City of San Francisco Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond, Proposition A (June 2014)

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A City of San Francisco Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond, Proposition A ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of San Francisco, California, where it was decisively approved.

Proposition A, also known as the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond (ESER 2014), authorized the city of San Francisco to increase its debt by $400,000,000 through issuing general obligation bonds in that amount in order to improve specific public safety and emergency response facilities in the city.[1]

In 2010, voters approved by a 79 percent margin a $412,000,000 earthquake safety bond.

A two-thirds supermajority vote was required for approval of Proposition A.

Election results

Proposition A
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 96,137 79.04%
No25,49120.96%
Election results from San Fransisco Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:

To improve fire, earthquake and emergency response by: improving and/or replacing deteriorating cisterns, pipes, and tunnels, and related facilities to ensure firefighters a reliable water supply for fires and disasters; improving and/or replacing neighborhood fire and police stations; replacing certain seismically-unsafe police and medical examiner facilities with earthquake-safe buildings and to pay related costs, shall the City and County of San Francisco issue $400,000,000 in general obligation bonds, subject to citizen oversight and regular audits?[1][2]

Simplification digest

The Ballot Simplification Committee issued the following digest on Proposition A:[3]

The Way It Is Now: The City owns and operates facilities that provide services for public safety and response to emergencies, including earthquakes. These facilities include:

  • The Emergency Firefighting Water System, which provides a dedicated water supply system

for fighting fires. This includes a reservoir, pipes, cisterns, pump stations and high-pressure fire hydrants;

  • Neighborhood police and fire stations;
  • The Medical Examiner’s facility; and
  • The police motorcycle unit and crime lab.

These facilities do not meet the seismic standards of the current building code and are not expected to remain functional in the event of a major disaster. The City’s 10-year Capital Plan identifies the repairs and relocation of public safety facilities as a high priority. To pay for large projects such as those included in the Capital Plan, the City borrows money by selling general obligation bonds. The City uses property tax revenues to pay the principal and interest on those bonds.

The spending of bond revenue is overseen by the Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee. This nine-member committee is appointed by the Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, the Controller, and the Civil Grand Jury.

The Proposal:

A chart from an executive summary of the ESER 2014

Proposition A is a general obligation bond measure that would authorize the City to sell up to $400 million in bonds to improve specific public safety and emergency response facilities. The bond proceeds could only be used to:

  • Upgrade, repair and retrofit the Emergency Firefighting Water System and related facilities;
  • Improve and retrofit neighborhood police and fire stations;
  • Build a seismically secure structure for the Medical Examiner; and
  • Build a seismically secure structure for the police motorcycle unit and crime lab.

Proposition A would allow an increase in the property tax to pay for the bonds. It would permit landlords to pass through 50% of the resulting property tax increase to tenants.

Proposition A also would require the independent Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee to oversee the spending of bond funds. One-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of the bond funds would pay for the committee's audit and oversight functions.

This measure requires the approval of two-thirds of the voters.

A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want to allow the City to sell up to $400 million in general obligation bonds to finance the construction, improvement and seismic retrofitting of specific public safety and emergency response facilities.

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to allow the City to sell bonds to finance the construction, improvement and seismic retrofitting of specific public safety and emergency response facilities.[2]

—Ballot Simplification Committee[3]

Full text

The full text of the ordinance enacted by Proposition A is available here.

Support

Supporters

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Proposition A:[4]

  • Mayor Ed Lee
  • David Chiu, President of the Board of Supervisors
  • Joanne Hayes-White, Fire Chief
  • Greg Suhr, Police Chief

Arguments in favor

The following was submitted as the official argument in favor of Proposition A:[4]

SanFranciscoMeasureAArgumentsinFavor.png

Editorials

  • The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board endorsed a "yes" vote on Proposition A. An excerpt of the editorial is below:[5]
Note: This editorial was released on May 11, 2014. Since then opposition to Proposition A has come forward.

San Francisco cannot afford to ignore the certainty that the next Big One will seriously strain its emergency response resources. The fact that many of them are not only antiquated but also at risk of failure in an earthquake makes this a matter of urgency.

Proposition A would help address these deficiencies by investing $400 million in lifeline-related projects. It represents the second in a series of three bond measures to upgrade the city's emergency response infrastructure.

[...]

All 11 supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee put this measure on the ballot. It has yet to draw any organized opposition.

San Francisco voters should approve this much-needed Prop. A.[2]

San Francisco Chronicle editorial board[5]

Opposition

Opponents

The Libertarian Party of San Francisco provided the official arguments against Proposition A.[4]

Arguments against

The following was submitted as the official argument against Proposition A:[4]

SanFranciscoMeasureAArgumentsinAgainst.png

Similar measures

Defeatedd San Francisco Earthquake Retrofit Bond, Measure A (November 2010)
Approveda San Francisco Earthquake Safety Bond, Proposition B (June 2010)

See also

External links

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Suggest a link

References