Proposition F - Bayview Hunter's Point Reparations, Declaration of Policy

Voter Guide
This measure appeared on the March 2000 San Francisco ballot.


What it does

The Bayview Hunters Point Reparations Act is an initiative proposal sponsored by the "Progressive Left Slate," which includes San Francisco Frontlines newspaper editor Carlos Petroni and former mayoral candidate Lucrecia Bermudez. This act defines Bayview Hunters Point to be the same as Supervisorial District No. 10 and is a declaration of policy that directs the mayor and Board of Supervisors take all actions required to implement the following four items:

  1. Waive all city property taxes on homeowners in the defined area for five years, starting in the fiscal year following approval of this ballot measure, for properties valued under $500,000 where the homeowner or tenants have been living on the property for three years or longer. Tenants must receive a 50% pass-through of property tax savings if a waiver is claimed. Industrial property is excluded from this waiver process.
  2. Waive all city and payroll taxes on small businesses in the defined area for five years, starting in the fiscal year following approval of this ballot measure. To qualify for this waiver, small businesses must pass on 50% of their tax savings to their employees.
  3. Appropriate $150 million to a special job creation fund, exclusively for residents of the defined area, to benefit small businesses and to create environmentally sound enterprises with "sustainable" and "quality" jobs. This fund would be exclusively controlled by an elected council that-somehow-must represent the demographic and ethnic diversity of the defined area.
  4. Allocate city resources as necessary to guarantee job training and adequate public infrastructure for the residents of the defined area, so as to fully implement this act.

SPUR's analysis

In addition to the $150 million cost to the city for the job creation fund, the measure would result in a decrease of at least $19 million annually in local property tax revenues. This annual number includes property tax revenues that are currently paid to city special funds such as the Children's Fund and to other public entities such as BART and the San Francisco Unified School District, which are allocations that are required by prior voter authorizations. It is not clear whether these allocations-and property taxes generally which are governed by state law-can be waived by passage of Proposition F. The city controller cannot estimate the fiscal impact of the small business tax waiver provision because the measure does not define "small businesses." The city's business tax ordinances already exempt small businesses with payrolls of less than $166,667 annually.

The Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood is defined in this measure by the boundaries of Supervisorial District No. 10. While the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency's Bayview Hunters Point (South Bayshore) Survey Area is bounded by Cesar Chavez Street to the north and US101 to the west, Supervisorial District No. 10 goes all the way north to 16th Street and includes most of McLaren Park within its western border. Bayview Hunters Point as defined by this measure would include all of Potrero Hill and the southern tip of Mission Bay, along with parts of other neighborhoods that have distinct identities apart from Bayview Hunters Point.

The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency has already established redevelopment project areas for Bayview Industrial Triangle, India Basin Industrial Park and Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The Agency established the Bayview Hunters Point (South Bayshore) Survey Area in 1995 that includes or is adjacent to these existing project areas. Both the survey area and the Naval Shipyard project area have Project Area Committees that are elected by area residents. The Agency already budgets tax increment revenues annually for projects and programs in these areas in Bayview Hunters Point. (Tax increment is an allocation of a portion of the area's property tax revenues that would otherwise go to the city's General Fund.)

The Redevelopment Agency's affordable housing program (which is funded by tax increment from all of the Agency's project areas) has long had numerous projects in Bayview Hunters Point, particularly single family (homeownership) developments. If this measure passes, homeowners in these developments will benefit from a double public subsidy: the new five-year property tax waiver on top of the up-front public subsidies originally provided by the Agency for these affordable first-time homebuyer units.

Proposition F is part of the political platform of an organization that is not based in Bayview Hunters Point. Besides the San Francisco Bayview newspaper, this measure does not appear to have received the endorsement or support of any community groups or leaders based in the neighborhood.

SPUR opposes Proposition F. This measure is a classic only-in-San-Francisco vehicle for political rhetoric that takes a valid premise-Bayview Hunters Point is most certainly a neglected neighborhood with high unemployment, significant public health concerns and poor public infrastructure-and mandates "remedies" that are impractical, costly, and misdirected.

SPUR recommends a "No" vote on Proposition F.