The League of Women Voters of San Francisco provides non-partisan analysis of the ballot measures for San Francisco elections. Our team of dedicated volunteers combs through the news, submitted ballot arguments and discussions to put together this valuable and trusted resource.
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Ordinance placed on the ballot by Mayor London Breed and a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors. Requires the approval of two-thirds of voters to pass.
Shall the city issue up to $600 million in general obligation bonds for the purchase, construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing, to be paid for by a property tax assessment of approximately $0.019 on each $100 of assessed property value?
The City provides funding to build and rehabilitate housing to meet the needs of disadvantaged City residents, including affordable housing for extremely low- to middle-income households. The City’s funding for affordable housing comes from property taxes, hotel taxes, developer fees and other local sources. The City sells voter-approved general obligation bonds to help provide some of this funding. The City has a policy to keep the property tax rate from City general obligation bonds below the 2006 rate by issuing new bonds as older ones are retired and the tax base grows.
Proposition A would allow the City to borrow up to $600 million by issuing general obligation bonds. The City would use this money to build, buy, and rehabilitate affordable housing in the City as follows:
Proposition A would allow an increase in the property tax to pay for the bonds, if needed. Landlords would be permitted to pass through up to 50% of any resulting property tax increase to tenants, subject to individual hardship waivers.
Projected average annual revenues from the bonds are $50,000,000. Proposition A would require the Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee to review how the funds are spent.
A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote “yes,” you want the City to issue $600 million in general obligation bonds to buy, build, and rehabilitate affordable housing in the City.
A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want the City to issue these bonds.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF PROP A:
ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROP A:
Charter amendment placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors; requires a simple majority of voters to pass.
Shall the City amend the Charter to change the name of the Department of Aging and Adult Services to the Department of Disability and Aging Services; to change the name of the Aging and Adult Services Commission to the Disability and Aging Services Commission; and to add new qualifications for three of the seven seats on this Commission?
One in ten San Francisco residents experience disability. The Department of Aging and Adult Services ("DAAS") is the primary City agency tasked with providing social safety net services to adults with disabilities in San Francisco. However, the Department's current name does not effectively communicate this role to the community, which inhibits adults with disabilities from accessing services to which they are entitled.
A key finding of the 2018 Dignity Fund Community Needs Assessment was that consumers and service providers encounter several barriers and challenges to accessing services. Adults with disabilities identified an increased navigation challenge because DAAS' name does not specifically call out adults with disabilities as a population served. This finding was developed through both qualitative research (including forums, focus groups, and a community survey) and quantitative analysis.
Currently, the Charter establishes the Aging and Adult Services Commission ("Commission"), consisting of seven members. The Commission is charged with oversight of the Department of Aging and Adult Services. The Charter does not prescribe qualifications for any of the seven seats on the Commission.
Proposition B is a Charter amendment that would change the name of the Department of Aging and Adult Services to the Department of Disability and Aging Services. The name of the Aging and Adult Services Commission would be changed to the Disability and Aging Services Commission.
It would also prescribe qualifications for three of the Commission seats:
The proposed Charter amendment would also change the name of the Aging and Adult Services Community Living Fund to the Disability and Aging Services Community Living Fund.
According to the Controller, this measure would have a minimal impact on the cost of government.
A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote “yes,” you want to amend the Charter to change the names to the Department of Disability and Aging Services and the Disability and Aging Services Commission; and you want to add new qualifications for three of the seven seats on the Commission.
A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make these changes.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF PROP B:
ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROP B:
Ordinance put on the ballot by a citizen initiative. Requires a simple majority to pass.
Shall the City overturn the law that prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes that have not been approved by the FDA, and adopt new regulations on the sale, advertising and distribution of electronic cigarettes in San Francisco, and require further regulations to be authorized by a ballot vote?
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of early death in the United States, particularly among those who begin using tobacco products in adolescence. Tobacco products include vapor products such as flavored and unflavored electronic cigarettes, (e-cigarettes), which vaporize liquid nicotine and deliver it to the user. The California Department of Public Health reported that 20.8% of high schoolers in San Francisco and San Mateo use e-cigarettes, the highest percentage of any region in California. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported an 80% increase in e-cigarette use among high schoolers in 2018, and 20% of high schoolers are addicted to nicotine.
In 2018, 68% of voters approved a ban on flavored tobacco products, which went into effect in January 2019. In June of 2019, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed unanimously passed a law--to take effect in January 2020--that will ban the sale, in stores and online, of any electronic cigarettes that have not been reviewed by the FDA. As of July 2019, no applications for pre-market review of any electronic cigarette products had been submitted to the FDA.
City and State laws currently regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes:
The measure would apply new regulations on the sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes in San Francisco:
A “YES” Vote Means:You want to overturn the law passed by the Board of Supervisors which bans the sale of electronic cigarettes that have not been reviewed and authorized by the FDA, you want to adopt new regulations on the sale, manufacture, distribution and advertising of electronic cigarettes in San Francisco, and you want to require further regulations to be put to a ballot vote.
A “NO” Vote Means: You want to keep the ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes that have not yet been authorized by the FDA, you want to keep existing laws regulating electronic cigarettes in place, and you want to continue to allow the Board of Supervisors to enact further regulations.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF PROP C:
ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROP C:
Ordinance placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors; it must be approved by at least two thirds of voters.
Shall the city impose a business tax of 1.5% on shared-ride fares and 3.25% on private-ride fares within the City taken with commercial ride-share companies to fund improvements in Muni service, and pedestrian and bicycle safety?
In 2018, the state legislature passed and the governor signed into law Assembly Bill 1184, which allows San Francisco to impose a business tax on fares originating in San Francisco with commercial ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft.
Many major cities, including New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., have already imposed similar taxes in an effort to mitigate increased traffic congestion. By some estimates, well over half of the increase in traffic congestion in the last ten years is the result of the use of ride-share companies.
This ordinance, effective January 1, 2020, would impose a business tax on rides within the city taken with commercial ride-share companies, which are typically requested through an online platform that connects riders with drivers. This would include rides with companies like Uber and Lyft.
Rides would be taxed at the following rates:
The city would be able to impose the same taxes on rides in autonomous (driverless) vehicles should they become available. The tax would not apply to taxis and paratransit companies.
These taxes would be paid by the ride-share companies but could be passed on to consumers.
Revenue from these taxes would be deposited in the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Fund and would be shared equally between the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, to improve Muni services, and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which oversees the Vision Zero plan to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. Vision Zero aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths in the city by 2024.
If passed, this ordinance would generate $30–35 million in additional tax revenue annually.
A “YES” Vote Means: You want to authorize business taxes on city rides in commercial ride-share vehicles to fund improvements in Muni service and pedestrian and bicycle safety.
A “NO” Vote Means: You oppose authorizing these taxes.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF PROP D:
ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROP D:
Ordinance placed on the ballot by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors. Requires the approval of a majority of voters to pass.
Shall the city amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite City approval of these projects?
The City Planning Code applies different zoning rules to different neighborhoods in San Francisco. In residential zoning districts, the Planning Code allows residential buildings but regulates the size, height, density and other factors like the amount of yard space, open space, and nonresidential space. Some types of buildings are subject to a conditional use authorization, which requires the Planning Commission to hold a public hearing and consider certain factors before approving the project.
In public zoning districts, the Planning Code allows government buildings, public structures, City plazas, parks and other similar uses but prohibits any residential buildings.
The Planning Department reviews proposed projects for zoning requirements. The Department must prioritize and expedite its review of proposed affordable housing projects.
The Planning Code does not include specific zoning rules for residential projects dedicated to employees of the San Francisco Unified School District or the San Francisco Community College District.
Proposition E is an ordinance that would amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite City approval of these projects.
Under Proposition E, 100% Affordable Housing and Educator Housing projects:
The Planning Department would be allowed to administratively approve 100% Affordable and Educator Housing projects, without review by the Planning Commission.
The Board of Supervisors would be allowed to amend Proposition E by a two-thirds vote without voter approval.
A “YES” Vote Means: You want to amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite approval of these projects.
A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make these changes.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF PROP E:
ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROP E:
Ordinance placed on the ballot by a majority of the Board of Supervisors; requires the approval of a simple majority of voters to pass.
Shall the City establish new restrictions on campaign contributions to local elected officials and candidates, and apply new disclaimer requirements to campaign advertisements?
According to the San Francisco Ethics Commission, more than $6.8 million was spent on 22 candidates for five open district seats on the Board of Supervisors. That is an average of $311,000 per candidate. In Board of Supervisors races, third-party spending rose from about $82,000 per candidate in 2010 to about $214,000 per candidate in 2018.
This proposition is positioned as a way to restrict the sources of and provide additional transparency around the origin of private funding of local political campaigns.
Currently, the disclaimer on an advertisement paid for by an independent Political Action Committees (PAC) must name the committee’s top three contributors of $10,000 or more.
Local law restricts direct campaign contributions to local elected officials and candidates from corporations (both for-profit and nonprofit) and city contractors, or those seeking to contract with the City, during specific periods.
There is currently no local law restricting donations from people who have a financial interest in a land-use decision with the City.
If the measure passes, the regulations will go into effect 10 days after the election results are certified.
The proposition applies to two areas; campaign advertising disclosures and campaign contributions.
This proposition requires campaigns to prominently disclose the name and dollar amount contributed by the top three donors contributing $5,000 or more toward campaign ads, lowering the existing limit from $10,000 to $5,000. If any of the top three donors is a PAC (an organization that raises money privately to influence elections or legislation), the disclaimer must disclose their top two donors of $5,000 or more. Website referrals, print materials (flyers, posters, mass mailings, etc.), candidate audio, and visual advertisements are all impacted.
Proposition F would also increase the size of written disclaimers and require disclaimers to appear at the beginning of audio and video advertisements.
Campaign contributions from limited liability corporations (LLC) and limited liability partnerships (LLP) would be subject to the same limitations as corporations.
The proposition further restricts contributions from people who have a financial interest in an existing land use decision with the City. This restriction would start when a request or application regarding a land-use matter is pending before City boards and commissions and would end 12 months after the City’s final decision.
Financial interest is defined as:
If the land-use matter concerns only the private residence of a contributor, the restriction does not apply.
A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote “yes,” you want to establish new restrictions on campaign contributions to local elected officials and candidates, and apply new disclaimer requirements to campaign advertisements.
A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make these changes.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF PROP F:
ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROP F:
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