November 2015: SFLCV opposes Propositions C and E

The SF League of Conservation Voters agrees that greater transparency and increased participation are worthwhile goals for good government. However, we believe that these two propositions are flawed and would actually end up suppressing diverse perspectives. Oppose Prop C: Expenditure Lobbyists

Prop C would require "any person, other than any government entity, or officer or employee of a government entity acting in an official capacity, who, directly or indirectly, makes payments totaling $2,500 or more in a calendar month to solicit, request, or urge other persons to communicate directly with an officer of the City and County in order to influence local legislative or administrative action" to "register with the Ethics Commission, pay a $500 registration fee, and file monthly disclosures regarding their lobbying activities." It applies to City employee unions, prospective City contractors and non-profit organizations.

Paid lobbyists are already required to register and report their lobbying activities. Prop C would extend that requirement to individuals or groups who spend $2,500 a month on advertising, public relations, public outreach, investigations, reports, analyses and studies urging others to contact city officials in order to influence a city decision.

This proposition would increase transparency about the money spent to influence city government decisions. This is especially useful for profit-driven businesses.

However, requiring nonprofits, many of whom are small, to meet the same complex requirements could drain their limited funds, stigmatize them and drive them out of public policy debates, depriving the city of the input of the communities they organize and represent.

Prop C was put on the ballot by the Ethics Commission, and if enacted by the voters cannot be easily amended. It would be much better for this to go through the Board of Supervisors deliberative process, which includes public comment, discussion and recorded voting.

SFLCV urges you to vote NO on Prop C.

Oppose Prop E: Requirements for Public Meetings

Prop E would require City policy bodies to "publicly post an agenda at least 72 hours before a meeting" and would allow the "public to submit pre-recorded video testimony 48 hours or more before a meeting" to be played during public comment, allow the "public to provide live written, video, or audio comments ... electronically" from anywhere, with translation into English, during public comment. It would also allow a member of the policy board or 50 members of the public to set a time certain for taking up any agenda item. It would also require all meetings to be broadcast live on the internet.

While it contains some interesting ideas, allowing this variety of live and recorded input from anywhere could extend meetings enormously, especially when private interests organize to influence decisions.

SFLCV urges you to vote NO on Prop E.