Proposition A:

Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond


To improve fire, earthquake and emergency response by:
improving and/or replacing deteriorating cisterns, pipes, and tunnels, and related facilities to ensure firefighters a reliable water supply for fires and disasters; improving and/or replacing neighborhood fire and police stations;
replacing certain seismically-unsafe police and medical examiner facilities with earthquake-safe buildings and to pay related costs, shall the City and County of San Francisco issue $400,000,000 in general obligation bonds, subject to citizen oversight and regular audits?


what your vote means


If you vote "yes," you want to allow the City to sell up to $400 million in general obligation bonds to finance the construction, improvement and seismic retrofitting of specific public safety and emergency response facilities.


If you vote "no," you do not want to allow the City to sell bonds to finance the construction, improvement and seismic retrofitting of specific public safety and emergency response facilities.


campaign arguments


Proponent's Argument

Proposition A rebuilds and restores our aging emergency
firefighting water system and prepares San
Francisco for a major disaster.

After the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, San
Francisco burned to the ground for the sixth time. To
prevent San Francisco from burning again, residents
called for the construction of the world's best emergency
firefighting water system.

Today, the deteriorating 100 year-old system requires
rehabilitation. On March 12, a 5-alarm fire consumed a
major Mission Bay project under construction. That
fire would have caused greater damage had San
Francisco's newer emergency firefighting water supply
system not been in place.

Equally troubling, other facilities for first-responders
are in seismically unsafe buildings that could fall after
a major earthquake.

Proposition A:
* Ensures a steady supply of high-pressure water,
giving firefighters a critical tool to fight major fires;
* Replaces deteriorating pipes, improves pump stations,
and builds additional new cisterns citywide;
* Improves seismically deficient and substandard
neighborhood fire and police stations;
* Constructs a new resilient police motorcycle unit,
crime lab and medical examiner facilities.

Proposition A will NOT increase property tax rates.
There will be independent citizen oversight of spending
and financial audits. Specific legal requirements
encourage the hiring of local residents for construction
jobs, contributing to the City's economic vitality.
Earthquake scientists say the odds are 2 in 3 that a
disastrous earthquake will strike San Francisco before
2040. That's why your support is critical NOW. Please
help us improve earthquake and fire safety in our City
by voting YES on A.

Mayor Ed Lee
Board of Supervisors President David Chiu
Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White*
Police Chief Greg Suhr*

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

Opponent's Rebuttal
"Proposition A would allow an increase in the property
tax to pay for the bonds. It would permit landlords
to pass through 50% of the resulting property
tax to tenants."

That's the language the official Ballot Simplification
Committee (tasked to come up with simple, factual
descriptions of ballot measures) used to describe this
$400 million spending proposal.

But proponents claim in their ballot argument that
"Proposition A will NOT increase property tax rates."
Compare those two statements. Clearly either one or
the other is misleading at best!

Which statement do you think more accurately reflects
what will happen if Prop. A passes?

Ask yourself, "Should I trust people who try to mislead
me? Should I vote the way they want me to

Now consider these two different methods of financing
seismic upgrades:

(1) Set a little money aside from your budget each
year to go toward upgrading facilities one by one, prioritizing
those most in need.

(2) Spend nothing for many years, then go out and
borrow a large sum of money that costs you nearly
twice as much as the amount of the loan due to interest
and financing costs, to pay for all the upgrade
work you've been neglecting (Prop. A).

If someone proposed the second approach to you,
would you consider them to be responsible leaders
whom you would want to entrust with your resources
and safety?

We urge a "NO" vote on Proposition A.

Libertarian Party of San Francisco


Opponent's Argument
No one would argue against safe buildings and a functioning
emergency response system, but is an expensive
bond measure the most prudent use of taxpayer
money to accomplish these goals? By lumping all
these reasonable improvements under one "proposed
project," the Board of Supervisors has inflated the cost
and declared a bond is necessary. By the time the citizens
pay for the interest, legal expenses, bond fees,
and oversight committee costs, the $400 million cost
will almost double. With the expected cost overruns
that always accompany these bond projects, we can
expect to pay a lot more.

Rather than ignoring basic infrastructure for decades
and then declaring the costs too great to pay out of
current operating funds, there is a better way. With a
current budget of $7.3 billion, surely city officials can
bring back the fiscal prudence of major improvement
funds, which call for setting aside a small portion
annually to upgrade facilities. Then projects can be
funded on a priority basis and paid for one at a time,
not all at once, without incurring unnecessary debt for
the future. No bond measure today should be
approved by the taxpayers without a clause establishing
major improvement funds.

Vote NO on A. By voting NO, tell the Board of
Supervisors to go back to the drawing board and
include a clause for establishing major improvement
funds and act like the true trust keepers of taxpayer
money that they are supposed to be. Demand that our
government officials fund the basic services of government,
which includes the upkeep of safe government
buildings, out of their huge operating budget each
year, not with costly bond measures that force our
children and grandchildren to pay for debt that we
choose to incur.

Libertarian Party of San Francisco

Proponent's Rebuttal

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously
to place the 2014 Earthquake Safety and
Emergency Response bond on the June 2014 ballot
because the City's general fund simply cannot pay for
these kinds of urgent, extensive infrastructure investments
to protect and safeguard our homes, businesses
and communities. ESER 2014 will allow for critical
upgrades to our first-response facilities without
raising property taxes + a prudent, time-tested policy
cemented in our City's 10-Year Capital Plan.

ESER 2014 continues the work of the Earthquake
Safety and Emergency Response general obligation
bond program that was overwhelmingly approved by
San Francisco voters in 2010. It has helped the City
begin a wide range of vital projects, including
improvements to neighborhood firehouses and the
emergency firefighting water system.

San Francisco is located in earthquake country and,
unfortunately, history has shown us the devastation
quakes can cause. Being prepared is crucial to limiting
damage and speeding our post-disaster recovery. This
$400 million investment will improve deteriorating
and outdated public safety systems relied on by all
San Franciscans.

Responding quickly in the event of a major disaster or
emergency directly impacts on how well we, as a city,
can recover after a major emergency.

Mayor Ed Lee
Board of Supervisors President David Chiu
Supervisor John Avalos
Supervisor London Breed
Supervisor David Campos
Supervisor Malia Cohen
Supervisor Mark Farrell
Supervisor Jane Kim
Supervisor Eric Mar
Supervisor Katy Tang
Supervisor Scott Wiener
Supervisor Norman Yee


tax rate statement

City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following
statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition A:

Should the proposed $400 million in bonds be authorized
and sold under current assumptions, the approximate
costs will be as follows:

* In fiscal year 2015+2016, 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 $13 million and result in a property tax rate of $0.0069 per $100 ($6.79 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
* In fiscal year 2020+2021, following issuance of the last series of bonds, the estimated annual costs of debt service would be $33.9 million and result in a property tax rate of $0.0149 per $100 ($14.69 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
* The best estimate of the average tax rate for these bonds from fiscal year 2014-2015 through 2039+2040 is $0.0097 per $100 ($9.61 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 $74.53.

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.


Additional information

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