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SPUR Talk: Muni, JFK, and More; Processing Tuesday’s Election

4:38 PM PST on November 9, 2022

David Latterman and Alex Clemens during SPUR’s post-election roundup. Photos: Streetsblog/Rudick

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"Nobody supported Prop. I except for the Labor Council. These results were not surprising to anybody," said Alex Clemens of Progress Public Affairs, about Tuesday's election and the decision by the majority of San Francisco voters to keep the J.F.K. Promenade and reject Prop. I. "Turns out this one was not particularly close."

That was a key takeaway about Tuesday's election, explained Clemens during a SPUR presentation Wednesday called "About Last Night." He tag-teamed with fellow political analyst David Latterman of Fall Line Analytics

As Latterman explained, even before votes were cast, a cold analysis left little doubt that voters supported the Supervisors' decision last April to keep cars off of J.F.K. in Golden Gate Park.

One of the reasons for that: San Francisco's citizens are by-in-large engaged in politics and decent at getting to the polls (or mailing in their ballots), relative to most cities.  And although not all ballots were yet accounted for, Clemens said turnout in San Francisco was probably around 50 percent, which is good for an election without a big presidential or big gubernatorial race. Yes, Governor Newsom was up for reelection, but it wasn't a serious challenge, with Clemen's adding that "Trump wasn't running."

"Los Angeles is slightly bigger than San Francisco," said an ever-sarcastic Clemens (Los Angeles has close to five times the population). "But their current voter turnout is 425,000 votes. Boo Dodgers."

That means that although Dow Chemical heiress Dede Wilsey was able to plop down $200,000 to get I on the ballot in an attempt to override the supervisors' decision and allow cars on all of J.F.K., it never had much chance of getting the majority of votes from San Francisco's savvy and engaged electorate. It went down with only 40 percent of votes in favor as of Wednesday afternoon.

A harder lift Tuesday, simply because of the two-thirds threshold, was Prop. L, the Muni funding measure, which as of this afternoon was sailing past its two-thirds threshold with 68.8 percent. Of course, last June basically the same measure failed by a razor-thin margin (meaning it "won" by the majority of voters, but didn't quite reach the two-thirds threshold). SFMTA head "Jeffrey Tumlin finally gets to breathe again," said Clemens. If it hadn't passed, "there'd be about six buses running in San Francisco in a few months."

Other takeaways: Mayor London Breed, who of course wasn't on the ballot herself, won solidly. "Breed’s appointments held," said Latterman, which suggests she's going to be tough to beat when she's next up for election in 2024 (thanks to the passage of Proposition H, which shifted mayoral elections to match up with the presidential election).

"This was one of the best elections for a mayor who isn’t on the ballot," said Clemens. "While people are pissed off about stuff, they aren’t pinning it on her."

A full house for one of SPUR's newly in-person only events.
A full house for one of SPUR's newly in-person-only events.
A full house for one of SPUR's newly in-person only events.

For the full results of the election in San Francisco, check out the city's elections page.

For more events like these, visit SPUR’s events page.

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