As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache.
- Proposition 51: School Bonds. Funding for K–12 School and Community College Facilities. Initiative Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. This is $9bn in bonds ($7bn to K–12, $2bn for community colleges) that will be repaid over 30 years.
- Proposition 52: Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. The state currently charges a quality assurance fee on hospitals, which is due to expire in 2018; this fee gets us $8.1bn in federal matching funds. Each time the legislature extends it, it has to get approval from the federal government; this makes it permanent (unless the federal program goes away).
- Proposition 53: Revenue Bonds. Statewide Voter Approval. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. Currently, if a bond pays for itself (e.g.: bridge tolls paying for bridge-building bonds), it doesn’t need approval from the voters. This would change that for projects over $2bn. This is an initiative backed by a single wealthy farmer.
- Proposition 54: Legislature. Legislation and Proceedings. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. This requires that bills and amendments are available online for 72 hours before a vote can be held on them (with exceptions for emergencies like authorizing funding for a natural disaster) and that public meetings of the legislature are recorded and available online within 24 hours. All the money for this one came from billionaire Republican Charles Munger Jr.
- Proposition 55: Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. This extends the Proposition 30 tax increase on top earners (approved in 2012, expires in 2018) through 2030. It does not extend the sales tax increase. Politifact California rates the “prevents $4bn in new cuts to our schools” argument as mostly false.
- Proposition 56: Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare, Tobacco Use Prevention, Research, and Law Enforcement. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. This taxes E-cigarettes and increases the taxes on regular cigarettes. It’s expected to decrease state income by $1bn as people quit smoking. Loads of opposing money from the tobacco manufacturers, of course. Politifact California rates the “cheats schools out of at least $600m” argument as mostly false.
- Proposition 57: Criminal Sentences. Parole. Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. This increases the number of inmates eligible for parole consideration (if they were convicted of nonviolent crimes) and improves opportunities for rehabilitation. Juveniles need a hearing in juvenile court before they can be tried as adults. PolitiFact California have rated the “this will put more Brock Turners on the streets” argument from the opposition as Mostly False and Loretta Sanchez’ “get out of jail free” argument as False.
- Proposition 58: English Proficiency. Multilingual Education. Initiative Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. This gives schools more flexibility in offering bilingual education programs.
- Proposition 59: Corporations. Political Spending. Federal Constitutional Protections. Legislative Advisory Question. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge.
- Proposition 60: Adult Films. Condoms. Health Requirements. Initiative Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. Politifact California rates the “would put workers in the adult film industry at risk for lawsuits and harassment” as half true.
- Proposition 61: State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards. Initiative Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge.
- Proposition 62: Death Penalty. Initiative Statute. This would eliminate the death penalty in California, which will save $150m each year. Whichever of 62 or 66 gets the most votes takes effect. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. Politifact rates the “largest death row population in the Western Hemisphere” claim as true. our existing legal system is too error-prone to wield such power. Yes.
- Proposition 63: Firearms. Ammunition Sales. Initiative Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. Mother Jones. This one is a bit complicated because the legislature has already passed bills that will modify this proposition, should it take effect, so you need to read the legislative analyst’s work if you want to get the details. A recent study shows that gun control laws are successful in reducing gun violence. Yes.
- Proposition 64: Marijuana Legalization. Initiative Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. This legalizes recreational marijuana at age 21 and makes marijuana-related crimes eligible for resentencing or amending records. Illegal marijuana growers do a lot of environmental damage, so this is good for the environment as well. Yes.
- Proposition 65: Carryout Bags. Charges. Initiative Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. If this passes, any fees collected from a statewide plastic bag ban will go to a wildlife conservation fund. If 67 passes, the statewide ban will remain in effect; if 67 fails, there will be no statewide ban, but any future ban’s fees will go to the fund. The money for the proposition comes from plastic bag manufacturers.
- Proposition 66: Death Penalty. Procedures. Initiative Statute. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. This would streamline the death penalty process so it happens faster, and eliminate special death row housing, which will save money. Whichever of 62 or 66 gets the most votes takes effect.
- Proposition 67: Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags. Referendum. Ballotpedia. Voter’s Edge. The California legislature banned plastic bags statewide in 2014. The opposition money comes from the same group of plastic bag manufacturers as are supporting 65.
- Measure A: Santa Clara County Affordable Housing Bond Measure. Voter’s Edge. This tackles both homelessness (using techniques that worked in Utah) and the housing shortage by levying a small parcel tax ($12.66 per $100,000 of assessed value) to create homes for the homeless (which saves a lot of money because they consume far fewer emergency services), affordable housing for people who are having trouble with local property prices, and assistance for first-time home buyers. It has strong oversight provisions. It needs a ⅔ majority to pass.
- Measure B: Santa Clara County VTA Tax Measure. Voter’s Edge. This is an effort to relieve the county’s problems with traffic congestion by levying a ½¢ sales tax for thirty years. It has everything from finishing the BART extension to San Jose, pothole repair to fixing congested interchanges to improving bicycle and pedestrian safety to grade separation that will cut down on stoplights on expressways. What it isn’t doing is naive road-widening, which just raises demand. It needs a ⅔ majority to pass.
- Measure M. Voter’s Edge. Requires a citywide election for numerous routine operations, such as extending leases; it is so poorly written that lawyers disagree over whether it applies to one-day rentals, which means it could waste tax dollars on litigation in addition to costing taxpayers from $41,000 to $700,000 per year for the election costs. The San Jose Mercury compares it to two similar propositions in other cities.
Supported by Opposed by Yes on Measure M No on M
San Jose Mercury
Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters
Santa Clara County Democratic Party
Democratic Club of Sunnyvale
Councilman Jim Griffith
- Measure N: Sunnyvale Essential Services Protection Measure. Voter’s Edge.
Supported by Opposed by San Jose Mercury Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County
- Measure BB: Sunnyvale School District Parcel Tax. Voter’s Edge.
Supported by Opposed by Santa Clara County Democratic Party Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County