Pissed off at the Pissed Off Voter Guide

NEW: Looking for my latest San Francisco Voting Guide by Steven Buss? Check out the Tech Worker Voter Guide, which I helped create!

NEW: I’ve moved my blog. Find this and more at https://www.sbuss.dev/post/pissed-off-at-the-pissed-off-voter-guide/

If they are so pissed off with the state of the city, then why did they endorse nearly all of the incumbents running in the upcoming March 2020 election? I guess I’d be pissed off, too, if I kept voting for the same people misgoverning San Francisco year after year!

I’m running for the SF Democratic Party County Central Committee (DCCC) which means, among other things, that I get to fill out a bunch of candidate endorsement questionnaires sent by various local organizations. By far the worst one I saw was for the League of Pissed Off Voters. It’s 5 pages of yes/no questions and demands for loyalty to the NIMBY fauxgressive machine. You aren’t allowed to explain your answers. You aren’t allowed to provide evidence. You must toe the party line.

You should not follow the League of Pissed Off Voters Guide.

If you’re unhappy with the state of the city, then follow recommendations from groups that want change: groups like SF YIMBY, or the United Democratic Club. And vote for people like myself and other grassroots candidates (all first-time candidates), rather than career politicians.

San Francisco is stuck. It is controlled by interests that don’t want the city to grow or welcome new industries or immigrants. We need more change, not less!

If you want independent candidates that want San Francisco to be better, then stop listening to people who shout about how “pissed off” they are, and start paying attention to actual grassroots movements fighting for change.

I decided to share the questionnaire to show regular folks what it’s like behind the curtain.

Demands for fealty

To someone not involved in local politics, these questions may seem benign, but once you understand the biases of The League you realize that they’re purity testing you. There’s no room for nuance, there’s no consideration for a changing city — it’s just “are you with us or against us?”

The “questionnaire” includes what are actually demands for your “SOLE endorsement” for races that haven’t even started yet:

  • Do you pledge to vote to SOLE endorse:
  • — Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer in District 1?
  • — Supervisor Aaron Peskin in District 3?
  • — Dean Preston in District 5?
  • — Hillary Ronen for Supervisor in District 9?
  • — John Avalos for Supervisor in District 11?

If you don’t pledge fealty to their chosen fauxgressive Supervisors Sandra Fewer (who isn’t even running for reelection), Aaron Peskin, Dean Preston, Hillary Ronen, and John Avalos, you won’t get their endorsement. (And let’s remember that these people aren’t even running yet, so they’ve made up their minds about who to support before even sending out the next round of questionnaires!)

They don’t want DCCC members to deliberate on the positions of any challengers to these candidates, they only want a loyalty pledge. They don’t just like their people, they dislike democracy.

This isn’t a questionnaire. It’s a litmus test for their particular brand of dysfunctional woke-washed progressivism.

And here are a few yes/no questions I want to highlight:

  • Do you support the expansion of charter schools?
  • Do you support SB50 (Senator Wiener’s zoning bill) as written?
  • Do you pledge to vote to endorse only those candidates that support Medicare for All?
  • Do you support a baseline percentage of 40% of affordable housing developments when negotiating the number of housing units?

If you support charter schools, you won’t get their endorsement.

If you support Senator Scott Wiener’s SB50 bill, which would allow for new housing to be built near transit lines, then you won’t get their endorsement.

If you don’t support full Medicare for All and banning private insurance, you won’t get their endorsement.

If you recognize that financing requirements make a 40% below-market-rate building impossible to build, you won’t get their endorsement.

Who runs the League of Pissed Off Voters?

Who runs the voter guide? Why are they so pissed off if they’re endorsing a full slate of incumbents?

Good question! For an organization that claims to promote transparent and accountable government, they sure do their best to make this difficult to answer: no names on their website, nothing on Twitter or Facebook, and they refuse to answer direct questions about who runs it.

The League claims to have a steering committee, but for the life of me I can’t figure out who’s on it. I emailed them inquiring about who sits on the committee, but they refused to answer and just pointed me to sfethics.org. I find their lack of transparency particularly frustrating given that they constantly demand greater transparency in politics.

Here’s screenshots where they just started ignoring my emails:

I even reached out on Twitter, but they didn’t answer.

I know they saw my question because they liked a reply.

So I went to sfethics.org to look up their mandatory disclosures. Unfortunately, they’re short on details. From what I can gather, the following people are involved to some degree:

  • Jeremy Pollock
  • Alexander Cotton
  • Alison Uscilka

Jeremy Pollock is deep in fauxgressive political circles, and even penned a long-winded piece about why YIMBY’s founder, Sonja Trauss, shouldn’t get the endorsement of the SF Bicycle Coalition, despite biking to literally every one of her campaign events and making bike lanes in SOMA a key part of her campaign. His bias against new housing got in the way of supporting an excellent bike advocate.

According to their Form 460 and Form 410, an Alexander Cotton is the treasurer, but I have no idea who this guy is. All I know is that he works for the San Francisco government.

And finally, according to the same Form 410, Alison Uscilka is the Principal Officer. This is another person I can’t find much about. All I know is she is a huge supporter of David Campos (the chair of the local Democratic Party and former District 9 Supervisor) and she owns a $1.5 million dollar home, but only pays taxes on 1/4 of that value due to Prop 13. I guess she’s pissed off at everything but her high property value, artificially low taxes, and the political machine that make it possible.

Who funds them?

For a group of people that endlessly whinge about “dark money” they sure make it hard to know who’s calling the shots, but at least San Francisco forces them to reveal who’s paying the bills.

You can view a copy I made of their financial disclosures here, but the takeaway is that, just looking at the top 50 donors, $13,209 of their funding came from people who ran for or are currently in office, and $14,000 from PACs and ballot prop campaigns. Apparently supporting the establishment and taking their dark money means you can brand yourself as righteously woke and pissed off.

Take action

If you’ve used the Pissed Off Voter Guide in the past, and now are feeling pissed off that you got tricked into voting for anti-housing fauxgressives, then you can do a few things to help your friends:

  1. Share this on social media and tell your friends to throw the guide in the trash, and instead use my voter guide, the YIMBY voter guide, or the United Democratic Club voter guide.
  2. Donate to my campaign: https://buss2020.org/donate
  3. Vote for grassroots candidates that want change: https://grassroots4dccc.com

YIMBY Neoliberal lead, YIMBY Action Board Member, Software Engineer, A little too obsessed with land use policy