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Voting Guide: San Francisco Special Election, February 15, 2022

Even special elections have so many choices to make!
Voting by GIF 🗳️
🤔 What’s this election?
San Francisco has a special election February 15, 2022 due to a few vacancies and a school board recall effort (this is totally separate from the Gavin Newsom recall, which thankfully failed last year). As always, you , but you can register to vote.
Fewer people vote in off-cycle elections. Thus, your vote counts more than usual.
🏠 Philosophy (why use this guide)
This voting guide is about local San Francisco/Bay Area/California issues. It’s based on my pro-housing, transportation, and justice policy lens to these issues where the “Democratic” or “Republican” positions can be less clear ー and yet day-to-day, local policy deeply impacts how people live and work.
Why trust this guide? First, if your policy viewpoint aligns to mine, I suspect this guide can be a “shortcut” through the plethora of candidates and ballot measures. Second, I have followed these issues extensively for years and in the Bay Area in particular. I have worked directly on urban technology since 2014 and over the course of that work, met with numerous government officials, community groups, and other interested parties in cities to understand these issues from all sides.
Key policy beliefs:
1. We need more housing across income levels now.
I see today’s housing policy as a core mechanism reinforcing racial and economic inequality. Scarce, expensive housing means fewer economic opportunities and financial security for all, but especially for those with the least means. We need to solve for the disproportionate impact of displacement on poorer communities, and we also need to balance the needs of the “future residents” who are blocked from cities due to today’s policies, but could access them in the years to come with more just policies.
2. Transportation should be people-first, not car-first.
Cars, including rideshare, have an important role. However, they we need to in cities, use nearly 25% of many city’s land mass (e.g. SF or NYC), and are heavily subsidized through free roadway use and car storage (e.g. cheep parking). Public transportation, bikes/micromobility, and other creative solutions are how we’ll build a livable city and enable people from all areas of a city to access economic opportunity and community. I’m not dogmatic on these, but we should (Also, yes, we’re in COVID. But we’re building infrastructure for decades ahead, not just the next year).
3. In a just society, anyone irrespective of race, wealth can live freely and access opportunity.
This ties to issues of criminal and climate justice and worker protections. It also ties to wealth inequality, which the above issues exacerbate today. Note: in California, many decades-old “environmental protections” are actually mechanisms to implement segregation under a different name and continue to be used to exclude people from communities.
4. Competitive markets and an un-corrupt government can help enable the above.

Please share feedback at . While I’m using Coda to write this and happen to work there, this is a purely personal project. All views are my own.

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💁‍♂️ Recommendations
CA Assembly, District 17, Primary (eastern SF only): Bilal Mahmood
SF Board of Education Recall: Yes to all three
SF Assessor-Recorder, Primary: Joaquín Torres


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