San Francisco Propositions for the November 2022 Election

By Ann Marie Galvan

agalvan1@mail.ccsf.edu

 

Election day is Nov. 8 and mail-in ballots were sent to voters on Oct. 10. There are 34 official ballot drop boxes in the city, but voters can also go to the City Hall Voting Center for in-person voting or ballot drop-off if they want to ensure their ballot is delivered securely.

October 24 is the last day to register to vote and still receive a ballot in the mail. After this date, people can still register to vote but will need to vote in person. To register to vote, visit registertovote.ca.gov.

 

On Election Day, all polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 8 in order to be counted. If you’re unsure where your polling place is sfelections.org/tools/portal can help you find it.

 

Proposition A:

 

A supplemental cost of living adjustment for the pension benefits of city workers who retired before Nov. 6, 1996.  City workers who retired before this are not guaranteed a cost of living adjustment, and are only eligible if their pension investments meet their expected rate of return. 

 

A vote “yes” means that these senior city retirees will receive a cost of living adjustment for their pension benefits, regardless of pension investment returns. A vote “no” means no changes are made.

 

Proposition B:

 

This proposition wants to eliminate the Department of Sanitation and Streets (SAS) and merge its duties with the Department of Public Works (DPW). In November 2020, voters approved the creation of SAS. It was created in part because of the bribery scandal of former Public Works director Mohammad Nuru. SAS was created to focus on street cleaning and repairs. 

 

The city also created two oversight commissions, one to oversee SAS and another to oversee the DPW. With Proposition B, both oversight commissions would be kept after merging the departments.

 

According to City Controller Ben Rosenfield, the merging of these two departments would “significantly reduce the cost of government.” Opponents to the merger include the Laborers Local 261 union.

 

A vote “yes” means that the fledgling SAS will be eliminated and its duties transferred back to DPW. A vote “no” means no changes will be made.

 

Proposition C:

 

Proposes to create a Homeless Oversight Commission to oversee the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. This seven-member commission would serve for four years and must have specific qualifications. These qualifications include having experienced homelessness themselves, experience in mental health services or substance abuse treatments, or significant advocacy experience.

 

A vote “yes” means that a Homeless Oversight Commission will be created to oversee the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. A vote “no” means no changes will be made.

 

Proposition D:

 

The “Affordable Homes Now” proposition. Multifamily affordable housing projects will be exempt from some steps of the city approval process in an effort to make the lengthy process more efficient. This proposition is backed by Mayor London Breed. 

 

Opponents to Proposition D claim that this measure will redefine what “affordable housing” means, because people whose area median income (AMI) is 140% (which is $135,800 for one person) will qualify. Per housing project, the AMI of all units can be no more than 120%, which is $116,400 for one person. This measure automatically streamlines housing for teachers, including City College instructors.

 

A vote “yes” means that certain affordable multifamily housing projects will have a streamlined approval process. A vote “no” means no changes will be made.

 

Proposition E:

This proposition competes with Proposition D and is known as the “Affordable Housing Production Act.” This measure was introduced by Supervisor Connie Chan, and it also seeks to streamline the approval process for certain affordable housing projects.

 

Unlike Proposition D, it has a lower income cap for affordable housing. People whose area median income (AMI) is 120% (which is $116,400 for one person) will qualify, but the average household income for all units in a housing project can be no more than 80% of AMI, which is $77,600 for one person.

 

This proposition also requires that an additional 8% of units in a housing development qualify as affordable. Right now, city law requires that a housing project of 100 units have 22 units of affordable housing. Proposition E states an additional 8% of units for a total of 30 would need to be planned in order to qualify for the streamlining process. 

 

Mission Local writes that detractors claim these qualifications would not be profitable for builders which would result in “little construction,” while others claim this is simply not true. This measure automatically streamlines housing for teachers, including City College instructors. 

 

A vote “yes” means that the proposition will take effect. A vote “no” means no changes will be made.

 

Proposition F:

 

Renews the Library Preservation Fund charter that will expire in 2023, and extends the fund until June 2048. The fund makes up 97% of the library’s annual budget. The city also dedicates a portion of its annual property taxes to the fund and the money is used to pay for library services, construction, and maintenance. This proposition would require the main library branch to be open for at least 1,400 hours a week, up nearly 200 hours from its current schedule.

 

A vote “yes” would mean a 25-year renewal for the Library Preservation Fund. A vote “no” means no changes.

 

Proposition G:

 

Money from existing city funds will be placed in a Student Success Fund to benefit the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). The money could be used by schools for wellness programs, tutoring, afterschool and summer enrichment, to hire more social workers, and to improve student academic achievement. Schools can apply for grants of up to $1 million per year. The city would allocate money to the Student Success Fund for fifteen years.

 

A vote “yes” means that the city will allocate money to the Student Success Fund. A vote “no” means this will not happen.

 

Proposition H:

 

This proposition would move elections for the mayor, sheriff, district attorney, and treasurer to even-numbered years. These elections would be put on the same ballot as the presidential elections, and the current officials who hold these seats would get a year added on to their term while this takes effect. 

 

Supporters of H claim that moving city elections to the presidential ballot will increase voter turnout, and that voter turnout on off-year elections is usually low. California state law mandates that if voter turnout on local elections is low, then municipal elections should be moved to even-numbered years.

 

A vote “yes” means that local elections will be moved from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years in an effort to increase voter turnout. A vote “no” means these changes will not happen. 

 

Proposition I:

 

This proposition would allow cars to use John F. Kennedy Drive (JFK Drive) and the Great Highway. 

 

Currently, portions of JFK Drive are closed seven days a week to commuter vehicles and it is used as a recreational public space by city residents and is popularly called the “JFK Promenade.” The Great Highway is closed to cars from Friday through the weekend and on holidays. With Proposition I, cars would be allowed to use JFK Drive, except from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. Some Saturdays in April through September will also be closed to cars. Cars could use the Great Highway at all times.

 

A vote “yes” means cars will be allowed on JFK Drive and the Great Highway. A vote “no” means that the changes will not happen.

 

Proposition J:

 

Keeps JFK Drive closed to commuter vehicles. In May 2022, parts of JFK Drive were officially established as a no-car zone by the board of supervisors. This proposition affirms this, and will continue to allow people to use JFK Drive as a safe car-free public space.

 

A vote “yes” means that JFK Drive will remain closed to cars. A vote “no” means that the board’s May ordinance to keep JFK Drive closed is not supported.

 

Proposition K:

 

This proposition was removed by the San Francisco Superior Court and will not be up for a vote. Dubbed the “Amazon Tax” by some, it would have taxed e-commerce within the city. However, many said that its name was misleading and Amazon would not have been taxed at all and small businesses would have been adversely affected.

 

Proposition L:

 

Would extend funding to city transportation projects until 2053. Currently, there is a one-half cent sales tax to help fund transportation needs. This proposition would extend this sales tax. This money would fund maintenance for city streets, improvements for Muni, BART and Caltrain, and the construction of a Bayview Caltrain station and a Caltrain rail extension to the Salesforce Transit Center, among other projects.

 

A vote “yes” means the one-half cent sales tax will continue to help pay for city transportation projects. A vote “no” means this sales tax will not be extended.

 

Proposition M:

 

This would tax owners of vacant buildings with three or more units. These units would have to have been vacant for “182 calendar days.” It does not apply to nonprofits or government agencies. Depending on the size of the unit, the tax could be from $2,500 to $5,000 per vacant unit. The collected taxes would go into a fund for rent subsidies for seniors and low-income households.

 

A vote “yes” means vacant buildings will be taxed. A vote “no” means there will be no tax.

 

Proposition N:

 

This measure allows public funds to be used to maintain the 800-space underground parking garage below the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park. Right now, this parking garage is operated using no public funds and is managed by a private company called REEF Parking, according to the Golden Gate Park website. Its hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and parking fees can be as much as $33 on weekends.

 

A complaint from the de Young Museum about the closure of JFK Drive to cars is that the loss of parking spaces available on JFK is negatively impacting attendance. Proponents of Proposition N claim that if the city were to gain control of the parking garage, the city could change the garage’s current hours to later than 7 p.m. which would align more with people’s vacation agendas, and the city could reduce the cost of parking.

 

A vote “yes” means that public funds will be used to maintain the parking garage under the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park. A vote “no” means no changes will be made.

 

Proposition O:

 

This is a parcel tax that benefits City College. There is currently another property tax in effect that benefits City College, teachers, counselors, and libraries. This measure would be an additional property tax. Single family residential homes or residential homes with one unit will be taxed $150. Residential homes with two or more units will be taxed $75 per unit. People 65 or older who have an “ownership interest” in a property and reside at that property are exempt from paying this tax. The rates for Proposition O are based on square footage, so larger non-residential buildings would be taxed more. The tax rate for non-residential properties is progressive, and the cap is $4,000 per year for buildings larger than 100,000 square feet. Properties owned by non-profits or other entities not subject to standard tax rates are exempt. This tax would be adjusted annually for inflation and it would last until June 30, 2043. 

“Proposition O” Illustration by Cindy Chan/The Guardsman

According to the city voter guide, the funds must be used for these purposes:

  • 25% to programs “supporting enrollment, basic needs, retention and job placement”
  • 25% to programs supporting “English language proficiency, technology use, and obtaining US citizenship”
  • 25% to programs supporting workplace development and job placement
  • 25% to programs that support academic success and development of underrepresented students

 

A vote “yes” means that this additional tax to benefit City College will be implemented. A vote “no” means it will not be implemented.

 

This article and it’s accompanying illustration were updated and amended on Oct. 29 to reflect new reporting.

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