San Francisco voters this fall will be treated to some extra reading in the form of a 400- to 500-page ballot guide, thanks mostly to a referendum on the height of the 8 Washington waterfront luxury condo development. “It’s going to look like a phone book,” said Department of Elections head John Arntz. That’s because under city law, the Nov. 5 ballot book, which is mailed to 500,000 voters, must include the “full text” of the referendum as it was presented during the signature drive that put it on the ballot. In this case, that means the city must include more than 500 pages of documents, including those from the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors’ hearings and even copies of studies on shadows that the condos may cast. And it is not going to come cheap.
The ballot books generally run 125 to 250 pages and cost about $1 million.
Doubling the pages to 500 will cost about $1.7 million.
“We might be able to shrink it down some with smaller type, but we still have to get it all in,” Arntz said.
As usual, there is a lot of finger pointing going on regarding who’s to blame.
Referendum backers say they only wanted the five pages that dealt with the condo’s height limit exemption in the ballot guide, but the other side pushed for the full text to be included to make it harder to gather signatures.