San Francisco Board of Supervisors Allowed to Amend or Repeal Voter Initiatives, Proposition E (November 2011)

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A San Francisco Board of Supervisors Allowed to Amend or Repeal Voter Initiatives, Proposition E was on the November 8, 2011 ballot for voters in San Francisco, where it was handily defeated.

If Proposition E had been approved, it would have been the case that after the voters adopted an ordinance:

  • For the first three years after a measure is approved, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors would not have been able to amend it.
  • For the next four years, the Board would have been able to amend or repeal a measure with a 2/3 vote (8 Supervisors out of 11).
  • After seven years, any voter-approved measure would have been amendable or repealable by a simple majority vote of the Board of Supervisors.

Proposition E, if it had been approved, would not have applied to any past voter-approved measures. It will only have applied, had it been approved, to ballot propositions approved in the future.[1]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results and Local ballot measure elections in 2011
San Francisco Board of Supervisors to Amend/Repeal Initiatives, Proposition E
Defeatedd No89,07066.75%
Yes 44,366 33.25%
Election results are from the San Francisco elections office as of 9:30 a.m. PST on Wednesday, November 9, 2011.


Proposition E was sponsored by San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener.[2]

Wiener said that he sponsored Measure I because of the "two...most common questions" he gets as an elected official. Those two questions are:

  • "Why do you make us vote on so many things?"
  • "Why doesn't the Board of Supervisors do its job and pass legislation without asking us to pass it for you?"[2]

Wiener said that San Francisco's ballot measure system has "many problems" and that Proposition E only solves one of them. Yet, he said, "reform starts with one small step."[2] He also said that Proposition E will "create greater flexibility for our democratically elected government and enhance our ability to govern, while respecting the right of the voters to participate in the legislative process."[3]

SPUR (the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) supported Proposition E: ""Prop. E will encourage our legislators to legislate and allow San Francisco to make adjustments over time."[1]

The editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle endorsed Proposition E, writing, " adds a useful way to fix hasty errors and unexpected results."[4]


  • Eileen Hansen, a former city ethics commissioner, was opposed to Proposition E. She said it should be difficult for city politicians to change voter-approved laws: ""Once the voters have spoken, politicians shouldn't be able to change the ballot measures without going back to the voters. To allow (ballot measures) to be undone slaps democracy in the face."[1]
  • The San Francisco Democratic Party was opposed, saying that Proposition E "allows politicians to repeal and gut laws passed by the voters. Politicians should not have the right to change what the voters have decided."[1]
  • Supervisor John Avalos: "I’m not sure what problem Supervisor Wiener is trying to solve with such a cumbersome piece of legislation. Democracy can be sloppy. I like my lunch to come naked. Like a reality sandwich."[5]
  • Calvin Welch, a housing activist in San Francisco, said that Proposition E is "simply be a repeal of one of the cornerstones of progressive politics in California."[3]

Ballot text

The question on the ballot:

PROPOSITION E: "Shall the City amend its Charter to allow the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor to amend or repeal initiative ordinances and declarations of policy that the Board of Supervisors or the Mayor place on the ballot and that the voters approve after January 1, 2012?"[6]

Path to the ballot

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 on Tuesday, July 19, to refer Proposition E to the November 8, 2011 ballot. The four supervisors who voted against referring Proposition E to the ballot were Eric Mar, Ross Mirkarimi, John Avalos and David Campos.[7]

External links


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