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LETTERS
Readers Have Their Say
Morality and our environmental salvation

Sunday, May 12, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle

Re: What is Nature Worth?
E.O Wilson
Chronicle Insight Sunday May 5, 2002
 
Dear Editor,
 
E.O Wilson may be a noted Biology professor, but he is clearly in over his head while drawing moral conclusions about the environment. His fuzzy logic is neatly summarized by his own words when he says "...morality is what we agree we should or should not do." Morals are absolutes that have nothing to do with personal or group agreement. So while he speaks articulately about the natural world, his attempt to make conservation a morality story fails. 
 
And sadly, he only touches on the beneficial relationship between economics and profit in conservation. But he fears the resources are undervalued so he dismisses the market outright. His cause would be better served by celebrating the opportunity to obtain and conserve these undervalued and thus endangered resources. Ignorance is the reason for under and over valuations...not markets.
 
But in his closing statement, "To know the world is to gain a propriety attachment to it.", Wilson makes the point very well. He should have devoted more time to the benefits of private property instead of trying to make environmental concern a religion. If he honestly believes resources are undervalued, he should establish a fund to encourage investment in these resources. There is nothing like undiscovered value to bring investment and conservation together to maximize a valuable resource. As Wilson suggest here, the environment will be best served when a human being with a proprietary and economic interest stands behind every resource on Earth. Only then will these resources flourish and be used wisely. More government and false moralizing will do nothing.
 
Michael F. Denny

戴明浩

Libertarian for State Assembly District 12
San Francisco, California

 

 

March 22, 2002                                               For Immediate Release

 Libertarian Candidate Denny Challenges Department of Elections Chinese Name Policy 

When Libertarian candidate Michael Denny filed papers with the Department of Elections (DOE) to run for the Assembly in District 12, the department asked for his Chinese name for the ballot translation. As Denny is active in the Chinese community and has a residence in Taiwan, he was happy to provide his Chinese name. But the DOE rejected his Chinese name and they told Denny that his Chinese name made him sound Chinese and that it would “confuse” Chinese voters. Denny replied, “My English name makes me sound Irish but I’m half French and a quarter German. Does the department want to change my English name too?”

But the DOE insisted on transliterating his name into a Chinese form that indicates to Chinese readers that Denny is not himself Chinese. Transliteration into the Chinese language produces the same sound of a name as when spoken in English. Says Denny, “It’s curious that the department asks for my Chinese name but then insists that I use a name no Chinese person would ever use.

       Michael Denny           戴明浩

邁克 .丹尼

 MICHAEL DENNY, at left, transliterated into Chinese. Denny's Chinese name appears at right.

Disgusted by the department’s arrogance, Denny contacted his friend and Democratic opponent Supervisor Leland Yee about the issue. Supervisor Lee offered to help Denny use his Chinese name on the ballot. But Denny wanted the policy changed. As Lee would not acknowledge that the policy was wrong, he withdrew his offer.
Click here Letter to Supervisor Leland Yee

So Denny and his sons went to the Election Commission and in Chinese, introduced themselves using their Chinese names. Denny produced Election Department documents stating, "Chinese candidates who have their own Chinese names...don't need to be phonically 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.  Denny maintained that 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.

One speaker said the policy was intended to prevent candidates from using Chinese names suggesting that they were better than the others. Denny replied, “Don’t underestimate the voters. It’s not the first time politicians have tried to deceive them.”

The San Francisco Sentinel

Thursday    March 14, 2002 Volume 2 Issue 255

 

Elections Commission absorbs new surprises
Baseline budget already submitted on its behalf Discovery of unknown policy manual Translation policy alleged unconstitutional

 

by pat murphy

March 14, 2002
San Francisco's fledgling Elections Commission absorbed more surprises last night, including a budget already submitted on its behalf, an Elections Department policy manual unknown to its director, and a candidate name translation policy which may violate constitutional law.

Still struggling for its sea legs, the new commission concluded only its fifth gathering by continuing those matters to its Mar. 20 meeting.

"As we sit here tonight, we don't even know what the policies of that (Elections) Department are," Commissioner Michael Mendelson observed.

The commission, created by voters to oversee the San Francisco Elections Department, came into being during the department's busy election season, and after the City budget process had just begun.

As a result, playing catch-up proved an endurance race with each meeting revealing more landscape to master.

On Mar. 11, commissioners learned a baseline budget for the Elections Department already had been submitted to the Mayor's Office on Mar. 1.  

It was submitted not by the Elections Department with commission approval, but by the Office of Administrative Services to meet submission deadline of Mar. l -- so that the Elections Department at least would have a proposed budget on paper, reported Elections Department Director Tammy Haygood.

The commission must now grapple with the minutiae of an $8 million budget, and directed Haygood to help do so at its Mar. 20 meeting, bringing suggestions for making good on the mayor's call for citywide ten percent budget reductions.

With that task large in its sights, the commission also aimed toward actually setting policy for the Elections Department, only to discover current department policy lacks definition.

Haygood reported codifying current policy would require input from each department manager, and asked that process not be undertaken until after Apr. 2, the date when canvassing of Mar. 5 election results must be completed.  A written compilation of policy did not yet exist, Haygood said.

In contradiction, Deputy City Attorney Julie Moll noted policy manuals appropriate for each Elections Department manager were prepared "years ago" by the City Attorney's Office.  Moll made the comment in response to a question from President Tom Schultz on legal review of current policy.

That revelation drew the ire of Commissioner David Serrano-Sewell, a mayoral commission appointee, who reacted as if it undercut Haygood's competence.

"Mr. President, I ask that you direct your questions only to the director of the department, not the attorney," Serrano-Sewell raised his voice.

Haygood herself seemed startled.

"I have no knowledge of such a manual," Haygood stated.

"When I took this job in August, the first thing I did wasn't to ramble around for a manual," added Haygood.

Forestalling a decision to ask Haygood for a presentation of policy, the commission instead directed Moll to report at its next meeting on the history and substance of policy manuals prepared by the City Attorney.

The question of reviewing department policy first arose from a candidate who alleged department name translation policy violates constitutional law which prohibits indicating race or nationality of a candidate.

Michael Denny, Libertarian nominee for the 12th Assembly District seat, told commissioners the department insisted on transliterating his name into Chinese in a form that indicates to Chinese readers Denny is not himself Chinese.

Transliteration into the Chinese language produces the same sound of a name as when spoken in English.

Denny took a Chinese name eight years ago, he told Commissioners.  He is married to a diplomat, and keeps a home in Taipei.

The department refused to print his Chinese name because, he said, he is not Chinese, insisting instead on transliterating his English name.  

Doing so rendered his name nonsensical to Chinese readers, easily identifiable as not a given Chinese name.

Denny produced Election Department documents indicating "your submitted Chinese name was replaced by the court translators who approves or disapproves the transliterations according to the guidelines."

According to those guidelines, "Chinese candidates who have their own Chinese names already...don't need to be phonically transliterated into Chinese. They can use their own Chinese names on the ballot.  Only a candidate should have his/her own Chinese name is: a Chinese candidate, or grant(ed) his/her Chinese name at birth or from his/her family when s/he is very young."

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.  Denny maintained that ruling likewise precludes indicating a candidate is not of a particular race.

The commission asked for the City Attorney's Office to report its opinion at the Mar. 20 meeting.

       Michael Denny           戴明浩

邁克 .丹尼


MICHAEL DENNY, at left, as it appears transliterated into Chinese. Denny's taken Chinese name appears at right.

 

 

 

   Golden GateLIBERTARIAN

Libertarian Party of San Francisco   •   2215-R Market Street, PMB170,

San Francisco, CA 94114-1612   •   (415) 775-LPSF   •   www.lpsf.org   •   January 2002

Standing: Michael Denny, David Golden, David Rhodes, Starchild, Chris Maden, Kneeling: Tom Boyer.

 

Gun Control Is Gay Control 

By Michael Denny 

On December 10, the City of San Francisco dedicated a new park, built in memory to those gays and lesbians killed by the Nazis in the concentration camps.  The little Castro District neighborhood park, triangular in shape, is named Pink Triangle Park for the pink cloth triangles that were pinned onto the clothes of gay men by the Nazis. In addition to San Francisco Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Mark Leno, local State Assemblywoman Carole Migden, and other San Francisco officials, the event was attended by protesters who organized a silent vigil to remind the community of the role of gun control in this tragedy.  German gun control was implemented only a few short years before the Nazis implemented their “final solution,” the death camps.  Gun control made it illegal for gays, Jews, gypsies, and other “undesirables” to own guns, knives, and even clubs.  And as soon as these citizens were disarmed, the Nazis found it easy to arrest and move them to face death in the concentration camps.  Shockingly, over the last 100 years, in similar fashion around the world, nearly 80 million “undesirable” citizens were killed by their own governments after gun control was implemented.

 

The vigil was organized by local gun-rights activist David Golden along with Libertarian Michael Denny and group spokesman Tom Boyer of the Pink Pistols, a gay self-defense organization.  The protestors carried signs that featured pink triangles and the message GUN CONTROL = GAY CONTROL.

 

As Chair of California’s Finance Committee, Assemblywoman Migden was instrumental in approving the funds that eventually led to dramatically increased gun control measures in California last year.  She acknowledged our protest, however, and arranged a meeting with organizers David Golden and spokesperson Tom Boyer in January.  We look forward to hearing Tom and David’s report after the meeting.

 

Thanks to all who helped make this event a big success.  To learn more about self-defense and its role in preserving liberty, feel free to contact the following:

 

Libertarians:  Michael Denny, membership@LPSF.com.

Pink Pistols:  William Quick, iceberg@iw3p.com.

 

 

D.C. Non Profit Organization Waste Provides Lessons for San Francisco

March 7, 2002                                     For Immediate Release  

In the February 24 Washington Post, an article entitled "D.C. Revitalization Promised, Not Delivered," reported that over the last 10 years, Washington D.C. non-profit organizations received over $100 million to renovate structures and provide affordable housing. Yet after 10 years, only 70 of the 200 funded projects are completed, and half were delivered years behind schedule. Despite handing out a steady stream of taxpayer money each year, the city did an insufficient job of tracking the money and progress for these projects, and city bureaucrats cannot even locate contracts for over two-thirds of the projects they are supposed to oversee.

Meanwhile, officials in several non-profit groups broke conflict-of-interest rules by personally benefiting or helping friends and board members benefit from projects, contracts and fees. In four of the D.C. development organizations, officials cannot show how millions of dollars they received have led to tangible results. For more than a decade, unfinished projects have lingered on the books -- receiving taxpayers' dollars year after year, but never reaching completion. Read the details at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55533-2002Feb23.html

There are currently 3,600 non-profit community development organizations operating nationwide. San Francisco’s non-profits receive a staggering $5 billion funding per year. According to Daryl Higashi in the Mayor’s Office of Housing, SF’s $100 million Prop A bond to build 3,000 “affordable” housing units have actually only delivered 256 units, although the entire amount was disbursed to non-profits to build them. Despite this obviously terrible track record, San Francisco’s “affordable housing” non-profits continue to be lavishly funded by politicians.

“It is a red flag to taxpayers that non-profits are so popular with public officials,” says Michael Denny, Libertarian candidate for Assembly District 12. Despite the fact that San Franciscans voted for “Sunshine Laws” for non-profit organizations, there is no enforcement or public review of their contracts. “Try this,” suggests candidate Denny. “Call the Tenderloin Housing Clinic (415) 771-2427, which receives millions annually in taxpayer funding, and ask for a schedule of their Board Meetings which you can attend. Ask for the minutes of previous Board Meetings and copies of all contracts with vendors. Then tell me if we have true ‘Sunshine’ or citizen oversight.”

The loophole for wasteful politicians is that only City officials have “standing” to obtain this information from non-profits receiving public money, not taxpayers who pay the bill. And sadly for San Franciscans and all U.S. citizens, these City officials insult the principle of citizen review by refusing to require either Sunshine, or value for the money. It’s just money down the tubes!

In November, City Hall intends to ask taxpayers to reward this waste by asking for $200M to $400M more for “affordable housing”. Given their experience in D.C. and San Francisco, taxpayers should cut their losses and end public funding of non-profit organizations. Says candidate Denny, “It looks like the foxes have the only key to the hen house. And though citizens have voted for “Sunshine”, the process is completely dark.”

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny crowd turns out for candidates

February 19, 2002

By Susanne Hilty
STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite a rather small audience and a threat of rain, candidates in the 12th District Assembly race spoke at an election forum at San Francisco State University Monday afternoon. The open-air forum was held in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

The 12th Assembly District includes part of Daly City in San Mateo County, as well as the southwestern areas of San Francisco.

Democrat Leland Yee, the front runner in the race, tailored his remarks to students. He said his main focus would be on the state budget, if elected, and promised the students he would work to ensure the university could hire more full-time teachers, instead of using part-timers to save money.

Yee said the seat should go to someone with experience balancing a budget, as he did when he was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, since the state is expected to have a $12 billion shortfall this year.

Libertarian candidate Michael Denny took the stage at Malcolm X Plaza and relayed the Libertarian Party credo of "personal freedom and personal responsibility." Denny urged the students to take their lives into their own hands by voting, since the younger generations will be "saddled with a huge public debt," he said.

The forum was sponsored by Political Science Association and the California State Employees Association. In addition to the 12th Assembly District, candidates from other races in San Francisco were also invited to speak.

The students, who milled through the plaza on their way to classes, seemed unimpressed by the forum, and the most noise was made by a handful of supporters that the candidates apparently brought with them to the event.

Each candidate at Monday's forum urged the crowd to register to vote, since today is the last day to register before the March 5 gubernatorial Primary Election.

Organizers said Democrat Dan Kelly and Republican Howard Epstein were invited and were scheduled to attend, but did not speak at the forum.

2/12/02 The day started with a breakfast meeting with San Francisco’s Archbishop, William Levada. The rather large group was a mixture of businessmen and others active in the community including several local politicians. I sat next to the San Mateo District attorney who couldn’t believe that I was actually running for office with my kind of campaign as “San Francisco is a communist city”. So I told him that communist cities need the message the most so I was doing it as a community service. During the Archbishop’s speech, he complained that California was forcing Catholic Charities to offer contraceptives to all employees receiving prescription drug coverage, as is State law. And he was concerned that increasingly, the separation of church and state was being blurred. During questions, I asked him if he thought that it might improve the situation if Catholic Charities stopped taking so much money from government (estimated at 60% of total funding). He didn’t really answer the question but afterwards, several people from the audience came up to me to shake my hand and say that they agreed. And the Archbishop came up to me too and we spoke for a while. He agreed to continue a dialogue about the differences between government money and charity.

 In an incredible show of arrogance, DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson scheduled a speech in San Francisco for the evening after the DEA raided two Bay Area medicinal marijuana centers. I went to the Commonwealth Club where he was speaking and joined the crowd gathered outside and passed out my campaign materials. Terrance Hallinan, our SF District Attorney was there along with several Supervisors speaking against the DEA’s policies. While the presentation inside was closed to the public, reports were that he tried to claim that the DEA is merely enforcing federal drug laws -- and that medical marijuana isn't really a priority. But the crowd didn't buy it, catcalling him and shouting "Liar!" when he said science has shown that smoking marijuana has no medical benefit. (Articles are available at http://www.mpp.org/USA.) 

Afterwards, local Libertarians Ira Victor, Samantha Spivak, Starchild, Bryce Bigwood and others met at a San Francisco Planning Commission presentation to a community group in the Mission District. It was frightening to see the socialist sentiment in a crowd that acted like a mob, booing when someone mentioned property owners or landlords and cheering for equality and social justice for all. I guess their “all” doesn’t include landlords or property owners. After this meeting, it is clear that there are serious problems here in San Francisco. The City needs Libertarian solutions more than ever.

And sadly we aren’t going to get them from the Planning Commission nor those mis-guided activists that controlled the “flavor” of the meeting. 

What a day! 

2/8/02 This morning I had a meeting with Supervisor Leland Yee who is my Democratic opponent in the Assembly race along with the San Francisco Small Business Advocates. Among regular business, we discussed the campaign and I told him about my problem with the Department of Elections policy on Chinese names. He promised to look into it for me. I sent him a letter outlining the issues and look forward to his follow-up. Leland is a good and reasonable man and I appreciate that he is trying to help me. However I did tell him that while I appreciated his offer to help, as a candidate running to make changes, it was important that the policy be changed. 
Click here Letter to Supervisor Leland Yee

 

January 16, 2002                                            For Immediate Release

It’s Not Just the Homeless!

 “Congratulations to Tony Hall and Gavin Newsom for taking first steps to address homelessness in San Francisco.” says Michael Denny, Libertarian candidate for Assembly District 12. “Homelessness is a problem, but the Homeless Industry could be the bigger problem. Our system pays them to make it worse, not fix it.”

 With a homelessness problem so upsetting to locals and visitors alike, it’s hard to believe San Francisco-based non-profits have an annual income over $5 billion in government and foundation funds to solve social ills. Details of this staggering taxpayer subsidy can be found at www.nccs.urban.org, www.justice.hdcdojnet.state.ca.us/charity/charity.taf and www.guidestar.org With so much spent, and a worsening situation, one might ask, “How can this possibly be?”

 Welcome to the vast and secret world of Non-Profit Organizations or NPOs, as they are known. They consume huge amounts of public money. Yet as private and non-profit organizations, their accounting is exempt from citizen scrutiny or sunshine laws, their contracts and expenditures kept secret. Under the current system, we don’t know how the money is spent, or who ultimately benefits. And we certainly don’t hold them accountable for performance or results.  

Are large sums of money or staff time spent on illegal political support for politicians voting for their funds? Or do they lobby for a funding stream regardless of accomplishments? Are there any specific results to achieve?  Simply put, are we getting value for money? 

While many NPOs are well meaning, without standards and public review they operate without direction or discipline. But there’s a darker side. Political insiders have learned that the Homeless Industry is a fast track to lucrative government subsidies. NPOs operate tax free in complete secrecy, can pay high salaries and other benefits, sub-contract to affiliated for-profit entities and are simply not responsible for results. “No private business could run like this. This system rewards failure and is ripe for corruption”, says Denny. 

“Non-profit” does not mean “Charity” says Denny. “If San Francisco wants Homeless Solutions instead of a Homeless Industry, we need to look to non-political charities like Raphael House (www.RaphaelHouse.org), where homeless families receive the very best in temporary shelter, counseling and after-care programs.” Says John Hinman Esq., San Francisco attorney and Raphael House Chairman, “We are funded entirely through private donations and volunteers. There are problems that come with government money.”

 Says Denny, “Selfish and greedy NPOs protect their funding while taking advantage of the homeless, and San Franciscans’ generosity. OPEN NON-PROFITS TO CITIZEN REVIEW! MAKE THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR RESULTS!

 

1/15/02 This was a big day for me! I made a presentation to San Francisco’s Small Business Advocates and received their endorsement. I really believe that my ideas will be well received by small business and small property owners here in San Francisco. These are the groups that are too small to organize effectively and to lobby government for special breaks as is done by big business. But due to the cost and burden of regulation, many large businesses have left San Francisco and even California. Small business is now the only engine of economic growth and new jobs. The best way to

assist small businesses and property owners, is to leave them alone. And that, of course, is music to a Libertarian’s ears. 

1/8/02 The Glen Park Neighborhood Association held it’s District 12 and 13 candidates meeting this evening. I opened my presentation with the question, “Do you ever feel that you are working for the government more than they are working for you?”. There were some “Yes”s and most heads nodded in approval. One guy loudly said “Everyday”. I only got 5 minutes but felt that the ideas were well received and I had the chance to visit with many of the other candidates and share ideas. This is going to be fun.

 12/12/01 Most of my candidate paperwork is completed. However, there was a form that asked for our Chinese name for the official translation in the voter handbook and ballots. I was thrilled because I have a Chinese name, one given to me by the Chinese American school and I have been using it in Taiwan for years. Chinese people tell me that it is a very good name so I looked forward to using it. However, the Department of Elections rejected it because they said it made me sound Chinese when I wasn’t. My reply was that I was half French and a quarter German but my name made me sound Irish…did they want to change that name too? They faxed me the Department of Elections policy on the subject where it actually says they only allow Chinese names that communicate whether or not the candidate is Chinese. If a candidate is not Chinese, they have to get a name that is only a phonetic replication of their name, which results in a name that no Chinese person would ever use. It was so blatantly racist I couldn’t believe they put it in writing. I’m considering a lawsuit.