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Dueling measures don't help SF

by BAR Editorial Board

Dueling measures don't help SF

The continual fighting between moderate and progressive supervisors hurts only residents. Dueling local measures on the June ballot pit funding for housing against child care - two important issues crucial to many families.

The Housing for All initiative by Supervisors Ahsha Safai, Jeff Sheehy, and three others as the San Francisco Chronicle reported, would increase the city's gross receipts tax on commercial property owners, generating about $70 million a year for low- and middle-income housing.

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, who's running for mayor, joined District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee and gathered enough voter signatures to get their initiative on the ballot, which would seek a bigger tax increase on commercial property and generate $146 million a year for child care subsidies.

In effect, city leaders have created conflict where none existed, and now housing advocates find themselves competing against child care supporters. This is a false choice: families need housing before they can utilize child care subsidies.

Elected officials have been promoting various housing plans for years, and now, when everyone agrees that more housing is needed, especially below-market-rate and affordable units, those plans are being threatened by Kim's child care proposal.

Child care is the centerpiece of Kim's mayoral campaign and supporting a ballot measure gives her an additional platform. Initiative races aren't subject to the same campaign spending limits. So, while Kim's supporters can only give a maximum of $500 individually to her mayoral campaign, they can contribute unlimited amounts to the ballot measure campaign, which of course will prominently feature Kim (and Yee) in its materials. When Kim ran for state Senate against Scott Wiener she championed free tuition for City College. While that ballot measure passed, Kim fell short in her bid for higher office.

Of course, Sheehy will be able to do the same with the housing measure.

Competing interests like these impede city leaders from completing housing projects. Just when we thought there was enough support on the board to fund housing initiatives, Kim and Yee throw a curveball. Kim, who has demonstrated her ability to get developers to increase the number of affordable units in their projects, is now in the strange position of opposing a housing measure. Because the initiatives rely on the same revenue source, only one can succeed.

Veteran gay rights activist Cleve Jones took to Facebook the other day to bemoan the situation. "The folks who run the show at San Francisco City Hall are forcing SF voters to choose between housing and childcare," he wrote, adding that both are needed. He went on to add, "This shit is cynical, manipulative 'liberalism' at its worst."

Who knows? Maybe both initiatives will fail. If that's the case, voters can look ahead to more squabbling and housing project delays.

Santa Clara should ban gun shows
On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors endorsed the concept of banning gun shows at the county fairgrounds put forward by gay Supervisor Ken Yeager. County staff and the county counsel will now look at existing state law and craft some options for the board, which could vote on a proposal as soon as next month.

This is not the first time the county has sought to ban gun shows at the fairgrounds. But the last effort in the 1990s was overturned by the courts because it did not include all county property. Yeager looks to avoid those pitfalls. "Even though guns are banned from county buildings, they're not banned from all county property like parking lots, parks and the fairgrounds," Yeager told KGO.

Yeager is looking at possibly carving out an exception for a county park that has a gun range, but his main goal is forbidding gun shows, not infringing on people's Second Amendment rights.

The February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, prompted Yeager's action. But in a news release he also reminded people that Santa Clara County came close to having its own mass shooting in 2001 at De Anza College, when a young man was arrested after a photo clerk alerted authorities to his cache of bombs and guns. "We can't eliminate the threat of mass shootings, but we have a responsibility to do everything we can to reduce the risk of them," he said in a news release.

The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds currently hosts two gun shows a year, which bring in about $12,000 to the county.

In South San Francisco, the state-owned Cow Palace will host a gun show in April. State lawmakers, including gay former state senator and mayoral candidate Mark Leno, tried unsuccessfully for years to pass legislation to ban gun shows there. Our Resist columnist, Christina A. DiEdoardo, has some ideas for putting pressure on Cow Palace officials in her piece this week.

We support the Second Amendment, but see no reason for non-military personnel to have access to assault-style weapons. We also don't think that county- or state-owned buildings should be used for selling guns. The amount of money generated does not justify the death toll from mass shootings and other senseless acts of gun violence. Gun shows should not be held on public property.

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