This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Proposition J
Creating a Historic Preservation Commission
City of San Francisco

Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 183,372 / 55.64% Yes votes ...... 146,194 / 44.36% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Jan 24 10:41am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (580/580)
Information shown below: Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Arguments |

Shall the City establish a seven-member Historic Preservation Commission and give it authority over historic preservation-related decisions in the City?

Fiscal Impact from City Controller:
Should the proposed charter amendment be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would have a minimal impact on the cost of government.

The proposed measure would replace the current nine-member Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board with a seven-member Historic Preservation Commission. The amendment would generally transfer to the Commission existing functions from the current Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, and would confer additional authority to make recommendations directly to the Board of Supervisors, bypassing the Planning Commission, on the designation of landmark buildings, historic districts, and significant buildings. The proposed measure would provide that certain certificates of appropriateness that cannot currently be appealed could be appealed to the Board of Supervisors, which will require the Board of Supervisors to establish some new procedures.

The seven members of the Historic Preservation Commission would be appointed by the Mayor subject to confirmation by the Board of Supervisors. Six members would be required to have professional backgrounds in planning, architecture, historical conservation and related fields. The existing Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board is currently staffed with two full time employees. The amendment specifies that the budget and employees for the Historic Preservation Commission would remain under the City Planning Department.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
If you vote "yes," you want to change the Charter to create a seven-member Historic Preservation Commission and to give it authority over historic preservation-related decisions in the City.

A NO vote on this measure means:
If you vote "no," you do not want to make this change to the Charter.

  Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters



Radio Programs Partisan Information

Supporters' Web Site
This election is archived. Any links to sources outside of Smart Voter may no longer be active. No further links will be added to this page.
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Proposition J

As one of the world's most-beloved historic cities, it's time for San Franciscans to adopt world-class best practices that have protected the history and vitality of other great American cities. + that's why we need Proposition J.


San Francisco's preservation apparatus is more than forty years old, and needs serious reform. The body currently charged with preserving historic buildings has no final decision-making authority.

Proposition J adopts best practices and national standards of historic cities around the country + including New York, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia + that have independent preservation commissions with jurisdiction over historic buildings and neighborhoods.


Proposition J streamlines the review of applications for changes to historic resources and helps prevent the demolition of the landmark buildings and neighborhood character that make San Francisco unique.

Proposition J was drafted collaboratively with the City's Planning Department, Mayor's Office, Landmarks Board, and the California Office of Historic Preservation. The result is a good government measure that provides clear guidance to homeowners, architects, and builders, and gives city staff the best tools available to make sound decisions about our historic buildings and neighborhoods.


Improving San Francisco's preservation efforts will also help the City meet its environmental goals. Supporting the preservation of existing historic structures conserves resources and prevents demolition debris from ending up in California landfills. Construction and demolition waste can comprise up to thirty percent of landfill content.


It's time we bring San Francisco in line with other great cities by reforming the permitting process for historic buildings and giving an independent commission a voice on preservation issues.

San Francisco Architectural Heritage
National Trust for Historic Preservation
San Francisco Democratic Party
San Francisco Tomorrow

(No arguments against Proposition J were submitted)

San Francisco Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: January 24, 2009 10:41 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.