Free Will Voting Guide: San Francisco Edition

November 2nd is almost upon us. Time to bust out the San Francisco Voters Guide and figure out how to vote on the 14 city propositions (actually they're called "measures") the voters have been tasked with deciding. Yes, there is such a thing as too much direct democracy.

Measure AA: would add $10 to car registration fees for vehicles registered in SF to fund "transportation projects." Dare I ask if these are "shovel ready" projects? There's a similar proposal to fund state parks on the state ballot, but with that one there's at least a trade-off: free admission to the parks for vehicles that paid the fee. No such "deal" here, of course. NO

Measure A: a $46 million bond to pay for earthquake retrofits for certain types of structures (mostly old residential buildings with a large groundfloor opening like, gulp, the one where Free Will is located). San Francisco is famously earthquake prone, yet it's filled with old buildings. Indeed, it's difficult to tear down and replace one. So, the City tends to just pay for retrofits. The opponents of this measure like to say insane things like "behind the mask of earthquake retrofit sit a group of very wealthy and greedy multimillionaires who refuse to repair their highly profitable slumlord hotels and apartment houses." Spare me. YES.

Measure B: the most heavily opposed measure this cycle. "No On B" flyers started appearing in my neighborhood two months ago with all sorts of dire warnings about "lost" health care. What this really is is a measure to increase the City employees' contributions to their pension plans and decrease the City's contributions to their health plans. This is the sort of thing we need to do around the state and around the country, so this will at least give us an idea of the appetite the voters have for this sort of thing. The City workers hate it, of course, and are putting a lot of time and effort into defeating it. YES.

Measure C: would require the Mayor to appear before the Board of Supervisors. They've tried to do this before, no doubt inspired by Britain's "Question Time." Should we make the mayor wear a powdered wig, too? NO

Measure D: would allow non-citizen residents of SF to vote for members of the local school board. The schools have enough problems. NO.

Measure E: would allow for Election Day registration for municipal elections. Also, would not require voters to show ID to prove they hadn't previously registered. No chance for fraud there! Sheesh! NO.

Measure F: something about reforming the way people are elected to the Health Services Board. The two most progressive members of the Board of Supes are opposed, so the choice is clear. YES.

Measure G: did you know that the City Charter guarantees that the City's bus drivers be paid the second highest wage in the country? Amazingly, the transit system is terminally beset my budget shortfall and system delays. G would change that "system" and replace it with a standard collective bargaining system. The drivers hate the idea. YES.

Measure H: would prohibit local elected officials from serving on the local political party's central committee (and let's face it, this is a problem only for Dems and Greens). I can't really bring myself to care, but the mayor says the current system allows people to avoid ethics rules for elected officials by submitting themselves to the less exacting standards of their party. I like to think this will be a headache for some liberal somewhere. YES.

Measure I: would allow for Saturday voting in the November 2011 election. Gotta say, it makes more sense to vote on Saturdays, rather than Tuesdays. YES.

Measure J: the first of a matching set (K is the doppelganger). This would raise the hotel tax to 16%. Since hotels are SF's version of the golden goose, this is lunacy. NO.

Measure K: would NOT raise the hotel tax, but would make some other changes set out in J (the hotels must collect the hotel tax from residents, only individuals can be "permanent residents" in a SRO). That's more like it. YES.

Measure L: would prohibit sitting or lying on a public sidewalk between 7 AM and 11 PM. This is yet another attempt by the City to try to control the homeless population by making it difficult for them to set up camp wherever the hell they please. Naturally, all "right thinking" (meaning "wrong thinking") people are against this Nazi-esque attack on the downtrodden by Mayor Newsom's brownshirts. Opponents like to say this is unnecessary, all you need to do is enforce existing law. Problem is, no one enforces existing law. It's a farce, and voting on this is a waste anyway, since it will be struck down by a local judge forthwith. Still, it's a small stand in favor of civilization. YES.

Measure M: oooh. This one's a "poison pill." The voter thinks that this is a means of setting up a system of police foot patrols, but buried in the bill's language (which no one reads) is a provision that says L won't go into effect if M passes. (and if M passes, I guarantee you won't be seeing any foot patrols, either). NO.

Measure N: would increase the City's property transfer tax. That's easy. NO.

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