Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June San Francisco ballot propositions

Vote!Bicycling is fun and all, but it's time for me to do my duty as a voter and finish reviewing the propositions on the ballot of the June election.

I already reviewed California state ballot propositions. But wait, there's more! There's also San Francisco city & county ballot propositions.
  • Proposition A: A parcel tax for schools. I vote no, because parcel taxes are the most regressive tax on the books. A Pacific Heights mansion pays the same tax as a a humble cemetery plot. I'll always vote against parcel taxes.
  • Proposition B: A 400 million dollar bond? This looks like a bond with the title and summary carefully designed to include as many buzzwords as possible: "earthquate", "safety", "fire", "water". This seems like a boondoggle to me. Maybe it isn't. But the burden of proof is against expensive bonds in a debt-strapped economy.
  • Proposition C: This would give the Board of Supervisors a role in selecting the city Film Commission. The Mayor's office can handle it: the BOS has more important business to deal with. I vote no.
  • Proposition D: I vote yes: this makes it harder for city employees to blow out their pensions by loading up on overtime their last year. This bases the pension on the last two years. I'd make it five, but I'll take what I can get here.
  • Proposition E: This requires the police to disclose funds spent on security. I like this: hidden budget items tend towards abuse.
  • Proposition F: No way; this seems like yet another bureaucratic nightmare getting in the way of housing supply.
  • Proposition G: I vote against. I don't think the voters should be expressing an official position on engineering decisions: if Main and Beale works better from a cost and capacity standpoint than the Transbay Terminal for high-speed rail, then that's where it should go. This is an issue requiring far more than shoot-from-the-hip analysis.

So that's two yeses, five noes. That's about right. I think it's important voters put propositions up to a high standard, to discourage abuse of the process. Let legislators make the hard decisions they were elected by the people to make. That's how our system was designed: each individual voter has neither the time nor expertise to analyze complex legislation with the depth and sophistication it requires. This is a fundamental basis for representative governance.

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