I was raised in a household in which interest in civics was encouraged. I remember going to vote and pulling the lever on the machine in the same gym where my father coached, and, later, where I played ball and where I attended the obligatory and awkward dances and pep rallies. I have voted in every election I could (not just in the gym) ever since I could exercise that right, and, sometimes, when that act felt more ritualistic than effective. Even as an 18-year-old, I could sense the sameness and the sad inadequacy of our two-party system. I never registered Democrat or Republican. When I arrived in San Francisco in 1996, I made the decision to register as a member of the Green Party and have kept that affiliation ever since.
I firmly believe that our future and our children’s future is indeed ours to make. Now, more than ever, strong, principled leadership is required. I have made no compromises, nor did I need do any heavy soul-searching to find a belief structure that rests upon the principles of grassroots democracy, community-based economics, social justice and equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, non-violence, gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, and future focus and sustainability. These values, for me, were intuitively correct. They are common sense. They rest in the hearts of many San Franciscans. That fact, combined with the sublime beauty of this unique geographic region, and the special fondness that others have for our City are reasons why I call San Francisco home.
I made the decision to run for District 4 Supervisor with these beliefs and feelings in mind. It is precisely because many of the principles I mentioned are at stake.
Appointment of our elected officials and their subsequent election as “incumbents” (in what is viewed as a one party town) limits their accountability to their constituents. Voters, confronted with limited choices, other than the one who is beholden to whomever appointed them, cast a blank ballot, or just stay home. Disenfranchising voters by limiting choice is wrongheaded. It is tantamount to saying that we do not deserve a say in decisions which affect our lives. This practice must stop. In addition, appointments are made strategically within city government to make room for this occurrence. As a former mayor once said about similar shady practices at City Hall, “That’s the way it is.” I would say, rather, “That’s not the way it should be”. This revolving door, too, must stop.
As citizens, we should want to have a say in how and what decisions are made. The process should be transparent. We have the technology to make that happen. Government’s job is to make that happen. Elected officials need to be present and responsive to the needs of those who elected them. Good government should invite and encourage the participation of all. Positions on decisions should be made public to foster interest and debate and to create an atmosphere which informs and illuminates and, possibly, changes those positions. When it comes to the decisions that government makes that affect our lives, informed consent should be a rule rather than the exception.