Proposition A — November 2020

From the San Francisco November 2020 Nonpartisan Voter Guide.

The “Health and Recovery” proposition is a bond measure put on the ballot in part in response to the devastation wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic. This is a $487.5 million bond aiming to fund a wide range of projects, including supportive housing, homeless shelters, the development of parks and repairs to roads and curb ramps. 

The money borrowed for this bond would be repaid through property taxes. The mayor and other proponents emphasize this would not raise taxes because the city has a policy of adding new bonds only as old ones are retired. Property owners with tenants could pass through up to half the costs of the tax, as is common practice with city bonds. The tax, if approved, would likely add up to less than two cents for every $100 a property is worth. The city controller estimates, for example, that the most the owner of a property with an assessed value of $600,000 would pay annually would be slightly more than $83. 

With interest, the controller estimates that the city would ultimately pay back $960 million. Opponents, including retired judge Quentin Kopp, describe that as excessive. In a paid opposition argument, Kopp wrote: “Rising employee and pension costs, voter-approved set-asides, and state mandated policy changes are expected to increase in the coming years. This is not the time for San Francisco to incur more debt.” Official opposition to the measure comes from Craig Weber, who argues that it is a bad deal for San Francisco and does not have good transparency or oversight measures. 

The official proponent of the measure is Mayor London Breed, who writes that it would help jumpstart the economy and create jobs while providing the necessary funding for crucial initiatives in mental health and homelessness, parks and open spaces, and street repair.

  • $207 million is slated for transitional and supportive housing, shelters, psychiatric facilities, residential treatment facilities, respite centers, detox and sobering centers, and a new behavioral access center. 
  • $239 million is slated for the development or renovation of parks, open space and recreation facilities as well as urban agriculture. 
  • $41.5 million is slated to go to the repair or maintenance of roads, plazas and curb ramps.

For an extended discussion of the bond and one of the projects it would help fund, read “Is This the Bayview’s Big Park Moment” and listen to this “Civic” interview with reporter Kristi Coale: