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Proposition E: Requirements for Public Meetings
Proposition E would give members of the public more access to, and control over, the meetings of San Francisco government’s “policy bodies,” which direct City Hall’s political agendas.
Why is this on the ballot?
San Francisco has more than 120 “policy bodies” — committees, subcommittees, boards, councils and others. These groups are the visible component of local government, and members of the public can show up at their meetings, talk to city staff and make on-the-record comments. But because these meetings happen at a wide variety of times and places, it is inconvenient, if not impossible, for the public to attend. Some of those meetings are broadcast live over the Internet, others are not.
What would it do?
Proposition E would allow people to make comments for public meetings without attending in person. They would have two options:
- Send prerecorded video comments to City Hall at least two days before the meeting. If the comments were not in English, city staff would add English captions or dubbing.
- Send live video, audio or emailed comments during the meeting.
In addition, all public meetings would have to be streamed live. Members of the public, or of the meeting’s government body, could request that certain agenda items start and stop at specific times.
Is there a catch?
Proposition E would allow anyone to submit a video comment, including someone who lived in another state. That could heavily burden government workers and increase the length of meetings in general.
Only prerecorded video comments would definitely get translated into English. Live comments might get translated — if a translator happened to be present at that meeting.
Would it increase the cost of government?
Proposition E would carry an initial, one-time cost of $1.7 million to set up the video equipment for policy bodies that do not already have it. In addition, it would cost at least $750,000 per year to maintain that equipment and cover the cost of new staff, like technical support and translators, according to the city controller’s estimates.
Who officially proposed it?
David Lee, executive director of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee.
Who officially opposes it?
Smart Open Government SF, an organization created to oppose this measure.
Follow the money
View all filing activity supporting or opposing this measure.
We want your questions. If you’re still wondering about how Proposition E will work or impact San Francisco, ask! Use #election2015 and our Twitter handle (@sfpublicpress) and we will do our best to get answers.
Photos by Stella Sadikin / San Francisco Public Press
2015 Nonpartisan Election Guide
All told, hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars are on the line on the November 2015 ballot. And if this year mirrors previous off-year elections, then a minority of San Franciscans will decide the outcome. Stay tuned. A lot is at stake.
For the full guide: sfpublicpress.org/election2015
would create a fund with up to $310 million for helping people remain in, and move to, San Francisco if they otherwise could not afford to do so.
would increase paid parental leave for qualified city government workers.
would require more people to register as official lobbyists, potentially increasing transparency in government.
would make it possible for the Mission Rock waterfront development to move forward in the Mission Bay neighborhood.
would give members of the public more access to, and control over, the meetings of San Francisco government’s “policy bodies,” which direct City Hall’s agendas.
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would help longtime businesses continue operating in San Francisco.
aims to make it easier for developers to build affordable housing using city-owned land.
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