2018 Voter guide

While some people believe that voting in local elections is less important than voting for president, local politics can actually have a greater impact on an individual’s life. Because of this, I encourage anyone who is 18 or older to vote on June 5, when San Francisco residents will vote for their next mayor, numerous local and statewide ballot initiatives and statewide primaries for governor and senator. 

My recommendations reflect my own views and do not express the views of the Urban Legend staff.


SF Propositions:


Prop C/D:

Recommendation: Vote yes on Prop C in order to raise funds for childcare and early education; vote no on Prop D—a trick placed on the ballot by developer-friendly supervisors to sabotage Prop C.

Information: People and companies pay taxes on the lease of a commercial property, but San Francisco’s rates are some of the lowest in the nation, at about .3 percent. Prop C aims to raise the tax to 1 percent for warehouse leases and 3.5 percent for other commercial properties, while prop D is a 1.7 percent raise for all types of buildings. For Prop C, most of the revenue would go towards funding childhood and early education, and if passed would move 2500 infants and toddlers off child-care waitlists into early education programs and raise wages for many underpaid teachers. Prop D, which would not raise as many funds as Prop C, would help homelessness services but are spread too thin among too many organizations to have as concrete an impact. While Prop D requires 67 percent support to pass, if it passes it will block Prop C from going into effect, ensuring the smaller tax hike.


Prop E:

Recommendation: Vote yes on Prop E to uphold the current ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products within the city of San Francisco.

Information: While the aggressive “No on E” campaign claims that this proposition would create a ban on flavored tobacco sales, this ban has already been passed by the Board of Supervisors and only requires the approval of San Francisco voters. Supporters of the proposition believe it is an effective way to keep flavored tobacco products out of the hands of teenagers. While some tobacco-using teenagers will probably be frustrated at this ban, there is no reason not to ban products that pose serious health risks and are often marketed towards young people.


Prop F:

Recommendation: Vote yes on Prop F in order to provide support for tenants facing eviction.

Information: Currently, landlords must notify tenants before evicting them. However, if a tenant refuses to move out, landlords can take them to court. While the city supports some non-profits that help tenants fight legal battles, current law does not mandate that the city provide lawyers for tenants facing eviction. Prop F aims to change that, requiring the city to provide a lawyer in this situation. It would have an estimated annual cost of between 4.2 million and 5.6 million dollars every year.


Prop H:

Recommendation: Vote no on Prop H, a deceptive initiative that would take control over San Francisco police’s taser policy away from the SFPD and would make it easier for officers to use tasers on nonviolent people.

Information: Currently, SFPD officers are some of the only police officers in a metropolitan area that do not carry tasers. Contrary to the “Yes on H” campaign’s claims that this proposition would allow the police to carry tasers, the SFPD already plans to arm officers with tasers by December of 2018, this proposition would change the language of the approval. If passed, tasers could be used on people “actively resisting” police actions as opposed to the existing language of “violently resisting.” It would also transfer control of the policy away from the SFPD to the Police Officers Association. It’s opposed by nearly every San Francisco supervisor and San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, who says that it would undermine recent SFPD de-escalation programs.


Regional Measure 3:

Recommendation: No preference on Regional Measure 3, an expensive but ambitious and well-thought-out transit improvement for the entire Bay Area.

Information: Measure 3 would increase all bridge tolls (excluding the Golden Gate Bridge) by three dollars over a span of six years to fund transit initiatives. These efforts include BART and MUNI train replacements, expanded ferry service, and a Caltrain station at Transbay Terminal. If passed, this measure would generate $4.5 billion dollars for this fund. 45 percent of these funds would go to highway expansions and improvements as opposed to public transportation.


Note: as this measure affects nearly every single community in the Bay Area, it is being voted on in all municipal elections in the region, not just San Francisco.


Mayoral Election

San Francisco uses a ranked choice voting system for mayoral elections, which means that voters select their top three choices. If a voter’s first-choice candidate receives the fewest first-choice votes, that candidate is eliminated and the second-choice votes of voters who supported the eliminated candidate will be counted. This process repeats until a candidate reaches 50 percent. I have included two candidates I support as well as one candidate whom I do not recommend.


Jane Kim

Vote for Jane Kim, the current District 6 (Civic Center, SoMa, Mission Bay) San Francisco Board of Supervisors member, has succeeded in making City College free for all SF residents, as well as raising the minimum wage to $15. She’s a member of the progressive faction of city politics, and if elected, she would focus on fighting the homelessness crisis, developing affordable housing, and creating universal early childhood education. She has been criticized in her role in London Breed’s ousting as acting mayor in January which was made under the belief that being the acting mayor would give her an unfair advantage in the June election.

Mark Leno

Vote for Mark Leno. As a former District 8 (The Castro, Noe Valley, Glen Park) San Francisco Supervisor and state senator, Leno’s achievements include raising the statewide minimum wage and requiring developers to include affordable housing in every large project. As mayor, he would fight to end street homelessness by 2020. Supporters believe that his close connections to state politicians will help him govern the city effectively. He’s lived in San Francisco for 40 years and would be the first openly gay mayor in city history. Because Leno and Kim agree on many policies and are both in the very left-wing progressive faction of city politics, they have endorsed each other and encourage voters to put both candidates on their ranked-choice ballots in an “anyone but London Breed” campaign.

Why not London Breed?

Do not vote for London Breed, even though she is a big name in city politics and the current supervisor for District 5 (Cole Valley, The Haight, Western Addition). Breed is a member of the moderate faction of city politics (still Democrats, but friendlier to developers who are often seen as agents of gentrification), along with the three most recent city mayors: Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom and Edwin Lee. Breed has a compelling story of rising out of poverty in San Francisco and has a strong record in building affordable housing and working to improve urban transit. However, given the city’s growing income inequality, rising rents, and rampant homelessness, I believe that the city needs a change. While Breed isn’t a bad candidate, as a moderate, she represents a continuation of former mayors’ beliefs that have put this city in trouble.


Statewide Elections

California uses the top-two system for its primaries (i.e. this June), which means that many candidates can appear on a primary ballot, but only the top two vote-receivers advance to the general election. This system does not take party preference into account, so it is possible for two candidates of the same party to appear on the general election ballot.


CA Senate Race:

Incumbent Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein did not receive an endorsement from the Democratic Party of California. The intra-party schism is due to Kevin De Leon, the California State Senate Democratic leader. Younger, more progressive voters criticize Feinstein, who is seen as a centrist and is one of only five remaining Democratic senators who supported the Iraq war. She has also been criticized for comments she made last April, saying that Trump “can be a good president.”. De Leon emphasizes California’s role in fighting climate change on a national level as well as additional support for immigrant families. However, he currently trails Feinstein by about 25%.

Recommendation: Because of the top-two system and the fact that Feinstein is almost guaranteed a spot on the November ballot, vote for De Leon so that the two of them can have more substantive debate before November.


CA Gubernatorial Race:

Two main candidates have emerged out of the 27-person field to replace the term-limited California Governor Jerry Brown: former San Francisco Mayor and current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Newsom is favored in Northern California while Villaraigosa is favored in Southern California. Roughly 40 percent of California’s population lives in Southern California’s urban centers, compared to the Bay Area’s 20 percent, but many recent statewide office-holders have been from the Bay Area. While Newsom is often regarded as overly ambitious and never actually accomplishing anything, he also has a strong record advocating for gun control and the LGBTQ community and has bold plans for reforming the education system. Villaraigosa has a strong sense of economic justice, recognizing that California is incredibly wealthy while having an incredibly high poverty rate, and would fight to create more high-paying jobs. Recommendation: This is a primary, and both of them are almost guaranteed to make it to the November ballot. Pick either candidate.




Prop 68: Allow the state to finance a bunch of bonds to fund parks, wildlife conservation, and address the effects of climate change. It’s supported by most conservationist groups.

Recommendation: Yes—it’s a lot of money, but the aims are clear and important.


Prop 69: Limit the funds from SB1 (a 2017 law raising taxes on gasoline) to go towards transportation projects.

Recommendation: Yes—money raised from transportation taxes should go towards transportation projects.


Prop 70: Place revenue from California’s cap-and-trade programs into a fund that couldn’t be used unless ⅔ of both houses of the state legislature approve.

Recommendation: No—it’s very difficult for a ⅔ majority to do anything in California, so this proposition would throw a wrench into the state’s ambitious cap-and-trade program.


Prop 71: This proposition would cause ballot initiatives to go into effect only after all the votes have been counted, instead of the day after the election.

Recommendation: Yes—this proposition is minimal, but makes a lot of sense. There’s no reason why ballot initiatives should take effect before all votes have been counted.


Prop 72: Under the current law, the installation of rainwater collection systems is counted as a property improvement, which means that people who want to install these devices face higher property taxes. This proposition would change that by no longer classifying these devices as property improvements.

Recommendation: Yes—people should face no discouragement when trying to improve their homes to be more environmentally friendly.