Thursday, November 10, 2005

SF local results analysis

San Francisco voted exactly in line with The Third Path's endorsements for the state propositions: "nix the first six," as a street-corner placard put it. The Third Path slate didn't do so well on the local level, though, with a majority of voters obeying Third Path dictates on only four of nine local measures.

Clearly the city is sufficiently fed up with handgun violence to be willing to throw itself into an expensive and time-consuming legal limbo. Worse yet, even if Prop H somehow survives the legal challenges and becomes law, the only people who will have their handguns taken away are the ones who had them legally registered to begin with.

Prop I doesn't concern me so much, especially since I'm also concerned with the excesses and abuses of military recruitment, not to mention the fact that the military still refuses to acknowledge the obvious fact that openly homosexual soldiers can serve and have served with honor and distinction. Besides that, it was by design a purely symbolic gesture.

Prop F worries me a bit more. The city cut funding for fire stations, including using a system called "brown-outs" where certain stations would take one-day closures on a rotating basis to save costs. Some people, especially firefighters, were upset, and fought to restore the funding. Had they taken the fight to the Board of Supervisors, I would have no quarrel, but the City is now locked into funding levels from last year, for the rest of eternity. That's just asinine. If we can't trust the Supes to set sensible spending priorities, then we have far bigger problems than fire station response times.

For the same reason, Prop B worries me as a bad precedent, even though I'm concerned by the state of our streets and sidewalks. I drive, I bicycle, I walk, and I rollerblade in this city, so I know that there are real problems. However, street maintenance is not supposed to be a capital cost. In other words, each year's maintenance costs should be paid by that year's taxes, not by a bond measure with interest over many years to come. Fortunately, although Prop B was supported by a majority of voters, it did not receive the 2/3 vote needed to pass. We had the excellent result of a majority expressing concern about the problem, while at the same time dumping the problem back in the Supervisors' laps where it belongs.

Measures C and D both failed, which I rate as a much better result than both passing.

In other electoral trends, the Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood narrowly edged out South of Market for lowest voter turnout, with Upper Market/Eureka Valley, Diamond Heights, and North Bernal Heights at the top end. Even so, the highest turnout was less than 44%, with citywide turnout a measly 34%, well below the state average, even though San Francisco had more local issues and races than many parts of the state. San Francisco non-voters, consider my finger wagged.

The final results of the Ranked Choice Voting for Assessor-Recorder won't be available until Friday, but Phil Ting is confident of receiving at least the 4,086 of Ron Chun's 19,699 votes he needs to win the instant runoff.