BY ALEX SARDAR Asbarez Staff Writer
SAN FRANCISCO–San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition F–the sale of the city’s famed Mt. Davidson cross property to the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California–Tuesday
Results attained from the San Francisco Department of Elections indicate that with 100 percent of precincts reported voters gave their stamp of approval with casting 78,011 (68.3 percent) affirmative ballots against 36,072 (31.6 percent) no votes.
With a 2-1 margin San Franciscans ratified an earlier–unanimous decision by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to sell the property with the 103-foot erected cross to Armenian-Americans for $26,000.
Roxanne Makasdjian–Armenian National Committee representative to the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California–said–following the elections–"We are thrilled about [Tuesday’s] elections. It speaks well for the strength of the Armenian-American community in San Francisco–and [it speaks] well for San Francisco residents for seeing the worth of saving a historical landmark," continued Makasdjian–"We’re proud that San Franciscans allowed us to be the custodians for the Mt. Davidson cross. This is a way for all San Franciscans to enjoy [this historic symbol]–and for the Armenian community to commemorate the victims of the Genocide."
Although the proposition was confronted with opposition–the Armenian-American community and supporters of the cross volunteered and ran an impressive grassroots campaign.
Campaign workers dispersed thousands of flyers–and made hundreds of calls during phone banking hours. "It was very encouraging to see all elemen’s of the Armenian community working so diligently to secure a yes vote. [We] spoke to virtually all political community groups…" said Makasdjian.
Turkish opposition to the proposition was also felt during the campaign. During the last few weeks leading to the elections–Turkish groups mounted an intensive campaign to defeat the ballot measure. Makasdjian explained–"The Turks shamefully used Proposition F as a platform to further historical revisionism. San Francisco voters are smarter than–though."
According to Makasdjian–the Turkish opposition campaign was conducted from outside of San Francisco–and the representatives of the campaign were not city residents. Moreover–the main spokesperson for the Turkish opposition was not a registered voter.
According to terms of the approved sale–the City of San Francisco will retain land around the landmark–and use the revenues from the sale to buy more park property.
"We look forward to working with all the neighborhood groups and The Friends of Mt. Davidson Conservancy–as we proceed with the management of the site. It will be maintained as an open public space for all to enjoy," concluded Makasdjian.
The cross was dedicated in 1934–and a time capsule containing historic artifacts–lies at its base.