On Nov. 8, San Franciscans will have the opportunity to vote on 14 ballot measures, which will have a large impact on the future of the city.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation – Bay Area is endorsing Propositions M, O and H, on the People First San Francisco campaign put forth by Democratic Socialists of America San Francisco.
Prop M — Fill empty homes!
Renters in San Francisco are facing a crisis. It takes an income of $61 an hour to afford the rent for an average two-bedroom apartment. That’s more than three times the minimum wage in San Francisco. Thousands of residents have been displaced, and some 20,000 San Franciscans will experience homelessness this year.
While renters are forced to move further and further out of the city or lose their homes entirely, developers and landlords keep the solution out of reach. Forty thousand housing units sit empty in the city today. To these property owners, housing units are not homes. They are commodities to be bought, sold — and yes, even held vacant — for profit, while renters suffer the social costs of their speculation.
Proposition M would impose a vacancy tax on the owners of large residential buildings who keep housing units vacant for over six months. It would not tax single family homes, duplexes, or units that are vacant due to repairs, new construction or disaster.
Prop M could raise $87 million in the first three years, with these revenues dedicated to a Housing Activation Fund providing affordable housing for low-income families and seniors.
San Franciscans need affordable housing now. Prop M would pressure greedy landlords and developers to put their empty units on the market, increasing supply and lowering rents. A similar measure in Vancouver caused 10% of its vacant units to find new renters. Voters could add some 4,500 new units to the housing market in the city with no need for construction just by passing this measure.
Fill the empty homes! Vote ‘Yes’ on M!
Prop O — Invest in City College!
City College is the largest job and skills trainer in San Francisco, preparing students for careers in crucial sectors of the economy such as nursing, firefighting, engineering, technology, construction, custodial work and more. It provides a pathway to education for all by offering free tuition to any San Francisco resident. The school also helps immigrants find a place in our city through courses in citizenship, literacy, and English as a second language.
Budget cuts and a decline in registration — exacerbated by the pandemic — have caused many of those who need education the most to lose access as courses are canceled and professors are laid off. City College needs an additional $37 million per year to restore these services.
Proposition O would raise these funds for City College through a temporary, 20-year tiered parcel tax, placing the heaviest burden on the largest commercial properties in the city. Homeowners would pay only $150 per year or $75 per unit, and homeowners over the age of 65 would be exempt.
All San Franciscans deserve the right to an affordable education. Invest in City College! Vote ‘Yes’ on O!
Prop H — Double the vote!
Many local elections in San Francisco take place on odd-numbered years. During these local election cycles, voter turnout averages a dismal 43%, significantly less than the 80% voter turnout on even number years that line up with federal election cycles. These odd-year elections include some of the most important positions in our city government: Mayor, District Attorney, City Attorney, Sheriff and Treasurer. Because of the unorthodox scheduling of these elections, many San Franciscans are not even aware of when they take place.
Proposition H would permanently move local elections for these five positions to an even-year cycle — the same four-year cycle as presidential elections, with an estimated doubling of the voter turnout.
As voting rights are under attack across the country, San Francisco should lead the way in making voting easier, accessible and more participative. Double the vote! Vote ‘Yes’ on H!