By Rebecca Bowe
As expected, Mayor Gavin Newsom has vetoed an ordinance approved on Jan. 27 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors modifying regular election procedures in order to pave the way for a special election to be held on June 2. The election would give voters an opportunity to decide on a number of tax measures that could raise city revenues in the face of a looming $576 million city budget deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
“I understand the argument that revenue measures passed in June will bring in funding sooner than measures passed in November,” the mayor wrote in a letter explaining his decision. “However, if new tax and revenue measures put on the ballot in June do not pass due to a lack of unified support and planning, not only will the City incur the significant expense of a $3.5 million election, it will also critically damage our chances for success in November.”
Eight out of 11 supervisors voted in favor of the ordinance at the Jan. 27 meeting, and as many approved a resolution last Tuesday calling for a possible special election. “I think that given how horrible our situation is, we must move forward with a special Election in June,” Supervisor John Avalos noted at the Jan. 27 meeting. “There’s been some talk about doing it in November. I think November is way to late for us to really make decisions on the budget. We have to have some certainty about what kind of revenue we’re going to have on hand when we finalize the budget in June and July.”
At tomorrow’s board meeting, the board will consider whether or not to override Mayor Newsom’s veto. Eight votes are needed for an override -- and given the support that has been demonstrated for a special election thus far, it seems likely. Supervisor Sophie Maxwell's aide, Jon Lau, hinted that Maxwell would vote to override the veto, pointing out that she’d voted in favor of the election measure before. Supervisor Bevan Dufty, meanwhile, told the Guardian, “I don’t see myself voting to sustain the mayor’s veto.” At the same time, he added, questions still surround the special-election proposal. Although supervisors approved a resolution last week calling for a possible election, a final decision and the various ballot measures won’t be nailed down until March 3.