Mayor London Breed and Norman Yee at the post-election party for Yes on A and London Breed on election night, Tuesday, November 5, 2019. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Two San Francisco affordable housing measures head toward victory

Overturn of The City’s vaping ban easily fails

Two affordable housing measures headed for victory Tuesday night. Proposition A, a $600 million bond that would finance the construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing had 69 percent of the votes in favor Tuesday night, while a proposition to make it easier to build housing for teachers and others also was winning.

“That’s a very, very strong statement by San Franciscans that wish to invest in affordable housing,” said Peter Cohen of the Council of Community Housing Organizations.

Supporters of Prop. A gathered at the Swedish American Hall in The City Tuesday night. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Backed by a cross-section of city officials including Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee, Proposition A includes $150 million for public housing, $220 million for low-income housing, $60 million for middle-income housing, $150 million for senior housing, and $20 million for educator housing.

“I am so excited and I am so grateful and I am optimistic that the early returns look good,” Breed said Tuesday at a party celebrating her election victory and Prop. A.

She noted that the measure was a consensus measure supported by her and the board. “With proposition A we came together, and we did it responsibly,” she said.

Mayor London Breed is a strong supporter of the housing measure. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Proposition C, which would have overturned San Francisco’s June prohibition on the sale of e-cigarettes and put in place a new set of regulations designed by the industry, easily failed with 80 percent voting no in results posted at 11 p.m. E-cigarette maker Juul spent millions of dollars supporting the measure before abruptly pulling the plug on its campaign in September in response to ongoing problems with federal regulators and other internal company issues.

“San Francisco voters are too smart to be fooled by Juul. Juul is Big Tobacco, and it’s using a classic ploy from the Big Tobacco playbook to try and hook another generation of kids on nicotine,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement Tuesday night. “Voters saw right through Juul’s deception. San Francisco already has the toughest e-cigarette regulations in the nation.”

The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that we are in the midst of a youth vaping epidemic, he added. “Juul spent millions trying to mislead San Franciscans… It could have put that time and effort into completing the required FDA review.”

The American Heart Association also applauded the defeat of Prop C.

“I am pleased that the voters of San Francisco chose to continue protecting the health of children by voting no,” said Michelle Albert, M.D., M.P.H., board president of the American Heart Association Bay Area and a professor at UCSF School of Medicine. “Making sure e-cigarettes are properly regulated is one step toward preventing another generation from succumbing to nicotine addiction and its health risks.”

Proposition B, a measure renaming the Department of Aging and Adult Services as the Department of Disability and Aging Services was passing on Tuesday with 76 percent of the vote.

Proposition D, a 3.25 percent tax on individual ride-sharing rides and a 1.5 percent tax on shared ones, was on the cusp of passing with 66.66 percent of the vote. The measure would raise an estimated $32 million for public transit and infrastructure.

The tax is the result of a deal struck with Lyft and Uber, who agreed not to campaign against the measure.

Proposition E would amend the planning code to allow affordable housing and educator housing projects on publicly-owned land and expedite approval of such projects. It was passing as of 11 p.m. Tuesday with 74 percent of the vote.

That news was met with joy at Virgil’s, as advocates gathered to celebrate.

“This is the biggest citywide zoning effort for affordable housing in modern history,” said a jubilant Cohen.

“It’s storming through right now. I feel positive right now. We’re not called “No to SF housing’, so it’s exciting,” says Megan Orpwood-Russell, executive director of Yes on Affordable Housing (YAH). “We need Prop A to make it work but we’re feeling good.”

Proposition F would impose new limits on campaign contributions from those with pending land-use decisions before city officials, among others, and also require independent expenditure campaigns to make additional disclosures about their top financial backers on campaign ads and mailers.

It had strong support of 77 percent Tuesday night as of 11 p.m.

Supervisor Gordon Mar said of Prop F “The people of San Francisco know what we know: we deserve transparency in our democracy.”

Richard Procter, Sara Gaiser, Deborah Petersen, Ida Mojadad and Michael Barba contributed to this report.

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