The observation that “Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner” contains some truth. But actually, anyone who votes can be counted among the wolves making the decisions.
The last time The City held a mayoral election, only 35 percent of registered voters bothered to vote — 270,133 people had better things to do (and that doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands who didn’t even register). Two years ago, only about one in four registered voters exercised their franchise.
If San Franciscans truly care about the future of their city, there will be a strong turnout Tuesday. The City is at a crossroads with much hanging in the balance.
Will San Francisco compete and thrive in the 21st century with effective leadership, a strong economy and sound fiscal management?
First and foremost is the determination of the next mayor. Recent events in Oakland show how important it is to have strong and wise leadership at the top. We have endorsed Ed Lee, who has demonstrated for the past year that he can do the job. But either City Attorney Dennis Herrera or former Supervisor Bevan Dufty also would serve San Francisco effectively for the next four years.
With the state transferring thousands of inmates from prisons to local jurisdictions, it’s never been more important that the right people are in charge of law enforcement. We support Chris Cunnie for sheriff, and District Attorney George Gascón should remain D.A.
There also is a lot of money at stake in Tuesday’s election. A $480 million budget deficit is projected for fiscal year 2012-13, and a $642 million deficit projected for fiscal year 2013-14 — which amounts to nearly $800 for every San Franciscan, according to a city controller’s report in April.
Either of the two pension reform measures, C and D, would help plug that budget gap. It’s vital that one of them receives a majority vote in order to begin reining in the out-of-control city employee benefit system. But we support Prop. C over D because it includes health care reform, is supported by city employees and stands a better chance of winning against a legal challenge.
Other propositions will hit San Franciscans where it hurts most — the pocketbook. They should protect themselves by voting down Prop. B, the $248 million road repair bond, as well as Prop. G, the half-cent sales tax hike.
In a democracy, you get the leaders you deserve, and you also get the city that you deserve. San Franciscans deserve the best. Choose wisely Tuesday.
San Francisco Examiner endorsements
First choice: Ed Lee
Second choice: Dennis Herrera
Third choice: Bevan Dufty
San Francisco propositions
Prop. A (School bonds): YES
Prop. B (Road repaving and street safety bonds): NO
Prop. C (City pension and health care benefits): YES
Prop. D (City pension benefits): NO
Prop. E (Amending or repealing legislative initiative ordinances and declarations of policy): YES
Prop. F (Campaign consultant ordinance): YES
Prop. G (Sales tax): NO