San Francisco, the liberal beacon, embraces conservative ballot measures

San Francisco voters, who are known for their liberal leanings, adopted unusually conservative policies as they passed two controversial ballot measures this week that took increasingly aggressive steps to curb San Francisco’s intertwined trio of problems: Homelessness. Drug addiction, and crime.

Opponents have called the measures right-wing, dangerous and dangerous. They require drug testing for welfare recipients. The ballots are still being counted, despite a low turnout. However, the measures known as Propositions F and E had a clear majority early on Thursday.

London Breed, the city’s Democratic Mayor, who is facing a tight race for re-election in November, has sponsored these initiatives. He claimed victory on Election Night, stating that they are “additional instruments that will help us deliver real results for San Francisco.”

Breed stated in a statement that “we are also sending out a message that our city offers help, but that it is not a place where anyone can come and do anything they want on our street.”


The results confirm a recent trend in which more moderate forces have dominated elections in San Francisco, where voters continue to express their alarm at the daily crises that are unfolding on city streets. Last year, a record number of 806 people were killed by an accidental overdose. Since the outbreak of the pandemic the city has been bombarded with apocalyptic headlines, whether they are true or not. This, say experts, could affect the perception of crime and security among residents.

Political analysts believe that Tuesday’s election is another important marker of San Francisco’s recent move toward the center. This includes the separate recall elections in 2022 for Chesa Boudin – the city’s liberal district prosecutor – and three members of the school board, who have been blamed for not reopening schools during the pandemic caused by the coronavirus and for putting diversity above merit when it came to admissions at the city’s most prestigious high school. Analysts say that when taken together, these results are a reflection of the voters’ priorities, and their frustration with current policies.

Garry South, an experienced Democratic campaign strategist, said that California is run by Democrats. There are benefits to being in power. You get your way. “The gum on your shoe is a disadvantage when major problems arise.”

South said that while San Francisco may not be the hellscape Republicans portray it to be, the results indicate that voters are in desperate need of solutions, regardless which political party they were born from.

He said that Democrats must “take a stand” and address crime and homelessness. This may be a challenge to their long-held orthodoxies.

San Francisco is often portrayed as the pinnacle for blue state America in the national imagination. While the city is overwhelmingly Democratic – one of the nation’s leading exporters of liberal ideas and leaders – residents have long supported more moderate policies.

San Francisco voters, particularly on the issue of homelessness, have supported a variety of conservative approaches. These range from an anti panhandling law to a ban on people sitting or lying down on public streets.

Jim Ross, Bay Area political consultant and former governor of California, said that San Francisco voters are willing to impose strong requirements on homeless people, even punitive ones. Gavin Newsom ran the 2003 mayoral campaign of San Francisco.

This record, like Tuesday’s results also undermines the stereotype of the city as a liberal paradise.

Ross stated that “The Summer of Love is a long way back — and you could still see cops beating hippies at the time.” “San Francisco is a city with a lot nuance, just like any other.”

The local Democratic Party’s extreme left flank still suffered several setbacks during this week’s election. A slate of moderates also appeared to be poised to gain control of the local Democratic County Central Committee. This influential political body can make or break any candidate. Four years ago, liberals almost won the DCCC elections.

The results of the vote on Tuesday were not uniform. Residents rejected attempts to remove two Superior Court Justices accused of being lenient towards crime. This argument was similar to one that had brought Boudin down two years earlier.

The San Francisco Chronicle declared on Wednesday that San Francisco “can no longer be called progressive.”

Jane Kim is the director of California’s Working Families Party. She has in the past endorsed presidential campaigns by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I – Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren – D – Massachusetts – have both endorsed presidential bids in the past. According to them, the situation isn’t as dire as it seems.

Kim, who was a county supervisor and appeared on Thursday to be among the few liberals elected to the DCCC, stated that the left of the city missed the opportunity to offer an alternative to the conservative Propositions E & F.

She said, “The proposals that were made were by the other side.” “I don’t think it was a surprise that E and F passed. “They were the only solutions offered to address what San Franciscans wanted.”

She said that the larger message to Kim and her supporters is that high voter turnout is key in driving left-wing causes and candidates. This is demonstrated by previous ballot measures that promoted tenant protections or a tax on executive salaries that were passed during general election drawing more voters.

Kim stated that “when more voters turn out, they tend to vote more for progressives, younger people and more diverse.”

Kim, like other liberals, blasted both propositions as ineffective and harmful. She said, “This is exactly what red states do.”

Proposition E relaxes the rules governing the use of surveillance cameras by police officers, drones, and vehicle pursuits. It also seeks to limit the time that officers spend doing paperwork, especially after incidents of use-of force, as well as limiting the oversight of the city’s Police Commission.

Proposition F also requires that adults receiving cash assistance from the City be drug-screened. They would be required to receive treatment if they were found to have an addiction disorder.

Breed, the mayor of the city, championed these proposals under pressure from an angry electorate, and while fighting off several challengers in her reelection campaign who advocate conservative solutions to the problems facing the city. Breed thanked the voters on election night for their support and said that the measures will make the city safer.

Jason McDaniel is a political science professor at San Francisco State University. He said that the measures appeared “designed to speak the mood” to the electorate.

“It is a positive experience”