San Francisco Mid-Market Arts Revitalization Signs, Proposition D (November 2009)
Measure D came about through the local ballot initiative process, with signatures collected on petitions, as an initiated city ordinance. It proposes to change the San Francisco Planning Code to create a Mid-Market Arts Revitalization and Tourism Special Sign District on Market Street between 5th Street and 7th Street to "allow new general advertising signs that reflect the arts and entertainment character of the district; to develop a uniform program for the installation of signs in the Special Sign District that satisfy specified conditions for general advertising signs; and, to authorize and expend monies obtained by revenue sharing from sign receipts on non-profit or City-sponsored arts education programs targeted to youth in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods."
Under the terms of Proposition D, when a building in the district has one of the signs installed on it, the owner of that building will receive 80% of sign revenue -- if that building has a ground floor art-related tenant -- or 60% if the building has no such tenant. The rest of the money generated from Proposition D signs will go to fund some community services, such as a youth arts program.
A number of business owners in the Mid-Market area are avid supporters of Measure D. They argue that the passage of Measure D is an important first step in the revitalization 
- David Addington, owner of the Warfield Theater and Show Dogs. Addington says, "Prop. D will change this neighborhood back to what it was in 18 or 24 months, and people from all over the world will be drawn here because you won’t see anything we do here anywhere else in the world." Addington has spent $190,000 to promote Measure D.
- Carolyn Diamond, President of the Market Street Association.
- San Francisco Board President David Chiu and Supervisors Campos, Dufty, Maxwell, Elsbernd and Alioto-Pier.
Arguments in favor of Measure D in the official Voter's Guide include:
- It will help re-vitalize the Mid-Market district "by generating revenue through a special sign district on just these two blocks of Market Street."
- It will help restore the historic theater district "which can help draw tenants and visitors back into theaters, galleries, stores and restaurants."
- It will help combat blight and renew area tourism "by creating a safe, well-lit corridor for pedestrians between mid-Market and the Civic Center."
- It will "provide funds for youth arts and education programs for Tenderloin and South of Market children."
- It will "ensure neighborhood control by putting control over sign placement in the hands of the nonprofit Central Market Community Benefit District."
"SF Beautiful" opposes Measure D.
Arguments made against Measure D that appear in the official Voter's Guide include:
- It is sponsored by "commercial interests".
- If it passes, "massive, digital billboards" might be installed on Market Street between Fifth and Seventh.
- "Digital billboards, measuring up to 500 square feet, would appear on building facades and rooftops. At one location alone, a massive rooftop sign could be erected 200 feet above street level."
- In order to re-vitalize the district, it "requires political leadership that transcends an opportunistic initiative."
- "The increased visual pollution could kill Mid-Market revitalization, too, while increasing the City’s carbon footprint."
- "The extreme presence of billboards along those two blocks could destroy prospects for fully restoring the whole of Market Street, San Francisco’s grand boulevard, to a world-class standard."
Other opponents include:
- Matt Smith, who says, "It's preposterous to assert that the main thing holding back the slummy part of downtown San Francisco is a lack of computer-controlled LED billboards."
- The South of Market Community Action Network.
- Text of Measure D
- Arguments for and against Measure D
- Website of Midmarket Arts, supporters of Measure D
- Website of SF Beautiful, opponents of Measure D
- San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. ballot skips tax measures", October 27, 2009
- San Francisco Weekly, "Owner of the Warfield pushes billboard ballot measure", October 19, 2009
- San Francisco Business Times, "November ballot measure seen as pivotal to Mid-Market area's improvement", September 18, 2009
- List of Proposition D endorsers