The Ides of “May”: The Language of the Mayor’s Pet $500 Million Bond “May” Alarm You

By sfweekly – excerpt

Well, it’s October again. The Giants are in the playoffs. We’re blessed with the sundress weather that enables million-dollar median home prices. And ’tis the season when every area chiropractor offers up a silent, thankful prayer, knowing he or she will soon be visited by legions of ailing letter carriers, hobbled by the reams of political mailers and the Tolstoy-length election materials facilitating San Franciscans to vote on damn near everything

Voters, it was argued, would be put off by this onslaught of revenue measures. But voters may yet be put off by another element of the big Muni bond — its very language.

The key word here is “may.”…

“Shall” and “may” do not mean the same thing, period. In legal parlance, “shall” is “prescriptive” language and “may” is “permissive” language.

The language in Prop. A is permissive. Everything listed within it is something that “may” be funded, “may” be done…

So, per Reiskin, this bond “will” enable great things. It “may” all work out well.

It “shall” certainly work out well for somebody (more)

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