September 14, 2016 Meeting Summary
Propositions on the November ballot
Prop I – Dignity Fund
Valorie Villela, Executive Director of On Lok’s 30th Street Senior Center and Sandy Mori, past Executive Director of Kimochi spoke in favor.
This measure was placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors would restore funds for senior services and adults with disabilities. Senior centers give options and a place to commune with others. This is important as seniors transition. However, as services were cut over the years, centers had to closed on Sundays and many programs were shuttered.
San Franciscans over 60 and with disabilities are now 25% of the population. That will grow to 30% by 2020. 90% of seniors say they want to age in place in their homes. Senior centers like On Lok provide support, meals, in-home care and transportation. The programs help stimulate seniors to try new things instead of sitting around the home.
60% of funding for centers comes from grants. $32 million from the SF general fund. Over ten years, Prop I would provide and additional $9 million in the first year and an additional $3 million each year to the Dept. of Aging and Adult Services for capital projects. An eleven-member oversight committee would monitor expenditures.
Prop E – Responsibility for Maintaining Street Trees and Surrounding Sidewalks
Dan Flanagan, Executive Director of Friends of the Urban Forest spoke in favor.
SF has 105000 – 120000 street trees. This initiative creates a $19M set-aside from the general fund that fluctuates with tax revenue. Most cities have well-funded tree care departments. Yet, four years ago, the Dept. of Public Works relinquished the care of trees to homeowners. The pruning cycle in the city has already gone from the suggested 3 years to 12. This is not safe and it is an excessive burden on homeowners. Schools have no money for trees. Trees cause 80% of sidewalk damage.
FUF’s goal is a rich canopy. Trees beautify our city, slow traffic, clean the air, absorb water, and increase home value. Currently, we are suffering the consequences of bad choices of species made 25 years ago. A survey is in process. The results are coming soon. FUF projects that each neighborhood will get a choice of maybe three species only, which would be different considering the habitat, climate and survivability for each area’s environment. Certain species are no longer considered appropriate, such as eucalyptus, fichus and plums that are messy or short-lived. Pollen will also be considered.
Flanagan spoke a bit about set-asides in general. The Board of Supervisors should deal with issues but have not in the last 35 years. Necessities are competing against issues that gain more attention. Set-asides are for unpopular things that need to be taken care of all of the time.
Prop V – Soda Tax
Zachary Stein of the San Francisco vs. Big Soda & Diabetes campaign spoke in favor.
These measures are hard to pass. The Philadelphia, PA board passed one. Forty municipalities have tried and failed. Berkeley is the only municipality in the bay area with one; consumption has gone down and prices have gone up.
Prop B – City College Parcel Tax
Rafael Mendelman, President of the City College Board of Trustees, spoke in favor.
This initiative increases a parcel tax to $99 per year per parcel for 17 years. Funding had been $79/parcel for 8 years and was suppose to save CCSF.
In 2012 accreditors were ready to shut CCSF. CCSF is currently in Restoration Status, unique in California. Enrollment is down to 60000 from 100000, affecting state funding. Next year, funding will go down $35M and the schedule will reduce over 6 years to match the lower enrollment. Teachers have received no raises since 2007. CCSF needs to sustain core subjects and job training but cannot continue to offer classes for 7 students.
Prop RR – Building a Better BART
Linton Johnson, Chief Strategist of programs for BART spoke in favor.
This initiative creates $3.5 Billion in general obligation bonds to upgrade the aging infrastructure of the BART system. Johnson delivered a lively fact-laden slide presentation that included quiz games. How old is BART? 44 years old. 440,000 riders per week. Expect to see 500,000 per week in 2018. Twice as many people can fit on BART (21,000/hour) as the Bay Bridge (9000/hour).
Earthquake safety: $35M of $1B was saved on safety upgrades. 95% of tracks are earthquake safe.
2016 – 10 pilot cars
2017 – first cars in service
2020 – whole fleet
quieter – microplug doors seal better
cooler – better air conditioning
more comfortable – lumbar support, wipable fabric
high tech – digital screens
88% of commuters drive
90 % say number 1 concern of BART riders is passenger on-time performance
83% take BART by choice, have other options.
BART takes cars off freeways – 1% more traffic = 10% more delays
BART needs $9.6B.
They have $4.8B in funds.
State and federal governments prove $1.8B.
The bond adds $3B.
Why not build a 30th Street BART station?
Carol Midgen had a commission study it. The study says the grade is wrong. A level station is not feasible without extensive redesign of the tunnels.