Prop. A: Plan to boost social services in violent neighborhoods nixed

A homicide prevention measure that would boost social services in violence-plagued neighborhoods appeared to be defeated by less than one percent Tuesday with 99.83 percent of precincts reporting.

Proposition A, sponsored by Supervisor Chris Daly, would have earmarked $10 million per year for three years to social programs that serve populations statistically most prone and susceptible to violent crime. It would also create a council of community and civic leaders that would direct funding and create a homicide prevention plan.

The proposition comes on the heels of two bloody years in San Francisco. In 2004, The City had 88 homicides; the 96 homicides in 2005 marked a 10-year high.

With 577 of 578 precincts reporting unofficial results, the proposition was trailing by 0.53 percent. Early results showed the proposition trailing byabout four percentage points, but the gap had closed to nearly a dead heat by about 10 p.m.

Daly attributed the measure’s narrow failure to what he characterized as “a conservative turnout model,” saying the hotly-contested race for the District 12 Representative brought out more conservative elements on The City’s west side in an otherwise low-turnout election.

The measure states that it would direct funds to job creation and workforce training programs, substance abuse programs, conflict mediation and public education. It would also create a victims’ advocate within the District Attorney’s office.

Opponents have said the measure is too vague about what would be funded, and that it would take money away from other programs because it doesn’t have its own funding source.

The measure specifically excluded funding for police because it is meant to address the social causes of violence. But opponents said the measure’s language was misleading. San Francisco Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes said that Prop. A should not be billed as an anti-crime measure because it did not include any funding for police.

“If you want to call it a social program and if we have the money to spend then that’s fine, but to call it an anti-homicide legislation is just untrue,” Delagnes said. He said the bill required a “leap of faith” to connect social services with a reduction in violent crime.

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