Downtown San Francisco (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)
Below is an edited transcript.
HOST CY MUSIKER: Over the next few weeks, we will be talking about local elections, including races in Oakland and Berkeley, plus partial taxes and school bonds around the Bay. Today we are looking at the most critical races in San Francisco and we are talking to Corey Cook. He directs the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco. And Corey, let’s start with a couple of propositions on the ballot, the highest profile involves the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite Park and no pun intended because it’s around 4,000 feet. Measure F requires the city to study how to drain Hetch Hetchy and replace it as a source of hydropower and water for more than two million people living in San Francisco, the Peninsula and the East Bay.
COREY COOK: Right. In sum, it is a fairly small initiative and it all it does is fund a $8 million study and on one hand, it is really a small scale. On the other hand, the plan is then put on the ballot in San Francisco, an initiative that would ultimately drain Hetch Hetchy, which as you know, it would affect 2.5 million people, it would be enormously costly and as a result you really see this. Every member of the Board of Supervisors and the mayor united in opposition to this measure.
MUSIKER: Mayor Ed Lee and others are backing a Measure E. That is the next measure we are going to talk about. That would convert the city’s chief business tax from one taxing payroll size to one taxing business receipts. And that’s getting a rare consensus again of everybody on the supervisors but also labor and business, progressives and conservatives, why is that?
COOK: Well, in this case, yes, everybody is basically on the “yes” side and for three reasons. One is that the existing payroll tax has been called a job killer because, effectively, it taxes hiring. It taxes payroll. So as the tax on payroll, it’s been unpopular for business, it’s been unpopular for supervisors and with the Mayor certainly for a long time. But it is revenue positive and so certainly, labor is in favor and some of the more progressive voices in the city are happy because it de-rate $28.5 million annually, and it exempts small businesses. So it serves something for everybody. This is this grand compromise that did unite these different fractions in San Francisco. Continue reading