Words You Need to Know
by the Ballot Simplification Committee
Affordable Housing Goals: As used in Proposition E, Affordable Housing Goals are annual goals for producing new housing units within the City for households within specific income levels. These goals are based on the California Housing Element and Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) goals, which are based on an eight-year period. (See Proposition E)
Area Median Income (AMI): Specific to Proposition E, AMI is the median family income of a specific geographic area within the State of California. In 2019, the AMI for a four-person household in San Francisco County is $136,800. (See Proposition E)
Central SoMa: Central SoMa is a geographic area that generally runs from Second Street to the east to Sixth Street to the west, and from Townsend Street to the south to an irregular border that generally follows Folsom, Howard and Stevenson streets to the north. (See Proposition E)
Charter amendment: A Charter amendment is 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. (See Proposition C)
Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee: The Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee is 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. (See Proposition B)
City College: City College of San Francisco is a public, two-year accredited community college with campuses and other instructional sites in various locations throughout San Francisco. (See Proposition A)
Early voting: Early voting is voting in person at City Hall before Election Day or mailing a vote-by-mail ballot before Election Day.
Emergency Firefighting Water System: The Emergency Firefighting Water System (EFWS) is a water supply system dedicated to firefighting. The EFWS consists of about 135 miles of high-pressure pipeline and hydrants that draw water from the following facilities: The Twin Peaks Reservoir, storage tanks located in Ashbury Heights and on Jones Street, and two pump stations located along the City’s waterfront. A pump station contains several diesel-powered pumps that convey water from reservoirs or the San Francisco Bay into the EFWS. The City is expanding the system to include new water storage facilities and infrastructure in neighborhoods located in the western and southern parts of San Francisco. (See Proposition B)
General obligation bond: 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. (See Propositions A, B)
Initiative: 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. (See Proposition E)
Large Office Project: As used in Proposition E, Large Office Projects are development projects with at least 50,000 square feet in gross floor area of office development. (See Proposition E)
Lease agreement: As used in Proposition D, a lease agreement is a contract by which a commercial property owner gives another person or entity the right to occupy and use the property for a limited period, often in return for a periodic rent payment. (See Proposition D)
Leased space: As used in Proposition D, leased space is ground floor retail or other commercial space that is the subject of a lease agreement. (See Proposition D)
Low-income household: As used in Proposition E, a household qualifies as low-income if it earns between 51% and 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). (See Proposition E)
Moderate-income household: As used in Proposition E, a household qualifies as moderate-income if it earns between 81% and 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI). (See Proposition E)
Nonprofit: As used in Proposition D, a nonprofit is an entity or organization that is organized for a public purpose, and not for profit, and is exempt from income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. (See Proposition D)
Office space: As used in Proposition E, office space is the area within a structure intended or primarily suitable for occupancy by persons or entities which perform for their own benefit or provide to others services at that location, but excluding: retail use; repair; any business characterized by the physical transfer of tangible goods to customers on the premises; wholesale shipping, receiving and storage; any facility, other than physicians’ or other individuals’ offices and related uses, customarily used for providing medical services; and any design showcase or any other space intended and primarily suitable for the display of goods. (See Proposition E)
Ordinance: A local law passed by the Board of Supervisors or by the voters. (See Proposition D)
Pass through: For an owner to recover an increase in property taxes by passing on a portion of the cost to tenants. (See Proposition B)
Property tax: A tax assessed by the City on real property, including buildings and land. (See Propositions A, B)
Proposition: Any measure submitted to the voters for approval or disapproval.
Provisional ballot: 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.
San Francisco Housing Authority: The San Francisco Housing Authority is a local government agency, separate from the City, providing housing assistance to very low-income people. (See Proposition C)
Seismic upgrade: Improving or renovating a structure to protect it from potential earthquake damage. (See Proposition B)
South of Market: South of Market, also known as SoMa, is a San Francisco neighborhood whose boundary generally follows the eastern waterfront from 16th Street to Harrison Street, Harrison Street to Fourth Street, north to Market Street, then west to the Central Freeway. (See Proposition E)
Square-footage allotment: As used in Proposition E, square-footage allotment is the maximum amount of office square-footage that the City may use when approving Large Office Projects. (See Proposition E)
Street-facing foot: As used in Proposition D, a street-facing foot is a linear foot of ground level commercial space that runs along a Public Right of Way. A Public Right of Way is defined as dedicated public sidewalks, alleys, boulevards, courts, lanes, roads, streets, spaces and ways within San Francisco, on which members of the public have the right to travel and which are under the permitting jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works. (See Proposition D)
Subtenant: A subtenant is a person or entity that has the right to occupy and use all or a portion of leased space under a lease agreement with a tenant or with any other person or entity that derives its interest in the space through a tenant. (See Proposition D)
Tenant: A tenant is a person or entity that has the right to occupy and use leased space under a lease agreement with the owner. (See Proposition D)
Very low-income household: As used in Proposition E, a household qualifies as very low-income if it earns up to 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). (See Proposition E)
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.