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Candidates Night Packed with Pols and Props
By Kathy Dalle-Molle
Voters will have the chance to find out where candidates in the tight race for District 8 supervisor stand on issues ranging from homelessness to litter at a Noe Valley Candidates and Issues Night on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The top contenders for supervisor have vowed to attend, as have the pro and con sides of four hot-button propositions on the Nov. 5 ballot.
The forum, which is being sponsored by Friends of Noe Valley, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium of Alvarado School, located at 625 Douglass Street. Co-sponsors of the event include Upper Noe Neighbors, Baja Noe Neighbors, the East & West of Castro Street Improvement Club, and the Collingwood Hill Neighborhood Association.
District 8 -- which covers not only Noe Valley, but the Castro, Duboce Triangle, Dolores Heights, Twin Peaks, the Fairmount, Diamond Heights, Glen Park, Sunnyside, Buena Vista Park, and the Lower Haight -- is known as one of the most progressive and politically active areas in the city. The winner in the supervisor's race will replace incumbent Mark Leno, who is running for the State Assembly seat in District 13, which spans the eastern half of San Francisco, including Noe Valley.
"The race for District 8 supervisor is one of the most watched races in the city," says Friends of Noe Valley president Jeannene Przyblyski, who is coordinating the candidates night. "We've got a really strong slate of candidates running, and the candidate who wins is going to play an important role in shaping the city's future."
At press time, Przyblyski had confirmed that candidates Bevan Dufty, Eileen Hansen, Shawn O'Hearn, and Tom Radulovich would attend the event. James Green and Starchild were pending.
So far, the three candidates given the best chance of winning are Hansen, Radulovich, and Dufty.
Bevan Dufty, who lives in the Buena Vista Park neighborhood, worked as director of Mayor Willie Brown's Office of Neighborhood Services from 1996 to 2001. Previously, Dufty was chief of staff for his college friend Susan Leal, when she was appointed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors by then-Mayor Frank Jordan in 1993. Dufty currently works as the neighborhood services manager for the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, located in the Western Addition.
Eileen Hansen, a 14-year resident of the Castro, is taking her second stab at running for District 8 supervisor, after losing by just 712 votes to Mark Leno in a December 2000 runoff election. Hansen works as an organization development consultant for community-based nonprofits and previously was the public policy director for the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.
Mission resident Tom Radulovich has been a member of the BART board of directors since 1996. He represents BART's ninth district, which includes Noe Valley, the Castro, and Glen Park. Radulovich has received the endorsement of incumbent supervisor Mark Leno.
Darkhorse candidates include neighborhood activist Shawn O'Hearn, who currently works at City College in the HIV/STD Education Office. O'Hearn, a resident of the Duboce Triangle area, ran for supervisor in the 1996 and 1998 citywide elections and in 2002 for District 8. Also running are Starchild, an "exotic dancer/escort" who as the Libertarian candidate ran against Carole Migden for State Assembly in 2002; and James Green, a Noe Valley resident since 1970 who ran for District 8 supervisor in 2000.
In addition to quizzing the supervisorial candidates, the Noe Valley forum will spotlight four of the 20 city propositions on the November ballot.
"The propositions we've chosen strike very close to home," notes Przyblyski. "They are about homelessness, an aging water infrastructure, and home ownership. These are all important neighborhood quality-of-life issues."
The ballot initiatives to be discussed include:
-- Prop. A (Save Hetch Hetchy), which would help finance $3.6 billion in seismic repairs to the Hetch Hetchy water delivery system. Hetch Hetchy dam and reservoir, located more than 150 miles away in Yosemite National Park, currently supplies water to 2.4 million Bay Area homes. The improvements would be paid for with increased water fees charged to customers throughout the system.
-- Prop. N (Care Not Cash), a measure put forth by Supervisor Gavin Newsom to address the homeless issue. Care Not Cash would reduce the city's monthly cash grants to the homeless from $320 to $59, while offering the recipients equivalent spending on housing and other services.
-- Prop. O (Exits from Homelessness), Supervisor Tom Ammiano's answer to Care Not Cash. Prop. O would require the city to develop 1,000 units of housing and 700 addiction treatment slots for people living on the streets. It also attempts to protect homeless seniors from the welfare cuts proposed under Prop. N and bars the city from housing welfare recipients in a shelter (in lieu of giving them cash) for longer than 180 days. According to the city controller, Exits from Homelessness would cost taxpayers an extra $24.5 million a year to implement.
-- Prop. R (HOPE: Home Ownership Program for Everyone), authored by Supervisor Tony Hall. HOPE is intended to help renters become property owners. Under the proposal, if at least 25 percent of the tenants and the owner of a building agree, the tenants would be eligible to purchase their own apartments. Tenants who didn't wish to buy could remain in their units, with stronger eviction protections and no changes to their rent control.
At the Noe Valley forum, each candidate for supervisor, along with representatives from both sides of the ballot initiatives, will be given five minutes to make a brief presentation to the audience. Following the presentations, Przyblyski, who will serve as moderator of the event, will ask a series of questions supplied by neighborhood residents. Questions can be submitted at the door on Oct. 9 or prior to the event by contacting Jeannene Przyblyski by mail at 414 Collingwood Street, San Francisco, CA 94114; by phone at 282-4334; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The voter handbook is going to be so big and intimidating for this election," says Przyblyski, "and this forum is a non-partisan, informational event to help you better understand some of the issues and candidates. A strong voter turnout is very important for Noe Valley, and hopefully this event will provide some of the background neighbors need to make informed choices on Election Day. There's no need to tackle it all on your own."