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Politics & Policy

Voters reject Prop. B, measure to fund San Francisco cops through tax

Two men in suits are standing together, one looking to the side and the other straight ahead.
Prop. B was conceived by Supervisor Matt Dorsey, right, who then pulled his support after Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, left, made the measure contingent on a future tax increase. | Source: Benjamin Fanjoy for The Standard

San Francisco voters rejected Proposition B, a ballot measure that would have established minimum staffing for the San Francisco Police Department contingent on a future tax increase, returns Tuesday night showed.

The measure sparked heated debate among elected officials and required a simple majority to pass. 

The ballot measure was originally proposed last year by Supervisor Matt Dorsey to increase police staffing by about 100 officers through signing bonuses until enough officers have filled the ranks. That plan was found to be expensive, with the Controller’s Office estimating a cost of up to $300 million over five years.

In November, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí changed the proposition to make it contingent on a future tax—a move that led Dorsey, who called it a “hostile amendment,” to withdraw support. The measure was eventually approved by the Board of Supervisors in a 6-5 vote

Safaí, along with labor allies, argued that a new tax would help boost public safety hiring across the board and not just for police officers. Opponents of Prop. B argued that the city should be able to fund police staffing through existing revenues. 

The measure drew heavy spending, with opponents that include the moderate-leaning PAC Neighbors for a Better San Francisco and tech executive Chris Larsen pouring in over $1.3 million to defeat the proposition.

The campaign in support of Prop. B raised over $600,000 and was largely funded by labor unions such as Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Local 21’s PAC.

The San Francisco Department of Elections will count all vote-by-mail ballots received with valid postmarks delivered by mail by March 12. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by March 5 to be counted.