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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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County

City and County of San Francisco
Proposition K - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

303,319 votes yes (73.52%)

109,220 votes no (26.48%)

Shall the City have the authority to own, develop, construct, acquire or rehabilitate up to 10,000 units of low-income rental housing in San Francisco?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by League of Women Voters of San Francisco

The Question

Shall the City own, develop, construct, rehabilitate, or acquire up to 10,000 residential units of low rental housing projects within the City for the purpose of providing affordable rental housing?

Note: This Pro/Con information is also available in Chinese and Spanish.

The Situation

Currently, the City has a variety of affordable housing programs, including those that:

 

 Create, preserve, and improve affordable housing;

 Convert market-rate housing to permanently affordable housing;

 Provide loans to first-time homebuyers; and

 Help eligible homeowners and renters stay in their homes.

 

However, Article 34 of the State Constitution requires the approval by a majority of San Francisco voters before:

 

 The City can develop, construct or acquire low-income rental housing projects; or

 Nonprofits and companies can develop, construct or acquire low-income rental housing

projects with financial assistance from public agencies.

The Proposal

Proposition K would provide Article 34 authorization for 10,000 affordable rental housing units, specifying that City government will have the authorization to own, develop, construct, acquire, or rehabilitate these units. This ordinance does not provide funding for the housing but does authorize the City to take any actions necessary to implement the ordinance subject to applicable laws.

 

If approved by voters, City policymakers would next need to assess and decide which functions would be directly conducted by the City (for example, housing development, property acquisition, construction, or property and asset management). At the City’s discretion, this would include identifying the expansion or modification of City agency structures, new processes, staffing, other costs, and providing the operational funding.

 

A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want to authorize the City to own, develop, construct, acquire or rehabilitate up to 10,000 units of low-income rental housing in the City.

 

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make this change.

Fiscal effect

Controller's statement: sfelections.sfgov.org/sites/default/files/Documents/candidates/2020Nov/Prop%20K%20-%20Affordable%20Housing%20Authorization.pdf

Supporters say

 The addition of 10,000 affordable rental housing units would help to provide more rental options for middle- and lower-income residents searching for homes in the City.

 Proposition K would be a step toward reversing Article 34, established in 1950, which primarily impacted and excluded minority citizens from moving into certain neighborhoods by blocking the creation of affordable housing.

 The ordinance would authorize municipal social housing, a form of permanently affordable housing, used in other major cities, which can help to address displacement and homelessness.

Opponents say

Although the authorization of Proposition K will be of no cost to taxpayers, the construction of the housing units could incur high operational costs, which would be funded by taxpayer dollars.

The ordinance does not specify how the housing units will be funded.

If the affordable housing units built by the City are not properly maintained, there is a risk that the buildings will fall into disrepair and negatively impact the communities in which they are located.

Details — Official information

YES vote means

A "YES" Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want to authorize the City to own, develop, construct, acquire or rehabilitate up to 10,000 units of low-income rental housing in the City.

NO vote means

A "NO" Vote Means: If you vote "no," you do not want to make this change.

Summary

Ballot Simplification Committee

The Way It Is Now: The City has a variety of affordable housing programs, including those that:

• Create, preserve and improve affordable housing;

• Convert market-rate housing to permanently affordable housing;

• Provide loans to first-time homebuyers; and

• Help eligible homeowners and renters stay in their homes.

The State Constitution requires approval by a majority of San Francisco voters before:

• The City may develop, construct or acquire low-income rental housing projects; or

• Nonprofits and companies may develop, construct or acquire low-income rental housing projects with financial assistance from public agencies.

The Proposal: Proposition K would authorize the City to own, develop, construct, acquire or rehabilitate up to 10,000 units of low-income rental housing.

Under Proposition K, the City could own, develop, construct, acquire or rehabilitate these units without working with nonprofits or companies.

Financial effect

City Controller Ben Rosenfield

Should the proposed ordinance be approved by the voters, in my opinion, its passage itself would have minimal impact on the cost of government. However, should City policymakers decide to proceed to create the government structure and staffing to fully utilize the authorization contained in ordinance, the cost would be significant.

Article 34 of the State Constitution provides that a low rent housing project(s) shall not be developed, constructed, or acquired by any public body without approval by voters in the jurisdiction the project(s) will be located. The proposed ordinance would provide Article 34 authorization for 10,000 affordable housing units, specifying that City government will have the authorization to own, develop, construct, acquire, or rehabilitate these units. The proposal further authorizes the City to take any actions necessary to implement the ordinance subject to applicable laws.

If approved by voters, city policymakers would next need to assess and decide which functions to be directly conducted by the City (e.g., housing development, property acquisition, construction, property and asset management). At the City’s discretion, this would include identifying the expansion or modification of city agency structures, new processes, staffing, other costs, and providing the operational funding. Depending on the number of units pursued and required infrastructure this would comprise a large and significant addition to City operations and costs.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

More information

News (2)

Proposition K - November 3, 2020 — October 6, 2020 San Francisco Public Press
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Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Proposition K

Organizations (5)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Proposition K
Organizations (0)
Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

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