PRO & CONS – PROPOSITION A – June 7, 2016

 PROPOSITION A – PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY BOND

General Obligation Bond

Placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors

Requires a 2/3 vote for passage

THE QUESTION:

Should the City of San Francisco issue $350 million dollar bond to finance the construction, acquisition, improvement, seismic strengthening, and betterment of critical community and mental health, emergency response and safety, and homeless shelter and service facilities?

BACKGROUND:

State The City recognizes the need to safeguard and enhance public health and safety in the event of an earthquake by constructing and improving facilities that provide critical health and safety services to City residents. Under the 10-year Capital Plan adopted in 2006, the City may uses property tax revenues to repair and reconstruct public health and safety infrastructure, including repairs made for seismic upgrades. Funding for repairs is accomplished through the sale of general obligation bonds and property tax revenues are used to repay the principal and interest on the bonds. Property tax rates would not increase above the 2006 level and all bond spending is subject to a Citizens Oversight Committee.

 

The San Francisco General Hospital located on Potrero Avenue does not meet seismic safety standards for hospitals and is not expected to remain functional in the event of a major earthquake. City-owned homeless shelters and service sites are in need of repair. The San Francisco Department of Public Health has 10 health clinics that are unable to meet current needs for families seeking health and mental health care, urgent care, substance abuse, and social services. City fire stations are in need of repair and modernization.

THE PROPOSAL:

This measure would authorize the City of San Francisco to issue up to $350 million of general obligation bonds for the construction and improvement of critical community health, emergency response and safety, and animal care facilities for earthquake safety as follows:

 

  • $272 million will be used to fund seismic retrofits and fire response system improvements at the San Francisco General Hospital. This will include renovation of the Southeast Health Center and improvement of high demand community health centers with expansion of access to mental health care, urgent care, substance abuse, and other services;
  • $58 million will be used for construction and upgrades of the San Francisco Fire Department Ambulance Deployment Facility, including constructing a seismically safe and modernized paramedic deployment facility; and
  • $20 million will be used for facilities to better serve homeless individuals and families as part of the Homeless Health and Safety Project.

 

Bond spending under Proposition A would be subject to a Citizen’s Oversight Committee and landlords may pass through 50% of resulting property tax increase to their tenants.

 

A “YES” Vote Means:

You authorize the City to sell up to $350 million in general obligation bonds to finance the construction and improvement of community health, emergency response, and homeless shelter facilities.

 

A “NO” Vote Means:

You do not authorize the City to sell bonds for this purpose


ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR PROP A:

  •  San Francisco General Hospital is City’s only acute care and trauma center which all San Franciscans will rely on after and earthquake or other disaster. Proposition A will make Building 5 at San Francisco General Hospital earthquake safe
  • The current ambulance deployment facility was never meant to be a permanent home for our City’s first responders. Proposition A will create a new, centrally located ambulance deployment center that will dramatically reduce restock times and allow for faster response
  • Proposition A will significantly preserve mental health and substance abuse services available for the homeless, and help get people off the streets and into the care they need

ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROP A:

  •  This measure is too vague and too broad in scope (health and safety, earthquake safety, emergency response)
  • A general obligation bond is no different than a tax – a deferred tax that gets paid by taxpayers after the money is spent
  • Mark Zuckerberg recently donated money for improvements at San Francisco General Hospital

READ PROPOSITION B

All League News