Power, police may go to voters

This November, San Francisco voters will be asked to make decisions on a wide range of changes — from whether to grant more authority to city legislators over redevelopment projects to making a move towards more city-owned power.

A total of 17 proposed amendments to the city charter were submitted by members of the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Gavin Newsom by Tuesday, the final day to do so.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick introduced the most charter amendments — eight, including one that would reverse a voter-approved mandate for the Police Department to maintain a minimum staffing level of 1,971 officers.

Supervisor Chris Daly introduced one charter amendment that would allow the Board of Supervisors to approve large-scale redevelopment plans without sending the legislation to the Mayor for final approval.

Daly is currently backing a June ballot measure requiring the redevelopment of the Bayview-Hunters Point area to include 50 percent below market rate housing, a measure that the developer and city officials, including Mayor Gavin Newsom said will not pencil out financially and would kill the project.

Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard blasted the charter amendment proposal as a “run of the mill power grab by Chris Daly.”

Mayor Gavin Newsom submitted a charter amendment that would highlight to voters any proposed spending mandates that didn’t identify a source of funding. In the past, voters have approved measures requiring set spending levels for children’s services, libraries, and fire station staffing levels, among others.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced a charter amendment that would require the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to study and issue recommendations within about four months on how The City could own and provide “clean, secure cost-effective electricity for city residents, businesses and departments” as well as authorize the issuance of revenue bonds for building necessary energy infrastructure.

The Board of Supervisors has until its July 24 meeting to vote on whether the charter amendments should be placed on the November ballot. A large voter turnout is expected due to the presidential election. Locally, seven of the 11 supervisor seats will also be on the ballot.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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