November 2022 General Election Ballot
Advance SF (ASF) is an organization made up of the City’s leading employers dedicated to an equitable, resilient, and vibrant economy shared by all people working and living in San Francisco. ASF takes positions on ballot measures that impact the ability of people and businesses to prosper in the City—namely, quality of life issues, public safety, and access to economic and social opportunity. The organization also engages in efforts to improve San Francisco’s government to be more efficient, transparent, and accountable to its residents.
After careful analysis, ASF evaluated whether this year’s ballot measures move San Francisco in the right or wrong direction. The following are ASF’s assessment of measures on the November 2022 ballot. As a 501(c)3 organization, ASF does not take positions on candidate races.
San Francisco needs a city government that runs as efficiently as possible. This measure reduces costly administrative duplication by stopping the splitting of the Public Works Department (DPW) into two separate organizations. This allows the City to put $6 million back into street cleaning each year rather than paying unnecessary overhead costs. Additionally, by keeping its employees in one department, DPW can assign its employees to address priorities as they arise with more flexibility. More City departments mean more red tape and few results.
The City needs more accountability on how it spends more than a billion dollars annually on the unhoused, not less. The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing provides most of the services offered to this population. Currently, the Mayor is solely responsible for the work the Department does. Establishing a new commission appointed by two different authorities – the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors – dilutes this accountability, and there is no assurance that services will improve. We are supportive of the mandatory financial auditing required in the measure and would support future legislation to mandate that.
San Francisco has an affordability crisis, and it is almost entirely driven by the high cost of housing. By streamlining the approval process for three categories of multifamily housing projects – 100% affordable housing, mixed-income projects that provide additional affordable units beyond existing city requirements, and housing for teachers – this measure begins to address the cost of housing. This measure will also help depoliticize housing development by removing “discretionary review,” a process that has been abused to halt production and stall efforts to build more dense affordable housing from these projects.
San Francisco voters need to be presented with measures that actually do what politicians claim. Prop E will not make housing more affordable. Prop E is a political reaction to Prop D, a measure qualified by voter signatures that would do little to increase housing production in San Francisco. Prop E requires a higher percentage of units to be affordable, making most mixed-income projects financially impossible to build. While requiring more units to be affordable, that threshold means nothing will likely get built at all. What’s better, no units or some?
San Francisco’s public libraries contribute significantly to its quality of life. The City’s robust library system provides access to community resources, internet access, and technology for all San Francisco residents. This measure extends the City’s current level of funding for library services, maintenance, and construction until June 2048.
Access to quality public education, regardless of where one lives in the City, is essential for families. This measure provides up to $1 million (annually, per school) in grants from the City’s General Fund to San Francisco’s public schools for student enrichment and services. While this establishes a new budgetary set-aside, the measure includes a renewable sunset date and added flexibility to adjust funding to align with the City’s fiscal health.
The City cannot have a thriving economy without a robust transit system. This measure extends the sales half-cent sales tax for transportation for 30 years. The plan outlines $2.6 billion in expenditures and includes improvements that include roadway paving, pedestrian safety, bicycle facilities, and seed funding to extend CalTrain to downtown San Francisco. Prop L is not a new tax or an increase of an existing one. It is simply an extension of a critical fund for one of the City’s most vital services.
Given the increase in food and gas prices compounding the City’s already high cost of living and uncertain economy, now is absolutely the wrong time to increase taxes. Additionally, the measure inconsistently taxes some properties while exempting others and taxes extended families living together. Ultimately, this tax will make it more expensive for people to rent in the City and doesn’t contribute to solving the city’s housing problem.
As stated about Prop M, the City’s already high cost of living, inflation, and the uncertain state of the local economy, now is the wrong time to increase taxes. Prop O, sponsored by City College teachers, imposes a new parcel tax on properties that will raise $45 million in revenue annually to support the school. The annual tax ranges between $150 per parcel to $4,000 on larger properties. City College already has an existing dedicated parcel tax, and its enrollment is shrinking. City College’s administration has cut the budget and staff to reflect the college’s actual enrollment.
Here are ballot recommendations by other organizations for your consideration.