San Francisco Green Party Supervisor Candidate Questionnaire 2016
Due Date: Wednesday, August 31
1. There are 10 sections to this questionnaire. Each section
corresponds with the 10 Key Values of the Green Party.
2. Each section begins with a written question and ends with several
multiple-choice questions. Please don't skip the written question.
3. The multiple-choice questions are answered by checking the box in the
appropriate column to indicate which is closest to your position: + = Support / Agree / Yes
- = Oppose / Disagree / No
? = Undecided / Don't know / No opinion
4. The world is too complex to always break down neatly into
yes/no/maybe choices, so feel free to clarify any answers to multiple
choice questions with a few words.
Candidate Name: Jonathan Lyens
Phone Number: 415-857-1763
Web site: www.jonathanlyens.com
Name of Campaign Manager: Chris Gembinski
Are you receiving public financing: Yes, we have filed for public financing
Signed voluntary spending limit: Yes
Campaign Manager: Chris Gembinski
2nd, 3rd endorsements in District: None
Major Endorsements: Sierra Club (#2); Fiona Ma, Chair, California State Board of Equalization; Phil Ting, Assemblymember (#2); Carole Migden, Fmr. State Senator; Aaron Peskin, San Francisco Supervisor; Rafael Mandelman, President, City College Board of Trustees (#2); Richmond District Democratic Club (#2); FDR Democratic Club of SF
Favorite Incumbent Supervisor: Aaron Peskin
Least favorite: I expect to work with all Supervisors as equal colleagues
If the election were held today, Who would you support as Board President: Aaron Peskin
Who would be your second and third choices: Jane Kim, and David Campos
Who did you endorse for Mayor in 2015 (all 3 choices, if applicable): Ed Lee
Who did you endorse for Sheriff in 2015: Ross Mirkarimi
1) Grassroots Democracy: What are your thoughts on Instant Runoff
Voting, and District Elections? How have they worked to date? What
would you change in the future?
I am a huge supporter of IRV, and I believe, especially in crowded races,
it has the potential of decreasing negative campaigning. Additionally, it
enables grassroots candidates like myself, to increase their name I.D. and
break through the typical onslaught of big money that flows into local races.
We need to do a better job of educating voters on what IRV is and how it
works. Furthermore, we must begin to utilize IRV more effectively. As
progressives, we fought hard to adopt IRV in San Francisco, and we should
encourage our elected leaders, neighborhood and party affiliated
organizations to utilize rank choice in their endorsements more frequently.
+ - ?
[ X] [ ] [ ] Sub-government such as Neighborhood Assemblies,
Networks or District Councils
[ X] [ ] [ ] Some commissions should be democratically elected
[ ] [ X ] [ ] The Mayor should appoint all commissioners
[ X] [ ] [ ] Voters' right to recall elected officials
[ X] [ ] [ ] Residency requirements for elected officials
should be strictly enforced
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Ethics Commission should be disbanded
[ X] [ ] [ ] Ethics Commission meetings should be televised
[ X] [ ] [ ] Ethics Commission should prioritize investigating violations from well-funded campaigns
[ ] [ X ] [ ] My campaign accepts corporate contributions
[ ] [ ] [ X] My campaign accepts contributions from paid lobbyists or related entities having any interest in City and County of San Francisco
2) Ecological Wisdom: Please outline your view of the major
environmental and ecological issues facing San Francisco and your
proposed policies to address them.
Clean Power SF is the single most effective way our city leaders can have
an impact on our environment. In addition to clean power, I believe that many
of the most significant environmental issues impacting the Richmond
District and the city as a whole often manifest themselves as quality of
life issues for my neighbors. The city continuously fails to keep our
streets clean; polluting our streets, waterways, open spaces, parks and
beaches. Additionally, we must continue to strengthen alternatives to
single occupancy vehicle usage. Our dependence on cars increases traffic
and adds to congestion and air pollution when cars repeatedly circle the
block to find parking, or double park and block streets. As Supervisor, I
intend to move legislation that addresses traffic, increases the viability
of not relying on car ownership, cleans our streetsand expands and protects
our urban forest.
+ - ?
[ X ] [ ] [ ] Phasing out diesel tour buses
[ X] [ ] [ ] Public Power
[ X] [ ] [ ] Community Choice Aggregation
[ ] [ ] [ X] Tidal power that might be harnessed in San Francisco Bay should be publicly controlled
[X ] [ ] [ ] Reducing or eliminating parking minimums in new housing and commercial developments
[ ] [ ] [ X ] Congestion tolls on Doyle Drive
[ X] [ ] [ ] Natural Areas Program
[ ] [ ] [ X] Artificial turf on City-owned athletic fields
3) Social Justice:
A) What is your assessment of homelessness in San Francisco, and what
solutions do you propose?
The most important thing to point out in this discussion is that people
experiencing homelessness are people first and homeless second. We must
stop using these people as political footballs. I support the expansion of
the navigation centers program, and would like to work with our existing
shelter system to explore ways to loosen some of the restrictions on
homeless staying with partners and/or pets that make navigation centers so
Additionally, having spent four years in the Mayor’s Budget Office, during
the recession, I understand how critical it is to spend our tax dollars
wisely. I advocate a full performance audit of the funds given to
nonprofits and city departments that provide homeless services. With an
annual homelessness budget of $241m, we owe it to the tax payers, as well
as to the homeless community we are trying to help, to collect data on
what programs work and prioritize funding to those programs. Recent reports
are showing that while the homeless numbers as a whole largely remained
stagnant in recent years, the amount of homeless families has drastically
gone up. I certainly feel that part of addressing the issue of homelessness
is prioritizing children that do not have homes.
+ - ?
[ X] [ ] [ ] Project Homeless Connect
[ X] [ ] [ ] Care Not Cash
[ X] [ ] [ ] Community courts
[ X] [ ] [ ] Healthy SF
[ X] [ ] [ ] SF's sick leave requirements
[ ] [ ] [ X] Law against sitting down on SF sidewalks
B) What are your views on housing affordability, what public sector strategies have worked, which have failed, and what are your proposals?
I oppose the "build baby build" strategy of trickle down housing economics
advocated by some in City Hall, and reject the idea that simply building
housing for the highest income earners amongst us will somehow make the
older housing affordable for the rest of us. I support new housing
construction in areas that make sense, that do not impact existing rent
controlled units and achieve aggressive affordable, inclusionary percentages
We need to continue building more housing in areas that make sense and do
not impact neighborhood character, but prioritize affordable housing
rent control at all costs. I also support Ellis Act and Costa Hawkins
reforms to prevent outside speculation from driving up rents. In addition,
we need to make sure that home sharing platforms are adhering to city laws
and are regulated. Many homes are being flipped or taken off the market to
create "amateur hotels" and lower our city's affordable housing supply.
+ - ?
[ X ] [ ] [ ] Impacts of all new development should be paid for in advance by fees on developers
[ X] [ ] [ ] Community Land Trusts
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Rent Control is too strong
[ ] [ ] [X ] Elected Rent Board
[ ] [ ] [ X] Condo conversion is currently too difficult
4) Nonviolence: What are your solutions for SFPD accountability while
making the streets safer?
There is no doubt we have a lack of trust between the SFPD and a myriad of
communities in SF. I feel personally invested in this issue, not only as an
ally to communities of color, but also due to the fact that the disability
community has been disproportionately victimized by police violence. My
recent medium blog post
articulates my belief that we need community involvement in the selection of our next
police chief and in turn, police reform.
I do support body cameras for the SFPD, and believe that used effectively,
they can be valuable tools in deciphering conflicts. I oppose tasers for
the SFPD, as a swapping of weapons is not a solution for police violence.
While tasers may be seen as an easy answer to police shootings, they do not
address the fundamental issue at hand. Our focus should be more holistic -
including education and de-escalation techniques for police. While tasers
may be an appropriate addition at some point, their introduction now will
further erode police-community relations.
+ - ?
[ X] [ ] [ ] Prioritize SFPD enforcement of moving violations
[ X] [ ] [ ] Support expansion of foot patrols
[ X] [ ] [ ] Demand stricter accountability in future MOUs with the SFPD
[ X] [ ] [ ] The Board of Supervisors should be able to set policies and priorities for the SFPD through legislation
[ ] [X ] [ ] Support a public safety program modeled after
NYC's "Stop and Frisk."
5) Decentralization: What are your thoughts on the Kaufman Charter
of 1996? Does it need revisiting?
Our current "Strong Mayor" form of government does not empower the
Board of Supervisors or our neighborhood voices in our policy making processes, nor the
implementation of those policies. A perfect example of the imbalance of our
current system is the annual budget process. Currently, the Board of
Supervisors essentially has two weeks to analyze the Mayor's budget
proposal and make all changes. Two weeks to truly review $9.6 billion is
unreasonable, and effectively muzzles the voices of our neighborhood
representatives. I have proposed that the budget process be reformed to
require the Mayor to present his annual budget in April, which would give
the Board of Supervisors several more weeks to review and amend the Mayor's
proposal from their current 2 week window.
+ - ?
[ ] [ ] [ X ] Bring the Housing Authority under the Board of Supervisors
[ X] [ ] [ ] Will you create formal district councils to advise you?
[ ] [ ] [X ] Charter amendment allowing voters to choose the replacement of an elected official being recalled on the same ballot as the recall vote
[ X] [ ] [ ] Immediately implement open-source voting system on the local level
6) Community Based Economics: What economic policies, including
taxation and land use, would you propose that would drive capital into
our communities and keep that capital here for residents?
As a city we must do a better job of ensuring our commercial corridors thrive
and expand. I support a progressive tax structure that ensures larger
corporations pay their fair share in taxes. Further, I support impact fees
on development that truly fund the infrastructure needs based on additional
+ - ?
[ X] [ ] [ ] Legislation limiting formula retail outlets/chain-stores
[ X] [ ] [ ] Conditional Use permit required for big box stores
[ X] [ ] [ ] Municipal broadband
[ X] [ ] [ ] Local hiring requirements should be enforced
[ ] [ ] [ X ] Conversion of some golf courses into soccer fields
[ X] [ ] [ ] Prop 13 limits on tax increases should apply only to residential properties
7) Feminism: Do you believe women are underrepresented in city
government? If so, why do you believe this is the case? Is this a
bad thing, and if so, what would you do to remedy the situation?
I believe strongly that our elected leaders should reflect the diversity of
our city, and I'm proud of the work that I have done to support women
running for the SF Board of Supervisors. As President of the FDR Democratic
Club of SF, for seniors and people with disabilities, I have supported many
female candidates for Supervisor through phone banks, precinct walks and
nearly 100,000 pieces of direct mail. Our city is stronger when we draw our
leadership from our strength of diversity.
+ - ?
[ X] [ ] [ ] The City should help SFUSD provide child care for children of working parents
[ X] [ ] [ ] The DPH should provide reproductive health services
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Require parental consent for minors seeking an abortion
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Require parental notification for minors seeking an abortion
8) Respect for Diversity: Tell us what you believe are the best and the
worst aspects of San Francisco's diversity. How would you try to
protect the best while trying to change the worst?
Growing up as a person with a disability in North Carolina, I longed for a
place where I could be seen as an equal, while also being valued for the
diversity of perspective that my disability allowed me to bring to the
table. For me, San Francisco was that place, and I moved here chasing that
dream. Now, nearly eleven years later, we are quite literally fighting to
protect the heart and soul of our city from being evicted from San
Francisco. We are continually seeing our seniors, people with disabilities,
people of color and working class families pushed out and left behind. For
decades, San Francisco has been a city of acceptance and openness; the
birth place of the civil rights movements for the LGBT and disability
communities and so much more. Now, we are a city with an ever widening
opportunity gap, where housing affordability remains allusive for many of
us and the homeless are demonized for their poverty. Our city is in
desperate need of leaders with the willingness and experience needed to
stand for those without a voice in city government. As a person with a
disability, I have spent my entire life advocating for the “little guy”,
and look forward to standing for the marginalized in our city and fighting
to ensure San Francisco remains the shining city on the hill it was for me
so many years ago.
+ - ?
[ X] [ ] [ ] Multilingual government and education
[ X] [ ] [ ] Undocumented immigrants should have equal access to education and health care
[ X] [ ] [ ] Non-citizen residents should be able to vote in all local elections
[ X] [ ] [ ] Full rights for transgender persons
[ ] [ ] [ X] Boards and commissions now reflect the ethnic diversity of San Francisco
[ ] [ ] [ X] Boards and commissions now reflect the political diversity of San Francisco
[ X] [ ] [ ] My campaign reflects the diversity of San Francisco
9) Global and Personal Responsibility:
A) What are your thoughts on the
Board of Supervisors taking positions on state, national and
Our city's elected leaders have an ability to make change on many issues
that would traditionally fall into state, national and even international
policy areas. Great examples where legislation passed by the San Francisco
Board of Supervisors has made real impact are universal healthcare,
employers providing equal benefits to same-sex couples, water conservation,
environmental protectionand many others. Indeed, much of our city’s success
in these areas has come when the Board of Supervisors stepped up in the
face of inaction at the state and national level. However, I am less
convinced that occupying city time and resources on heart-felt resolutions
are often the best use of taxpayer dollars and can detract from the duties
of our elected leaders.
+ - ?
[ ] [ X ] [ ] City government cooperating with the PATRIOT Act
[ ] [ X ] [ ] City government cooperating with ICE/Secure Communities
[ ] [ ] [ X ] City government should boycott Israel until it complies with UN resolutions
[ ] [ X ] [ ] SF supervisors should take a position on offshore oil drilling outside CA
B) Please describe how you make your political decisions. What is the
main basis for your decision making (e.g., consultation with your
constituents, political consultants, colleagues, unions, businesses,
donors, or your gut feelings)?
Elected leaders have a responsibility to study every issue and understand
the impact of each decision from all sides. Making decisions or taking
votes on issues through a single perspective does a disservice to all San
Franciscans. No single group or faction has a monopoly on what is right for
our City. As Supervisor I will continuously engage the community and
maintain an open door policy on any issue. It is often the people on the
ground, those closest to an issue, that have the best perspective. As
Supervisor, I will actively seek the counsel of all stakeholders, including
labor, community based organizations, political groups and neighborhood
leaders, as well as the support of my family and friends. When I joined the
Mayor's Budget Office at the beginning of the recession, our city faced
historic and repeated budget deficits that needed to be balanced. I
advocated for the office to begin community outreach on our mounting fiscal
challenges. We began educating the public on the city's budget challenges,
sought ideas from our city employees about how the city could save money,
and collaborated with our nonprofit service providers on how to work
smarter with our scarce financial resources.
[ ] [ ] [ X ] Fleet Week and the Blue Angels flyover
[ ] [ X ] [ ] In a severe recession, environmental regulations should be suspended to create jobs
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Business taxes are too high
10) Sustainability: What does the Transit First City Charter provision
mean to you? How has Transit First fared in recent years, and how would
you enforce that Charter Provision if elected?
As our city continues to grow we simply cannot handle each resident owning
their own car. However, particularly in the Richmond District, 100% reliability
on Muni is not practical for everyone. We must be aggressive but judicious
in our efforts to get people out of their cars by reducing parking
allotment, but also making alternative transportation more reliable for
everyone. This is an area where our families are particularly hit hard, as
they continue to see the cost of car ownership increasing but Muni
reliability falling flat.
As a person with a disability I depend on Muni every day. Our privatization
of public bus stops clogs our system, slows travel time and reduces access
to Muni; particularly for seniors and people with disabilities. We also
need to do more to address growing traffic issues. I fully support
strengthening Muni, increasing our network of bike lanes and expanding car
and bike share options.
+ - ?
[ X] [ ] [ ] MUNI should be funded greater levels and be free to the rider
[ ] [ ] [ X ] Downtown Transit Assessment Tax to support MUNI
[ ] [ ] [ X ] Citywide Transit Assessment Tax to support MUNI
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Higher residential construction along neighborhood transit corridors, which may include raising height limits by two to three stories.
[ ] [ X] [ ] State law change that lets bicycles treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs
[ X] [ ] [ ] I ride MUNI, bicycle and/or walk instead of driving on a regular basis
[ X] [ ] [ ] Bus Rapid Transit on Geary
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Allow residents to park on the sidewalk without getting a ticket, unless their neighbors complain
[ X] [ ] [ ] Congestion pricing for parking
[ ] [ ] [ X ] Power more City vehicles using corn-based ethanol
[ ] [ ] [ X] Residents should be allowed to park in the street in front of their own driveway for free
[ ] [ X] [ ] Support expanding parking meter hours to include later evening hours and weekends
[ X] [ ] [ ] Remove parking spots and car lanes to create dedicated bike and bus lanes or wider sidewalks
Your positions on selected current and past Propositions:
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Nov 2016 Prohibiting tents on public sidewalks
[ X] [ ] [ ] Nov 2016 Neighborhood crime unit
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Nov 2016 Vacancy appointments
[ X] [ ] [ ] Nov 2016 16-17 y.o. voting, local elections
[ X] [ ] [ ] Nov 2016 Non-citizen voting, school board
[ X] [ ] [ ] Nov 2016 Prop 62 (Ending Death Penalty)
[ X ] [ ] [ ] June 2016 Prop B (Rec and Park legislation)
[ X] [ ] [ ] 2015 Prop F (Short Term Rental Regulation)
[ X] [ ] [ ] 2015 Prop I (Mission Luxury Housing Moratorium)
[ ] [ ] [ X] Nov 2014 Prop H (Natural Grass in Parks)
[ X] [ ] [ ] June 2014 Prop B (Waterfront Height Limits)
[ X ] [ ] [ ] 2011 Prop C (Mayor's Pension measure)
[ ] [ X ] [ ] 2011 Prop D (Adachi's Pension measure)
[ ] [ X ] [ ] 2010 Prop L (Ban on Sitting on Sidewalks)
[ X ] [ ] [ ] 2010 Prop M (Foot Patrols)