Mayor Breed seeks to end legal uncertainty around Prop. C

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced today that she's working with City Attorney Dennis Herrera to validate voter-approved Proposition C in court so that the city can begin gathering funds from the measure.

Prop C-which will tax businesses grossing more than $50 million to help the homeless--was approved by 61 percent of San Francisco voters in this month's election.

Although Prop C won a majority of the vote, it faces legal uncertainty because of an unrelated proposition from the June election currently being challenged in court. That proposition--also called 
Proposition C-seeks to tax commercial property owners to raise money for childcare and early education.

Although it won a majority of the vote, in August the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sued the city, alleging that the tax needs two-thirds of the vote to pass and that enacting it with a majority vote goes 
against the state constitution.

Although Breed announced her opposition to the recent Prop C just before the November election, she's now said she's committed to moving it forward.

At last week's Board of Supervisors meeting, Breed introduced an ordinance to allow Herrera to file a validation action in court, which creates a limited time frame during which an opponent can respond to the city's action or file a lawsuit challenging the measure's validity. If no one files a lawsuit or responds, the court can validate the measure, according to Breed's office.

"We need to do everything we can to deliver on the promise of Prop C and the will of the voters, and this validation action gives us the best chance to move forward quickly to deliver funding for homelessness," Breed said today in a statement.

"Starting in January, the city will be collecting the tax established under Prop C, but the controller has said we cannot begin spending the funds until we have more legal certainty. My goal with this 
action is to allow the city to be as proactive as possible in determining any legal challenges to Prop C. 

"In the short-term, I have also spoken with business leaders who are interested in contributing to solutions now to a number of critical programs that will help us get people into housing and shelter and connected to mental health and substance use services. I will work with these leaders to help deliver more funding quickly toward programs that we know can help people who are struggling on our streets," she said.

Prop C priorities include expanding shelter bed capacities; supporting more rehabilitations of single-room occupancy hotels and more master lease opportunities; adding more mental health stabilization, 
substance abuse recovery, respite and residential treatment beds; converting rent-controlled units into permanent affordable housing; and addressing gaps in funding so affordable housing projects can be built faster.