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Editorial: Recommendations on SF, CA ballot props

by BAR Editorial Board

Proposition A would allow the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to sell revenue bonds to build clean power facilities.
Proposition A would allow the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to sell revenue bonds to build clean power facilities.  

There are nine San Francisco propositions, one regional measure, and five state propositions on the June 5 ballot.

SF props



Proposition: A Public Utility Revenue Bonds. YES. This would amend the City Charter to authorize the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to issue revenue bonds to build or improve clean power facilities, with approval by two-thirds of the Board of Supervisors. Prop A was put on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors and faces token opposition. Vote Yes on A.

Proposition B: Prohibiting Appointed Commissioners from Running for Office. YES. This is a Charter amendment that would require appointed members of boards and commissions established by the Charter to forfeit their appointed seat at the time they file to run for state or local elective office. This is a sensible measure that codifies what was once a practice of former mayor Willie Brown and has been followed sporadically since he left office. If you're an appointed official and want to run for office, you should relinquish your seat when you file candidacy papers. Vote Yes on B.

Proposition C: Additional Tax on Commercial Rents Mostly to Fund Child Care and Education; Proposition D: Additional Tax on Commercial Rents Mostly to Fund Housing and Homelessness Services. NO. It's unfortunate that the proponents behind Props C and D couldn't come together with one ballot measure, probably with a slightly higher tax, to fund both child care and housing programs. Instead, we're left with one group pitted against another. Since both measures depend on revenue from the same gross receipts tax, only the one with the most votes can be enacted. Yet the city is in dire need of both programs. Choosing between Props C and D is a false choice. The supervisors should go back to the drawing board and go through the legislative process to craft one plan that voters can approve. Vote No on Props C and D.


A yes vote on Proposition E would prohibit retailers from selling flavored tobacco products in San Francisco. Photo: Courtesy Breathe California  

Proposition E: Prohibiting Tobacco Retailers From Selling Flavored Tobacco Products. YES. Last year, the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance prohibiting the sale in San Francisco of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and candy-flavored tobacco products. In response, supporters of Big Tobacco filed a referendum requiring that the ordinance will not go into effect unless a majority of voters approve it. A yes vote means you approve of the ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors. A no vote means you want to allow the sale of flavored tobacco products in San Francisco.

Tobacco products are flavored to taste like candy, fruit, chocolate, and other foods in packaging designed to look very similar to popular candies, in an effort by the tobacco companies to draw in young users to what is a potentially deadly habit of nicotine addiction. Health organizations like the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society are in support of Prop E. Big Tobacco targets the LGBT community with giveaways and discounts to get gays hooked on cigarettes, a troubling history going back to the 1990s. Vote Yes on Prop E.

Proposition F: City-Funded Legal Representation for Residential Tenants in Eviction Lawsuits. YES. This ballot measure would adopt a policy that San Francisco shall provide legal representation to all residential tenants facing eviction. Too often, tenants lack the financial resources to effectively fight an eviction, despite many city programs and policies to help protect them. What they need is the professional guidance of an attorney. Prop F would provide a lawyer for a tenant within 30 days after the tenant receives an eviction notice or immediately upon receipt of a lawsuit seeking eviction. San Francisco has a housing crisis, and the city needs to do everything it can to keep people housed. Nonprofit housing groups and teachers' organizations such as the AIDS Housing Alliance, Coalition on Homelessness, and United Educators of San Francisco are in support. Vote Yes on Prop F.


Proposition F would provide city-funded legal representation for residential tenants in eviction lawsuits.  

Proposition F: City-Funded Legal Representation for Residential Tenants in Eviction Lawsuits. YES. This ballot measure would adopt a policy that San Francisco shall provide legal representation to all residential tenants facing eviction. Too often, tenants lack the financial resources to effectively fight an eviction, despite many city programs and policies to help protect them. What they need is the professional guidance of an attorney. Prop F would provide a lawyer for a tenant within 30 days after the tenant receives an eviction notice or immediately upon receipt of a lawsuit seeking eviction. San Francisco has a housing crisis, and the city needs to do everything it can to keep people housed. Nonprofit housing groups and teachers' organizations such as the AIDS Housing Alliance, Coalition on Homelessness, and United Educators of San Francisco are in support. Vote Yes on Prop F.

Proposition G: Parcel Tax for San Francisco Unified School District. YES. This proposal would authorize the city to collect an annual parcel tax of $298 per parcel of taxable property in the city beginning July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2038, adjusted annually for inflation. The money would be used to increase the salaries and benefits of teachers and para-educators; increase staffing and funding at high-need schools; increase the salaries and benefits of other district employees; invest in technology; and fund charter schools. It has broad support. San Francisco is an expensive place to live, and we want to retain quality educators. Vote Yes on Prop G.

Proposition H: Policy for Use of Tasers by San Francisco Police Officers. NO. This measure is unnecessary since the Police Commission has already approved a policy earlier this year for officers to carry and use Tasers. Under Prop H, any change to the Taser policy would have to go back to voters for approval. This is not an effective way to manage the police department. Prop H undermines the Department of Justice recommendations on police reform that Chief William Scott has begun implementing. It is an end-run by the powerful San Francisco Police Officers Association to set policy for the department. That's the Police Commission's job, not the voters'. Vote No on Prop H.

Proposition I: Relocation of Professional Sports Teams. NO. Allen Jones, a San Francisco man who identifies as a homosexual, put this measure on the ballot because he was upset that city officials wooed the Golden State Warriors from Oakland to San Francisco. Prop I is non-binding and will not stop the Warriors from coming to San Francisco; the arena is already under construction. Jones may be sincere in his belief that cities shouldn't recruit teams from other cities and risk economic loss stemming from those relocations, but this measure does nothing to prohibit that. Vote No on I.

Regional measure


Regional Measure 3: Bay Area Traffic Relief Plan. YES. This measure would increase tolls on all Bay Area toll bridges (except the Golden Gate Bridge). Tolls would increase by $1 in 2019, an additional $1 in 2022, and an additional $1 in 2025, for a total increase of $3. After 2025, tolls could be increased for inflation. The funds would be used to purchase new BART cars and extend BART to San Jose and Santa Clara; widen Highway 101 through the Marin-Sonoma Narrows to accommodate new carpool lanes; improve State Route 37, which serves Solano, Marin, Napa, and Sonoma counties; expand ferry service; improve Interstate 680/State Route 4 and other routes; and extend Caltrain to downtown San Francisco. The measure must pass by a majority of votes cast in nine Bay Area counties. Traffic congestion is a major problem, and public transit agencies like BART, Caltrain, and the ferries need resources to expand their service. Vote Yes on Regional Measure 3.

California props



Proposition 68: General obligation bonds for parks, water quality, and flood protection. YES. This proposition allows the state to sell a total of $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds for various natural resources-related programs. It has wide public support. Vote Yes on Prop 68.

Proposition 69: Legislative Constitutional Amendment to require transportation revenues be used for transportation purposes. YES. This proposition amends the state constitution to require that the Legislature spend revenues from the new diesel sales taxes and transportation improvement fees (Senate Bill 1) on transportation purposes. It protects transportation funds. Gas tax money and vehicle registration fees (for zero-emission vehicles) should be spent on road infrastructure and public transit investment. Vote Yes on Prop 69.

Proposition 70: Requires legislative supermajority vote approving cap-and-trade reserve fund. NO. This legislative constitutional amendment would require that in 2024 cap-and-trade revenue be deposited in a new state fund that can only be spent by two-thirds vote of the Legislature. This will weaken the cap-and-trade program's ability to fund the reduction of greenhouse gases by separating its budget and holding it captive to a supermajority vote for approval. Prop 70 grew out of an oil industry-backed effort to derail the state's clean energy program to curb harmful air pollution. Vote No on Prop 70.

Proposition 71: Sets effective dates for ballot measures. YES. This legislative constitutional amendment will allow approved ballot measures to take effect about six weeks after Election Day. Right now they take effect the day after the election unless the ballot measure sets a later effective date. Most of the time this works out, but sometimes election results are not clear and millions of ballots are not counted until days or weeks later. Prop 71 would allow counties to finish counting ballots and the secretary of state to certify results before ballot measures go into effect. This makes sense to us, especially as more people vote by mail. Vote Yes on Prop 71.

Proposition 72: Permits Legislature to exclude newly constructed rain-capture systems from property tax reassessment. YES. This legislative constitutional amendment allows the Legislature to exclude the value of a newly constructed rainwater capture system from a property's taxable value. The Legislature has already passed a law to carry out Prop 72 should it be approved by voters. Drought is now part of life in California, and this measure would allow people who conserve water a tax break, as it does for solar systems. It has wide support. Vote Yes on Prop 72.


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