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Your June 5th Election Guide Part I

Those who like to keep their obligatory civic participation short but sweet should be the thankful for this year’s ballot. On the referendum side, San Franciscans will only be asked to vote on four propositions—two from the state and two from the city. Here’s how they break down.

California Prop. 28

Also known as:

The California Change in Term Limits Initiative

What it is:

If passed, this will bring the governing cap down from 14 years to 12 years, while removing restrictions on how a legislator pides their years between the two houses (as is, lawmakers are limited to six in the Assembly and eight in the Senate).

Who likes it:

Virtually all state Democrats are on board, as are a wide array of labor groups, electoral reform organizations, and businesses.

Who doesn’t:

The Republican Party, myriad small government groups (and who can forget “Love Connection” host, Chuck Woolery?) all call the proposition a “scam.”

Who’s paying:

Supporters have outraised opponents 10 to one. The largest donors to the Yes campaign include the L.A. County Federation of Labor and Majestic Realty, a company owned by L.A. real estate magnate, Ed Roski Jr.

Funding against the measure comes predominantly from the Virginia-based libertarian Liberty Initiative Fund.

How it’s likely to go:

According to a poll conducted last March, supporters strongly outnumber opponents, with 17 percent of respondents undecided.

California Prop. 29

Also known as:

The Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act

What it is:

Increases cigarette and tobacco taxes by an equivalent of $1.00 per pack with revenue going to cancer/tobacco-related illness research.

Who likes it:

Just about every relevant public health group you can think of stands behind this prop: the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and Livestrong.

Who doesn’t:

The Republican Party of California is fighting the good fight against cancer research, ostensibly on an anti-tax basis. Tobacco companies oppose the prop en masse along with, presumably, people who love to smoke.

Who’s paying:

The research organizations listed above, former state Senate heavyweight Don Perata, and New York mayor and political chameleon, Michael Bloomberg fund the Yes camp.

On the other side, Philip Morris and its parent company Altria have donated over $27 million to the cause of cheaper cigarettes, more than the entire budget of the supporting campaign. Other big donors include R.J. Reynolds (the producers of Camel) and the California Republican Party.

How it’s likely to go:

Funding imbalance not withstanding, a poll conducted last March says the vast majority of Californians support the tax.

San Francisco Prop. A

Also known as:

San Francisco Competitive Bidding Required for Garbage Collection and Disposal

What it is:

Mandates that garbage collection and disposal contracts be awarded by a competitive bidding process. This is opposed to the method that’s been favored by the city for the last eight decades, which is to just give the entire contract to Recology.

Who likes it:

Organized by former supervisor and judge, Quentin Kopp, and tenant activist, Tony Kelly. Their argument: the city would be more fair and frugal if this lucrative contract was given to the lowest bidder.

Who doesn’t:

Almost everyone else in the city, so it would seem: Democrats and Republicans, unions and businesses, and the majority of the board of supervisors (with David Campos and John Avalos remaining conspicuously agnostic). The gist of their argument: Recology has been doing a good job at an affordable price. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Who’s paying:

Employee-owned Recology has provided most of the funding to the opposition while the scrappy Yes campaign seems to be funded largely by inpidual donors.

San Francisco Prop. B

Also known as:

Non-binding resolution to limit commercial events at Coit Tower

What it is:

This would call upon the city to limit the commercial use of Coit Tower and to prioritize revenue from elevator fees and gift shop sales for the preservation of the tower. However, this is a non-binding resolution. Preempting the vote last week, the city created a Coit Tower restoration fund.

Who likes it:

Historical and environmental preservation groups, the Democratic Party, and neighborhood councils across the city.

Who doesn’t:

Two disparate groups: the Chamber of Commerce (who calls NIMBYism on anyone who might object to a public tower plastered with Diego Rivera inspired murals being used as a private venue for candlelit dinner fundraisers) and the non-profit San Francisco Parks Alliance.

Who’s paying:

The Parks Alliance is organizing the No campaign, with a little help from wealthy friends, while the prop’s backers have been raising their cash one small donation at a time.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II of your June 5th election guide.