June 2018 revenue measures

23 03 2018

This June, San Francisco voters will be asked to weigh in on two ballot revenue measures that address important needs – Proposition D for Housing and Proposition C for Childcare. The Council of Community Housing Organizations, comprised of 25 community and faith-based nonprofit affordable housing developers, advocates, and service providers, is looking closely at these two measures.

The housing measure would provide $60-$70 million annually for housing for the homeless, seniors and transitional age youth, as well as residential hotel acquisitions, and funds for middle-income housing. The childcare measure would provide funding needed for childcare and preschool for San Francisco’s growing workforce, and would raise about $130 million annually.

Recently, the Beyond Chron blog asserted that CCHO has “rejected” and “opposed” the housing measure and that such a position was “hypocrisy.” These assertions are both incorrect and misguided.

The truth is that CCHO’s membership is still working through a formal coalition position on both the housing measure and the childcare measure. Supporting a ballot measure that proposes funding for critically needed affordable housing may seem obvious, but the particular circumstances of these two revenue measures have put housing and community development advocates, including our broad coalition, in a challenging position.

The housing measure has an explicit winner-take-all provision (some describe as a “poison pill”) that would invalidate the childcare measure depending on votes received. While none of the CCHO housing organizations were involved in crafting the housing measure, we are now forced into the difficult process of taking a position on a divisive situation that goes against the kind of coalition building CCHO believes in. Many of our members worry that endorsing the poison pill sets a precedent for using critical policies such as housing and childcare as wedge issues in partisan campaigns.

This is clearly a difficult position not just for housing advocates, but also for community development organizations working across the spectrum of housing production and resident services, who strongly believe in both affordable childcare and affordable housing. Some of CCHO’s member organizations have endorsed the housing measure, some have endorsed the childcare measure, some have endorsed both and some have stayed neutral on both.

The thoughtfulness with which CCHO and many other housing, service-provider, tenant, and community organizations, as well as labor unions across the City, are approaching these two measures is not, as Beyond Chron puts it, “hypocrisy.” It is about integrity and maintaining independent positions in the face of partisan politics.

The Council of Community Housing Organizations will take the time we need to make a decision that respects the coalition of organizations and communities that we represent.