Volume 43 Number 05

Voting to save the local economy

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EDITORIAL On Oct. 21, a string of economists and advisors from the Newsom administration, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau appeared before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to present a picture of the local economy that was stunning in its lack of reality.

The experts talked about how San Francisco isn’t really hurting that much right now. They said the downturn would hit eventually, but that housing and jobs are still relatively strong here. And what we need to do to boost the economy, the mayor and his experts said, is to promote downtown business, cut fees — and further reduce the city budget.

Cut taxes? Cut spending? Boost big business? That sounds a lot like the economic prescriptions we’ve been hearing from the right wing of the Republican Party for decades. And it hasn’t exactly worked out well.

In fact, for many San Franciscans, the recession is already here — and is deep and painful. Small businesses are struggling. People are losing jobs and finding it hard to pay the rent. Like Washington, DC, San Francisco needs to be taking this seriously — but what we’ve seen from Mayor Gavin Newsom is a bunch of hot air. The mayor wants to accelerate capital spending. Fine. But he’s counting on projects like rebuilding Airport Terminal Two that rely on bond sales — and this isn’t a great time to be selling bonds — and that create jobs mostly for big out-of-town construction firms. And he wants to cut fees on business — which has never proven to be an economic stimulus, but would require deeper cuts in city programs and layoffs of city staffers. The worst thing you can do in a recession is cut public jobs.

At the Oct. 21 hearing, the supervisors were a bit dubious. "We need to be straightforward and real," said Board President Aaron Peskin. "Not half-baked schemes and empty promises." But if Newsom and his downtown and landlord allies get their way, the board that takes office in January could be very different. The progressives who have held the line on cuts, pushed for higher taxes on the wealthy, and promoted measures that will actually help the economy could wind up in the minority. And we could see a dramatic shift to the right in economic policy.

The November election is critical — and the top of the ticket isn’t the only vote that matters. Preserving the progressive majority on the board and passing the key ballot measures will take the city a long way toward avoiding the worst of what could be a catastrophic economic downturn.

Let’s look at the ballot from that perspective:

<\!s> Proposition H would inject millions into the economy. San Francisco residents and businesses pay some of the highest electric rates in the country, and money that goes to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is sucked right out of town and invested elsewhere. Since electricity is a necessity, cutting electric rates would instantly inject cash into the economy. In fact, a 2002 study by Hofstra University economist Irwin Kellner showed that public power expanded the economy of Long Island. by $10 billion over the first four years after that region got rid of its private electric utility.

Based on his methodology and calculations, we estimated in 2002 that PG&E cost the local economy $620 million over the previous two years (see "The $620 million shakedown," 10/4/02). Updating those figures today shows a dramatic impact: In the past decade, PG&E rate hikes have taken 1.015 billion out of the local economy. And if, as we have estimated, a public power agency could cut rates by 15 percent, that would inject $477 million a year into the local economy (see sfbg.com for a detailed calculation). That’s a lot more money than the city would see from any of Newsom’s proposals.

Proposition B would create thousands of new jobs. Building a new terminal at the airport attracts big national construction companies. Affordable housing in a much more home-grown operation. The nonprofits that build below-market housing in San Francisco hire local construction workers, at union scale; that money stays in the economy. Affordable housing also helps stabilize and upgrade neighborhoods, adding small business and cultural institutions that create more jobs and economic impact. "It’s a monster source of jobs," Rene Cazenave, who is working on the Yes on B campaign, told us. In fact, Prop. B alone would create a lot more jobs than the mayor’s entire economic stimulus plan.

Propositions N, O and Q would save jobs. As the city’s budget deficit continues to grow, Newsom is talking about cutting more services — and that means cutting public sector jobs. Many of those workers live in San Francisco; eliminating jobs hurts the local economy. Prop. O would prevent the city from losing $80 million in tax revenue every year; Props. N and Q would bring in millions more. That would save jobs and help stave off a deeper recession.

Preserving an independent board will keep Newsom’s worst economic policies in check. If supervisorial candidates Sue Lee, Joe Alioto, and Ahsha Safai win in Districts 1, 3 and 11, Newsom will have a loyal majority — and the city’s economy will be in trouble. The mayor of San Francisco is a Democrat, but his economic policies are much closer to what John McCain is proposing — and they won’t work. San Francisco needs a strong independent board to keep asking the tough questions and demanding alternatives. It’s critical to elect Eric Mar, David Chiu, and John Avalos in those swing districts.

There’s so much at stake in this election. Vote early, vote often, and vote all the way to the bottom of the ballot.

Family act

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> sarah@sfbg.com

District 3 supervisorial candidate Joe Alioto Jr., 36, has stated repeatedly on the campaign trail that he is not running on his family’s name.

But his lack of policy or political experience, combined with his campaign’s close ties to his sister, District 2 Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier — the most conservative and reactionary member of the Board of Supervisors — has progressives fearing he’ll be even more hostile to their values than his sister if he is elected this fall.

Records show that Alioto-Pier, 40, who was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004, consistently votes against the interests of tenants, workers and low-income folks. She recently sponsored legislation that passes increased water and sewer rates along to tenants. In the past, she has voted against relocation money for no-fault evictions and against limits on condominium conversions. And that’s just her record on tenants’ rights.

"Michela makes Sup. Sean Elsbernd look like a progressive," said Board President Aaron Peskin, who is termed out as D3 supervisor and has endorsed David Chiu as his preferred candidate to represent this diverse district, which encompasses Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf and Telegraph Hill.

Alioto, who bought a $1.3 million Telegraph Hill condominium in 2004, has said in debates that he was proud to serve on the Telegraph Hill Dwellers Board for three years, citing his alleged involvement in stopping the Mills Corporation’s development at Piers 27 and 31, improving the Broadway corridor, and working on neighborhood parks.

But a former THD Board member says Alioto’s claims are wildly overstated.

"He did not achieve anything in North Beach as a board member," our source said. "His attendance was poor, he lacked leadership, and when he was asked to head a Broadway corridor subcommittee to tackle the Saturday night issue, he said no, he was too busy. He was on the opposite side of all our policies and goals. There were even questions whether he was residing in the district, when he house-sat for his parents in the East Bay."

In a March 2006 e-mail to THD members, Alioto acknowledges that he and his wife had indeed been house-sitting in the East Bay for months while his parents were in Italy. "Of course, I have never intended to stay in the East Bay, my being there for simply a temporary period," Alioto wrote, referring to the Supreme Court’s definition of residency, which he said he "relied on to continue to contribute to THD activities."

THD board members aren’t the only ones accusing Alioto of stretching the truth.

The Sierra Club’s John Rizzo is irate over the use of the club’s name in a recent Alioto campaign mailer in which Alioto claims that he helped create the San Francisco Climate Challenge "in collaboration with the Sierra Club and DF Environment."

"What he says is highly misleading," Rizzo told the Guardian. "It makes it sound like an ongoing effort he cofounded with the Sierra Club, but it was a one-time effort that, while worthwhile, only lasted a month and is over and done with."

Rizzo further noted that Alioto did not complete or return the Sierra Club’s candidate questionnaire, as is requested of candidates seeking the club’s political endorsement. Alioto also has ruffled feathers by claiming that he prosecuted criminal cases while working in the Alameda County District Attorney’s office in 1999.

Alameda County Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy told the Guardian that Alioto was, in fact, "a summer intern, a student law clerk working under supervision" in 1999. "He got to prosecute a few cases under our supervision, including a misdemeanor jury trial, but he never worked as an actual deputy DA," Dunleavy said.

But Alioto’s alleged distortions have tenants’ rights advocates like Ted Gullicksen of the San Francisco Tenants Union wondering if Alioto will preserve rent control and try to abolish the Ellis Act, as he has promised on the campaign trail. Alioto never completed a Tenants Union candidate endorsement questionnaire, and has a massive amount of financial backing from the same downtown real estate and business interests that support his anti-tenant sister, Alioto-Pier.

Campaign disclosures show that Alioto’s campaign consultant, Stephanie Roumeliotes, led the Committee to Reelect Michela Alioto-Pier in 2006. Roumeliotes is also working on two other political campaigns this fall: No on B, which opposes the affordable housing set-aside, and Yes on P, which supports giving Mayor Newsom even greater control of how transportation funds are allocated and spent, and which even Alioto-Pier joined the Board of Supervisors in unanimously opposing.

Public records show that the Alioto siblings have 160 of the same campaign contributors. These include Gap founder Donald Fisher, wealthy socialite Dede Wilsey, and Nathan Nayman, former executive director of the Committee on Jobs, a downtown political action committee funneling big money into preferred candidates like Alioto.

All of which has progressives worrying that Alioto and his sister could become the Donny and Marie Osmond tag team for the same Republican downtown interests that are seeking to overturn the city’s universal health care and municipal identity card programs.

Talking by phone last week after months of stonewalling the Guardian’s requests for an interview, Alioto told us that he admires his sister very much, but that does not mean he shares her beliefs. "She has been through more in her relatively short life than most of us, and she does a great job representing her district," Alioto said. "But we are not the same people. Just because we are siblings does not mean we think the same."

Noting that, unlike his sister, he supports Proposition M, (which would protect tenants from landlord harassment), Alioto said, "If Michela ever proposed legislation that I thought was bad for the district and city, I’d vote against it."

Asked why he opposes the affordable housing measure Prop. B, Alioto told us that he doesn’t think that "locking away any more of our money helps … but I support affordable housing for low-income folks, including rental units, and we need more middle-income housing for police officers, firefighters, nurses and teachers."

As for his endorsement by the rabidly anti-rent control SF Small Property Owners, Alioto said, "I think people are supporting me because I’d be fair and reasonable."

Alioto, who attended Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley and works as an antitrust lawyer at the Alioto Law Firm with brother-in-law Tom Pier, insists that he never claimed he’d been a deputy DA, "but I have a proven record of being interested in putting criminals behind bars."

Noting that he supports the property tax measures on the ballot, "notwithstanding the fact that some real estate interests supporting my campaign are opposed," Alioto further claimed that estimates that a third of his campaign money is from real estate interests are "severely overblown."

"I think they must have been including architects," he told us.

Asked about the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s lawsuit against the city’s universal health care ordinance, Alioto said he supports Healthy San Francisco, "but I am concerned a little about putting the burden on small business."

Claiming that he supports the mayor’s community justice center as well as "funding for whatever programs it diverts people to," Alioto talked about kick-starting the economy in blighted areas by creating jobs and incentives for small businesses in those districts. Alioto, who just saw the San Francisco Small Business Advocates kick down $9,500 in support of his campaign, also said he wants to increase the number of entertainment permits, add a movie theater, and decrease parking fees in Chinatown.

"And I support the [Chinatown] night markets," Alioto said, referring to a pet project of Pius Lee, whose Chinatown neighborhood association was found, during a 2006 audit instigated by Peskin, to have received excess city funds and allowed unlicensed merchants to participate in the markets.

But Lee is evidently now in good standing with Alioto and Mayor Gavin Newsom, since he accompanied both on a recent walkabout to boost Alioto’s standing with Chinatown merchants. And Alioto’s election is apparently very important to Newsom, given that the first public appearance the mayor made after returning from his African honeymoon was on behalf of Alioto’s campaign.

All of which seems to confirm progressives’ worst fears that Alioto, just like his sister before him, will become yet another Newsom call-up vote on the board. Three ethics complaints were filed against the Alioto campaign this week, and his detractors say he has a long history of questionable behavior, going back to 1996 when he had a severe ethical lapse while working on his sister’s campaign for Congress.

According to a July 27, 1996 Chronicle article, Alioto, who was then his sister’s campaign adviser, and their cousin, college student Steve Cannata, admitted they conspired to intercept the campaign material of Michela’s congressional opponent, Frank Riggs.

"If Miss Alioto tolerates this sort of deceit in her campaign, it is frightening to imagine how she would behave if ever elected," Riggs wrote at the time. Alioto-Pier lost that race. But if her brother wins this November, can progressives help but be a little frightened to imagine just how the Alioto siblings might behave?

As one observer who preferred to remain anonymous told us, "Alioto may be all Joe Personality on the campaign trail, and have the same photogenic smile as his sister, but in reality, he is a fraud."

The stealth candidate

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› news@sfbg.com

Ahsha Safai is hoping to be elected to the Board of Supervisors without answering questions about his padded political resume of short-lived patronage jobs, greatly exaggerated claims of his accomplishments, history as a predatory real estate speculator, connections to and coordination with downtown power brokers, shifting and contradictory policy positions, or the many other distortions this political neophyte is offering up to voters in District 11, a crucial swing district that could decide the balance of power in city government.

Safai has refused numerous requests for interviews with the Guardian over the last two months. We’ve even left messages with specific concerns about his record and positions. But our investigation reveals his close political ties to the downtown interest groups that have spent close to $100,000 on his behalf and shows him to be a shameless opportunist who is apparently willing to say anything to achieve power.

There’s much we don’t know about Ahsha Safai, but there’s enough we do know for a consistent yet troubling portrait to emerge.

Safai moved to San Francisco from Washington, DC with his lawyer wife in 2000, and immediately began to ingratiate himself into the mainstream Democratic Party power structure, starting as a legislative liaison with the corruption-plagued San Francisco Housing Authority and joining Gavin Newsom’s mayoral campaign in 2003.

Safai became a protégé of Newsom’s field director Alex Tourk, who was a top Newsom strategist for several years until he abruptly resigned after learning that Newsom had an affair with his wife. With support from Tourk (who didn’t respond to our calls about Safai) and Newsom, Safai held a string of city jobs over the next three years, moving from the Mayor’s Office of Community Development to the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services to the Department of Public Works, all of which he touts on his Web ite, greatly exaggerating (and in some cases, outright misrepresenting) his accomplishments in each, according to those who worked with him. (Few sources who worked with Safai would speak on the record, fearing repercussions from Newsom).

THE CONNECT DISASTER


One project Safai doesn’t mention on his Web site is his work spearheading Community Connect, the most disastrous of Newsom’s SF Connect programs. "It’s the one Connect that the mayor will never talk about," said Quentin Mecke, who participated in the effort, on behalf of nonprofit groups, to create a community policing system. "The whole thing just devolved into chaos and there weren’t any more meetings."

In 2005, Safai and Tourk convened meetings in each of the city’s police precincts to take testimony on rising violence and the failure of the San Francisco Police Department to deal with it. Ultimately Newsom decided to reject a community-policing plan developed through the process by the African-American Police Community Relations Board. That set up the Board of Supervisors to successfully override a mayoral veto of police foot patrols.

"Ahsha’s approach was consistent with the Newsom administration, with folks that talk a good game but there’s no substance behind it," said Mecke, who ran for mayor last year, placing second.

Another realm in which Safai has claimed undeserved credit is on his efforts to save St. Luke’s Hospital from attempts by the California Pacific Medical Center (and CPMC’s parent company, Sutter Health) to close it or scale back its role as an acute care provider for low income San Franciscans.

"When I looked at his campaign material and he says he was a leader who saved St. Luke’s, I thought, ‘Am I missing something here?," Roma Guy, a 12-year member of the city’s Health Commission and leader in the effort to save St. Luke’s, told the Guardian. "Nobody thinks Ahsha has taken a leadership role on this. This is a significant exaggeration from where I sit."

Nato Green, who represents nurses at St. Luke’s within the California Nurses Association, went even further than Guy, saying he was worried about Safai’s late arrival to the issue (Safai wasn’t part of the group that protested, organized, and urged CPMC to agree to rebuild the hospital) and the fact that CPMC appointed Safai to its Community Outreach Task Force as the representative from Distrist 11.

"From our point of view, he is the CPMC’s AstroTurf program, simuutf8g community participation," Green told us. "It’s critical to us that we end up with a supervisor who is independent of CPMC and will go to the mat for what the community needs."

CNA has endorsed Avalos in the District 11 race.

"John was the only candidate in District 11 who came out and spoke at the hearings, attended the vigils, and walked the picket line during the strikes," Green said.


REAL ESTATE SPECULATION


Beyond his association with downtown power brokers and endorsement by Newsom, there are other indicators that Safai is hostile to progressive values. He said in a recent televised forum that he would work most closely with supervisors Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd, and Michela Alioto-Pier, the three most conservative members of the Board of Supervisors.

During an Oct. 14 Avalos fundraiser hosted by sustainable transportation advocates Dave Snyder, Tom Radulovich, and Leah Shahum, attendees expressed frustration at Safai’s tendency to pander to groups like the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, taking whatever position he thinks they want to hear without considering their implications or consistency with his other stands.

"It was a no-brainer for the Bike Coalition to endorse John," Shahum, SFBC’s executive director, said at the event, noting Avalos’ long history of support for alternatives to the automobile.

Avalos, who had been hammered all week by mailers and robocalls from downtown groups supporting Safai, said he was frustrated by the barrage but that "we can fight the money with people.

"Ahsha has done everything he can to blur the lines about what he stands for," Avalos said. "Whoever he’s talking to, that’s who he’s going to be. But we need principled leadership in San Francisco."

One area where Safai doesn’t appear to be proud of his work is in real estate, opting to be identified on voting materials as a "nonprofit education advisor." One of his opponents, Julio Ramos, formally challenged the designation, writing to the Election Department that the label "would mislead voters and is not factually accurate, the term ‘businessman’ or ‘investor’ denotes the true livelihood of candidate Safai."

Safai responded by defending the title and writing, "My dates of employment at Mission Language Vocational School were from August 2007 through February 2008." So, because of his seven-month stint at this nonprofit, voters will see Safai as someone who works in education, even though his financial disclosure forms show that most of his six-figure income comes from Blankshore LLC, a Los Altos-based developer currently building a large condo project at 2189 Bayshore Blvd. that is worth more than $1 million. (That’s the top value bracket listed on the form, so we don’t know how many millions the project is actually worth or how much more than $100,000 Safai earned this year).

But we do know from city records that Safai has personally bought at least three properties during his short stint in San Francisco, including one at 78 Latona Street that he flipped for a huge profit after buying it from a woman facing foreclosure, who then sued Safai for fraud.

The woman, Mary McDowell, alleged in court documents that real estate broker Harold Smith, "unsolicited, came to plaintiff’s residence and offered assistance to her because her homes were in foreclosure … [and said] she would receive sufficient money after sales commissions to reinstate the loans on the four other properties."

The legal complaint said Smith then modified those terms to pay McDowell less than promised and arranged to sell the home to Safai and his brother, Reza. "Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that defendants did not promptly list her residence on the multiple listing service to avoid larger offers on the home and conspired with the other defendants to purchase the home at a far less than market price," reads the complaint.

The case was originally set for jury trial, indicating it had some merit. But after numerous pleadings and procedural actions that resulted in the plaintiff’s attorney being sanctioned for failing to meet certain court deadlines and demands, the case was dismissed.
But whatever the merit to the case, records on file with the county assessor and recorder show that Safai and his brother flipped the property for a tidy profit. They paid $365,500 for the place in December 2003 — and sold it two year later, in December 2005, for $800,000.
Labor activist Robert Haaland told us that Safai can’t be trusted to support rent control or the rights of workers or tenants: "At the end of the day, he’s a real estate speculator."

Devin the Dude

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PREVIEW: When the Mayan apocalypse hits in 2012, Devin the Dude will have been at this rap stuff for two decades. Although the new Landing Gear (Razor and Tie) is the fifth solo album he’s released since 1998, it’s the first since 2007’s Waitin’ to Inhale (Rap-a-Lot) upgraded his status from "underground rapper" to "underground rapper people know about." With hip-hop shrinking proportionally to the idea of a mainstream, it’s the right time for a rapper like the Dude to emerge: he’s from Houston, and the tracks have less syrupy roll than crate-digger haze, less of UGK’s hard-assed shit-talk and more chuckling self-deprecation.

Like its predecessors, Landing Gear isn’t "conscious" hip-hop. Devin’s priorities on the recording are, in order, getting high, getting over heartbreak, and getting laid. That said, musically, a corner of the disc is dipped in the same juice that Erykah Badu’s year-making New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War (Motown) stews in: check the subtle earbud phase and Garageband multitrack cooing on the sleazeball come-on "Let Me Know It’s Real." If there’s a difference between Landing Gear and Waitin’ to Inhale, it’s the latter’s willingness to go places the former doesn’t. Revenge fantasy "Just Because," off Waitin’, is as funny as it is disturbing. And the fact that Devin doesn’t exempt himself of responsibility for his fantasies makes it compelling. Landing Gear isn’t any less vivid in approaching similar feelings, though alongside "I Don’t Chase Em" an obligatory bid for airplay the stakes feel smaller. But that’s just fine. Devin still has a couple releases before the apocalypse.

DEVIN THE DUDE Wed/29, 9 p.m., $18. Slim’s, 333 11th St., SF. (415) 255-0333, www.slims-sf.com

Parts and Labor

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PREVIEW The hiss and garble of a psychedelic seeker mid-acid trip, the righteous fury of a dad scolding a litterbug, and the sodden sadness of paranoiac who suspects secret agents are tailing him. All these sounds unexpectedly, remarkably crop up on Parks and Labor’s new Receivers (Jagjaguwar).

When I last caught the band, clobbering all in earshot with a propulsive, post-punk power-skronk, at South by Southwest a few years ago, I never imagined the Brooklyn-Union, N.J.-Milwaukee, Wis., combo would be going into interstellar overdrive and taking a page from the starlog of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon (Capitol, 1973). In creating Receiver‘s prog-orchestral sound, Parts and Labor referenced not only the exploratory courage of Wire’s Chairs Missing (Harvest, 1978), but Dark Side‘s use of samples. Its overarching inspiration: the general glut of digital information, which spurred the group to invited listeners to submit samples for Receivers via its MySpace page. The combo used all 650 or so, of them — altering, pitch-shifting, and morphing the contributions along the way — vocalist-bassist BJ Warshaw assures me by phone from Indiana.

"We always got friends to appear on recordings, so Dan [Friel, vocals and electronics] and I thought, why limit this?" he recalls. "Why not ask the world and see what comes of it?" It led to an "intense but fun" mixing job. The satellite noise, say, at the onset of Receivers was created by playing every sample simultaneously. Still, one’s enjoyment of the album doesn’t depend at all on one’s appreciation of the band’s technical and conceptual machinations, which climax with the hurtling "Solemn Show World." And the world can continue to experience the disc’s sampling project on the road: "We’ve got a toll-free phone number [1-888-317-5596] that people can call, and we’ve been improvising, working the calls into the live show, which has been really fun," Warshaw says. "We’ve got 20 sounds so far, and it’s only the second day of the tour."

PARTS AND LABOR With Gowns and Curse of the Birthmark. Sat/1, 9:30 p.m., $8. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. $6. (415) 923-0923, www.hemlocktavern.com
 

The Clean Slate 2008

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>>CLICK HERE FOR OUR LIVE ELECTION NIGHT COVERAGE!

NATIONAL AND STATE RACES
President: Barack Obama
Congress, District 6: Lynn Woolsey
Congress, District 7: George Miller
Congress, District 8: Cindy Sheehan
Congress, District 13: Pete Stark
Superior Court, Seat 12: Gerardo Sandoval
State Senate, District 3: Mark Leno
State Senate, District 9: Loni Hancock
State Assembly, District 12: Fiona Ma
State Assembly, District 13: Tom Ammiano
State Assembly, District 14: Nancy Skinner

STATE PROPOSITIONS
Proposition 1A: YES, YES, YES
Proposition 2: YES
Proposition 3: NO
Proposition 4: NO, NO, NO
Proposition 5: YES
Proposition 6: NO, NO, NO
Proposition 7: NO
Proposition 8: NO, NO, NO
Proposition 9: NO, NO, NO
Proposition 10: NO
Proposition 11: NO
Proposition 12: YES

SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
District 1: Eric Mar
District 3: 1. David Chiu; 2. Denise McCarthy; 3. Tony Gantner
District 4: Dave Ferguson
District 5: Ross Mirkarimi
District 7: Sean Elsbernd
District 9: 1. David Campos; 2. Eric Quezada; 3. Mark Sanchez
District 11: 1. John Avalos; 2. Randy Knox; 3. Julio Ramos

BOARD OF EDUCATION
Sandra Fewer, Norman Yee, Barbara Lopez, Kimberly Wicoff

COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD
Milton Marks, Chris Jackson, Bruce Wolfe

BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 7: Lynette Sweet
District 9: Tom Radulovich

SAN FRANCISCO MEASURES
Proposition A: YES, YES, YES
Proposition B: YES, YES, YES
Proposition C: NO
Proposition D: YES
Proposition E: YES
Proposition F: YES
Proposition G: YES
Proposition H: YES, YES, YES
Proposition I: NO
Proposition J: YES
Proposition K: YES
Proposition L: NO
Proposition M: YES
Proposition N: YES, YES, YES
Proposition O: YES, YES, YES
Proposition P: NO, NO, NO
Proposition Q: YES, YES, YES
Proposition R: NO
Proposition S: NO
Proposition T: YES
Proposition U: YES
Proposition V: NO, NO, NO

EAST BAY RACES
Alameda County Superior Court Judge, seat 9: Dennis Hayashi
Berkelely Mayor: Tom Bates

BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL
District 2: Darryl Moore
District 3: Max Anderson
District 4: Jesse Arreguin
District 5: Sophie Hahn
District 6: Phoebe Ann Sorgen

BERKELEY SCHOOL BOARD
John Selawksy
Beatriz Levya-Cutler

AC TRANSIT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
At-large: Chris Peeples
Ward 2: Greg Harper

EAST BAY MUNICIPAL UTILITY DISTRICT
Director, Ward 5: Doug Linney
Director, Ward 6: Bob Feinbaum

EAST BAY REGIONAL PARKS DISTRICT
Director, Ward 1: Norman LaForce

EAST BAY MEASURES
Berkeley Measure FF: YES
Berkeley Measure GG: YES
Berkeley Measure HH: YES
Berkeley Measure II: YES
Berkeley Measure JJ: YES
Berkeley Measure KK: NO
Berkeley Measure LL: NO

Oakland City Council (At Large): Rebecca Kaplan
Oakland Measure N: YES
Oakland Measure OO: YES

ALAMEDA COUNTY MEASURES
Measure VV: YES
Measure WW: YES

>>CLICK HERE FOR PRINTOUT VERSION.

>>READ OUR COMPLETE 2008 ENDORSEMENTS HERE.

“Halloweird”

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PREVIEW The short films showcased at Independent Exposure’s "Halloweird 2008" are mostly more bizarre than they are spooky, but that doesn’t mean they’re not holiday appropriate. There’s something deeply unsettling about many of the offerings, which offer a more lingering impression than your standard scares. Loka "Tabernacle 1" is haunting precisely because we’re given so little of the overall picture. As the camera glides gracefully alongside gorgeous violins, we find a glowing, floating man, with no explanation. By the Kiss is similarly devoid of context: a woman pressed against a wall greets a sequence of suitors who — quite literally — smother her with kisses. It’s hypnotizing but wholly unpleasant. Of course, with 17 films on the agenda, there are bound to be some clunkers: Mama, which features a ghoulish woman crying "mama" for two-and-a-half minutes, might be disturbing if it weren’t so annoying. Kaltes Klares Wasser is also overlong. But hey, "overlong" is a relative term here, and it’s worth zoning out for a few minutes to make it to the best films. Here, the real standouts are firmly planted in the comedy genre: Transrexia, a short but sweet stop-motion animation about a T-Rex’s love for a pterodactyl, and Fantaisie in Bubblewrap, in which individual Bubble Wrap bubbles are alive and rather chatty. That is, until they’re popped.

"Halloweird 2008"

Wed/29, 8 p.m., $6

Bollyhood Café, 3372 19th St., SF

www.bollyhoodcafe.com

Book art

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PREVIEW San Francisco Center for the Book makes an ideal SF setting for "Banned and Recovered," a group exhibition devoted to censored literature. (The exhibition also has an East Bay installment at Oakland’s African American Museum and Library.) Not all the contributors present examples of book art, though. Enrique Chagoya’s large painting Double Portrait of William Burroughs turns its subject’s face into, among other things, a pizza of disconnected Peter Bagge-like facial features. Appreciative of Burroughs but far from worshipful, Chagoya also taps into 1950s horror film iconography, depicting the author as a little fly excreting waste.

Among those artists who work directly with books as materials or create them, standouts include: Wendy Miller’s Joseph Cornell-like sewn-shut Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Barbara Kossy’s The Origin of Species (which makes use of an old illustrated guide to birds); and Brian Dettmer’s Brave New World (which draws upon Aldous Huxley’s tome to create a brain facsimile that also looks like an retro-futurist temple).

The exhibition is well arranged — it’s a smart move to place Emory Douglas next to Favianna Rodriguez, who continues Douglas’ graphic tradition. But the presentation of most works is too heavy on exposition, to a degree that can inhibit one’s interpretive, um, readings. Some pieces dodge this restrictive feeling through playful, imaginative approaches. Jonathan Burstein, who recently had an excellent show at Patricia Sweetow Gallery, dolls up the Marquis de Sade so he becomes a cherry-cheeked Mona Lisa. Nigel Poor’s Washed Books makes good on its title, putting nine prose works about women — including Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 Lolita and Stephen King’s 1974 Carrie — through the washer until poetry emerges from the lint.

BANNED AND RECOVERED: ARTISTS RESPOND TO CENSORSHIP Through Nov. 26. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sat., noon–4 p.m. San Francisco Center for the Book, 300 De Haro, SF. (415) 565-0545. www.sfcb.org