Don’t Privatize our Parks and City!
Today’s Battlefront: Mission Dolores
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 found a flyer or the postcard appearing here in your mailbox encouraging you to oppose the MD-GBD.
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, but there are several more facets to this ill-conceived tax. We have collected excellent commentaries from reputable parties in our RESOURCES page where you will find find independent newspaper articles, flyers, and interesting gems, like the cost to taxpayers to set up just one GBD (over $200,000—see Build Public Formation Fee), or the cost to run a GBD (35% of a GBD’s revenue goes to administration. see 990 tax form of the Dogpatch/Potrero GBD).
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?
noGBDtax.org is an informal group of citizens most of whom fought and defeated GBDs in their neighborhoods and now pay-it-forward to help other targeted neighborhoods. (Learn More About Us) Contact us if you have any questions Team@noGBDtax.org
Status Report (May 2019)
Today's battlefront: Mission Dolores
Having failed in their last three attempts to establish GBDs (detailed below), the Department of Public Works and its favored non-profit Parks Alliance/PlaceLab are spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars and pulling out all stops to establish a GBD in Mission Dolores. Ignoring the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association (MDNA) which voted against the GBD, the proponents conducted a quick survey and stretched to declare that a 9% participation rate showed adequate support to rush to the next step. The Management Report & Engineers’ Report, posted April 11th without notice, was quickly followed by three public meetings squeezed into 12 days—the entire process accelerated to avoid opposition. To follow today’s fast moving 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.
Since then, the City tried to promote GBDs in two more-established neighborhoods and was defeated in both. It also tested the waters in a third but withdrew in the face of strong opposition.
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 More