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Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Proposition B
Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond
San Francisco County

Bond - 2/3 Approval Required

Pass: 242404 / 72.11% Yes votes ...... 93735 / 27.89% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Arguments |

SAN FRANCISCO CLEAN AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS BOND, To improve the safety and quality of neighborhood parks across the city and waterfront open spaces, enhance water quality and clean up environmental contamination along the Bay, replace unsafe playgrounds, fix restrooms, improve access for the disabled, and ensure the seismic safety of park and recreation facilities, shall the City and County of San Francisco issue $195 million dollars in General Obligation bonds, subject to independent oversight and regular audits?

Summary Prepared by The Ballot Simplification Committee:
The Way It Is Now: The City operates and maintains more than 200 parks, playgrounds, recreation facilities, public open spaces and other properties throughout San Francisco. In 2007, an independent review revealed that many parks and facilities were outdated and posed seismic and safety risks. As a result, the City's 10-year Capital Plan proposed a series of general obligation bonds to address these needs in parks.

The City uses property tax revenues to pay principal and interest on general obligation bonds. The City's policy is to issue new bonds as prior bond debt is retired.

The Proposal: Proposition B is a bond measure that would authorize the City to borrow up to $195 million by issuing general obligation bonds to fund repairs and improvements of the City's parks and public open spaces.

The City plans to use the bond funds for the following purposes:

  • neighborhood park repairs and renovations at Angelo J. Rossi Playground, Balboa Park, Garfield Square, George Christopher Playground, Gilman Playground, Glen Canyon Park, Hyde/Turk Mini Park, Joe DiMaggio Playground, Margaret S. Hayward Playground, Moscone Recreation Center, Mountain Lake Park, Potrero Hill Recreation Center, South Park, West Sunset Playground, and Willie "Woo Woo" Wong Playground ($98.8 million)
  • waterfront park and public open space repairs and renovations, which may include Islais Creek, Warm Water Cove, Northeast Wharf Plaza at Pier 27, Agua Vista Park, Pier 43 Plaza and Pier 70 Parks ($34.5 million)
  • playground repair and replacement ($15.5 million)
  • improvements to John McLaren Park ($10 million), Golden Gate Park ($9 million), and Lake Merced Park ($2 million)
  • Community Opportunity Fund to pay for community- nominated recreation and park projects ($12 million)
  • improvements that conserve water in parks ($5 million)
  • trail reconstruction in Golden Gate Park and John McLaren Park ($4 million), and
  • park forestry programs ($4 million).

Proposition B would allow an increase in the property tax to pay for these bonds. It would permit landlords to pass through 50% of any resulting property tax increase to their tenants.

Proposition B would require the Citizen's General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee to provide independent oversight of the spending of bond funds. One-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of the bond funds ($195,000) would pay for the committee's audit and oversight functions.

Fiscal Impact from The City Controller:
City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition B:

Should the proposed $195 million in bonds be authorized and sold under current assumptions, the approximate costs will be as follows:

  • In fiscal year 2013+2014, following issuance of the first series of bonds, and the year with the lowest tax rate, the estimated annual costs of debt service would be $3.7 million and result in a property tax rate of $0.0022 per $100 ($2.24 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
  • In fiscal year 2018+2019, following issuance of the last series of bonds, the estimated annual costs of debt service would be $16.9 million and result in a property tax rate of $0.0084 per $100 ($8.38 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
  • The best estimate of the average tax rate for these bonds from fiscal year 2013+2014 through 2037+2038 is $0.0053 per $100 ($5.28 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
  • Based on these estimates, the highest estimated annual property tax cost for these bonds for the owner of a home with an assessed value of $500,000 would be approximately $43.36.

These estimates are based on projections only, which are not binding upon the City. Projections and estimates may vary due to the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold at each sale, and actual assessed valuation over the term of repayment of the bonds. Hence, the actual tax rate and the years in which such rates are applicable may vary from those estimated above. The City's current debt management policy is to issue new general obligation bonds only as old ones are retired, keeping the property tax impact from general obligation bonds approximately the same over time.

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Arguments For Proposition B Arguments Against Proposition B
Yes on B for San Francisco Parks!


San Francisco has more parks and open space than any other municipality in the United States. An integral part of our quality of life, parks are where we relax with friends and family, exercise, enjoy art and music, appreciate our waterfront,and grow food and plants in neighborhood gardens.

Programs for seniors and after school activities, and hiking and biking trails are part of our parks system. Parks are critical habitat for plants and birds, and part of the fabric of ourunique neighborhoods.

PROP B PROVIDES SAFER AND MORE ACCESSIBLE NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS FOR EVERYONE Prop B provides seismic upgrades for restrooms and recreation centers, replaces unsafe playground equipment and makes parks more accessible for seniors and those with disabilities. Prop B improves neighborhood parks across San Francisco so kids can continue to run, play, and enjoy the outdoors.

PROP B IMPROVES WATER QUALITY AND CONSERVATION Prop B will cleanup environmental contamination at the waterfront, improve water quality along the Bay, create and maintain waterfront parks, and increase water conservation through irrigation improvements.

PROP B DOES NOT RAISE YOUR TAXES City policy only allows for new bonds to be issued as old ones are paid off. By replacing expired bonds, the measure is funded at current rates - NO TAX INCREASE.

PROP B ENSURES ACCOUNTABILITY A Citizen's oversight committee ensures accountability. Prop B is subject to annual independent audits and public reporting of all expenditures.

Please join us in Voting YES on B. Mayor Edwin M. Lee* Supervisor John Avalos* Supervisor David Campos* Supervisor David Chiu* Supervisor Carmen Chu* Supervisor Malia Cohen* Supervisor Sean Elsbernd* Supervisor Mark Farrell* Supervisor Jane Kim* Supervisor Eric Mar* Supervisor Christina Olague* Supervisor Scott Wiener*

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

Rebuttal to Arguments For
There's no money? Really?!

San Francisco Rec & Park Department (RPD) has wasted millions from the 2008 Park Bond to privatize San Francisco's parks and recreation areas, while neglecting routine maintenance. At this very moment millions of our tax dollars and our Park Funds are "subsidizing" the billionaire's America's Cup.

There is money. It's just not in the right places.

The bond's proponents' "argument" is platitudes and pablum. Did you know that they give

  • NO guarantee as to which park really will get funds
  • Bond Report is NOT legally binding!

Don't allow vague promises lull you into voting for it!

RPD has squandered millions on lawsuits, all because of its failure to respond in good faith to public input. RPD spent $1M on a flawed EIR in order to justify violating the Golden Gate Park Master Plan.

Our parks are not real estate to lease to private bidders! Generations have fought to keep parks open to the public; now RPD requires us to pay again to use what we've already paid for with our taxes.

RPD's new policies make the park system increasingly inaccessible for San Franciscans.

Please don't reinforce these destructive policies and practices.

Our next park bond CAN be done right to reflect the will of the people.

We love our parks; that's why we are urging you to Vote NO on this bond!

Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods Take Back Our Parks San Francisco Tomorrow Golden Gate Park Preservation Alliance

San Francisco's Neighborhoods OPPOSE Prop B!

CSFN urges you to say NO to this Park Bond at this time!

This bond was originally scheduled for 2014 because the money from the 2008 Bond hasn't all been spent yet... and there is a lot of uncommitted money left from that Bond: 49% of the 2008 Rec & Park Bond is still unspent!

We need to know where all the 2008 bond money went before we give the San Francisco Rec & Park Dep't (RPD) one more dime.

  • It's a matter of trust.

The RPD has not disclosed how or where they will spend $61.5M of this proposed bond. Rec & Park has not been responsive to the neighborhoods in this; it is neither transparent nor accountable.
  • Rec & Park must earn the public's respect.

San Francisco's Rec & Park Dep't is no longer improving our parks for use by the people of San Francisco. Instead, it's building facilities in our parks that benefit private corporations.

The RPD is no longer the steward of our open spaces; they are now developers who broker our taxpayer-supported parks and recreation facilities to the highest bidder. Don't reward their poor performance and bad behavior with even more bond funding!

Vote NO on Prop B!

Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods with Sunset Parkside Education & Action Committee (SPEAK) Established 1972 48 neighborhood organizations

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Who is behind the opposition to Prop B?

Unfortunately, a small group of individuals are opposing Proposition B because they disapprove of Recreation and Park Department efforts to improve our parks and better serve San Francisco's diverse communities.

San Franciscans should not allow a small group of individuals to take out their frustrations on seniors and those with disabilities who would benefit from increased accessibility; children who would benefit from safer playgrounds; nature lovers who walk our trails; and all San Franciscans who enjoy our parks and open spaces. That's not right.

FACT: Much of our park infrastructure is 60+80 years old. A 2007 assessment identified necessary renovations, ADA compliance, and seismic upgrades. Prop B will also fund upgraded park restrooms.

FACT: Required audits of previous park bonds affirm that funds were spent as planned. Prop B is subject to the same oversight and is the result of hundreds of hours of community meetings across the city, ensuring maximum community input.

FACT: Prop B will provide for cleanup of environmental contamination at the waterfront, improve water quality along the Bay, and increase water conservation in our parks.

FACT: Previous generations of San Franciscans have made smart investments in our parks, resulting in The Trust for Public Land giving San Francisco parks a #1 rating among the largest metropolitan areas nationwide.

Don't let a small group of unhappy individuals derail another smart investment.

Vote YES on B for Clean and Safe Parks.

San Francisco Parks Alliance

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:47 PST
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