The San Francisco Peace and Freedom Party County Central Committee recommends that San Francisco residents vote as follows on city and county ballot measures. Click here for a version of this document to download and print.
NO on Proposition A — Transportation Funding
Muni cuts in service, over the years, have affected every neighborhood. There’s a long list of deferred maintenance projects that need to be addressed. Prop A addressed this problem with a $500 million bond measure with $350 million in interest. In other words we’re borrowing the money to “Fix Muni” from financial institutions, and paying an exorbitant amount of interest, when the logical and fair way to address the problem would be through progressive taxation. There are also problems with loose language of this Proposition: it doesn’t guarantee that any of the money raised will go to Muni: The language reads “may be allocated” not “shall be.”
YES on Proposition B — Adjusting transportation funding for Population Growth
This will change language in the City Charter, to allow money from the General Fund to be contributed to the SF Municipal Transportation Agency to pay for increases in Muni’s operating costs as the city’s population and workforce increase. This will be retroactive to the last funding increase 10 years ago, putting in about $22 million more per year. The mayor and the Board of Supervisors were supposed to have put a local increase on the vehicle license fee (VLF) on the ballot (making up for cuts in the fee at the state level) but they were unable to reach any kind of consensus on that. The mayor has pledged to have that fee increase ready for 2016, so Prop. B is a stop-gap measure, which can be repealed when and if the mayor puts the VLF on the ballot, and it’s passed by the voters.
YES on Proposition C — Children’s Fund Reauthorization
This is a set aside of city funds for children’s programs, in three parts: It renews the Children’s Fund providing youth services,. the Public Education enrichment Fund, which goes mostly to the school district, and a Rainy Day Fund , a set aside for hard times at the school district. It is a reauthorization of a modest Parcel Tax assessment passed as Prop. A (with an endorsement from Peace and Freedom Party) in 2008. We would have preferred that it be levied on commercial property, not residential, but under state tax law that would amount to a “split roll tax” which cannot be done under current law.
YES on Proposition D — Retiree Health Benefits
This is about fair treatment for city employees. When Gov. Brown and the State Legislature did away with the Redevelopment Agency, the City established a Successor Agency to be funded by the City. This measure insures that the former employees of the SF Redevelopment Agency (less than 50) get the same health benefits as other city employees. These employees work mostly on facilitating affordable housing projects, which are badly needed; at this time in particular.
YES on Proposition E — Soda Tax
In a rational and well regulated democratic system of government the production of addictive poisons for consumption would be flat-out illegal; but that isn’t the system we’re living in, so, for the time being, we’ll have use the levers of power available to us, and this is one. It is a 2-cents-per-ounce sugary beverage tax which is intended as a disincentive to cut down on the consumption of those beverages. The soda industry is currently pumping millions of dollars into defeating the proposition. Among their arguments is the one that San Francisco’s minority and low-income communities will be unfairly affected by the tax. Of course that argument works both ways since it’s exactly these communities who have suffered most through higher rates of obesity and diabetes. Everybody knows that too much sugar is bad for you. What many don’t know is that the human body doesn’t metabolize sugar in a beverage the same way it does in food. There is no sense of satiation when you drink it – you just want more. The science on this is clear and it’s pretty scary: According to Dr. Dean Schillenger, former chief of diabetes prevention and control for the California Department of Public Health, the projections are that 40% of children in the US will develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. When the tax on cigarettes was first introduced in California, many of us were dubious that it would stop people from smoking, but the facts speak for themselves: In part because the money from the tax was used in well-developed educational programs for smoking cessation, hundreds of thousands of people stopped completely and many children who might have started never did. Countless lives were saved. The same can happen with sugar addiction. The country of Mexico is ahead of us in this: They already have a point of sale tax on sugary beverages, and it appears to be pretty successful.
YES on Proposition F — Pier 70 Development
Prop. B approved by the voters last June, dictates that any development of the waterfront that exceeds the existing height limits must go before the voters. Prop. F will allow development of Pier 70, located off 20th Street near Potrero Point in the neighborhood known as “Dogpatch.” If this works out as planned, Prop. F will prove that Prop. B works, and that projects on the waterfront can have real public benefits. The developers have actively sought input from the community through multiple public hearings, and have committed to allocate 30% of the housing units as affordable housing. The project has received broad support – including the Sierra Club, and virtually no serious opposition.
YES on Proposition G — Anti-Speculation Tax
This is a 24% “tax” that will only be levied on “flippers:” These are speculators who purchase rental property that they have no interest in living in or developing. The flippers’ business model is to evict all the tenants and hold on to the property just long enough to maximize the profit, before putting it back on the market. Proponents say the intention of the tax is to serve as a disincentive for bad behavior, and hope that it never gets levied. As designed it will exempt single-family homes and large apartment complexes and focus only on the units targeted by speculators. Of course the realtor associations have dumped nearly $1.5 million, so far, into defeating it with the bogus claim that it is a “housing tax” further escalating the shortage of affordable housing in San Francisco. The claim has no factual basis, and these groups offer no credible evidence. It has been obvious for many years that real estate speculation, most of it from people from out of town, and a lot from overseas, is a primary contributor to the escalation in the price of rental property in San Francisco. Interestingly, this measure was originally proposed by Harvey Milk, shortly before his assassination.
YES on Proposition H — Beach Chalet Soccer Renovation
This measure opposes current plans by the Recreation and Parks Department to replace the playing fields of this playground in Golden Gate Park with artificial turf made from recycled automobile tires, and the installation of stadium lighting for night games. The use of this type of “AstroTurf” for playgrounds for kids is in itself controversial, but the effects of introducing this sort of lighting on wild life (not to mention the neighbors) is particularly alarming, as it is close to Ocean Beach.. This fight has been going on for several years its high time to resolve it.
NO on Prop I — Renovation of Fields
This is being promoted as a measure to “Help Our Kids,” which is pretty craven, when you realize what a thoroughly obnoxious measure it is. It should be voted down for two reasons: First, it’s a “poison pill” measure in response to the possible passage of Prop. H, meaning that if Prop I passes with more votes than H, than H will be void, the second objectionable thing which this measure would do is allow the Recreation and Park Department free reign to install artificial turf fields and stadium lighting in any playground in the City, if it can prove that doing so would double the park’s attendance, thereby bypassing the normal review and appeal process.
YES on Proposition J — Minimum Wage increase
This fairly modest measure was placed on the ballot following some major league lobbying of the mayor and the Board of Supervisors by organized labor. Particular credit goes to SEIU, Local 1021, who crafted the original legislation. It would increase the hourly minimum wage of San Francisco’s lowest paid workers to $15 an hour, up from $10.24, by 2018. San Francisco has the unfortunate distinction of having the fastest-growing income inequality in the country and this measure is a step in the right direction of at least addressing, if not alleviating that growing wealth gap. Although this would give San Francisco the highest minimum wage in the country, given that the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that a renter must earn $29.38 an hour in order to afford a one-bedroom, market-rate apartment in San Francisco, it’s still insufficient. Clearly, while
Prop. J poses an opportunity to move forward, much more needs to be done.
NO on Proposition K — Housing Policy Statement
This isn’t actually legislation; it’s a policy statement. It amounts to an extremely watered down version of a measure, originally introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim that would have slowed down the development of market rate housing by requiring additional studies and hearings when affordable units drop below 30 percent of total housing production. When that plan got attacked by the developers, the Mayor’s Office turned it in to a fairly meaningless policy statement encouraging a housing boom and calling for studies of how to reach 33 percent affordability. At best it amounts to a sort of “pinky swear” to an upward definition of “affordable housing.” This kind of fatuous excuse for a real affordable housing policy should not be encouraged.
NO on Proposition L — Pro-Car Policy Statement
This policy statement promoting “motorists rights” threatens to undo most of what’s been done in the direction of making San Francisco a transit-first city over the past fifteen or so years, by proposing that money for Muni be diverted to funding more parking lots and giving residents veto power over parking policy in their neighborhoods.
Recommendations adopted at the October 18, 2014 meeting of the San Francisco County Central Committee.