October 19th, 2011


Liveblogging Google's "San Francisco Mayoral Forum"

ed. note-- will update this through the debate, or just this once if I get bored and leave

10 AM - Ed Lee didn't show up, as usual. He never shows up to any of these things. Does the the fact that he never shows up mean that he doesn't need to? Probably. Depressing. The problem is that nobody gives a damn. Whenever I think about SF politics I think of that De La Soul album, Stakes is High. The motto of the SF general election should be Stakes is Low..

Anyway, let's see how thick the platitudes get. At least they used moderator to filter people's questions. This means some good stuff may get asked, unlike live questions which are always a waste of time. Main things people asked about that I upvoted are "when yall gonna fix Muni, goddamit" and "why is the school system so crap in SF? does anyone care that parents leave in droves around kids age 5? why is SF so dirty?"

I honestly think the answer to q. @ parents might be "who cares, fuck em." But I suspect it's not good for the vitality of a city of parents desert it en masse. Note that New York City has almost double the % parents that SF does. So not just a big city thing.

My submitted question: "Does it matter who the mayor of SF is? Succinctly and concretely explain why." Probably didn't get a lot of votes & I guess it's too vague to be a good question. But I just feel so frustrated that nobody understands what the stakes are... I'm serious, how much different would it make who the mayor of SF is? I guess we never get anyone who wins other than the establishment power brokers candidate, so who knows.

Candidates who showed up:
Lelend Yee - ?
Johanna Rees - ?
Dennis Herrera - seems to have the most buzz as an alternative to Ed Lee. Endorsed by Pot Hill Democrats
Tony Hall - he was big in the D10 supe race (Pot Hill) but this 'get rid of recology and open up the trash to bidding' thing is not as clear cut as he makes it sound. and that's his main thing. seems like an ok guy, mostly small business oriented
Bevan Dufty - ?
Michaela Alioto-Pier - ?
John Avalos - ?
Jeff Adachi - SF public defender, maybe?
David Chiu - ?

10:10 AM - it haz begun. Opening pleasantries. Something @ being in the "red zone?"

Q1: Muni sucks, what are you gonna do about it
adachi: central subway project - bad idea. what the hell is central subway project. platitudes

Q2: "The taxi cab situation in SF is disappointing: poor coverage, expensive relative to other major cities (NYC is the prime example), credit card mandates are ignored by drivers, etc. What plans do you have to improve the situation?"
herrera: platitudes

Note from now on I'll type "..." to indicate candidate just talked for 5 minutes without actually saying anything actionable or specific. It will save a lot of time cos nobody has specific plans or ideas. If these guys were serious about fixing cabs wouldn't they have some kind of plan they could refer to?

Q3: What is your plan to address the high levels of homelessness in San Francisco?"
bevan dufty: advocates wet housing, like what you say in "dark days" - counterintuitive but idea is that giving free housing to the worst drunks ends up saving city lots of time/money. ++ to this, first smart thing I've heard someone say.
he big ups george gascon for DA - restorative justice . shit was this herrera? i can't see and they all sound similar. well it was either duffy herrera or hall and i'm betting duffy. what kind of name is "bevan duffy" ?

Q4: Something about payroll tax
somebody: ...

Q5: "Are you for or against removing a lane of traffic or removing parking in each direction for the planned Van Ness and Geary rapid transit systems? If not, do you have a reason why they would succeed without the removal of a traffic lane?"
tony hall: ...

something about bikes...
sfbc is doing ok, i think bicyclists (me being one) are getting our say in sf govt. sfbc is one of the more effective local political orgs. i wish they gave more recommendations but you can't figure out that much just looking thru the lens of bike rights

One question that didn't get voted high is "who's your 2nd and 3rd choice" candidate. I'm gonna ask this live if presenter doesn't ask it. It's actually a hugely important question given the nature of ranked choice voting. Your 1st place candidate probably won't win... so you should know who their 2nd/3rd choices are

11:11 AM - got up, asked my question.
Q: In a ranked choice system, it's really important who your 2nd/3rd choices are. To people who are voting for you as #1, who would you recommend for their 2nd/3rd choice?
(I directed this at Dufty & Herrera, who I'm leaning towards as 1st/2nd) - it was disappointing, they all dodged the question more or less. Well Dufty did mention Ed Lee, and he noted the obscure D10 outcome that happened in last election (as a good thing? not sure it was). Herrera just dodged and says he doesn't like ranked choice cos the candidates don't differentiate enough. Tony Hall also answered and just said some crap about small businesses yadda yadda. He also mentioned that he doesn't want to overturn Prop 13. Good to know where he stands. I wasn't sure about that guy but now I have him pegged as "Small Business No New Taxes dude." So not my dude.

Outcome: Dufty came out looking good, I could live w/ Herrera as well. No to the rest