While thousands of votes remain to be counted — and the political insiders are already focusing on the November 2015 mayor’s race — San Francisco voters agreed with ballot recommendations of the Chamber of Commerce virtually across the board. Measures supporting The City’s transportation, housing, parks, waterfront development and children’s programs passed easily while those that imposed additional tax burdens failed.
The results on local measures were a big win for Mayor Ed Lee. He helped lead campaigns to pass five propositions — the minimum wage, transportation bond, renewed general-fund support for children and public-school programs, housing development policy and athletic field restoration projects — that all won big at the polls.
Supervisor Scott Wiener’s City Charter amendment to set aside money for transit, which barely made it on the ballot by a 6-5 vote of the Board of Supervisors last summer, won handily in our transit-first city. At the same time, a policy statement calling for a more balanced transportation policy for motorists was overwhelmingly defeated.
Other failed measures include an exorbitant tax on residential property sales, a two-cent per ounce soda tax and a ban on turfed athletic fields in Golden Gate Park.
San Franciscans continue to support critical infrastructure needs with passage of the first Muni transportation bond in decades and we are skeptical of socially engineered tax increases.
And while voting overwhelmingly for Democratic state and local candidates, we elected or re-elected, by San Francisco standards, the more moderate candidates.
As of this writing Supervisor David Chiu holds a slim lead over Supervisor David Campos in the race for the state Assembly.
District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen overcame challengers and was re-elected. The Board of Education will continue to have a strong majority whose focus is quality education, not political advancement.
San Francisco remains well-represented in the ranks of statewide elected officials: native sons Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom were easily re-elected along with state Attorney General Kamala Harris, The City’s former district attorney.
Joining them are newly elected State Controller Betty Yee and Fiona Ma, the newest member of the state Board of Equalization. This is a good showing for a county with just over 2 percent of California’s population.
Not to be overlooked in this election is District Attorney George Gascón. He was not on the ballot, but he gained statewide visibility with his successful sponsorship of Proposition 47 to reduce some crime penalties as a way to relieve jail and prison overcrowding.
Now, City Hall looks to November 2015, with citywide races for mayor, sheriff, district attorney, city attorney and treasurer. And if we are lucky, something less than the 12 local ballot measures voters were confronted with on Tuesday.
A hearty thank you to the tens of thousands of San Franciscans who exercised their rights and took the time to vote in support of investments that will help meet the needs of our city’s rising population in the years ahead.
Bob Linscheid is CEO and executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.