What's happening on the mission dolores GBD?

Status: The formation committee of the Green Benefit District raced through the first steps of the process to stay ahead of the opposition. Presently, they are trying to get people to sign a PETITION that was mailed in April under a (promotional) cover letter to the property owners in the district. If 30% of the property owners sign “yes,” the committee can then mail a BALLOT to all property owners. If it goes to ballot, and 50%+1 of the people who vote, vote yes, the tax will apply to everyone, including those that vote against or did not vote.

Early opposition: The Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association voted against the GBD and volunteers distributed MDNA’s flyers door-to-door. MDNA’s letter of opposition appears at the bottom of this page. Our group, NoGBDtax.org, paid to mail postcards (pictured on home page) to the 1,500 largest property owners in the district, and started the Neighbor Outreach campaign (below).

Update September 1st

Busy summer! GBD organizers attempted a summer door-to-door campaign, and emailed people who took the original survey to solicit their yes votes on the petition. (We do not have equal access to those email addresses).

August 5th, the prestigious Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA) formally announced their opposition to the GBD proposed for Mission Dolores (as well as to any effort to start a GBD in their neighborhood), lending their support to their neighbor the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association (MDNA). Read DTNA letter here

noGBDtax.org did two mailings, the first went to 1,088 property owners that do not live in the district so would not have seen the flyers hand-delivered door-to-door. A second, targeted mailing went out the end of August to 385 property owners who were probably not aware that they would be paying twice the assessment of the thousands of property owners in the rest of the district simply because they live in a commercial sub-district, assessed the same as the commercial businesses.


How to stay informed

Write to Team@noGBDtax.org and we will add you to our google group “Concerned MD Citizens.” We try to keep everyone informed as best we can given that the GBD promoters tend to do things with little or no public notice to avoid opposition.

What to do with your petition -- How to make your “no” vote count

Technically, only “yes” votes are counted until they total a weighted 30% of property owners. The initial deadline of May 3rd, which expired months ago, is extended indefinitely. Since there is no regulation of the process, the proponents can keep the petition stage open as long as they want, even for years, hoping to get to 30%.

“No” votes do not officially stop the petition drive, however they may encourage the proponents to concede. So do mark your petition “no” and send the original back as instructed. Moreover, send a copy to Supervisor Rafael Mandelman (1 Dr Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall, Room 244, San Francisco, Ca. 94102 mandelmanstaff@sfgov.org). Originally neutral, Mandelman announced at a public meeting that he supports this extra tax. Tell him why you disagree.

If you need a petition, you can request one from http://www.doloresgbd.org/contact

Neighbor Outreach:

To prevent the proponents from getting enough “yes” votes on the petition, it is important to educate our neighbors ASAP.

We can provide you with a list of YOUR immediate neighbors, showing the property addresses, the GBD assessment amounts, the owners, and the owners’ addresses. Similar lists were distributed in the Inner Sunset, and people got to know their neighbors! The lists were passed around—neighbors knew other neighbors on the list, expanding the effort. The GBD effort had the effect of creating community - but not in the way GBD promoters intended! The Inner Sunset defeated their GBD.

Reaching out to neighbors is easy because you are informing them about a tax they may have to pay, which is a neighborly thing to do! They will thank you! A simple “Have you heard about the proposed new property tax” and giving them a flyer is all it takes. (noGBDtax.org flyer -or- MDNA flyer)

Contact us Team@noGBDtax.org for your list. And please tell us what you find!

Questions you may get from neighbors:

FAQ #1: Assessment amounts: are taken from the "Assessment Roll" document on promoter's site (Management Plan). The assessments are calculated from building sq. ft. and lot sq. ft. on record in the Assessor's office. (Our data is dependent on the accuracy of these sources, but any error rate is most likely low.)

FAQ #2: Voting power: Look for the largest assessments on your list. The greater the assessment, the greater the voting power of the property owner. A multi-unit building could out-vote two or three residences. Special effort is often necessary to reach the owners because the property is often rented—evident when the owners’ address differs from the property address. Ask your neighbors if they know the owners.

FAQ #3: When and how do we vote? Neighbors should send in the “petition” with a no vote now (instructions above). If it gets past the petition stage and they mail out ballots, it will be critical to motivate everyone to vote no on the ballot because: abstentions hurt! If people do not vote, the GBD could pass with just a few “yes” votes. But let’s work to stop it now, at the petition stage!


Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association Letter of Opposition

The letter below is a copy from the MDNA web site: MDNA Letter of Opposition

On June 22, 2014 the MDNA Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose a Green Benefit District (GBD) in the Mission Dolores Neighborhood after a group of our board members attended a meeting presented by former Supervisor Scott Wiener and the developer Michael Yarne, who promoted the idea.

On September 12, 2018 we heard evenly timed presentations from a Mission Dolores GBD Committee and an opposition group of citizens from the Inner Sunset and Buena Vista neighborhoods who had recently successfully defeated GBDs in their neighborhoods. At the end of the meeting our board refused to change their opposition to a GBD in Mission Dolores. In fact, the opposition was stronger than ever. Board member Robert Brust was a member of the visiting GBD Committee.

On February 13, 2019 the MDNA Board had an anti-GBD strategy meeting as part of our regular agenda. While GBD Committee members Robert Brust and Hans Kolbe asked us to change our position, after an hour debate the board voted overwhelmingly to write a letter of opposition and post it on our web site for everyone to see and refer to. (The vote was 10-2.) This is that letter. I’ll include our various bullet points below.

1. We oppose a new parcel tax on all property owners in the Mission

Dolores Neighborhood when the city already has a huge Rec & Park budget, spends hundreds of millions of dollars on the homeless, and spends more money on street cleaning than any other city of its size. Reference: SF’s filthy streets: We’re spending far more on cleaning than other cities, SF Chronicle, 9-10-18.

2. The self-appointed Mission Dolores GBD Committee recently oversaw a survey where only 9% of the property owners participated. Of those, the majority wanted more information. While they also stated that they wanted more services, they didn’t state that they wanted a GBD to do the work.

3. The GBD Committee is currently preparing a management plan to decide on how the proposed double tax will be assessed. They’re also planning an engineering report, even though they only received the 9% response and the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workplace Development (MOEWD) is allowing these extra funds to for spent for this process.

4. The meetings to establish the management plan and engineer’s report are being held behind closed doors, which is highly unethical, especially since they are being funded by the city.

5. While the city claims to be neutral, they’re also funding most of the outreach and development of the GBD. To our knowledge, this sum is currently over $150,000. They’re also funding the salary of DPW GBD Manager Jonathan Goldberg, who was clearly biased at the public meeting we attended.

6. The GBD Committee and DPW are now planning a skewed petition and vote this summer. The petition first requires 30% + 1 of ALL property owners to vote YES to approve the management plan. The election then requires a YES vote from 50% + 1 of only the property owners who vote to establish the GBD. Since a low turnout is expected, it is expected that a minority of voters could make this decision. Please remember the 9% response from the survey.

7. If the Mission Dolores GBD is approved, one third of all money raised will go to administration costs, including an executive director who would be paid a professional salary. The current executive director of the NW Potrero Hill/Dog Patch GBD has a salary of $125,000. She also has a paid assistant. So, we’re expecting a Mission Dolores GBD executive director to be paid far more, since it’s a much larger area.

8. As for that area, the proposed boundaries ignore the unanimously adopted Mission Dolores Historic Context Statement and survey boundaries and extend our neighborhood all the way to Castro Street. Those professionally prepared documents were unanimously adopted by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) on March 7, 2010. We’re now working on making the Mission Dolores Neighborhood an historic District with plenty of support. For your reference, our preservation work since 2005 was funded by our members and the MOEWD. We therefore find this extended neighborhood map highly disrespectful and ignorant of our neighborhood history.

9. With respect to all of our neighbors who have been frustrated with city services, creating a new parcel tax and turning hundreds of thousands of dollars over to a non-professional citizens group is not the way to get more services, since it will only distract SFPD, DPW, MTA, Rec & Park, and the Department of Homeless and Supportive Housing from doing their jobs. Just imagine calling one of those departments and being referred to the GBD?

10. MDNA already have a productive working relationship with the city and Supervisor Mandelman. In fact, we meet with them on a regular basis and we don’t need a GBD standing in the way of those relationships.

11. Please join MDNA and get involved. We have one of the most beautiful neighborhoods, a great renovated park, the oldest historic resource (Mission Dolores Church), and arguably the most outstanding boulevard in San Francisco (Dolores Street).

Thank you and best wishes,

Peter Lewis, President