This is a nonpartisan analysis of the San Francisco ballot for the March 5, 2024, election.
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Election Guide Index
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Proposition A — Affordable Housing Bonds
Proposition A would allow San Francisco to borrow up to $300 million by issuing general obligation bonds. The city would use up to $240 million to build, buy or rehabilitate rental housing, including senior and workforce housing for low-income households, and up to $30 million to buy or rehabilitate existing units for use as affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. And it would use up to $30 million to build, buy or rehabilitate housing for people experiencing street violence, domestic violence, sexual abuse and assault, human trafficking, or other trauma relating to homelessness. All 11 members of the Board of Supervisors sponsored the measure and voted to place it on the ballot, and a broad coalition joined Mayor London Breed in signing the official statement supporting it. Proposition A requires at least two-thirds affirmative votes to pass.
— Read our full analysis of Proposition A.
Proposition B — Police Officer Staffing Levels Conditioned on Future Tax Funding
Proposition B is a charter amendment that would set minimum staffing levels for the San Francisco Police Department, but only if voters approve new tax funding sources in an unspecified future election or the city modifies other revenue streams to pay for additional police officers. If this measure is approved, the minimum number of full-time officers would rise from 1,700 in the first year, to 2,074 in the fifth year following voter approval of a new or modified tax source. If the unspecified taxes were not enough, money from the general fund would be used to cover the difference. As of September 2023, San Francisco employed 1,578 “full-duty sworn” police officers. Supporters say the measure is “fiscally responsible” and that using more general fund money would pit police against 911 dispatchers, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and paramedics. Opponents call the tax requirement a “poison pill” that doesn’t provide a clear path to securing funding for new hires and sidelines any effort to set minimum police staffing levels in the near future. Proposition B requires more than 50% affirmative votes to pass.
— Read our full analysis of Proposition B.
Correction 2/26/2024: Proposition B calls for a policy that in its first year would increase the city’s minimum police force to 1,700. That number was misstated as 17,000 in an earlier version of this audio segment.
Proposition C — Real Estate Transfer Tax Exemption and Office Space Allocation
Proposition C would change San Francisco’s tax policy to allow a one-time transfer tax exemption for owners of properties converted from commercial to residential use the first time they are sold following conversion, as long as the change of use is approved before Jan. 1, 2030. This exemption could be applied to up to 5 million square feet of converted properties. The measure would also allow the Board of Supervisors to amend, reduce, suspend or repeal the transfer tax without voter approval, although voters would have to approve increases. It would also allow the city to increase the amount of commercial development allowed in a given year by including the square footage from property that has been converted or demolished. Mayor London Breed submitted this measure for inclusion on the ballot. The measure is supported by groups including Housing Action Coalition, GrowSF, San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research, and SF Yimby. The measure is opposed by groups including the Council of Community Housing Organizations, the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, the San Francisco Tenants Union, and Senior and Disability Action. Proposition C requires more than 50% affirmative votes to pass.
— Read our full analysis of Proposition C.
Proposition D — Changes to Local Ethics Laws
Proposition D would amend the city’s ethics laws by expanding the kinds of gifts that city officials are prohibited from accepting. It also expands existing rules to bar people who have tried to influence city officials in the past or who have business with city departments from giving gifts. Proposition D was created in response to ongoing bribery scandals, and changes the definition of bribery to stop city employees from soliciting anything of value in exchange for influencing government decisions. Finally, it allows the city to fine employees when they fail to make required disclosures about relationships that may pose a conflict of interest, and imposes additional ethics training requirements for employees with decision-making authority. The Ethics Commission is a staunch supporter, while opponents include individuals Eve del Castello and Larry Marso. Proposition D requires more than 50% affirmative votes to pass.
— Read our full analysis of Proposition D.
Proposition E — Police Department Policies and Procedures
Proposition E would introduce significant policy changes for the San Francisco Police Department, allowing for expanded use of surveillance technologies with less oversight from the Police Commission and Board of Supervisors, and changing the department’s car chase policy to allow for more pursuits as well as drone use during active investigations. It also decreases documentation requirements for officer reports regarding use of force on members of the public. Supporters say this change will decrease the amount of time officers spend on administrative duties, while opponents say it conflicts with a U.S. Department of Justice recommendation to improve use-of-force documentation in a department that uses force disproportionately on people of color. Mayor London Breed supports the measure, while the American Civil Liberties Union opposes it. Proposition E requires more than 50% affirmative votes to pass.
— Read our full analysis of Proposition E.
Proposition F — Illegal Substance Dependence Screening and Treatment for Recipients of City Public Assistance
Proposition F would require single adults aged 65 and under with no dependent children who receive County Adult Assistance Program benefits to participate in drug screening, evaluation and treatment to be eligible for cash benefits. The measure requires more than 50% affirmative votes to pass. Assistance program recipients who decline screening or treatment would be ineligible for cash benefits. They would instead receive 30 days of housing through guaranteed shelter access or rent paid directly to a landlord, with potential extensions for eviction prevention. The measure’s proponent, Mayor London Breed, said threatening to rescind cash benefits would compel low-income residents with substance use disorder into treatment. Opponents argue that it would worsen homelessness and have “deadly results,” pointing to research showing that such methods have resulted in increased rates of return to substance use, overdose deaths and suicide. Proposition F requires more than 50% affirmative votes to pass.
— Read our full analysis of Proposition F.
Proposition G — Offering Algebra 1 to Eighth Graders
This measure is a non-binding policy statement urging the San Francisco Unified School District to offer Algebra 1 courses for middle school students by the eighth grade. It is advisory only, so it won’t result in city action or policy besides showcasing voter opinion on the issue. Separately, the district is reversing a 2014 policy that delayed Algebra 1 to ninth grade, and plans to reintroduce the course in middle school. Nearly half of San Francisco’s supervisors support letting voters weigh in on the discussion. Parents groups such as SF Guardians, formerly known as Recall the School Board, are major proponents of the measure. They say far from its original purpose of making public education more equitable, the existing math policy hurts disadvantaged students. No official opposition remarks were submitted. Proposition G requires more than 50% affirmative votes to pass.
— Read our full analysis of Proposition G.
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This guide was created by Madison Alvarado, Liana Wilcox, Sylvie Sturm, Mel Baker, Yesica Prado, Zhe Wu, Richard Knee, Noah Arroyo, Michael Stoll and Lila LaHood.