Supes voice concern about formation of a Civic Center benefit district

A plan to create a Civic Center Benefit District to improve public safety, make those attending the city’s prized art venues more comfortable, and better maintain the area has drawn concerns that the government could outvote other property owners.

It takes a weighted vote of 30 percent to initiate formation of a community benefit district, which, once formed, requires property owners in the district to a pay an annual fee.

But there are enough government-owned parcels in the proposed district that the government itself could vote to initiate formation of the district even if all other property owners voted against it.

That fact didn’t sit well with members of the Board of Supervisor Budget and Finance Committee. On Wednesday, they postponed a vote on legislation introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom that would authorize the mayor to vote on behalf of the city’s properties. The committee instead opted to wait for the results of the private property owners, which are expected to come in on Oct. 8.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said he would not support moving ahead with formation of the district unless a majority of the private property owners want to.

Doing so would be “too much like Big Brother imposing on the poor sucker who owns private property near by,” he said

“We control the fate of whether or not there is 30 percent. If we say yes in any way every privately property owner with in the district could vote no but we have enough weight to make it happen anyway,” Elsbernd said.

Voting on the legislation would have been “putting the cart before the horse, the tail wagging the dog,” Supervisor John Avalos said.

“I think it makes sense that we see what happens in the private sector and see what the temperature is out there,” Avalos said.

Supervisor Chris Daly, whose district includes the Civic Center, wrote a letter to the committee in opposition of the legislation. Approving the legislation “will unduly influence” the process, he said.

Bay Area NewsGavin NewsomGovernment & PoliticsPoliticssean elsberndUnder the Dome

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

CCSF file photo
Workforce development fund to support training programs at City College

Supervisors back plans to use $500K toward economic recovery efforts through CCSF

Toilet (Shutterstock)
Table salt and poop: Testing for COVID-19 in S.F. sewage

The City’s sewers could provide an early warning of fresh outbreaks

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

The installation “Alexandre Singh: A Gothic Tale” is on view at the Legion of Honor, which reopens Oct. 30 with safety protocols in place. (Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Legion of Honor reopens in time for Halloween

‘A Gothic Tale’ among exhibitions on view

Most Read