PRO & CONS – Prop Q – November 8, 2016



Proposed Initiative measure placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors

Requires a simple majority for passage


Should the City of San Francisco amend the Police Code to prohibit the placement of tent encampments on public sidewalks? 


Current San Francisco City law prohibits the willful obstruction of public sidewalks, as well as sitting or lying on public sidewalks from the hours of 7:00 a.m. til 11:00 p.m. The Department of Public Health is authorized to remove public nuisances, which include unsanitary structures. However, City law does not specifically prohibit placing tents on public sidewalks at this time.


Proposition Q would prohibit placing tents on public sidewalks without a City permit. The City would not be allowed to remove or order removal of an unauthorized tent unless the City had available shelter for all residents of the tent. Under Proposition Q, shelter includes City-operated shelters, Navigation Centers and other City-operated housing.

Before removing or ordering a person to remove an unauthorized tent on a public sidewalk, the City would be required to: offer shelter to all tent residents; offer to pay the cost to transport all tent residents to live with friends or family outside San Francisco; and provide written notice that the City will remove the tent in 24 hours. The City would have to provide this notice to all tent residents and post the notice near the tent.

If residents do not accept the City’s offer of housing or shelter, or do not remove the unauthorized tent within 24 hours of the notice, the City may remove the tent. After removing the tent, the City would be required to post a written notice near the area where the tent was located and store the residents’ personal property for up to 90 days.

A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote “yes,” you want to prohibit the placement of tents on public sidewalks without a City permit and allow the City to remove unauthorized tents if the City provides 24-hour advance notice, offers shelter for all tent residents and stores the residents’ personal property for up to 90 days.

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make these changes.


  • Proposition Q is a compassionate way to deal with the City’s homeless.
  • This measure helps to maintain accessible sidewalks for both residents and emergency personnel.
  • Gives safety personnel the authority to deal with inaccessible public sidewalks.


  • Proposition Q does not offer a long-term solution for providing shelter for the homeless.
  • This measure does not specify how long the city has to offer people shelter before removing them from encampments.
  • Government costs could increase dramatically with the enactment of this new program.

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