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Nader and Gonzalez are Bigoted Jerks! They Called Obama An “Uncle Tom!”

The good people at SFist are calling out Magical Matt Gonzalez’ running mate calling Barack Obama an “Uncle Tom.”

You really know you’ve gone through the looking glass when a Fox News commentator has on many occaisions called bs on Joe the Plumber and stands up for Obama against a worthless, irrelevant bigot like Ralph Nader.…

I guess when you’ve been reduced to an asterisk, all you got left is bile and hatred. Thank goodness we didn’t elect that Green Party washout Gonzalez mayor – we’d be in an even bigger mess than we are now!

Where Will You Be at 8:01pm on Election Night?

(Good question! Post them in the comments. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

I was browsing online looking around for where all the election night gatherings are going to be, and thought I’d pose the question to the group here – where will you be hanging out on Election Night after the polls close at 8pm?

I remember in 1992 they had a big party in San Francisco, since that was the year Clinton won California, and Sens. Boxer and Feinstein won too…so post some parties here!

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Why Is the Yes on H Campaign Resorting to Tricks?

Disclaimer: I do some work for No on H

It seems no good deed goes unpunished. Sunday, the Yes on H ran the strangest attack rally yet, calling anyone who opposes Prop. H a “liar.” And yet, in promoting the rally, which was both pro-Prop. H and against Prop. 8, the ban on same-sex marriages, it seems the pro-H people engaged in a bit of lying of their own.

First, they put out press releases claiming that the Alice B. Toklas Democratic club was participating in the rally. Not true, according to sources at the Toklas Democratic Club, who declined to particpate formally as a group.

But second, they seemed to omit the fact that PG&E, one of the sponsors of the No on H campaign has given a significant donation to the No on 8 campaign, as have many large corporations (Apple and Google being some of the most notable).

Now here’s where the tortured logic begins. It seems that giving to No on 8 is not “good enough” for the angry partisans supporting Prop. H, which frankly I don’t understand. The No on 8 campaign needed help. Many large companies decided to stand up and give significant donations to fight Prop. 8. To me, that sounds like a good thing.

Now, obviously, when it comes to any issue, be it Prop. H, what search engine to use, or what computer to buy, there is going to be a diversity of opinion within the LGBT community. That’s fine. What’s not fine is seeing Prop. H engage tell lies about it, and condemn a corporation that is now the target of a boycott campaign for standing up against Prop. 8 and make the suggestion that PG&E is for Prop. 8.

That’s the worst kind of lie, especialy when we see the hateful actions of folks on the other side.

The Chronicle, The Examiner, The SF Business Times, Asian Week and more Agree – No on H

Disclaimer: I do some work for the No on H campaign. But my views on this measure were decided before I took the job.

Today the San Francisco Chronicle was the latest publication to endorse a “No” vote on San Francisco’s Prop. H. It joins the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Business Times, Asian Week, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research organization (SPUR) and the Bay Area Reporter in opposing the measure.

I think it’s important to note that much of the reasoning behind these endorsements has to do with the fact that the supporters of Prop. H have put forth some of the most misleading campaign material in recent history. The No on H campaign gets pilloried by the so-called “progressives” as “telling lies” but in fact the objections raised have been based entirely on the actual text of the measure itself.

The Chronicle put it best in the lead today when it said:

“The least advocates of San Francisco’s Proposition H could do is be forthright about their motives. This is not about saving he planet by increasing the use of renewable resources, or commissioning a study to determine the best way to achieve it.

This is about stacking the deck to achieve what has become the Holy Grail of certain “progressive” factions of the city: a municipal takeover of electrical service from Pacific Gas & Electric Co.”

That’s an important point to remember. Voters have rejected every single attempt to have San Francisco, a city of less than a million people and only about 370,000 power customers, go into the power business. Since Sup. Mirkarimi (who has been on a crusade against PG&E for years)  and progressive allies could not get a politically motivated takeover passed by asking the voters straight up, they’ve now used the current popularity of all things “green” to cloak the measure in good intentions. People in the know about these issues have agreed that Prop. H is a poorly written law.

That’s bad enough, as it plays on people’s good intentions to pass a law they’ve rejected in the past. What’s worse is that by voting for this measure, voters would be exchanging tough, enforceable, state standards for a new definition of “clean energy” – that it simply be “non-nuclear.” And all city-owned utilities are exempt from California’s tough, enforceable laws that PG&E has to abide by. Supporters deny this is true, but you can read the measure for yourself what it says. Just go to section Section 8B.129.

Also, it’s important to remember that supporters of Prop. H have no idea where they are going to get all this “clean” energy the measure allegedly requires. It is not as if PG&E is simply refusing to buy or produce power from clean sources (in fact, it has signed some of the largest solar and wind contracts in the world) – there simply aren’t the facilities and distribution networks available right now to do the job. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, PG&E must comply with California’s strictly defined clean energy standards and timetable – a city-owned one can ignore them at will.

Thus, the City of San Francisco will not only have to issue billions in bonds to buy PG&E’s facilities in town – they’re going to have to issue more to start building plants (clean or not) to ensure the lights turn on every day. And right now is not a great time to be trying to finance new construction, as the financial crisis on Wall Street starts to have an impact on new energy plant construction and all City bond costs.

Likewise, the measure allows the Board to issue revenue bonds for any utility they want to take over – the measure makes no requirement it only be for electricity. Thus, if the Board wanted to go into the Internet business, the garbage business, the telephone business, or really any “utility” business they can thanks to Prop. H. The people who voted for this thinking it was just about a study for clean energy will be powerless to stop them from abusing this new power. No one likes it when this is said, but again, you can read the measure for yourself.

Whenever these points are brought up, the supporters of Prop. H refuse to listen and dismiss them as “lies,” and never answer the questions raised. The evidence continues to build the case against the measure, and the only response are vicious personal attacks, vulgar language and deceptive online videos that claim support from Sen. Obama for their cause (the Sen. has taken no position on this local matter, for the record). Is this the best the City’s progressives can do, using the tactics of bully Karl Rove and the foul language of an X-rated movie? I think not.

If Sup. Mirkarimi and allied progressives want the city to take over the power system, they should ask voters if they want to do that, period. Let them make a decision free of the deceptive and dangerous wrapper they’ve put on this measure to try once again to pass something voters continue to reject. There is a time and place for an honest debate on all sides regarding the role of local government in the utility business. Unfortunately with Prop. H, we’re not getting that now.

Some Things to Consider in Beyond Chron Analysis of Measure H

Disclaimer: I do some work for Measure H, but my opinion on this issue was decided before I took the job.

In today’s Beyond Chron, author and activist Randy Shaw talks about Measure H. While I totally respect that there are opposing points of view on Measure H, and respect Randy personally, as you read the article it’s important to make note of a few things that Mr. Shaw missed that are important when talking about the true impact of Measure H.

For example, when discussing the Board of Supervisors’ new ability to issue revenue bonds, without a vote of the people, the provision is referred to as innocuous, when in fact the measure, as written, allows the board to issue revenue bonds to take over any utility, not just a power utility.

That means that without any oversight by citizens, the Board could vote to issue bonds to seize Comcast cable television, build a wifi network, etc. None of this has anything to do with the goals of clean energy – but it’s all legal under Measure H.

More importantly, at a time when San Francisco’s affordable housing stock is in short supply, we need to ask ourselves if San Francisco needs to be getting into the power, cable television, and WiFi business. Surely affordable housing (which is also on the ballot) is of more immediate concern to San Francisco’s residents at this time.

Also, while the article gives one account of past public power initiatives, it does not mention Sup. Mirkarimi’s role as campaign manager for the last public power measure before voters in 2001. This is a significant point to remember when reading Mirkarimi’s analysis and motivations to put Measure H before the voters.

As a past manager of the 2001 public power measure, he’s got plenty of reasons to want a re-match years later on behalf of public power. And as a potential mayoral candidate running on the left side of the San Francisco political spectrum, he needs to once again prove his bona fides vis a vis public power in order to secure a Guardian endorsement.

None of these reasons match up with the urgent priorities for San Francisco at this time. Measure H wraps an old idea in a new, misleading wrapper, and it’s important to keep this in mind as one reads the Beyond Chron article.

Questions about Measure H : How Will Proposition H Give the Board of Supervisors a Blank Check ?

Disclaimer: I do some work for the No on H campaign. But my views on the issue were decided before I took the job.

Questions about Measure H : How Will Proposition H Give the Board of Supervisors a Blank Check With No Voter Approval First?  

Measure H calls itself a “Clean Energy Act,” but when you read the actual language of the measure itself, you find the act raises more questions than it answers. That’s why it’s time to ask proponents why there are so many loopholes in Measure H. Case in point – the provision giving the Board of Supervisors the right to issue revenue bonds in any amount necessary to acquire “public utilities.”

Measure H proponents continue to insist the measure is about “clean energy” and possibly the public ownership of electric utilities by the city. However, if you read the language in the measure itself, it’s very clear that the Board of Supervisors will have the authority to issue revenue bonds to take over any entity determined to be a “utility” and in the public interest.

This isn’t a matter of campaign rhetoric – it’s a fact established in Section 9.107 of Measure H itself, which states that the Board of Supervisors will be able to issue revenue bonds without a public vote to “finance or refinance the acquisition construction, installation equipping improvement or rehabilitation of equipment or facilities for renewable energy and energy conversation or other utility facilities pursuant to Section 16.101 of this Charter.”

That last part is critical and it is why it is time to ask Measure H proponents why such an open-ended clause was left in a bill about Clean Energy. That’s because that last part allows the Board, without a vote, to immediately issue bonds to take over cable television, telephone, trash and recycling service, or any “utility” the Board deems necessary. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

These aren’t far fetched ideas. The takeover of Comcast Cable has long been discussed, and it was not long ago that a publicly owned wireless Internet network was proposed. It’s time to ask Measure H proponents why they’re hiding this information from the voters – or if they’re even aware of these loopholes?

More importantly, voters need to ask themselves if they want to give away to the Board of Supervisors the power to issue revenue bonds without a vote – for any project they want. They need to ask Measure H proponents why that is.

The Dirty Secret Behind the So Called “Clean Energy” Initiative in San Francisco

Disclaimer: I do some work for the No on H campaign. But my views on the issue were decided long before I took the job.

There’s no denying that people want to see Good Things happen in San Francisco, and around the country, when it comes to global warming. People have responded to Vice President Gore’s film, and want to do the right thing. So it’s a bit disturbing when people’s good intentions are manipulated by politicians, as they are with the so-called “Clean Energy Act” (aka Measure H) in San Francisco.

The measure claims simply to be about “clean energy” sources for San Francisco. But once you read the measure, you find out two things. It’s not really about encouraging the use of clean energy sources for San Francisco residents – it’s about a multi-billion dollar take over of a private utility by the City of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. But more importantly, the measure would actually replace enforceable state regulations with regards to clean energy, and allow a City-run utility to use any power source – clean or not – so long as it’s “non nuclear.”

Yes, you read that right. The so-called “Clean Energy Act” has two loopholes large enough to drive a fleet of panda-burning Hummers through that allow this to happen. First, publicly owned utilities are EXEMPT from the strict regulations that will ensure private power companies will adhere to rules that require clean energy sources. So while PG and E, a company strictly regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, must comply with these rules, a City-run system will not.

Worse, the act defines clean energy as simply any source that is “non-nuclear.” By that definition, coal, natural gas, diesel, and other fossil fuels could be used by a City owned system. While San Franciscans will go to the polls and think they’re voting for clean energy, in fact they could be voting to open the door to more polluting energy sources if a City-run system can’t provide the power we need to turn on the lights every day.

San Francisco has an unfortunate history of packaging bad legislation in good wrappers – in the 1950s citizens voted to “save” the historic Cable Car system – but the measure in fact dismantled the useful and profitable network and turned it into the tourist ride that it is today.

Likewise, the proponents of the Clean Energy Act use the spirit of Al Gore’s call to fight global warming to package an expensive takeover of a private utility by the Board of Supervisors – one that has consistently been rejected by voters in the past. Voters will need to cut through the packaging and see this plan for what it really is.

Public Pollution?

Most Californians see San Francisco as a center of environmental activism. But the renewed fight over public power on the November ballot in San Francisco is already laying bare the fault line between environmentalists and public power advocates.

For several years, advocates of Public Power like Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Bevan Dufty have being pushing to build three polluting power plants near Potrero Hill, an inner city neighborhood that has been highly-impacted by industrial pollution.  

But a new study just released by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission shows that their plan to build power plants would be nearly twice as polluting as a proposal supported by most environmentalists who want to retrofit the existing plants with cleaner facilities as a bridge to complete phase-out of the fossil-fuel generation in San Francisco.

So why would so-called environmentalists fight so hard to build polluting power plants?

Public power – that’s why.

The three “peaker” power plants would be owned by the city – and they would form the backbone of decades long quest of the Bay Guardian-left to create a public power system in San Francisco, whatever the cost. The Chronicle, for once, had it spot on when they wrote “Is the religion of ‘public power’ really more important to them than San Franciscans’ health and the city’s goals about reducing greenhouse gas emissions?”

So it’s going to be interesting to watch how the goal of public power collides with the green rhetoric of public power advocates.

We know the politicians like Peskin and Dufty are supporting polluting power plants – even though there is a much greener alternative. But that’s pretty typical. Dufty wants to be mayor and he needs the Guardian endorsement and Peskin just wants to get even with whoever crossed him last.

But even the hard-core enviros, like Ross Mirkarimi and Chris Daly, are also putting public power before green power. Their public power measure exempts the city from state renewable energy goals – and replaces them with local requirements. What’s the difference? The local requirements are unenforceable. And they can mean whatever the public power advocates want them to mean. Take for example large hydro generation. The state says that’s not renewable because of the devastating impact large hydro has on wildlife, fish populations and water quality. In SF – with a stroke of the pen they say they are going to call large hydro “renewable.”

Most of this same crew stalled San Francisco’s first-in-the-nation local incentive for solar. Why? They didn’t want the money to go to individuals – they wanted it to go to city-owned public power.

And don’t even start on the opportunity cost. It would cost billions to takeover PG&E – money that could be spent on actually creating renewable energy rather than on just changing ownership and changing renewable standards to make them LESS ENFORCABLE.

Public Power was once a priority of the left in San Francisco. But given what’s happening with our planet – is it still the top priority? In the next few months we are going to see what’s really more important to San Franciscans – cleaning up our environment or creating a public power system.

Wanted: Your Political Junk Mail!

Hey Gang:

I am putting together another direct mail archive of mail from this fall election, but unfortunately I am only getting state ballot proposition mail and a handful of pieces from Democrats.

My district in SF has no race for Supervisor, and most of the people I rely on for samples aren’t getting much either, so I could really use any mail you’ve seen you’d like to see get reviewed on the site.

Find it at


and I will happily credit anyone who helps out!