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Proposition B: New bond boosts quake safety

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The nearly 100-year-old water system under the streets of San Francisco that helps douse fires will receive a major structural upgrade after a bond measure that will also refurbish firehouses and spur construction of a new police headquarters passed Tuesday.

The passage of Proposition B, a $412 million project billed as the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond, is the first step in protecting public safety buildings from a major temblor. Another major bond measure is expected in the next five years.

About half the money will be used to build a new police command center at Third and Mission Rock streets in the Mission Bay neighborhood.

Prop. B originally contained an additional $240 million for a new forensic sciences center that would have housed a state-of-the-art crime lab, but was stripped by the Board of Supervisors in February.

The project required a two-thirds majority to pass and will be funded through property taxes. A city controller’s statement estimated that the average tax rate for the bond from fiscal year 2010-11 through 2039-40 would be $10.60 per $100,000 of assessed value on properties.

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Landlords are allowed to pass on 50 percent of their increases to tenants.

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