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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Flower Mart: Development Foes Ready to Submit Title and Summary of Ballot Measure

Posted By on Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge Not ready for The Big Sleep quite yet...
  • Not ready for The Big Sleep quite yet...
Read the potential title and summary: See below

It would seem to be a bit early to bring flowers for the Flower Mart. 

The imperiled SoMa institution sits atop choice real estate that developer Kilroy Realty hopes to convert into a tech office complex. Flower vendors and development foes, buttressed by ballot-box victories regarding the 8 Washington project and the Waterfront writ large, have threatened to take this proposal, too, before the voters.  

So, at a press conference scheduled for noon today, it stands to reason they'll do a little more than threaten. They'll likely reveal the title and summary of a potential 2015 ballot measure, which will all but certainly be submitted to the Department of Elections this week. 

And here it is, if you want to read it: The Flower Mart Protection Act of 2015

In essence, the Flower Mart Protection Act would put this development before the electorate for a simple up or down vote. If your gut tells you that the city's voters would side with homespun, local businesses hawking beautiful flowers over a big developer hoping to erect a massive tech campus with the support of all the city's toothiest political sharks — well, polling backs your gut up. 

Development foes are tubthumping a September poll of 400 likely city voters undertaken by David Binder on behalf of TODCO Development. Some highlights

91 percent of those polled felt it is "important to protect small business and artists from being displaced by development;"

62 percent feel "the pace of new development in the city should not be allowed to exceed the capacity of its transit, traffic and housing," and 56 percent still support Prop. M of 1986 which purported to tackle that issue; 

Most importantly, 78 percent of those polled "want to see the Flower Mart … maintained as part of any new project there." 

That's a pretty overwhelming majority; puppies and kittens might have managed even better with voters, but flowers do pretty well, too. 

After the title and summary are submitted to the Department of Elections, they'll be perused by the City Attorney before certification. Following that, some 9,000 signatures must be gathered by opponents of altering the status quo — a feat that could likely be accomplished without leaving Flower Mart grounds. 

Today's noontime Sixth and Brannan press conference/rally will potentially be attended by former Mayor Art Agnos, former State Sen. Quentin Kopp, former Board President Aaron Peskin, Supervisor Jane Kim, and outgoing Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, among others. 

That is, most certainly, largely a political all-star team of yesteryear. But, as has been proven repeatedly of late, it is well capable of making big problems for the political team running the city of today. 

Todco Poll

Flower Mart Act [10!1!14]

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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