On Tuesday, November 2nd 2010 a range of issues that directly affect the lives and interests of working class communities in our cities will be up for public vote. While voting does not always create the kind of deep change we desire, it is one mechanism available to us to affect laws and policies that impact our communities. Causa Justa :: Just Cause encourages those of who have the ability to vote to do so.
The following is Causa Justa :: Just Cause’s endorsements for the statewide, San Francisco, and Oakland ballot measures.
State Ballot Measures
Proposition 23: Initiative to Suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006 (Dirty Energy Act) – NO
Backed by two of the biggest polluters in California, Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro, Prop 23 would suspend AB 32 the strongest existing legislation on halting pollution and growing the clean energy economy in the country. This is the corporations’ way of getting out of cleaning up the air pollution that they are causing in our state and neighborhoods.
Proposition 24: Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks (Close Corporate Loophole) – YES
Social programs that serve our communities are being cut at alarming rates because of the state budget crisis. In order to save and restore our programs the state is going to have to raise more revenue. By passing Prop 24 we will eliminate three major corporate tax breaks, which will help increase revenues for the state by a projected $1.7 billion.
Proposition 25: Majority Vote for the Legislature to Pass the Budget Act (On Time Budget) – YES
Everyone from public school students and teachers, to patients and health care providers are affected when our state budgets are passed late. Under the current system not only are important services slowed down when this happens but these same services face the continual threat of budget cuts as well. One of the main reasons the budgets is delayed each year is the current requirement that a two-thirds super majority of the state legislature has to approve them. If passed Prop 25 would force the state to approve the budget by June 15th and would change the legislative vote to a simple majority vote, which would make passing the budget a lot more effective.
Proposition 26: Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees - NO
Currently two thirds of the legislature must vote to approve any tax increase. This makes it hard to generate the revenue needed to fund our social programs. If passed Prop 26 would make this situation even worse by extending the two-thirds super majority vote requirement to fees and charges levied by the state. This will make it harder for the state to raise revenues and make it even harder to raise the necessary funds to protect our schools, hospitals, and other state, county and city services.
San Francisco Measures
Measure J: San Francisco Hotel Tax Increase (Hotel Fairness Initiative) – YES
If passed, Measure J would close loopholes on taxes paid by hotels raise by 2% the Transient Occupancy Tax charged to hotel guests when renting rooms by 2%. It is estimated that this will raise $11.82 million that can be used towards keeping important city services funded.
Measure K: San Francisco Hotel Tax Clarifications and Definitions (Hotel Tax Poison Pill) – NO
If passed, Measure K would invalidate the Measure J / the Hotel Fairness Initiative and prevent the collection of millions of dollars in critical city revenues. This is a move to protect profits for wealthy hotel companies over the needs of working people in San Francisco.
Measure N: San Francisco Real Property Transfer Tax – YES
When real estate is bought and sold, the city charges the property owners a fee to record and administer the change. The current tax for this service is 2% for all properties. Measure N will raise this fee to 2.5% for properties valued between $5 – 10 million only. This will help raise additional revenues that will help keep critical city services funded.
Measure L: Sit-Lie Ordinance - NO
If passed, Measure L would prohibit sitting or lying down on public sidewalks between 7am and 11pm. This measure will further criminalize the homeless, young people and workers who seek employment by waiting on public streets.
Measure D: Right of Non-Citizens to Vote in San Francisco School Board Elections (Immigrant Parent Voting) – YES
Measure D would allow San Francisco residents 18 years or older who are legal guardians/caregivers of children in the San Francisco Unified School District to vote in elections for the board of Education whether or not they are citizens.
Measure E: Same-Day Voter Registration (Election Day Voter Registration) – YES
If passed, measure E would extend the voter registration deadline to the day of an election when all the issues and races are local ones. Extending this deadline will allow more people the opportunity to participate in local elections and make it easier for first time voters to vote.
Proposition B: San Francisco Pension Reform – NO
Measure B will increase the amount that city workers have to pay for health benefits for themselves and their dependants. It will also decrease the city’s contribution to worker pension funds. Measure B will have the overall effect of significantly decreasing the level of health and pension benefits that city workers receive and force them to have to pay a lot more out of their own pockets for these important needs.
Measure: City of Oakland Revision of Measure Y (Measure Y Fix) – YES
In 2004 Oakland voter passed an initiative called “Measure Y”. Measure Y created a pot of money to fund a variety of violence prevention programs. It also simultaneously required that the city maintain a police force of at least 739 officers. Due to a huge city budget deficit, Oakland is currently unable to keep that number of police officers on the force. This initiative will allow the city to keep funding critical violence prevention and youth programs during this period of deficit without further jeopardizing safety needs in our community.
Measure W: City of Oakland Telephone Access Charge (911 Phone Tax) – YES
This measure will establish a tax of $1.99 per month per telephone line for residents and $13 per line for businesses that have multiple telephone lines. This is a good example of a progressive tax that will require that big business and companies pay a larger share than individual tenants and homeowners for vital city services.
Measure V: City of Oakland Tax on Marijuana – YES
This measure will raise the amount that owners of medical marijuana businesses have to pay the city of Oakland – from $18 to $50 for every $1,000 earned. This measure will help to decriminalize marijuana use and sale, which disproportionately affects oppressed nationality communities. It will also generate vital revenues for the city.