Feb 5, 2024 - Politics

What to know about San Francisco ballot measures

Illustration of a question mark in a speech bubble with ballot elements in the background.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Mail-in ballots are available, and we have important decisions beyond voting for president, such as those related to housing, police staffing and surveillance in San Francisco.

What's happening: If you haven't received your ballot yet, expect it this week, the city's elections department says. And beginning Monday, you can vote in person at City Hall.

  • On election day, March 5, you can vote at your neighborhood polling place.
  • We've broken down every local ballot measure so you can head into this election informed.

Proposition A: Affordable housing bonds

  • Asks voters whether the city should issue $300 million in bonds to fund affordable housing construction amid San Francisco's state mandate to build more than 46,000 affordable homes by 2031.
  • Supervisor Aaron Peskin authored the measure, which has also received the backing of Mayor London Breed and other city leaders.

Proposition B: Police staffing aka "Cop tax"

  • A controversial measure that aims to set minimum staffing levels for the city's police department, potentially diverting tax revenues from other sources or creating a new tax.
  • Proponents say the measure would help the police department address staffing shortages, while critics such as former police spokesperson and current city Supervisor Matt Dorsey argue that "a fully staffed SFPD should be a baseline expectation for the taxes you already pay — not a fee-for-service add-on."
  • Opponents also argue that police staffing levels have little impact on reducing crime.

Proposition C: Real Estate Transfer Tax Exemption and Office Space Allocation

  • Designed to incentivize office-to-housing conversions amid San Francisco's climbing office vacancy rate, this measure would implement transfer tax exemptions the first time commercial buildings are transferred to new owners for residential purposes.

Proposition D: Local ethics e.g. gifts to city employees

  • It aims to expand the list of gifts city employees are prohibited from accepting and prohibit city employees from accepting "anything of value for themselves or a third party with the goal of influencing any government action."
  • Championed by the city's Ethics Commission, the measure is a response to "demonstrated shortcomings in the city's ethics laws," according to the department.

Proposition E: Police surveillance and vehicle pursuits

  • Another controversial measure would enable the police to chase people suspected of committing felonies or misdemeanors, use drones for car chases, and install public surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology.
  • Proponents argue the measure would help police prevent and solve crime, while opponents say that police chases are dangerous and that surveillance tech unjustly targets communities of color.

Proposition F: Drug screening for people receiving public assistance

  • If passed, anyone who receives financial benefits from San Francisco's County Adult Assistance Program could be subject to drug screening.
  • Opponents call the measure "dangerous and punitive," while proponents argue it would help get people into drug treatment programs.

Proposition G: Eighth-grade algebra

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