TransForm’s Election Guide – November 2016

 How to Vote for a Better Bay AreaThis election is going to be a big one. Not just because of the high-stakes presidential contest — it’s literally going to be a long ballot for California voters, including many critical state and local ballot measures. We urge you to vote all the way down to the end of the ballot on Tuesday November 8, and we offer this guide to help you make informed decisions.

As a non-profit organization, TransForm can’t endorse candidates for office, but we can take positions on ballot measures, and actively engage in campaigns for or against them. There are some key ballot measures in this election that would have a big impact on transportation, land use, and affordability in the Bay Area and beyond. Here are our official positions. Click on a measure in the list below to see a brief explanation in this blog post; some of those explanations also link to further information. Happy voting!

Statewide

Vote NO on Proposition 53 – Statewide approval for bond measures (California)

Regional

Vote YES on Measure RR – BART Bond (Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties)

East Bay

Vote YES on Measure A1 – Affordable housing bond (Alameda County)

Vote YES on Measure C1 – AC Transit funding (Alameda County)

Neutral on Measure X – Transportation Sales Tax (Contra Costa County)

Vote YES on Measure KK – Infrastructure bond (Oakland)

Vote YES on Measure JJ – Renter protections (Oakland)

Vote YES on Measure HH – Soda tax (Oakland)

Vote YES on Measure U1 – Business license tax on landlords (Berkeley)

Vote NO on Measure DD – Landlord-sponsored tax proposal (Berkeley)

Vote YES on Measure N1 – Allow Council to change parking requirements (Albany)

Vote YES on Measure P1 – Sidewalk repair parcel tax (Albany)

San Francisco

Vote YES on Measure J – Set-asides for transportation and homeless services (San Francisco)

Vote YES on Measure K – Sales tax for transportation and homeless services (San Francisco)

Vote NO on Measure L – SFMTA restructuring policy (San Francisco)

South Bay

Vote YES on Measure A – Affordable housing bond (Santa Clara County)

Vote YES on Measure B – Transportation sales tax (Santa Clara County)

And remember to vote for transit candidates!

Vote NO on Proposition 53 – Statewide approval for bond measures (California)

This measure would require statewide voter approval before the state could issue more than $2 billion in public infrastructure bonds. It applies to state-authorized Joint Powers Authorities (JPAs), such as local bridge and water authorities — meaning that local infrastructure projects such as bridge repair or a second transbay rail crossing could face a statewide vote before they could move forward with bond funding.  Visit the No on Prop 53 website.

Vote YES on Measure RR – BART Bond (Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties)

Measure RR is one of TransForm’s top priorities for this election, because when BART breaks the Bay Area waits. BART is asking voters to approve a $3.5 billion general obligation bond to pay for critical repairs and improvements to BART’s core system to keep BART safe, reliable, and comfortable. Ridership has skyrocketed to more than 400,000 people per day, and is expected to grow to at least 600,000 by 2040. BART’s plan is laser-focused on investments to improve the system for existing riders, while planning for the expected surge in riders. Read more about why we strongly support RR, or sign up to volunteer with us to pass the measure!

East Bay

Vote YES on Measure A1 – Affordable housing bond (Alameda County)

The housing crisis in Alameda County is real. Measure A1 will authorize a $580 million bond for a variety of affordable housing solutions including rental housing development, loan programs to help vulnerable populations stay in their homes, and down payment assistance for low-income and first-time homebuyers. Read more about why we support Measure A1.

Vote YES on Measure C1 – AC Transit funding (Alameda County)

Measure C1 would extend an existing parcel tax to maintain essential bus service for the East Bay. Now more than ever, we need to make sure AC Transit has the funds it needs to provide safe, reliable bus service, especially for youth, seniors, and low-income riders who depend on AC Transit to get where they need to go.  Read more about why we support Measure C1.

Neutral on Measure X – Transportation Sales Tax (Contra Costa County)

Measure X is a sales tax that would raise $2.9 billion for transportation over 30 years. While the measure includes some great investments, like money for new BART cars, strong bike/ped provisions, and very limited spending on freeways, it falls way short on guaranteeing sorely needed bus service improvements for Richmond and West Contra Costa County. The good points of this measure keep us from opposing it, but given that sales taxes are regressive (putting the largest burden on the poorest people), we can't support one that doesn’t guarantee sufficient transit for Contra Costa's low-income communities. Read more about why we are neutral on Measure X so you can make your own choice about how to vote.

Vote YES on Measure KK – Infrastructure bond (Oakland)

The lion’s share of this bond measure ($350 million) will fund the backlog of much-needed street-paving and repairs. This will smooth the way for cyclists and bus riders as well as drivers, with a priority on disadvantaged neighborhoods. The measure would also fund $150 million in upgrades to city facilities like libraries, parks, and fire stations, plus $100 million for affordable housing. These are public benefits worth investing in, so we recommend a yes vote on Measure KK.

Vote YES on Measure JJ – Renter protections (Oakland)

Oakland rents are among the highest in the country. Measure JJ would protect renters against unreasonable rent increases and evictions by requiring landlords to petition for rent increases above the Consumer Price Index, expand Just Cause eviction protections to buildings built before 1996 (currently it’s 1980), and strengthen the Rent Board and Renter Adjustment Program. These are fair, common-sense solutions to keep Oaklanders in their homes and neighborhoods. See the Oakland Tenants Union for more about Measure JJ and stay tuned for our full position statement.

Vote YES on Measure HH – Soda tax (Oakland)

This tax on sugary drinks (a penny per fluid ounce) in Oakland would generate $6-8 million per year for the city’s general fund. A diverse Community Advisory Board will make recommendations to the City Council about using the funding for programs that improve children’s health. This measure will promote healthier kids and families, amplifying and complementing TransForm's work promoting Safe Routes to Schools and safe walking and bicycle infrastructure in Oakland. Learn more about Measure HH.

Vote YES on Measure U1 and NO on Measure DD – Taxes on landlords (Berkeley)

Measure U1 would increase the tax on landlords owning five or more residential units from 1.081% to 2.880%, prohibit landlords from passing the tax on to existing tenants, and direct the Housing Advisory Commission to make recommendations on funding and programs to increase affordable housing and protect Berkeley residents from homelessness. This is a small tax increase for landlords, most of whom have benefited greatly from skyrocketing rents in Berkeley. Landlords have put forward a competing measure with a smaller tax increase, Measure DD. Berkeley needs more affordable homes so we recommend voting YES on U1 and NO on DD. Read the official ballot argument in favor of U1 here.

Vote YES on Measure N1 – Allow Council to change parking requirements (Albany)

Measure N1 would allow the Albany City Council to amend Measure D, the 1978 ballot measure that set parking requirements for residential development at 2 parking spaces per unit. The over-building of parking around the region has increased the cost of residential construction, and exacerbated the Bay Area’s housing crisis. In Albany, multi-family residential projects are harder to get built due to the current parking ratio requirement and more affordable homes near transit are greatly needed, so we recommend a YES vote on Measure N1. 

Vote YES on Measure P1 – Sidewalk repair parcel tax (Albany)

Measure P1 is a 10-year parcel tax to fund sidewalk repairs and pedestrian infrastructure in Albany. Broken sidewalks cause injuries and accidents, and make it difficult for seniors and people with disabilities to get around. Sidewalk repair is legally the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, but very few make the investment. This measure will give the City of Albany the funds to address the backlog of repairs and fix the worst spots first, while educating property owners about their ongoing responsibility.

San Francisco

Vote YES on Measure J – Set-asides for transportation and homeless services (San Francisco)

Measure J would establish two new funds, the Transportation Improvement Fund and the Homeless Housing and Services Fund, with initial appropriations of $25.4 million and $12.5 million, respectively, and annual appropriations starting in FY 2017-18 and continuing for the next 24 years of $101.6 million and $50 million. The Transportation Improvement Fund would pay for improvements of Muni, BART, and Caltrain, as well as Complete Streets and road re-surfacing. Learn more on Streetsblog about why you should support Measures J and K.

Vote YES on Measure K – Sales tax for transportation and homeless services (San Francisco)

Measure K would increase the sales tax in San Francisco by 0.75% for the next 25 years, bringing the overall sales tax to 9.25%. The new revenue would go to the Transportation Improvement Fund and the Homeless Housing and Services Fund created by Measure J. Learn more on Streetsblog about why you should support Measures J and K.

Vote NO on Measure L – SFMTA restructuring policy (San Francisco)

Measure L would change two things about the governance of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. It would split appointments to the Board of Directors between the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors (currently the Mayor appoints all directors). The measure would also reduce the number of votes necessary for the Board of Supervisors to reject a SFMTA budget, from seven to six. This measure would likely lead to more parochial meddling in SFMTA’s affairs and actually water down accountability for transit decisions in San Francisco, which currently rests solely with the Mayor and his or her appointees. History suggests that splitting appointments with the Board of Supervisors might actually slow down the process of improving transportation in the city. 

South Bay

Vote YES on Measure A – Affordable housing bond (Santa Clara County)

Measure A is a critical investment in addressing the affordability crisis and combating homelessness in Santa Clara County.  With so much development taking place around current and future transit stations, Measure A will help ensure more of these homes are affordable for low-income residents. The measure authorizes up to $950 million in general obligation bonds for affordable housing for vulnerable populations such as seniors, people with disabilities, foster youth, homeless people, and those suffering from mental health issues or substance abuse. Read our full position on why we support Santa Clara County measures A and B. 

Vote YES on Measure B – Transportation sales tax (Santa Clara County)

We are supporting Measure B because it will provide real transportation benefits for people in serious need. While some funding from this 30-year half-cent sales tax increase would go to roads and highways, there are significant funds for buses, regional transit, bike/ped improvements, and street and road repair. Read our full position on why we support Santa Clara County Measures A and B.

 

Please be sure to cast a vote in the following BART and AC Transit Board of Directors races if they are on your ballot.  Again, TransForm does not endorse candidates; asterisk denotes incumbent.

BART Director, District 1: Debora Allen, *Gail Murray

BART Director, District 3: Ken Chew, Worth Freeman, Varun Paul, *Rebecca Saltzman

BART Director, District 5: Jennifer Hosterman, *John McPartland

BART Director, District 7: Roland Emerson, *Zakhary Mallett, Will Roscoe, Lateefah Simon

BART Director, Ward 9: Gwyneth Borden, Bevan Dufty, Michael Petrelis

AC Transit Director, At-Large: Dollene Jones, *Chris Peeples,

AC Transit Director, Ward 2: *Greg Harper, Russ Tilleman

And don’t forget to register to vote by Monday, October 24

Download a short PDF summary of TransForm's ballot measure positions for 2016 that you can take to the polls!

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About This Blog

TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.