LPSF Ballot Recommendations – March 5, 2024 Election | Libertarian Party of San Francisco

LPSF Ballot Recommendations – March 5, 2024 Election

Cartoon of democrats / republicans saying that you should have voted republican / democrat

Proposition (“Affordable” Housing Bonds) – NO  

Here we go again. Another election, another tax increase in the form of borrowing money that taxpayers will be expected to repay – the least fiscally responsible way to fund stuff, since you have to pay a lot of interest on top of the actual amount you borrow. In this case, Controller Ben Rosenfield reports that the “best estimate” of the cost of borrowing $300 million by selling bonds would be “approximately $544.5 million”. Once again, proponents are playing dishonest word games to pretend that the bond measure is cost-free, claiming in their ballot argument that Prop. A “does not increase property tax rates”, even though the costs are right there in the controller’s statement, which notes that the cost for someone with a house valued at $700,000 would be approximately $55 a year.  


Proposition B (Police Staffing) – NO

It’s shameful how quickly some politicians have abandoned the calls for police reform they took up in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in 2020, and have now gone back to carrying water for the powerful law enforcement lobby. One side in this fight wants to hire more cops immediately out of the existing budget at the expense of other programs and services, while they other side wants to use the supposed need for more cops as an excuse to raise taxes. The reality is they are both wrong. San Francisco does not need more police. The city already has more law enforcement personnel, per capita, than Paris did under the hated regime of Louis the XIV before the French Revolution. Contrary to what fearmongers want you to believe, violent crime in the city is significantly lower than it was in past decades. But it’s higher than it would be if the politicians would stop criminalizing people for trying to protect themselves, and respect our individual right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.


Proposition (Real estate transfer tax exemption) – YES

Just about any tax reduction is good news, and the need to revitalize the downtown neighborhood by allowing vacant office buildings to be repurposed is severe enough that it’s gotten the mayor and some of the supervisors to rein in government greed for a change. While it wouldn’t Prop. C also has the admirable feature of allowing the Board of Supervisors to further reduce the transfer tax (but not raise it!) in the future, without special voter approval.


Proposition D (Ethics) – NO POSITION

When it comes to ethics measures on the ballot, we’re often reminded of the metaphor about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. This one will pass – they always do. Everyone claims they’re against corruption, at least until they get caught engaging in it. Yet the perennial problem of self-dealing doesn’t go away, because these measures never address the fundamental issue – government has too much power, which draws money and lobbying from those trying to get politicians and bureaucrats to use that power, and the stolen taxpayer money at their disposal, to benefit them and their interests, the way a big steaming pile of cow manure draws flies. While Proposition D might do some good on the margins by closing off a few avenues for city officials to enrich themselves at the public’s expense, it does nothing to rein in State power. As long as the excessive power over the economy and people’s lives is there, money will continue flowing into politics the way water flows downhill, routing around whatever obstacles are placed in its path. We also wonder what politically correct DEI type indoctrination may be bundled into the “ethics training” the measure would require city officials to undergo, although on the bright side, every hour they spend sitting around listening to lectures on ethics is an hour less to spend potentially engaged in other more harmful activities such as writing up new laws and regulations violating other people’s rights.


Proposition E (increased police powers) – NO
The way the ballot description for this measure opens is really misleading: “Shall the city allow the Police Department to hold community meetings before the Police Commission can change policing policies…?” What’s wrong with having more public input, right? But Prop. E’s presentation is deceptive, because whether or not there are community meetings about proposed changes in SFPD policies is not what’s at the heart of this measure. What it’s really about is expanding police powers at the expense of civil liberties. Adding more surveillance cameras, drones, and other intrusive new technologies to monitor and spy on the public, including at political protests. Letting police engage in high-speed car chases of suspects even if it endangers pedestrians and other members of the public (as such chases often do), etc. If you understand that we already live in too much of a police state, and that going further down this road will ultimately make all of us LESS, not more safe – as we hope Libertarians do – opposing this measure is a no-brainer.


Proposition F (Making people get drug tested to receive welfare) – NO
As long as the right to choose what you put into your own body is being wrongfully criminalized, a measure like Prop. F that adds new government policies further stigmatizing the use of banned substances is a step in the wrong direction. Government welfare is bad enough to begin with – it relies on stolen tax money and typically fosters a culture of dependency on government among recipients, often with rules that create perverse incentives for people not to work (e.g. paying them less if they get jobs). But when it starts to involve attempted social engineering by the State, it takes on a more sinister character. You may like the idea of incentivizing people to stop abusing drugs, but once the precedent of government discriminating against people whose lifestyles those in power don’t approve of is established, will you like it when you find yourself ineligible for various things your taxes have paid for because something you do is deemed to no longer be “politically correct”? Like, say, being denied health care benefits if you have “too much” screen time? If tax-funded welfare has a legitimate purpose it is a humanitarian one, not turning the state into a de facto church that punishes you for various perceived “sins”.


Proposition G (8th grade algebra) – NO POSITION

Libertarians generally favor the separation of School and State, and would like to see government get out of the education business altogether. So tinkering with the details of the curriculum in government-run schools doesn’t greatly excite us. Prop. G isn’t even a binding measure, but would simply put voters on record asking the school district to overturn its decision to stop offering algebra to 8th grade students (a subject it now offers only to those in high school, which proponents say harms those seeking to pursue a college prepratory focus on STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) that includes higher math classes in subjects like calculus. Our opinions about the value of algebra vary, but we generally support students and families having more educational choices. On the other hand, the most meaningful and positive educational choice they could make is getting their kids out of government schools. To the extent these schools fail to adopt reforms that ameliorate parental concerns and prompt more families to exit the SF Unified School District, this could be a positive outcome. Yet we’re reluctant to embrace this kind of cynical strategy of hoping things get worse in the short run.