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San Francisco Earthquake Retrofit Bond, Measure A (November 2010)

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A San Francisco Earthquake Retrofit Bond, Measure A was on the November 2, 2010 ballot for voters in San Francisco. It was defeated.

Proposition A, if it had been approved by voters, would have authorized San Francisco to borrow $46.15 million by issuing general obligation bonds. The money would have been used to pay for seismic retrofitting of soft-story affordable housing and single-room occupancy buildings. Projects funded by the bond would have included:

  • A deferred loan and grant program to pay for seismic retrofitting of soft-story affordable housing buildings funded by government agencies. $41,330,000 could be used for this.
  • A loan program to pay for seismic retrofitting of soft-story single-room occupancy buildings. Up to $4,820,000 could be used for this.

Election results

  • Yes: 162,266 (63.24%)
  • No: 94,324 (36.76%) Defeatedd

Election results are from the San Francisco elections division as of November 26, 2010.

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for approval.

Support

The official ballot argument in favor of Proposition A was signed by:

  • Mayor Gavin Newsom
  • President David Chiu, Board of Supervisors
  • Joanne Hayes-White, Fire Chief*
  • Edwin Lee, City Administrator*
  • Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director, SPUR

They said:

"For $2.48 per San Franciscan annually, we can prevent building collapse: saving lives, preventing fires from spreading through neighborhoods, and keeping residents from being displaced and homeless."

Opposition

The official ballot argument in opposition to Proposition A was signed by:

  • Dr. Terence Faulkner, J.D., County Central Committeeman
  • Doo Sup Park, State Senate Nominee

They said:

"Should San Francisco give financial aid to multi-millionaire slumlords and related sub-standard 'fire trap' hotels?
These slumlords and substandard hotel owners are dragging their feet and refusing to make basic repairs to their poorly maintained properties. What the City really needs are firm building inspectors who will take these questionable businessmen to court and/or City Prison. Proposition A’s proposal to give these slumlords a financial aid program of some $46,150,000 in giveaways, grants, and loans is outrageous. Don’t reward illegal misconduct. Proposition A is an insult to the law abiding residents and voters of San Francisco. These multi-millionaire building owners already have enough money to properly repair their properties."

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Proposition A: EARTHQUAKE SAFETY RETROFIT DEFERRED LOAN AND GRANT PROGRAM GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS, 2010. To provide deferred loans and grants to pay the costs for seismic retrofits of certain multi-story wood-frame buildings with vulnerable soft-story construction at significant risk of substantial damage and collapse during a major earthquake and funded by a qualified governmental housing finance agency for permanent or long-term affordability, or single room occupancy buildings owned by private parties, and pay related costs, shall the City issue up to $46,150,000 of general obligation bonded indebtedness, subject to citizen oversight and regular audits?[1]

Simplification digest

The Ballot Simplification Committee issued the following digest on Proposition A:[2]

The Way It Is Now: In 2009, the City's Department of Building Inspection commissioned a report (the Report) concluding that many soft-story buildings in San Francisco are vulnerable to collapse or significant damage in an earthquake. Soft-story buildings are multistory wood structures where at least one floor has large outside wall openings, such as garage doors.

The Report identified approximately 2,800 soft-story buildings in San Francisco constructed before 1974. Of these, 125 buildings include affordable housing units funded by government agencies. An additional 31 buildings consist of single-room occupancy units, which are usually rented to low-income tenants. There are 8,247 affordable housing units in these buildings.

The Proposal: Proposition A is a bond measure that would authorize the City to borrow up to $46,150,000 by issuing general obligation bonds to fund loans and grants to pay for seismic retrofitting of soft-story affordable-housing and single-room occupancy buildings.

Projects funded by the bond would include:

  • A deferred loan and grant program to pay for seismic retrofitting of soft-story affordable housing buildings funded by government agencies. Up to $41,330,000 could be used for this program.
  • A loan program to pay for seismic retrofitting of soft-story single-room occupancy buildings. Up to #4,820,000 could be used for this program.

The City agencies responsible for implementing these programs would set the terms and conditions for the loans and grants. But a property owner would be required to repay these loans and grants immediately if the property owner reduced the number of affordable housing units as part of a sale or transfer of the property.

Proposition A would require the Citizen's General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee to provide independent oversight of the spending of bond funds. One-tenth of the one percent (0,1%) of the bond funds would pay for the Committee's audit and oversight functions.

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

Two-thirds of the voters must approve this measure for it to pass.

A "YES" Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want the city to issue $46,150,000 in general obligation bonds, subject to independent oversight and regular audits, for loans or grants to pay for seismic retrofitting of soft-story affordable housing and single-room occupancy buildings. Lanlords would be allowed to pass through 50% of any increase in property taxes to tenants.

A "NO" Vote Means: If you vote "no," you do not want the City to issue these bonds.

Path to the ballot

Supervisors Alioto-Pier, Avalos, Campos, Chiu, Chu, Daly, Dufty, Elsbernd, Mar, Maxwell and Mirkarimi voted 11-0 on July 20, 2010 to put Proposition A on the ballot.

External links


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