OP-ED Vote NO on Proposition B

in by

The Potrero Hill Democratic Club recommends voting against Proposition B on this month’s ballot.  Proposition B would extend and augment the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s guaranteed portion of the annual City budget—the measure’s proponents claim it would add $1 billion over the next thirty years—with no accountability outside the department itself.

While the club values the contribution recreation programs and parks make to the City, it also wants transparency:  where’s the money coming from, and how’s it going to be spent.  San Francisco citizens voted in 2008 to limit new set-asides without a corresponding revenue source, to protect budget flexibility.  City Controller Ben Rosenfield writes in the voter handbook, “This proposed amendment is not in compliance with…voter-approved City policy regarding set-asides.” If Rec and Park’s share of the General Fund increases, less money is available for other departments. Which City services, programs, functions will be cut to pay for it?

Where will the money go? Proposition B tells us nothing.  Will it be spent on restoring recreation programs, maintenance, park acquisition, or more “managers” implementing even more fees, car shows, and beer gardens in the parks? The general manager, overseen by the Parks Commission, makes the decisions. The public, and the Board of Supervisors, would have no power to change these outcomes

A NO vote wouldn’t hurt Rec and Park. It has its current set-aside, and, like any other City department, can appeal to the Board of Supervisors for funds during annual budget talks. If it comes up with a clean proposition – what policy changes, how much, from where, spent how – the club would consider recommending that.  But it hasn’t. 

Please vote NO on Proposition. B.