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Editor's Note: Ballot recommendations are the individual opinion of writers, the Westside Observer does not make ballot endorsements.

In Our Democracy, You Have the Privilege and Duty to Vote

March 2024 Primary Election Recommendations

If You Don’t Vote, Don’t Complaint

• • • • • • • • • • January 18, 2024 • • • • • • • • • •

The March 5 election is fast approaching. Shortly after this article is published, San Francisco’s Department of Elections will start mailing all registered voters automatic vote-by-mail ballots in early February. San Francisco must demonstrate a great turnout of voters.

Here are my recommendations for the March 5 election:

Katie Porter
Congresswoman Katie Porter Photo courtesy of Esquire magazine

U.S. Senate Primary
I was never a fan of former U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who served for 31 years in the Senate. But I strongly believe we need more women elected at all levels of government, from the Board of Supervisors all the way up to U.S. President (and perhaps “dog-catcher”). Maybe then, our political narrative will become more compassionate.

To my mind, voters in the March 5 primary have an obligation and an incentive to elect another woman as one of California’s two voices in the Senate. Even Governor Gavin Newsom felt compelled to choose a woman as a “caretaker appointment” to replace Feinstein after she died at the end of September.

So, I heartily support and recommend voting in the March 5 primary for candidate Katie Porter, a Democrat currently serving as a popular U.S. Congresswoman from Orange County.

Unfortunately, Congressman Adam Schiff began carpet-bombing the airwaves with TV ads on ABC Channel 7 in the past two days for his U.S. Senate race — repeating his TV ads three or four times during each Channel 7 news broadcast. Brazenly and somewhat despicably, Schiff’s first out-of-the-gate TV ad struck a nasty tone, “mansplaining” by swiping at his unnamed challengers — as if he were hiding behind women’s skirts by not explicitly naming his female challengers.

Rather than focusing solely on policy issues most voters deeply care about, Schiff’s condescending down-talking to potential voters TV ad campaign starts off mansplaining, “This election is a choice between results or just rhetoric’.” He claims further, “Californians deserve a Senator that will deliver results for them every day, not just talk a good game,” without mentioning any of his competitors by name or that Congresswoman Porter is polling as a strong candidate.

Schiff’s inference is that his closest challengers, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, only “talk a good game” but don’t deliver results. By contrast, Porter’s first TV ads addressed voters’ campaign issues. She didn’t attack her opponents.

Why Schiff felt compelled to attack his opponents in his patronizing opening salvo is anybody’s guess.

Please cast your ballot for Ms. Porter on March 5. Let’s send her and her legendary “whiteboard” to keep a woman in the U.S. Senate!

U.S. Congress District 11

Marjorie Mikels
Marjorie Mikels

I have had concerns about Nancy Pelosi for years and have voted for other candidates in past elections. I don’t recall Pelosi campaigning to earn election in at least a dozen years. Although she occasionally holds invitation-only Town Hall meetings with her constituents, I don’t recall her engaging in election debates with her challengers in the past 12 years.

In the June 7, 2016 primary election, Pelosi garnered 78.1% of ballots cast. That dropped to 74% in the March 3, 2020 primary election and dropped again to 71.6% in the primary election held on June 7, 2022.

She turns 84 on March 26, and if she wins re-election this November, she’ll be 86 years old at the end of her next term.

Pelosi’s current term runs through the end of 2024, which means she will have served for 37 consecutive years representing Congressional District 11 in the U.S. Congress. If she wins re-election and serves another full two-year term, she’ll have served 39 years. It’s long past time for change in Congress. Pelosi should have gracefully stepped aside and let another generation of leaders take over.

Pelosi’s father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., served in the U.S. Congress for eight years, and went on to serve as the Mayor of Baltimore for a dozen years.

Coming from a political family dynasty, Pelosi has always struck me as having the same aura of being “entitled” to be a member of Congress. reports Pelosi’s net worth was $114.6 million as of 2018. As one of the highest millionaires serving in Congress, she oozes a millionaire’s aura of “entitlement.”

I’m voting for Marjorie Mikels, a Democrat and lawyer, to represent us in Congressional District 11 instead of Pelosi. I urge you to do the same, if only to send a message to Pelosi that it’s time she steps aside for a change in leadership!

San Francisco’s Local Ballot

Cynthia Cravens
Cynthia Cravens

California State Senate, District 11
If you care about the lack of affordable housing development in our City, vote for Cynthia Cravens to replace incumbent Scott Wiener as District 11 State Senator.

On January 1, our local media outlet, “48” published an article indicating Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Connie Chan have asked City Attorney David Chiu whether the City can sue to overturn the punitive actions set in motion by State Senator Scott Wiener’s glut of horrible housing bills — which have adversely affected production of affordable housing in San Francisco and statewide.

The article reported, “The state is threatening to take away funding for essential city services, including affordable housing, and take away almost all local land-use controls, if developers don’t build a huge amount of new market-rate housing in San Francisco.”

The 48 Hills article noted that Senator Wiener’s Senate Bill 828, signed into law in 2018, “forced cities to rezone land and resulted in an explosion of San Francisco’s RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) goals, 57% of which are made up of the three below-market-rate categories, with no additional State funding.

This sets San Francisco up to underperform in all four RHNA categories. Not only has Senator Wiener set San Francisco up to fail …, but he added a last-minute amendment to SB 423 that singles out San Francisco for streamlining in 2024, years earlier than every other jurisdiction in California.

[RHNA stands for Regional Housing Needs Allocation which establishes recommended housing production targets in each region by household income ranges as part of California’s “Housing Element Law.” Failure to comply with RHNA housing goals in a timely manner can impact a local government’s land use authority.]

The state Legislature, led by Senator Wiener, set an impossible bar for San Francisco to meet because Wiener was prepared to impose severe penalties on his own hometown. Wiener screwed San Francisco!

Before Wiener throws his hat into the ring to replace current incumbent Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi when she finally comes to her senses and gracefully retires, San Franciscans need to hand an election defeat to Mr. Wiener and “throw the bum out of office”!

Cast your vote for Cynthia Cravens, a Democrat, to represent District 11 in the California State Senate.

Otto  Duke
Otto Duke

State Assembly
In Assembly District 17. Vote for challenger Otto Duke, not incumbent Matt Haney. Haney has been a strong supporter of Wiener’s draconian housing legislation. Toss Haney out!

In Assembly District 11, don’t vote for candidate Catherine Stefani. Although I gained a little respect for Stefani for her stance against the National Rifle Association and her support for strong protections against automatic rifles, her vote on Tuesday, January 9, to oppose passing the Board of Supervisors Resolution calling for a ceasefire of Israel’s war in Gaza against Hamas was abhorrent.

She can’t oppose using AR-15s against civilians in the U.S., and then be against stopping AR-15s used against innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza. She doesn’t deserve election to California’s State Assembly, if for no other reason than her disconnect between senseless gunfire deaths in California vs. senseless gun deaths in Gaza!

U.S. Superior Court Judges
The two candidates running for Seat # 1 on the San Francisco Superior Court are Michael Begert and Chip Zecher. My Westside Observer associate, Lou Barberini, wrote a terrific article on December 4 about Judge Begert that was republished in the Westside Observer on December 20. Barberini presented a great example: Judge Begert let off a repeat criminal offender with a slap on the wrist. He rewarded the offender with mental health diversion, and dropped criminal charges. Barberini rightly notes Judge Begert’s overuse of voluntary mental health diversion does not hold criminals accountable. Those criminals often become repeat offenders, falling back into recidivism.

Barberini noted Begert faces an opponent in the March 5 election. Lou stopped short of explicitly recommending voting for Begert’s opponent, Chip Zecher. But the inference was clear and one I agree with.

Another Westside Observer associate, Quentin Kopp — a retired Superior Court Judge himself and a former San Francisco supervisor, state senator, and San Francisco Ethics Commissioner — wrote a separate terrific article, titled “Sending Judges out to Pasture.” Kopp was very critical of Judge Begert, noting Begert is a “jurist averse to decisions protecting public safety.”
Kopp recommended committing two San Francisco Superior Court judges out to pasture by electing other lawyers in the March 5, 2024 primary election. The first incumbent Kopp indicated should be sent out to pasture is Judge Begert, incumbent of Superior Court Seat #1.
Kopp asserted the other candidate for such non-judicial pasture is incumbent Judge Patrick Thompson at the Hall of Justice, who occupies Superior Court Seat #13. Kopp asserted Thompson could be described as a “revolving door” who releases defendant drug dealers without bail despite the dealer’s histories of repeated drug-dealing convictions.

The candidate running for Seat # 1 to unseat Judge Begert on the San Francisco Superior Court is Chip Zecher. The candidate running for Seat # 13 to unseat Judge Thompson on the San Francisco Superior Court is Jean Roland.

I agree. When a reputable retired judge like Kopp recommends voting other judges out to pasture, we should closely listen to Kopp’s recommendations and do just that!

Vote for Zecher for Seat #1 and Roland for Seat #13! It’s time to send Thompson and Bergert out to pasture.

Proposed Ballot Measures
State Proposition “1” — $6.38 Billion State Bonds for Mental Health Treatment Facilities and Housing for the Homeless

The California Secretary of State’s voter guide contains the official language and analysis about “Prop 1.”

“Prop. 1” would authorize issuing $6.4 billion in state general obligation bonds for mental health treatment facilities ($4.4 billion) and supportive housing for homeless veterans and homeless individuals with behavioral health challenges ($2 billion).

It would amend California’s current “Mental Health Services Act” (MHSA) passed by voters 20 years ago in 2004 — then known as “Proposition 63,” which focused on local control at the County level to set their own spending priorities and required mandatory oversight.

“Prop. 1” would allow MHSA funds to be used to treat substance use disorders, instead of only treating mental health disorders. “Prop 1” will re-allocate funding away from full-service treatment programs to fund other behavioral health services (e.g., early intervention) and housing programs. “Prop. 1” increases State control, not county control.

“Prop. 1” would divert one-third of existing MHSA funding, allowing many kinds of other services to “compete” with mental healthcare for the remaining money, and would inject the State local programs and local decisions.

The initiative claims it will build more treatment places for mental health care and drug and alcohol treatment, and build more housing for people with mental health, drug, or alcohol “challenges.”

In reality, “Prop. 1” will fund housing for homeless people — or people merely “at risk of” becoming homeless — who do not have co-existing mental health issues, diverting funds for mental health treatment to house people without housing with addictions instead.

In reality, it will increase the share of money raised by the MHSA tax spent on State programs from 5% to 10% and reduce funding from the MHSA tax to County programs from 95% or more to 90%. It’s clearly a power grab to divert the funds to state programs so the state can collect a larger share of the tax than was initially envisioned in 2004.

That means counties like San Francisco would receive a smaller share of the MHSA tax! And rather than spending it on actual mental health treatment services, “Prop. 1” will require counties to spend more of their share of MHSA funding on housing and so-called “support services” — with few controls over how counties divvy up their share of funds between actual housing vs. “supportive services.” We’ve been down this road before and seen this boondoggle before, with few “supportive services” actually being of any value to the people purportedly served.

“Prop. 1” would also allow counties to use MHSA on treatment for people having drug or alcohol problems who don’t have co-existing mental illness. In other words, it diverts funds from people who are actually experiencing mental illness, which was the original intent of the MHSA to begin with!

The state voter guide acknowledges the bond would “build up to 4,350 housing units, with 2,350 set aside for veterans” who may be experiencing PTSD symptoms but would reduce homelessness statewide by only a small amount. The voter guide also acknowledges the $6.4 billion bond will require $310 million in repayment costs annually, for 30 years — which translates to a $10 billion price tag!

Why the “National Alliance of Mental Illness – California Chapter” (NAMI-CA) is supporting “Prop. 1” defies logic, which amazes and saddens me.

One of the three signatories to the Opponent argument is the CEO of “Mental Health of California.”

Two other organizations joined the rebuttal to the paid argument in favor of “Prop. 1” — the Executive Director of the “California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations,” and the Executive Director of the “Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of California.” They assert that MHSA funding initially created expressly for mental health programs should not be raided to pay for “Prop 1.”

I agree. Vote “No” on “Prop 1”!

“Prop. A” — Affordable Housing Bond
For the $300 million affordable housing bond, the voter guide digest asserts $270 million will be allocated to construct, develop, acquire or rehabilitate new rental housing, including senior housing and workforce housing, for extremely low-income, very low-income and lower-income households or households experiencing various “trauma’s” relating to homelessness.

The remaining $30 million is earmarked to construct, develop, acquire or rehabilitate existing housing to preserve it as affordable for lower-income households and moderate-income households. It is doubtful that much of this $30 million slice of the pie will actually be awarded to projects for “moderate income” households.

The City Controller’s statement in the voter guide asserts interest on the bond will be approximately $244.5 million, so paying off the principal plus interest on the bond will cost a total of $544.5 million.

My analysis of the $310 million “Affordable Housing Bond” in 2015 and the $600 million “Affordable Housing Bond” in 2019 is that an inordinate amount and percentage of each bond is diverted from vertical construction of housing units, which is used instead to fund “infrastructure development” and “infrastructure pre-development” — such as streets, sidewalks, curb ramps, street grading, etc. — not actual housing.

The $600 million 2019 Bond earmarked fully $150 million to build affordable senior housing, claiming up to 500 senior housing units would be built. The then-Board of Supervisors President, Norman Yee, was instrumental in securing that $150 million for senior housing, mostly for senior housing on the campus of Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. Mercy Housing Corporation was chosen to be the developer, which claimed it would develop up to 269 units, some of which may actually end up being “market-rate” units to help pencil out financing of the project.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing has issued status reports on the “2019 Affordable Housing Bond” stating that if the senior housing “funds are not allocated [to a specific project] within four years [after passage of the Bond] they may be [reallocated] to other eligible [projects] within the ‘Senior Housing’ category.”

Here we are four years and two months after the “2019 Bond” was passed by voters, and the Mercy Housing Corporation’s proposed housing project on LHH’s campus hasn’t broken ground, and those funds haven’t actually been allocated. The project has largely been delayed because of the decertification of Laguna Honda Hospital, and it’s not clear whether, or how soon, LHH might gain recertification.

This desperately needed senior housing should be re-allocated to different senior housing projects and actually built rapidly on more appropriate sites spread throughout the City.

It’s doubtful the Mercy senior housing project at LHH will even be constructed, or if it is, whether it may take until 2026 or longer to open. Senior housing shouldn’t take seven or eight years to bring online!

Vote “No” on “Proposition A.”
It won’t be used for “affordable” housing any time soon!

“Prop. B” — Charter Amendment: Police Officer Staffing Level
“Prop. B” would amend the Charter to change the process for establishing and funding minimum police staffing levels for the City, but only if voters in a future election amend an existing tax or approve a new tax that would fully fund police staffing and recruitment. In the future, if voters approve full funding, “Prop. B” would set the minimum number of full-time police officers for the City from 1,700 to 2,074 in the first five years and adjust it every five years thereafter.

The “full funding” apparently needs to come from a “new or amended tax measure … passed by the voters that would generate sufficient revenue to fund [the “Prop. B”] Charter amendment’s requirements.” That means a new tax revenue source would need to generate between $168 million and $300 million over a 10-year period — just to fund fat-cat bonuses!

Assuming voters approve full funding in the future, “Prop. B” would create a fund for police recruitment that would last for five to 10 years. The fund would get $16.8 million in the first year and would change each year depending on the number of recruits needed, but would not exceed $30 million per year.

If the voters do not approve a full funding tax revenue vehicle in the future, changes in police staffing and recruitment would not go into effect.

The City Controller’s statement in the voter guide acknowledges that “Prop. B” would appropriate $75,000 as a recruiting bonus for each officer that SFPD is below the required number of officers in each subsequent year, not to exceed $30 million per fiscal year.

Proponents of the measure believe the $75,000 recruiting bonuses are required to remain competitive with other jurisdictions that are offering $75,000 recruiting bonuses to police officers now. The Controller noted that given current staffing levels versus those required in the measure, it is likely that future year-required appropriations would be significant enough to cover the recruiting bonuses.

This sounds like the City is being extorted for $75,000 police officer recruiting bonuses to compete with other jurisdictions. How long will it take before the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) decides the Charter needs to raise the $75,000 bonus to, say, $150,000 — if only to adjust for inflation?

The City Controller warned that the “Prop B” Charter amendment “is not in compliance with a non-binding, voter-adopted city policy regarding set-asides. The policy seeks to limit set-asides which reduce General Fund dollars that could otherwise be allocated by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors in the annual budget process.”

If “Prop “B” is enshrined in the City Charter, it would require voter approval in the future to remove this extortion from the Charter or to increase the bonuses to $150,000 if that were to become the prevailing hiring incentive for police officers.

Vote “No” on “Proposition B”!

“Prop. C” — Real Estate Transfer Tax
No recommendation on “Proposition C.”

“Prop. D” — Changes to Local Ethics Laws
“Proposition D” was placed on the ballot following a unanimous vote of members of the San Francisco Ethics Commission to curb corruption by City officials, departments, and employees. This is a “good government” measure I fully support.

Vote “Yes” on “Prop. D!

“Prop. E” — Police Department Policies and Procedures
“Prop. E” was placed on the ballot by Mayor London Breed.

Among other things, “Prop. E” would require that before the Police Commission changes any SFPD policy, there would be a 90-day period for the SFPD to hold one community meeting at each district police station to solicit feedback, although the Chief of Police could waive this process.

“Prop. E” will help San Francisco’s police officers better perform their jobs to reduce crime in our City, in large measure because our out-of-control Police Commission have aggressively engaged in interfering in basic community safety efforts.

Typically, I support few to none of Mayor London Breed’s policies and ballot measures. In full disclosure, I’ve never voted for her and believe she’s been the worst San Francisco Mayor in the thirty years I’ve lived in San Francisco, bar none. She doesn’t deserve to be re-elected next November — but that’s a whole different story for a future election cycle. [Note: The good news is that a June 2023 poll showed 66% of voters disapprove of Breed’s job performance. I do, too!]

With that said, I fully support “Prop. E” because the Police Commission must be prevented from doing any further damage that allows crimes to proliferate in the City! In the recent past, San Francisco’s Police Commission has increasingly engaged in micromanaging San Francisco’s police officers by restricting SFPD policies, including by adopting frivolous and detrimental “DGOs” (Department General Orders).

There are 15 paid ballot arguments in support of “Prop. E” in the voter guide.

By contrast, there are only four paid arguments in the Voter Gide opposing “Prop E,” one from the Bar Association of San Francisco, one by the Coalition on Homelessness, one by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and one signed by seven current and former appointed Police Commissioners, including Cindy Elias, Jesus Yáñez, and Max Carter-Oberstone.

My fellow Westside Observer columnist, retired police office Lou Barberini, has written many damning articles during the past year exposing shenanigans of Carter-Oberstone. A September 26, 2023 article by Barberini raised compelling evidence suggesting Carter-Oberstone may have leaked confidential information to reporters at the San Francisco Standard, a local media outlet, about a police officer facing potential discipline by the Police Commission.

Barberini authored another article illustrating how the Police Commission is issuing frivolous DGO’s, like DGO 6.21 titled “Investigative Social Media Accounts” that could potentially restrict undercover police investigators investigating critical evidence leads obtained from social media websites in cases involving homicide and other crimes. Separately, San Francisco’s Department of Police Accountability recommended creating a DGO to address a pursuit policy last summer in an effort to reduce use-of-force incidents associated with these chases, so police officers could weigh the benefits vs. risks of engaging in foot pursuit chases.

Vote “Yes” on “Prop. E!

“Prop. F” — Illegal Substance Abuse Treatment for Recipients of Public Assistance
“Prop. F” — another draconian measure placed on the ballot by Mayor Breed as the official Proponent — would require anyone who receives County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP) benefits (public assistance benefits) from the County of San Francisco to be screened for substance use disorder if the City reasonably suspects the person to be dependent on illegal drugs. If screening indicates a recipient may be dependent on illegal drugs, the City will provide a professional evaluation and may refer the recipient to an appropriate treatment program.

If that program is available at no cost, the recipient will be required to participate to continue receiving CAAP benefits. If they refuse to participate in required screening, evaluation, or treatment, their CAAP benefits would then be stopped. They would continue to receive housing assistance for at least 30 days, but could then be evicted from City-funded housing.

This is clearly draconian, even under Breed’s claim of trying to strike the right “balance” between compassion and accountability. It smacks of compulsory treatment for drug addiction. Breed minimized the requirement by claiming the City will “offer” the treatment, but in reality it would be a hard-and-fast requirement to enroll in the treatment, with the “or else” being the loss of an individual’s CAAP benefits! This shouldn’t be a “balancing” test like an income “means” test.

The official Opponent in the Voter Guide is former Health Commissioner Roma Guy, whose training was as a social worker. Ms. Guy rightly noted that “Prop. F” will increase the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco by taking away basic services and support systems that keep people with drug addictions off of the streets.
“Prop. F” won’t solve problems with crime by making vulnerable people even more destitute, she notes. She rightly observes that “Prop. F” would defy best practices in treating substance abuse disorder and that research demonstrates proposals such as “Prop. F” lead to increased rates of recidivism and return to substance use and overdose deaths. She argues that the San Francisco city government must prioritize getting people with substance use disorder into safe and stable housing, not taking their housing away via eviction.

Ms. Guy wrote “Don’t let City Hall off the hook. Vote No on ‘Prop. F’.” I totally agree!

Breed must surely know that “Prop. F” will more than likely increase homelessness in San Francisco. That’s another good reason she shouldn’t be re-elected as Mayor in November!

Breed recommended ‘Yes on ‘Prop. F’.” I beg to differ. Vote “No”!

“Prop. G” — Offering Algebra to 8th Graders
This should be a “no-brainer” If any child in eighth grade is smart enough to take Algebra, and wants and asks to, they should be allowed to and the course should be offered to them.

Vote “Yes” on “Prop. G!

U.S. Presidential Primary
Vote “Blue” for Joe Biden — no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts”! Do not cast a “protest” vote against Biden for any of the seven other Democrats who will appear on your March 5 primary ballot, or any of the 6 candidates running in the four minor parties (Green Party, Libertarian Party, Peace and Freedom Party, and American Independent Party). None of them have a realistic chance of winning in the general election next November.

Running as an independent, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. failed to make it on to California’s primary election ballot. For God’s sake, don’t write Kennedy in as a write-in candidate!

I’m assuming the nine Republicans — including Trump — on the Republican primary ballot have little chance of winning the November general election, either.

It’s inconceivable that Trump’s lawyers assertion he has a Seal Team 6 “license to kill” his election opponents under his deranged “absolute immunity” fantasy will hand him reelection as president in November!

But every vote not supporting Joe Biden in the Primary will effectively be a vote to hand DJT another crack at winning the presidential race come the general election — and we end up with a dictator in the White House not just for four years but perhaps permanently if he’s given the chance to totally undo our democracy and U.S. Constitution!

San Franciscans, as a subset of California voters statewide, must not forget the disastrous presidential primary in 2016, when Hillary Clinton earned just 53% (2.7 million) of California voters compared to 46% for Bernie Sanders (2.3 million) in the primary election.

At the time I couldn’t stomach Hillary’s nexus to her husband Bill’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy about gays and lesbians serving in the military, or both Clinton’s opposition to gay marriage with their support of “DOMA” (the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act”).
Bill Clinton also signed into law the “Communications Decency Act” and also signed into law in November 1999 a bill to repeal the “Glass Steagal Act” — a law also known as the “Banking Act of 1933” — which had effectively separated commercial banking from investment banking and created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Repeal of Glass Steagal contributed to the housing sub-prime mortgage meltdown and financial crisis of 2007–2008 that Barrack Obama was left to clean up following the end of the Clinton Administration. Many pension funds suffered greatly from that financial crisis, and led to millions of people losing great portions of their 401K savings, including my own oldest sister. There have always been many very good reasons to intensely dislike both of the Clintons!

Hillary’s standing by Bill’s infidelity with Monica Lewinsky turned my stomach. Then there was Ms. Clinton’s staunch and stench-filled position as a “hawk” on war while she served as Secretary of State under former-President Barrack Obama.

Most repulsive was Hillary’s smug sense of “entitlement” to become the first female to serve as president of the U.S.A. For full disclosure, like many of my card-carrying union-member friends in San Francisco who are democrats, I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for Hillary in the 2016 primary, and when she advanced to the November 2016 election, I admit I voted for Jill Stein, instead, assuming Trump didn’t have a snowball chance in hell of winning the general election. Boy were I and voters nationwide wrong!

Following Clinton’s loss, I was further turned off hearing a May 31, 2017 Rachel Maddow MSNBC interview in which Hillary blamed her loss to Trump almost exclusively on misogyny and “sexism,” without ever once acknowledging that perhaps voters like me just couldn’t vote for a war hawk like her. I’m certainly not a misogynist, but I couldn’t stand her smug condescension and utter sense of entitlement!

Hillary’s hubris extended to asserting she lost the 2016 election to Trump because “I was the victim of a very ‘broad assumption’ I was going to win.” Yeah, right. Are we really to believe “too high of high expectations” made her lose? Hillary Clinton a “victim” of expectations? Really?
Oh please!

All of that contributed to Donald Trump winning the general election in November 2016, and Trump’s four-year reign of terror as U.S. President until he lost re-election in November 2020. We just can’t have a repeat of that in November 2024 in a second Biden–Trump General election re-match. Trump, now facing 91 felony indictments in criminal trials, is a racist white nationalist who masterminded the January 6, 2021, insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, hoping to stop the official proceeding to certify Biden, the winner of the 2020 general election.

It’s clear — at least to me — that Trump is ineligible to be a candidate this November under Article 3 of the 14th Amendment. Let’s pray that the U.S. Supreme Court upholds Trump’s disqualification to be a candidate. But in the upcoming California Primary, every vote that is not cast for Biden will be a vote towards the prospect of electing a probable criminal back into the White House!

What is now very concerning is an MSNBC report on December 12 that Hillary Clinton is a “risky” surrogate for Biden’s 2024 campaign. The report notes, among other things, that Hillary Clinton carries a number of liabilities to be a surrogate for Biden, reporting in part Hillary “embodies the Democratic establishment that angers and repels progressives needed to win the election,” and “every time she weighs in on contemporary issues, there’s a possibility that she’ll generate friction with younger and more left-leaning Democrats — and push them away from Biden.”

Clinton sounds to me like the worst possible surrogate that Biden needs to help him beat back Trump another time. Instead of relying on Hillary to be a surrogate, Biden should just rapidly get Hillary-the-”victim” to shut up and fade away quietly and quickly! If Biden doesn’t, he’s bound to lose support of younger voters, progressives, and independent voters to Trump.

If Biden keeps Hillary as a prominent loud-mouth “surrogate” through November 2024, she may again be the elixir that drives voters to elect Trump again!

Cast your vote for Biden on March 5!

If You Don’t Vote, Don’t Complain Later!

All voters will receive mail-in “Vote by Mail” ballots for the March 5, 2024 municipal ballot and California’s primary election in early February. Be on the lookout for your ballot, and when you receive it, fill it out and return it promptly in the postage-free return envelope. It’s crucial San Francisco has a very high turnout from its registered voters!

Monette-Shaw is a columnist for San Francisco’s Westside Observer newspaper, and a member of the California First Amendment Coalition (FAC) and the ACLU. He operates Contact him at

January 18, 2024


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