City Hall: Supervisor Carmen Chu

Feedback from Nov. Election
The Nov. 8 election marked the passage of a number of ballot measures, including bonds for schools and road repaving, and a measure to reform our city's pension and health care benefits. About 47 percent of Sunset District registered voters participated in the election, which is above the citywide average participation of 42.47 percent. Most of the questions and feedback that we have received were regarding Propositions A, B and C, which we will explain here.

Proposition A - School Bonds
The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is a separate governmental entity governed by an elected Board of Education and funded primarily by the state. For the 2011 November election, the School Board placed Proposition A on the ballot. Proposition A passed with 71.11 percent of the vote, and its passage authorizes the SFUSD to borrow up to $531 million by issuing general obligation bonds. General obligation bonds are repaid by increasing property taxes. The funds would be used by more than 50 school facilities to repair and upgrade major building systems; address health and safety risks; repair and build playgrounds and fields; make necessary seismic upgrades; replace temporary classroom facilities with permanent structures; and bring the schools up to code compliance.

As part of the voter approval, the SFUSD will create an independent citizens' oversight committee to report to the public about the use of bond funds. The bond funds cannot be used for certain expenses, like operating expenses. San Francisco voters have already twice approved school bonds, and this measure was the third and final measure to modernize all San Francisco public schools. Certain households can apply to be exempt from this tax, including seniors. For more information or an application, please call (415) 522-6770.

Proposition B Bonds
Proposition B passed with 68.02 percent of the vote, and its passage authorizes the City to borrow up to $248 million by issuing general obligation bonds to improve and repair streets, sidewalks and street structures. The City can only use this money to repair and repave city streets and remove potholes; strengthen and seismically upgrade street structures; redesign street corridors by adding or improving pedestrian signals, lighting, sidewalk extensions, bicycle lanes, trees and landscaping; construct and renovate curb ramps and sidewalks to increase accessibility and safety for everyone, including persons with disabilities; and add and upgrade traffic signals to improve Muni service and traffic flow. Part of the voter approval is the principle of spreading the funding equitably across the City in all districts. This measure was designed so the property tax levied by the City will stay about the same as it was in 2006. This is accomplished because the City borrows money when old debts are paid off.

For more information on the streets bond or to see which streets are slated for road work, please visit the Department of Public Work's website at www.sfdpw.org.

Proposition C - City Pension and Health Care Benefits
Proposition C is a Charter Amendment that passed with 68.91 percent of the vote, and its passage changes the way the City and current and future employees share in funding their San Francisco Employees' Retirement System (SFERS) pension benefits. The passage of this Charter Amendment is anticipated to reduce the City's cost to fund employee retirement benefits by approximately $40 to $50 million in fiscal year 2012-13. It is anticipated that City costs will be reduced by approximately $1 billion to $1.3 billion cumulatively over the 10 years between 2012 and 2022, or approximately $100 million annually.

In addition to pension reform, this measure also requires a change to the composition of the Health Service System Board, giving the controller one appointment, the mayor two appointments, the Board of Supervisors one appointment, and the members covered under the health care system three appointments.

Additionally, the measure now requires current employees to make contributions along with the City to fund our retiree health obligations.

Jingle Bell Walk/Run
A benefit for the South Sunset Playground Mosaic and Mural Project will be held at Lake Merced on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 9 - 11 a.m. (9:15 a.m. start for 1k Elf Run for kids eight and under).

To register, volunteer or donate, contact Art in Every Classroom, Inc. at (415) 672-4992, via e-mail at artineveryclassroom@yahoo.com, or go to the website at www.artineveryclassroom.org.

Supervisor Carmen Chu represents District 4 on the SF Board of Supervisors, and can be reached at (415) 554-7460 or chustaff@sfgov.org.