Read on for our recommendations on the November 3, 2020 ballot measures and VOTE with the League!
Prop A would provide funding to three areas of urban living: housing, support and services for people experiencing mental health challenges, substance use disorder, and/or homelessness; parks and open spaces; and public infrastructure. There are multiple League principles as well as League positions which specifically state support for all three of these areas. Given our principles and positions, and that LWVSF has previously supported similar Bond Measures, our recommendation is to support Prop A.
Vote Yes on Prop A
The League’s national position states that we support facilitating public participation in government decision-making. In addition, on a local level we support having members on commissions that represent the diversity of the community which includes citizens and non-citizens. Prop C would also make changes to the charter related to the use of the term “gender identity” instead of “gender” or “male/female” that could also make commissions more inclusive.
Vote Yes on Prop C
Prop D would create the Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board and the Office of Inspector General to investigate complaints against the Sheriff. The measure makes clear that the Inspector General has subpoena power over the Sheriff. Significant law enforcement authority requires accountability and transparency, and effective oversight requires subpoena power to compel documents, records, and the witness testimony necessary to perform complete investigations. The League supports promoting law enforcement accountability through independent oversight.
Vote Yes on Prop D
Prop E would create a process for making decisions about police staffing based on facts and data. The League believes the demographics of the San Francisco Police Department should generally reflect our community. This means we also believe the city should regularly evaluate the number of full-duty sworn police officers in the Police Department and consider whether it reflects the number of people living in the city’s neighborhoods and meets their needs.
Vote Yes on Prop E
Prop F would create a more equitable tax system that takes into account flexibility, economic effects, simplicity, efficiency, and accountability. The League supports measures that promote effective and equitable methods of paying for city services. Prop F would simplify the tax system. It would also emphasize equity and fair sharing of the tax burden by fully shifting the city’s business tax base from payroll expense to gross receipts. If the city loses the lawsuit challenging Prop C Additional Tax on Commercial Rents Mostly to Fund Child Care and Education (June 2018), then Prop F would create a new commercial rents tax for revenues to go to the city’s General Fund.
Vote Yes on Prop F
For 100 years the League has stood strong in our support for voting rights. We are firm in the belief that the strength of our democratic government depends on the active participation of everyone and we actively work to increase young voter turnout. We have seen a surge of civic engagement by youth — including many high schoolers — on issues ranging from gun control to climate change to racial justice. Young people are at the forefront of movements to improve the communities they call home, and we would all benefit from their voices at the ballot box.
Prop H is focused on streamlining the city’s permit process to allow certain business owners in neighborhood commercial districts to make changes to their businesses in response to current realities, including the public health safety measures for COVID-19. While this measure is not limited to small businesses, small businesses will be one of key beneficiaries of the changes. The League believes small businesses are vital to both the economic health and quality of life in San Francisco, and a reasonable timeline for permitting approvals is an element of a responsive government. Although we are concerned this measure would eliminate the requirement for public notifications for permitted use, which is counter to our city planning policy, we believe the overall benefits to city life outweigh the decrease in transparency.
Vote Yes on Prop H
Prop I would increase the transfer tax rate on sales as well as leases of 35 years or more of real estate with a price of at least $10 million. This tax meets the League’s state position on State and Local Finances including: providing revenue to support the needs of the people, promoting a progressive tax structure, contributing to the flexibility of the system, and providing for efficient collection and distribution of revenue.
Vote Yes on Prop I
Prop J would authorize San Francisco to collect an annual tax of $298 per parcel and invest in students and educators in the city’s public schools, while also providing specific exemptions for senior citizens. Prop J would allow the School District to improve educator salaries and modernize schools, which is imperative for educating students during the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds would increase staffing and funding at high-need and community schools, provide professional development for educators, invest in technology and digital learning, and fund public charter schools. The League’s positions support adequate funding for public schools.
Vote Yes on Prop J
Prop K would authorize San Francisco, by ordinance, to own, develop, construct, acquire, or rehabilitate up to 10,000 affordable rental units in San Francisco as required by Article 34 of the California Constitution. The League supports measures that provide for the needs of low-, moderate-, and middle-income groups. The League also supports subsidized housing programs which include low-, moderate-, and/or middle-income housing in all housing developments.
Vote Yes on Prop K
Prop B: Public Works Commission, Department of Sanitation and Streets, and Sanitation and Streets Commission — NEUTRAL
On one hand, the League supports efforts to improve the cleanliness of San Francisco's public spaces and increase the citizen’s right to know through government oversight. On the other hand, we also have taken positions that say the San Francisco Charter should prohibit the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors from interfering with the operation of administrative affairs and the city should reduce the cost of government by eliminating duplication of functions among departments. The LWVSF Board of Directors carefully considered Prop B and came to the consensus to remain neutral on this measure.
Prop L: Business Tax Based on Comparison of Top Executive's Pay to Employees’ Pay — NEUTRAL
Prop L would be a progressive tax that contributes to the equity and fair sharing of the tax burden. Prop L would also contribute to the flexibility of the tax system, with money collected from the tax going directly to the city’s General Fund. These features of Prop L are supported by League positions on government financing. However, Prop L falls short on parts of those same League positions. When we take into account the efficiency of Prop L, we are concerned about the high volatility of the tax. While Prop L would be an equitable method of paying for city services, we are not sure it would be an effective method.
Measure RR: Caltrain Sales Tax — SUPPORT
The district measure will be decided by voters in the City and County of San Francisco, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County.
Recommendation for District Measure RR will be prepared by the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area Inter-League Organization (LWVBA). LWVBA is comprised of all the local Leagues in the nine counties that touch San Francisco Bay.
Prop 15: Schools & Communities First — SUPPORT
Prop 16: Opportunity for All — SUPPORT
Prop 17: Restore Voting Rights — SUPPORT
Prop 18: Voting Rights for 17-Year-Olds — SUPPORT
Prop 19: Property Tax Breaks — OPPOSE
Prop 24: Consumer Data Privacy — OPPOSE
Prop 25: End Cash Money Bail — SUPPORT
There are no recommendations on these state propositions:
Prop 14, Prop 21, Prop 22, and Prop 23.
Recommendations for CA measures are prepared by the League of Women Voters of California.
Each election cycle, the League of Women Voters of San Francisco reviews each of the San Francisco ballot measures to determine whether to Support, Oppose, take No Position, or remain Neutral. The decisions are made based on analyses that apply to existing relevant League positions from the National, State, Bay Area, and/or San Francisco levels of the organization.
Our positions on issues as varied as the environment, transportation, housing, and governance have been adopted over the years—and updated as necessary—after League study and consensus.
The analysis of ballot propositions begins with our dedicated volunteers in the Advocacy Committee, which gathers publicly-available information and conducts additional outreach and research as needed. The Advocacy Committee drafts recommendations on each of the ballot measures and forwards these to the Board of Directors, which then votes to accept or not accept the recommendations.
Unlike some other organizations, we do not hold endorsement meetings at which proponents and opponents are invited to present their respective views. Instead, what drives our analysis are the existing positions on issues related to the ballot measures. In some cases, we have no relevant positions so we take 'No Position.' In other instances, we have competing positions and remain 'Neutral.'
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