Taxpayers Beware!


By Barbara Meskunas


Propositions A & D will cost you, while Prop H wil put money in your pocket.

This November’s ballot is hardly inspiring, but if you care about City Hall squandering your tax dollars, then there are a few important reasons to take the time to vote.

By now you’ve received the Proposition A mailer claiming your vote to throw tens of millions more dollars at the Muni (Prop A) would stop global warming and make Muni run on time. Of course, it will do neither, but it’s not illegal to lie on campaign mailers.

Proposition A was brought to you by City Hall Supervisors who want to be able to issue bonded indebtedness, raise fares and increase parking costs without asking taxpayers for permission. Important fiscal decisions, including giving pay raises to Muni managers, would be delegated to an appointed MTA board, leaving no elected officials accountable to voters and Muni riders. What little money that is currently directed to parking improvements would be given to Muni.
Prop A began as a terrible idea, and ended up even worse. At the last minute, the anti-car nuts who control most of our Supervisors convinced Aaron Peskin to include a provision that effectively freezes out adequate parking spaces in new housing developments, and worse, stops a citizens’ signature initiative, Prop H, from being implemented even if the voters approve it! The last minute change was even too much for the Mayor, who withdrew his support.

Proposition H, if it passes, and only if Prop A is also defeated, would allow new housing developers to build one parking space for every housing unit, except downtown, where it would allow 3 spaces for every 4 units. Most rational people are amazed that you can’t do that now, but you can’t, and that’s why businesses, developers, and many neighborhood groups are supporting Prop H, (along with an intelligent Supervisor or two). Prop H would also make it easier to build a garage in your own home, decreasing competition for street spaces.

San Francisco has lost thousands of parking spaces in recent years, and the impact on our small businesses has been profound. How many times have you circled a block in a shopping area only to drive home in disgust? Prop H will begin the process of restoring balance to San Francisco’s parking policies that, in recent years, have been focused on getting people out of their cars by any means necessary, regardless of whether their physical needs or family size require private transportation to maintain an acceptable quality of life.

If you’re tired of having a lousy Muni and no place to park, vote NO on A and YES on H.
Proposition D is another City Hall marketing con. Disguised as a renewal of the Library Preservation Fund, the only thing it has in common with the original Library Preservation Fund voters approved 15 years ago is the source of funding – the taxpayers.

If you flip through the pretty pictures in the campaign mailers, you would think that a vote for Prop D would keep our branch libraries open – it won’t. What it would do is divert operations money to capital improvements to make up for shortages resulting from fiscal mismanagement of branch library renovations. And worse, it would freeze library operations funding, insuring that hours of operations will decline over time as labor and facilities costs increase.

If you care about keeping our branch libraries open, and don’t want to hand over a blank check to City Hall to cover construction cost overruns, vote NO on D. Don’t worry – they’ll come back next year with an extension of the Library Preservation Fund that actually is what it pretends to be.

Barbara Meskunas is the Exective Director of San Francisco Taxpayers Union,


November 2008


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