Voters backing Prop. B, which creates a new sanitation department

San Francisco voters are supporting to a measure to create a new Department of Sanitation and Streets to ensure the...

San Francisco voters are supporting to a measure to create a new Department of Sanitation and Streets to ensure the roadways and sidewalks are kept clean.

In returns released early Wednesday, 200,251 voters, or 60.87 percent, voters were in favor of Proposition B, which amends The City’s Charter to split up the Department of Public Works by forming a Department of Sanitation and Streets. The measure also creates a Sanitation and Streets Commission and a Public Works Commission to provide oversight to the departments.

The Department of Sanitation and Streets would focus exclusively on keeping San Francisco’s streets clean.

Proposition B was introduced by Supervisor Matt Haney and placed on the ballot in a 7-4 vote by the Board of Supervisors. It came as street conditions, particularly in the Tenderloin and SoMa neighborhoods he represents, were the subject of national attention for their uncleanliness including feces.

“Everyone who lives in or visits San Francisco is completely shocked by how filthy our streets are,” Haney said in July. “Now, during a global public health crisis, keeping our streets sanitary is even more crucial.”

He said at the time that the new department would “be laser focused” cleaning up the streets and that the “measure will establish the dedicated resources, clear baseline cleaning standards, and oversight necessary to finally bring our city back up to par.”

Haney had the idea before former Public Works head Mohammed Nuru was criminally charged in January by the U.S. Attorney in a widening public corruption scandal, but he said that only bolstered his case to bring more oversight to the department.

Critics of the measure, however, argued the proposed solution was not worth the cost, which the City Controller estimated between $2.5 million and $6 million annually. Haney had drawn down initial costs and delayed implementation until fiscal year 2022-23 to try and address those concerns.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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