San Francisco Election Guide

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Monica McCown
Staff Writer

With our busy schedules, it’s often difficult to find time to research San Francisco’s Nov. 3, 2015 ballot. To make your research easier, the table below is a guide which explains each proposition and office in the ballot. Included are pros and cons for each proposition, and a list of candidates with their main goals once they achieve office. Very popular on the ballot this year is the issue of affordable housing, which makes up 3 of the 10 propositions. As young residents of San Francisco, it’s very important to vote for the propositions and candidates that will shape our lives and our futures. It’s not too late to register to vote. Visit https://vote.usa.gov/ to start your registration.

Proposition A: Affordable Housing Bond

 

San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in America as far as cost of living. Housing is particularly expensive. The average 1 bedroom apartment is around $3,000. This proposition would allow City Hall to issue $310 billion in bonds in order to fund more affordable housing.

●      Pro

○      Proposition A will lower the cost of living for current residents and bring new prospective residents into the city.

○      Would help the middle class pay their rent.

○      New affordable housing would be built.

●      Con

○      It is impossible to calculate potential revenue for these bonds, as future interest rates cannot be foreseen.

○      Property taxes may increase to fund the bonds.

Proposition B: Paid Parental Leave for City Employees

 

As the parental leave law stands now, government workers receive 12 weeks of paid parental leave, but new parents must save up sick days. Furthermore, if both parents work for the government, their parental leave must be split. This proposition would allow government workers to keep one week of sick leave and parents would not have to split their parental leave.

●      Pro

○      Would cost the government less than $1 million per year.

○      Would protect government workers who become ill after taking parental leave.

●      Con

○      Would only benefit government workers.

○      To qualify for parental leave, workers would be required to have worked 20 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months prior.

Proposition C: Registering Lobbyists

 

Lobbyists are private citizens, companies, or organizations that contact officials in order to influence their decisions. Organizations and citizens often pay someone else to lobby for them. This proposition would require organizations and citizens to register their paid lobbyists as “expenditure lobbyists.”

●      Pro

○      San Francisco Ethics Council would be aware of who was paid to lobby and by whom.

○      Would cost around $500k in the first 10 years, but only $15k after that. This would be paid for by a $500/year fee paid by the expenditure lobbyists.

●      Con

○      Expenditure lobbyists would only have to register as such if they are paid more than $2,500 in a month.

Proposition D: Mission Rock Waterfront Development

 

This proposition would grant approval for a 28 acre plot of land on Mission Rock to build buildings up to 240 feet to be used for offices and apartments.

●      Pro

○      Would earn $125 million for City Hall.

○      Would create 13,500 jobs for construction workers and 11,000 permanent jobs in the buildings.

○      The city would encourage that 33% of residential units would be built for low and middle income residents.

●      Con

○      Only the San Francisco Giants can build up 240 feet, all other buildings must be at a maximum of 40 feet.

Proposition E: Requirements for Public Meetings

 

San Francisco has 120 committees, sub-committees, boards, and councils. The meetings held are at a lot of different places at a lot of different times, so it can be difficult for the public to attend. This proposition would give the public an opportunity to submit video comments to be played during the meeting and also require audio, visual, or transcripts of the meetings to be posted online.

●      Pro

○      Allows for the public to make comments during public meetings they are not able to attend.

●      Con

○      Could increase the length of meetings, depending on how many comments were submitted.

Proposition F: Regulating Short Term Rentals

 

Many businesses have profited from short term rentals, wherein homeowners rent out rooms or entire houses for strangers to rent for a few nights. This is not currently regulated by the rental market. Hosts are required to register with the city, but out of 3,785 listed hosts on Airbnb, only 700 are registered with the city. Proposition F would limit city-registered hosts to 75 rental days per year. City Hall would gather detailed information from companies about the hosts and operations.

●      Pro

○      Hold companies and hosts responsible for rental fees.

●      Con

○      Neighbors would be encouraged to turn in hosts who did not register with the city or who rented out more than 75 days a year, which could turn neighbor against neighbor.

○      Would vastly lower income for those who depended on short term rentals to survive.

Propositions G and H: Defining “Clean” or “Green” Energy

 

Proposition G would change what sources of energy is defined as “clean” and require City Hall to send letters to every San Francisco resident prior to the deadline to change power companies. This proposition targets CleanPowerSF, whose nuclear power source will no longer be considered “clean” if the bill is passed. Residents would be more likely to opt for PG&E, which will still be considered “clean” rather than CleanPowerSF.

 

Proposition H nullifies proposition G.

 

Whichever proposition gets more votes, passes.

●      Pro of Prop G

○      Would make voters more aware of the impact their energy company has on the environment.

●      Pro of Prop H

○      Would keep the definition of “clean” energy the same, as nuclear energy’s impact on the environment is heavily debated.

Proposition I: Mission District Housing Moratorium

 

Prop I would halt all major housing construction in the Mission District for 18 months, while a plan for low-middle income residents is formulated. The 18 months can be extended to up to another year.

●      Pro

○      City officials would use the 18 months to find a strategy to increase the amount of affordable housing in the Mission District.

●      Con

○      The proposition does not include a strategy.

○      18 months is not enough time to find government funding to build 100 percent affordable housing.

○      The city would lose a maximum of $1 million in property taxes.

Proposition J: Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund

 

With the current rise in real estate prices, long-time small business owners struggle to pay their rent. Prop J would grant up to $50k to each legacy business annually and encourage landlords to give out 10 year leases, rather than the typical annual lease.

●      Pro

○      This proposition would preserve small legacy businesses.

○      Would also preserve income for small-business owners and their families.

●      Con

○      The city of San Francisco estimates it will be very costly.

○      Grants are limited to legacy businesses (more than 30 years old).

Proposition K: Using City Land for Affordable Housing

 

Would create a list of old, underused properties owned by the city and give a few of them to affordable housing developers for free.

●      Pro

○      This initiative would repurpose underused properties for affordable housing for low-middle income residents.

○      Homeless people get first priority.

●      Con

○      Most of the underused properties are very small.

○      Income restrictions may limit the amount of homeless people that are able to move in.

District 3 Supervisor

 

There are 11 members of the Board of Supervisors in San francisco. The District 3 Supervisor, Julie Christensen, is up for re-election. She was appointed by the mayor last January to replace David Chiu. District 3 consists of North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Chinatown, Union Square, Financial District, Nob Hill, Maiden Lane, part of Russian Hill, and North Waterfront.

●      Julie Christensen

○      Current incumbent.

○      20 years experience in City Hall.

○      While in office, she focused on improving pedestrian safety and creating wheelchair access.

●      Aaron Peskin

○      Self-described progressive.

○      President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 2004 to 2008.

○      Focuses on housing affordability.

○      Wants to secure funds to build more parks.

●      Wilma Pang

○      Has lived in Chinatown for 40 years.

○      Ran for mayor in 2007 and 2011

○      Teacher and grandmother.

○      Wants to focus on creating jobs.

○      Wants to improve on senior care.

Mayor

 

Mayor Edwin Lee is up for re-election for his third term. He’s running without any major opposition from powerful or financed individuals.

●      Ed Lee

○      Wants more people to move to San Francisco.

○      Has had 2 terms in office.

●      Stuart Schuffman

○      TV host and writer.

○      Nicknamed “Broke Ass Stuart,” which refers to his sympathy for the low-income residents of San Francisco.

○      Opposes large corporations, which he believes have taken over San Francisco.

●      Amy Weiss

○      Researcher, educator

○      Wants to focus on educator development

●      Francisco Herrera

○      Passionate about victims of violence.

○      Pledges to meet community needs

○      Wants to build more affordable housing.

Sheriff

 

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is up for re-election, after he was previously suspended for a domestic violence case.

●      Ross Mirkarimi

○      Improved educational and mental health programs in prison.

○      Saved taxpayer money.

●      Vanessa Hennessey

○      Wants to restore proactive leadership, rather than work case to case.

○      Was previously chief deputy.

●      John Robinson

○      Spent 20 years in the police force.

○      Wishes to improve morale and communication.

○      Emphasis on “deeds not words.”

Community College Board

 

Alex Randolph is up for re-election, after being appointed by Mayor Ed Lee in April.

●      Alex Randolph

○      Wants to balance the community college budget.

○      Increase child services.

○      Provide access to high quality student services.

●      Wendy Aragorn

○      Ran for the same office last election and lost by a hair.

○      Respect for unionized labor.

○      Capital improvements.

○      Community college is in need of “deferred maintenance.”

●      Tom Temprano

○      Former co-president of Harvey Milk Democratic Club.

○      News columnist.

○      Highlights his ties to the LGBT community.

●      Jason Zeng

○      Data analyst.

○      Wants to make students more computer literate.

○      Connect students to the technology industry.

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