Endorsements 2008: San Francisco measures - Page 7

Yes, yes, yes on A and H. No, no, no on P and V...
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It's insulting to the plant, and the people who work there, to put the name of an environmental villain on the door.

Let's name something awful after Bush. Vote no on Prop. R.

Proposition S

Budget set-aside policy

NO

This measure is yet another meaningless gimmick that has more to do with Mayor Newsom's political ambitions than good governance.

For the record, we generally don't like budget set-aside measures, which can unnecessarily encumber financial planning and restrict elected officials from setting budget priorities. But in this no-new-taxes political era, set-asides are sometimes the only way to guarantee that important priorities get funding from the static revenue pool. Newsom agrees — and has supported set-asides for schools, libraries, and other popular priorities.

Now he claims to want to rein that in, although all this measure would do is state whether a proposal identifies a funding source or violates a couple of other unenforceable standards. Vote no.

Proposition T

Free and low-cost substance abuse treatment

YES

Proposition T would require the Department of Public Health (DPH) to make medical and residential substance abuse treatment available for low-income and homeless people who request it. DPH already offers treatment and does it well, but there's a wait list 500 people long — and when addicts finally admit they need help and show up for treatment, the last thing the city should do is send them away and make them wait.

Prop. T would expand the program to fill that unmet need. The controller estimates an annual cost to the General Fund of $7 million to $13 million, but proponents say the upfront cost would lead to significant savings later. For every dollar spent on treatment, the city saves as much as $13 because clinical treatment for addictive disorders is cheaper than visits to the emergency room, where many low-income and homeless people end up when their untreated problems reach critical levels.

This ordinance was put on the ballot by Sups. Daly, McGoldrick, Mirkarimi, and Peskin, and has no visible opposition, although some proponents frame it as a way to achieve what the Community Justice Center only promises. Vote yes.

Proposition U

Defunding the Iraq War

YES

Proposition U is a declaration of policy designed to send a message to the city's congressional representatives that San Francisco disproves of any further funding of the war in Iraq, excepting whatever money is required to bring the troops home safely.

The progressive block of supervisors put this on the ballot, and according to their proponent argument in the Voter Information Pamphlet, the Iraq War has cost California $68 billion and San Francisco $1.8 billion. The Republican Party is the lone voice against this measure. Vote yes.

Proposition V

Bringing back JROTC

NO, NO, NO

The San Francisco school board last year voted to end its Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, which was the right move. A military-recruitment program — and make no mistake, that's exactly what JROTC is — has no place in the San Francisco public schools. The board could have done a better job finding a replacement program, but there are plenty of options out there.

In the meantime, a group of JROTC backers placed Proposition V on the ballot.

The measure would have no legal authority; it would just be a statement of policy. Supporters say they hope it will pressure the school board to restore the program. In reality, this is a downtown- and Republican-led effort to hurt progressive candidates in swing districts where JROTC might be popular. Vote no.

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