After a mostly positive, productive legislative session in California, it’s time to focus on 2022 ballot measures. You should get your ballot in the mail this week. Click here to confirm your registration, if you haven’t received it yet, and sign up for text alerts to find out when your county election office processes your ballot. As a reminder, you have until Tuesday, November 8 to turn it back in or vote in person. Here’s a breakdown of what we’re keeping our eye on:
Yes on Prop 30
No on Prop I
Yes on Prop J
Yes on Prop L
Yes on Prop M
Yes on Berkeley Measure L
Yes on Berkeley Measure M
Yes on Oakland Measure U
Yes on Oakland Measure Q
Yes on Richmond Measure P
No on Menlo Park Measure V
Yes on Prop 30 - Wealth Tax for Electric Vehicles and Fire Prevention
Prop 30 would impose a 1.75% personal income tax on wealthy Californians who make more than $2 million starting in 2023. The new tax would initially raise $3.5 billion to $5 billion, growing over time. 80% of the revenue would go towards rebates for zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and building more charging stations, with half of this spending set aside for low and middle income communities. The other 20% would go towards statewide fire prevention programs, including training and hiring more firefighters. Check out Stuart Cohen’s guest blog post that tells the real story behind Prop 30.
NO on Prop I - Reopens JFK to Cars
In April, the SF Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 to keep JFK Drive car-free permanently. Measure I proposes reopening JFK to car traffic year-round on weekdays, as well as Saturdays from October to March. The Great Highway from Skyline Boulevard to Lincoln Way would also be open to cars seven days a week under the measure. This is a huge no from us as car-free JFK and The Great Highway have been a boon for bike and pedestrian access and safety. Plus, every other road that leads into Golden Gate Park still provides drivers with access to its amenities (and parking).
YES on Prop J
Measure J would reaffirm and codify car-free JFK per the decision voted on by the SF Board of Supervisors. This Measure was put on the ballot because of the opposing Measure I, outlined above. JFK was on SFs High Injury Network, but now it’s safer than ever with increased access by anyone traveling on foot, bike, or other mobility device. Big yes on J!
YES on Prop L
Measure L would maintain an existing 0.5% sales tax that pays for major transportation projects. SF voters approved this tax in 1989 and voted to extend it for another 20 years in 2003. Prop L would extend this much needed funding until 2053. The revenue would fund the SF County Transportation Authority’s 2022 Transportation Expenditure Plan, which includes street safety improvements and replacing Muni’s underground control system.
YES on Prop M
Prop M would tax property owners of buildings with three or more residential units that are vacant for half the year. The smallest units would see a $2,500 bill for the first year of vacancy, while the largest units would see a $5,000 bill. Those figures would rise to $10,000 and $20,000 by the third year of a unit being vacant. Advocates estimate that the tax will raise $38 million annually for the Housing Activation Fund, which gives rent subsidies to seniors and low-income residents and helps obtain, restore, and maintain vacant buildings for affordable housing. Additionally, an estimated 4,500 units, or 12% of total vacancies, are expected to be back on the market. We’ve supported similar efforts in Oakland and Richmond, as well as the current vacancy tax on this year’s ballot in Berkeley.
YES on Berkeley Measure L
Measure L asks voters to issue $650 million in general obligation bonds to pay for the creation and maintenance of affordable and social housing, as well as improve public infrastructure and facilities. $300 million would go towards street paving and improvements including sidewalk maintenance and traffic safety. $200 million would go towards affordable housing initiatives and could combine with other state and federal funding to construct more housing. The remaining $150 million is allocated for much needed infrastructure and facilities improvements, such as undergrounding utilities, bike/ped upgrades, and amenities for public parks.
YES on Berkeley Measure M
Similar to San Francisco, Berkeley is proposing their own vacancy tax through Measure M. This measure would tax property owners $3,000 to $6,000 per year for each single-family home or apartment that sits vacant for at least six months in the first year of the tax, with the penalty doubling in its second year. Owners of apartments with fewer than five units who live on their property, and don’t own any other homes, will be exempt. The tax could raise $3.9 million to $5.9 million per year, and the revenue could go toward building affordable housing, social housing support and city housing acquisition projects, including BART land.
YES on Oakland Measure U
Similar to Berkeley, Oakland’s Measure U would authorize the city to issue $850 million in bonds for affordable housing initiatives and infrastructure improvements. $350 million would go towards affordable housing preservation and initiatives for new affordable housing projects. $290 million would go towards street and sidewalk maintenance targeting pedestrian and bike safety improvements. The remaining $210 million would be allocated for city facilities such as parks and fire stations.
YES on Oakland Measure Q
Measure Q would grant the City of Oakland authority to plan for and build “social housing.” In 1950, majority white voters in California passed Article 34, a constitutional amendment that required a public vote before public housing could be built anywhere in the state. Measure Q would grant the city the authority to bypass this process and take its own initiative to build 13,000 units of low-income social housing. The measure is procedural and does not earmark any funding toward this goal.
YES on Richmond Measure P
Measure P would cap Richmond’s rent control at 60% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 3%, whichever is less. The city's current rent control cap is 100% CPI or 6%. This measure follows suit with the exact same rent control cap as Oakland, and similar to other cities such as San Francisco and Berkeley. There’s a lot of focus on housing production and future housing affordability, but it’s equally important, especially with current inflation rates, to make sure people can afford to stay in the homes and communities they currently live in.
NO on Menlo Park Measure V
If passed, Measure V would prohibit the Menlo Park city council from making land use decisions involving neighborhoods that were previously zoned for single-family homes. Not only would this create a huge barrier for the city council to plan for affordable housing, it would also block a current Menlo Park School District proposal to build 90 units of affordable housing for teachers.
Please share this guide with others, and don’t forget to vote by November 8th!