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Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Proposition L
Funding the Community Justice Center
City of San Francisco

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 132,097 / 42.54% Yes votes ...... 178,440 / 57.46% 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 guarantee that the City provide first-year funding for the Community Justice Center, authorize the Director of Property to lease space for the CJC, and define the CJC's scope and operations?

Fiscal Impact from City Controller:
Should the proposed ordinance be approved by the voters, it would, in my opinion, have the net effect of increasing the cost of government by an amount of $129,177 in Fiscal Year 2008-2009 to fund the Community Justice Center (CJC), a community-based collaborative court that would provide immediate social and health services to individuals charged with misdemeanors and non-violent felonies in the Tenderloin, South of Market, Civic Center and Union Square areas.

The ordinance specifies a budget of $2,754,000 for the CJC, however the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor have already included $2,624,823 of that amount in the City's annual budget and in approved federal grant appropriations. Should the ordinance be approved by the voters, the Controller would use the already appropriated $2,624,823 and an additional $129,177 to fund the total budget amount for the CJC.

The annual operating costs of the CJC are estimated to be approximately $2.4 million after the first year. Note that an ordinance cannot bind future Mayors and Boards of Supervisors to provide funding for this or any other purpose. In future budget years, the ultimate cost of the proposal would depend on how the City implements the ordinance and on decisions made in the City's annual budget process.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
If you vote "yes," you want to guarantee that the City provide first-year funding for the Community Justice Center (CJC), authorize the Director of Property to lease space for the CJC, and define the CJC's scope and operations.

A NO vote on this measure means:
If you vote "no," you do not want the City to take these actions.

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Arguments For Proposition L Arguments Against Proposition L
Help is on the way for San Francisco neighborhoods plagued by auto break-ins, aggressive panhandling, drugs and theft. The Community Justice Court is a collaborative, problem-solving services center with a court onsite that provides long-term solutions for frequent offenders who commit misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.

Vote YES for a safer and more livable city.
The Community Justice Court will engage and revitalize our neighborhoods through a collaborative approach that includes a Citizen Advisory Board, regular town hall forums and direct interaction with criminal justice and service agency representatives.

Vote YES to help offenders break the cycle of crime.
In the Community Justice Court, defendants can choose treatment and a way out, rather than incarceration. A judge will work with social services staff to create individual treatment plans that address the root causes of the defendants' problems + like substance abuse, lack of permanent housing, high-risk health issues or an inability to support themselves.

Vote YES to stop politicians from playing politics with community justice.
At least one member of the Board of Supervisors has announced his intention to "eliminate" the Community Justice Court when a new board takes office next year. A "yes" vote is necessary to ensure the court can continue to address frequent offenders and revitalize our neighborhoods.

The Community Justice Court is a proven solution.
Our current criminal justice system is simply not providing solutions to address quality-of-life crimes in our neighborhoods or getting offenders the help they need. But community justice courts are reducing crime and having a positive effect in more than 30 cities across America.

Please join us in voting YES for this proven solution to break the cycle of crime and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

Gavin Newsom, Mayor
Kamala Harris, District Attorney
Phil Ting, Assessor-Recorder

Vote no on L.

It is unnecessary for this measure to be on the ballot.

The Community Justice Center has ALREADY BEEN FUNDED by the Board of Supervisors. This ballot measure professes to create what has already been created, appropriating funds that have already been appropriated.

The Community Justice Center is a new project, introduced to the Board of Supervisors during a time when the city was facing a $350 million deficit. Vital health and social services provided to our most needy residents, programs that served the elderly, the disabled, those living with AIDS, survivors of domestic violence, and other vulnerable populations were being decimated in the Mayor's proposed budget. The budgets of many city departments were facing drastic cuts.

Through hard work and many long nights, the Board of Supervisors restored tens of millions of dollars to cuts that served the people of San Francisco and passed a compassionate, fiscally prudent budget at the end of July. Only then did the Board deem it suitable to fund new programs. The Board of Supervisors passed legislation that fully funded the start up costs, the lease costs, and other personnel costs of the Community Justice Center in July.

It is wasteful to place this measure on the ballot, knowing that the Justice Center is fully funded.

Please do not support this unnecessary measure. Don't fall for the gimmick.

Vote No on L.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, Chair of Budget and Finance Committee
Supervisor Aaron Peskin, President
Supervisor Tom Ammiano
Supervisor Chris Daly
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The facts show the Community Justice Court will make our city safer.

That's why I have been working in partnership with the courts, the District Attorney, community leaders and many others to open the Community Justice Court.

Unfortunately, politics is getting in the way of this proven policy.

Winning start-up funds from the Board of Supervisors has been an ongoing struggle. After funds were approved last year, the Board later put a hold on the money for what appeared to be political reasons.

When we finally won approval for the second time this year, Supervisor Chris Daly vowed he would work to elect candidates to the Board of Supervisors in the November election to stop the funding of this new program.

The San Francisco Chronicle quoted Daly as promising, "I can't wait until we have a new Board of Supervisors next year that can eliminate the Community Justice Center."

The opponents say they have other priorities. I respectfully disagree with their assessment. Proven and cost-effective safety programs such as the Community Justice Court should be one of our very highest priorities. Courts like this are already being used in other cities to help dramatically decrease crime.

This program will help reduce homelessness and crime. By working in tandem with other proven programs it will encourage those suffering from addictions to find the help they need.

Please find out more about how the Community Justice Court will work to reduce crime and help San Franciscans at

Mayor Gavin Newsom

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:41 PST
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