Instant Runoff Voting
Open Government Data
San Francisco Board Of Supervisors
San Francisco Mayor
San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)
School Budget Cuts
Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council
Plastic Bag Ban
San Francisco Budget Deficit
The San Francisco Assessor-Recorder is responsible for: locating all taxable property and identifying the ownership, establishing a taxable value for all property, maintaining public records, collecting City revenues, conducting fair and efficient assessments, and improving customer services and technology. Phil Ting is the current Assessor-Recorder for the City and County of San Francisco. Phil Ting is a solutions-focused, innovative reformer, and in 2010 he launched Reset SF to engage San Franciscans in improving SFGov and finding solutions to our City’s biggest challenges.
Let’s say SFMTA wants to create a new train design that fits more riders, uses less energy, and doors don’t open while moving. Instead of hiring an outside firm, MTA broadcasts the project to all San Franciscans. Participants form into online communities, submit solutions, and everyone sorts through them to find the best ones. It’s not outsourcing; it’s crowdsourcing. It’s a method of distributed problem solving where government could tap the incredible but underused talent of its citizens to efficiently find solutions that are more effective and hold more legitimacy. A broad network of passionate volunteers, who have diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences, can develop surprising, forward-thinking ideas to address our society’s most complex issues. Let’s make local government more effective and crowdsource City Hall! What are your ideas?
What if you could keep in touch with your elected officials in government just like you keep in touch with your friends on Facebook? When the Board of Supervisors considers a new law, you could “Like It”, leave a comment or create a YouTube video to tell policymakers what you think. Government 2.0 is about using technology to transform our democracy into a platform that is participatory, collaborative, transparent and efficient. It’s not just better government, it’s user-generated government. From transportation to education, the digital revolution is transforming government and politics, slashing bureaucracies; improving services; producing innovative solutions to some of our nation’s thorniest problems; changing the terms of the Left/Right political debate; and offering ordinary people greater influence in the decision-making process, rather than just the most powerful special interests.
INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING
With Instant Runoff Voting, voters get one vote and one ballot, but get to rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate wins with a first-choice majority, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their supporters’ second choices are distributed to the remaining candidates in an “instant runoff.” The process of elimination and redistribution continues until one candidate has a majority. IRV replaces the traditional low-turnout, high-cost, two-candidate runoff elections. Voters don’t have to fear wasting their vote, and it reduces “split votes” among minority candidates. Nevertheless many voters find the system confusing, unsettling and disenfranchising.
Open government means that citizens have the right to access government documents and proceedings. People have the power to be watchdogs over their politicians and bureaucrats. Government transparency and accountability creates new opportunities for meaningful civic engagement and effective public oversight. When people get more involved on a day-to-day basis, we can reduce corruption, improve public policy outcomes, and strengthen our democratic institutions. What would you change to make it easier to participate in the government process?
OPEN GOVERNMENT DATA
The San Francisco government has an enormous amount of data, but it’s of little value if it’s hoarded. Open government data means sharing government records over the Internet and letting people analyze and reuse it. The Internet is the public space of the modern world, and making data available to the widest range of people for the widest range of purposes can make government more effective, transparent, and relevant to our lives. Open data increases civil discourse, improves public welfare, and promotes a more efficient use of public resources. Governments now have the opportunity to better understand the needs of their citizens and citizens may participate more fully in their government.
Public financing, or publicly funded political campaigns, is a system where the public, rather than private interests, fund the campaigns of candidates, ensuring that politicians are accountable only to voters, rather than special interest contributors. To qualify, candidates must receive $25,000 from at least 250 San Francisco contributors. The City gives $4 for every $1 candidates raise, and after $125,000, the City will match $1 for $1. By participating in the public financing program candidates agree to a spending cap of $1,375,000 and participate in 3 debates. Contribute to the debate: is this an efficient use of taxpayer dollars? Does it reduce the influence of special interests and overall campaign spending?
SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the legislative body of the City and County of San Francisco. SF is divided into 11 single-member districts, though historically the Board was elected at-large. Supervisors are elected to 4-year terms and may serve 2 successive terms. The current Board consists of Eric Mar (D1), Mark Farrell (D2), President David Chiu (D3), Carmen Chu (D4), Ross Mirkarimi (D5), Jane Kim (D6), Sean Elsbernd (D7), Scott Wiener (D8), David Campos (D9), Malia Cohen (D10), John Avalos (D11). Join the debate about redrawing the Supervisor districts and eliminating Supervisor term limits.
SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR
The San Francisco Mayor is the head of the executive branch of San Francisco’s government. S/he enforces city laws and has the power to approve or veto bills. The Mayor is also elected to a four-year term and is limited to two successive terms. The current Mayor is Edwin Lee. The San Francisco mayoral election will be held Tuesday, November 8, 2011, and it will be first city-wide election to use IRV.
For a long time, the Internet, and how we use it, was a strict one-way street. You would simply go to a website and passively read some content written by the website creator. Most websites operate in this Web 1.0 mode. Web 2.0 is about interacting and transcending these limitations. A Web 2.0 site, like Wikipedia, Twitter or Reset San Francisco, allows you to engage and collaborate with other users in creating and sharing information and ideas. It’s a social dialogue where you are both a consumer and a creator of user-generated content in a virtual community.
BART is the Bay Area’s rapid transit system connecting SF, the East Bay and San Mateo County with 104 miles of track and 44 stations. As the 5th busiest heavy-rail system in the US, nearly a third of a million people ride BART every week. Next year, BART expects a $28 million surplus; what would you do with the money? Discuss your priorities for improving BART.
Clipper Card is an all-in-one reloadable transit card that integrates fare payment for 7 of the Bay Area’s transit agencies: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Muni, SamTrans, and VTA. However, the roll out of the Clipper Card has been a disaster: buying and using a Clipper Card can be difficult, confusing, and fraught with technical difficulties, not to mention some transit riders have been victims of scams.
Muni is SF’s public transit system and the 7th largest in the US with 71 bus lines, 7 light rail lines, 3 cable car lines and the historic streetcar line. Muni is also one of the slowest system, partly due to the number of stops on transit lines. With the implementation of GPS monitoring, trip planning is easier. Sites and apps, like NextBus, provide real-time predictions of arrival times, but the frequency and on-time performance of buses and trains has been a major problem. Share your ideas about how to reform Muni.
SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) is San Francisco’s mobility manager and operates the entire surface transportation network that encompasses pedestrians, bicycling, transit, traffic and parking and regulates the taxi industry. Join the conversation about improving MTA and SF’s transportation system.
SFPark is a new MTA program to help people park smarter in San Francisco. A network of wireless sensors drives the SFPark app to give you real-time availability and prices for parking on the streets and garages. The goal is to help drivers stop circling for parking spots, make our streets safer and reduce parking tickets.
A bully is a person who uses strength or power to harm, intimidate or force those who are weaker to do what s/he wants. Join the discussion about how to stop bullying, raise awareness about hate crimes and make our schools safer.
SAN FRANCISCO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (SFUSD)
SFUSD is the public school district for the entire City of San Francisco. Governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education, SFUSD serves more than 56,000 students in more than 160 institutions. It utilizes an intra-district school choice system and requires students and parents to submit a selection application. The middle school enrollment process used to consist of a lottery system to assign students to schools, but a new process is underway that more heavily accounts for where a student lives. Join the conversation about creating neighborhood schools, school boundaries and education equity.
SCHOOL BUDGET CUTS
Everyone agrees that schools need more money. SFUSD plans to cut $113 million over the next two years – the largest cuts in SFUSD history. Class sizes are increasing and teachers are being laid off. 12 of our schools have been named as some of our state’s worst. What is the best, most cost-effective way to improve our education system? How should school funding be spent? How do we get parents more involved and write curriculum that prepares our children for the 21st century economy?
A standardized test is a test that is designed, facilitated, scored and administered in a consistent manner across education institutions. Share your thoughts and ideas about standardized tests and improving school, teacher and student performance.
Go Solar SF is San Francisco’s first municipal solar energy incentive program. Coupled with the California Solar Initiative, Go Solar SF could pay for more than half the cost of a solar power system. This program has quadrupled the number of solar roofs in the city, created scores of new green jobs, and attracted nearly a dozen new solar companies to SF. But there is a proposal to cut this successful green program – sign the petition to save GoSolarSF.
HAIGHT ASHBURY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL RECYCLING CENTER
Since 1974, the HANC has operated the recycling center at Kezar Stadium, and the proceeds are used to fund neighborhood and community programs that serve residents and residential needs, enhancing communication between neighbors and neighborhoods. How can we increase recycling (and composting) and create a network of recycling centers that benefit our community?
PLASTIC BAG BAN
In 2007, SF passed a law banning plastic bags in supermarkets and pharmacies. These bags are difficult to recycle, easily blown into trees and waterways, kill marine life and fill up landfills. Before the ban, 180 million plastic bags were distributed to shoppers each year in SF. Many residents are calling for the ban to be expanded to more businesses as well as expand the ban to paper bags to encourage the use of reusable cloth bags.
San Francisco’s city employee pension costs, wages and benefits are expected to grow by $648 million over the next 5 years. The debate over reforming the pension system is reaching fever pitch. This November voters will vote on a pension reform ballot measure, but currently there are several competing proposals.
California Proposition 13, the “taxpayer revolt” was a constitutional amendment approved by voters and enacted in 1978 that significantly limited the tax rate for real estate. The real estate tax was restricted to 1% of the property value (in 1975) and restricted annual increases of assess value to 2%. There have been many positive and negative impacts and the debate over reforming Prop 13 rages on. For instance, commercial properties are able to exploit huge tax loopholes to avoid reassessment upon change in ownership. Add your voice to the discussion about how we can close the Prop 13 tax loophole, better fund our schools and make our tax code fair and equitable.
SAN FRANCISCO BUDGET DEFICIT
San Francisco is facing a $306 million budget deficit to for the fiscal year starting July 1. SF’s leaders will have to exercise severe fiscal discipline and compromise to fill the hole. City employee wages and benefits are the main targets for savings. What would you cut, what you save and what taxes would you reform if you were a Supervisor? The budgeting process is contentious, but our government employees, the experts of government bureaucracy, have a lot of ideas to make SFGov more effective and efficient.
Gentrification is the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas, which often displaces poorer, working-class residents because of increased rents, house prices, and property taxes. The Twitter tax break plan creates a payroll-tax exemption zone to keep tech companies in SF; the law aims to revitalize the Mid-Market/ Tenderloin area but will it gentrify (yet another) SF neighborhood?
A homeless person is an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, safe and adequate night-time residence. The City spends upwards of $200 million/year trying to help the 13,500 homeless on the street or in city-funded housing, but SF’s homeless problem continues to be the worst in the country. How do we make the City’s efforts to help the homeless more effective?
The Civil Sidewalks ordinance, i.e. Proposition L passed last year by SF voters, criminalized sitting or lying down on the sidewalk between 7am and 11pm. When someone violates the law, the officer must first inform them of the law and ask them to get up; if they refuse they are issued a warning, and repeat offenders may be cited and fined $50-$100. The law is intended to reduce loitering and panhandling that may be intimidating and clogs up sidewalks, but opponents assert it criminalizes the poor, goes against the spirit of San Francisco and costs a lot to enforce.
Urban agriculture (or farming or gardening) is the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities. Share your ideas for expanding urban agriculture across the city and increasing access to fresh, safe, sustainable food.
A beat cop, or foot patrol, is a police officer who walks, rides, cycles, or drives in a specific neighborhood, i.e. “beat”, and as the officer becomes well-known in the community, it creates a positive relationship between law enforcement and the community. Community policing, where neighbors interact and support the police, can help control crime and reduce fear, but it can be expensive and draw resources from timely emergency response.
The San Francisco Bay Area is riddled with earthquake faults, and the next large earthquake is likely to hit our region sometime in the next few decades. Most, but not all, of our buildings have been made to withstand the effects of an earthquake, but all of us need to be ready when it happens. SFGov has a website (72hours.org) to help people prepare themselves and their families for an emergency. There is also a new government 2.0 tool, AlertSF, that sends emergency info via text message. Share your ideas: how can we ensure all San Franciscans are safe and prepared in a natural disaster?
Over the last year, unemployment in SF has risen more than 3% to a painful total of 9.2% of our workforce. Policy makers, community leaders, small business entrepreneurs and corporate executives must collaborate to find solutions and invest in our City. We have a monumental challenge in front of us: how can we spur economic growth and create high-wage jobs while preserving our quality of life? What do you think are the obstacles to creating jobs and how do we create a bro-business, pro-jobs environment?
A living wage is the minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to meet basic needs – housing, food, utilities, transport, health care, and recreation. San Francisco’s living wage is set at $11.54/hour, which only applies to public workers, and the minimum wage is $9.79/hour. A living wage for a full-time worker supporting a family of 2 adults and 2 children is $32.70/hour. Would raising the minimum wage to the living wage stimulate or harm SF’s economy?
San Francisco’s Local Hiring Ordinance, the toughest in the nation, mandates that city residents be hired for municipal construction projects. At least 20% of the company’s workforce must reside in SF, and it increase by 5% each year over 7 years to 50%. Local hire keeps taxpayer dollars in the City but unions say it is discriminatory and impractical.
Housing is generally considered “affordable” if a household pays no more than 30% of its income on housing. SF is one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation. Without affordable housing options, raising a family in San Francisco can be very difficult, and some chose to leave for the suburbs. Join the conversation about solving the affordable housing crisis, building higher density residences near transit and making SF family-friendly.