Ballot Recommendations

image83

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 in the Advocacy Committee, which gathers publicly-available information and conducts additional outreach and research as needed. The 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, therefore, remain Neutral.


Are you looking for unbiased information on the pros and cons on San Francisco ballot measures? Please access our Pros & Cons Guide.

Pros & Cons Guide

Proposition A: Embarcadero Seawall Earthquake Safety Bond

League Position: Support


Proposition A is new legislation to fund life-safety upgrades to San Francisco’s 100-year-old seawall, which extends three miles from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Creek (the Embarcadero Seawall). The Embarcadero Seawall is the only structure holding back Bay waters, protecting lower Financial District buildings and lands, BART and SF Muni transit lines and utilities infrastructure serving residents, businesses and visitors. The Embarcadero Seawall is deteriorating due to age and increased battering by weather and rising seas. It is not expected to withstand damage caused by a major earthquake.  


In brief, the Embarcadero Seawall must be upgraded. The bond proceeds will be supplemented by State and Federal resources. The measure requires audits of the bond, conducted by the San Francisco Citizens General Bond Oversight Committee and public access to information about proceeds management and use.

Proposition B: City Privacy Guidelines

League Position: Oppose


Proposition B would endanger existing open government policies that maintain the transparency and accountability of San Francisco government. The privacy guidelines in Prop B are non-binding. The only legal effect this measure will have is assigning an additional duty to the City Administrator and increasing the broadness of the Board of Supervisors’ authority to amend voter-amended ordinances. 


The League of Women Voters of San Francisco believes that the Charter should prohibit the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors from interfering in the operation of administrative affairs. Proposition B would require the City Administrator to write and propose an ordinance to the Board of Supervisors on the implementation of the privacy guidelines in the measure. This measure attempts to set employment policy by ordinance, which the League opposes. Proposition B would give the Board of Supervisors more authority to amend the existing provisions of the Sunshine Ordinance. The League believes that this has the potential to negatively impact and weaken the Sunshine Ordinance. While the Board of Supervisors should be applauded for this attempt to enshrine a Privacy First statement of policy into the Charter, Proposition B also falls short on its intended purpose of protecting San Franciscans’ privacy. 

Proposition C: Additional Business Taxes to Fund Homeless Services

League Position: Neutral


Proposition C, seeks to raise funds for programs for homeless residents by imposing an additional 0.175%-0.690% gross receipts tax on San Francisco businesses with gross revenues of over $50 million, and an additional tax of 1.5 percent on payroll expenses on San Francisco businesses that pay the administrative office tax. Funds are to be set aside in the Our City Our Home fund for use on permanent housing, mental health services, prevention, and short-term shelter for homeless residents. 


While these programs do conform with the League’s positions on providing housing for homeless individuals, the League's state and local positions discourage the use of earmarks, especially as there is no mechanism to review and reassess the set-asides at a future date. In line with the precedent set on previous similar propositions, the League of Women Voters of San Francisco is neutral on Proposition C.

Proposition D: Additional Tax on Cannabis Businesses; Expanding Businesses Subject to Business Taxes

League Position: No Position


The League has not studied cannabis and therefore has no policy position 

on cannabis.

Proposition E: Partial Allocation of Hotel Tax for Arts and Cultural Purposes

League Position: Neutral


Proposition E proposes to distribute up to 1.5% of the current 8% base hotel tax for arts and cultural purposes. The League supports tax measures that have the flexibility to meet the changing needs of local government services. The League recognizes that the arts contribute to the vibrancy of our city, however, the League’s positions on earmarks, requires that measures contain an automatic sunset date and provisions for mandatory government body review and reauthorization. For this reason, the League is neutral on Proposition E.

image84

image85

image86