2018 June Election Voting Guide

I have a general voting strategy for props which works most of the time time:

  1. Prefer to vote for new taxes, preferably without a set-aside
  2. Vote for groups that don’t have a strong lobby (youth, disabled, homeless, low-income people, the environment)
  3. Vote for social policy change in ways that agree with my values
  4. Vote for things that price externalities
  5. Vote against things which increase needless or unhelpful bureaucracy
  6. Vote against things which infringe upon rights of the people
  7. Vote against things which undermine good government
  8. Generally vote against budget set-asides, which limit the ability of representatives to budget effectively

Don’t just vote NO on every ballot initiative. Here’s a justification for my YES and NO votes that fit within a general voting strategy. Feel free to share and/or print this out for election day.

This post is just a summary of all of the props and people on the ballot in San Francisco. A more detailed post will follow explaining justification of each choice.

San Francisco

Props: YES

D: New gross receipts tax from leasing some properties to fund homeless services and housing for extremely low to middle income households (1, 2)

F: Public defenders for people facing eviction (2, 3)

G: Parcel Tax for San Francisco Unified School District (1)

RM3: Bay area traffic relief plan (toll price increases) (1, 2)

Props: NO

B: Require public officials to resign before running for a new office (5, 7)

C: New tax on warehouses and other commercial spaces to fund early childhood education (7, 8) (this prop sounds good but it’s set up as an impossible choice)

E: Ban flavored tobacco and vaping liquid (6)

H: Tasers for police (2, 3, 7)

I: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s professional sports team (5, 7)

Props: Uncertain

A: Public Utilities Revenue Bond (5) — I’m leaning no because it prevents any money from being used on nuclear power



(please see explainer, below, for this crazy list)

  1. London Breed
  2. Amy Farah Weiss
  3. Mark Leno

D8 Supervisor: Jeff Sheehy

Judge of the Superior Court, office no. 4: Andrew Y.S. Cheng

Judge of the Superior Court, office no. 7: Curtis Karnow

Judge of the Superior Court, office no. 9: Cynthia Ming-Mei Lee

Judge of the Superior Court, office no. 11: Jeffrey S. Ross

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Either Tony K. Thurmond or Marshall Tuck (if you want more vocational training and like the teachers union, vote Thurmond; if you like charter schools and the endorsement of most Democratic officials, vote Tuck)

State of California

Props: YES

68: Bonds funding parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection (2, 3, 4)

72: Permits legislature to exclude newly constructed rain-capture systems from property-tax reassessment (4)

Props: NO

69: Require new transportation revenues be used only for transportation purposes (constitutional amendment) (5, 7, 8)

70: Require a supermajority to spend money from the cap-and-trade reserve fund (5, 7, 8)

71: Sets effective date for new ballot measures to take effect (5)


Governor: Michael Shellenberger (Note: he won’t come close to winning, so this is more a signal that I like Shellenberger’s climate hawk policies and his housing platform; Villaraigosa and Newsom are the nigh-guaranteed top two winners; Eastin and Chiang sound ok)

NOTE: Looking back at this guide in 2020, I’m disappointed in my choice for governor. I’m not sure if Shellenberger shifted towards climate change denialism, or if I was duped by his rhetoric. He no longer meets my standards for a “climate hawk” and, frankly, I’m embarrassed to have voted for him.

Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis, BUT there’s no good candidate. None of the candidates are treating the housing shortage or climate change with the urgency it deserves. Eleni is the least bad option.

Secretary of State: Alex PadillaController: Betty Yee (I dunno, she’s fine. But the other two are nuts)Treasurer: Fiona Ma Edit: This used to say Vivek Viswanathan, but I was convinced by friends to switch to Fiona Ma. Partly because Vivek’s website listed a lot of goals that the treasurer does not have the authority to accomplish or even influence.Attorney General: Dave JonesUS Representative: Pelosi. There are no good alternatives.

State Assembly Member: David Chiu

US Senate: Kevin De Leon (mostly because of http://climatehawksvote.com/endorsements/)

Board of Equalization Member, district 2: Malia Cohen

Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara

An explanation of that mayoral ranking

My mayoral recommendations require an explanation. I think that the only candidate that deserves your vote is London Breed. She is good on housing and is running a positive campaign based on uniting San Francisco. She is smart, capable, has good policy advisers, and is the only candidate who will work with YIMBYs to build more housing.

But London Breed might not win, and ranked choice voting means that there must be a strategy for that possibility.

The top three candidates right now are London Breed, Mark Leno, and Jane Kim. While London Breed is the best outcome, I believe that Jane Kim is the worst possible outcome, and Mark Leno is solidly mediocre.

Jane Kim is a hypocrite: she proposed the Twitter tax break and then used her opposition to tech as a main platform of her campaign. She has a fundamentally shallow understanding of economics: she wants 50% or more of new units set aside for rent at below-market-rates, guaranteeing that only the very rich and the very poor can afford San Francisco. She doesn’t believe that the middle class could ever afford to live in San Francisco without government assistance. She extorts housing developers — it’s the worst-kept secret among builders: if you go against Kim or endorse her opponents, your building won’t get approved without even more serious concessions. She is campaigning on “taking our city back” — back from whom? She regularly demonizes technology workers. Her district is the most unequal, dirty, and unsafe, and has only gotten worse under her watch.

Jane Kim cannot be allowed to win and further hurt this city.

Mark Leno, on the other hand, is politically impotent. He doesn’t take political risks and seeks 100% buy-in for anything he does. He won’t offend you, and he won’t inspire you. He won’t make the city any better or more affordable, but he won’t make anything worse, either. We can probably oust him in November 2019.

Amy Farah Weiss is the most interesting guaranteed-to-lose candidate. She has some great ideas, and many bad ones. I just want to signal my support for someone thinking totally outside of the political mainstream while having to suffer none of the consequences of her actually being in charge. Of course, even if she won she would be ineffectual. Like Mark Leno, she seeks 100% buy-in on policies — but because her policies are so out-there, she can never move forward and implement anything.

Written on May 14, 2018 by Steven Buss.

Originally published on Medium