California November 2018 Propositions

We've got a good crop of propositions this time, eleven state-wide and some interesting local ones.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. You can also vote before then at Early Voting locations. Check your sample ballot, or ask your county's Registrar of Voters to find out where. For instance, in Alameda County you can vote at the Registrar's office in downtown Oakland, among other places.

State-wide: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [10] [11] [12]
Regional: [FF] [AD15]
San Francisco: [A] [B] [C] [D] [E]
Berkeley: [O] [P] [Q] [R]

State-wide

yes Prop. 1: Housing Assistance Bond
$4 billion bond to continue funding of existing affordable housing programs. We need more than this but ok.
yes Prop. 2: Individuals with Mental Illness Housing Bond
$2 billion bond to continue funding of existing housing programs for people with mental illness. Ok.
no Prop. 3: Water System Bond
This is a $9 billion bond, which is very large. Previous water system bonds: Prop. 1 in 2014, $7.5 billion; Prop. 84 in 2006, $5.4 billion. I recommended Yes on both of those, and they both passed. I like water system improvements. I don't like this one. It's different - instead of coming from the legislature, it's an initiative funded by agribusiness, who will receive most of the benefits. They threw in a carefully calculated amount of other stuff to get it past the voters. The other stuff is ok, but the package leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I prefer to wait for the legislature to do it right.
yes Prop. 4: Children's Hospital Bond
$1.5 billion bond to fund building children's hospitals. It's unclear from the description whether this funds hospitals that treat children, or the specific organizations named Children's Hospital. Either way is good, I guess. Although using public money to build privately-owned facilities is not a great idea.
no Prop. 5: Property Tax Assessment Portability
There's an existing law that lets homeowners older than 55 transfer their low property tax assessment to another property. There are a bunch of restrictions - the new property has to be of equal or lower value, only in certain counties, and it can only be done once. This can be justified by encouraging empty-nesters to downsize without penalty, making room for younger people with families. Prop. 5 would remove the restrictions - you could transfer your property tax assessment to any new property, anywhere, any number of times. This would be an enormous expansion of the tax exemption, no longer justified by any societal gain. It's one of the worst ideas I've ever seen on the ballot.
no Prop. 6: Gas Tax Repeal
This would repeal a 2017 gas tax hike, resulting in a loss of $5 billion per year that is currently going to highway maintenance and transit. It's a terrible idea.
yes Prop. 7: Allow Year-Round Daylight Time
This would allow but not require the legislature to switch California to year-round Daylight Time. They already have authority to switch to year-round Standard Time, which I would prefer, but either would be better than fiddling with the clocks twice a year.
no Prop. 8: Outpatient Dialysis Cost Regulation
This is a weird one. It was placed on the ballot by a labor union as a negotiating tactic against two large dialysis companies. I am generally pro-union but this is ridiculous, and I think we do not want to encourage this tactic.
yes Prop. 10: Repeal of Costa-Hawkins
Costa-Hawkins is a 1995 law that severely limits rent control in California. Repealing it would let cities make their own decisions on rent control.
no Prop. 11: Require Ambulance Staff to Remain On-Call During Breaks
This is an ambulance company trying to pre-empt a court case they are almost certain to lose. Nah bro, let's let the court decide.
no Prop. 12: Standards for Farm Animal Cages
This sounds good at first but if you look at the details it actually undoes some protections that we voted into law in 2008 via Proposition 2. For instance, Prop. 2 outlawed chicken cages by 2015. Prop 12 would re-legalize them until 2022! This measure is deceptive.

Regional

yes FF: Extend $12/year Parcel Tax for EBRPD
Extends the existing Park District funding for another 20 years. Absolutely yes.
Assembly District 15

AD15 covers the East Bay shoreline cities, from Oakland north. In the June primary I recommended Buffy Wicks, in no small part because of her position on Costa-Hawkins. While every other candidate said they wanted to repeal it, Wicks said she would rather modify it with a rolling cut-off date. I found this to be a more realistic position.

Since then, to everyone's surprise, an initiative for full repeal of Costa-Hawkins qualified for the ballot as Proposition 10. I asked Wicks if she had a position on Prop. 10. After initially ducking the question, Wicks eventually came out opposing Prop. 10, sticking with her reform position from the primary.

I think this is a mistake. It's bad tactics. If you want to reform Costa-Hawkins, you have to jump on a chance to repeal it. If full repeal succeeds, individual cities can still decide to do their own reformed mini-Costa-Hawkins laws, as Berkeley is trying to do with Measure Q. And if repeal fails you can still try to reform it state-wide later.

While I still recommend Wicks for AD15, my support is less than full-throated.


San Francisco

yes Measure A: Embarcadero Seawall Bond
This $425 million bond is only the first installment on fixing the Embarcadero Seawall. If it doesn't pass you might as well abandon downtown SF.
no Measure B: City Privacy Guidelines
I like privacy, but I have no idea what this measure would really do. It's too complicated for a ballot measure.
yes Measure C: Business Tax for Homeless Services
This measure would approximately double the existing buxiness tax, and spend the money on services for homeless people. A lot of local heavy-hitter politicians have come out against it - Mayor Breed, former Supervisors Wiener and Chiu. Their argument is that homelessness is a regional problem, and if SF does better at it than other cities then homeless people will congregate here. To which I say, we can only hope so. Interestingly, among the measure's supporters is Marc Benioff, head of Salesforce, which is San Francisco's biggest employer and would pay more of this tax than anyone.
no Measure D: Cannabis Business Tax
Adds a large extra tax on cannabis-related businesses. Why? No reason.
yes Measure E: Allocation of Hotel Tax
Would allocate about 1/5th of the existing Hotel Tax to a few specific arts and cultural purposes.

Berkeley

yes O: Affordable Housing Bond
This is a $135 million bond for the city to build affordable housing. An easy yes.
yes P: Raise Transfer Tax for Homeless Services
This would raise the real estate transfer tax on the top 1/3rd of house sales, and spend the money on homeless services. Another easy yes.
yes Q: Adapt to Costa-Hawkins Repeal
This is Berkeley's response to the possiblity of Costa-Hawkins getting repealed by Proposition 10. It could be better, but I do like the 20-year rolling exemption.
shrug R: Something Something Vision 2050
I don't think this actually does anything. Establishes a goal? The Mayor should come up with a plan? About.... resiliency? Whatever.

Secretary of State's voter information page.
Alameda County's voter information page.
San Francisco's voter information page.
SPUR Voter Guide.
The League of Pissed Off Voters.
Pete Rates the Propositions.
My recommendations for the June 2018, November 2016, June 2016, 2014, November 2012, June 2012, November 2010, June 2010, 2008, 2006, 2005, and 2004 propositions.
Back to Jef's page.
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