Law enables elections activity at hotels for
San Francisco legislators today approved an ordinance sponsored
by District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi allowing get-out-the-vote
workers access to residents of single-room occupancy hotels.
By Emmett Berg
August 14, 2007
An ordinance given preliminary approval at the Board of Supervisors
today allows get-out the-vote workers easier access to the largely
poor residents of single-room occupancy housing, for the distribution
of handbills and arranging rides to polls.
The law still requires finalizing via a second vote of the board,
as well as Mayor Gavin Newsom's signature.
Today's 7-3 initial vote followed a debate in which Supervisor
Ross Mirkarimi, who sponsored the ordinance, defended it against
colleagues who labeled it an invitation to disorder at the hotels.
The phrase "single-room occupancy" indicates occupants
living in single rooms with shared kitchens and bathroom facilities.
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said allowing not only residents but
also guests of residents to be able to provide access to political
workers was a bad idea.
"It elevates the rights of guests above other residents,"
Elsbernd complained. But his and the votes of Ed Jew and Michela
Alioto-Pier were the only supervisors opposed to Mirkarimi's law.
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd
"Are we inviting a tsunami of uninvited guests? The answer
is no," Mirkarimi said.
The rules governing political electioneering at single-room occupancy
hotels - where many residents are recipients of public assistance
- do not apply to ordinary apartment or condo dwellers in the
city. In such privately owned dwellings election workers must
receive entry approval from each resident they visit.
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