Voter Guide for 2012 San Francisco Ballot Initiatives


A – City College Parcel Tax – New tax of $79 per land parcel for 8 years to generate $16 million per year for City College of San Francisco.

  • Recommend:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  You believe that 90,000 is a huge number of students, and $79/year isn’t really that much money. Someone has to make up for the state cutting funding to CCSF.  We can get serious about budget reform at the next election, not this one.  We already voted to give them $440 million in 2001 and 2005 – why stop now?
  • Why to vote against it:  You love education, but can’t support a terribly managed institution that overspends on salaries and refuses to implement even basic reforms.  Berkeley’s free online courses might provide a better education than CCSF’s teachers. Your nanny would become way too expensive with an associate degree.

B – Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond – $195 million in new bonds to fun repairs and upgrades to San Francisco parks

  • Recommend:  No
  • Reasons to vote yes:  You believe that we’ll have to make the repairs sometime, and city government can’t do it without this bond issue.  You think that bonds are free money.  You’ve forgotten that you already pay taxes to the city.
  • Reasons to vote no:  You’re tired of being asked to pay again for things you’ve already paid for.  You plan to stay in San Francisco, and need to keep some cash around to cover firefighter pensions when they come due.

C – Create a Housing Trust Fund to subsidize low- and moderate-income housing

D – Consolidate elections so that City Attorney and Treasurer are elected at the same elections as the Mayor, Sheriff and District Attorney

  • Recommend:  Yes
  • Reasons to vote yes:  You want to save an estimated $1 million per year, starting in 2017.  Your brain can accommodate ballots a bit longer than this one.  “City Attorney and Treasurer?  OK, let’s get it over with.”
  • Reasons to vote no:  You don’t care about $1 million – the City will only waste it on some schools or parks.  Years without elections make you lonely and sad.

E – Replace San Francisco’s payroll tax with a business gross receipts tax and higher business registration fees.

  • Recommend:  Yes
  • Reasons to vote yes:  You want more jobs in San Francisco, and you believe that a payroll tax punishes companies for creating jobs here.  You’re about to hire 500 people in San Francisco and you’d sure like to avoid the payroll tax.  Making companies add another $28 million to City revenues makes you feel better about voting against the bond issues.
  • Reasons to vote no:  You’re worried this will backfire by encouraging companies to move out of San Francisco altogether.  You are the only employee at your own company, and revenues are, shall we say, strong.

F – Directs San Francisco to spend $8 million on a plan to drain Hetch Hetchy reservoir and replace its water and electrical power.

  • Recommend:  No
  • Reasons to vote yes:  You’ve always wanted to restore Hetch Hetchy to its natural splendor.  You think that a city government that spends $6.5 billion annually needs to be told how to earmark $8 million of planning funds.  You’re pretty sure that California has always had more water and electricity than it can ever use.
  • Reasons to vote no:  You’d like to focus City government on slightly larger issues, like pension reform and maintaining MUNI.  You’ve watched the government plan the America’s Cup, and would rather they not touch the source of 85% of the City’s water.  You know that if we’re going to destroy Hetch Hetchy the companies who will supply replacement water and power would be happy to provide this plan for free.

G – Corporate personhood – Makes it San Francisco’s position that companies should not have the same rights as human beings, and that they should be subject to limits on political donations.

  • Recommend:  No
  • Reasons to vote yes:  You’re outraged over Citizens United decision and you think a San Francisco ballot initiative might start a movement to overturn it.  You look forward to more mocking Fox News editorials about San Francisco.
  • Reasons to vote no:  Even though you disagree with Citizens United, you’d rather not keep abusing the ballot initiatives through meaningless proclamations. You think corporate donations are the only meaningful counterweight to the advantages of incumbency.  You wonder how the city that gave illegal aliens full citizenship rights could want to deny those same rights to corporations.  You’d kind of like to marry Apple, and want to keep the option open.


Here is a voter guide for 2012 California ballot initiatives

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s