SPECIAL SERIES : 2003 Municipal Election
Propositions Mainly Victorious
Propositions H, L, M pass.
November 4, 2003 11:15 PM
All but one of the 14 propositions on the ballot passed today, with the exception being Proposition N, which would have prohibited the city from taking away taxi permits from drivers with disabilities. Here is a rundown of the results as of 11 p.m.
Proposition H will increase the size of the Police Commission, which oversees the police department and Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC), from five members to seven. Previously, the mayor had the power to nominate all five members.
This proposition will give the Board of Supervisors the right to nominate three of the members while allowing the mayor to nominate four. The Board of Supervisors will also be able to veto any of the mayor’s appointees to the commission, and the OCC will also have the power to file charges of officer misconduct directly with the commission. Previously, the chief of police saw any complaints filed by the OCC before they reached the commission.
The San Francisco Police Officers’ Association strongly opposed this measure, saying that it would put politics before the police department, since it would give the Board of Supervisors veto power against the mayor’s appointees to the commission.
The Board of Supervisors argued that the proposition would not give them control of the department, since the mayor will still have the right to fire and hire the police chief as well as the power to oversee the budget for the department.
Proponents of the measure, including the American Civil Liberties Unions (ACLU) and mayoral candidates Matt Gonzalez, Tom Ammiano, Susan Leal and Angela Alioto, argued that the police department is in desperate need of reform. Proponents also argued that the current OCC hampers investigations of police misconduct and has insufficient independence from the department.
Proposition L will raise the minimum wage in San Francisco from $6.75 to $8.50 per hour, giving the city's 54,000 minimum-wage earners a raise. A full-time, minimum-wage worker currently makes only $14,000 a year, but Proposition L will raise the amount to about $20,000.
Proponents argued that minimum wage has not kept up with the times by not reflecting the current standard of living for an expensive city such as San Francisco. Proposition L was also important to those 16,000 parents who are currently minimum wage earners.
The main opponents of Proposition L were business groups like the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and the San Francisco Association of Realtors, who claimed the proposition would hurt small businesses, forcing them to lay off workers.
Opponents of the proposition, like the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, claimed that the law would unfairly target the homeless, and that it will violate First Amendment rights by forbidding the solicitation of money in public areas, thus criminalizing speech. Opponents also claimed that the measure could be costly to the city by forcing a police crackdown on panhandlers. They argued the money should instead be used on more beneficial homeless services, instead of trying to drive panhandlers out of San Francisco.
Other Proposition Results
Proposition B-Retirement benefits for safety employees: passed 67 to 33 percent: needed 50 percent +1 to pass. This proposal will allow 440 “miscellaneous” city workers negotiate with the Board of Supervisors for better retirement benefits, since they are not members of the standard city retirement system.
Proposition C-City services auditor: passed 70 to 30 percent: needed 50 percent +1 to pass. The city will create a new auditing division run by the controller’s office. The proposition will also set up a hotline and Web site where citizens could complain about city services and “government waste, fraud and inefficiency.”
Proposition D-Small Business Commission: passed 56 to 44 percent: needed 50 percent + 1 to pass. This proposition will give the city’s small-business commission the power to set city policy regarding small businesses.
Proposition E-Ethics reform: passed 62 to 38 percent: needed 50 percent +1 to pass. This proposal will allow the city to update its ethics and conduct code. It also will further restrict nepotism, campaign contributions and lobbying.
Proposition F-Targeted early retirement: passed 68 to 32 percent: needed 50 percent+1 to pass. Prop F will lower the age of retirement by three years in city positions that are currently being eliminated because of the city’s budget shortfall. This will let newer city employees keep their jobs by giving voluntary early retirements to older employees.
Proposition G-Rainy day fund passed 76 to 24 percent: needed 50 percent +1 to pass. If ever the city has an unusually large surplus of money, this proposition will create a “rainy day” reserve fund. This fund will be used in years when there is a revenue shortfall.
Proposition I-Child care for low-income families: passed 60 to 40 percent: needed 50 percent +1 to pass. It will make the city pay part of the cost of child care and preschool for lower-income families.
Proposition J-Facilities for the homeless: passed 59 to 41 percent: needed 50 percent +1 to pass. Prop J will make the city provide temporary shelters for homeless people with special needs. These shelters will be separate from the city’s main shelter.
Proposition K-Sales tax for transportation: passed 75 to 25 percent: needed 2/3 majority to pass.The city will charge a one-half cent sales tax to help improve city maintenance, transportation for the elderly and disabled, construction of a central subway and upgrades to Muni.
Proposition N-Taxi permit holder disability did not pass 72 to 28 percent This proposal would have prohibited the city from taking taxi permits away from drivers who become disabled and are unable to meet the required number of shifts per year.
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