There are seven San Francisco measures on your March 5 primary ballot. But many seem to be Trojan-horse proxy measures to help Mayor London Breed get reelected this November, in a very difficult reelection environment.

Your SF March 5 primary race features the obligatory renomination of Nancy Pelosi as US Congressional representative, the obligatory renomination of Scott Wiener as state Senator, a primary for a very much contested US Senate seat, and a couple of SF judge’s seats.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

But in San Francisco, voters will also determine the fate of seven local measures on March 5. The significant degree to which SF Mayor London Breed’s reelection campaign has been meddling in these measures can be seen in their campaign mailers below.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

Above we see the cover page of four-page mailers for the Breed-backed Prop E and Prop F. These mailers are quite similarly designed, perhaps by the exact same political consulting firm.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

Looking at Page 3 of these mailers, golly, do any similarities stand out here?  What, or whom, are these ads really for?

Breed is somehow front and center in the expensive, tech-money funded marketing campaigns for some of these measures. There are other measures she originally supported, but has since abandoned them like they were the feral cat out back.  

Here are your March 5 San Francisco ballot measures, and what they propose.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

PROP A - AFFORDABLE HOUSING BONDS

Breed herself introduced this measure for a $300 million housing bond to build more low-income housing and affordable housing. She has since been accused of “sabotaging” that bond’s passage.

Prop A has broad public support, and comes as the city faces a serious housing crunch. But Breed no longer associates herself with Prop A. Mission Local reported earlier this week that Breed’s fundraising emails no longer mention Prop A, but “overtly call for giving to Props C, E and F, but not Prop A.” A separate Mission Local report this week pointed out that a Breed-supporting PAC has been sending out mailers opposing Prop A.

Prop A is the only measure that needs a two-thirds majority (66.7%) to pass. Some high-profile low-income housing proposals are basically depending on Prop A’s passage for them to become a reality.


PROP B - POLICE STAFFING LEVELS

Breed also initially supported the police staffing measure Prop B, before she yanked her support. That was when the measure’s wording became a Twitter pissing match between its author, Supervisor Matt Dorsey, and mayoral candidate Supervisor Ahsha Safai. Safai added language that would require a new tax for police staffing additions, and also equally add staffing among other first-responder agencies.

Image: SFEthics.org

Since Safai’s changes, the No on Prop B campaign has raised the most money of any of single ballot campaign committee  —  for or against. Their current $1.3 million raised is the only March 5 ballot campaign that has raised north of a million dollars as of today, largely thanks to $748,000 in contributions from the political action committee (PAC) Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, which is still based in San Rafael.  

Image: SF Chamber of Commerce

PROP C - REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX EXEMPTION

The Breed-backed Prop C would exempt commercial properties from a transfer tax if the property was being converted into a residential or housing use. It’s part of a push to convert unused office space to housing, but critics see it as a giveaway to developers.

Either way, it’s not clear whether office-to-housing conversions are even financially feasible, because of the massive electrical and plumbing overhauls involved. Still, some developers are trying, and this measure could incentivize more of them to do so.

PROP D - CHANGES TO LOCAL ETHICS LAWS

Prop D is a nonpartisan measure to limit the kinds of gifts city officials can receive, in the wake of the Mohammed Nuru bribery scandals. It’s the rare proposition where the SF Democratic Party and SF Republican Party both support the measure.
That said, gifts to City Hall officials are not an issue that Mayor Breed is eager to discuss.  

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

PROP E - POLICE DEPARTMENT POLICIES

But Mayor Breed is very eager to discuss her Prop E proposal to expand police powers (though the ad above puts those policies in the fine print). It would allow SFPD to use technology like surveillance cameras, drone, and facial recognition without oversight or current restrictions. It would also give SFPD greater leeway to engage in car chases.

This being a “tough on crime” measure, the tech donor class is eagerly writing checks to support it. In an attempt to steal London Breed’s thunder, Breed’s wealthy mayoral rival candidate Daniel Lurie has created his own committee that has raised $700,00 to support Prop E. There’s also a separate Breed-endorsed Yes On E committee that has raised about the same amount, with contributions from the usual suspects like Ripple Labs founder and surveillance camera enthusiast Chris Larsen ($250,000) and Ron Conway ($147,000).

And this may be where trailing mayoral candidate Safai makes his play for progressive voters. Mission Local reports that Safai spoke at a No on Prop E rally outside the headquarters of tech incubator Y Combinator on Thursday. Y Combinator is the firm whose CEO Garry Tan posted the infamous “die slow motherfuckers” tweet, which was partially directed at Safai. Tan is also a prolific local political donor toward moderate causes.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

PROP F - DRUG SCREENING FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

Prop F would require drug testing for welfare and public assistance recipients, an idea that is of course also catnip for right-leaning donors. Trump fundraising local socialite Dede Wilsey gave $100,000 to the measure, Larsen kicked down $150,000, and the committee supporting the measure has raised more than $620,000.

The whole notion of cracking down on drug users may sound great. But an analysis from The Hill found that states that employ this same restriction spend more money on the drug testing than they save by denying benefits to a handful of people.

PROP G - EIGHTH GRADE ALGEBRA

This proposal would once again offer Algebra 1 to eighth-grade SFUSD students, something the district is already doing again anyway. This measure faces no formal opposition, and provides a great grandstanding point for some elected officials.  

Remember, you can now vote anytime by mail, any day though March 5 at the City Hall voting center, or at your local polling place on Tuesday, March 5.

Related: New Poll Shows Mark Farrell Beating London Breed in First-Choice Vote, and Breed Trailing In Ranked-Choice [SFNews]

Images: Joe Kukura, SFNews