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Dueling SF ballot measures emerge over homeless tent encampments

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Ashante Jones talks with an SFPD officer outside his tent space while San Francisco Department of Public Works and San Francisco Police sweep the homeless encampment along Division Street in San Francisco, Calif. Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (Jessica Christian/ S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco voters may see dueling homeless tent encampment measures on the November ballot.

Last week, Supervisor Mark Farrell sparked controversy by placing on the ballot a measure that would ban homeless tent encampments and authorize The City to remove them within 24-hour notice after offering shelter.


Homeless advocates and progressive leaders denounced the initiative as further criminalizing the homeless and political – similar to the 2010 campaign to ban sitting or lying on public sidewalks.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced Tuesday a counter to that measure after giving a lengthy speech aimed at Farrell’s measure during the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Peskin’s counter ballot measure — Tuesday was the deadline to submit November ballot measures — would create a process for the removal of encampments under existing laws.

The City would need to provide a 72-hour notice — two days longer than Farrell’s measure requires — before removing an encampment.

Peskin’s measure also has a more detailed housing plan for those displaced from encampments.

“We know that currently there is one shelter bed for every five and a half homeless people in our city and we have over 800 people waiting for shelter,” Peskin said in the speech.

Like Farrell’s measure, Peskin requires The City to offer shelter to anyone displaced from removed encampments. But Peskin’s goes further by stipulating that the offered housing must remain available to the person for 24 hours after the encampment was removed.

And once they are placed in a shelter, The City must within 30 days create a plan to relocate the person from the shelter bed into long term housing. The City must guarantee a shelter bed during those 30 days as well.

Farrell placed his measure on the November ballot last week, using the process of four signatures from members of the board. Supervisors Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen and Katy Tang supported it.

Peskin would need six votes by Aug. 5 from the board to place the measure on the November ballot.

Should both win voter approval in November, the measure with the most votes prevails.

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  • jhayes362

    An interesting choice for voter.