When it comes to good government, dysfunction and disgrace can occasionally inspire some of the brightest ideas for reform. And getting the whole community involved in the cleanup — through the ballot box — can be one way to make those changes happen faster. Though the parallels are not exact, the tiny scandal-ridden city of Bell, near Los Angeles, could hold keys to fixing a culture of corruption that has insinuated itself deep in the heart of San Francisco’s massive and opaque bureaucracy.
President Trump has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election. At all levels, candidates have been responding to this in part by encouraging constituents to vote. But Knight Foundation research into voter participation in the 2016 presidential election found that around 43% of eligible voters did not cast a ballot.
In this race, we asked candidates: “What are your top priorities for BART as the pandemic continues and after shelter-in-place orders are lifted?” Listen to their answers below.
In this race, we asked candidates: “What is your plan for students who have fallen behind or struggled in school as a result of distance learning and other effects of the pandemic?”
In this race, we asked candidates: “According to data from the 2012-2016 American Communities Survey, this district has the highest proportion of residents whose language spoken at home is not English, and the second-highest proportions of Asian and Latino residents, among all the supervisorial districts. How will you advocate for these communities at City Hall?”
In this race, we asked candidates: “This district has one of the highest proportions of housing units that are owner-occupied in the city, according to 2012-2016 Census Bureau data. It is also among the higher-income districts in the city. To what extent is protecting homeowners who live in their properties a priority for you in the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and how will you ensure they stay safe in their homes?”
In this race, we asked candidates: “Opinions in this district have been deeply divided on the topic of city-approved encampments for people experiencing homelessness and whether or how the city should provide tents, hotel rooms or other accommodations for homeless people. How should City Hall respond to the need for shelter in this district and the concerns of business owners and housed residents?”
In this race, we asked candidates: “San Francisco’s permitting process for both new development, like housing, and new uses of existing space, like new businesses, is complex and lengthy. What opportunities for reforming that process do you see, and what parts of the process do you think are important and should be preserved?”
In this race, we asked candidates: “The coronavirus pandemic has led to economic recession and has overwhelmed some city resources, like financial assistance for small businesses, while others, like public transportation, are cut back. With all this in mind, what do you think City Hall should prioritize to support small business owners?”
In these races for BART Board for District 9 and District 7, we asked candidates: “What are your top priorities for BART as the pandemic continues and after shelter-in-place orders are lifted?”
Three Bay Area counties — San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara — will be voting on Measure RR. This is a one-eighth-cent sales tax meant to provide critical funding for Caltrain. Though transit advocates have warned the rail service may shut down if the measure is not approved, it is not an emergency measure brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.