Monday, November 01, 2010

Voting Matters - San Francisco Proposition Voting

Proposition AA - Increasing the San Francisco registration fee for automobiles. Basically, the City wants you to approve an increase in the vehicle registration fee which was authorized by the Sacramento. On the up side, the money is supposed to only be used for "capital projects" and not just for administration of other transportation programs. Furthermore, it specifically states that the money is not supposed to be used outside of San Francisco. That's all well and good. The City believes that it is going raise $5 million. Fine. But you know what, I still do not approve of this measure. Why? The City has a lot of money troubles. And the temptation is going to be there to "borrow" or "borrow against" this money. The City needs to start making some hard decisions. Feeding it more money is not the answer, especially with all the Muni cutbacks. Vote No on AA.

Proposition A - Bonds to retrofit buildings leased for low income people. I'm generally against the City expending any money or taking on any other debts. This time, I think its a good idea. We live in earthquake country. We're going to have one. Might as well do what we can to make sure that the damage is minimized. Vote yes on A.

Proposition B -  Reforming San Francisco's Benefits and Pension System. This needs to happen. The current system is unsustainable. Basically, the way it is now, if you work for San Francisco, you do not have to contribute to your own healthcare and you don't have to contribute towards your own pension. Pretty sweet deal for everyone but the people who aren't on the City's payroll. As it stands right now, out of every $ 8 you pay in taxes and fees to the City, $1 goes directly to the pensions and benefits for the city workers. That's 12.5% of the entire budget of San Francisco. It will save the City $120 million. The only people lined up to oppose this are the unions, who think that they need to be special and not have to contribute to their own pensions or health care. They're not. They need to contribute, just like everyone else. Everyone needs to contribute or we're going to have bigger problems. Vote yes on B.

Proposition C - Requiring the Mayor to attend at least one Board of Supervisors meeting a month. You know, as much as I dislike Chris Daly, I think he has a point on this one here. Its irrelevant if the mayor and Board of Supervisors hate each other's guts. Part of the job is showing up and our mayor has been, well, a little preoccupied to show up a lot lately (unless of course there is a Giants game involved). The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has to show up once a week, the President of the United States has to show up at least one day a year (although, G-d knows President Obama will try and claim a golf conflict should let him out in 2011), so I don't see why the mayor can't be required to show up for a Board of Supervisors meeting. Let's get our disagreements out in the open and where people can be pressed to explain their position instead of the insanity that is the war of press releases that we get here. Vote YES on C.

Proposition D - Noncitizen Voting In School Board Elections. Didn't we vote this down a few years ago? Oh, that's right, we did. And the reason remains the same: voting is a right of citizenship. The point of being a citizen is you get to have a say in your government. Not letting other people have a say in your government. Vote NO on D.

Proposition E - Election Day Registration. If it weren't for the fact that it would cost so damn much, I'd say yes. But changing things when the economy and the budget is this mucked up is just asking for trouble. Vote NO on Prop E.

Proposition F -  Health Service Board election reform. I cannot say it any better than the Chronicle, so here is what they say
This may not be the most riveting issue on the ballot, or even result in much of a savings, but it's an example of one of the little efficiencies that can add up. 
 Vote YES on Prop F.

Proposition G - Reforming the MUNI Pay System. Umm... how to put this? Vote yes. Vote Yes! VOTE YES! Muni reform needs to start with this. End the free ride for the Muni workers. Start putting the priority of Muni back to the citizens of this city and not with the operators union. Vote YES on G!

Proposition H - Prohibiting elected officials from sitting on political party committiees. Huh? So we're trying to take the politicians out of the elected officials? Puh-lease. This one is needless regulation. And I almost think its a violation of a politicos rights (I think I could make the argument, have to look at a few cases). So anyways. Vote NO on Prop H.

Proposition I - Saturday Voting. On the one hand, it won't cost any money, so it says. And it will allegedly make it easier to vote. Or it will just confuse people as to when election day is. If you can't be bothered to vote on the day you are supposed to, who says that an alternate extra day is going to help? Vote NO on Prop I.

Proposition J - Hotel Tax Increase. Bad economy, people have less money to spend. We want to make it more expensive to visit here than anywhere else in the country? At least whoever comes up with these schemes is consistent. They want to make it more expensive for the locals and the tourists. Who do they want to live and visit here? Ummm.... let's shoot this one down.  Vote NO on Prop J.

Proposition K - Hotel Tax Reform. Did you know that there is a different tax paid on a room when it is booked direct as opposed to through a third party? Neither did I. Problem is, this is a thorny question that is being litigated. It would probably be better to figure out what the law actually means before we go about changing it. Vote NO on Prop K.

Proposition L - Civil Sidewalks. Vote Yes on this. Its a law that has been tested and used effectively in other cities. Is there a problem? Some say no. But I'll tell you, I see a bunch of people when I go out in parts of the city. Is it going to penalize the homeless. It could. But at the same time, there is a problem and there is no effective solution other than this at this time. Vote YES on Prop L.

Proposition M - Community Foot Patrols. How it got this name, I am not sure. The intent of this proposition is nothing more than to kill Prop L. All it really does is require a "written community policing policy." Whooped-di-doo. Its real intent is found later in the proposition where it specifically nullifies Prop L if it passes. Vote NO on Prop L. 

Proposition N - Real Property Transfer Tax. It increases the real property transfer tax for property in San Francisco that is worth $5 million or more. Once again, I know that the city is broke. And it wants to raise money. The problem is, this will work to kill development deals. Those put people to work. This is not just about Sea Cliff houses. Its going to affect everyone. Its going to affect the rents that get charged to both residents and small businesses. Vote NO on Prop N. 

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