Editorial: From the frivolous to the necessary

San Francisco voters on Nov. 7 face 11 local ballot measures. The majority’s decisions, without question, will determine The City’s future substantially. Today The Examiner offers its views of five of the measures. Next week we’ll publish our recommendations on the remaining six.

Let’s just start with Proposition J, the better to dispense with unnecessary symbolism and clutter. This one calls for the impeachment and removal from office of President Bush and Vice President Cheney — never mind that the measure’s language, as disrespectful of constitutional procedure as the authors claim the administration has been, already has convicted its political targets of high crimes and misdemeanors. City government must return to earth and take care of city business. No on Prop. J.

Proposition A could be a hard sell, given the recent stories detailing plunging enrollment in The City’s public schools. It asks voters to approve a $450 million bond issue to upgrade 64 schools, thereby meeting federal requirements to make the campuses safe, healthy and accessible to the disabled.

The closure of some schools is imminent, and so the San Francisco Unified School District will have to exercise utmost responsibility to guard against waste should this costly request be approved. We think it should be approved. The alternative is to turn management of the schools over to a federal judge. It’s SFUSD’s responsibility to do this right. Yes on Prop. A.

Proposition B seeks approval for brand-new parents who hold positions on the Board of Supervisors and city and county commissions to participate and vote in official meetings by teleconferencing. We’ve heard arguments on both sides and we’re confident the novel concept — San Francisco’s well-known compassion at its best — will not be abused. Yes on Prop. B.

Proposition C would revise the current method of compensating San Francisco’s top officials, the mayorand the sheriff among them, with a more competitive formula. It would draw comparisons with equivalent positions in several surrounding counties — right now these officials lag behind those in nearby counties — and find salary levels closer to par.

The plan is not exactly performance-based — the voters make those evaluations ultimately — but it is more market-oriented. Though it might create an incentive for officials to perfect their political campaigns, Prop. C is an improvement and should be approved.

Proposition D would ban The City from disclosing private information about its employees to contractors or subcontractors. On the surface, it looks like a conscientious effort to protect privacy, but it could block access by the media to necessary information. In fact, though ostensibly proactive, this kind of measure is unnecessary. No on Prop. D.

Part of the San Francisco Examiner's 2006 Election Coverage.

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