TransForm's November 2018 Voter Guide

Vote November 6!When you look at the measures on the ballot in the Bay Area and statewide this November, you’ll see two big themes — transportation and housing. No coincidence, these are arguably the two biggest challenges California is facing, and what we at TransForm think about all the time.

Before we get into our recommendations, we want to share some guiding principles and values that we used in developing our positions.

 

  • We need to invest in all types of housing production, especially affordable housing. That’s why we’re supporting every affordable housing bond measure on the ballot this November, in the Bay Area and statewide.
  • Cities and counties need more freedom to enact common-sense renter protections. Fears that a proposition enabling more rent control will slow housing production and raise housing prices are overblown and premature. Rapidly rising rents cause intense suffering in our communities, including displacement, gentrification, and homelessness. Renter protections that are well-designed can keep vulnerable residents in their homes and neighborhoods while still allowing high levels of investment in new housing. We believe that displacement is not only a moral issue but a transportation issue, and we work to keep communities in place.
  • Wealthy businesses and individuals should pay their fair share. The Bay Area added over half a million jobs since 2011, but only 126,000 housing units. There’s wide agreement that the strong job market is part of why there's such intense demand for housing and why our transportation systems are under such strain. It makes sense that the booming businesses that helped create our housing and transportation crises should help cities address those problems.

In June we asked you to be a transportation voter. This November, we’re asking you to be a transportation and housing voter. Because these issues are deeply connected, and our solutions should be, too.

Statewide:

  • YES on Prop 1 - State bond for housing assistance programs
  • YES on Prop 2 - Authorize bonds for supportive housing programs for people with mental illness
  • NO WAY on Prop 6 - Don’t eliminate vital state transportation funding
  • YES on Prop 10 - Repeal Costa-Hawkins restrictions on rent control

San Francisco:

  • YES on Proposition A - Earthquake retrofit for Embarcadero seawall
  • YES on Proposition C - Business taxes to fund homeless services

East Bay:

  • NO on Alameda Measure K - Restrictions on future changes to rent control policy
  • YES on Berkeley Measure O - Affordable housing bond
  • YES on Berkeley Measure P - Transfer tax for homeless services
  • YES on Berkeley Measure R - Community engagement in Vision 2050
  • YES on Oakland Measure W - Tax on vacant parcels and condominiums
  • YES on Oakland Measure Y - Expand Just Cause eviction protections
  • YES on Richmond Measure T - Tax on vacant parcels

South Bay and Peninsula:

  • YES on San Mateo Measure W - Sales tax for transportation improvements
  • YES on San Jose Measure V - Affordable housing bond
  • YES on Mountain View Measure P - Business license tax for affordable housing and transportation improvements
  • YES on East Palo Alto Measure HH - Commercial office space tax for affordable housing and local job opportunities

North Bay:

  • YES on Marin County Measure AA - Extension of sales tax for transportation
  • YES on Napa County TOT Measures - See below for each city’s hotel (transient occupancy) tax measures for affordable housing
  • YES on Santa Rosa Measure N - Affordable housing bond

Candidate races: BART Board of Directors, AC Transit Board of Directors

 

State Propositions

YES on Prop 1 - State bond for housing assistance programs
Prop 1 authorizes $4 billion in bonds to finance a variety of sorely needed housing programs and housing construction throughout California. It includes $150 million for transit-oriented development, and specific programs to house veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Read our blog post for more reasons to support Props 1, 2, and 10.

YES on Prop 2 - Authorize bonds for supportive housing programs for people with mental illness
Prop 2 will provide $2 billion for housing programs to support individuals with mental illness, including those experiencing homelessness. Prop 2 authorizes money from Proposition 63, the Medical Health Services Act of 2004, to be spent on safe and supportive housing for people with mental illness. This authorization enables a more holistic approach to our housing and homelessness crises, strengthening coordinated wrap-around services for some of our most vulnerable neighbors. Read our blog post for more reasons to support Props 1, 2, and 10.

NO WAY on Prop 6 - Don't eliminate vital state transportation funding
Prop 6 would eliminate $5.4 billion per year in transportation funding, including almost $1 billion per year for public transportation, safe walking and biking, and multi-use trails. This politically motivated measure would repeal the increased gas tax and vehicle fees passed by the legislature in SB 1, the landmark transportation improvement bill passed last year. There is so much more to say about No on Prop 6!

YES on Prop 10 - Repeal Costa-Hawkins restrictions on rent control
Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and its ban on certain types of rent control, including protections for tenants of single-family homes, condos and apartments built after 1995. Costa-Hawkins also allows landlords to raise the rent as much as they want when a unit becomes vacant.

This will allow cities and counties the freedom to decide what rent control protections make sense for their jurisdictions, and address the affordability and displacement crises wracking our communities. Read our blog post for more reasons to support Props 1, 2, and 10.

San Francisco:

YES on Proposition A - Earthquake retrofit for Embarcadero seawall
Repairs are urgently needed to strengthen San Francisco’s seawall and protect BART and Muni tunnels, ferries, roads, utility and water systems from earthquakes and climate change-fueled flooding and sea level rise. Learn more about Yes on Proposition A.

YES on Proposition C - Business taxes to fund homeless services
Homelessness in San Francisco is a humanitarian and public health crisis. A tax on businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $50 million will house more than 4,000 people currently on the streets, provide mental health and substance treatment, prevent homelessness for 7,000 of our neighbors, and eliminate the shelter waitlist by adding 1,000 shelter beds. We’re hopeful that the combination of this with State Prop 10 could help address the heartbreaking epidemic of displacement and homelessness in San Francisco. Learn more about Yes on Proposition C.

East Bay:

NO on Alameda Measure K - Restrictions on future changes to rent control policy
The City of Alameda has a relatively weak rent control policy that the voters (and landlords) supported in 2016 with Measure L1. Now corporate landlords want to make it difficult to take renter protections any further, by requiring that any future changes to rent control be approved by the voters. Cities need to be able to craft appropriate renter protections for their circumstances — this would make that difficult in Alameda, where more protections are needed.

YES on Berkeley Measure O - Affordable housing bond
Placed on the ballot by a unanimous vote by the Berkeley City Council, Measure O is a $135 million affordable housing general obligation bond to create more affordable housing options and opportunities for the people who need them most.

YES on Berkeley Measure P - Transfer tax for homeless services
Measure P will raise $6-8 million annually for navigation centers, mental health support, rehousing, and other services for the homeless, including homeless seniors and youth. It does this by increasing the transfer tax 1% for ten years on property sales and transfers over $1.5 million, adjusted annually to capture the top approximately 33% of transfers.

YES on Berkeley Measure R - Community engagement in Vision 2050
Measure R advises the Mayor and Council to involve residents and experts in devising a general plan update. We have always been for more community engagement in local planning decisions and processes.

YES on Oakland Measure W - Tax on vacant parcels and condominiums
Vacant properties contribute to blight, illegal dumping, and other problems. Vacant apartments directly reduce the already short supply of housing. Measure W will tax property owners $6k per year for each vacant parcel, or $3k per year for vacant condominium units, to generate an estimated $10 million annually for homeless services and illegal dumping cleanup. Hopefully this tax will also help motivate landlords to rent apartments and develop vacant lots into more housing.

YES on Oakland Measure Y - Expand Just Cause eviction protections
Measure Y would help protect more Oakland renters from no-cause evictions by removing the Just Cause exemption for owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes. It would also allow the city council to place additional limitations, without returning to voters, on landlords' rights to evict tenants. Like Prop 10, this measure removes restrictions on renter protections, it does not enact new renter protections.

YES on Richmond Measure T - Tax on vacant parcels
Similarly to Oakland’s Measure W, this Richmond measure would tax vacant parcels annually, at $3k per vacant developed parcel or $6k per vacant undeveloped parcel. It is expected to raise about $5.4 million per year for homeless services, illegal dumping, and ‘other specified programs.’

South Bay and Peninsula:

YES on San Mateo Measure W - Sales tax for transportation improvements
We are strongly supportive of Measure W in San Mateo County, which dedicates 60% of its revenues to public transportation, plus funding safe streets, pothole repair, and more. The measure is the result of an inclusive public participation process, and includes forward-thinking measures to reduce traffic congestion, expand public transit options, and get more people walking and biking safely. Read more on our blog about why we’re wild about Measure W!

YES on San Jose Measure V - Affordable housing bond
Measure V is a $450 million affordable housing general obligation bond to create more affordable housing options and opportunities for the people who need them most.

YES on Mountain View Measure P - Business license tax for affordable housing and transportation
Measure P seeks to place a per-employee tax on businesses operating in Mountain View that would fund transportation and housing improvements. The tax would be between $75 and $150 per employee, with larger businesses (notably Google) paying more than smaller ones. It makes sense to have the big businesses that have have fueled the housing and transportation crises help cities address those problems.

YES on East Palo Alto Measure HH - Commercial office space tax for affordable housing and local job opportunities
The East Palo Alto City Council voted unanimously to put Measure HH on the ballot, which would impose a tax of $2.50 per square foot on commercial office spaces of 25,000 feet and up. The revenues are specifically for affordable and supportive housing programs for residents, with an emphasis on building additional units and programs to improve local hiring and job training of residents in technology, engineering, mathematics and retail positions. Learn more about Measure HH.

North Bay:

YES on Marin County Measure AA - Extension of sales tax for transportation
Measure AA will renew an existing half-cent sales tax, without increasing the current rate. More than half the money will go to local transit, 11.5% for Safe Routes to Schools, and more than a quarter for road repair with Complete Streets, bike lanes and paths, and EV infrastructure. Without these revenues, TAM would have to make painful cuts to transit that would increase climate emissions and traffic congestion. Requires ⅔ vote to pass.

YES on Napa County TOT Measures
Several identical one-percent increases to existing Transient Occupancy Taxes (aka “hotel taxes”) are on the ballot throughout Napa County to help pay for affordable housing and homelessness programs. We support them all! Housing in the North Bay has been especially tight since last fall’s devastating fires, and this would help some residents who are most in need.

The measures will appear as Measure I in unincorporated areas of the County, as Measure F in Napa, Measure H in American Canyon, Measure D in Calistoga, Measure E in St. Helena, and Measure R in Yountville.

YES on Santa Rosa Measure N - Affordable housing bond
Placed on the ballot by a unanimous vote by the Santa Rosa Council, Measure N is a $124 million affordable housing general obligation bond to create more affordable housing options and opportunities for the people who need them most, including people experiencing homelessness and families displaced by last year’s fires.

Candidate races:

Please be sure to also cast a vote in the following BART and AC Transit Board of Directors races if they are on your ballot. As a 501c(3) non-profit TransForm does not endorse candidates. *asterisk denotes an incumbent.

BART Director, District 2: Mark Foley, *Joel Keller

BART Director, District 4: Paul Cummings, *Robert Raburn

BART Director, District 6: Liz Ames, Anu Natarajan (no incumbent)

BART Director, District 8: Eva Chao, Brian Larkin, Janice Li, Jonathan Lyens, Melanie Nutter, William Walker (no incumbent)

AC Transit Director, At-Large: Dollene Jones, *Joel Young

AC Transit Director, Ward 4: Nicholas Harvey, *Mark Williams

AC Transit Director, Ward 5: Diane Shaw, Newal Singh (no incumbent)

 

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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.