Nearly three dozen community members filled a small conference room at the Ingleside Police Station on Sept. 8 to hear a variety of candidates speak at a forum hosted by the District 11 Council and District 11 Democratic Club.
The candidates in attendance that day are running in the November election for city supervisor of District 11, BART Board in districts 7 and 9, the Board of Education and the Community College Board.
Alexander Mullaney, publisher of the neighborhood newspaper The Ingleside Light, moderated the event.
“We’re gonna participate in every San Franciscan’s favorite pastime—democracy,” Mullaney said to the good-humored crowd.
Mullaney explained the rules of the forum and asked both the audience and the candidates to be respectful.
“No profanity. I know this is District 11,” Mullaney said as he playfully eyed the crowd, and everyone in the room chuckled.
District 11 Supervisor
Incumbent District 11 Supervisor John Avalos kicked the forum off. He is running unopposed.
“I’m confused how to run a campaign unopposed,” Avalos said, but continued that his priorities include helping businesses grow and encouraging more affordable housing.
He also responded to questions regarding safety issues on Mansell Street, vacancies on the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force and the salaries of his legislative aides.
“I believe they need to pull that money (for Mansell Street) from the Department of Public Works budget” and not from other departments such as Parks and Recreation, Avalos said.
Tom Radulovich, district 9 incumbent and current vice-president of the BART Board, talked about his current projects.
“I’m trying to extend the Fast Pass out to Daly City,” he said.
Fast Passes allow unlimited Muni and BART rides only within San Francisco city limits.
He also acknowledged that the escalators at Balboa Park Station should have been fixed by now and addressed concerns that there isn’t enough police presence in the stations.
“The police tell us they’re there,” he said. Having police on trains and in stations is “the most effective way to police.”
Maria Alegria, a challenger for district 7, said that one of her goals is to unify the regions in her district, which partially covers several stations spread throughout San Francisco and the East Bay, including Balboa Park.
Board of Education
All 11 Board of Education candidates were present and are vying for one of three open spots on the seven member board.
They answered questions that ranged from after school programs and the role of parents to nutrition.
In general, the candidates agreed about the importance of such programs and priorities but the most controversial issue was Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps programs.
Commonly known as JROTC, it’s a high school program run by the U.S. Army.
Incumbent Jill Wynns and challenger Kim Garcia-Meza both said they support allowing the program in San Francisco schools despite their personal beliefs about the military.
Challengers Shamann Walton and Gladys Soto said they completely oppose the program, while incumbent Sandra Fewer said she supports allowing the program on school campuses but not as an actual class for credit.
Challenger Paul Robertson suggested creating one central JROTC academy in the city for all the students, and their parents, who want it.
Three of the ten candidates running for the Community College Board were present, until about halfway through when a fourth candidate, incumbent Chris Jackson, joined in.
They addressed City College’s accreditation crisis and also answered questions regarding the role of vocational classes at community colleges, the search for a new chancellor and the relationship of the school with the community.
There was a general consensus that the governor’s tax proposal, known as Prop. 30, as well as a local $79 parcel tax measure known as Prop. A, will be important for the school’s finances but that more revenue still needs to be found.
We can’t count on it, challenger Amy Bacharach said, but hopefully it will help.
There’s wishful thinking and there’s reality, Rodrigo Santos said, and elaborated that there are no sacred cows.
Santos was appointed to the board by Mayor Ed Lee in August to fill the remaining term of the late Milton Marks III. He has raised more than $113,000 for his campaign, more than any of the other nine candidates.
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