San Francisco has one of the smallest tree canopies of any major US city. Not only do trees help fight climate change globally by taking up carbon, they help us manage climate change with shade and insulation. Trees also make for a more walkable, livable and sustainable city.
Current city policy exacerbates our lack of trees by requiring property owners to maintain most street trees, and fix sidewalks buckled by trees, whether or not they have the resources to do it. Existing trees are harmed because of this policy, which also discourages people from planting new trees.
Proposition E fixes these problems in two ways:
- Prop E transfers responsibility for street and sidewalk maintenance back to the City.
- Prop E dedicates funds for tree care by setting aside $19 million per year from the City’s General Fund.
These dedicated funds include a specific allocation of $500,000 per year toward San Francisco Unified for tree maintenance at public schools. Until now, there has been little or no funding to support such efforts to create a safe, green, and pleasant environment for children, teachers, and staff.
It also includes enough funding to maintain 50,000 new trees. Prop E does not put money toward planting new trees, but there are many sources for that funding. Maintenance is the missing piece.
Though budget set-asides are not always a good government practice, there are times when they are an effective way to fund important city priorities that often lose out in budget battles.
The San Francisco League of Conservation Voters strongly supports Prop E for a greener, healthier city. Vote Yes on Proposition E.