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San Francisco Voters Abolish Mandatory Staffing Levels for Police

Current law mandated that the city have at least 1,971 full-time police officers.

San Francisco Voters Abolish Mandatory Staffing Levels for Police

Current law mandated that the city have at least 1,971 full-time police officers.


San Francisco voters have approved Proposition E, a charter amendment overturning a law that says the city’s police department must employ a minimum of 1,971 full-time officers.

In 1994, in the midst of the so-called tough-on-crime era, San Francisco voters approved Proposition D, which requires that minimum level of staffing. That same year, California enacted its three strikes law, which mandated at least a 25 years to life sentence for a third felony conviction.

Proposition E abolishes the mandatory staffing levels. Instead, the police department will have to submit a report and recommendation on staffing every two years to the San Francisco Police Commission, whose members are appointed by the mayor and the Board of Supervisors. The commission sets police department policies and conducts disciplinary hearings; it will be required to consider the recommendations when approving the department’s proposed budget. Commissioners include, among others, a former federal prosecutor and former public defenders.

In July, the Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to put the charter amendment on the November ballot.

“To create a thoughtful process for determining police staffing levels, we need to remove the handcuffs that this mandatory minimum staffing requirement has placed on San Franciscans — and on our budget — for years,” board president Norman Yee, a sponsor of the charter amendment, said in a statement last summer. “It is time for us to take a forward-looking approach to public safety that will truly protect public safety for everyone in San Francisco.” (The Justice Collaborative assisted Yee’s office with the charter amendment. The Appeal is an editorially independent project of The Justice Collaborative.)

Mondaire Jones Is Bringing the Fight Against Systemic Racism to Congress

Jones has vowed to support expansion of the Supreme Court, back the Green New Deal, and push for criminal justice reform.

(Courtesy of Mondaire Jones campaign.)

Mondaire Jones Is Bringing the Fight Against Systemic Racism to Congress

Jones has vowed to support expansion of the Supreme Court, back the Green New Deal, and push for criminal justice reform.


Mondaire Jones has won the race to represent New York’s 17th District, becoming one of the first Black LGBTQ members of Congress. Jones, an attorney from Spring Valley, New York, vowed to support expansion of the Supreme Court, back the Green New Deal, and push for criminal justice reform.  

Jones told The Appeal he wants the government to invest in alternatives to incarceration, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, abolish private prisons and the federal death penalty, and legalize cannabis. He also wants to make federal funds for local municipalities conditional on independent procedures for investigating killings at the hands of police.

Jones was raised in Rockland County, which is part of the congressional district he will represent. His district also includes parts of Westchester County. He’ll replace longtime Representative Nita Lowey, who is retiring after 32 years. 

Along with criminal justice reform, Jones said he is prioritizing changes to protect the country from attacks on democracy. Among these, he’s been a strong supporter for expanding the Supreme Court. He advocated for expansion even before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and said that it’s vital to achieving the reforms that former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to achieve if he becomes president. 

“To ensure that legislation has permanence, we must unrig the Supreme Court and ensure that we no longer have a hyper partisan majority that is hostile to Congress,” Jones said. He added that Chief Justice John Roberts’s role has been to “systematically undermine our democratic institutions,” referring to the court’s 2013 ruling that invalidated part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that protected voters from discrimination.

Jones thinks that the Court expansion should be included in the For the People Act, a bill passed by the House last year and awaits Senate action that would strengthen voting rights and ethics rules, and limit gerrymandering. He said he also plans to introduce legislation to expand the court and is “looking forward to being the leading voice on this issue in the House of Representatives.” 

Jones, who was endorsed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, is also a supporter of the Green New Deal. The legislation, introduced by Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts, sets targets for cutting carbon emissions while also creating jobs. Jones said he is committed to tackling the climate crisis and wants to introduce high-speed rail in Rockland County that would get residents to New York City in one ride, as opposed to driving or taking the bus. 

“Nothing else matters if we don’t have a planet to inhabit and we have to start acting like that,” Jones said. 

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Francesca Hong Wins A Seat In The Wisconsin Legislature. She’s Fighting For A Living Wage And Workers' Rights.

The chef and restaurant owner says she plans to support the fight for a $15 minimum wage and other reforms that will make ‘Wisconsin work better for more people.’

(Courtesy of the Francesca Hong campaign)

Francesca Hong Wins A Seat In The Wisconsin Legislature. She’s Fighting For A Living Wage And Workers' Rights.

The chef and restaurant owner says she plans to support the fight for a $15 minimum wage and other reforms that will make ‘Wisconsin work better for more people.’


Francesca Hong, a small business owner who supports raising the minimum wage and other reforms to help workers, has won her bid to fight for those reforms from within the halls of Wisconsin’s State Assembly. Hong, the child of immigrants, has become Wisconsin’s first Asian American state legislator

In October, Hong told The Appeal that reforms like a higher minimum wage and labor contracts for hourly workers aren’t just about fairness for workers. They’re also a means to strengthen both small businesses and the communities that depend on them. Hong, who owns a restaurant in downtown Madison with her husband, said investing in workers is ultimately better for businesses, like the restaurant and retail industries, that have what she called “a huge problem with labor turnover.” 

A living wage and reforms like contracts for hourly workers, Hong said, would give employees a reason to want to stay in their jobs. “In return, a better-off workforce and more stable local businesses strengthen communities because,” Hong said, “most employees are putting [their] money back into their communities.” Increasing workers’ purchasing power, she added, would make both the businesses they patronize and the communities those businesses are in more self-sustaining.

In a statement to the press announcing her victory, Hong emphasized the role she believes small business owners should play in working “towards more equitable economic infrastructure.”

Saying she is “grateful beyond measure” for the support of her district’s voters, Hong immediately turned to the challenges ahead.

“We must strive to help working class individuals and families to improve conditions in housing, public education, job security and wealth building,” she said. “We must invest in our main streets, taking the lead from independent small business owners, to work towards more equitable economic infrastructure. But above all, we must prioritize racial equity and work to invest in communities that have been defunded and decimated by irresponsible and apathetic GOP leadership.”

Hong plans to support legislation to give tax credits to small businesses that provide hazard pay and paid sick leave for hourly workers. Although improving workers’ pay and working conditions are important issues for her, she said she was also inspired to run by what she called the “inaction from the GOP leadership” during the COVID-19 crisis.

Hong’s criticism about the current state legislature seems to be backed up by the numbers. According to an October report by WisPolitics.com, Wisconsin’s legislature has been the least active full-time legislative body in the U.S. since states started meeting to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, a legislative committee did meet to block a rule prohibiting landlords from charging late fees on rent during the public health crisis.

Several members of the Republican-led body are landlords, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Since 2011, the legislature has passed a series of Vos-backed bills dismantling tenant rights, including one that allows landlords to put renters’ belongings on the curb immediately after an eviction rather than placing the property in storage.

“I think now we’re having to fight, and folks here in Madison are having to fight for basic human rights, and it’s because of the past 10 years of really regressive policies” beginning when Scott Walker was elected governor in 2011, Hong said. Walker lost his 2019 re-election bid to Democrat Tony Evers.

Even though her desired reforms are likely to face an uphill battle, Hong said one of the driving forces behind her decision to run was her desire to answer the question: “What does it mean to have representation matter?”

“I decided to run for the state legislature because it’s really missing representation” from working-class individuals and people of color, Hong said, “folks who have most often been harmed by government. I think that I’m learning more about those people. I’m thinking about how government has harmed me, and how I don’t want that to be the story anymore.”

“I’m born and raised in Wisconsin, I’m a daughter of immigrants … and to know that there are so many people who do not feel safe, who do not feel like they have the opportunities I have, has really made me re-evaluate what’s going on.”

“The work is expansive, but with constant collaboration and involvement with this community, I am confident we will get shit done together,” she said in her election night statement.