LAGUNA HONDA: Bond Measure To Go On Ballot
San Francisco supervisors made the unexpected decision yesterday to put a $502.5 million bond measure on the November ballot to save the beleaguered Laguna Honda Hospital. It is time "to go to the rescue for Laguna Honda," said Supervisor Amos Brown, adding, "There is a groundswell of support for this measure." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in order to make the deadline for filing a ballot initiative, Brown is asking to "waive the usual 30-day waiting period for all new legislation." Mayor Willie Brown (D), who opposed the bond measure as late as last week, finally acquiesced and, in "a drastic about-face," said he supports the initiative. Support for saving the hospital "has grown in recent months, spurred mainly by mounting demands from federal and state officials to replace the aging, seismically unstable hospital or face cuts in funding," the Chronicle reports. Supervisor Mabel Teng said, "If the people want it, we must give it our best chance to succeed."
"[B]ecause voters typically oppose plans that lead to big property tax rises, a $500 million bond measure has been considered political suicide by most City Hall insiders," the Chronicle reports. Under a deal brokered by Mayor Brown, landlords and tenant groups, the cost of bonds can be passed on to tenants. This has led tenant advocacy groups to fight most bond measures arising in the last two years, even those for much smaller amounts than the Laguna measure. But Supervisor Jose Medina "said Laguna Honda will face an easier time because, he believes, it is the city's No. 1 priority" (Wilson, 7/21).