What's happening on the mission dolores GBD?
Update January 2020
"Out of sight, out of mind": Mission Dolores GBD moves forward in the shadows
Promoters of a Green Benefit District for the neighborhood around Dolores Park have tried unsuccessfully since last April to obtain adequate signatures from local property owners on a Petition to the Board of Supervisors requesting a special election to form this new tax assessment district. Despite the failure to gather the required signatures, members of the Mission Dolores GBD formation committee continue to promote the project at neighborhood meetings.
The Petition drive, conducted with City funding by the San Francisco Parks Alliance, has now gone on for approximately 250 days with no end in sight. By contrast, the maximum time to qualify a ballot initiative in San Francisco is 180 days.
The City continues to promote the Mission Dolores GBD by allowing the Petition phase to continue indefinitely. The City is also turning a blind eye to the flawed Engineer's Report which ostensibly provides the legal basis for defining the "special benefits" the GBD would provide (see Resources section: Engineer’s Report for explanation and supporting documents).
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Write to Supervisor Rafael Mandelman to tell him "enough is enough." It's time to pull the plug on this protracted and wasteful MDGBD Petition Drive; it's time to stop wasting public funds and City staff time promoting an idea which absolves the City from providing basic health and safety services and which has clearly been rejected by local property owners.
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, City Hall
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place room 244, San Francisco CA 94102- 4689
If you hear of any pro-GBD efforts, please notify us at Team@nogbdtax.org
Scroll down to MORE LOCAL EFFORT IS NEEDED for more suggestions.
Gaming the Process -- how we got to where we are
Having failed in every attempt to establish a GBD since the first and only GBD in Dogpatch, the formation committee, ParksAlliance, and the Department of Public Works, have gamed every step of the process:
Survey The GBD proposed for Greater Buena Vista was defeated at the early survey stage. So the MD survey was terminated quickly, declaring that a 9% participation rate showed adequate support to rush to the next step. The survey, in essence a “push poll,” was crafted to make a “no” vote difficult to cast by listing it at the end of a long list of questions that all required answers, which were then used to argue “support.”
Neighborhood Outreach: The requirement for public meetings to assess neighborhood interest was “fulfilled” by selective meetings marketing to strategic groups. Meanwhile, a deaf ear was turned to formal local opposition: the prestigious Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association (MDNA) voted against the GBD and issued a strong letter of opposition (Read MD letter here). On August 5th, the neighboring Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA) preemptively voted against any GBD in their adjacent area, and formally denounced the proposed GBD for Mission Dolores (Read DTNA letter here). In short, from the beginning the formation committee with City support has engaged in a marketing effort, not an impartial feasibility study.
The Management Report & Engineers’ Report, posted April 11, 2019 without notice, was quickly followed by three public meetings squeezed into 12 days with very little announcement, again scripted for marketing not feedback.
Indeed, there are serious flaws in the report: 95% of the benefits of public space services and improvements provided by the GBD are assigned to property owners and only 5% to the general public. The report's rationale is that more than 98% of the people using public space are there to go shopping.
Absent a benefit district, 100% of public space services are provided by the City, paid for by all taxpayers, and benefit everyone. The types of public space services provided by a GBD are also provided by the City - street and sidewalk cleaning and beautification, graffiti removal, and policing.
The not-so hidden agenda demonstrated by the engineer's report assignment of benefits, along with benefit district "weighted voting" is allowing the largest property owners to control our public spaces. (go to Resources, section: Engineering Report for further explanation with supporting documents.)
Today’s Game: The petition phase has no expiration date. The proponents are now taking advantage of this loophole in the legislation, refusing to concede while they devise a new strategy.
noGBDtax.org in Mission Dolores
Veterans of past anti-GBD victories, from the Inner Sunset and Greater Buena Vista, continue to oppose City tax money being used to convince enclaves that they need another tax to do what the City is failing to do. In Mission Dolores, we mailed postcards (pictured on home page) to the 1,500 largest property owners in the district. That was followed by a mailing 1,088 property owners that do not live in the district so would not have seen the flyers hand-delivered door-to-door. A third 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.
noGBDtax.org set up a google group to keep interested parties informed and a kickstarted fund, and initiated the Neighbor Outreach campaign (below).
LOCAL EFFORT NEEDED TO DEFEAT THIS:
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
Status: PETITION 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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.