you are not alone!
Most people visiting this site today are wondering what to make of the proposed Green Benefit District in Mission Dolores (MD-GBD). You may have received a notice in the mail from Parks Alliance asking you to sign and support a petition to put the MD-GBD on the ballot. Or, you may have received a flyer, postcard, or letter encouraging you to oppose the MD-GBD. Below is a general introduction, or jump to the Mission Dolores page for today's battlefront news.
The purpose of this website is to provide counterbalance to the City’s $240,000* campaign to convince property owners that they should impose an additional property tax/assessment on themselves. (*reimbursable Formation Costs, page 16 of their Management Plan)
In a nutshell, we oppose GBDs because, by law, they create another layer of administration—a new legal entity separate from City agencies—funded by another layer of taxes. For what? To provide the same services that the City is mandated to provide, but falls short. The proper solution is not to add another layer of administration and another layer of tax, but to pressure the City on how it spends its $11 billion budget.
That’s the core argument; our noGBDtax.org flyer fleshes out a half-dozen reasons to oppose GBDs, and we have collected excellent commentaries from reputable parties in our RESOURCES page where you will find independent newspaper articles, flyers, and interesting gems, like the cost to taxpayers to set up just one GBD (over $200,000) or the cost to run a GBD (35% of a GBD’s revenue goes to administration).
They say, “You can’t count on the government.” But if you are unhappy with how our government spends its $11 billion budget, is the answer to create another layer of administration funded by another layer of taxes?
Green Benefit Districts in San Francisco - A Brief History
Today's battlefront: Mission Dolores
Having failed in all attempts to establish GBDs after the first and only success in Dogpatch, the Department of Public Works and its favored non-profit, Parks Alliance/PlaceLab, have spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to establish a GBD in Mission Dolores. Learning from past failures, each step of the process has been gamed to minimize opposition (details see Mission Dolores page).
Update January 2020: In early April 2019, the campaign to collect signatures on a petition was started. Signatures of a weighted 30% of property owners is required to proceed. As of September 2019, five months later, only 10% had been obtained. That would be the low-lying fruit (the organizers), leaving a formidable challenge to collect another two times that.
Time to play another gaming card: The legislation failed to establish a maximum time to collect signatures so the proponents, unwilling to concede, have left the process open and have continued to talk up the GBD in neighborhood meetings. The battle continues!
See Mission Dolores page for more detail. To follow new developments sign up for the google group: Concerned MD Citizens (write to team@noGBDtax.org)
The first and only GBD was established in Potrero Hill/Dog Patch, a neighborhood with historically fewer services and now undergoing a development boom (the GBD was established with the help of developer money). Of special interest is the fact that the GBD spends 35% of its revenue on its own administration.
All subsequent attempts to establish GBDs have failed, as follow:
The GBD, proposed back in 2016, progressed quietly until citizens became aware and better educated about GBDs. A two-year battle ensued. As opposition grew, proponents scrambled to gerrymander the district. Eventually, “the campaign was put on hold,” then in November 2018 the steering committee issued the statement: “For a number of reasons, we have decided to end the Inner Sunset GBD formation effort.”
Benefiting from knowledge and advise from Inner Sunset, the campaign in GBV was defeated in less than a year. Jonathon Goldberg, DPW’s front man for GBD development, conceded “The opposition was successful.” In September 2018 the steering committee confirmed: “There are now 100+ No Votes for the GBD beyond the Yes votes,” and then in November 2018: “The GBD Steering Committee has decided not to proceed with the GBD concept due to the survey response.”
The Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association hosted “pro” and “con” meetings for the proposed GBD. Subsequently, the president of the association, Sally Stevens, took a public stand on the issue with her article published in the September 9th SFExaminer: Are Green Benefit Districts really worth the money? Sensing strong opposition, the City ceased to pursue it. Read complete Article
Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA)
The Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA) formally announced its opposition to any effort to establish a GBD in their neighborhood. Moreover, the DTNA formally the opposed the GBD proposed for Mission Dolores, adding significant support to its neighbor, the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association (MDNA). Read DTNA letter here