San Francisco Green Party Supervisor Candidate Questionnaire 2012


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.

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: JOHN RIZZO
Phone Number: 751-1615
Web site:
Name of Campaign Manager: Rob Chua
Are you receiving public financing: YES
Signed voluntary spending limit: YES
Campaign Manager: Rob Chua
2nd, 3rd endorsements in District:
Major Endorsements: Tom Ammiano, Carole Migden, Leland Yee, David Campos, Eric Mar, SEIU 1021, Sierra Club, Eileen Hansen (former Ethics Commissioner), Mark Sanchez (former school board president)

Favorite Incumbent Supervisor: David Campos
Least favorite: Mark Farrell
If the election were held today, Who would you support as Board President: David Campos
Who would be your second and third choices: Avalos, Mar
Who did you support for Mayor in 2011: John Avalos and Leland Yee

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?

District elections are absolutely crucial for effecting adequate representation of minority populations in accordance with the Voting Rights Act. It has also enabled more progressive candidates to be elected.
I opposed the proposition that my opponent supported for a while of replacing Instant Runoff Voting with low-turnout September primary that required an undemocratic 65% -- nearly 2/3rds -- to win. IRV has saved the city money that can be used on city services. Though the current system isn't perfect and has drawbacks, but the proposed replacement proposed by my opponent would disenfranchise voters and to skew results more conservatively.

+ - ?
[ ] [ ] [ ] Sheriff Mirkarimi should be restored to office.
This does not lend itself to a yes or no answer. I take all cases of domestic violence seriously, and haven't read the transcripts of the Ethics Commission hearings. But I have observed that there are some odd things about this issue that make it appear that the mayor may be acting with an agenda. For instance, in most cases of official misconduct, the person under suspension is suspended with pay until the guilt or innocence is determined. Also questionable was the supposed "bomb threat" when the mayor was asked about his own potential perjury -- a "bomb threat" that required only the mayor to be removed from the room. He was never brought back to answer the questions.

[ ] [ ] [ ? ] Sub-government such as Neighborhood Assemblies, Networks or District Councils
I'm not familiar with this concept or with what duties these entities would have. If the idea is to advise each supervisor on district issues, I think that could be beneficial to the residents and to the supervisor.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Some commissions should be democratically elected.
Yes, I have been promoting this for years. The SF PUC and the MTA should be elected, as are other similar boards. East Bay Municiple Utility District and the Marin Water District are both water agencies like the SF PUC, but with elected boards. AC Transit in the East Bay is similar to Muni, but has an elected Board.

[ ] [ - ] [ ] The Mayor should appoint all commissioners.
Absolutely not. Although there are some good commissioners appointed by the mayor, we need at least some commissioners who are independent of the mayor and city hall staff.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Residency requirements for elected officials should be strictly enforced.

[ ] [ - ] [ ] Ethics Commission should be disbanded.
Ethics has done a poor job -- it did nothing about the Phil Day money laundering at City College in 2007, even though Day pleaded guilty to 3 felonies. But it should be reconfigured and strengthened.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Ethics Commission meetings should be televised.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Ethics Commission should prioritize investigating violations from well-funded campaigns.
Yes. Ethics should be doing its own investigation of the improprieties regarding the Mayor's race and Run Ed Run.

[ ] [ - ] [ ] My campaign accepts corporate contributions

[ ] [ - ] [ ] My campaign accepts contributions from paid lobbyists or related entities having any interest in City and County of San Francisco
No. Most contributions to my campaign are small.

[ ] [ - ] [ ] My supervisorial campaign is using leftover funds from a DCCC campaign
No. I've never run for DCCC, and have no intention of doing so.

2) Ecological Wisdom: Please outline your view of the major environmental and ecological issues facing San Francisco and your proposed policies to address them.

Of all the candidates, I have the longest and deepest record of environmental accomplishments, both as an environmental activist and leader with the Sierra Club and as an elected official at the College Board. At the Board of Supervisors, I will be aggressive in bringing groundbreaking new environmental legislation to the Board. There are many environmental issues I would work on as supervisor, including parks, biodiversity, water conservation, and waterfront preservation, but here are three important issues:
Smart Growth Development. Although this encompasses a number of issues, they are tied together with the question of how the city will grow sustainably. These are issues of infill development and densification, housing and transit, and infrastructure, and how to grow all together.
Affordable housing is a central component to smart growth development, and for the prevention of sprawl in the open space outside of the city. San Francisco needs a housing plan created through a legitimate process with adequate data. If created correctly, such a plan should give us a basis on which to predict the sustainable population growth. Currently, the housing that is being built is not the housing that is needed. Affordable, multiple-bedroom (family) housing is in short supply but is not being built. Most of the housing being built is market rate – or above market rate, such as 8 Washington – and smaller units.
In addition to housing, smart growth needs to include infrastructure growth, in terms of transit, water, power, city parks and open space, which all need investment to support future growth. Investment in muni is not keeping up with development. For new development projects, we need investment on the bus lines that the development project affects, and at the time that the development is built—not years down the road.
Muni. We must increase service levels above what they are now. The two previous rounds of service cuts have become permanent.
SPUR once estimated that MTA would need an additional $50-$150 million annually to provide adequate service. First, I would move to end the practice of city departments issuing "work orders" to siphon off Muni funding. I would also seek more tax revenue, including a dedicate transit funding stream in a general tax measure.
I would also like to look at management operations, and have performance audits conducted on management to find out what works and what doesn't. I believe there is money to be found in operations. I also believe management has not been looked at as a source of service problems with Muni.
Energy. Because of the dire state of global warming, every city needs to do its share to reduce its carbon footprint, use less energy, and use cleaner energy. Growing the clean energy industry locally not only creates jobs but helps the industry in California, bringing down prices and rewarding innovation. There is much the city can do in energy, such as stimulating the industry, doing creating energy production itself, and doing energy conservation retrofitting on a massive scale, as the 2007 Community Choice Aggregation plan would do.
Since Tom Ammiano was Supervisor, I have been working to get Community Choice Aggregation off the ground. I helped write the 2007 ordinance and have helped write various resolutions at the SF PUC. I also was the Sierra Club's lead person on getting GoSolarSF through the Board, and the lead in defending it recently from cuts. I also work on various other green energy projects with the City as a Sierra Club advocate and at City College.
+ - ?
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Phasing out diesel tour buses

I have worked to reduce Muni's diesel fleet, and the same should apply to private buses. A number of years ago, I spent a lot of time as the Sierra Club's lead in trying to get Muni to get cleaner buses. This effort failed, so we put on the ballot Proposition I, which required muni to retire its dirtiest diesel buses. I campaigned for Prop I. This passed, the result of which was the purchase of the hybrid buses now in service.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Public Power
Yes. I helped draft Proposition H and worked on the campaign.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Community Choice Aggregation
I don't believe there is anyone in the City and County of San Francisco who has been working for Community Choice Aggregation longer than I have. I have been one of the lead advocates of CCA since it's inception. I worked with Tom Ammiano on it when he was supervisor, and helped draft the 2007 ordinance. I was still going to meetings about it until earlier this year, but I just participated in an advocate visit to one of the supervisors with the Sierra Club just the other day.
I am not excited with the prospect of Shell being used in the launch phase, and was among the advocates that tried to dissuade the city from taking that approach. But we have been able to make the city committee to a local build-out of city-owned renewable power, which will eventually become the main source of electricity for the CCA.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Tidal power that might be harnessed in San Francisco Bay should be publicly controlled.
[ ] [ ] [ ] New runways in the bay at SFO
I was part of the Sierra Club team that worked to defeat Willie Brown's proposal for filling in the Bay for runways. We worked with other environmental and other groups. I worked to pass Aaron Peskin's ballot measure that required a vote of the people for Bay fill projects over a certain size, which was the death-knell of this proposal.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Reducing or eliminating parking minimums in new housing and commercial developments
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Congestion tolls on Doyle Drive
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Natural Areas Program
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Artificial turf on City-owned athletic fields
I have spent time fighting the turf-and-lighting proposed project at Ocean Beach. It violates the California Coastal Act

3) Social Justice: A) What is your assessment of homelessness in San Francisco, and what solutions do you propose?

With the great recession, homelessness has greatly increased in the US, including in San Francisco. We deal with homelessness with a network of city services and services from non-profit community based organizations. I would like to add some oversight of these CBOs and some transparency in their operations. I would also like to audit some of the CBOs and city agencies to see if they are being effective, of if they could be more effective. Right now, we don't know the answer to these questions.

+ - ?
[ ] [ ] [ ] Project Homeless Connect
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Care Not Cash.
[ ] [ ] [ ] Community courts
[ + ] [ ] [ ] SF's minimum wage law
[ + ] [ ] [ ] SF's health care mandate
Additionally, restaurants should not be allowed to add an extra fee to bills
[ ] [ ] [ ? ] SF's sick leave requirements
[ ] [ - ] [ ] 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?

San Francisco isn't building anywhere near the amount of affordable housing that is required. I support the idea of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Such funds are used to create affordable housing in 625 cities, including Los Angeles, and in 40 states.

One thing I will work for is the inclusion of affordable housing in market rate or luxury housing developments. I would work to end the practice of enabling developers to pay into an affordable housing fund instead of including affordable housing in their projects. Because these funds sit unused for years, the value of the funds is reduced. Construction inflation often is higher than general inflation or interest rates, which reduces the number of housing units the funding can build. Requiring the inclusion of affordable housing in the project would avoid the wait and loss of fund value, would get the affordable housing built sooner, and would provide a more diverse community in the area of the building project.

+ - ?
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Impacts of all new development should be paid for in advance by fees on developers
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Community Land Trust
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Rent Control is too strong

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Elected Rent Board
Berkeley has an elected Rent Board.
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Amnesty for illegal in-law apartments
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Condo conversion is currently too difficult

4) Nonviolence: What are your solutions for SFPD accountability while making the streets safer?

I believe that the path to safer streets is multi-faceted. First is community policing with foot patrols; we must get police officers out of their cars. Next, we must use police officers with cultural competency who can recognize the difference between cultural norms and actual criminal behavior, and who can relate to residents on a personal level. The city also needs to work with early childhood education, because falling behind at an early age propagates disadvantage throughout one's life. Also key is educational outreach to youth, to offer opportunities to people who are unaware of what exists.

Gang Injunctions have not proven to be effective in assuring public safety, and they create conditions that are actually detrimental to public safety. They split family members apart by preventing them from visiting one another. They separate people from the resources of their own community. And they unfairly target people by race, as well as young people, without due process. Gang Injunctions violate people's right to due process and the freedom to peaceably assemble, as with the so-called "Safety Zones." The fact that many of the injunction's targets are not gang members, or are rehabilitated members of our society only adds to the problematic nature of gang injunctions.

The City Attorney's figures on the effectiveness of the gang injunctions are misleading at best. They focus on number of crimes committed by individuals named in the injunction at one period in time, not on the overall crime rate. The tragic murder of a 20-year-old Fillmore resident in April shows that public safety is still a problem. And in last year's multiple gang shootings in the Mission District injunction zone, only 1 in 4 involved were on the gang injunction list.

+ - ?
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Prioritize SFPD enforcement of moving violations
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Support expansion of foot patrols
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Demand stricter accountability in future MOUs with the SFPD
[ + ] [ ] [ ] The Board of Supervisors should be able to set policies and priorities for the SFPD through legislation
[ ] [ - ] [ - ] Support a public safety program modeled after NYC's "Stop and Frisk."

Mayor Ed Lee's proposal for Stop and Frisk is absurd, given the abysmal failure it has been in New York City, where hundreds of thousands of residents, mostly people of color, are being harassed by police, with very few guns being found.

5) Decentralization: What are your thoughts on the Kaufman Charter of 1996? Does it need revisiting?

+ - ?
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Bring the Housing Authority under the Board of Supervisors
Yes, this would bring accountability to a chronically problematic agency.
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Will you create formal district councils to advise you?
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Two aides for each Supervisor are sufficient
No. Supervisors now have the ability to vote to raise the limit. It is now 3, which is still too little, when the mayor can have hundreds of staff.
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Charter amendment allowing voters to choose the replacement of an elected official being recalled on the same ballot as the recall vote

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?

+ - ?
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Legislation limiting formula retail outlets/chain-stores
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Conditional Use permit required for big box stores
[ ] [ - ] [ ] The biotech payroll tax break
Tax breaks do not create jobs.
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Municipal broadband
I think wired broadband should be considered.
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Local hiring requirements should be enforced
Two years before the Board of Supervisors enacted local hiring, I enacted local hiring at City College for District construction projects. The program has been very suceessful.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Conversion of some golf courses into soccer fields
And here I though this was my idea! A few years ago I created a small campaign around this issue a few years ago. I put together a group of interested groups and tried to convince supervisors to support this. We got some language from Rec and Park, but we failed when the Golf lobby came down hard and killed the idea.

As supervisor, I will resurrect this idea. San Francisco has more golf courses as a percentage of park land – 25% -- than other major cities. Most of the course lose money.

[ ] [ ] [ ] Prop 13 limits on tax increases should apply only to residential properties
Prop 13 left a huge loophole in commercial property. Close that loophole, and the large part of the state's budget problems could be solved. Close the loophole, and we could refund education in this state.

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?

Yes. More women should be appointed to commissions. Women are really underrepresented as department heads, and the numbers here have gone down. This is the mayor's purview, but we can urge the mayor to keep this in mind.
+ - ?
[ + ] [ ] [ ] The City should help SFUSD provide child care for children of working parents
[ + ] [ ] [ ] The DPH should provide reproductive health services
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Require parental consent for minors seeking an abortion
[ ] [ - ] [ ] 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?

I have worked for diversity as a Board member at City College. In April, the Board passed a Diversity Blueprint, a working plan for increasing diversity in hiring staff. I have worked to try to increase the effectiveness of the District's small business/minority owned business program for construction projects, which attempts to increase diversity of contractors on building projects. My Local Hiring policy focuses on hiring people from disadvantaged neighborhoods, and tracks the diversity of the construction workforce.

+ - ?
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Multilingual government and education
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Undocumented immigrants should have equal access to education and health care
AB 540 grants access of undocumented immigrants to state colleges. At City College, I have supported supplying AB 540 students with student services. I also sponsored a resolution of the Board of Trustees urging our congressional delegation to support the Dream Act.

[ ] [ ] [ ] Non-citizen residents should be able to vote in all local elections
A nice idea that was actually in force at times in the 19th century, but federal and state law currently prohibits this, and it's not likely to change.
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Full rights for transgender persons
I fought for the inclusion of gender-neutral restrooms in the District's new Chinatown North Beach Campus. A small but importants step.
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Boards and commissions now reflect the ethnic diversity of San Francisco
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Boards and commissions now reflect the political diversity of San Francisco
[ + ] [ ] [ ] My campaign reflects the diversity of San Francisco

9) Global and Personal Responsibility: What are your thoughts on the Board of Supervisors taking positions on state, national and international issues?

I am generally not in favor of the Board of Supervisors debating issues that they have no effect over. If there is no relation to city practices, there is not consequence.

+ - ?
[ ] [ - ] [ ] City government cooperating with the PATRIOT Act
[ ] [ - ] [ ] City government cooperating with ICE
Cases working their way through the courts may show that it is unconstitutional for local law enforcement officials to be forced to do the work of federal agents.

The city's 23-year-old Sanctuary Ordinance is threatened because of S-Comm. The ACLU is highly critical of S-Comm, saying that it is complicit with racial profiling and even unlawfully imprisons US citizens. S-Comm targets Latinos almost exclusively even though non-Latinos make up one quarter of undocumented residents.

Tom Ammiano's TRUST Act (AB 1081) would limit the ability of local law enforcement to comply with S-Comm by requiring local law enforcement to not detain low-level offenders, and only referring people who commit serious felonies to immigration. I would quickly introduce legislation to enact AB 1801 locally. Following AB 1081 would put the city in compliance with state law (should the governor sign it), putting San Francisco on better legal footing. But even if the governor vetos AB 1801, it provides a model that San Francisco can follow.

[ ] [ - ] [ ] City government should boycott Arizona until policies are changed
[ ] [ - ] [ ] City government should boycott Israel until policies are changed
I just don't believe boycotts like these are effective. Other than a press release, they don't send a message, either. I deplore the treatment of Palestinians, but there are instances of injustice all over the world: rising anti-Semitism in Hungary and other European countries, police brutality and suppression of workers rights in Great Britain, atrocities by the Sudanese government.

[ ] [ _ ] [ ] Fleet Week and the Blue Angels flyover
Aside from the symbolic effect of glorifying weopons of war, the flyovers and rehearsals are a danger to the city. A single crash while executing dangerous maneuvers would devastated an entire neighborhood. A few years ago, a whole squadron of similar military plans all crashed in the southwest.
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Business taxes are too high
[ ] [ _ ] [ ] In a severe recession, environmental regulations should be suspended to create jobs
No. Some environmental regulations actually create jobs. For instance, air pollution regulations have created an American industry that produces pollution control devices.

[ ] [ ] [ ] SF supervisors should take a position on offshore oil drilling outside CA

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?

The Charter says that Transit First is not just the responsibility of MTA or Planning. The Charter says that Transit First is the responsibility of "all officers, boards, commissions, and departments." This means that all decisions by all city government entities must prioritize public transit, bike transit, and pedestrian traffic over automobile traffic. If elected, I will point this out when projects from various departments come to the Board.

This is not happening. For instance, Recreation and Parks is adding parking to Golden Gate Park, in violation of 1998's Proposition J. The Planning Department exempts projects from the limitations in off-street parking that the Transit First policy requires. This is true with the 8 Washington project (which I oppose).

Looking specifically at MTA, Transit First requires that MTA receive more funding than it is currently receiving.

+ - ?
[ + ] [ ] [ ] MUNI should be funded greater levels and be free to the rider
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Downtown Transit Assessment Tax to support MUNI
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Citywide Transit Assessment Tax to support MUNI
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Higher residential construction along neighborhood transit corridors, which may include raising height limits by two to three stories.
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Diversion of money set aside for seismic retofit projects into a solar energy incentives program
[ + ] [ ] [ ] State law change that lets bicycles treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs
[ + ] [ ] [ ] I ride MUNI, bicycle and/or walk instead of driving on a regular basis
Yes. I don't own a car. I have not owned a car since 1987.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] Bus Rapid Transit on Geary
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Allow residents to park on the sidewalk without getting a ticket, unless their neighbors complain
No. Parking on the sidewalk is illegal because it blocks access to the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street, and violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

[ + ] [ ] [ ] I agree with the recommendations in the Peak Oil Task Force Report
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Congestion pricing for parking
[ ] [ - ] [ ] Power more City vehicles using corn-based ethanol
No. Corn ethanol is not green, and actually contributes to global warming/climate change. It requires more energy to produce corn ethanol than we can get out of it.

[ ] [ - ] [ ] Residents should be allowed to park in the street in front of their own driveway for free
I'm not exactly sure what "in front of the driveway" means. If you mean in the driveway on the sidewalk, this is illegal, and I support the law that forbids this.
[ ] [ ] [ ] Oppose expanding parking meter hours to include later evening hours and weekends
[ + ] [ ] [ ] Remove parking spots and car lanes to create dedicated bike and bus lanes or wider sidewalks
Yes. I was part of the Fix Masonic movement, and support the current MTA proposal for Oak and Fell.

Your positions on selected current and past Propositions:

[ + ] [ ] [ ] 2012 Prop A (City College Bond)
[ ] [ - ] [ ] 2012 Prop B (Park Bond)
[ + ] [ ] [ ] 2012 Prop C (Housing Trust Fund)
[ + ] [ ] [ ] 2012 Prop D (Consolidating Municipal Elections)
[ + ] [ ] [ ] 2012 Prop E (Business Tax Reform)
[ ] [ ] [ ? ] 2012 Prop F (Restore Hetch Hetchy Planning)
[ + ] [ ] [ ] 2012 Prop G (Corporate Personhood)

[ + ] [ ] [ ] 2011 Prop C (Mayor's Pension measure)
[ ] [ - ] [ ] 2011 Prop D (Adachi's Pension measure)
[ ] [ - ] [ ] 2011 Prop E (Ammendments to initiative ordinances)

[ ] [ - ] [ ] 2010 Prop L (Ban on Sitting on Sidewalks)
[ + ] [ ] [ ] 2010 Prop M (Foot Patrols)