On November 18, 2017, the San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America (DSA SF) gathered in a special meeting to consider early electoral endorsements for the June 5, 2018 elections.
The chapter voted overwhelmingly to endorse the No Eviction Without Representation city ballot initiative, the San Francisco Arts and Families Funding city ballot initiative, and Gayle McLaughlin for California Lieutenant Governor.
At over 500 dues-paying local members, most of whom are under age 35, DSA SF has quickly become one of the largest active, independent political organizations in the city. DSA knows that electoral politics is just one of a variety of tactics, and we also know that you cannot reform capitalism into socialism. Therefore, endorsements are made on the strict condition that the campaign is able to build working class power or weaken the parasitic effects of capitalism.
No Eviction Without Representation Initiative
The No Eviction Without Representation ballot initiative, proposed by Dean Preston of Tenants Together, would make San Francisco the first city in California with a universal right to civil counsel for tenants facing eviction. It would require the city to fully fund legal representation for all San Francisco tenants who receive an eviction notice, regardless of their age, income, medical status, housing type, or how long they have lived in San Francisco.
After the ballot initiative was filed, two elected San Francisco supervisors claimed, in what has been described as a “political power play by City Hall politicians desperate to try to derail a citizens’ ballot initiative,” to be introducing a bill to create a right to counsel through legislation at the Board of Supervisors.
Unfortunately, they have not yet released the text of their proposed legislation and have made statements that indicate it will be a limited, watered-down bill that does not create a universal right to counsel. DSA SF is proud to stand with tenant advocates in supporting the No Eviction Without Representation ballot initiative to create a universal right to counsel for tenants facing eviction.
More information on the initiative, including donation and volunteer information, can be found at www.sfrighttocounsel.com.
San Francisco Arts and Family Funding Initiative
The soon-to-be-filed San Francisco Arts and Family Funding ballot initiative, co-authored by community activist Tony Kelly, would restore allocations of a portion of the City’s Hotel Tax to funding the arts, with an emphasis on greatly expanding the Cultural Equity Endowment for artists and arts organizations focused on under-served populations. It also creates allocations to a new Neighborhood Arts Program, a new Cultural Districts Stabilization Fund, and a new Ending Family Homelessness Fund. It would not raise the hotel tax.
The Ending Family Homelessness Fund would provide $50 million over four years for subsidies and case management programs to house homeless families, provide services to low-income families at risk of becoming homeless, and to develop, rehabilitate, and acquire new housing for homeless families.
This initiative follows in the footsteps of the very similar 2016 Proposition S, which received 63.71% of the vote but nonetheless failed under the old rule that initiatives dedicating specific funding needed a 2/3 majority vote. However, under an August 2017 California Supreme Court ruling, this new initiative requires only a simple majority vote to pass.
Gayle McLaughlin for California Lieutenant Governor
DSA SF is proud to endorse Gayle McLaughlin for California Lieutenant Governor. Gayle is the former two-term Mayor of Richmond, a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, and a socialist who believes in the collective democratic control of the institutions of our society.
As Mayor and a co-founder of the RPA, Gayle led the city to pass the first rent control law in California in 30 years, increase the minimum wage, reduce homicides 75% in 8 years, sue Chevron for hurting the population and force it to pay an additional $7.5 million (averaged) in taxes per year, and promoted Community Choice Aggregation resulting in 85% of homeowners and businesses receiving greener, cheaper energy.
Gayle also prioritized the interests of Richmond residents and families, advocating for residents evicted by banks and speculators and approving policies to hold Wall Street accountable. Gayle proudly stood up for her community with Richmond CARES (Community Action to Restore Equity and Stability), the foreclosure prevention program that seeks to acquire underwater mortgages in Richmond from the banks (either through voluntarily sales or through eminent domain) so the City can refinance the loans for the homeowners with reduced principals in line with current home values.
Gayle is running as an independent (“No Party Preference”) candidate, and faces a top-two primary against several corporate-funded Democrats on June 5, 2018. Full information about Gayle’s campaign, including donation and volunteer information, can be found on her campaign website.