate from the Continuing Claims Department (where I send my weekly updates). And the Continuing Claims Department is apparently much more efficient at processing their paperwork. So, all of the weekly update forms I’ve sent in for the last 6-8 weeks have been rejected because the New Claims Department hadn’t yet processed my file. Thus I didn’t exist in the system and the Continuing Claims Department had to void and return each of my weekly update forms.

UM WHAT?! ‘Scuse me? Hi: Right Hand, meet Left Hand. You’re attached to the same goddamn body. You work in concert with each other. Figure this shit out and FIX IT. Just FIX IT.

And, wasn’t there only one person working at the New Claims Department? Could it be that hard for that one person to talk to the one or two other folks working at the Continuing Claims Department once in a while? Never mind, I don’t think my temper can handle the response I might get.

Because I have no power over the bureaucracy of the California EDD, I have to fill out the weekly forms and resubmit them. I have only a slight hope that this will actually work.

Lost: My Right To Marry

My friend Zachary sent me this Craiglist post from their “Best Of”:

Utah or Fresno, HA!

Socio-economic Status and Prop 8: A Path Forward

A recent poll shows that age and race were less correlated with one’s vote on Prop 8 than socio-economic status and education. Age and race are still important factors, though.

The latest PPIC poll shows that Proposition 8 also got strong backing from voters who did not attend college (69 percent) and voters who earned less than $40,000 a year (63 percent).

Age and race, meanwhile, were not as strong factors as assumed. According to the survey, 56 percent of voters over age 55 and 57 percent of non-white voters cast a yes ballot for the gay marriage ban.

Here are the key factors in order or relevance, that affected the Yes vote on Prop 8:

1. Religion
2. Education level
3. Income
4. Age
5. Race

This suggests to me that before we can expect to pass a ballot measure legalizing gay marriage in California in 2010 we need to: Change the minds of religious folks, increase the average education level in the state, raise the average income level (bring up the middle class), wait for the older gay-averse citizens to pass on, and reach out to the non-white communities. Together, this makes for a daunting task. But let’s break down each one and see where we might be able to make progress:

1. Religion. We need to build bridges to our religious friends. There are churches and individual Christians who opposed Prop 8. We need to reach out to these folks and bring them along with us on our march toward equality. They can help us better understand the Christian opposition to gays and gay marriage, and ultimately help us better communicate with those religious folks who oppose gay marriage.

2. Education. As a community, we can’t affect the education standards at the state level. But, we can volunteer at after school programs. Become teachers. Financially support programs in our communities that give kids a chance to keep up and get ahead. Support adult education programs financially and possibly by even teaching in these programs. We can have an impact on education levels, but it most likely involves us giving of ourselves to people who may be afraid of gays and who may have voted against us on Prop 8.

3. Income. The LGBT community is not going to be able to directly affect the income levels of the middle and poverty class. We can, however, volunteer with organizations that help provide relief to struggling middle class folks. And, we must make sure they know we’re here, we’re queer, we’re part of your community, and we’re all in this together. Let them know who we are and help them to release their fear of us.

4. Age. I’ve heard many suggest that there’s not much we can do regarding older citizens. They are very likely set in their ways. However, now might be a good time to come out to your grandparents or at least discuss Prop 8 with them. You never know whose mind you might be able to change. My grandparents were all FDR Democrats and very accepting of others. Let’s find those who are like my grandparents and help them extend their philosophy of acceptance to include LGBT folks.

5. Race. Reaching out to non-white communities is something I’ve written extensively about already (here, here, and here). I’m sure much will be done on this front. Let’s hope the outreach is done at the grass-roots level, and not from the top-down. This means that we can no longer simply rely on our alliances with the NAACP and Latino organizations. We must communicate directly with individuals in non-white communities and make our faces known and our voices heard. At the same time we must also listen to and learn about the African-American and Latino communities. It’s a two-way street and we must be willing to open our hearts and minds if we hope other will open theirs to us.

Rather than singularly focusing on race relations, let’s start addressing each of the 5 demographic areas of opposition listed above. Why think small? If we think small, we won’t change the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens, and we will never gain real equality. Let’s think big and create a broad-based coalitions that reach out and demystify gay marriage the LGBT culture.

I’m ready. Are you?

Fantastic FAQ on Prop 8 by Lorri Jean

Read the entire FAQ here. Questions that are answered include:

What was the final vote on Prop 8?
How does this compare to the final vote on Prop 22?
How did various counties vote on Prop 8?
What do we know about who voted to pass Prop 8 and repeal the right to marry?
What is happening with the lawsuits?
What was the structure of the No on 8 campaign?
Who were the No on 8 campaign professionals?
How did the campaign decide what kind of ads to run?
Why didn’t you use any LGBT people in your ads until the last week?
Why did the Yes side run so many more ads than the No side?
What did the campaign’s internal polling show?
Why have some post-election protests and/or rallies focused on the Mormons?
Did the Mormon Church violate IRS rules by getting involved with the Yes on 8 campaign?
What lessons have been learned?
What should our next steps be?

California Recycles 80% of its Glass

From The Daily Green:

California is on pace to recycle nearly 80% of the glass introduced into commerce in 2008, according to the latest statistics — up from 71% in 2007.

Meanwhile, while the U.S. rate of glass recycling is increasing — to 28% in 2007 from 25% — it lags far behind the rate in California.

Amazing Shot of the GG Bridge

I love the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s majestic, sure. But I’m more amazed at the sheer engineering brilliance of this structure. The architecture represented in this image, shared by my friend Lady Leblanc, just wows me.

Boycott Cinemark: CEO Contributed to Yes on Prop 8

Americablog has evidence that Cinemark’s CEO AlanStock gave $9,999 to Yes on Prop 8. I solemnly vow to never patronize another Cinemark, Century, or CineArts theater. If their CEO is willing to spend the money he’s made off of my ticket sales to strip my rights away, then I will no longer contribute to his company’s profits. I encourage all of you to do the same.

For a list of CineArts locations, click here. For a list of Cinemark-owned theaters, click here.

For those of us in San Francisco, the Century Centre 9 Theater in the Westfield is owned by Cinemark. I personally will no longer watch a movie at that theater ever again. Who else is with me?

My Friend Responds to Cannick’s Op-Ed

My friend B2 instant messaged me yesterday to say he’d read my response to Cannick’s Op-Ed. And that he too had been frustrated by her comments. He had been crafting his own response. He sent me a draft of his response to review. I was immediately moved by his words and asked him if I could post his comments here on Loganotron. So, here you go. Here’s my good friend B2′s response to Cannick:

I started reading your op-ed with the hope that some carefully considered, nuanced opinion on the aftermath of the disheartening success of Prop 8 had actually made it into the pages of a couple major media outlets.

But your words veered quickly from a needed, sobering discussion of political strategy to a defensive and puzzling rant over imagined expectations and a family of (unmarried) straw men.

You say you weren’t inspired to encourage black people to vote against the proposition. (Presumably then, you felt the expectation to do so—if only because of your identity—in a way you didn’t for the other props.) And you mock the suggestion that you should prioritize queer marriage over problems like racial profiling and the unequal distribution of wealth, finally concluding that your election concern was simply getting black people registered to vote. So, your priority was not in fact these other issues—which read like rhetorical bombs because they had nothing to do with the election unless they themselves were ballot issues. Your priority was simply to enfranchise black citizens.

But I don’t think people will criticize you for your focus. Which begs the question: Did anyone actually criticize you for not prioritizing gay marriage? That certainly hasn’t been a common criticism in anything I’ve heard or read in the aftermath. It is not a sentiment looming over the remains of No on 8. (This is different from the blame being foisted on the black community, and there have already been a slew of effective responses to this misplaced blame—but creating an imaginary expectation to argue against is not one of them.)
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