Streetsblog Endorsements for the November 2020 Election – Statewide Propositions and Local Measures
Voting is just getting underway for this year’s historic election. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Streetsblog cannot endorse candidates, but can endorse other ballot measures. Below are propositions and measures that California’s Streetsblogs are endorsing this year.
STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSITIONS
Yes on Prop 15 – undoes part of Prop 13, taxes commercial property at market value
California’s 1978 Proposition 13 created an unequal situation in which property taxes are based on the property’s purchase price, rather than current market value. Over time, this has greatly reduced property tax income and created an unequal tax basis among similar properties, depending on how long the current owners have held them. This has starved public budgets, eroded public infrastructure, stifled new housing, and perpetuated and worsened inequalities. Prop 15 would undo the part of Prop 13 that applies to commercial and industrial real estate, ensuring these properties are taxed more fairly, while leaving current tax rules for residential and agricultural land alone. Though many have focused on Prop 15’s immense and much-needed benefits for schools, it would also have broader livability benefits – including improving transit, walkability, parks, housing, and more.
Proposition 15 endorsers include the California Teachers Association, Alliance for Community Transit (ACT-LA), Climate Reform, and many labor, housing, and environmental groups. See the Yes on Prop 15 “Schools & Communities First” campaign website.
Yes on Prop 16 – repeals California affirmative action ban
Proposition 16 would repeal California’s 1996 Prop 209, removing the state ban on affirmative action involving race-based or gender-based preferences. Although then-Governor Pete Wilson had hailed the ban as a landmark in moving California closer to a “colorblind” society, it was better understood in the context of other racist reforms he advocated for, including a prohibition on bilingual education and an effort to deny undocumented immigrants access to public services. There have been a number of efforts within the Legislature to mitigate the effects of Prop 209 over the years, but this is the first time a repeal has appeared on the ballot. Now with the wider recognition of the persistence of systemic racism, the repeal may have a real chance of succeeding.
Among those endorsing Proposition 16 are numerous organizations, including Black Lives Matter leadership, as well as many elected officials including Governor Gavin Newsom, and Mayors Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles), Sam Liccardo (San Jose), London Breed (San Francisco), and Libby Schaaf (Oakland). See the Yes on 16 campaign website.
Yes on Prop 21 – partially repeals Rent Control ban, allows cities to enact local rent control
Currently, California’s 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act blocks local jurisdictions from passing many types of rent control laws, especially for housing built after 1995. Prop 21 would allow cities to pass new rent control laws on housing more than fifteen years old, on a rolling basis – a change from Costa Hawkins’ fixed-year basis. Prop 21 would also allow municipalities to better regulate how landlords increase rent when a unit becomes vacant.
Proposition 21 endorsers include the California ACLU, many housing and labor groups, and many elected officials including California Congressmembers Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, and Maxine Waters. See the Yes on 21 “Keep Families in Their Homes” campaign website.
No on Prop 22 – exempts ride-hail companies from law that defines their drivers as employees
Proposition 22 is a push by Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash to circumvent California’s A.B. 5, which requires them to pay their workers fairly. Prop 22 would carve out an exception for app-based drivers to be classified as independent contractors, not employees. Passing Prop 22 would perpetuate the recent ride-hail status quo that has been bad for workers and bad for transportation and livability.
LOCAL BALLOT MEASURES
Yes on Measure J – Los Angeles County – shifts county funds from law enforcement to services/housing
Measure J would permanently shift ten percent of existing locally controlled L.A. County revenues away from law enforcement to develop alternatives to incarceration, primarily community-serving programs. Funding would go to community counseling, mental health services, youth development programs, small businesses, jobs-creation, and affordable housing.
Yes on Measure RR – Counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara – sales tax to fund Caltrain
Measure RR would add a one-eighth-cent sales tax to provide dedicated funding for operating, improving and maintaining Caltrain, adding more frequent, reliable service, allowing it to operate every 15 minutes, all day long and into the late evening. Combined with its ongoing electrification project, this would in effect transform Caltrain from a “commuter railroad” into a regional rail system, more akin to BART.