Big decisions are on the horizon for San Francisco: City elections are Tuesday of next week, and they’re gearing up to be contentious and close. While the mayoral race and certain propositions like the Mission moratorium and Prop. F have received the lion’s share of the attention, the less controversial measures have received less, even though they will have a big impact on the Mission and city-wide.
On this week’s radio program on BFF.fm, we took a look at one measure in particular: Proposition J, known as the legacy business fund.
Proposition J would create a city fund from which annual grants could be allocated to small businesses that are struggling to pay rent. Any small business? No. To qualify, a business must be 30 years old, or 20 years old but facing a serious risk of displacement.
Still, that’s a big pool. A lot of of San Francisco’s small businesses are facing significant rent increases as their leases expire – Navarro’s Martial Arts Academy in the Mission, for example.
The fund is essentially a grant program. It would offer $500 per full-time employee to qualifying businesses, capped at $50,000 a year.
The fund also creates an incentive for landlords. If a landlord of a legacy business agrees to give that business a ten-year lease, they could get some $4.50 per square foot of property from the city, up to $20,000 per year for the landlord.
The city controller estimates that some 7,500 businesses qualify for the legacy business distinction. If funds were given to all these businesses, the controller says, within 25 years the city could be paying businesses and landlords some $94 million annually.
The cost is debatable, as is figuring out which businesses deserve money from the city. Mission Local sat down with Supervisor David Campos earlier this week to talk about it. Campos wrote the measure and has a few key explanations about supporting local businesses. Here’s that conversation: