Endorsements 2008: San Francisco measures - Page 4

Yes, yes, yes on A and H. No, no, no on P and V...
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The company also has given money, in one way or another, to all the public officials who oppose this measure, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Sups. Michela Alioto-Pier, Carmen Chu, and Sean Elsbernd.

Prop. H pits a utility that can't meet the state's modest renewable-energy goals and runs a nuclear power plant against every environmental group and leader in town. Vote yes.

Proposition I

Independent ratepayer advocate

NO

At face value, this measure isn't bad, but it's superfluous. It's a charter amendment that would establish an independent ratepayer advocate, appointed by the city administrator and tasked with advising the SFPUC on all things related to utility rates and revenue. Passing Prop. H would do that too.

Proposition I was put on the ballot by Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier as a way to save face after her ardent opposition to the city's plan to build two peaker power plants, in which she made impassioned pleas for more renewable energy and more energy oversight. (She opposes Prop. H, which would create both.) During the debate over the peaker power plants, Alioto-Pier introduced a variety of bills, including this one. There isn't any visible campaign or opposition to it, but there's no need for it. Vote yes on H, and no on I.

Proposition J

Historic preservation commission

YES

There's something in this measure for everyone to like, both the developers who seek to alter historic buildings and the preservationists who often oppose them. It adopts the best practices of other major US cities and updates 40-year-old rules that govern the Landmark Preservation Advisory Board.

Proposition J, sponsored by Sup. Aaron Peskin, would replace that nine-member board with a seven-member commission that would have a bit more authority and whose members would be preservation experts appointed by the mayor, approved by the board, and serving fixed terms to avoid political pressures. It would set review standards that vary by project type, allowing streamlined staff-level approval for small projects and direct appeals to the Board of Supervisors for big, controversial proposals.

This was a collaborative proposal with buy-in from all stakeholders, and it's formally opposed only by the Small Property Owners of San Francisco, an extremist property rights group. Vote yes.

Proposition K

Decriminalizing sex work

YES

We're not big fans of vice laws; generally speaking, we've always believed that drugs, gambling, and prostitution ought to be legalized, tightly regulated, and heavily taxed. Proposition K doesn't go that far — all it does is make enforcement of the prostitution laws a low priority for the San Francisco Police Department. It would effectively cut off funding for prostitution busts — but would require the cops to pursue cases involving violent crime against sex workers.

The opponents of this measure talk about women who are coerced into sex work, particularly immigrants who are smuggled into the country and forced into the trade. That's a serious problem in San Francisco. But the sex workers who put this measure on the ballot argue that taking the profession out of the shadows would actually help the police crack down on sex trafficking.

In fact, a significant part of the crime problem created by sex work involves crimes against the workers — violent and abusive pimps, atrocious working conditions, thefts and beatings by johns who face no consequences because the sex workers face arrest if they go to the police.

The current system clearly isn't working. Vote yes on K.

Proposition L

Funding the Community Justice Center

NO

This measure is an unnecessary and wasteful political gimmick by Mayor Newsom and his downtown allies.