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Meeting Information

Budget and Policy Committee

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 


(Approved:  April 2, 2003)

City and County of San Francisco


                                            BUDGET AND POLICY COMMITTEE    

Minutes of the Meeting Held

Tuesday, March 18, 2003


  • Call to Order and Roll Call.  Commissioner Brenda Stowers, Chair, called the

meeting to order at 6:07 pm.  Commissioner Robert Kenealey was present.  Commissioner Alix Rosenthal was absent. 


Flag Salute was led by Commissioner Kenealey.


2.         Public comment.  None.


3.         Discussion and possible action to approve the Budget and Policy Committee minutes for the meeting held March 5, 2003.  Commissioner Kenealey MOVED for the adoption of the minutes and Commissioner Stowers SECONDED.  PASSED.


  1. Discussion and possible action to recommend a resolution regarding the elimination of paid ballot arguments to the full Elections Commission for its consideration and possible recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.  Chairperson Stowers reminded the Committee that it had agreed to make a recommendation on this issue at the Budget and Policy Committee meeting held 2/07/03.  That recommendation was that the Elections Commission recommend to the Board of Supervisors that paid ballot arguments be eliminated from the Voter Information Pamphlet and that paid appearances be substituted in their place. (Budget and Policy Committee MOTION 2-07-03-1).  Since that meeting, several commissioners presented resolutions for review by the Committee.  Commissioner Kenealey asked Counselor Sylvia if the elimination of a signature in lieu policy for paid ballot arguments, which was part of one of the resolutions, isn’t part of prior litigation in which a court held that signatures in lieu were required.  Claire Sylvia responded that this was true.  It was moved to TABLE the elimination of signatures in lieu section of the resolution.  Commissioner Stowers SECONDED.



Commissioner Stowers asked Provisional Director Arntz if it would be more or  less labor intensive to have  “paid appearances” added to the VIP (Voter Information Pamphlet).   Mr. Arntz said it would be less labor intensive however, determining the cost per “appearance” may be difficult, depending on the number of appearances per argument.  The real cost for the DoE may be in checking the signatures on petitions circulated by organizations to avoid having to pay for that organization’s “appearance” on an issue.  This could be thousands of signatures that would need to be verified.  Provisional Director Arntz stated that in his opinion, “paid appearances” would not solve the economic or labor issues that are involved in paid arguments.  Commissioner Kenealey moved to TABLE the resolution that allowed for paid appearances.  Chairperson Stowers SECONDED.


Commissioner Stowers read the next resolution “that the Elections Commission recommend that the Board of Supervisors exercise its sole discretion and eliminate paid arguments in the VIP and the funds and staff resources saved thereby be used in the implementation of ranked choice voting.”  The Commissioner questioned whether this was interfering in the day to day work of the Director of the department because this resolution would be directing him or her on how to specifically spend money.  Commissioner Stowers advised that this resolution was basically the same as the fourth one the Committee was to consider.


Commissioner Stowers asked that the Committee consider in its decision that the City is facing a budget crisis, that the analysis shows that paid ballot arguments do not pay for themselves, and that the Committee and Commission have taken public comment on the subject for several meetings.  The Commissioner MOVED that the Budget and Policy Committee recommend to the Elections Commission that it recommend to the Board of Supervisors the following resolution:  whereas the City and County faces a budget crisis; whereas the Elections Commission has received extensive public comment at its meetings as well as from other sources; and whereas the Elections Commission concluded that department funds, staff and resources are insufficient to support paid ballot arguments,  therefore be it resolved that paid ballot arguments be eliminated in the Voter Information Pamphlet.  Commissioner Kenealey SECONDED.  Motion PASSED.


  1. Unfinished Business:  Discussion and possible action to recommend that the Board of Supervisors amend the Municipal Elections Code to:


●          eliminate the requirement that the League of Women Voters nominate one appointee to the Ballot Simplification Committee.


Public Comment:  Mary Hilton of the League of Women Voters spoke in favor of keeping the representation of the League on the committee.  Commissioner Stowers MOVED to approve the elimination of the League from the Ballot Simplification Committee.  Commissioner Kenealey SECONDED.  DISCUSSION: Mr. Arntz reminded the Committee that of all the members on the Simplification Committee, the League is the only one that submits paid arguments regarding items on the ballot, and that at the last meeting of the simplification committee, there was much concern by the public that the members were not impartial.  Commissioner Stowers asked what was the result of the last meeting.  Mr. Arntz responded that everyone resigned from the committee, and that although he wasn’t at the meeting, the reasons given by the members were that there was too much contention and divisiveness on the part of the public at the meetings because the public felt the committee was not being impartial and that the digests were slanted.  The department now has to form a new committee and the goal is to have the appearance of an impartial and neutral body.


Commissioner Stowers reminded the Budget Committee that she asked the representative of the League of Women Voters to return to tonight’s meeting with a suggestion of how this may be resolved and that it appears the League is offering no solution and is standing by it’s belief that it does not exhibit any undue influence upon the ballot simplification committee.  Commissioner Stowers asked if it was possible to have another role for the League, an ex-officio one (voice but not a vote).  The League would work on drafting the digest but not vote on the final language to be presented to the registrar.  It was decided that this possibility would not work because the League’s name would still be affiliated with the committee and the Provisional Director is an ex-officio member of the Ballot Simplification Committee, as well, thus calling for two ex-officio members. 


Commissioner Kenealey suggested that the problem with the committee members might be the personalities on that committee.  Commissioner Stowers said she was concerned with the long history that the League has with the committee and suggested that the Elections Commission’s Budget and Policy Committee revisit the issue of eliminating the League next year.  Commissioner Stowers withdrew her previous motion and MOVED to not eliminate the League of Women Voters’ participation on the Ballot Simplification Committee and that the participation be reviewed on an annual basis.  SECONDED by Commissioner Kenealey.  No public Comment.  PASSED.


Public Comment:  Mary Hilton of the League of Women Voters stated that she had not been aware that all the members of the Ballot Simplification Committee had resigned and that the League will be making another recommendation.  Part of the job description for the League’s representative on the committee will be the ability to get along with others.


Final Item:


●          authorize the Chancellor of the Community College District as well as the Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District to nominate a reading specialist for appointment to the Ballot Simplification Committee; TABLED.



Adjourned at 6:49 pm.





Disability Access

The Elections Commission meeting will be held in Room 400, City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA. The Commission meeting room is wheelchair accessible. The closest accessible BART station is the Civic Center Station at United Nations Plaza and Market Street. Accessible MUNI lines serving this location are: #42 Downtown Loop, and #71 Haight/Noriega and the F Line to Market and Van Ness and the Metro Stations at Van Ness and Market and at Civic Center. For information about MUNI accessible services call (415) 923-6142. There is accessible curbside parking adjacent to City Hall on Grove Street and Van Ness Avenue and in the vicinity of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue adjacent to Davies Hall and the War Memorial Complex.

The following services are available on request 48 hours prior to the meeting; except for Monday meetings, for which the deadline shall be 4:00 p.m. of the last business day of the preceding week: For American sign language interpreters or the use of a reader during a meeting, a sound enhancement system, and/or alternative formats of the agenda and minutes, please contact The Elections Office at (415) 554- 4375 or our TDD at (415) 554-4386 to make arrangements for the accommodation. Late requests will be honored, if possible.

In order to assist the City's efforts to accommodate persons with severe allergies, environmental illnesses, multiple chemical sensitivity or related disabilities, attendees at public meetings are reminded that other attendees may be sensitive to various chemical based products.  Please help the City accommodate these individuals. Individuals with chemical sensitivity or related disabilities should call our accessibility hotline at (415) 554-6060.

Know your rights under the Sunshine Ordinance (Chapter 67 of the San Francisco Administrative Code)

Government's duty is to serve the public, reaching its decisions in full view of the public. Commissions, boards, councils, and other agencies of the City and County exist to conduct the people's business. This ordinance assures that deliberations are conducted before the people and that City operations are open to the people's review. For more information on your rights under the Sunshine Ordinance or to report a violation of the ordinance, contact the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, Donna Hall, Clerk, City Hall, Room 409, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102-4683 at Phone No.: (415) 554-7724; Fax No.: (415) 554-7854; E-mail: [email protected] Copies of the Sunshine Ordinance can be obtained from the Clerk of the Sunshine Task Force, the San Francisco Public Library and on the City's website at

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