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SF Voters Re-Elect Mayor, Defeat Airbnb Measure

Eric Risberg / AP

In this photo taken Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, are election signs in a Chinatown window supporting affordable housing in the Mission District and restrictions on short term rentals in San Francisco.

Eric Risberg / AP

Update at 10:20pm (AP): San Francisco voters have rejected two ballot measures prompted by the city's housing crisis.

Voters defeated a proposal to restrict Airbnb and other short-term platforms and a ballot measure to freeze construction of luxury housing in the Mission District, one of San Francisco's most coveted neighborhoods.

Airbnb, by far the world's largest home-share platform, spent more than $8 million to defeat the measure with a blitz of advertising.

Proposition F would limit home-shares to 75 nights and require Airbnb and other hosting platforms to pull listings that exceed the limit. Proponents, who have raised about $300,000, say the proliferation of short-term rentals is squeezing the city's already tight housing market.

With more than 90,000 votes counted, 58 percent of the voters rejected the measure.

A proposal to freeze development of luxury housing in the city's trendy Mission District also lost with 60 percent of the votes against it.

Mayor Ed Lee, who swept through his own election victory Tuesday, had opposed both measures.

Update at 10:00pm (AP): A San Francisco sheriff who sparked a national debate on immigration reform this summer lost his bid for re-election with a wide-margin.

Partial returns show Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi losing to retired sheriff's official Vicki Hennessy. She has the backing of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and sheriff deputies association.

With more than 90,000 votes counted, Mirkarimi had 31 percent support compared to 62 percent of the vote cast in favor of Hennessy.

The San Francisco sheriff's office has been in the spotlight since a Mexican national in the country illegally was charged in the fatal shooting of a San Francisco woman this summer.

The man had been released from Mirkarimi's jail even though federal immigration officials had requested that he be detained. Mirkarimi has vigorously defended the city's sanctuary policies, which generally prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials.

 

Update at 9:15pm (AP): San Francisco voters re-elected Mayor Ed Lee and threw out embattled Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi while a measure to curb Airbnb rentals was losing by a wide margin.

With more than 65,000 ballots counted, a measure to freeze construction of luxury housing in the city's popular Mission District was trailing, 64 to 38 per cent.  A $310 million housing bond was narrowly passing with 69 per cent of the vote; it needed two-thirds to pass.

Airbnb, by far the world's largest home-share platform, has spent more than $8 million to defeat the measure with a blitz of advertising.

Proposition F would limit home-shares to 75 nights and require Airbnb and other hosting platforms to pull listings that exceed the limit. Proponents, who have raised about $300,000, say the proliferation of short-term rentals is squeezing the city's already tight housing market.

Airbnb and other opponents say the measure would do nothing to make housing more affordable in a city that is one of the most expensive in the country.

Original Story (AP) - Mayor Ed Lee is expected to win re-election Tuesday even as the San Francisco ballot reflects deep concern over the tech-driven development he's championed in his five years in office.

The ballot includes contentious citizen-backed initiatives to restrict Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms, and impose a freeze on luxury housing in the popular Mission District. Both are opposed by the mayor.

San Francisco has become a national symbol of income disparity as newcomers shell out $1 million to buy small, high-end condos while long-time tenants battle eviction.

The ballot also features a widely supported $310 million bond for affordable housing that is backed by the mayor and tech titans such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Voters last approved a housing bond in 1996, rejecting two others in 2002 and 2004.