San Francisco Voters Express Frustration with Tent Living

Voters appear to have passed the most contentious ballot measure in San Francisco, Proposition Q, that allows city workers to remove tent encampments if shelter is available. Voters in other Bay Area counties passed taxes for affordable housing.

2 minute read

November 11, 2016, 8:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid

Homeless Encampment

This sight is becoming more common in cities all over the country, including San Francisco. | Joshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock

"San Francisco voters were venting their frustrations over homeless tent encampments in election returns Tuesday, while throughout the Bay Area a flurry of big-bucks ballot measures aimed at creating housing for homeless people was mostly on pace for approval," reports Kevin Fagan is a longtime reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle.

The hot-button homelessness issue on the San Francisco ballot was Proposition Q, which would let city workers remove tents from the street with 24 hours’ notice, provided that the transients in them were offered shelter or a ticket out of town to be reunited with family or friends.

However, there was no funding for housing in the measure. The sales tax increase, Proposition K, that would have funded new housing and transportation spending, was overwhelmingly rejected by voters, receiving less than 35 percent of the vote.

Prop. K would have boosted the city sales tax [by .75 percent] to 9.25 percent to generate the new money — including $100 million annually for transportation — and Prop. J establishes a special fund for spending homelessness allocations.

As of Thursday morning, Prop. Q was passing with 52.78 percent of the vote, but the result has yet to be certified despite 100 percent of precincts reporting due to mail-in ballots yet to be counted.

Fagan also reports on ballot measures in other Bay Area counties that provide funds for affordable housing that were approved by voters:

  • Measure A in Santa Clara County, which would direct $950 million in bond money toward supportive housing, needed to pass with a two-thirds majority, which it barely reached, with 67.35 percent voting 'yes'.
  • Alameda County’s $580 million Measure A1 bond also needed two-thirds approval. It passed with 72.32 percent of the vote.
  • San Mateo County’s $300 million Measure K half-cent sales tax extension, which required a simple majority, won with 70 percent.

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