October 13, 2014

Freedom Socialist Party Recommendations for the Nov. 4, 2014 California State & San Francisco General Election

The November election doesn’t offer any anti-capitalist candidates, from SF City College Board of Trustees to State Governor, but several ballot measures make it worth your while to vote. Help stop two money grabs from workingclass taxpayers to big business, and pass measures to decrease the prison population and contain health insurance costs.

As usual there are several attempts to raise taxes on poor and working people. In San Francisco especially, one of the wealthiest, tech-rich cities in the nation, Google, Salesforce, Twitter and the numerous IT companies benefitting from our destination city, should be steeply taxed to provide free, quality services to all. The outrageous gap in wealth shows that the 1% and their corporations have all the funds to do so.

State Proposition 1: $7.5 Billion Bond for California’s Water System - ­VOTE NO

This measure would saddle California taxpayers with $14 billion in total new debt in 40 yearly payments of $360 million. The biggest expenditure would facilitate water transfers­at no cost­from the Sacramento River Delta to the western San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, not to small farmers, infrastructure repair or conservation. Also, these public funds go in part to “private water companies.” This is a gift to big business and water privatizers that have been twice previously stopped at the ballot. We join AFSCME Council 57 and a host of environmental organizations in urging a NO vote.

State Proposition 2: Budget Stabilization Account - ­VOTE NO

The key part of this complex proposed amendment to the state constitution is that it requires spending from $800 million to $2 billion annually from general fund revenue to repay existing state debts. It also changes how school reserves are funded with the result that, in lean fiscal times, schools will have more difficulty balancing their budgets. It is a brazen move to prevent a Detroit-like bankruptcy in California by guaranteeing repayment to banks and bond brokers. A few solutions to the constant underfunding of state schools are: cancel the entire state debt; tax the 1%, and cut prison spending by eliminating the Three Strikes law. We join a host of California educators in urging a NO vote.

State Proposition 45: Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes - ­VOTE YES

This measure would mandate that rate changes to health insurance premiums be approved by the elected insurance commissioner. It would also prohibit health, auto, and homeowners insurers from determining policy eligibility or rates based on lack of prior coverage or credit history. Health insurance companies like Wellpoint, Blue Shield, Anthem and Kaiser Permanente, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, are funding a hysterical, fear-mongering ad campaign against 45. Consumer watchdogs and a host of labor unions, including the California Nurses’ Association, support it.

State Proposition 46: Drug & Alcohol Testing of Doctors, Medical Negligence Lawsuits - ­VOTE NO

This would increase the limit on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, require doctors to check a statewide patient database prior to prescribing narcotics, and require doctors to undergo drug and alcohol testing. While we support raising the much-too-low limits on medical malpractice awards, we have two problems with this proposition. It has a blame-the-victim approach to drug abuse, while letting the mega-wealthy pharmaceutical industry off the hook; and it violates the privacy rights of doctors and of patients. A better way to address medical malpractice is to shorten doctors’ work hours. To address addiction, provide free rehab treatment on demand.

State Proposition 47: Criminal Sentences, Misdemeanor Penalties - VOTE YES

This would reclassify nonviolent drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, and mandate that saved funds go toward school drop-out prevention programs and other public, mental health and drug rehab services. By prioritizing treatment and eliminating mandatory minimums, legacies of the racist ‘war on drugs’, this measure will reduce barbaric overcrowding in prisons. It saves the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Supported by numerous labor unions and opposed by conservative police entities, we say vote YES.

SF Proposition A: Transportation and Road Improvement Bond­ - VOTE NO

This half-billion dollar bond measure would improve city streets, Muni maintenance, and safety measures, using an increase in property taxes to repay the bond. We disagree with the SF Labor Council’s support; workingclass homeowners and renters are being asked to foot the bill for needed services that should be funded by corporate taxes.

SF Proposition B: Adjusting Transportation Funding for Population Growth­ - VOTE YES

This charter amendment would allocate more general fund money to the Municipal Transportation Agency in proportion to population growth. The increased funds would improve the reliability and frequency of Muni service, and pay for street-safety improvements. It helps poor, working and disabled people who rely on public transportation without raising taxes.

SF Proposition C: Children’s Fund & Public Education Rainy Day Reserve­ - VOTE YES

This charter amendment proposed by the Board of Supervisors would increase the property tax set-aside for four years and extend it to 25 years. These funds would pay for public school resources for children in the city, create a School Rainy Day Reserve, and increase access to resources for disadvantaged youth. This measure merely changes the allocation of funds and is a much-needed improvement, especially for special-needs children. It is backed by labor and numerous community groups.

SF Proposition D: Retiree Health Benefits for Former Redevelopment Agency & Successor Agency Employees - ­VOTE YES

SF Proposition E: Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages - ­VOTE NO This measure would impose a $0.02 per ounce tax on distributors of sugary beverages, (that’s 24 cents on every can of soda). Estimated to bring in a revenue of $31 million per year, the funds are earmarked for nutrition, physical activity, and health programs in public schools and parks. It requires a 2/3 supermajority to pass. This sin tax does nothing to provide access to healthy and fresh food in poor neighborhoods and falls heaviest on those least able to afford it.

SF Proposition G: Anti-Speculation: Additional Transfer Tax on Residential Property Resale - VOTE YES

This measure would impose an additional tax on the sale price of certain multi-unit residential properties that are sold within five years of purchase. Aimed at stopping the flipping of property by real estate speculators which has led to a rash of evictions and sky-high housing costs in the city, this is a step in the right direction. A better solution is strict, wide-spread rent control and the creation of more affordable housing. We join the SF Labor Council and the SF Tenants Union in voting yes on this weak improvement.

SF Proposition J: Minimum Wage Increase - VOTE YES

This measure would gradually increase the minimum wage from the current $10.74 to $12.25 per hour beginning May 1, 2015 to $15 an hour by 2018. This compromise between labor and the business community falls short of the $30/hour salary needed to rent a one-bedroom in SF. We advocate this weak reform while continuing to support the growing grassroots movement demanding a livable wage today, the power capable of pushing labor bureaucrats and bosses forward.

SF Proposition K: Affordable Housing­ - VOTE YES

This measure has no funding attached, and is simply a demand for more affordable housing. San Francisco urgently needs affordable housing bills with teeth and funding!

SF Proposition L: Policy Regarding Transportation Priorities­ - VOTE NO

Sunday, October 26 1:00pm
End Police Violence
You are invited to discuss solutions to the unjust, discriminatory and deadly treatment of people of color, gender non-conformists and immigrants by the criminal justice system. At New Valencia Hall (see address; near Civic Center BART). Tasty home-cooked brunch served at 12:15pm for $8 donation.