How I'm Voting in the San Francisco General Election November 2nd
Taking a cue from WCV, here are my positions on SF initiatives this time around. I am actually due to land in my new home on the East Coast on or around November 2nd so this will be my last vote as a San Franciscan and Californian. Let's make it a good one, shall we?
I remind dear reader that though I am a registered Republican, my views don't necessarily align with any political party nor do I intend for the following to be a guide for how you should vote/feel/think. As always, dear reader is encouraged to do his or her homework and formulate their own opinions.
Prop AA HELL NO!!! The SF County Transportation Authority (who the hell are they?) would like to add $10 to vehicle registration to cover street repairs, pedestrian safety and transit reliability projects. It is not car owners' fault that these idiots didn't use tax money like they were supposed to to fix streets and we should not have to DOUBLE pay since we've already chipped in. NO NO NO. I have two words for you: Gray Davis. See what happens when you screw with us like that, our vehicle registration fees (and accompanying jumps in driver's license and ID card fees) are already high enough and it isn't our responsibility to pay for projects that should have been budgeted years ago.
Prop A That's a big HELL NO. Proposition A basically provides a green light for the city of San Francisco to issue up to $46,150,000 in general obligation bonds so they can turn around and loan shark the money out to slumlords and SRO owners who have failed to retrofit their buildings over the years. The city controller predicts estimated annual costs of debt service will be $1 million and could reach $4 million by FY 15/16. Absolutely not, slumlords can go get their loans from banks like everyone else if it's that critical to earthquake retrofit otherwise sorry, it's the city's job to fine them to death and get their buildings up to code, NOT loan them money that they themselves don't even have to loan.
Prop B YES The big one that city employees whine increases their health care costs by 333% in a city where 60% of working folks even have the luxury of health care. Most city employees are required to pay in 7.5% of compensation toward the Retirement system (that's when the city unions don't punk the city into paying that with threats) but B would require uniformed members of police and fire to contribute 10% and all other city employees in the Retirement system to put in 9%. Collective bargaining would not be able to force the city to pay any portion of that required contribution. City employees still get their own health care for free but would be required to pay a larger portion for dependents just like normal folk. Actuarial analysis estimates B would save the city $38 million a year by FY 13/14. We could totally use that money. San Francisco spent $829 million on employee pensions and health care this year.
Prop C NO Tell the SF Board of Supervisors attention whores to go to hell. It's ridiculous to waste our time requiring the Mayor to appear at a minimum of 1 Supes meeting a month. He'll show up if he wants to.
Prop D ABSOLUTELY NOT Listen, call me cruel but illegal immigrants should not be allowed to vote, regardless of how many kids they have in the school system. Proponents argue that Prop D allows even illegal alien parents the chance to participate in their child's education but that can also be accomplished by participating in school activities, PTA, etc. Stick to that and stay out of the voting booth, next thing you know they'll be able to vote for the President since the humanitarian thing to do is allow them a voice, right? The Supreme Court feel citizenship is not a requirement to vote but I'm hoping the good people of San Francisco feel differently and do the right thing on this. Enough with the sanctuary state.
Prop E NO Allows same-day voter registration in municipal elections. Gee, I can't see how that could possibly go wrong. The city controller estimates it could cost the city $424,000 per election, not to mention how much it'll cost after the first election to recount votes when it is discovered that half of same-day registered voters were fake or otherwise ineligible to vote. No thanks, if you're going to make decisions that affect all of us, you can prove you're responsible by registering to vote in advance like the rest of us.
Prop F YES Cutting Health Service Board elections to two elections every five years instead of four elections could save up to $150,000 by consolidating five year terms for Health Service System Board members. Do it.
Prop G YES Muni workers are some of the best-paid in the country (for good reason, have you ever RIDDEN a Muni bus?) but a yes on G would eliminate the current formula for setting Muni driver salary that looks at the two highest-paid transit systems in the country and bases it upon that (I am not kidding). Under current rules, if fringe benefits received by other transit operators are higher than what the city offers, the city is required to make a payment to a transit operators' trust fund for the difference. Are you kidding me? After raising fares and Fast Passes? I agree with transit operators and opponents to Prop G who say that Muni has been raided by the city fat cats and cut off from federal handouts but guess what? That's not our problem. Fix it.
Prop H SURE why not? Should the City prohibit elected City officials from serving on San Francisco political party county central committees? H gets a somewhat indifferent yes from me.
Prop J and K YES ON K, NO ON J This is a true clusterfuck and hard to tell who is going make off with the most cash when all is said and done. J seeks to increase the hotel tax rate from 14% to 16% and would close the current loophole that allows online travel sites like Orbitz and Hotwire to pay not the full cost of the room in tax back to the city but the discounted rate the site paid the hotel for the room, regardless of what the traveler paid. Passing J would put $100 million into the city's general fund at a cost of about $3/night for tourists IF it doesn't scare everyone away. Let's face it, San Francisco isn't the hot conference spot it once was now that the easy money is gone. You don't disincentivize visitors when we are desperate to have them. K, on the other hand, does everything J does EXCEPT raise the hotel tax. We already treat tourists like fools asking to get robbed, no reason to make it more obvious in the hopes that we can make up some extra cash.
Prop L NO Ahhh sit/lie, this is the big one. I loathe aggressive homeless people as much as the next guy but sit/lie could potentially make San Franciscans trying to protest, rest or check out hot guys in the Castro victim of the SFPD. Laws are already on the books that are supposed to address pissing in the street and harassing passers-by, it is not our fault that the city chooses to enforce them at their discretion and we certainly don't need an open-ended law that could screw any one of us just trying to hang out on the street. BIG NO. There's a better way but sit/lie isn't it.
Prop M NO I don't agree with M either, though it is meant as the thinking man's alternative to Prop L. Forcing the SFPD to run foot patrols won't help either because I've seen them walk right by guys shitting on the curb and do nothing. So no, not worth $4.45 million a year to tell the SFPD how to do their job.
Prop N YES I very rarely support tax increases but in this instance, if you're dumb enough to buy property in San Francisco right now, you deserve to be taxed at 2%. It's not 20% so relax. Based on property transfer tax transactions in the city from FY 00/01 - FY 08/09, the city could stand to make an average of $36 million a year... of course, it's funny that the controller chose to include the tail end of the dot com boom in his numbers. He disclaims this with "this is the city's most volatile revenue source" when sharing that figure. Even if it brings in $5 million I'm for it. The 2% tax will only affect sales and long-term leases of property valued at $5 million and above, whereas a 2.5% tax will kick in at $10 million or above. If you can afford a $10 million building in San Francisco you can afford 2.5%. Do it!
See you at the polls (or in my case, the mailbox).