Readers Have Their Say
Morality and our environmental salvation
Sunday, May 12, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle
Re: What is Nature Worth?
Chronicle Insight Sunday May 5, 2002
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
Michael F. Denny
Libertarian for State Assembly District 12
San Francisco, California
2002 For Immediate
Candidate Denny Challenges Department of Elections Chinese Name
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.
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
Commission absorbs new surprises
already submitted on its behalf
Discovery of unknown policy
Translation policy alleged
by pat murphy
March 14, 2002
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
revelation drew the ire of Commissioner David Serrano-Sewell, a
mayoral commission appointee, who reacted as if it undercut
President, I ask that you direct your questions only to the director
of the department, not the attorney," Serrano-Sewell raised his
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.
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.
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.
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.
refused to print his Chinese name because, he said, he is not
Chinese, insisting instead on transliterating his English name.
rendered his name nonsensical to Chinese readers, easily
identifiable as not a given Chinese name.
Election Department documents indicating "your submitted Chinese
name was replaced by the court translators who approves or
disapproves the transliterations according to the guidelines."
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."
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.
asked for the City Attorney's Office to report its opinion at the
Mar. 20 meeting.
DENNY, at left, as it appears transliterated into Chinese.
Denny's taken Chinese name appears at right.
Libertarian Party of San Francisco • 2215-R Market Street,
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
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, email@example.com.
D.C. Non Profit Organization Waste
Provides Lessons for San Francisco
2002 For Immediate Release
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.
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:
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
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!
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
February 19, 2002
By Susanne Hilty
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
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
2002 For Immediate
It’s Not Just the
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.”
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
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
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.”
“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!”
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
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.
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.