The month of June is known for weddings and primaries, both of which can lead to happily ever after or quite the opposite. The June 7 election is marked by a handful of state and local propositions – most of them about spending taxpayer money – and a few hotly-contested political races – only one of which, for president, is likely to have much meaning. Below is our View of things.
Proposition A, Public Health and Safety Bond. Should $350 million be spent “to finance construction, acquisition, improvement, seismic strengthening and betterment of critical community and mental health, emergency response and safety, and homeless shelter and service facilities?” Who could be against the “betterment” of “critical” things? While generally supportive of spending money on beneficial infrastructure, the View wonders whether the City, riding high on a roughly $9 billion budget, might find some spare change to pay for these types of investments using existing resources. Our recommendation: Meh.
Proposition B, Recreation and Open Space Fund. The Open Space Fund, approved by voters in 2000, is provided 2.5 cents for every $100 of assessed value of property tax, with additional General Fund (GF) monies directed to the Recreation and Parks Department as determined annually by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors. Under Proposition B, a baseline appropriation for Rec and Park and the Open Space Fund would be mandated, pivoting off of fiscal year 2016 GF expenditures of $64 million. The Open Space Fund, set to expire in 2030, would be extended to 2045. The GF contribution would increase by $3 million annually until 2025, and by a percentage thereafter, except in times of fiscal deficit. And Rec and Park would have to analyze green space inequities in low income and disadvantaged communities. Parks and open space tend to get short shrift during times of economic trouble, and we generally like the idea of more green. However, ballot box budgeting isn’t our favorite public financing approach. And while the initiative permits expenditures on land acquisition, it’s unclear how “low income” or “disadvantaged” would be defined, and whether Dogpatch or Potrero Hill would qualify for a portion of the mandated funds to reduce our vast green space deficit. Our recommendation: Naybe.
Proposition C, Charter Amendment, Affordable Housing Requirements. Authorizes the Board of Supervisors to update inclusionary and affordable housing requirements associated with residential development, and establish interim mandates. Let’s be clear: this initiative, if passed, would neither solve the affordable housing crises, nor tamp down heated debates about how to do so. It will, however, excise affordable housing requirements from the Charter, whose existence makes the View think of a dusty document brought out by Springfield’s Mayor Quimby during times of Simpsonian conflict. But, we digress. Get it out of the charter, and into the hands of elected officials, who can then argue about it in sometimes entertaining, and perhaps even effective, ways. Our recommendation: Yes!
Proposition D, Office of Citizen Complaints Investigations. A police officer is involved in a shooting, OCC investigates. Works for us. Our recommendation: Yes.
Proposition E, Paid Sick Leave. Changes the City’s paid sick leave ordinance to reflect recent alterations to state law. This is what happens when a municipality acts like a county-city-state; sometimes it has to change its laws to comply with the actual state. Our recommendation: Yes.
Measure AA, San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Program. Levies a region wide $12 parcel tax to pay for Bay Area wetland restoration. Since pretty much all of the Bay Area is going to be wetlands 100 years from now, thanks to those carbon emissions coming out of our cars, we may as well get ahead of the game. Seriously, wetlands are the Bay’s kidneys, plus home to many animals and plants. As a regional tax the City has less of an ability to extract the funds from its existing budget, as suggested for A. Our recommendation: Yes.
Proposition 50, Suspension of Legislators Amendment. Say you’re a state legislator, and you take a fat, or even stupid-sized, bribe from an FBI agent posing as an arms dealer. You get caught. Oh, oh! Your colleagues in the legislature can suspend you, eliminating your ability to cast a vote, and thereby charge for more bribes, but they can’t take away your salary. This proposition would allow the legislature to terminate the salaries and benefits of suspended legislators. Our recommendation: Hell, Yeah!
County Central Committees: OMG! So many candidates and not a single one knocked on the View’s door to ask for our endorsement, or even to take out an ad. Since they’ve ignored us, we’re choosing to ignore them. Our recommendation: Good Luck!
State Senate District 11: Both candidates, Jane Kim and Scott Weiner, will proceed past this primary to the November election, where the real decision about who will fill this office will be made. The View takes this opportunity to say, thanks, Jane and Scott, for engaging in the exhausting work of campaigning and representing. If you’re a Tom Ammiano fan, you probably should vote for Kim; if you prefer Mark Leno, like we do, go for Wiener. Oh, and speaking of which, worse political decision ever: Leno not running against Ed Lee in last year’s mayoral election. Mark, you’re doing great in the statehouse, but City Hall needs you! Our recommendation: Vote!
U.S. President: Heart against head? Or, with the Republican candidates, are other body parts involved? None of the remaining Republican candidates should be left unattended in the White House. Hillary Clinton has her flaws, and she can certainly be annoying, but she does have a certain gravitas, and is surrounded by enough experienced hands that she might do an above average job with a position that’s beyond difficult. Then again, we love Bernie Sanders’ tilting against the machine. Our recommendation: Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and make your best choice.
In addition to View publisher and editor Steven Moss, Potrero Hill residents Stacey Bartlett, Sasha Lekach, and Lisa Schiller Tehrani contributed to these endorsements.