Housing, Tent Encampments, Neighborhood Policing, and Health: Measure We Placed on the November Ballot

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(Photo: San Francisco City Hall, by San Francisco Travel)

By Scott Wiener

Yesterday was the deadline for Supervisors to place ordinances on the ballot for November. I joined several colleagues to place the following measures on the ballot, focusing on housing affordability, neighborhood crime, health, and tent encampments:

In-law units: We placed on the ballot a measure that will allow for the addition of new, rent-controlled in-law units throughout the bulk of San Francisco. These units are the most affordable type of non-subsidized housing, don’t result in new height or bulk, and are spread throughout our neighborhoods rather than concentrated. (We placed this on the ballot because we don’t have confidence that the Board of Supervisors will pass it and instead will pass a watered down version creating far fewer units. Thank you to Supervisor Mark Farrell for taking the lead on this measure.)

Affordable housing increases: We placed on the ballot a measure to provide a density bonus for 100% affordable housing, allowing them to be a few stories taller and thus to create more affordable units on each parcel with such a project. (We placed this on the ballot because we don’t have confidence the Board of Supervisors will pass it. Indeed, it appears that our colleagues are supporting a watered down version that will create 100 additional affordable units, whereas ours will create 8,000 additional affordable units. Thank you to Supervisor Katy Tang for taking the lead on this measure.)

Neighborhood safety/police patrols: We placed on the ballot a measure creating a specific police department division of neighborhood policing and requiring that at least 3% of officers be assigned to this unit. I took the lead on this measure. The unit will be charged with addressing neighborhood-level crimes, including auto break-ins, burglaries, vandalism, bike chop shops, etc., and also charged with working with health and human services agencies to transition people in encampments into shelter, housing, and other services. (We placed this on the ballot because we lack confidence in a majority of the Board of Supervisors in terms of support for public safety in our neighborhoods. A number of my colleagues oppose police staffing increases and some are advocating massive cuts in department staffing budgets.)

Tent encampments: We placed on the ballot a measure to explicitly prohibit tent encampments on sidewalks. The city will need to provide 24 hours notice to clear the encampment and will have to offer the occupants access to shelter or housing so that they have somewhere to go. If the occupants don’t clear the encampment and if the city takes any of their possessions, the city will be required to hold the possessions for 90 days so that the occupants have an opportunity to claim them. (We placed this on the ballot because we lack confidence the Board of Supervisors would pass it. Indeed, a pending proposal at the Board would legalize the encampments and require the city to place toilets next to them. Thank you to Supervisor Mark Farrell for taking the lead on this measure.)

Soda tax: We placed on the ballot a one-penny-per-ounce soda tax to address the epidemic of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases that are being fueled by these drinks. (Under state law, local taxes must go on the ballot and cannot be passed at City Hall. Thank you to Supervisor Malia Cohen for taking the lead on this measure.)

I look forward to a great public dialogue about these important issues.


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Paid for by Re-Elect Scott Wiener for State Senate 2020. FPPC # 1392654. 4035 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94114.

Near the following Muni lines: F, J, K, L, M, T, 22, 24, 33, 35

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