SF housing, soda tax measures lose

Measures designed to curb speculation by landlords in SanFrancisco and cut consumption of sugary beverages went down to defeat, accordingto preliminary Election Day results available Wednesday morning.

As of November 5, the data showed Proposition G losing by about54 percent to 46 percent.

Prop G was meant to address skyrocketing rents and housingcosts by imposing a tax on the total sale price of certain multi-unitresidential properties that are sold within five years of purchase or transferof as much as 24 percent. The exact percentage scales down to 14 percent thefifth year. The city already collects a transfer tax on sales of most realproperty in San Francisco, the exact amount depending on the sales price. Realestate groups were among the proposal’s strongest opponents. The progressive HarveyMilk LGBT Democratic Club was among Prop G’s main backers.

The Yes on G campaign had close to 350 volunteers, accordingto the campaign’s volunteer coordinator Gwynn MacKellen.

“It was really great people working really hard to putthis through. And a lot of support from the community. So I’m really proud ofthe campaign we ran,” MacKellen said at a campaign gathering at Virgil’sSea Room Tuesday night.

But as the hour crept to midnight, Prop G was falling shortof what it needed to pass.

“I’m excited to see how it goes throughout the night.It’s scary to be behind. And I’m concerned about what this means for the futureof our city,” MacKellen said. “But I’m still hopeful.”

Proposition E, which was also defeated after facing stiffopposition from the soda industry, was designed to reduce diabetes and obesityrates by curbing consumption.

The proposal gained support from about 55 percent of thepeople who voted, but it needed approval from two-thirds to pass. It would haveimposed a 2-cent per ounce tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages. The revenuesgenerated by the tax, estimated from $35 million to $54 million, would havebeen earmarked to fund health, nutrition, physical education, and activerecreation programs.

The No on E campaign released a statement Tuesday night inwhich spokesman Roger Salazar said, “Voters know that a new tax onbeverages like juice drinks and soda would have driven up grocery prices, andmade it more expensive to live and work in San Francisco. Tonight, SanFranciscans have made it clear that they can decide for themselves what to eatand drink. It’s time for our elected leaders to focus on issues like affordability,public safety, homelessness and keeping streets and parks clean.”

Prop E backers gathered at the Valley Tavern, where it wascrowded and the mood was pleasant and calm, even as the proponents acknowledgedthat Prop E wasn’t going to get the two-thirds majority that it needed to pass.

Just an hour after polls closed, Scott Wiener, a majorproponent of Prop E, predicted results.

“It doesn’t look like Prop E is going to pass, but itprobably will get a majority, which is a pretty significant feat since we had$10 million against us,” Wiener said, referring to funds that poured intothe No on E camp from the American Beverage Association.

A similar soda tax did pass in Berkeley, and Wiener said hewas happy about that.


Other SF props

Other San Francisco ballot measures had better luck.

Proposition J, which would raise the city’s minimum wage,passed by about 77 percent to 23 percent, according to unofficial returns.Under the measure, San Francisco’s minimum wage would gradually increase fromits current $10.74 per hour to $15 in 2018. It will be adjusted annually forinflation.

“Tonight, San Francisco voters sent a message loudlyand clearly to the nation that we can take on the growing gap between rich andpoor, we can give a well-deserved raise to our lowest-wage workers, and we cando it in a way that protects jobs and small business,” Mayor Ed Lee saidin a statement Tuesday. “Tonight, I’m very proud that San Francisco cametogether – business, labor and nonprofit leaders – to pass aconsensus measure that will now give our city the highest minimum wage inAmerica.”

Proposition I, which passed almost 55 percent to 45 percent,preliminary results showed, would amend the Park Code to permit the city toinstall an artificial turf at athletic fields in Golden Gate Park and installlighting.

Another measure, Proposition H, would have kept the fieldsthe same. It failed by approximately 54 percent to 46 percent, according tounofficial returns.

Data available Wednesday morning showed voters passedProposition F by about 72 percent to 28 percent. The proposal would increasethe height limit for buildings on the 28-acre, city-owned development site inthe Pier 70 area from 40 feet to 90 feet. Prop F would also make it city policythat the final project contain nine acres of waterfront parks and recreationareas; and that about 1,000 to 2,000 new residential units be constructed; with30 percent at below-market-rate, among other provisions.

In a statement Wednesday, Alexa Arena, a senior vicepresident for project developer Forest City, said, “We’re excited for theneighborhood and the city to take the next step towards revitalizing Pier 70.It’s a clear signal from voters about the need for more housing, jobs andparks, and for preserving San Francisco’s history.”

Backers of some local transportation measures also sawvictory Tuesday night, unofficial returns showed.

Proposition A, the San Francisco Transportation and RoadImprovement Bond, was sponsored and strongly supported by Lee. The measure,which won by approximately 71 percent to 29 percent, according to dataavailable Wednesday, would permit the city to borrow up to $500 million throughthe issuance of General Obligation bonds for Muni upgrades. It would representthe first major investment toward an estimated $10 billion in infrastructureprojects to be undertaken by the city over the next 15 years that seeks toimprove Muni reliability and accessibility, among other aims.

Wiener sponsored Proposition B, which voters approved byabout 61 percent to 39 percent, unofficial returns showed. The proposal wouldbe a voter-mandated set-aside of general fund monies. Muni is governed by theSan Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and funded, in part, by atransfer of general fund revenue, the amount of which is set by the CityCharter and referred to as “the base line,” which this year amountsto $247.9 million.

Wiener’s proposal would require the city to increase thebase amount by a percentage equal to the city’s annual population increase.

Proposition L, which was put on the ballot, in part, as acounterproposal to Prop B, would have mandated the Municipal TransportationAgency to set hours and rates for parking meters, and freeze fees charged atthe parking garages, among other actions. The proposition was defeated by about62 percent to 38 percent, according to preliminary results.

Children were at the heart of the successful Proposition C, whichunofficial returns showed passing by around 73 percent to 27 percent. TheCharter Amendment would, among other provisions, extend the city’s Children’sFund until 2041 and increase slightly the amount of the fund gradually over thenext four years and also extend the age group served to include youth aged18-24.

Elections data available Wednesday also showed voters hadapproved Proposition D, a measure that deals with benefits, by approximately 55percent to 45 percent. A small number of employees of the former RedevelopmentAgency may become city employees. This proposition would bring their healthcare benefits in line with city employees of equal service similarly situated.

Proposition K passed by about 65 percent to 35 percent,according to preliminary results. The measure sets as goals that the city willhelp construct or rehabilitate at least 30,000 homes by 2020; that more than 50percent of the housing will be affordable for middle-class households, with atleast 33 percent affordable for low- and moderate-income households; and thatthe city will attempt to ensure that 33 percent of new housing in areas that arerezoned to provide more residential development is affordable to low- andmoderate-income households.


Yael Chanoff contributed to this report.

Article source: http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=70143

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