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San Francisco Ballot Measure Rundown

Voters in San Francisco will have a crowded ballot to sort through at the upcoming City general election on November 3, 2015. In total, the fate of eleven measures will be decided at the ballot box on a variety of issues including affordable housing policies, lobbyist registration and reporting requirements, development plans, and renewable energy standards. Below are highlights of some of the key measures.

Proposition A – Affordable Housing Bond: Placed on the ballot by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors, Prop. A is a $310 million bond measure that is the centerpiece of Mayor Ed Lee’s plan to finance the construction of 30,000 affordable housing units over the next six years.

Proposition C – Expenditure Lobbyists: The San Francisco Ethics Commission used its unique authority to put Prop. C directly before voters without requiring the approval of the Board of Supervisors. The measure would impose registration and reporting requirements on “expenditure lobbyists,” a newly defined category of lobbyists who engage in “grassroots lobbying” by soliciting, requesting, or urging others to communicate directly with a City officer in order to influence local legislative or administrative action.

Proposition D – Mission Rock Development: The San Francisco Giants are the sponsors of Prop. D, seeking voter approval to raise the height limit for development on portions of a 28-acre site south of AT&T Park. The mixed-use development plan includes residential, commercial, artistic, and open space elements and won unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors, but requires voter approval as well after the passage of Prop. B in 2014.

Proposition F – Airbnb Rentals: Labeled the “anti-Airbnb” measure by some observers, and prompted by unhappiness with what some believe is the City’s ineffective current ordinance, Prop. F would limit short-term rentals of housing units to 75 days per year and require residents who offer short-term rentals to submit quarterly reports reflecting the number of days they live in the unit and the number of days the unit is rented. Mayor Lee and several San Francisco politicians have publicly opposed the measure, while Senator Diane Feinstein supports it as a “common sense change” to the City’s rules governing short-term rentals.

Proposition G – Disclosures Regarding Renewable Energy: Originally sponsored by the IBEW 1245 union that represents PG&E employees, the measure would define “renewable, greenhouse-gas free electricity” narrowly to include energy derived exclusively from renewable resources within or adjacent to the California border, with few exceptions. According to news reports, the measure is part of the ongoing debate over the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission “CleanPowerSF” program that will transfer all current San Francisco customers of PG&E into CleanPowerSF unless the customers opt out.

Under CleanPowerSF, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is charged with building new renewable energy sources and buying and selling power for energy customers. IBEW 1245 had expressed concern that CleanPowerSF was relying too much on the purchase of renewable energy certificates instead of the creation of new power sources, which could potentially spur thousands of construction jobs in the energy industry. The narrow definition of “renewable, greenhouse-gas free electricity” proposed by Prop. G would mean CleanPowerSF would be limited in describing which of its energy sources are “green” in marketing and advertising materials. The San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this summer that IBEW 1245 struck a deal with the Board, but it was too late to pull Prop. G from the ballot. Instead, IBEW 1245 is now actively campaigning against the measure it originally sponsored, and is supporting Prop. H.

Proposition H – Defining Clean, Green, and Renewable Energy: Placed on the ballot by four members of the Board of Supervisors as a Prop G. countermeasure, Prop. H would use the state definition of “eligible renewable energy” when referring to terms such as “clean” and “green” energy in marketing materials and set City policy for CleanPowerSF to use electricity generated in California and San Francisco when possible. As discussed above, IBEW 1245 is now a sponsor and major funder of the “Truth in Energy” campaign, supporting Prop. H and opposing Prop. G.

Proposition I – Moratorium on Market-Rate Development in the Mission District: The measure would impose a moratorium on market-rate housing and business development projects in the Mission District for at least 18 months and require the city to develop a “Neighborhood Stabilization Plan” for the area by January 2017. Supervisor David Campos introduced a similar moratorium ordinance earlier this year, but failed to get enough votes to secure passage by the Board of Supervisors.