This year has been one struggle after another, seemingly without an end in sight. A global pandemic and economic shutdown, California ablaze with wildfires, a national reckoning with racism and a dysfunctional federal administration openly fanning the flames of hatred. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing was just another gut punch to our collective will to hold on.
It’s been brutal, and we’re all fighting to get through this together. We each have a role to play in the path forward, and it starts at the ballot box. This is the most critical election in generations, and we have an opportunity to vote for recovery and reforms from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco.
Here’s a brief description of the most important local measures and my recommendations.
Proposition A: Health and Recovery Bond — Yes. This $487 million bond, supported unanimously by the Board of Supervisors and mayor, will fund mental health and supportive housing facilities, street repair, and park renovations — and will not raise property taxes or increase rents.
Proposition B: Department of Public Works Reform — Yes. Corruption has tragically plagued DPW from its trash can contracts to its ineffective street cleaning, necessitating reform and restructuring. This charter amendment splits DPW’s core functions into two separate departments — Public Works and Sanitation/Streets — and for the first time creates public, transparent oversight commissions with annual performance and spending audit requirements.
Proposition C: Remove Citizenship Requirements from City Commissions Service — Yes. This charter amendment would allow noncitizens to serve on boards, commissions, and advisory bodies, encouraging diversity and engagement on the local issues that affect us all, regardless of our immigration status. My staffer, Sarah Souza, is a DACA recipient, immigrant rights leader, and co-chair of this ballot measure, which I’m proud to support.
Proposition D: Sheriff’s Department Oversight — Yes. This charter amendment creates the Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board to report findings and advise the sheriff and the Board of Supervisors regarding Sheriff’s Department operations on a quarterly basis; and it creates the Sheriff’s Department Office of Inspector General, to investigate complaints of noncriminal misconduct by department employees and contractors. This is one piece of a larger effort to implement reasonable law enforcement reforms.
Proposition E: Needs-Based Police Staffing — Yes. Another reasonable law enforcement reform unanimously supported by the Board of Supervisors, this charter amendment replaces the arbitrarily mandated minimum police staffing requirement with an independent, fact-based analysis of actual sworn officer needs.
Proposition F: Fair Recovery Tax Overhaul and Small Business Relief — Yes. This business tax overhaul finally repeals our payroll tax, increases small business exemptions to include businesses making up to $2 million annually, and right-sizes the top business tax tiers to ensure that those corporations making the most pay their fair share to support essential public infrastructure and services. Proposition F is another critical recovery measure supported unanimously by the board and the mayor that gives sorely needed relief to small businesses and cost-sensitive industries impacted by the pandemic.
Proposition G: Youth Voting Eligibility — Yes. This measure authorizes youths aged 16 and 17 to vote in municipal elections, and narrowly lost at the polls in 2016. I supported it then after my former Youth Commissioner presented compelling research and arguments at a joint session with the Board of Supervisors, and I’m supporting it now. When people start voting early, they’re more likely to vote for the rest of their lives.
Proposition I: Real Estate Transfer Tax — Yes. This measure, which is heavily opposed by the wealthiest corporations and real estate investment trusts in our country, would increase the transfer tax rate to 5.5 percent on property sales valued between $10–$25 million, and 6 percent on transfers of properties with a value of $25 million or more. The lead sponsor, Supervisor Preston, intends the proceeds to go toward citywide rent and mortgage relief in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Proposition J: SFUSD Parcel Tax to Fund Teachers — Yes. This measures replaces the annual $320 parcel tax in 2018’s “Living Wage for Educators Act” (Proposition G) and replaces it with a lesser $288 annual parcel tax to be spent by SFUSD for sorely needed teacher pay raises that 60.8 percent of the voters voted for in 2018 but have been held up by litigation brought by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Proposition K: Affordable Housing Authorization — Yes. This measure allows the city of San Francisco to own, develop, construct, acquire, or rehabilitate up to 10,000 affordable rental units in San Francisco required under an antiqued provision, Article 34, of the California Constitution.
Proposition L: Overpaid CEO Tax — Yes. This measure imposes a business tax on companies whose highest-paid managerial employee makes 100 times more than their median San Francisco employee salary. It is fair and is designed to stop corporations from paying their CEOs multiple millions.
Proposition RR: Caltrain Regional Sales Tax — Yes. Supervisor Walton and I co-sponsored this county sales tax of 0.125 percent to fund critical Caltrain rail service and infrastructure, while also ensuring long-overdue oversight and governance reforms for this three-county railroad that connects San Jose to San Francisco. The same exact measure is also on the ballot in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, and will ensure a stable source of revenue for this environmentally sound transportation system.
CALIFORNIA STATE PROPOSITIONS
A brief spotlight on the most important state measures:
Proposition 15: Schools and Communities First Act — Yes. This voter-sponsored measure would require commercial and industrial properties be taxed based on their real market value. By closing antiqued corporate tax loopholes, California will be able to reinvest billions of dollars into our schools, teachers, and community services.
Proposition 21: Expand Local Rent Control in California — Yes. As a small landlord who supports rent control, and has seen firsthand how this tool has helped keep my constituents in their homes (particularly our most vulnerable workers and seniors living on a fixed income), I support Proposition 21. This initiative would allow California cities to adopt reasonable expansions of local rent control protections for tenants. We must keep our neighbors in their homes during this crisis and beyond.
Proposition 22: Lyft and Uber Measure to Undo Worker Protections — No. Despite a recent state law (AB5) and court rulings that affirm that gig workers are employees (not “independent contractors”) who have rights to health care and other protections, serial “disrupters” like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart are spending almost $200 million to deceive voters and dismantle hard-fought labor laws by replacing them with their own exclusive rules. In my opinion, it is unacceptable to allow them to buy this election and harm workers and consumers. For all the money they are spending disseminating lies, they could just pay their workers a living wage.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this election rundown. The work doesn’t stop at the ballot, though. So I hope to have your vote for my fourth and final term as your District 3 supervisor — I’m ready to tackle the challenges of the next 4 years head-on.