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San Francisco County, CA November 8, 2011 Election
Proposition E
Amending/Repealing Legislative Initiative Ordin. and Dec.of Policy
City and County of San Francisco

Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 59369 / 32.87% Yes votes ...... 121248 / 67.13% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Arguments |

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?

Summary Prepared by San Francisco Department of Elections:
Proposition E is a Charter Amendment that would apply only to measures placed on the ballot by the Board and the Mayor and not to those placed on the ballot by collecting voter signatures. Proposition E would allow the Board and the Mayor to amend or repeal measures that the Board, individual Board members or the Mayor place on the ballot and that the voters approve, under these three conditions:

  • for three years after the measure takes effect, the Board and Mayor may not amend or repeal it;
  • after the first three years, and until seven years after the measure takes effect, the Board and the Mayor may amend or repeal the measure with a two-thirds vote of the Board; and
  • after seven years, the Board and the Mayor may amend or repeal the measure with a majority vote of the Board. Unless the measure itself provides otherwise, Proposition E would not allow the Board and Mayor to amend or repeal:
  • measures that the voters approved before January 1,2012, or
  • measures that the voters place on the ballot by collecting required signatures.

Proposition E would not apply to Charter Amendments or bond measures.

Fiscal Impact from San Francisco Controller:
City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition E:

Should the proposed Charter amendment be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would not in and of itself affect the cost of government. However, the amendment would provide the Board of Supervisors with the authority to change future City programs that otherwise could not be changed without voter approval. In general, this authority could reduce costs by allowing the Board of Supervisors to reduce or eliminate programs and requirements.

The amendment gives authority to the Board of Supervisors to amend and repeal ballot measures placed on the ballot by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors and approved by the voters after January 1, 2012. Currently, voter-approved ballot measures generally may not be amended or repealed except by another ballot measure. The amendment or repeal authority would be subject to certain limits including that no amendments could be made until at least three years after the passage of a measure.

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Arguments For Proposition E Arguments Against Proposition E
Yes on E--good-government reform of our broken ballot measure system! Send a message to politicians to do their jobs instead of having the voters decide issues that should be handled at City Hall. San Franciscans are asked to vote on too many propositions that should be dealt with by our representatives. It's too easy to put things on the ballot. Politicians use ballot measures to score political points. Too often, hastily thrown together measures aren't fully developed or properly vetted, leading to measures that might make good campaign slogans, but have unintended consequences once enacted. And, once ballot measures are adopted, they cannot be amended by the Board of Supervisors no matter how much time passes, how small the change, or how broad the consensus. The only way to change a ballot measure is to go back to voters with yet another ballot measure, perpetuating the cycle of ballot box legislating. California is the only state in the nation that makes voter adopted legislation permanently untouchable except by more ballot measures.

Prop E applies only to future ordinances and policies placed on the ballot by the Board or Mayor--measures that the Board and Mayor could pass but instead punt to voters. Prop E has no impact on measures placed on the ballot by collecting voter signatures. Voter-signed measures will remain untouchable by City Hall. Under Prop E, for 3 years after voters pass legislation, the measure will be untouchable by the Board. For the next 4 years, the Board can amend/repeal with a 2/3 vote. After 7 years, the measure will be amendable/repealable like other legislation.

Prop E helps fix our dysfunctional system. Yes on E! Supervisor Scott Wiener Supervisor David Chiu Supervisor Sean Elsbernd Supervisor Carmen Chu Supervisor Mark Farrell Supervisor Malia Cohen

Rebuttal to Arguments For
PROPOSITION E IS MISGUIDED LEGISLATION: Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced this proposed San Francisco City Charter amendment to allow the often lobbyist and fundraiser-influenced Board of Supervisors the authority to overrule San Francisco's voters when they pass initiative ordinances or public policy declarations. Wiener--a bit of an elitist--believes that he and his fellow Supervisors are much wiser than San Francisco voters. Interesting idea???

Let's check the record: In the case of the proposed destruction of Parkmerced's 1,538 garden apartments, Wiener supported the Board of Supervisors' vote of 6-to-5 to throw the residents out of their homes. Acting Mayor Ed Lee--strongly under the influence of political fundraisers and lobbyists--signed the ordinance.

Wiener and Lee publicly allied themselves with Wall Street's Daniel Mudd, the former CEO of real estate mortgage-plagued Fannie Mae, and his controversial Fortress Financial Group -- which now controls Parkmerced. Mudd wants to replace the 1,538 garden apartments with tower apartments next to the San Andreas Faultline(which caused the 1906 Earthquake and Fire), increasing Parkmerced's population from 8,000 to 30,000 persons and producing likely traffic jams on 19th Avenue.

Wiener has serious limits as a Supervisor. Vote AGAINST misguided Proposition E. Dr. Terence Faulkner, J.D. Former Member of San Francisco City Government's Cable Television Task Force* John Michael Russom Parkmerced Resident* Patrick C. Fitzgerald Past Secretary San Francisco Democratic Party* Gail Neira San Francisco Republican Alliance* Events: 415-820-1430

  • For identification purposes only; author is signing as an individual and not on behalf of an organization.

The voters sometimes make mistakes. The problem is that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors also makes errors, often influenced by lobbyists. The Hitler-fighting United Kingdom's great Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill explained the problem rather well: "Democracy is really a very bad form of government--until we consider the alternatives." AN ALTERNATIVE TO DEMOCRACY: Supervisor Scott Wiener feels that the Board of Supervisors, acting as a de facto "House of Lords", should have rights to overturn voters passed initiative ordinances and policy declarations. The oldtime British House of Lords and King George III made a few mistakes as well. The result was the American Revolution. The Coalition For San Francisco Neighborhoods, an alliance of almost 50 community groups with a total membership of more than 10,000 people, has urged a "NO!

vote on Proposition E.SOME HISTORY: When San Francisco political boss Abraham Reuf was put on trial for corruption in 1907, the first prosecuting attorney was shot down in the courtroom. His successor was a lawyer with considerable physical and moral courage--Hiram Johnson.

MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK: Hiram Johnson got Abraham Reuf convicted. He led a political reform movement against the Southern Pacific Railroad (then California's largest landowner), and was elected with the support of the Lincoln Roosevelt League as the Progressive Republican Governor of California.

Johnson brought in some basic democratic reforms: initiative,referendum, and recall. Women were also given the right to vote, almost a decade before the rest of the Nation. Join the Coalition For San Francisco Neighborhoods and many other groups in voting AGAINST outrageous Proposition E. Dr. Terence Faulkner Chairman of Citizens For Election Law Reform.

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Under Proposition E, voters will continue to have full power to legislate. Prop E is democratic, and it's good government. That's why it's been endorsed by San Francisco's good-government organization + the San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR). Prop E takes nothing away from the voters' power to take matters into their own hands.

  • The Board of Supervisors will still be prohibited from changing voter-signed initiatives - measures placed on the ballot by signature drive - and voter referenda.
  • The Board will still be prohibited from interfering with the voters' right to recall elected officials.
  • Prop E has no effect on charter amendments and does not change past ballot measures. Prop E will allow common-sense flexibility for future ballot ordinances placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors or Mayor. Those ordinances are currently unamendable except by going back to the ballot with yet another ballot measure. Our current system gives the Board and the Mayor incentive to play games by putting ordinances on the ballot in the dead of night, without going through any hearings or public scrutiny. Prop E will make it less attractive for politicians to play political games. It will encourage the Board and Mayor to legislate at City Hall instead of using gamesmanship by putting these ordinances on the ballot.

Prop E is democratic and good government. Vote YES on E! Supervisor Scott Wiener Supervisor David Chiu Supervisor Sean Elsbernd Supervisor Carmen Chu Supervisor Malia Cohen Supervisor Mark Farrell

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Created: January 20, 2012 12:03 PST
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