Jane Kim’s March 5, 2024 San Francisco Voter Guide

It’s hard to believe that I drafted my first voter guide in November 2004. Twenty years and countless endorsements later, here we go again! I am only providing additional insight for contested races.  If you’re looking for another great voter guide, check out my fave SF League of Pissed Off Voters. I also appreciated the non-partisan analysis provided by San Francisco Public Press.

US Senate

From becoming the first black cheerleader in her high school after fighting to desegregate her squad to casting the sole vote in Congress against authorizing the Afghanistan War in 2001 (history has validated her), Barbara Lee has been fearless and principled. A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Lee is the only US Senate candidate who has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As the first state to send two women to the US Senate, I would be disappointed to forward two men. We have two incredibly smart and courageous women candidates running– Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Katie Porter. This March, I’m voting Barbie for US Senate!

US Congress
State Assembly
David has been an active voice and organizer in San Francisco’s Chinese American community since he started the Chinese American Voter Education Project 20 years ago registering thousands of API voters. David is an earnest and sincere neighborhood advocate. While he may not be a nerdy wonk, I know he will fight for tenants, small businesses, and neighborhood safety issues. He promises to be a champion to raise the statewide minimum wage and as a community college educator, fight to expand tuition-free community college tuition statewide.

Endorsed by all 48 SF Superior Court judges, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Democratic Party and the League of Pissed Off Voters (an unusual alliance indeed), this race has become a blatant political stunt. Unable to blame the District Attorney for all of San Francisco’s woes, the right has shifted their attack to appointed judges vetted by an extensive and rigorous process led by the state. Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Governor Gavin Newsom respectively, they are hardly radicals but demonstrably qualified.

San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee

This super down ballot race used to attract an endless list of candidates and ZERO dollars. This year, a few people are pouring $1.1M to defeat our slate which includes educators, a nurse, plumber, elevator mechanic, healthcare worker, youth activists, union organizers, and even an attorney/drag queen.

My amazing slate mates are busting their quads, volunteering countless hours to walk hilly precincts, canvass farmers markets to win VOLUNTEER positions on the San Francisco Democratic Party. Most of the year, committee members register voters and participate in phone banking efforts to flip red seats blue, not only in California but across the nation. And no one on this slate wants anyone in SF to feel or be unsafe. Many of us have grandparents who live in San Francisco or are raising children here. We just want a corporate-free Democratic Party in our city. And we love San Francisco.

Don’t worry, you’ll always hear from people who have millions to spend to influence elections- do they need the Democratic Party too?

Here is our slate in the order we are listed on the ballot!

Endorsed by the Mayor, the entire Board of Supervisors and literally everyone else who endorses anything (minus the SF Republican Party), we need this revenue source to continue to build and preserve affordable and middle income housing in San Francisco.
This is not a terrible measure– it raises minimum police staffing levels if the city raises new revenue. However, I believe the Mayor and Board of Supervisors should set police staffing numbers, not the voters.
Proposition C: Real Estate Transfer Tax Break for Developers: No

Prop C provides tax breaks for downtown office developers who sell their building after converting it to market rate housing. I would have supported this largely symbolic gesture– symbolic because very few office buildings can convert to housing due to high costs and structural limitations. HOWEVER, this measure dangerously authorizes the Board of Supervisors to reverse prior victories in real estate transfer taxes that fund essential initiatives like FREE CITY COLLEGE and street tree maintenance (yes the very measure I authored in 2016) and affordable housing.

Side note–prior to 2016, San Francisco homeowners briefly had to shoulder the burden of street tree maintenance, which was both substantial and perplexing. This measure jeopardizes this revenue.

This one is all over the place and a perfect example of why I do not believe in legislating via the ballot box.  SF Chronicle calls it “a fistful of dubious public safety ideas at the wall in hope one sticks.”

Proposition E is a package of policy changes that would allow the San Francisco Police Department to engage in more high-speed chases, install security cameras in public spaces (currently approved by a civilian oversight body) and test surveillance technology (ie. drones and facial recognition) on the public without oversight. It would also allow police to file fewer reports on use of force against members of the public.

There is one good idea— we should reduce how much time police officers spend on administrative paperwork so cops are on the streets instead of behind desks but with no teeth to make this happen. And I am open to cops utilizing technological advances in their work- should cops have drones to follow active pursuits?  Maybe, but I don’t want voters to write this blank check.  This job belongs to the people we elect– the Mayor and Board of Supervisors who can study recommendations made by our SFPD Chief and the civilian oversight commission, evaluate studies and weigh public comment.

But there are some terrible ideas such as expanding police chases on congested San Francisco streets. I witnessed the devastating consequences when my best friend was struck by a fleeing vehicle two years ago. The perpetrator got away (but eventually arrested months later) but my friend continues to endure life-altering injuries. While no blame falls on the SFPD officer, the pursuit inflicted irreversible harm without achieving its intended outcome.

According to Mission Local, “moderate campaign operatives, whose hearts do not bleed, summed up Prop. E as ‘a shallow vessel to raise money’ that would ‘make a difference around the margins, at best.’”

It’s opposed by the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco Bar Association and League of Women Voters.

During the “War on Drugs” of the 80’s and 90’s, we targeted poor people for drug usage and guess what? The policy failed to decrease usage and only pushed our most vulnerable neighbors away from assistance.  Reverting to this Republican strategy, endorsed by the Trump administration and poorly implemented in red states like Alabama and Mississippi, is mind boggling. The estimated annual cost of this program ranges from $500,000 to $1.4 million, partially offset by discontinuing payments to our poorest residents who refuse testing.

Meanwhile, San Francisco has a waiting list of people who actually want treatment.

Let’s look at states who have enacted this– very few applicants get tested and even less come back positive. The most expensive drug testing program was Missouri. Missouri spent a whopping $336,297 in public funds to test 108 individuals out of 32,774 applicants. 11 came back positive.

Elected leaders want to appear like they are doing something about the devastating fentanyl crisis (precipitated by billionaire pharmaceutical conglomerates like Purdue/Sacker family), but THIS IS NOT IT.  Even the San Francisco Chronicle, hardly a bastion for progressive politics, says No on F.

Prop G: 8th Grade Algebra: YES

I fully support offering Algebra in the 8th grade. Frankly I support offering Algebra at any grade students wish to enroll. But this is yet again another symbolic resolution (do you see a pattern?) which is now moot as the Board of Education voted this month to re-offer 8th grade algebra.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading and more importantly, thank you for voting. Agree or disagree, I appreciate you including my perspective in your decision making.

Most importantly, if you are voting by mail, please vote by March 4.  Thousands of ballots go uncounted because people put them in the mailbox on March 5 without checking the final pick up time– these ballots are postmarked March 6 and are therefore invalid.

I would be remiss if I didn’t make a plug for the California Working Families Party! Become a $10 monthly member (any amount is appreciated!) and 100% of your dues goes to supporting corporate free candidates up and down the state from San Diego, Central Valley to Sacramento. It’s a one stop electoral contribution to invest in a Working Families bench in CA like the squad of candidates we are supporting for the California Legislature below! Check out our full endorsement list for the March 5, 2024 primary!