Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

December 12, 2019 Notice: New Notification Requirements Applicable to Certain Boards and Commissions

Department Heads:

The purpose of this notice is to help inform you about new legislation that affects your board or commission.

On November 5, 2019, San Francisco citizens voted to enact Proposition F – a measure that amends the San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code by establishing new campaign contribution restrictions for persons and affiliates with a financial interest in pending land use matters before certain boards and commissions. Furthermore, the new law requires certain boards and commissions to post a description of the prohibition on their websites and include that description on meeting agendas. The election results were adopted by the Board of Supervisors at its December 10, 2019 meeting, and the measure becomes operative on December 20, 2019.

Overview of the Law:

As adopted, section 1.127 prohibits any person or affiliated entity with a financial interest in a property or project subject to a land use matter pending before the Board of Appeals, Board of Supervisors, Building Inspection Commission, Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure, Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission, Port Commission, or Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors, from contributing any amount to a member of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor, and the City Attorney, as well as, candidates for such offices, and committees controlled by such officers. Conversely, specified City elected officers and candidate committees may not accept or solicit contributions from individuals or affiliated entities with pending land use matters in accordance with section 1.127(b).

For purposes of section 1.127, a person or affiliated entity has a financial interest in a pending land use matter if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • has an ownership interest of $5 million or more in a property or project;
  • holds the position of director or principal officer, or is a member of the Board of Directors for an entity that has an ownership interest of $5 million or more in a property or project; or
  • is a developer with an estimated construction costs of at least $5 million in a property or project that is subject to a Land Use Matter.

(Note: A person’s primary residence is not subject to the prohibitions of this section.)

Notification Requirements Imposed on Specified Boards and Commissions:

Pursuant to section C&GC Code 1.127(f), the following boards and commissions must post a description of the prohibition in subsection (b) on their respective websites and include that description on each meeting agenda:

  • Board of Appeals
  • Board of Supervisors
  • Building Inspection Commission
  • Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure
  • Historic Preservation Commission
  • Planning Commission
  • Port Commission
  • Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors

To assist boards and commissions with complying with the required notification, the Ethics Commission has developed the following sample description for use by affected departments:

“Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code section 1.127 prohibits any person with a financial interest in certain land use matters from making a political contribution to any committee controlled by an individual currently holding, or seeking election to, the office of Mayor, Supervisor, or City Attorney. Solicitation or acceptance of such a contribution is also prohibited. Be aware that certain matters pending before or acted upon by [insert name of board, commission, or department] may constitute land use matters under section 1.127. Please visit sfethics.org to learn more about whether your involvement in such matters affects your ability to make political contributions, or contact the Ethics Commission at ethics.commission@sfgov.org or (415) 252-3100.”

 Our office is working to update resources to reflect the changes that have become operative by these voter-approved changes. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us at ethics.commission@sfgov.org or (415) 252-3100.

Sincerely,

Rachel Gage

Principal Program Manager | Engagement & Compliance
San Francisco Ethics Commission
415-252-3100 | sfethics.org

ethics.commission@sfgov.org

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