Words You Need to Know
by the Ballot Simplification Committee
Advisory committee (Proposition C): A group of appointed individuals who generally make recommendations to City boards, commissions and departments.
Amend (Proposition B): To change.
Base tax (Proposition E): The tax at the rate of 8 percent on the rental of hotel rooms in San Francisco.
Bond (Proposition A): A bond is a promise by The City to pay back money borrowed, plus interest, by a specific date. If The City needs to raise a large amount of money to pay for a library, sewer line, school, hospital or other project or program, it may borrow the money by selling bonds. (See also “General Obligation Bond.”)
Cannabis business activities (Proposition D): Any business activities directly related to Cannabis or Cannabis Products, including but not limited to the cultivation, possession, manufacture, processing, storing, labeling, distribution, or sale of Cannabis or Cannabis Products for consideration. "Cannabis Business Activities" does not include: (a) business activities indirectly related to Cannabis or Cannabis Products, including the sale of items that do not themselves contain Cannabis or Cannabis Products; (b) laboratory testing; and (c) transportation of Cannabis or Cannabis Products where the person transporting Cannabis or Cannabis Products never takes title to or sells Cannabis or Cannabis Products.
Cannabis, medicinal (Proposition D): Cannabis or a Cannabis Product, respectively, for use under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215) by a medicinal cannabis patient in California who possesses a physician's recommendation.
Cannabis, adult use (Proposition D): Any Cannabis or Cannabis Product other than medicinal cannabis.
Capital project (Proposition A): A project initiated by one-time funding to improve The City’s infrastructure.
Charter (Proposition B): The City’s Constitution.
Charter amendment (Proposition B): A change to The City’s Charter. The Charter is The City’s Constitution. The Charter can only be changed by a majority of the votes cast.
Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee (Proposition A): A nine-member body that monitors The City's use of funds generated by issuing general obligation bonds. Members of this committee are appointed by the Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, the Controller and the Civil Grand Jury.
Cultural Equity Endowment (Proposition E): A City fund dedicated to achieving cultural equity through arts programs that are deeply rooted in, and able to express the experiences of, historically underserved communities, to be distributed through a public process.
Cultural services allocation plan (Proposition E): A plan enacted by the Arts Commission and the City Administrator every five years to determine use of funds in the Arts Impact Endowment, according to a community needs assessment.
Early voting: Voting in person at City Hall before Election Day or mailing a vote-by-mail ballot before Election Day.
Fiscal year (Propositions C, E): The City’s 12-month budget period, starting July 1 and ending June 30 of the following calendar year.
General Fund (Propositions D, E): That part of The City’s annual budget that can be used for any City purpose. Each year, the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors decide how the General Fund will be used. Money for the General Fund comes from property, business, sales, and other taxes and fees.
General obligation bond (Proposition A): A promise issued by a government body to pay back money borrowed, plus interest, by a certain date. The government body repays the money, plus interest, with property taxes. General obligation bond measures must be approved by the voters in San Francisco.
Gross receipts tax (Propositions C, D): A tax generally based on the total gross revenues a business receives in San Francisco.
Tax surcharge (Proposition E): The additional tax at the rate of 6 percent on the rental of hotel rooms in San Francisco.
Housing, permanent (Proposition C): Housing that is not subject to limits on the duration of occupancy, including (1) private housing funded by rental subsidies, (2) supportive housing funded by rental subsidies and (3) single-room occupancy buildings and units.
Housing, short-term (Proposition C): Housing that is subject to limits on the duration of occupancy.
Initiative (Proposition C): A proposition placed on the ballot by voters. Any voter may place an initiative on the ballot by gathering the required number of signatures of registered voters on a petition.
Interest (Proposition A): The cost of borrowing money.
Ordinance (Propositions C–E): A local law passed by the Board of Supervisors or by the voters.
Oversight (Proposition A): Monitoring activities to ensure that the purposes of a program are followed.
Pass through (Proposition A): To recover an increase in property taxes by passing on a portion of the cost to tenants.
Personal information (Proposition B): Any information that relates to a particular individual, including medical information, information about the individual’s background and employment, financial information, demographic information and information that could be used to identify the individual or reveal the individual’s location.
Principal (Proposition A): The amount of borrowed money. Principal does not include interest charges.
Property tax (Proposition A): A tax assessed by The City on buildings and land.
Proposition (Propositions A–E): Any measure that is submitted to the voters for approval or disapproval.
Provisional ballot (Frequently asked questions): A ballot cast at a polling place that will not be counted until the Department of Elections verifies the voter’s eligibility to cast that ballot.
Qualified write-in candidate: A person who has completed the required paperwork and signatures for inclusion as a write-in candidate. Although the name of this person will not appear on the ballot, voters can vote for this person by writing the name of the person in the space on the ballot provided for write-in votes and following specific ballot instructions. The Department of Elections counts write-in votes only for qualified write-in candidates.
Revenue (Propositions A, C–E): Income.
Unique cultural heritage (Proposition E): The distinct aspects of a neighborhood or community that contribute to its significance. Qualities that contribute to a neighborhood’s or community’s unique cultural heritage include its enterprises, arts, services and businesses.
Vote-by-mail ballots: Ballots mailed to voters or given to voters in person at the Department of Elections. Vote-by-mail ballots can be mailed to the Department of Elections, turned in at the Department of Elections office in City Hall, or turned in at any California polling place on Election Day. Also known as absentee ballots.