The city leaders of San Francisco are currently engaged in a heated battle over funding for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). The original author of the funding plan has withdrawn his support after it was amended today because it would likely require additional tax dollars.
This dispute involves supervisors and the mayor, who are at odds over how to allocate existing funds for public safety and whether taxpayers should be asked to contribute more money for the police. The issue has even spilled over onto social media, with personal attacks being exchanged.
The city is currently facing a shortage of approximately 400 police officers, making it challenging to fill vacancies. District Six supervisor, Matt Dorsy, proposed a charter amendment that would allow voters to allocate their existing tax dollars over a five-year period to address the police staffing crisis and rising crime rates that have led to businesses and residents leaving the city.
Dorsy’s plan aimed to fully fund the Police Department without imposing new taxes. However, some of his colleagues in City Hall disagreed and believed that voters should be required to pay additional taxes to solve the problem.
When Dorsy’s plan was amended in the rules committee to include new taxes as a possible funding source, he expressed his frustration on social media, claiming that it was an attempt to manipulate voters’ fears of public safety into supporting new taxes. He argued that it was unnecessary to create a new tax for this purpose.
District 11 supervisor Asha Safay countered that voters would ultimately determine how to fully fund the police department in March, and the money could come from various sources, not just a new tax. Safay criticized Dorsy’s plan for lacking a dedicated funding source and potentially harming other areas of the budget. He also took a dig at Dorsy’s experience, suggesting that he needed more familiarity with the budgeting process. Despite the disagreement, Dorsy expressed his determination to continue his efforts to address the minimum police staffing issue, possibly by taking it to voters as a ballot measure in November 2024..