Legacy Business Fund Ballot Argument

Hi Aubrey and All,

Here is one of my ballot arguments. I will try to post the other one I signed up for sometime this weekend. Unfortunately, I will have no electricity or Internet after 8:00 am for most of Friday 7th. AT&T is changing a switch in my block (it's AT&T, not PG&E as I mistakenly told Aubrey earlier).

The argument is against the proposed initiative ordinance establishing the Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund. The initiative only amends the Legacy Business Registry, which is already on the books.

Please let me know if you see anything not Libertarian, not factual, or any spelling or grammar boo-boos.


The San Francisco Libertarian Party recommends a NO vote on
this proposal. Although we agree that
long-established businesses can contribute to neighborhood character, we object
to The City picking winners and losers and denying new businesses a level
playing field. We suggest that voters
consider this proposal with the following in mind:

1. The San Francisco
Office of the Controller issued the following statement on July 7, 2015,
regarding this proposal: “The cost of
fully funding the program created in the proposed measure, should future
policymakers do so, is likely to be significant, with the cost of the program
growing $2.1 million to $3.7 million annually, ultimately reaching a cost of
between $51 million and $94 million once all qualifying legacy businesses are
enrolled in approximately 25 years.” We
remind voters that The City does not generate revenue on its own – it is you,
the taxpayers, who will be gifting hand-picked businesses and landlords to the
tune of millions of dollars.

2. This proposal poses
moral hazards. The Small Business
Commission can accept up to 300 Legacy Business nominations per year from the public,
and an unlimited number of nominations from the Mayor or a member of the Board
of Supervisors. That is potentially a considerable
number of businesses that do not have to work as hard to stay competitive. Businesses, like individuals, are less likely
to seek opportunities, stay flexible, and exercise mobility if they know
taxpayers will reward them for simply staying put. Neighborhoods would be better served by
innovation, not protectionism.

3. This initiative
carries the risk that Legacy status and Legacy grants become awards for
benefits received. Gifting landlords
$4.50 per rented square foot--indexed for inflation--for renting to the “right”
business tenant is inherently a back-scratching scenario.

Libertarian Party of San Francisco

Well said Marcy....



  Your argument looks solid to me. I would suggest "city government" (or "the city government" if you can spare the word count) instead of "The City" though, as the latter makes it sound like a shared decision of everyone in town when in reality of course it's those in power who would decide, not the entire city.

  There's also a good piece in today's Examiner about how evidence in the Leland Lee/Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow scandal has revealed Ed Lee's staffers recorded accepting illegal campaign contributions and saying the mayor knew about it, information that could be usefully mentioned in the context of this argument:

"[Ed Lee staffer Nazly] Mohajer introduced the [undercover FBI] agent to Lee as an 'individual who had raised $10,000 to assist in retiring the campaign debt.' The Monday after the meeting, Mohajer reportedly met with the agent and discussed breaking up an additional $10,000 contribution. When the agent asked about dividing the funds into smaller increments, Mohajer said, 'Yeah, we can do that... we have no problem with that... but the only thing is... you can never talk to anybody about this."


"Ed knows that you gave $10,000... he knows that you will give another $10,000. He also knows that we had to break the $10,000 up,' said [Human Rights Commission staffer Zula] Jones [to the undercover agent posing as a businessman] in a 2012 recording."

(SF Examiner, August 7, 2015, page 7)

  An advantage of referencing this scandal in the Voters Handbook is that exposing the corruption of the mayor and his administration's could help make voters think twice about supporting not only this legislation (which would give them ready other measures he is backing.

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))

Hi Starchild,

I saw the articles on the Lee/Shrimp Boy connection. Frightening! That is what gave me the idea of mentioning Legacy status in exchange for politician benefits. But I stopped short of smearing anyone, since am perhaps excessively concerned with "innocent until proven guilty."

Ha! Given the clamor exhibited by residents of the Mission goading Campos to "do something" about displacement, and given the eternal bloody battle of all neighborhoods to keep their neighborhoods intact, it appears to me that proposals such as the Legacy Business (as well as the Mission Moratorium) emanate from the ground up! A shared decision to freeze The City in time!

BTW were you at the Board of Supervisors meeting where the Campos proposal for the Mission Moratorium was discussed, or did you watch it on government TV? The spectacle was a sight to see. About an hours to take care of general business, and about eight hours of Mission residents demanding protection from the free market! True grassroots in action.


Hi Marcy and Starchild. The argument is great--thanks. I especially liked the idea of putting in the Controller's thoughts on the matter. The voters might not be keen on what we have to say, but they might listen to a government bureaucrat. The only thing I would add is NO on J at least one time since the voters get confused.