On March 13, 2012, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed on a first reading by a 6-5 vote an ordinance (“Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance”) amending the San Francisco Administrative Code by adding Section 2A.84 to: “1) set City policy regarding participation in federal counterterrorism activities; and 2) set parameters for Police Department participation in the activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and other counterterrorism activities; 3) urging the Chief of Police to amend or terminate the current agreement between the Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the Joint Terrorism Task Force; and 4) urging the Police Commission to direct the Chief to amend or terminate that agreement.” In summary, this ordinance ensures that all members of our City police remain accountable to the citizens of San Francisco, and subject to the civilian oversight provided by the Police Commission and the Office of Citizen Complaints.
Why are accountability and oversight crucially important? Increasingly Joint Task Terrorism Force agreements between the FBI and our City law enforcement relinquish local control in exchange for FBI assistance in intelligence gathering. Increasingly agreements are made in secrecy, extra judicially. Increasingly we are witnessing the federalization of our City law enforcement. The “Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance” places restraints on this troubling trend.
The next step for this ordinance is a second vote by the Board of Supervisors, and Mayor Ed Lee's desk. Under pressure from those who have chosen a little temporary safety over essential liberty, the Board is considering rewording the ordinance or scrapping it at its next meeting. Mayor Lee has indicated he will veto this legislation as it now reads. He will follow the guidance of Police Chief Greg Suhr, who has concerns that the ordinance will prevent the City police from getting tips on terrorism from the FBI. We would prefer that Mayor Lee, and the Board of Supervisors, be guided instead by the California Constitution, by the oversight objectives of the Police Commission, by the access to appeals represented by the Office of Citizen Complaints, and by the ultimate right of all San Franciscans to be confident that their civil liberties will never be abridged.
We urge you to contact the ordinance sponsors, Supervisors Kim, Avalos and Campos, and encourage them to continue their efforts to pass this ordinance. We urge you to contact Mayor Ed Lee and tell him not to veto this legislation. Also we would like you to support the "Coalition for a Safe San Francisco" www.safesf.org , and its work publicizing the need for this ordinance.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin.
December 21, 2011, was the day of the Winter Solstice, when you celebrated that you survived the worst of winter. Some who did not survive were remembered in San Francisco by the Coalition on Homelessness and Network Ministries. We who did survive are either expressing best wishes for the Holiday Season or thinking Bah Humbug. The Libertarian Party of San Francisco continues to work towards a City that believes the best way to help the most folks to survive and prosper is to unfetter and encourage entrepreneurs and small business. May you enjoy and prosper.
Lest readers of our Voter Recommendations above think Libertarians are anti education based on our position on Proposition A, I would like to assure everyone that is not the case. The Libertarian position on all issues favors personal responsibility, freedom of choice, and competition – educating children is no exception. Libertarians would like to see more parental involvement, which greatly improves students’ success, as well as saves scarce resources. As a working Mom, who found ways of volunteering more than 50 hours per year for my child’s school , I feel comfortable saying that working full time and volunteering a few hours per kid can be done! Libertarians would like to see San Francisco make it easier for charter schools, home schooling, and voucher programs to flourish in our City; which would give parents more choices as well as provide much needed competition to the one-size-fits-all traditional public school system. The City is no longer as hospitable to families with children as it once was (who can afford a house or flat in this town that would fit two or three kids any more!), and families are moving out. Therefore, it is time for the School District to innovate, not invest more taxpayer funds in the status quo.
And speaking of children’s education, one of our members has put together an excellent teaching tool, primarily appropriate for high school social studies teachers. “An Educator’s Resource for Teaching Liberty” is non-partisan, but pro-liberty. It can be downloaded at http://lpsf.org/teachercd.zip.
Pride Week is over, and Libertarians were there. Over the years, Outright Libertarians have volunteered their time and resources to staff a vendor booth at Pride. Not only to outreach, but also to listen. How does a Libertarian respond to someone who says she would never vote Libertarian because she needs the protection from discrimination that government affords. Not an easy question, and the most sincre response we could offer was to suggest that if she would want to marry her partner, the government would simply say "no." How much time does a staff at the booth dedicate to a teen who realizes that what we are saying is not taught at his school -- all the time it takes to answer all his questions. How about the comment that Libertarians are "all white and rich?" Oh, that's an easy one--just look closely at who you are talking to!! So many stopped at the Outright booth, each with a story, a comment, a question. We are grateful for the opportunity to meet and talk to all of them.
Pride Outreach Team
One of the things I do as an activist is run for public office. Since I'm a Libertarian in a town dominated by Democrats, and refuse to play the political game the way the career politician types do, I don't have any serious expectation of winning -- though miracles occasionally do happen! -- but it gives me a reason to go out and talk to people about libertarian ideas and get a pro-freedom perspective into the candidate debates and public dialogue for a change.
So the other day I called up the Elections Department to check up on the procedures and schedule to run for mayor...