Ballot stuffed with reform attempts 

This November, voters will decide whether to force city workers to pay more out of their paychecks to help San Francisco with the burgeoning costs of pension and health benefits.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi submitted to the Department of Elections on Tuesday what appears to be enough signatures, 75,614 of the required 44,382, to place his Sustainable City Employees Benefits Reform Act charter amendment on the ballot.

Tuesday was the deadline to submit measures by way of collecting signatures for the Nov. 2 election.

The measure would increase employee-contribution rates for pensions to 9 or 10 percent for existing and future city workers. Currently, employees pay between zero and 7.5 percent. It also would require that The City “pick up” no more than 50 percent of the costs of health benefits for city workers’ “dependents,” such as spouses and children.

And for dental benefits, The City would only contribute 75 percent of the costs for an employee and 50 percent for the employee’s dependents.

It would save more than $170 million annually, Adachi said.

Union labor groups are fighting the measure.

There were other signature-gathering efforts for three more November measures.

About 15,000 signatures — some 7,500 are required — were submitted Tuesday to place the Hotel Tax Loophole Close and Temporary Visitor Surcharge on the ballot. The surcharge would increase the hotel tax by 2 percent, from 14 to 16 percent, for three years beginning in 2011.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd submitted signatures Thursday to place a Muni amendment on the ballot that would provide more negotiating leverage for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency management by eliminating the City Charter provision that Muni operators are paid at least the second-highest wage in the nation compared to other transit agencies.

Another measure would create Saturday voting for the November 2011 election, when voters will elect San Francisco’s next mayor.

These measures would share the ballot with the high-stakes election of candidates to fill five of the 11 seats on the Board of Supervisors, among other politically charged measures.

What voters can expect in November

Tuesday was the deadline to submit signatures for measures to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. Some need signature verification.

Name: Muni Charter Amendment
Sponsor: Supervisor Sean Elsbernd
What it does: Allows for some contract negotiations on work rules

Name: Sustainable City Employees Benefits Reform Act
Sponsor: Public Defender Jeff Adachi
What it does: Increases employee pension-contribution rates

Name: Saturday Voting Act
Sponsor: Alex Tourk
What it does: Pilot Saturday voting program for November 2011 election

Name: Hotel Tax Loophole Close and Temporary Visitor Surcharge
Sponsor: Labor Council
What it does: Raises hotel tax rate from 14 to 16 percent for three years

Name: Sit-lie
What it does: Makes it illegal to sit or lie on city sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily

Name: Closing a hotel tax loophole
What it does: Eliminates online travel websites to profit from rate differences

Name: Prohibiting dual office-holding
What it does: Prohibits local elected officials from also serving on a party San Francisco County central committee

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