Anti-growth measure now trailing in S.F.

The Associated Press
Saturday November 11, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO — Days after the election, seemingly promising returns for Proposition L have taken a turn for the worse, but absentee and provisional ballots could spike the numbers for the city’s failing anti-growth measure. 

Chris Daly, a proponent of the proposition, said election workers may have been counting ballots from anti-Proposition L districts and that the remaining ballots could be more in favor of it. 

“What votes did they count last night?” he said. “I think they’ll be more proportionally yes on L – although they don’t look as good as they did yesterday.” 

The measure was ahead by more than 3,000 votes a day after the election. But Friday night, it trailed by 680 votes, an increase from the morning’s seven-vote deficit. Elections workers still need to count 14,000 ballots. 

“It’s definitely too close to call,” Christiane Hayashi, communications manager for the city’s Department of Elections, said Friday. 

Elections office workers have been counting ballots around the clock, but it’s a long process, said Daniel Murphy of the Department of Elections. 

“We have to have them checked three or four times before they’re opened and then they go through three or four people’s hands,” he said. “We’ve got to sort them and stack them and line them up according to precinct, and that’s what’s taking so long.” 

Murphy said they are hoping to finish counting by Sunday night, but the department legally has 28 days after the election to finish. 

The proposition would halt dot-com and other office development in certain rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. It faced a competing measure and a $2.3 million soft-money opposition campaign by developers and business interests that paid for a blizzard of mailers and television ads. 

Proposition L was trailing with 134,662 in favor and 135,342 opposed at last count, according to the Department of Elections. 

“We’re in a big hurry to get this done,” Hayashi said. 

The remaining uncounted ballots also could affect the outcome of supervisorial races. At last count, Hayashi said, only Tom Ammiano, who easily won a majority, and Gavin Newsom, who ran unopposed, were elected outright on Tuesday.  

Eighteen other candidates for the nine remaining supervisorial seats, including Daly, appeared headed for a December runoff. 




Proposition K, a competing measure placed on the ballot by Mayor Willie Brown, was soundly defeated at the polls, receiving only 39 percent of the vote. 

“If you want to have a vibrant, cultural mixed-use type of city, you just don’t give in to the people who pay the most,” Doug Engmann, co-sponsor of Proposition L said on election night. 

Frank Gallagher, spokesman for the No on L campaign, defended the spending. 

“Well, of course there is a lot of money,” Gallagher said. “This is a very serious issue. Nothing less than the future of San Francisco is at stake here. It is worth $2.3 million and I think a heck of a lot more.”