Gray Panthers of San Francisco
November 2007 Newsletter

November 2007 Municipal Ballot Measures


November 6th Municipal Elections

Eleven local measures are on the November 6th ballot. Our Board of Directors’ recommendations:

Charter Amendments:

Prop A—Transit reform. This proposition greatly expands the management powers of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to improve Muni, subject to some oversight by the Board of Supervisors. But one paragraph transfers control of taxis to the MTA, potentially opening the door to changing ownership of taxi medallions from cabdrivers to cab companies and allowing medallions to be bought and sold, which city voters have repeatedly rejected. NO RECOMMENDATION

Prop B—Limiting commission holdovers. Currently members of city commissions are appointed for set terms, but once those terms are over, they often continue to serve indefinitely because no successors are named. This proposal limits the time they can serve as holdovers to 60 days. VOTE YES

C—Public hearings on proposed ordinances. Mandates hearings on proposed ballot ordinances 45 days in advance of putting them on the ballot. What looks like a good government measure actually weakens the power of the Board of Supervisors vis-à-vis developers and the Chamber of Commerce. NO RECOMMENDATION

D—Library preservation fund. In 1994 this fund was established to guarantee funding exclusively for library operations and for books and open hours. This fund sunsets at the end of next year and needs to be reauthorized. But Prop D removes the exclusive provision, allows funds to be spent for construction and/or other purposes, and reduces requirements for public oversight. The fund should be reauthorized but for its original purposes, not this way. Since it doesn’t expire until the end of next year, there is plenty of time to do it right. VOTE NO

E—Mayoral attendance at Supervisors’ meetings. Last year the voters approved a policy statement that the Mayor should attend one meeting a month to answer questions and discuss policy. The Mayor ignored it. This makes it mandatory. VOTE YES

F—Police pensions. This affects about 60 officers who were airport cops until they were merged into the SFPD in 1997. Their retirement is still under a different system, not quite as good, and they want to be part of the SFPD system. A good government measure. VOTE YES


G—Golden Gate Stables matching funds. This would create a public fund to match every $3 in private funds with $1 in city money up to $750K to renovate the closed historic and dilapidated horse stables in the Park. Some believe this is a step to block any privatization of part of the Park. NO RECOMMENDATION

H—Regulating parking spaces. For forty years the Planning Code has limited parking places supplied with office buildings. Prop H would increase the allowable supply by 400% even when this would disrupt public transit. It would weaken or even reverse the city’s transit first policy, encourage more driving downtown, and lead to more congestion and gridlock. VOTE NO

I—Office of Small Business. San Francisco has a small business commission, essentially unfunded. Prop I would allocate $750K for one year’s funding of a one-step office for small business assistance and permitting. NO RECOMMENDATION

Policy Declarations:

J—City wireless internet network (WiFi)
Since the projected private partner pulled out of this proposal a couple of months ago, this is pretty much dead in the water. But it specifically mandates using a private company for something the city should do as a municipal service—not creeping but leaping privatization. VOTE NO

K—Restricting advertising on street furniture and public buildings. We already are overwhelmed by ads everywhere we look. This says as a policy we want no more ads on new bus shelters, public kiosks and the like. VOTE YES

(back to November 2007 Newsletter front page)