This is probably an empty gesture which allows me to run through the various propositions and argue with myself more than trying to shape anyone’s opinions. Still, maybe if you’re on the fence on an issue or two it might help to hear someone else’s take. Not that there’s any shortage of opinions in this city, and mine aren’t any better, more rational or less smug.
San Francisco decided to have a gut-wrenching twenty-two measures on the ballot this year so forgive me if I’m not really sinking my teeth into anything.
Proposition A – San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center Earthquake Safety Bonds:
Opponents take issue with particulars of the design plans and the renter’s pass-through which would allow increases in rent but the bottom line is that San Francisco needs to keep a world-class public hospital and we all need to pay for it. The people doing the retrofitting know that their work will be scrutinized and there’s no indication of graft allowing shoddy building.
Proposition B – Establishing Affordable Housing Fund:
This measure would take an additional 2.5 cents from every $100 of assessed property value to support development and redevelopment of low income housing, aid first time homeowners, subsidize rent to low-income earners and repair the projects. Opponents argue that these tough economic times prohibit locking money away from other city programs but as housing is a fundamental issue it seems likely that by assisting people with securing their residence we would end up spending less on social programs for people down the line.
Proposition C – Prohibiting City Employees From Serving on Charter Boards and Commissions:
Something of a conflict of interest measure but fundamentally unfair. Instances of people acting improperly should be addressed singularly, it’s not a systemic issue.
Proposition D – Financing Pier 70 Waterfront District Development Plan:
I might be the only person in the city who is voting against this but they’re fucking with my childhood and I simply don’t trust them. The entire swath of San Francisco from Rincon Hill to Innes Creek has been up for grabs and is repeatedly destroyed by big-money projects. They made a Main Street USA out of King Street and it makes me wanna puke every time I pass the strip mall environment, condos and upper class free floating vapors masquerading as citizens.
Proposition E – Changing the Number of Signatures Required to Recall City Officials:
Pretty pedantic but this would increase the number of signatures required to put a recall effort on the ballot to match the state level. I see no reason we should be held to California standards as I think that locals know what’s best for locals but making it difficult for any hair-brained election cycle tantrum to end up wasting paper is a plus in my book. My virtual, paper-free book.
Proposition F – Holding All Scheduled City Elections Only in Even-Numbered Years:
Another attempt to standardize some of the elections which I support only because it should concentrate mailings of wasteful propaganda and hopefully reduce the amount of paper, advertising and annoying automated phone calls I get.
Proposition G – Allowing Retirement System Credit for Unpaid Parental Leave:
This is an adjustment to a previous measure which passed allowing paid time off for parental leave to apply to retirement benefits. Opposition is whining that this is retroactive and why should we allow people to take advantage of a new law from before it was a law. Because correcting a wrong is the right thing to do?
Proposition H – Setting Clean Energy Deadlines; Studying Options for Providing Energy; Changing Revenue Bond Authority to Pay for Public Utility Facilities:
I’m not a fan of complicated ballot measures which stuff various changes under one umbrella. This isn’t a very exciting measure as it’s not intended to do anything but lay the groundwork for overhauling San Francisco’s energy policy and infrastructure but it’s an important step which should allow changes to be made. It costs money and it will cost more money in the future. There’s no way around that and whining that the Board of Supervisors will have the power to issue bonds as contained by this measure ignores the fact that the board is still elected by the citizens. It’s called a representative democracy and it’s what we’re used to. Sit down Miss, oh wait, you’re in a wheel-chair.
Proposition I – Creating the Office of an Independent Rate Payer Advocate:
For the cost of $125,000 a year do you want to alter slightly the way that utility rates are set? I’ll do it for $50,000 a year.
Proposition J – Creating a Historic Preservation Commission:
This is probably just creating another layer of do-nothing low-level bureaucrats and aspiring politicians to bitch and whine but maybe humanity will blow my mind. History is important and anything which stands to prevent the massive homogenizing of the city gets little kisses blown at it from me.
Proposition K – Changing the Enforcement of Laws Related to Prostitution and Sex Workers:
Decriminalization of prostitution in San Francisco. I sympathize with the reaction of those who are against the measure but if you’re afraid that leaving prostitutes on the street increases the amount of drugs, pimps, johns and assorted scum that come with them why don’t you focus on dealing with those issues instead of the women who are obviously not doing anything worse than having miserable lives. You want to help people? Locking them up isn’t the answer. And why the fuck is PG&E paying for the argument against this proposition?
Proposition L – Funding the Community Justice Center:
I have no problems with a TL quality of life court to syphon off the negligible shit from the newspaper headlines cases, especially because it reminds me of Night Court. However I do have a problem with asking for an additional chunk of cash for something which is already fully funded, and I have a problem with the fact that Newsom’s pretty face is the only endorsement for this measure.
Proposition M – Changing the Residential Rent Ordinance to Prohibit Specific Acts of Harassment of Tenants by Landlords:
These changes include failure to provide required building services, complete safety repairs, intimidation in order to force a tenant to move, threats of physical harm, violation of anti-discrimenatory law, refusal to accept or cash rent within 30 days, requesting private information which violate a right to privacy. The opponents claim this is unconstitutional because it violates the 1st amendment. These opponents all represent property management firms and various housing business coalitions.
Proposition N – Changing Real Property Transfer Tax Rates:
Two point measure with the main issue being one over increasing the tax rate on properties which sell for over $5 million; a tax break for places that install solar panels is being mostly ignored. Businesses usually have retail property or apartment buildings which would be affected by this and the charge is that they have an unfair tax advantage currently. Predictably their various associations is paying for the arguments against the measure. And how can you have a problem with a 1/3 reduction for homes that have gone solar?
Proposition O – Replacing the Emergency Response Fee with an Access Line Tax and Revising the Telephone Users Tax:
This is a bit of a head-scratcher that mostly seems to be concerned with updating an older tax law for the modern era. At first I thought it meant I was being screwed because no one with a cell phone would have to pay for 911 but most of this is picked up by commercial lines. There’ a redefinition of what constitutes a phone and changing the name of the tax which doesn’t affect most anyone. However everyone seems to think that not voting yes will cost the city $80 million because of legalese issues. Everyone except Phil Berg, Libertarian for Congress.
Proposition P – Changing the Composition of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board:
At first glance this appears to be a streamlining measure, shrinking the bits of fat who are in charge of tax revenue used for transportation projects in the city. Actually it’s a concentration of power headed by the mayor, the president of the supes and a couple of appointees selected by whomever has those seats. It brings to mind hair-brained politically motivated transportation projects like tunnels under Chinatown facing less checks and balances and we don’t need to make it easier for the players to play.
Proposition Q – Modifying the Payroll Expense Tax:
This would correct a popular wrong concerning corporations, specifically requiring that certain forms of compensation be included in payroll which is then taxed by the city. It would also raise the threshold of this tax to payrolls of $250,000 and beyond which exempts small (they say, I think that’s a chunk of fucking change) businesses and encourages them to grow and prosper. Sounds good to me.
Proposition R – Renaming the Oceanside Water Treatment Plant:
God I hate people. All the money, time and resources that went into getting this on the ballot, the money and resources to have it on the ballot. They wanna change the name of the sewage plant by the zoo to George W. Bush because that’s the funny hah-hah like The Onion and other insipid white, middle-class college humour style. All of the waste committed, all the waste to be committed (they have to change all the stationary and signs) just to prove we’re a bunch of self-satisfied nincompoops. If we as a city want any credibility for our supposedly progressive initiatives and thinking we should leave the poop jokes out.
Proposition S – Policy Regarding Budget Set-Asides and Identification of Replacement Funds:
Politics sure are sexy. This requires that a funding source is identified before money can be earmarked for specific use. It doesn’t have anything to do with the money, the funding or the project except add an additional step before something gets placed on the ballot. Mayor Newsom and his friends at the Building Owners & Managers Association of San Francisco think it’s a good idea and that’s usually all I need to know it’s a bad idea.
Proposition T – Free and Low-Cost Substance Abuse Treatment Programs:
Free and low-cost help to addicts is good, even if it seems like an insurmountable problem. Some people get help and clean up and they no longer drain the coffers. That’s progress and we should encourage that. There’s something here about requiring an annual report from the Department of Public Health on the demand for substance abuse programs.
Proposition U – Policy Against Funding the Deployment of Armed Forces in Iraq:
Follow-up to the last symbolic gesture regarding the Iraq Invasion. At that time the world was chaotic and SF wanted to assure other countries that not everyone in America (as represented by their city) were raving lunatics following blindly where their leaders led. Since we were reviled and despised by the world it seemed like an important gesture. This would redirect that same token towards reps in Congress who vote on military spending. The world isn’t watching anymore and the symbolism is diminished. This falls under Proposition R in terms of waste even if the gesture is nice.
Proposition V – Policy Against Terminating Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Programs in Public High Schools:
SFUSD has been phasing out the junior nazi league and they’re not happy about being forced out. When I was in highschool it came out that the principal and dean had been sending military recruiters after specific students, primarily low-achievers who were primarily Latino. That’s pretty fucked, and so is having the military rubbing kids on the shoulder and whispering sweet nothings into their hormone addled little minds. Fuck these people– bomb their offices.