SFDebate : Listen, Speak, Discuss, Understand


Past Debates...

Sep 17th This house would limit executive pay
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Sep 3rd This house supports ObamaCare - including the public option
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Aug 18 The US should allow anyone who wishes to live and work within its borders
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Aug 4th Racial background should be a factor in selecting a Supreme Court nominee
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Jul 21 This House supports the Military Coup in Honduras
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Jul 7th This House Would Use Military force to prevent North Korea proliferating nuclear weapons
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Jun 23rd The US should recognize Ahmadinejad as the elected leader of Iran
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Jun 9th Former Guantanamo detainees should be allowed to reside in the U.S.
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May 26th Contraceptives should be made available to students starting in primary school
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May 12th This house believes America should continue to apply the death penalty
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Apr 28th This House Supports Proposition 1A (Increase size of state "rainy day" fund_
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Apr 14th This House would switch from prohibition to regulation of hard drugs
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Mar 31st America should continue to send non-violent offenders to jail
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Mar 17th This House Believes America Should Expand its use of Nuclear Power
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Mar 3rd This House believes that San Francisco should continue to be a Sanctuary City
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Feb 17th This house believes America should adopt a "single payer" health care system
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Feb 11th Debating the Ethics of Consumer Genotyping
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Feb 3rd This house would buy products made with sweatshop labor
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Jan 20th This House supports Israel's decision to use force against Gaza
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Nov 25th This house would bail out the US car industry
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Nov 08th It is not the role of government to determine what constitutes marriage
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Oct 28th This House Would Vote for the High Speed Rail (Prop 1A)
Failed 9 : 12 (3 Abstained) - A good debate on an issue we all had to vote on. Dr. Morris Brown from Derail, and Carli Paine from TransForm CA spoke on either side of the motion. Many in the audience were well informed which made for an interesting discussion that covered the benefits, routing, and costs.
Oct 14th This House Would Vote for the SF Clean Energy Act (Prop H)
Passed 11 : 7 (3 Abstained)Julian Davis, chair for the SF Clean Energy campaign spoke against Jim Ross, a consultant for the No on H campaign. Thanks to Jonathan and Emily for also speaking. It was a lively and tough discussion over how to make SF electricity cheaper and greener. Many were convinced that Prop H is the way.
Sep 30th This House Believes the Bailout Plan is a Scam
Passed 15:7, thanks to Rob, Hap, Powell, and Daisy for leading such a spirited debate on our financial crisis. Many felt some sort of economic rescue plan was necessary, but the proposed plan that had just failed in the House gave away too much and wouldn't solve the problem.
Sep 16th This House Believes Citizen Initiatives are Bad for Democracy
Failed 4:9, Emily & James started off a spirited discussion on the role citizen ballot initiatives play in our democracy. James argued that initiatives are not only create a burden to society, but also become tools of special interest groups and are paralysing our representative government. Many in the group felt that our government was so inept, that citizen initiatives were one of the few ways to get things done.
Sep 5th This House believes Russia has a right to intervene in Georgia
No Description
Aug 19th This House would remove Agricultural Subsidies
Mostly Passed, I think
Aug 5th This House would open up drilling in offshore areas and ANWR
Failed 3:15 - With talk of lifting the congressional moratorium on drilling, SFDebate discussed whether or not to relax restrictions on exploratory drilling off the california coast and ANWR. Despite promises of windfall tax benefits for our schools, the group felt that environment and views were worth more.
Jul 22nd This House would build a Suicide Barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge
Passed 11:7 - The proposal of a suicide net scraped by as the best solution to the 30+ deaths a year from the bridge. However, without the net, most were against the proposal of higher railings. Many observed how that money could save many more lives elsewhere.
Jul 8th This House is Proud to Be American
Passed 10:7 - From Guantanamo, to space programs to obesity. We discussed what it meant to be American. While many 'loved' being American, many weren't 'proud' to be so. Best quote of the evening... "When I was younger, I was 75% proud. Now it is barely 51%."
Jun 24th This House Believes Terrorism is a Justifiable form of Political Resistance.
Passed 14:6 - A fun discussion that never remained largely theoretical. Rob stole the prize for the most innovative argument, by suggesting that the oppressed consider not what is good for themselves, but what is good for mankind. Sometimes the defeated have to accept that they are defeated and assimilate. Good fun!
Jun 10th This House Believes Religion Does More Harm than Good
Passed 12:6
May 27th This House Would Vote No on 98, Yes on 99
Passed : 7:1 (A further 6 people voted No on both props) - Prop 98 & 99 related to eminient domain reform. Only one member of the group came out in support of Prop 98 on the basis that it included provisions to remove rent control. Many other members in the group also supported the rent control parts of 98, but there was a broad consensus that this prop 98 was too broad, and not the way to end rent-control.
May 13th This House Welcomes Rising Oil Prices
Passed : 12:8 (2 Abstained) - Only in San Francisco : The majority of the group welcomed rising oil prices which this week passed $125/barrel. The group discussed the reasons behind rising oil prices, who benefits, and the effect on the environment. Ultimately the group felt the environment was more important than cheap gas.
Listen to the recording (40MB mp3)
Apr 29th This House Would Boycott the 2008 Olympics
Rejected : 4:8 (1 Abstained) - A classic meeting with a smaller crowd and impromptu speakers standing up for and against the motion. While most of the group was against the motion at the outside, the proposition did such a good that they won over 4 members to support a full boycott. Great fun
Apr 15th This House would Legalize Prostitution
Passed : 10:6 (4 Abstained) - We tried a impromptu debating 'team' for this meeting, and it worked like a charm. Many great points raised, and interestingly many people moderated their views from all sides.
Apr 1st This House would stop Aid to Israel
Passed 35:25 (Approx) - The goal was to debate whether this aid really was an investment in peace. Is a secure and strong Israel really in the interests of the US? Unfortunatly, the conversation never really got past whether Israel was right to defend itself against terrorism, and by the end of the meeting it had degenerated into comparisons of the occupation to the holocaust, and personal insults by those who disagreed.
Mar 18th This House Would Tax the Rich More
Passed : 10:6 (4 Abstained) - at the beginning we had 5 abstain, 4 for, 3 against - The affirmtive side emphasized they wanted to reduce inequality and have a more fair society and cover service costs that were going to continue to grow in size (medicare, for one). the opposition argued that people will invest less into the economy if they are taxed more, and even if they are taxed more, who's to say that money will actually be used effectively by the government. the opposition also argued that inequality is a good thing (to a point.. as long as people's basic needs are met).
Mar 4th This House Would do More to Help Africa
Passed : 11:8 (4 Abstained) - Christiana and Hannah raised the issues of corruption and how Africans were coming to depend on aid rather than looking after themselves. Generally folks felt that we should be doing more, differently. But for the vote, the majority voted aye, and contributed $110 to charities run by Nyla and Daisy.
Feb 19th This House Believes the U.S. Government is NOT "of the people, by the people and for the people"
Rejected 17:11 (2 abstained) - We frequently complain about how un-free we are as Americans and how undemocratic our government really is.... so we took this topic head on.
Feb 5th This House Believes Having Children is Selfish
Hung : 7:7 (5 Abstained) - A good philosophical discussion, expertly chaired by Jon F. The premise being that the world has enough people as it is, and adding more is simply a matter of selfish self-interest. Not all were convinced. Many were.
Jan 22nd This House Believes Hillary is the best Democrat Candidate for President
Hillary : 15 votes; Obama 14 Votes; Kucinich 6; Abstentions 7 : A lively meeting with over 50ppl in attendance. It boiled down to a fun discussion on whether experience and organization are more important than charisma and leadership in a president. Ultimately it was a Clinton vs Obama debate with Kucinich getting more than a few nods as the 'ideal candidate. "I can't decide which I like least, dynasties or charisma."
Jan 8th This House Would Use Force to stop Iran Acquiring Nuclear Weapons
Apparently not. Motion Failed : 2-11 - Our peace loving group did not think that the use of force would be limited to small scale operations, but probably another bungling like Iraq.
Dec 11th This House Believes Illegal Immigration is Good for America
Description Coming...
Nov 28th This House Believes Technology dosen't Make us Happier
Description Coming...
Nov 13 This House would Ban Affirmative Action
Hung 9:9 with 4 Abstentions. - A mellow and intellectual conversation about what Affirmative Action is meant to do, an analysis as to whether it does accomplish that goal and whether we are better off without it.
Oct 30 This House Will Vote Yes on A and No on H
Passed 10:1, Dave Snyder, the Transportation Policy Director from SPUR helped inform the team, and joined a spirited debate on controlling traffic in the city. The group wasn't all convinced on the complexity of Prop A, but seemed to agree that it wasn't worth removing restrictions on parking development as proposed in H.
Oct 16 This House Believes We Should Negotiate with Hamas
Passed 12:4, We discussed whether Hamas should be included in upcoming peace efforts. While deploring Hamas's actions, group felt it important that they be involved for a true peace to be possible.
Oct 2 This House Believes Global Warming is NOT a Crisis
Description might be forthcoming, or use the comments section of this page to add your own description. Read More...
Sep 11 This House Believes it's Time to Pull the Troops Out of Iraq (Round II)
Passed 14:4 - Six months after our last discussion on this topic, and after two days of testimony from Gen Petreaus and Ambassador Crocker, the SFDebate group faltered in their support for the ongoing engagement in Iraq. Read More...
Aug 28 This House would Abolish Rent Control in San Francisco
Passed 10:6 - Another well attended debate. Many came to the meeting thinking it might be boring. But, it was anything but. A fierce discussion on who has rights to live in SF ensued. Read More...
Aug 14 This House believes Globalization will help end the Third World
Passed 11:7 - Twenty people attended this discussion which covered a lot of ground! - Ultimately, most of us thought globalization was a force for good.
Jul 31 This House could do A Better Job at Preventing Islamic Terrorism
Passed Kinda - Everyone has their gripe about the war on terror. But could the SFDebate crew come up with a better way to handle it than the Bush administration? - In this challenging discussion the group had to formulate a policy and agree on a solution in just 90mins Read More...
Jul 17 This House Would Adopt Universal Healthcare
Passed 9:6 - A complex topic, and a fun discussion on the issues surrounding a universal healthcare plan. David Bechler of Universal Health Insurance for California briefed us on SB-840.
Jun 26 This House Would Invest More in Nuclear Energy
Passed 4:3 - This was a more technical and complex debate than we have had previously, and that made it educational and interesting. The group went into the meeting fairly ambivalent and unsure of whether or not they supported nuclear energy... Read More...
Jun 12 This House Believes we'd Be Better Off Without Religion
Failed 5:6 - A great philosophical debate on a warm summer afternoon. The group argued over whether religion does more harm than good, discussing religious wars, fallacies, and also the good services and hope that religion adds to the community.
May 22 This House would Repeal Our Right to Bear Arms
Passed 7:4 - Ultimately the group mostly agreed that it was a privilege to bear arms, and a privelege that should only be granted to people who show themselves to be mentally stable and are properly trained in gun safety. The group lay undecided as to whether the second amendment guaranteed individual rights to bear arms.
Apr 24 This House would Classify Israel as a Terrorist State
Passed 11:2 - Our most contencious debate yet. What is a terrorist state? Is it a debate even worth having? The group tried to identify exactly what terrorism was, and whether states could be classified as such. Read More...
Apr 10 This House would Welcome More Immigrants
Passed 11:2 A complicated debate ranging from illegal immigration to guest worker programs. It all came down to, would the group welcome less restrictions on immigration, or more. The group voted 11-2 for less restrictions and welcoming more immigrants to the US. Read More...
Mar 27 This House would Ban the Standard Lightbulb
Passed 10:5 Another fun and interesting meeting. This time the SFDebate group voted 10-5 IN FAVOR of banning the standard incandescent lightbulb. Will R. highlighted the impact of energy inefficiency on climate change, and then discussed the need for government to... Read More...
Mar 13 This House Would Pull the Troops Out of Iraq
Failed 1-12 : Who would have thought. After an hour of fascinating debate at Cafe Greco on Mar 13, the SFDebate group voted 12-1 AGAINST pulling the troops out of Iraq within six months. Read More...

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The SFDebate group connects and updates members on events through Meetup.com - If you've not yet joined the group, here's the link. SFDebate Meetup Group