- High Pressure
- Tires Slashed
- Debate Comments
- Variety Show
- Stronger Leadership
- Bernie Youth
- Advertising Alone
- Vietnam Vet
- Wine v Weed
- Supe Candidates
- Landlord Harassment
- Brief Encounter
- Ed Notes
- Yesterday's Catch
- Collaring Whites
- Crime Pays
- Personal Destiny
- Legal Lying
- Torturing Julian
- Sako Interview
- Presidential Sale
- Book v Pad
- Japanese Internment
- SSA Cap
- Assange Extradition
- World Watcher
- Recognizing Freaks
- SF Endorsements
- Commandments Conflict
- Nurse Practitioners
- Trump Pardons
- Found Object
DRY AND MILD weather will continue through Saturday as high pressure remains in control. The tail end of a cold front may clip the far northern portions of our area with some light rain late Saturday night or Sunday, followed by another period of dry weather early next week. (NWS)
JUST IN. Someone slashed tires Tuesday night at many of the car lots on North State Street. Damage is in the thousands. Worst case of vandalism anywhere in the county in some time.
One possible suspect:
THE NEVADA DEMS DEBATE
(Two comments from The Guardian of London)
Bloomberg bombed, Warren won
Looks like Michael Bloomberg just found out money can’t buy you everything. The multibillionaire has spent almost $400m on ads but apparently zero time preparing for the debate stage. He had embarrassingly inadequate responses for predictable questions on stop-and-frisk and the silencing of women in his companies with NDAs. His lack of substance was matched with a complete lack of charisma. According to some in the Establishment, we should forgive Bloomberg’s history of sexism and racism because he’s the only person capable of beating Trump. If they still think that after this pitiful debate performance then we’re in trouble.
While Bloomberg bombed, Elizabeth Warren had her best debate ever. She was impeccably prepared and utterly eviscerated Bloomberg. Warren has been lagging in the polls, leading some to prematurely write her off; big mistake. Pete Buttigieg’s performance was also noteworthy. The mayor may be able to read Norwegian but he can’t seem to read a room. Buttigieg’s constant attacks on Amy Klobuchar made him look like a mansplaining bully.
“Mayo Pete” has been gliding through this election but I wouldn’t be surprised if more people start to find his patronizing demeanour a little hard to stomach.
Lloyd Green: ‘Bernie Sanders emerged as the winner’
The Democrats’ Game of Thrones-style debate was a two-hour extravaganza that boosted Donald Trump’s chances. Obviously, that’s not what the Democratic National Committee intended but it’s what happened – a circular firing squad more intent on unloading on each other than at going at the president.
Elizabeth Warren flayed Mike Bloomberg with a helping hand from Joe Biden. New York’s ex-mayor appeared rusty and unprepared. The attacks were predictable yet he looked flatfooted. When you’re defending non-disclosure agreements, you’re losing. On Wednesday night, money didn’t buy everything.
Lest Warren get cocky, it is worth remembering that early voting in the Nevada caucuses was well under way before the Massachusetts senator took the stage. As a result, any post-debate bounce will probably be short lived.
Come Saturday evening, the headlines will either be about the order of finish or how Nevada botched its caucuses. Warning: Iowa redux is a real possibility.
In the end, Bernie Sanders emerged as the winner in the room. He entered as the Democrats’ frontrunner and nothing altered that reality. According to the polls, Sanders is leading by double digits both in Nevada and nationally among Democrats. The question is whether his lead becomes insurmountable. We will know soon enough.
THE GLOVES COME OFF!
Fourth District Supervisor Candidate Lindy Peters:
Let’s talk about a real issue: Measure V. Though there are residents out in the Mitchell Creek Drive/Simpson Lane area who are busy spreading a rumor that I favor cannabis farms in every RR2 zone in the County, it is not true. Let me state here and now, in my own words, on my own page, I do not want all RR5 or RR2 zoned areas opened-up to cannabis. The specific overlay zone out on Mitchell Creek Drive where some growers opted-in and are currently legal is the only RR 2 area I was referring to in my comments. The neighbors want them to sunset in 2022. I think they should be allowed to stay. End of story.
But let’s talk about an issue that affects more than just a few residents in an isolated area. Let’s talk about Measure V.
Here is an issue that does affect the health and safety of all the residents of The Fourth District. Here is an issue where the majority has clearly spoken. The so-called “Hack n’ Squirt” initiative. Overwhelmingly supported by the voters of Mendocino County in 2016. Yet every time 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams has tried to enlist his fellow Board members to join him in demanding the County enforce this voter-approved initiative, Dan Gjerde has not been supportive. Last fall, when Ted made a motion for the County to enforce voter approved initiatives, Dan was pretty much silent. Watch the deliberations and see how the current BOS handles Ted’s proposal which occurred as agenda item 6c on 10/1/19. The next time Supervisor Williams brought it up to the BOS, Dan chastised Ted for grandstanding. It came up again on February 4. I attended and urged the BOS to support Supervisor Williams in his effort to advance the will of the people and direct staff to enforce Measure V. Only then did Dan finally agree to support a watered-down motion that promises to further study how to enforce the 3 year old law. We need stronger leadership on this issue for the voters of the 4th District. I promise if elected to give you just that.
These two videos, below, are from the BOS meetings referenced in this post.
Begin at the 5hr. 17 min mark to hear Dan chastise Supervisor Williams. Be sure and wait to listen to Ted’s response in video 2.
15 minutes in, Ted makes the motion.
22 minutes in, no one, including Dan, seconds in video 1.
LISTEN TO THE FUTURE, HUFF
Dear Congressman Huffman;
Following your visit to the Willits Environmental Center last week, and our brief conversation about your role as a “super delegate” to the Democratic convention, I want to share these thoughts.
We “party faithful” Democrats need to unite across the spectrum of who we might think is the “safe” candidate and give our whole-hearted support to the candidate igniting the most excitement in the under 50-year-old party members and unaffiliated voters. Imagine how powerful the momentum would be if the Democratic National Committee decided this time to throw its support to the candidate creating this excitement in the younger voters. The Democrats have been split for far too long between the “fearful” and the “hopeful”.
Asking our younger voters, once again, to set aside their idealism, their hopes and their enthusiasm would be a terrible mistake. We risk losing their participation, and we risk repeating the disaster of the 2016 Presidential election.
The wellspring of optimism and commitment that is pouring from these younger voters in this election, despite the enormity of the problems we face, is a testament to the force for good that they hold! How can we Democrats not unite with this wing of our Party, now, this year, this election? A January, 2020 KQED poll showed voters under 50 years of age support Bernie Sanders by two to four times over all the other candidates. A united party that embraced the energy and excitement of our younger voters would be unstoppable!
NO QUIZ THIS WEEK: This is the third Thursday of the month so there will not be a General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz at Lauren’s. We shall return next week, Thursday, 27th February at 7pm prompt. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master
ARNO GASSEN (Willits): I was on the 63rd maintance in Quang Tri in 69 to 70
WINE VS. WEED IN NAPA
(Apparently, pot growers are worried that pesticide drift from grapes will ruin their pristine crop. But Napa grape growers are worried that the smell of marijuana will ruin their the “nose” of their booze… Among other problems. — ms)
UNDERACHIEVERS FOR OVERPAY
(Ed note: The following is from Anon, but it reflects the local political opinions of Supervisor John McCowen.)
I think you had a comment recently about how the increase salary for the Board of Supervisors was supposed to attract a higher caliber candidates. Whoa! With all the underachievers who have come forward it's time to hit the reset button!
In the First District it's a choice between James Green, the invisible man, who has no experience in local government; Glenn McGourty, a career bureaucrat with no record of accomplishment; Jon Kennedy who thinks he’s still in Plumas County based on his featured endorsements; and John Sakowicz who defies rational description. McGourty at least showed up for work every day but now has a chance to double dip with a second pension if he can get five years in with the County. Green, who claims to be a self-employed tech guy, will be looking for his first pension. Kennedy, in addition to getting himself elected as a Plumas County Supervisor at least spends his spare time working without pay to build new homes for Redwood Valley fire victims who were without insurance. Sako, as he is called, is not known to have held a job since he resigned or got fired from working at the jail an odd move from his claims to a career in high finance. Good luck picking a winner!
In the Second District it's Joel Soinila, a relatively unknown real estate guy with deep roots in the county; Maureen "The Mo you know" Mulheren who sits on the Ukiah City Council and shut down her lackluster insurance business to run full-time for supervisor; and Mari Rodin who claims to have written $100 million in grants and served on the City Council before moving away for a few years. Of the three, all of whom are looking for jobs, Mo clearly needs one the most. With Mari and Mo sitting on the city council each has a lot to account for. Neither has done anything to address the crumbling Palace Hotel which makes a joke of revitalizing downtown. Both support the "road diet" that is supposed to improve traffic flow by shrinking four travel lanes to two downtown. But Mo is going along with recommendation to use measure V funds for high-cost roadside incidentals like replacing water and sewer lines. Mo is also advocating putting in 400 parking meters downtown. Between the road diet construction chaos and the parking meters, that should just about finish off downtown which is already seeing lots of businesses closing. Mo’a only known function on the city council has been as the self-described cheerleader for the rail trail, better known locally as the Hobo Highway. It's a great opportunity to see the seamy underside of Ukiah as one gently steps around the drug addicts needles, trash and deposits of human waste that litter the trail.
In the Fourth District is the relatively undistinguished career politician and incumbent Supervisor Dan Gjerde challenged by earnest but undistinguished local radio personality Lindy Peters who is recently retired and also looking for second pension or at least a paycheck. If Gjerde wins he will be the Dean of the board with eight years in office joined by Williams and Haschak with two years each. If Peters wins the five members of the Board of Supervisors will have a total of four years on the job. In short we are doomed! So much for higher pay attracting more talented candidates!
THE FOLLOWING NOTE WAS FORWARDED TO US via our music/culture correspondent, David Yearsley.
Mendocino county landlord harassment
Hello Mr. Yearsley,
My name is Lucas Lubic and I'm living in Mendocino County. I got your info from CounterPunch and am struggling with an issue I am hoping you might be willing to help with.
I'm renting an rv space for my 5th wheel and have found myself in a landlord's clutches. The Swithenbank family is a large and powerful family here in Fort Bragg and I can not contend with them legally or otherwise. This is who I'm up against. Can you refer me to a tenant landlord law attorney, whom represents tenants? The only lawyer in town repsents the landlord (Swithenbank) and I'm scared. Jone Lemos. I'm in Fort Bragg. I have been experiencing harassment from the landlord and his henchmen. I called the sheriff last night on the Logger live-in caretaker who is the Swithenbank’s brother in law. When the sheriff arrived he had to calm him down as he was screaming liberal faggots at my partner and I. Then we we're reprimanded. WTF definitely comes to mind? There is more detail if you are interested. Can you offer any guidance? This is probably a long shot but we are at our limit of tolerance with the situation. We would be grateful for any guidance. We otherwise love your articles on Counterpunch and appreciate your mission. Thanks for writing!
CELIA JOHNSON AND TREVOR HOWARD in ‘Brief Encounter’ (1945)
THE FOR-PROFIT apparatus masquerading as the Democratic Party announced last week that although Bloomberg didn't have the donor qualifications of the other candidates he was polling so well that Democrat Inc. just had to include him in tonight's debate. Nothing to do with money, of course, and many Democrats, including more than a few around here, are already saying that they would support any Democrat, including Bloomberg, over Trump, nevermind that Bloomberg's back story is nearly as sordid as Orange Man's. Here at Boonville's beloved weekly we're for Bernie and maybe Warren but that's it. We'll go third party if some combination of Mayor Peter and Klobachar are shoved up front. We've gone third party since McGovern in '72 who, incidentally, lost to Nixon by a huge margin in Mendocino County.
OUR HOUSE was McGovern headquarters in '72. A guy named Mickey Tennenbaum was in overall charge of the get-out-the-vote for McGovern, Mendo branch. I remember calling up Democrats to get out the vote for George because every other person who answered their phone had something insulting to say: "McGovern? Are you nuts?" And a couple, "That communist! Never." And these were Democrats.
I FULLY EXPECT Democrat Inc. to again shaft Bernie, but this time it will be more dangerous to do a Clinton on him. The millions of young people he's energized, many of them with no shot at whatever has been sold to them as the American dream, and looking at another four years of Trump, just might take to the streets in numbers large enough to put some fear into the oligarchy, ala French working people and the young people of Hong Kong.
A READER WRITES: "I'll never forget a home run Aubrey Huff hit on a warm summer day in 2010. We were sitting in the upper section at SF Park, first base side, but way out near the water. Huff hits a fly ball to right. It goes up and up, and then levels off and defies gravity for the longest time. It just kept soaring at maximum altitude as it passed before us in seeming slow motion. After what seemed like an eternity of floating effortlessly through the air, it began a long slow descent, eventually plopping into the bay with a tiny anti-climatic splash. We had the best seats in the house for watching its flight, the most majestic home run I'll probably ever see."
ED NOTE: Without Huff the 2010 season might not have been the whopper it was. It's just plain silly to non-person the guy for saying things one hears on Fox all the time, not to mention am talk radio.
HUFF’S 2010 stats: baseball-reference.com/teams/SFG/2010-batting.shtml
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 19, 2020
LETICIA ANGUIANO, Ukiah. Defrauding by acquiring ID, forgery, stolen property.
SHAWN BIAS, Fort Bragg. Under influence, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
JAMES BRAY, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
SHAYLA GUERRERO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
STEVEN LAWSON, Willits. Controlled substance, metal knuckles, parole violation.
RICHARD MCCORMICK, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
HEATHER MULLINS, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice, probation revocation.
STEPHONN PHILLIPS, Antioch/Ukiah. Parole violation.
TYLER PORRITT, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, petty theft, false imprisonment.
ROBERT ROBINSON, Calpella. Trespassing, dumping commercial quanitites, paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.
THOMAS SAUNDERS, Redwood Valley. Sex registrant failure to report, prior felony.
POLICING THE FOUR-SIX
(Ed note: The following is an excerpt from the truly excellent memoir by New York City police officer Edward Conlon called ‘Blue Blood.’)
The Four-Six was a great hunting ground, not least because it was the first place where we began to lock up white people in any numbers. PK called them "strays," and they wandered around like lost dogs. Everywhere we had previously worked had white populations that were virtually microscopic. There was a slight overrepresentation of white arrests, of lost-in-time locals and the suburban addicts who commuted for a fix, but that part of the South Bronx was generally off-limits to white strangers. It was double reverse racism as the dealers refused to collaborate in white suicide while growing rich on the suffering of their like colored neighbors. In the Four-Six, however, there was a spillover of the old white Height trade; the dealers welcomed them and so did we.
For us there is a house brand of bullshit that black cops had to take when they locked up like people and another brand for when they lock up white people, and the same for white cops locking up white, black or brown, and so too for Hispanic cops — not to mention what female cops go through when accused of harboring agendas. If you lock up someone who looks like you you're a race traitor; if you lock up someone who doesn't, you're a racist. In the end, the color of your skin doesn't matter but the thickness of it does. Sometimes, we gave out scrips not by color but by counterpart on the team; there were no blacks or Hispanics, but instances of a "male Orville, blue shirt and jeans, Yankee cap, cell on Elton," or "Male Sammy, that’s a male Sammy, north on university toward Fremont."
We enjoyed the contingent of white faces — for what you might call diversity grounds, in part, but also because so often they were so easy, from the street to the station house. Many even came when you called them. The strays seemed to have less of a lower-middle ground of "functional addiction" and black and Hispanic addicts, whether because their survival skills weren't there or their families cut them off faster; there was no slippery slope of decline but a sheer drop-off and the whites we collared either looked entirely normal and healthy at first glance or like poster children for Skid Row. For many people, being arrested is an aggravation on the order of getting a flat tire — you see them put on a pair of handcuffs like you'd put on a pair of socks. For others it is a drama comparable to a death in the family. Many whites fell into the latter category and it was a pleasure to collar them: they were so obedient and polite, they’d fill out their own paperwork if you'd asked. We get excited by the sight of a white face on the street, thinking an easy pinch was on the horizon. "Fifty bucks says it's a nun, in plainclothes," I’d say, spoiling the fun. I could do this because, as I’d tell my partners in a grave whisper: I know white people. I know what makes it tick.”
Even better, it set off a competition between Stix and John and me for who could lock up more Irish and Italians respectively. The competition came to be known as Wopstat, as I called it, although they seemed to feel it was Mickstat. When we’d stop white guys they would stare at us, perplexed, as we asked for their names and listened as if it were a lottery drawing:
"Shit!" I’d say as Stix and John high-fived each other. "Hold on a second, you — what's your name?"
"All right, one and one, let's get back in the van."
Once we locked up a Cuban guy or rather a Cuban who under interrogation admitted to some remote Irish and Italian ancestry, a grandfather who was half and half which confused him to no end at the precinct:
"Whose collar is the Italian guy?"
"Hey Irish, step out, we got print ya."
"Seamus — yes you, tell me your address."
"Hold on a second, Vito. You can make that phone call in a minute."
DONALD MURRAY went viral in December after he and his tattoo were featured on an episode of LivePD. He eluded police during that episode.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I shouldn’t laugh given the severity of the issue, but I cannot help but recall a conversation I had with a policeman on foot patrol in my city where we discussed the crisis of drug addicted people on the streets, me saying the numbers were ever increasing and alarming and expressing concern over the number of ‘overdose deaths’, to which he responded…’ It’s a cull ‘. As time goes on I tend to agree.
If people want to ruin their lives and ‘check out’, our resources to save them from that fate seems woefully inadequate. Some things can be explained rather simply with the application of ‘Destiny’.
Maybe this virus, the political implosion, and other related concerns are really just that. We all have a personal destiny and when it is all over we’ll see who is still standing. I feel confident given the number of times I have already cheated death.
LYING TO THE GOVERNMENT IS PERFECTLY LEGAL (2008)
The Humboldt County district attorney cannot sue Pacific Lumber Company for allegedly submitting false information during the state's processing of an environmental impact report and sustainable logging plan, the First District Court of Appeal has ruled.
The court ruled that the district attorney's lawsuit was blocked by a section of the state Civil Code and by the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, which protects lobbying and petitioning activities. The court did not rule on the legitimacy of Pacific Lumber's allegedly fraudulent statements.
ASSANGE IN PERIL
Over 100 doctors are urging the UK government to stop the "psychological torture" of Julian Assange, and send him to a hospital. It's their fourth such letter since the journalist appeared in court. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may die in a UK prison, having "effectively been tortured to death," claim Doctors for Assange, a group of 117 doctors from 18 countries, in a recent letter published in The Lancet, a leading medical journal. The letter says that Assange requires urgent medical care, and has been exposed to “prolonged psychological torture”. The group once again asks for him to be moved to a university teaching hospital for medical assessment and treatment.
KZYX VS SAKO
Sako Radio interview link
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
Well, I laughed when Bloomberg put his name forward as a Presidential Candidate…I am not laughing now.
Fox news reported, this date, that Bloomberg has spent over $140 million in his campaign so far…peanuts for Bloomberg, who is reported to be worth 60+ billion dollars. Further, it was stated that he might opt for a former first lady as a running mate…with Barbara Bush dead, and Melania unavailable, that begins to severely limit the list of women available…Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton come to mind…Michelle would be a good attempt to secure the black vote…Hillary to secure the vote of Demons, the Undead, and the millions who voted for her in the last election.
He has past stated that he will pay in the 10 figures to secure the election…and I believe him.
Just like Congress, the Presidency is for sale, and whatever the cost, Bloomberg can afford it.
Feb. 19, 1942, was the day Executive Order 9066 was signed, establishing internment camps for Japanese Americans. I was 4 years old and spent the next three years in Tanforan and Topaz. I survived with the support of a strong family and community. The separated migrant children who are interned have neither, and often don’t even have a common language. On this day, don’t focus on past injustice but on stopping present injustice to these helpless children.
SCRAP THE CAP!
Millionaires Stop Paying Into Social Security for the Year Tomorrow, Highlighting Need to Scrap Payroll Tax Cap
"The burden of Social Security taxes falls more heavily on those who make less."
ASSANGE'S EXTRADITION TRIAL FEB 24TH
"WikiLeaks has informed us how illegal wars are fabricated, how governments are overthrown and violence is used in our name, how we are spied upon through our phones and screens. The true lies of presidents, ambassadors, political candidates, generals, proxies, political fraudsters have been exposed. One by one, these would-be emperors have realised they have no clothes.
It has been an unprecedented public service; above all, it is authentic journalism, whose value can be judged by the degree of apoplexy of the corrupt and their apologists.
For example, in 2016, WikiLeaks published the leaked emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, which revealed a direct connection between Clinton, the foundation she shares with her husband and the funding of organised jihadism in the Middle East — terrorism.
One email disclosed that Islamic State (ISIS) was bankrolled by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, from which Clinton accepted huge “donations”. Moreover, as US Secretary of State, she approved the world’s biggest ever arms sale to her Saudi benefactors, worth more than $80 billion. Thanks to her, US arms sales to the world — for use in stricken countries like Yemen — doubled.
Revealed by WikiLeaks and published in The New York Times, the Podesta emails triggered a vituperative campaign against editor-in-chief Julian Assange which was bereft of evidence. He was said to be an “agent of Russia working to elect Trump”; the nonsensical Russiagate followed. That WikiLeaks had also published more than 800,000 frequently damning documents about the Russian government was ignored.
On an Australian Broadcasting Corporation programme, Four Corners, in 2017, Clinton was interviewed by Sarah Ferguson, who began: “No one could fail to be moved by the pain on your face at [the moment of Donald Trump’s inauguration] Do you remember how visceral it was for you?”
Having established Clinton’s visceral suffering, the fawning Ferguson described “Russia’s role” and the “damage done personally to you” by Julian Assange.
Clinton replied, “He [Assange] is very clearly a tool of Russian intelligence. And he has done their bidding.”
Ferguson said to Clinton, “Lots of people, including in Australia, think that Assange is a martyr of free speech and freedom of information. How would you describe him?”
Again, Clinton was allowed to defame Assange — a “nihilist” in the service of “dictators” — while Ferguson assured her interviewee she was “the icon of your generation.”
There was no mention of a leaked document, revealed by WikiLeaks, called Libya Tick Tock, prepared for Hillary Clinton, which described her as the central figure driving the destruction of the Libyan state in 2011. This resulted in 40,000 deaths, the arrival of ISIS in North Africa and the European refugee and migrant crisis.
For me, this episode of Clinton’s interview — and there are many others — vividly illustrates the division between false and true journalism. On 24 February, when Julian Assange steps into Woolwich Crown Court, true journalism will be the only crime on trial."
— John Pilger, The GrayZone
DIANA JOHNSTONE'S ‘CIRCLE IN THE DARKNESS’: Memoir of a World Watcher
Circle in the Darkness is a veteran journalist’s lucid, uncompromising tour through half a century of contemporary history, intended especially for those who may aspire against all obstacles to change its course for the better. Diana Johnstone recounts in detail how the Western Left betrayed its historical principles of social justice and peace and let itself be lured into approval of aggressive U.S.-NATO wars on the fallacious grounds of “human rights”.
“WHENEVER I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.” ~Flannery O'Connor
FROM THE SF BAY GUARDIAN: ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE MARCH 3, 2020 PRIMARY
Sanders for president, Yes, Yes, Yes on Prop. E, and reforming the Superior Court … our complete endorsements for the March 3 primary.
by Bruce Bruggman, et al. Guardian Editorial
PRESIDENT: Bernie Sanders
Two elements come into play in the presidential primary, and we think both favor Sanders.
The first, of course, is beating Trump. We do not subscribe to the “Bernie or bust” theory, and in November, we will be endorsing and strongly supporting any Democrat who wins the nomination. But we are also convinced (as are many writers and political scientists, including Steve Phillips and Rachel Bitecofer), that there are only a tiny number of “swing voters” who might defect from Trump to a more moderate Democrat. This election will not be won on a cautious, centrist agenda. Hillary Clinton tried that; it didn’t work.
The 2020 election will be about turnout, about inspiring voters, particularly young voters, to get out and go to the polls. Trump has his base, and it won’t change. In the swing states, Trump won because so many Democrats either stayed home or voted for a third party.
We still believe that Sanders would have beat Trump if he were the 2016 nominee. And we think he has the best chance of energizing Democratic voters, creating a political movement, and defeating the incumbent.
He also has the best political positions of any of the candidates.
Sanders is the only candidate with an unwavering stand in favor of single-payer health care. He’s the only one who consistently opposed the worst foreign policies (and wars) of the past five presidents. He seems to understand more deeply than anyone else in the race that economic inequality and climate change are both existential threats to humanity—and are linked. His “Housing for All” program is far superior to Warren’s and simply outpaces all other candidates for President.
We also like Elizabeth Warren. There are real differences between the two progressive front-runners, and they amount to this: Sanders thinks the political and economic systems of the US needs profound, fundamental change. Warren thinks most of the problems can be fixed with better regulation of the existing system. But Warren is talking seriously about a wealth tax, which the economist Thomas Piketty, who is probably the most important analyst and critic of modern capitalism in the world today, says is the only way to keep the current system from completely melting down with catastrophic consequences.
The reality is that, barring a radical change in Congress and the Senate over the next few years, Sanders isn’t going to get a Medicare For All plan that eliminates the private insurance industry passed in his first term. But it’s possible that he could start implementing a Green New Deal, and move the US into position as a nation leading the fight to save the Earth.
Warren might not get a wealth tax in her first term, either. But she would repeal the Trump tax cuts and the wholesale deregulation of industry that has damaged the economy and the environment.
Frankly, either one of them would be a transformative president.
And if no candidate emerges from the primaries with enough votes to win a first-ballot nomination at the convention, it’s absolutely critical that the Sanders and Warren delegates realize that together, they can probably name the nominee—and that, in the real world of Washington politics, they would both be sending the country in a much better direction. In a brokered convention, a fight over minor policy differences between the two camps could lead to a centrist nominee and Trump getting re-elected.
Today, right now, we think Sanders has the better chance of beating Trump. If that shifts, and Warren looks to be the stronger nominee, we would be thrilled to support her.
CONGRESS, DISTRICT 12: No recommendation
We haven’t endorsed Rep. Nancy Pelosi in more than two decades, since she decided to privatize the Presidio and let George Lucas get a huge tax break constructing an office building in a national park. For much of her career, Pelosi hasn’t represented San Francisco; she’s represented the center of the Democratic Party, serving as a speaker and minority leader whose primary goal has been to raise money to elect Democrats, even if those Democrats are almost as conservative as Republicans.
She’s never had a heavy progressive policy agenda; it’s all been about politics and power. (In 1986, when Pelosi, who had never held any office, ran as the candidate of the power structure, we backed Harry Britt, who was a Democratic Socialist. He won on election day, and won the Democratic Party vote, but vote-by-mail ballots and Republicans put Pelosi over the top.)
That said, we don’t think this is the year to put a lot of time and effort into challenging Pelosi.
Pelosi right now is, for better or for worse, the voice of the Democrats resistance to Trump. It took her a while, but she came around to impeachment (although she knew that the Senate would never convict and remove the president). Her aggressive legislative agenda, basically ignored by the press, has expanded her opposition to Trump far beyond cable TV’s endless preoccupation with his personality and has actually attacked his policies, forcing Mitch McConnell to bottle up scores of bills passed by the House.
More important, this is her final term. Pelosi promised the more conservative Democrats elected in 2018 that she would step down in 2022 if they would support her for two more terms as speaker. We expect her to keep that promise.
So the real question for San Franciscans who look at local politics in the long term (and we’ve been doing that for more than 50 years) is this: Who is going to take over that seat two years from now—and how do we make sure it’s a real progressive, not someone like state Sen. Scott Wiener?
There are potentially strong candidates for that seat, including David Campos and Jane Kim. Wiener would be formidable. (We also hear that Pelosi’s daughter Christine has her eyes on continuing the family legacy). And the stakes will be incredibly high. The next person to hold that seat will probably be there for 30 years or more, defining San Francisco politics for the nation—and wielding massive influence back home.
Shahid Buttar, who is challenging Pelosi, has raised all the right issues. He’s for single-payer health care, he’s against pointless foreign wars, he supports higher taxes on the wealthy… We have no argument with his political positions. He has never held any local office, and his main involvement in local politics has been running for Congress; we tend to support candidates with a long record of local activism. If you want to vote as a protest against Pelosi for all the obvious reasons, he’s a fine choice.
But the political energy around this seat, in this city, should be focused not on 2020, when Pelosi will almost certainly be re-elected, but on 2022, when it will really matter.
STATE SENATE, DISTRICT 11: Jackie Fielder
When Scott Wiener ran against Jane Kim for this seat four years ago, we said that Wiener was hard-working, had an ambitious agenda—and was wrong on some of the key issues affecting the city, particularly housing. His first term has demonstrated exactly that.
We would like to say that Wiener has done some good things, but in the past his campaigns have taken our words completely out of context in an unfair and inaccurate effort to suggest that he has our endorsement. We would urge him not to do that again.
That said, Wiener’s bill to extend the hours that bars can sell alcohol will be a big help to the local nightlife community. He has taken strong stands on LGBT issues. And he just introduced a groundbreaking bill to do what Gov. Gavin Newsom should have done long ago: Authorize the state to buy up all of PG&E’s stock (at what is now a really low price) and turn it into a publicly run venture.
Then there’s SB 50.
Wiener is a leader in the Yimby world, which argues that the private sector can solve the state’s housing problems. He wants to deregulate housing development all over the state—without any meaningful funding or mandates for affordable housing. He equates density with affordability, which is just factually inaccurate.
His housing bills are everything the private developers could want. But they will just lead to more gentrification, displacement, and destruction of existing vulnerable communities in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area.
That’s why every tenant organization and every group that fights displacement in San Francisco has opposed his bills.
We are not fans of the concept that growth is always good. In fact, while the city economist predicts that the SF economy could grow by more than 30 percent in the next 20 years,that seems unlikely; if the global North can’t reduce growth and consumption in an era of finite resources and climate change, Mother Earth is going to do it for us. We are big supporters of Prop. E, which would link office growth to affordable housing (Wiener is not backing that measure, and his allies the Yimbys are opposing it).
But if we want to say, for the purposes of argument, that the city is going to grow, and that San Francisco will need more housing for more people, we’d like to think that our state senator would be able to work with existing organizations that have been working on this issue for decades and come to a compromise that everyone could accept.
That would involve not just private-sector solutions but public approaches—say, an investment by the state of five percent of the annual budget ($10 billion a year) for non-market affordable housing—enough to house every homeless person in the state in five years.
It would involve Wiener going to his allies in the real-estate and development world to say that any new legislation that requires greater density also has to guarantee that people who currently live in the Bay Area can’t be forced out by richer people who want their homes (which means repeal of the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins).
It would mean a commitment that new density comes with adequate funding for transit and other public infrastructure—that growth pays for growth.
Wiener has shown no interest in that approach. Instead, he has put his full faith in the idea that developers, given fewer rules, will bring down housing prices. And in the process, he has been terribly divisive on an issue that requires community-based solutions.
Jackie Fielder is a relative newcomer to local politics. An LA native, she graduated from Stanford in 2016 with a BA in public policy and a Master’s in Sociology, moved to SF, and worked on the campaign for a public bank. She teaches at SF State, and ran the No on H campaign in 2018 to keep the cops from overruling the Police Commission and getting Tasers.
Fielder is a Native American/Mexicana queer activist; she’s lacking experience and when we first talked to her several months ago, she was a long way from creating a credible housing plan. But now she supports the concept of the state spending $10 billion a year for 10 years (again: just five percent of the state budget) on non-market housing, supports a Green New Deal for the state, and wants to repeal the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins.
She has the support of Sups. Gordon Mar and Dean Preston, Democratic Party Chair David Campos, and Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, among others.
We’re endorsing her, too.
STATE ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 17: No endorsement
Incumbent David Chiu has no opposition. He represents one of the most progressive districts in the state, but has allied himself with Wiener on housing and has been a part of promoting the most moderate, centrist candidates for local office. It’s time somebody thinks about challenging him.
STATE ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 19: No endorsement
In some ways, Assemblymember Phil Ting, who represents the West Side, is more progressive than his East Side colleague David Chiu (certainly when it comes to local endorsements). We like Ting, the only Democrat running; we would like to endorse him. Then he goes and supports SB 50. And that’s a deal-breaker.
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES
The very fact that there are three open seats, and thus three elections, for Superior Court are a testament to the fact that two years ago, four public defenders decided to challenge sitting judges. The judiciary freaked; judges don’t like to run for office or (gasp!) defend themselves against challenges.
So this time around, three judges who wanted to retire did so at the end of their terms, so there would be open seats. Then the conservative judiciary establishment got behind three candidates they found acceptable—none of whom are public defenders.
Meanwhile, most progressive leaders in the city are endorsing three different candidates.
All six candidates for the three seats are women of color. All of them have significant experience as lawyers. But despite the argument of the sitting establishment, courts are political, judges bring their own experience and background to the bench, and we would like to see more people from the Public Defender’s Office and the tenant bar join the former prosecutors and corporate lawyers who dominate the local courts today.
Seat 1: Maria Evangelista
Evangelista had the courage to take on a sitting judge two years ago. She’s a longtime public defender who has handled more than 50 trials and has an understanding not only of the legal system but of the need for restorative justice. Her opponent, Pang Ly, is a former prosecutor.
Seat 18: Michelle Tong
Tong has been a tenant lawyer (at the Eviction Defense Collaborative), a civil-rights lawyer (at the Asian Law Caucus), and for the past 16 years, a public defender. She has exactly the level of skill and experience we need on the bench. Her opponent, Dorothy Chou Proudfoot, is a former prosecutor who doesn’t live in the city.
Seat 21: Carolyn Gold
Gold is a career tenant lawyer and litigation director at the Eviction Defense Collaborative. She has spent 30 years representing people who lack the resources to hire private lawyers. Her opponent, Kulvindar “Rani” Singh, is a career prosecutor.
DEMOCRATIC COUNTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE
The DCCC has become a major political battleground in San Francisco, with competing slates promoted by, in this case, Party Chair (and leading progressive) David Campos, and Assemblymember (and centrist) David Chiu.
The stakes are significant: The DCCC will play a role in this fall’s local elections with its power to give the party’s endorsement to candidates for supervisor. And the Chiu camp would love to oust Campos as chair.
There are candidates on the progressive slate who give us pause; not all, for example, have pledged to back Sup. Dean Preston in D5 this fall. But we are going with the best choices available.
- John Avalos
- Hillary Ronen
- David Campos
- Christopher Christensen
- Matt Haney
- Frances Hsieh
- Shanell Williams
- Kevin Ortiz
- Nomvula O’Meara
- Jane Kim
- Honey Mahogany
- Gloria Berry
- Peter Gallotta
- Anabel Ibañez
- Mano Raju
- Queena Chen
- Leah LaCroix
- Li Miao Lovett
- Janice Li
- Gordon Mar
- Faauuga Moliga
- Keith Baraka
- Kelly Akemi Groth
- A.J. Thomas
STATE PROPOSITION 13: Yes … But
Prop. 13 seems like a simple measure: It’s a $15 billion state bond measure to fund public school projects. It would also allow local governments to increase the amount of money that they can raise in bonds for schools and community colleges.
All of these are worthy goals, and we support them.
We are concerned, though, by this, from the ballot analysis:
“The state would establish new limits on developer fees. Specifically, school districts would be prohibited from assessing developer fees on multifamily residential developments (such as apartment complexes) located within a half-mile of a major transit stop (such as a light rail station). For all other multifamily residential developments, currently allowable developer fee levels would be reduced by 20 percent moving forward. These limitations would be in place until January 1, 2026.”
The teacher’s unions are all in favor, and since the limits are short-term, we are willing to go along. But we don’t support limits on developer fees.
PROPOSITION A: YES
City College bonds
It’s easy to say that that the current City College chancellor is bent on destroying the historic mission of the school. It’s easy to say that the current board hasn’t been vocal enough about standing up to him.
But Prop. A has nothing to do with that. This is a bond issue to fix structural problems at the existing campuses and bring some of the aging buildings into the future (there are some classrooms at City College where it’s almost impossible to get an Internet connection). This is about the future of City College; don’t get distracted by the current issues. Vote Yes.
PROPOSITION B: YES
This one’s simple: It would upgrade the city’s critical infrastructure, including water and sewer lines, to be more resilient for the inevitable earthquakes. There is no credible opposition.
PROPOSITION C: YES
Health-care benefits for Housing Authority workers
A little strange and bureaucratic, but here’s the deal: The feds have asked the city to take over some of what used to be federal funding and responsibility for public housing. That means workers who used to be in the federal system are no going to be city workers. Because of the City Charter, if these (underpaid and overworked) people are going to get health benefits, it will take a vote of the people. Yes, of course.
PROPOSITION D: YES, YES, YES
Prop. D is one of the two most important measures on the local ballot. It seeks to address the problem of landlords leaving commercial spaces in neighborhood vacant because, as Sup. Aaron Peskin put it politely, “the have unreasonable expectations of the rent they should be able to charge.” We are more blunt: This is real-estate greed choking small businesses.
Prop. D would set a tax on vacant storefronts that could rise over three years to a level ($25,000 for a typical space) that would be a serious incentive to owners to find tenants and charge them affordable rents. Which would be good for neighborhoods, small businesses, residents, and the city as a whole.
Vote Yes on D.
PROPOSITION E: YES, YES, YES
Office development and affordable housing
Prop. E is probably the most important land-use measure to face voters in this city in more than 30 years. It directly addresses the most fundamental issue framing life in San Francisco: the imbalance between job growth and housing.
The urban planning under former Mayor Ed Lee, who encouraged the tech boom that has transformed the city, and under the current mayor, London Breed, has been indescribably bad. The city has encouraged a massive increase in tech office space, bringing tens of thousands of new workers (many of them high-paid) into a city that had no available housing.
Then those new tech jobs created tens of thousands of service-sector jobs, many of which pay barely minimum wage—and there’s a vast shortage of affordable housing for those workers.
The imbalance is the main reason why so many poor, working-class, and middle-class people and families have been forced out of San Francisco. It’s a primary cause of homelessness. It’s an urban disgrace.
Prop. E would restore some sanity. It would simply say that the city should stop approving more office space until there’s enough affordable housing for the new workers.
Prop. E won’t damage the city’s economy, as opponents claim. It would do the opposite: Today, hundreds of small businesses are closing, neighborhoods are facing either displacement or decay, and conventions are fleeing because of the homeless crisis. Restoring some balance to the jobs-housing situation would help the city recover from a tech-boom earthquake that has shaken us to the core.
FACING DOCTOR SHORTAGE, WILL CALIFORNIA GIVE NURSE PRACTITIONERS MORE AUTHORITY TO TREAT PATIENTS?
So far the doctors' lobby has blocked the idea, which promises to expand care options in rural and inner-city areas. They warn it would create two-tiered care.
CRAIG STEHR CHECKS IN:
Be sure to thank President Trump for his "act of mercy" in pardoning Eddie. Perhaps The Donald and VP Pence will do even better in Ohio now, as they seek reelection. Either way. Go 49ers.