A “June Special Election” for San Francisco? What, Are You Kidding?

A lot of folks around town are talking about the city’s budget problems, and the prospects of a special election and whether it’d fly or not. While the City deals with its headaches, the MTA and MUNI are dealing with similar misery.
There’s a multitude of bad laws that deny people the right to determine what they want to do or not do locally (so much for local control of local government), but putting all that aside, I don’t see how anything put on the ballot for a “June Election” would succeed.
First, while the board voted to call out the situation as an “emergency” to get the ball rolling to have the actual election, there is nothing in writing, ready to go to the voters as of now. So that means we’ve got at least a few weeks, maybe a month before we’ll have some sort of tax thing, probably written in a hurry, that’ll be approved by the board and go through all the legal wrangling by early March.
Ok, now the fun begins. We have some sort of thing or things to “vote on” but guess what? No money raised, no campaign committee ready to go, nothing. And we’re in the beginning of March. That means that now, the group of Good People, trying to do whatever, have at best two and a half months to pass a major tax measure on the ballot, during terrible economic times, and when recent history has shown how hard it is to pass these things in the first place.
This is just asking for a fail. Let’s look at recent history:
-To get the SF General Hospital Bond passed (2008’s Measure A) took a tremendous amount of hard work by a committed team of experts, a lot of coalition building over a long period of time, and more, to win the supermajority needed to pass. And that was a huge bond for something most people like (i.e. most people are not likely to want to blow up the hospital).
-To get the MUNI Reform Measure passed (2007’s Measure A) took a significant amount of serious negotiations over many months before we finally got something worthy of the ballot. It eventually passed, but it had well-funded opposition and it took a hard working team to get it passed.
See where this is going? Without building up a solid coalition of support, and a campaign that can fight a tough fight with a solid organization, all this talk will just result in failure.
If you believe that some sort of new tax source is necessary to save the city, you might want to consider holding off a little bit and have a chance of winning, instead of the usual “put something on the ballot and hope it passes” strategy.

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