Student-crafted Ballot Initiative Loses at Polls

Wednesday, November 04, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- One of the most novel measures on Tuesday’s ballot, Proposition E, would have mandated that every meeting of all 120-plus boards, commissions and advisory groups in San Francisco be streamed on the Internet. It was drubbed, with 66.6 percent voting no. The idea was crafted by a San Francisco State University class to increase public participation in government. No other city has attempted a digital-engagement project on such an ambitious scale. While there was little disagreement during the campaign that more local participation should be encouraged, some voiced concern that another provision of the measure — allowing live-streamed or recorded digital testimony — would open the door to a river of comments from around the world that could bog down meetings for hours. Others balked at the estimated tab of $1.7 million to upgrade the city’s broadcasting capabilities and $750,000 a year in new staff costs.