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San Francisco County, CA November 8, 2011 Election
Proposition F
Campaign Consultant Ordinance
City and County of San Francisco

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 77259 / 43.88% Yes votes ...... 98800 / 56.12% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Arguments |

Shall the City amend its campaign consultant ordinance to redefine "campaign consultant;" require campaign consultants to file monthly reports; authorize the City's Ethics Commission to require electronic filing instead of paper reports; change the calculation of City fees campaign on consultants must pay; and allow the City to change any of the ordinance's requirements without further voter approval while still permitting voters to make additional changes?

Summary Prepared by San Francisco Department of Elections:
Proposition F would change the registration,filing, and fee requirements of the campaign consultant ordinance to:

  • redefine a "campaign consultant" to mean any individual who earns at least $5,000 for campaign consulting services within a 12-month period;
  • require that campaign consultants file reports monthly instead of quarterly;
  • authorize the Commission to require electronic filing of all required information instead of paper reports; and
  • amend the fees payable to the City so they no longer depend on the number of clients.

Fiscal Impact from San Francisco Controller:
City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition F: Should the proposed ordinance be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it will have a minimal impact on the cost of government.

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Arguments For Proposition F Arguments Against Proposition F
Better public disclosure by political consultants + yes on F! We need to know what political consultants are up to, and Prop F gives the public more information on their activities. It requires more frequent reporting and mandates electronic filing for instant online access by the public. Political consultants play a very influential role in our system. They run candidates' campaigns and thus have close relationships with elected officials. The public is entitled to know for whom they are working and whether there are any conflicts of interest in that work.

In addition, it's illegal for political consultants to lobby their clients. That makes sense since a consultant who runs a politician's campaign may have disproportionate influence on him or her when it comes time to make policy decisions. Prop F, by increasing disclosure, helps enforce this lobbying prohibition.Prop F also recognizes that there's a big difference between the large political consulting firms and small grassroots consultants. Prop F raises the threshold for reporting to $5,000 in annual income instead of $1,000.

This change will ensure that small, grassroots consultants are less burdened by reporting requirements. Vote yes on full disclosure + yes on F! Supervisor Scott Wiener Supervisor David Chiu Supervisor David Campos Supervisor Mark Farrell Supervisor Malia Cohen Supervisor Sean Elsbernd Supervisor Carmen Chu* Supervisor Jane Kim

  • For identification purposes only; author is signing as an individual and not on behalf of an organization.

Rebuttal to Arguments For
PROPOSITION F HAS PROBLEMS: Supervisor Wiener's Proposition F would let the heavily political San Francisco Ethics Commission change its own rules. Unlike other California ethics commissions, San Francisco doesn't require union representatives (like people who helped write Proposition C) to register as lobbyists. The Ethics Commission, per 8/16/11 Chronicle, doesn't trouble those with political influence: The article "U.S. ATTORNEY PROBES `RUN, ED, RUN'GROUP" tells how San Francisco Democratic Party Chairman Aaron Peskin and retired Judge Quentin Kopp tried to get investigations of the finances and activities of Willie Brown and Rose Pack's organization "Progress For All" ("PFA"), seeking to draft Ed Lee for Mayor.

Democrat Peskin asked the Ethic Commission to investigate PFA and whether it "was coordinating its activities with Lee in violation of election law." The Ethics Commission killed the inquiry. Meanwhile: "Kopp requested a [Federal and local] criminal inquiry after The Chronicle reported that Rose Pack, a Lee confidante and fundraiser...had solicited help for [PFA]... from Recology, the city's garbage-collection contractor, which at the time had a $112 million contract to ship waste to a landfill in Yuba County pending before the Board of Supervisors.

... As city administrator, Lee was one of three people evaluating bids [earlier] in July 2009 when he gave Recology a substantially higher score than the other two panelists."

Vote AGAINST Proposition F. Dr. Terence Faulkner, J.D. Past Member of President of United States' Federal Executive Awards Committee (1988)* John Michael Russom Parkmerced Resident* Patrick C. Fitzgerald Past Secretary San Francisco Democratic Party*

  • For identification purposes only; author is signing as an individual and not on behalf of an organization.
THE WHOLE "CAMPAIGN CONSULTANTS' REPORTING REQUIREMENTS" ORDINANCE (A UNIQUE SAN FRANCISCO PROGRAM) IS BAD LAW: Given that political candidates already report the sources of their campaign contributions, San Francisco's unneeded "Campaign Consultants' Reporting Requirements" law (a unique and silly San Francisco program) should be abolished. It is just BAD LAW.

This San Francisco Ethics Commission program charges fees (of course) and is a good way to encourage out-of-town campaign people: "to stay out of the San Francisco political swamp."

The program chills United States Constitutional First Amendment-protected free speech, while serving as a restraint of trade against non-San Francisco political consultants. The project helps second rate local campaign managers to fend away more qualified out-of town talent: "Let's keep new ideas out."

BAD "REFORMS": The particular outrageous "reforms" called for in this misguided Proposition F ballot measure would change the "Campaign Consultants' Reporting Requirements" to make them worse and more costly.

Monthly electronic reports are demanded in this revision, being substituted for the current paper reports required every 3 months. The fees (of course) are also changed. The Ethics Commission loves fees. They have few "ethics" about grabbing money. MORE PROBLEMS: This Proposition F revision would, needless to say,require lots of extra lawyers' fees, too. Still more money will change hands. Proposition F would further limit, a bit, the number of candidates running against incumbents. The more complex the rules, the fewer the people who will step up and try for office. This is good...if you are a not very well qualified incumbent.

Vote AGAINST unneeded and outrageous Proposition F. Proposition F is BAD LAW. Dr. Terence Faulkner, J.D. Past Member of State of California's Certified Farmers Market Advisory Board*

  • For identification purposes only; author is signing as an individual and not on behalf of an organization.

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Prop F strengthens the Political Consultant Ordinance. Passed by the voters in the 1990s, this ordinance has been a critical component of open government in San Francisco -- ensuring that we know who political consultants are working for and that they are not also campaigning for public officials they are lobbying on behalf of private clients. Disclosure is a good thing; and Prop F strengthens the ordinance's disclosure requirements, by requiring more frequent reporting and instant electronic filing of disclosure reports. Prop F also recognizes that smaller grassroots consultants, making very little money, should not be subject to the same stringent reporting requirements as larger consultants. And it does all of this at no additional cost to taxpayers.

Prop F brings the Political Consultant Ordinance into conformity with the Lobbyist Ordinance and the Public Financing Ordinance, both in terms of disclosure as well as how these ordinances are amended and updated.Prop F is a common-sense update to the Political Consultant Ordinance that enhances disclosure and transparency in government. That's why it's been endorsed by San Francisco's good-government organization-- the San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR, Vote Yes on F! Supervisor Scott Wiener Supervisor David Chiu Supervisor Sean Elsbernd Supervisor Carmen Chu Supervisor Malia Cohen Supervisor Mark Farrell Supervisor Jane Kim

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Created: January 20, 2012 12:03 PST
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