San Franciscans Said ‘Hell Yes’ to Car-Free Streets and Libraries

San Francisco cemented its place as a bastion for greenery and literacy yesterday… though it stumbled in electing its first-ever trans-BIPOC member to the board of supervisors.

If you were like us, we decided to delay our doom-scrolling around Tuesday’s midterm elections until early Wednesday morning. (Aside from a few nervous peaks at the New York Times election needle, we mostly just looked at this picture of Chris Evans in lieu of refreshing our social media feeds ad nauseam.)

As of Wednesday morning, the House is likely to flip, with democrats expected to hold around 215 seats — and a new Republican majority occupying over 230 seats. The Senate is a toss-up, though it’s *barely* leaning toward Democrats holding onto the majority; Georgia’s high-stakes Senate race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker has entered a runoff election that will take place on December 6th.

The “Red Wave” was more like a “maroon ripple”… and Tr*mp is apparently livid and screaming because of it. Yesterday’s elections also saw history made across the country as members of LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities take seats in local, state, and national governments.

Here in San Francisco, our local election proved a few things true. Residents of San Francisco love car-free streets; they think Muni should have increased funds; the City’s network of 29 libraries need to stay open later and have better accessibility, as well as are deserving more funds; owned vacant storefronts and homes should absolutely be taxed (after six months); San Francisco absolutely needs a department of sanitation.

Chris Arvien’s Election Turnout Map for 2022 currently shows around 28% of registered voters in San Francisco participated in the November 8th election this year. The City’s fourteen local measures on the ballot touched on a number of hot-button hyperlocal topics: the creation of more affordable housing units, keeping car-free corridors void of private vehicles, preserving the SFPL’s network of libraries, and, among other subjects, creating a committee to oversee the City’s homelessness projects.

San Franciscans widely supported all of the above, as well, on the state level, including the addition of abortion rights into California’s constitution and the banning of specific flavored tobacco across the state.

Alas, it looks like we won’t have the country’s first-ever elected trans-BIPOC individual to sit on a board of supervisors. Mayor Breed’s picks, which included interim District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey, performed well in the ballot boxes yesterday; Dorsey is expected to remain supervisor of the aforenoted district, and SF’s controversial district attorney appointed by Breed, Brooke Jenkins, is leading by double-digit margins.

Tuesday’s election results feel more akin to a subtle sigh of relief than a resounding call for celebration. Much like 2020’s razor-sharp presidential election, it’s a cautionary tale to not remain complacent — because, while Kris Jenner and the Devil work hard, staunch conservatives (who are unapologetic in their alienating policies and inhumane legislation) work harder.

At least we’ll have a permanently car-free JFK Drive to ponder how we can help bolster voter turnout two years from now.

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