State Assembly race for District 12
Candidate Michael Denny Congratulates Leland Yee
San Francisco County
Dem 64,964 78.02
Rep 12,852 15.44
San Mateo County
Dem 7,199 73.35
Rep 1,847 18.82
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General Elections Results
League of Women Voters
Democrat and Republican are "no shows"
Denny tells audience
"I hope you aren't counting on them for anything important"
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Denny tells administrators
that educators should be given schools. And the City and District
Attorneys must investigate School Board.
On October 17,
Michael Denny, Libertarian candidate for Assembly in District 12,
addressed the American Federation of School Administrators, AFL-CIO
local #3 at their “Meet the Candidates” night. Denny told
administrators Libertarians strongly support the
right of workers to organize. Denny said he teaches Junior
Achievement in public schools as kids need to know that
free-enterprise and competition improve goods and services while
reducing costs. “I want schools to incorporate these ideas because
it’s good for education, the kids and your union.” said Denny.
“Politics will not solve anything. Only a passionate application of
creativity and skill will help our kids and your union. And I know
you are up to the task if given the freedom to do your jobs.”
candidates believe the system can be fixed” said Denny. “I disagree.
The school system is a monster. Responsibility must be taken from
bureaucrats and put directly in the hands of educators and their
students. We cannot continue with each side blaming the other while
students and our community suffer. Libertarians like simple
solutions” said Denny. “The schools, including land and buildings,
should be given to the educators that run these schools. With these
resources, they can borrow money and open their schools of their
own. With educators in control, not bureaucrats, the lives of our
students, community and your union will be improved.”
labor representative for the union told Denny “You’re going to get
votes for that one, Mike.” Chao continued, “Teachers currently
receive tax credits, would you extend tax credits to
administrators?” Denny replied he would extend tax credits to anyone
involved in education including parents with kids in school. “You’ll
never hear a Libertarian speak badly of a tax credit” said Denny.
After the meeting,
Denny called for the City and District Attorneys to investigate the
School Board. “The Board members abrogated their duties by not
fixing classrooms from bond proceeds approved by voters” said
Denny. “This negligence of the Board is a breach of their fiduciary
duty and the public trust. It represents negligence and possibly
willful misconduct that must be investigated. Board members found
guilty should serve time in prison, repay the schools out of
personal funds and certainly be removed from office.” “Why has
nothing been done about this?” asks Denny. “The Board continues to
function as though nothing has happened. Where is the
accountability? Where is the responsibility to make sure these
public officials do what they were elected to do - protect and
promote the public trust?”
“With the political
incest in this town, it’s hard for one politician to go after
another without upsetting the establishment” said Denny. “If a
private company misspent money on a government contract, the City
and District Attorneys would have come after them with a vengeance
seeking redress, retribution and recovery.
But instead, ex-City
Attorney Louise Renne works for the same School Board she should
have investigated while in office. That’s not right -- perhaps this
needs to be investigated too."
teachers and the administrators should be given their schools” says
Denny. “They work for the students and the community. The School
Board works for itself.”
The San Francisco Sentinel
Dear SF Homeless Coalition,
I read your article in the Street Sheet about Prop N with
interest. And you are right, N is not about Care. However, your
proposal is not about Care either. Yours is about taking money by
force and distributing it to others you deem more needy. But is this
Care comes only from the heart, through the voluntary and
loving interaction of people. Little Sisters of the Poor, Rafael
House and Boys Hope Girls Hope are good examples of the many
organizations that truly care. They are staffed by volunteers
working for the needy. Many have taken vows of poverty so they can
focus on the needs of others. These organizations do a far better
job of serving society at a reasonable price than those funded by
the public sector because they can focus their efforts on serving
the needy instead of playing politics. They care more about solving
the problems as their compensation does not grow with the size of
the problem. And they don't take government money because they
know government funds are not about caring. They're about control.
Why did the City refuse to
issue permits for a free clinic to doctors from Volunteers
in Medicine (http://www.vimclinic.org/) who
were awarded a U.N. "Quality of Life" award and named the official
physicians to the artists at the Apollo Theater in NY? With our
problems, these doctors should be rock stars here. Do the City and
its non-profits want a government monopoly on social services? It
seems like they can't stand a little competition from people
who seek to serve the community more than themselves.
We will only have Care and reasonable solutions for the needy
in our society when organizations like yours and proposals like N
begin to address the real need for genuine human caring. How about
tax credits for those that fund private solutions like those
mentioned above? Until that happens, please know that your politics
and Gavin's are the same. And as far as Care goes, you both need a
lesson on the meaning of the word.
Michael F. Denny
District 12 Assembly candidates all from S.F.
DALY CITY -- Although all three candidates running for Assembly
District 12 live and work in San Francisco, they say they will not
forget the people in northern San Mateo County if elected to
Sacramento in November.
Libertarian Michael Denny, Republican Howard Epstein and Democrat
Leland Yee are all running for the assembly seat, which covers
western San Francisco as well as Daly City, Broadmoor and Colma in
San Mateo County.
Epstein, 55, is a former small-business owner in South San
Francisco and Burlingame. He believes a lack of reliable
transportation is greatest concern in the County.
Denny, 51, who owns a wine distributorship in San Francisco and
lived in the County in the mid-1970s, hopes to win the seat in order
to further third party politics in California.
Denny said he admires San Mateo County residents "independent"
nature, and their refusal to be "absorbed in the mess of San
Yee, 53, currently a San Francisco supervisor, has many relatives
living in the County and will possibly have an office in Daly City
if elected to the Assembly.
"While there is a border (between the two counties), it is a
seamless border for me," Yee said.
Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Shelley can't run again because of
term limits. Instead, he is a candidate for Secretary of State.
Epstein, a lifelong San Francisco resident, is an elected member
of the San Francisco Republican County Central Committee, and said
he will focus on fixing the state's infrastructure.
Epstein said he hopes to combat the deterioration of the state
government that he said came with years of Democratic rule in both
the Governor's office and the Assembly.
"Everything has been anti-business, anti-production," Epstein
said "If Davis gets re-elected I want to be there to rein him in."
Denny, who has been both a Democrat and a Republican in the past,
said he found "a home" in the Libertarian Party more than 20 years
Denny wants to protect and encourage the freedom and
responsibility of each individual, and support small businesses
along with empowering local communities to make decisions regarding
education and funds.
"In Sacramento, we have an attitude about government that is the
same between Democrats and Republicans," Denny said, indicating that
each party simply caters to their own special-interest groups.
Both Epstein and Denny agree that someone must take a stand in
Sacramento and make tough decisions in order to improve the disarray
in state government.
In the race, Yee is the most experienced politician, having
served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 1996.
Yee, who immigrated to the United states in the early 1950s, held
his first public office in 1988 when he was elected to Board of
Education in San Francisco.
With his background in child psychology, Yee said hopes to win
state money for education, healthcare and recreation programs in the
The Sweet—and Sometimes Dry—Taste of Freedom
Candidate Mike Denny explains
nuances of wine to Naomi Bauman of the Pacific Research Institute
and Bob Leeds of Write with Style. (Photo by David Molony)
For many Libertarians, a desire to
lighten the heavy load of government is what draws them to politics.
But only a few make a living at this noble cause while
simultaneously volunteering their time and energy to the party. One
of these is LPSF Membership Chair Michael Denny.
Denny, a Richmond district
resident and father of four, is in the alcoholic beverages industry.
The company he founded in 1987, American Wine Distributors, is one
of a growing number of firms which help distributors of wine, beer,
and other spirits navigate the maze of government regulations,
ultimately saving consumers of these beverages a ton of money.
On Tuesday May 1, Denny spoke to
over 20 attendees at the LPSF's monthly Financial District event.
This was not a "dry" business lecture. While discussing the onerous
taxes and regulations on alcohol and ways sellers are learning to
get around them, Denny generously passed out samples of several of
the wines he distributes.
"The alcoholic beverage industry
is regulated slightly less than atomic waste," Denny deadpanned at
the start of his talk. "Separation of church and state" doesn't
really exist, he continued. The law is heavily influenced by a
religious morality which frowns on intoxication, and laws are
designed to prevent the industry from "inducing people to drink" by
making it difficult and expensive to put alcohol on the shelves.
Although the Prohibition of alcohol at the federal level ended in
1933, there are still so-called "dry" counties in the U.S. where
alcohol is locally restricted or prohibited, including some areas
with significant numbers of people. The major metropolitan area of
Evanston, Illinois, for example, he said is "not completely dry, but
[it is] very difficult to buy alcohol." In the completely dry
counties, even transporting beer through by truck without stopping
is illegal. Georgia, Connecticut, Kansas, and Maine are among the
worst states. And if all this seems incredible to us, it’s because
"California is still the freest state in the country for alcoholic
beverages." Denny cited a group called the Small Business Survival
Committee <www.SBSC.org>, which rates business-friendly climates
state by state.
Meanwhile, according to Denny, the
feds have stepped up their taxation of alcohol. "In the beginning
[just after Prohibition], the federal government took almost no
revenue at all from alcoholic beverages," he said. "Now the federal
government is one of the largest taxers of alcohol." Ten years ago,
the federal tax on wine was increased by 1000 percent.
Regulation of beer, wine and
spirits still occurs mostly at the state level, however. This has
resulted in a crazy-quilt patchwork of regulations and requirements
across the country, Denny said, with each state having its own
complex rules and procedures. In some states, you have to register
with the Secretary of State to get a permit of any kind. Others,
like Connecticut, charge $100 per item that you’re selling into that
state. In Pennsylvania, liquor is sold through state-run stores.
"There’s almost as many options as there are states," he said.
That’s where his company steps in.
"I liken what I do to a tax accountant," Denny explained. What might
cost a distributor $60,000 a year to accomplish on its own, the head
of American Wine Distributors said he can do for $20,000, partly
through economies of scale. Like an accountant, Denny must know the
laws and figure out which mechanisms to use and which to avoid.
"It's just a matter of ... allowing buyers and sellers to trade as
if these [laws] don't even exist," he said. According to a San
Francisco Chronicle article in April 1993, his company
handles "product storage, delivery, insurance, legal compliance and
even administrative functions." The company currently has 17
Some entrepreneurs have more
recently tried using the Internet to bypass expensive and confusing
state laws and sell directly to consumers, but this effort mostly
failed, Denny said. Wine.com went broke after ending up in lawsuits
all over the country, Denny said, as did Wineshopper.com. Others,
like E-Vineyard, have been more careful and are still in business.
It has been said that the Internet
interprets regulation and censorship as bugs and routes around them.
The same may be said for the free market in general. Denny believes
that within 3 to 5 years, there will be "many, many options for
suppliers and consumers to source products directly." He noted that
the libertarian public-interest law firm Institute for Justice has
been involved in lawsuits on behalf of those fighting anti-consumer
Unfortunately, alcoholic beverage
wholesalers, whom Denny called the "fat cats" of the industry, are
opposed to reform. Members of the Wine and Alcoholic Spirits
Wholesalers Association, who coincidentally met in San Francisco
around the time of Denny’s talk, "don't want any laws to change that
would allow their customers to go around them," he said. The
government, of course, likes the revenue. "The tax and political
incentives are very strong to keep the system in place," Denny
lamented. Leading the fight for the status quo is California’s
notoriously anti-freedom Senator Dianne Feinstein, along with Orrin
Hatch of Utah.
The costs, both direct and
indirect, are horrendous. Some states—Denny mentioned Florida as
being particularly bad—add almost $2 in taxes to each bottle of
wine, even before sales tax. "To operate [as a distributor] in the
United States, it costs over $8000 a year, just in permits," he
said. Denny estimated that the total tax and regulatory burden
placed on his industry bleeds $200 million from the economy
None of these costs, happily, were
borne by those who came to hear the Wine Man speak and got to try a
sampling of his wares from France, Australia, and New Zealand. Four
lucky individuals who won an impromptu raffle among the attendees
each took home a free bottle. The wine was widely praised as
delicious, and the benefits of free trade were toasted.
"I was into wine way before
libertarianism," Denny admitted.
Candidate Denny featured in Junior Achievement video
Victor Lee, Gordon J. Lau Elementary School student, San
As they grow and learn, young people can take their places as
responsible citizens and become leaders. San Francisco
elementary school student Victor Lee's life has been touched by
junior Achievement. In turn, he touches the lives of
others. "I talk to business people because I want all business
people to become involved so that all children can have JA”,
says Victor. "When I heard Victor speak about his experience
with JA, and how it has motivated him, I realized that JA was
something I wanted to do," says Michael Denny, JA volunteer.For
Victor, the JA experience is doing an activity and visualizing
the future. "If we have JA, we will learn how to make the
world a better place," says Victor.
Watch Live Video
For Immediate Release
August 7, 2002
Secretary of State Candidate Lightfoot
Hails SF Chinese Name Policy Change
California Secretary of State
candidate, Gail Lightfoot, resident of Arroyo
Grande, congratulated fellow
Libertarian Candidate Michael Denny's success in
overturning the San Francisco
Department of Elections Chinese Name Policy
"It is very apparent California
needs outsiders to invade the turf of career
politicians. The sooner the
better." Lightfoot said. " I am telling voters a
Libertarian is the perfect fit for
Secretary of State. Why? Because it is the
Libertarians who want most of all
to hear all sides of an issue and from
every candidate. The Secretary of
State is the Chief Elections Officer and
keeper of the State Archives. I
will make sure our children understand
political history and voters are
fully informed on all issues and
candidates." Lightfoot explained.
Lightfoot went on to say she knows
Michael Denny and both his sons
personally having spent a weekend
at their San Francisco home during her
campaign for US Senate in 2000.
Denny hosted her visit to San Francisco
graciously taking her to several
other events during her trip to participate
in the one radio debate between
the candidates for US Senate. Lightfoot,
Medea Benjamin and Jose Camahort
were in the studio with other candidates on phone lines for the
debate. Afterwards Medea said "She and I would never
agree on anything." Lightfoot
laughed. "I have to agree. We Libertarians are
not about compromise. We are about
individual Liberty and Choice, not government edict no matter
for more information on Gail Lightfoot, Libertarian
Candidate for Secretary of State.
Family Celebrate Chinese Name Victory
Taiwan Chinese Election Committee
Denny Honored by Jack Shih Dance Troup
August 6, 2002
For Immediate Release
Libertarian Candidate Denny Overturns
Department of Elections Chinese Name Policy
a surprise decision, one week before the November elections filing
deadline, John Arntz, Director of Elections announced the repeal of
San Francisco’s Chinese name policy for ballot translations.
Angelina Wong of Channel 26 television reported that the Department
of Elections said Candidate Denny had “won” the debate over the
City’s previous Chinese name policy.
The debate began
when Candidate Denny filed papers with the Department of Elections
(DOE) to run for the State Assembly in District 12. The DOE asked
Denny for his Chinese name for the ballot translation. As Denny is
active in the Chinese community and has a home in Taiwan, he was
happy to provide his Chinese name,
But the DOE rejected his Chinese name as it made him “seem Chinese”
and might “confuse” Chinese voters. They insisted on using a
phonetically transliterated version of his English name that results
in a name that makes no sense in Chinese, and would never be used by
a Chinese person,
press normally uses this form of name for people who do not have
Chinese names and/or who are not Chinese. However, here the
Department of Elections policy was specifically using this form of
name to identify the race of candidates to Chinese voters.
So Denny and his
sons, who study Mandarin Chinese, went before the Election
Commission and introduced themselves in Chinese using their Chinese
names. Denny produced Election Department documents stating,
"Chinese candidates who have their own Chinese names...don't need to
be phonetically transliterated into Chinese.” Denny pointed to a
U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Anderson v. Martin, which found it
unconstitutional for governments to identify the race of a candidate
on the ballot.
that the ruling likewise precludes indicating a candidate is not of
a particular race. The commission decided to hold a public hearing
about the Chinese name policy and asked the City Attorney's Office
to report their opinion. However, DOE took no action in spite of
numerous letters and phone calls.
announcement conceding the policy change came one day before Denny
planned to formally sue the DOE. Richard Winger, publisher of Ballot
Access News and San Francisco political attorney Peter Bagatelos,
assisted Denny in his case. The details are available on his website
Click here to see the
unfortunate that my opponent Leland Yee couldn’t recognize that this
policy was wrong when I brought it to his attention”, says Denny.
“Career politicians seldom have the courage to fight bad policy if
it might offend a core constituency. But I think Lee underestimated
the community, and the DOE finally did the right thing. But the
battle wasn’t won without a fight for what was right. That’s why
private citizens must get involved in the process. We cannot expect
career politicians to do the right thing.”
Click here Letter to
Supervisor Leland Yee
Michael Denny at the Elections Commission disputing Chinese name
Live video here
Sing Tao Daily.
March 26, 2001
San Francisco. Reporter Zhuo Zhao Jun
Michael F. Denny, Libertarian Candidate For State Assembly
District 12, protested the Department of Elections for lack of
principles for not allowing him to use his own Chinese name.
The San Francisco Election Commission said that they would
hold a public hearing to discuss this issue and requested the
City Attorney to present the law references and an opinion.
The Commission requested that the City Attorney present this
report within a week.
Denny, 51 years old, will run for Assembly in District 12
against his rival, Leland Yee. He said, when he decided to run
for the election, the bureau asked him to submit his Chinese
name in order to be printed on the Chinese language
translation of the ballot.
With a residence in Taiwan, he gave to the election bureau
his Chinese name (Dai Min Hao). However, the election bureau
refused to use this Chinese name because his name made him
appear to be an Asian candidate. The bureau will replace his
Chinese name to " Michael. Denny" (transliteration)
Denny responded: "My English name seems, but I am 1/2
French and 1/4 German". Does the Department of Electtions want
to change my English Name too? The election bureau insisted on
the use of his transliterate name.
Denny said: "They asked me to provide my Chinese name, but
they insisted on selecting a name for me that I will never
use. It sounds very strange.
Denny wants the election committee to recognize that the
actual policy is wrong and discriminates against the candidate
in the ballot. He says it is illegal and lacks reasonable
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