San Francisco

Voting has changed in San Francisco County this year. The Voter’s Choice Act was enacted in the county to make voting more convenient. Changes include an expanded period of in-person early voting, every registered voter in the county will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, and every registered voter in the county is able to vote in-person at any Vote Center in their county. Also, in-person voters in San Francisco County will have the opportunity to use the new voting system, Democracy Suite, a touchscreen tablet with audio features, to mark their ballots. Have questions about the changes to voting in San Francisco County? Find out how to vote in San Francisco County.

County Elections Web Site
https://couragecaliforniainstitute.org/how-to-vote-in-san-francisco-county/
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Proposition L: The Overpaid Executive Tax - YES

Vote YES on Prop L to add a proportional surcharge to any company whose top executive’s pay is at least 100 times more than the median worker’s pay at that company. 

Proposition L asks San Franciscans to issue an ordinance imposing a general, additional gross receipts tax on businesses that pay their top executive over $2.8 million annually at a progressive rate dependent on the ratio of executive/median worker salaries. For example, if the executive pay ratio is over 100:1 but less than 200:1, then the rate will be .1% and so on until the rate is capped at .6 percent. It is estimated by the Controller’s Office that the proposition will provide an annual revenue of $60 million to $140 million, depending on economic conditions. If passed by voters, the ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2022.

Why voting YES on Prop L matters:
  • The Overpaid Executive Tax will only apply to companies that contribute to the growing inequality between the average worker and top executives, targeting companies with executives who are paid over $2.8 million each year. Small businesses will not be hurt by this tax.
  • Over the next two years, San Francisco’s Department of Public Health budget will be cut by more than $250 million after already being underfunded and understaffed for years. Prop L is the best way to pay for these services by corporations that can afford to pay their fair share.
Misinformation
  • “Prop L will make businesses leave San Francisco.” --FALSE. Companies that can afford to pay their top executive at least $2.8 million annually can afford to pay the additional gross receipts tax that contributes to public services in San Francisco. The rate is considerably small when compared to total revenues that companies are making in San Francisco.

Prop B: Department of Sanitation and Streets, Sanitation and Streets Commission, and Public Works Commission - YES

Vote YES on Prop B to create the Department of Sanitation and Streets, Sanitation and Streets Commission, and a Public Works Commission in the City and County of San Francisco.

Prop B asks voters to amend the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco to establish a Department of Sanitation and Streets, as well as a Sanitation and Streets Commission and a Public Works Commission. Within the proposed Sanitation and Streets Commission, members shall serve four-year terms and will be created no earlier than July 1, 2022. Currently, San Francisco only has the Department of Public Works, in which sanitation is sporadically implemented by the director of Public Works at whim, resulting in affluent neighborhoods being cleaned while other neighborhoods are left without sanitation. Earlier this year, the previous director of Public Works, Mohammed Nuru, was charged by the FBI with corruption and bribery. Prop B provides citizen oversight to combat further corruption and allocates employees, resources, and the city’s budget to ensure sanitation for all, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why voting YES on Prop B matters:
  • Sanitation departments are found in almost every major American city except San Francisco. The people of San Francisco need this department more than ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Creating and sustaining a new Department of Sanitation and Streets would only increase the City of San Francisco’s spending by less than .0005%, between $2.5 million and $6 million, according to the SF Controller’s analysis.
  • Prop B establishes a citizen oversight commission to oversee spending and requires both the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Public Works to undergo annual audits by the Controller’s Office to eliminate waste and corruption.
Supporters:
  • Leading the contributions supporting Yes on Prop B is Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organization Coalition Issues, followed by the Northern CA District Council of Laborers PAC and Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 Statewide PAC. 
  • Another top funder, Recology, is an employee-owned company that shifts traditional waste management to resource recovery through sustainable recovery practices.
  • There are no committees registered in opposition to Prop B at this time.
Misinformation

There is no prominent misinformation about Proposition B. 
 

Prop K: Affordable Housing Authorization - YES

Vote YES on Prop K to authorize the city of San Francisco the authority to develop, construct, own, acquire, and rehabilitate up to 10,000 low-income rental housing units.

Proposition K asks San Franciscans to issue an ordinance pursuant to Article 34 of the California Constitution authorizing the City of San Francisco to establish municipal social housing of up to 10,000 low-income rental housing units. Proposition K also authorizes the City of San Francisco to take any actions deemed necessary and subject to applicable laws in the process of implementing the ordinance. Although approval of Proposition K does not directly result in costs to taxpayers, Proposition I’s Real Estate Transfer Tax (if passed) would partially fund the pilot program for Proposition K. The ordinance shall go into effect 10 days after the Board of Supervisors declare the official vote count with at least 50 percent+1 votes in support of Proposition K. 

Why voting YES on Prop K matters:
  • Article 34 within California’s Constitution was narrowly passed with pressure and backing from segregationists in 1950 to block affordable housing, which has effectively excluded Black tenants from accessing and affording housing. Black San Franciscans make up only 6 percent of the city’s total population but account for 37 percent of the total people experiencing homelessness, according to San Francisco Homeless Count & Survey Comprehensive Report 2019.
  • Municipal social housing is an internationally proven solution in similarly dense cities, such as Vienna, Austria, where 62 percent of households live in some form of social housing. These tenants spend at most 25 percent of their income on rent. 

Top Funders

Contributions in support of Proposition K were spearheaded by Laksh Bhasin, a software engineer at Pinterest interested in political activism, and Dean Preston, the first Democratic Socialist to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in just over 40 years representing District 5.

No committees were formed in opposition to Proposition K. 

Misinformation

There is no prominent misinformation about Proposition K.


 

 

San Francisco, Initiative, Prop E

Prop E is a measure that provides part of the solution towards San Francisco’s housing crisis. Sponsored by Todco, a nonprofit that manages affordable housing developments, the measure ties the city’s ability to approve new office development plans to the creation of affordable housing. Prop E would modify an older law, Prop M, which imposed an annual limit on office development. Prop M passed in 1986 after a number of tall towers abruptly changed the city skyline. Prop M limits the city to only 875,000 square feet in new large office projects per year, and Prop E would limit that growth further, reducing it by whatever amount the city falls short on its state-mandated affordable housing goals. 

Advocates of Measure E -- which include numerous progressive allies of Courage California -- believe that the growth of commercial space is part of what is driving up the cost of housing and has to be slowed unless affordable housing is added, as well. While more and more businesses flock to the city of San Francisco, creating jobs, there is no where for the employees to live. It is not unusual to hear of SF employees commuting in from as far as Merced -- spending the majority of their day getting to and from work. 

The measure’s opposition includes developers and city officials. Together they claim Prop E will simply raise the cost of commercial space and limit job growth in the city. The city controller’s analysis expands upon that claim by estimating that Prop. E. would cause the city to lose out on 10 million square feet in office space, 47,000 jobs, and 8.6 percentage points in economic growth in the next 20 years. However, considering that office development is increasing while affordable housing development is stagnating, it is unclear who those jobs and city’s funds will go to when only the super rich can afford to live in San Francisco. When we consider that, plus the fact that the measure is supported by Courage’s closest allies that work daily on affordable housing issues, it leads us to recommend you support the measure. 

Vote YES on Prop E.
 

Vote Yes on Prop A San Francisco

City College’s facilities were largely built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and the school has deferred repairs and safety upgrades on many of its properties for years. These deferrals have resulted in facilities and even some campuses closing -- the Civic Center campus has been closed since 2015 due to code violations and concerns about it’s earthquake readiness. Prop A is a bond measure that would allow the college to borrow $845 million from taxpayers to pay for needed seismic retrofits, as well as accessibility improvements and other safety repairs. The money would also be put towards making future buildings more environmentally friendly, a worthy goal. 

The San Francisco Community College District Board of Trustees believes this measure will only pay for about half of the school’s needed repairs, so it is possible we will see another bond measure on the ballot in the future. Regardless, this bond is necessary, as the majority of the college’s buildings are ranked “poor” or “very poor” on the facilities condition index. 

It’s fair to say that City College of San Francisco has had its share of negative headlines recently, between a series of unpopular faculty cuts and several other dramas. The trustees coming to voters for $845 million on the heels of all of that isn’t ideal. Still, the college is an important city service and should be a safe place to learn.
 
Vote YES on Prop A.
 

Yes on Proposition D San Francisco

In recent years, some of the same economic pressures that have made housing so expensive have also been at work in the commercial sector. Smaller businesses have been disappearing from expensive areas, with landlords incentivized to leave commercial properties empty instead of renting them out for less than they’d prefer. The result has been a commercial blight in many areas that not only changes the fabric of the community but also makes it challenging for existing businesses to survive. 

Prop D is a creative attempt at addressing at least one of the causes of this scourge --  landlords who are keeping their commercial spaces vacant in the hopes of attracting higher-paying tenants. It’s the brainchild of progressive San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, and would charge landlords that leave a commercial property vacant for more than half the year $250 per linear foot. The tax would then double every consecutive year. The measure wouldn’t take effect until 2021 and would only apply to a specific list of around 30 commercial corridors. It wouldn’t apply to non-profit owners and builds in flexibility for spaces damaged by fire or earthquakes, plus it leaves room for city supervisors to alter, freeze, or ultimately sunset the law. 

While it’s true that landlord greed is only one reason for the collapse of the brick-and-mortar economy in much of SF, it’s a major one and one of the few that the city is actually empowered to address. The measure is a worthwhile attempt at reinvigorating SF’s commercial economy and, if it works as intended, gives many other urban communities with similar concerns a way forward. It requires a two-thirds majority to pass. 

We strongly recommend a YES vote on Proposition D.

Yes on Prop C San Francisco

In March of 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shuttered the federally-funded, locally operated San Francisco Housing Authority and ordered that its responsibilities be turned over to the city. This was following years of financial mismanagement, and the city absorbed most of the agency’s functions as well as about 25 members of its staff. Unfortunately, because of wording in the City Charter, these transferred employees lost their retiree medical benefits. This was due to a gap in their employment with the city that occurred through no fault of their own, and this prop would simply alter the charter so that the employees who got hired by the city in the aftermath of the Housing Authority’s disintegration are able to access their well-deserved benefits. It will cost the city about $80,000 overall but over a very long period. 

We strongly recommend a YES vote on Prop C.

Yes on Prop B San Francisco

Prop B would allow the city of San Francisco to borrow $628.5 million in bonds to invest in some of the infrastructure and emergency service improvements necessary to help protect residents in the event of a major earthquake. The measure would cost the owners of homes assessed at $1 million roughly $150 a year, and while SF’s property taxes are high, so are the risks if the city doesn’t do everything it can to invest in earthquake preparedness. 

Californians all know we live with the risk of the “Big One,” and the city’s plan to borrow this money would allow them to make seismic improvements, as well as other needed repairs and improvements to fire department facilities, police stations, and 911 call centers. The measure requires two-thirds support to pass. Given the long-term likelihood of a major earthquake, this is a wise use of the city’s borrowing abilities and worth supporting. 

We strongly recommend a YES vote on Prop B.
 

SF Judge Seat 21

Submitted by caitlin on Thu, 02/20/2020 - 09:20

There are two candidates for this open seat. Courage California does not have enough information to recommend one over the other in this race, but we have compiled basic biographical information for your reference.

SF JUDGE SEAT 18

Submitted by caitlin on Thu, 02/20/2020 - 09:18

There are two candidates for this open seat. Courage California does not have enough information to recommend one over the other in this race, but we have compiled basic biographical information for your reference.