Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017


If David Cameron really cares about the future of the UK he needs to call an election instead of handing the reins over to (presumably) Boris in a few months.

A party which campaigned on a platform of ignoring the referendum and sticking with the EU would have a legitimate mandate to do just that. Especially if they bring back the good Miliband.

I can't think of anything else that works.

California and San Francisco June 2016 Propositions


50: Yes - makes it harder so suspend a legislator but provides a more impactful sanction when this does happen. I don't think legislators should be suspended unless the circumstances are extreme. 

San Francisco

A: Yes - mostly hospital and fire station upgrades.

B: No - I like parks, but the city should decide how much to allocate to them. I generally don't like measures that carve out specific areas for funding.

C: I have no idea. Abstain. I don't have the time to untangle this one.

D: Yes, clearly more oversight of lethal force by SFPD is needed.

E: Yes, brings San Francisco sick leave in line with State rules.

AA: No, regressive per-parcel tax. Should be funded in a better way.


California 2014 Propositions

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

California 2014 Propositions

My quick voting guide for the California 2014 Propositions:

1: Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects.

Yes: Doesn't help with the current drought but might help with the next one.

2: State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

Yes: Should help even out funding by forcing the state to save excess capital gains revenue.

45: Healthcare Insurance. Rate Changes. Initiative Statute.

No. We have Covered California now. Not clear that this helps.

46: Drug and Alcohol Testing Of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.

No. Too many issues in one confusing package.

47: Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.

Yes. Time to stop putting everyone in prison already,

48: Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.

Yes. I'm not a casino fan in general and the whole compensation through casino monopolies mystifies me. But that's the system we have and this seems like it's a tribal casino on newly minted tribal land. I'm not likely to go there but I don't see a great reason to block it.


San Francisco 2014 Ballot Measures

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

San Francisco 2014 Ballot Measures

My voting guide for the San Francisco 2014 ballot measures:

A: San Francisco Transportation and Road Improvement Bond

Yes: This borrows half a billion dollars to improve bike lanes, transit lanes, pedestrian crossings, etc. I walk, drive and bike around San Francisco as well as taking MUNI. We're killing too many people, especially pedestrians, and need to do a better job.

B: Adjusting Transportation Funding for Population Growth

No: More money to MUNI from population growth instead of tax base growth. These seem like they should be related and if not fix the tax base not the funding formula.

C: Fund; Public Education Enrichment Fund; Children and Families Council; Rainy Day Reserve

Yes: Continues existing universal preschool for 4-year-olds and other kids programs.

D: Retiree Health Benefits for Former Redevelopment Agency and Successor Agency Employees

Yes: This fixes a kink in benefits for a few city employees. Seems fair.

E: Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

No. I'm somewhat torn on this one. It probably would reduce sugar consumption but is that displaced spending going to broccoli? It's a regressive tax and I'd rather see more effort on education or making healthier alternatives more available and appealing.

F: Pier 70

Yes: Looks like a good development.

G: Additional Transfer Tax on Residential Property Sold Within 5 Years of Purchase

No. Covers way too many sales without many exemptions. Unfair to property owners.

H: Requiring Certain Golden Gate Park Athletic Fields To Be Kept As Grass With No Artificial Lighting

No: H and I are fight over installing artificial turf on the fields by the Beach Chalet. I've played soccer on gopher-ridden grass and it's lethal. I don't want to be responsible for twisted ankles so no on H and yes on I.

I: Renovation of Playgrounds, Walking Trails, and Athletic Fields

Yes. See H.

J: Minimum Wage Increase

Yes: It would be nice if more people who work in San Francisco could afford to live in San Francisco.

K: Affordable Housing

No: Not because it's a bad idea to add more affordable housing but it's a non-binding policy statement and doesn't actually seem to change anything.

L: Policy Regarding Transportation Priorities

No: This seeks to change policy to favor cars over other transit options. Nuts.


San Francisco 2012 Propositions

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

San Francisco 2012 Propositions

Following yesterday’s post on the California 2012 Propositions here’s a shorter post on how I’m planning to vote on the San Francisco (PDF) ballot initiatives:

A: City College Parcel Tax

Yes, happy to pay another $79 a year to support City College.

B: Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond

Yes, park improvements for a littler over $50 a year.

C: Housing Trust Fund

Yes, a modest amount of money to include affordable housing in a city that desperately needs it.

D: Consolidating Odd-Year Municipal Elections

Yes, because there are too many elections already.

E: Gross Receipts Tax

Yes, makes more sense than taxing payroll and doesn’t tax businesses until you’re over $1M in revenue (whereas the payroll tax hits pre-revenue startups).

F: Water and Environment Plan

No, this is a study on draining the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Which is just crazy. I might not support building it today but it makes no sense to look at getting rid of it now. Plus that water is really nice.

G: Policy Opposing Corporate Personhood

Yes, because a San Francisco policy will totally reverse hundreds of years of legal precedent. More seriously, corporations are not people and while a policy won’t reverse the malign influence of unlimited corporate spending on elections it doesn’t hurt to whine about it a little.

California 2012 Propositions

Updated on Thursday, December 26, 2019

My favorite proposition would be one to do away with propositions altogether. We need Legislative Service instead. But there is an election on Tuesday and a fresh slate of propositions for California and San Francisco that need to be decided. My thoughts on the statewide propositions are:


Yes, grudgingly. I hate that Governor Brown has a knife to our throats on this one. If it passes then we get $6 billion of extra annual revenue, largely for education. If it fails then because the revenue is already in the budget we’re looking at further evisceration. The sales tax component is regressive, I prefer proposition 38’s more balanced income tax increases across the board. I actually like that the proposition 30 money hits the general fund – I hate measures that earmark money so specifically that there is no room for maneuver. So yes on 30 and no on 38.

The arguments against proposition 30 seem to be that it isn’t specifically earmarked (which I see as a plus) and that we shouldn’t be raising more money for education and public safety while also building out high speed rail. But as the 8th largest economy in the world California should be able to mange to improve public transport and education at the same time. Both are critical to long term growth and prosperity. There is also the argument that you can’t trust government with any money or decisions and that any problem can be handled by just reducing ‘waste’. I don’t really buy that and if you do you might be better off somewhere like Nevada.


No. ‘Local Action Plans’ would allow local government to circumvent state laws and this doesn’t seem like a great idea. Allowing the Governor to make budget cuts without the state legislature smells bad as well. Publishing bills in advance of a vote to help prevent pet projects and pork from being stuffed in sounds good, I wish it had been included as a separate proposition rather than lumped in here (in general Proposition 30 suffers from being too broad).


No. It’s just a naked attempt to stiff unions and further increase the corporate money stranglehold on US politics.


No. This allows insurance companies to offer a discount based on how long you’ve been insured with another company but also allows them to punish you for a lapse in coverage. If you choose to be without a car for more than a few months you can get a large increase in coverage. It doesn’t seem that the pros outweigh the cons here and the fact that the proposition is funded by the chairman of Mercury further tips me towards a no vote.


Yes. I don’t care about the cost of the death penalty, or particularly in it’s effectiveness. I’m fundamentally opposed to the death penalty because I don’t think the state has any business taking life in cold blood. I also don’t think you can guarantee that you’re not executing someone who is innocent.


No. Punishment for specific offenses shouldn’t be dictated by ballot initiative. Most of these crimes are Federal anyway and so any changes in CA law would have a minor impact (KQED reports 18 offenders in CA prison for trafficking). There is a provision expanding the definition of human trafficking to include copying child pornography… sounds great but you’ll probably end up doing 15 years hard time for backing up your teenager’s phone after they’ve been sexting.


Yes. As the law currently stands you can get life in prison for drug possession. The US really needs to stop throwing everyone in jail. Judges should have the latitude to make the sentence fit the crime and not be automatically forced to throw away the key. This proposition makes three strikes a little more humane – I’d rather see it done away with altogether but it’s a step in the right direction.


Yes. Personally I don’t really care about eating GM food, but a lot of people care very deeply and it seems reasonable to provide this information. The main argument against is sinister special exemptions but these boil down to alcohol (not labeled the same way as food to start with) and animals that have been fed GM food but are not GM themselves.


No. See 30, above.


No. I’m not really sure which way of determining how to tax multi-state businesses is best. Allowing businesses to choose which method they use doesn’t seem the right way to go. If this proposition was just about changing the tax calculation I might be in favor, but unfortunately it also funnels around half of the additional revenue to a new outfit to spend on clean energy projects over five years. As the proposition is sponsored by one hedge fund manager you’ve got to believe that there is a hedge fund posed to benefit from the extra spending.


Yes. Approves the outcome of the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The backers of the proposition have withdrawn support for it (Republicans trying to throw out the new districts), it’s only on the ballot because it can’t be removed – a yes vote in this case keeps things the same.

Reviews and Links for December 2011

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

REST API Design Rulebook by Mark Masse


Two huge problems with this book. It's short and very repetitive so the information content is about a couple of blog posts. The 'rules' are highly subjective, and much of the book is pushing the author's WRML 'standard' which I've never seen in the wild. The only real positive is that it's a comprehensive survey of the issues you need to think about when designing a REST API: just don't take the rules as gospel and research best practice from major APIs so you understand the context.



What are the 1865 stickers on Bernal Hill about?

ITHCWY: Congress: instead of breaking the Internet how about fixing child identity theft?: According the the…

Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election - Boing Boing via @BoingBoing

Shouldn't hackers be _taking over_ a network of satellites?

ITHCWY: Shiti: Citigroup sent me a nice notice saying they are going to share my information in about four thousand…

The coming war on general computation (Cory Doctorow)

Zeno's Advent Calendar: #fb

“we couldn’t as a company be in a position of acknowledging ... hidden people.” -

Check this video out -- IDEX: Connecting You to Grassroots Solutions to Poverty via @IDEX

Catfood Software Blog | Winter Solstice 2011 in Catfood Earth via @CatfoodSoftware

For Christmas, Your Government Will Explain Why It's Legal to Kill You:

Arch druid ... said it was a "good omen for the year ahead" that the sun had come up after the ceremony.

Looking forward to: Build better web applications with "Get Some REST" via @getsomerestbook

Why is @VisualStudio so busy?

Sphero #todo @myEN

HTTP status cats by GirlieMac: classic server error codes, now with cats:

Land of the free taken nearly taken care of: just need to do something about home of the brave. #fb

Trillion-frame-per-second video:

ITHCWY: Reviews and Links for November 2011: Reamde by Neal Stephenson 5/5 Intelligent and humorous if highly…

Yet more on (BoingBoing)

Check this video out -- Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody) Lightsaber Duel - Steven Sharp Nelson via @youtube

Stop marketers from being able to call your cellphone! @CREDOMobile #p2

More on hijacking shareware to install crap: #fail

RT @justanswer: Want to know how old Santa is or what he gets Mrs. Claus for Xmas? Ask Santa your questions for free! ...

You're doing it wrong: on toast, with butter: (Sandwich Monday: The Marmite Sandwich)

Too hot? Switch Google off:

2 of 5 stars to REST API Design Rulebook by Mark Masse

Aliens on Ice:

There, we fixed it: (The woman... must marry her rapist as a condition of the release.)