City’s set-asides a ballot target

San Francisco voters have approved a number of requirements for how The City must spend money, but they could end up voting in November to eliminate all of them.

Last fiscal year, The City was required by law to spend $860 million dollars on a number of needs, including $200.9 million for a mandated staffing level at the Police Department, $137.4 million for children services, $75.5 million for public libraries and $1.6 million for the San Francisco Symphony.

Supervisor Chris Daly has asked the city attorney to draft an amendment to a charter amendment that would provide voters with the opportunity to eliminate all The City’s set-asides.

Set-asides are a way to ensure sufficient funding is allocated each year to a specific need. Critics, however, say it does not provide flexibility in balancing the budget or the ability to fund emerging needs.

The proposal comes as Daly has put on the ballot a new set-aside that, if approved, would require The City to spend about $2.7 billion on affordable-housing needs during the next 15 years.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, an opponent of Daly’s housing measure, has submitted a charter amendment for the November ballot that makes it official policy not to approve a new set-aside without an accompanying new revenue source to cover the cost.

“If [Newsom] is serious about taking on set-asides, then he will join me in the effort. If he isn’t, then he should back off,” Daly said.

“The mayor wants to put the brakes on set-asides.”

Newsom’s spokesman Nathan Ballard said that “what Daly is proposing is like driving the entire bus off a cliff.”

Daly said if set-asides remain in place then there should also be one for what he calls the No. 1 priority, affordable housing.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said set-asides “have significantly limited our ability to provide a great deal of the services” that constituents request, but called Daly’s proposal a “rush job.”

Daly said he will ask his colleagues to support amending Newsom’s charter amendment to include the elimination of The City’s set-asides during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The board could take its first vote July 22 on whether to place it on the ballot with a final vote July 29.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Muni’s K-Ingleside trains will resume service after a long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs speaks to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16, 2021. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors those killed by police

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

A second former Recology executive is facing charges for allegedly bribing ex-Public… Continue reading

Kiana Williams
Stanford’s Kiana Williams drafted by WNBA champion Seattle Storm

Kiana Williams is going from one championship team to another. A senior… Continue reading

Most Read