This post has been updated to reflect the passage of Measure W, which was still up in the air when the original post was published.
The November 2018 election was a big one for transportation and housing in California. We made more recommendations in this election than ever before, and the results are overwhelmingly positive for our issues. Out of 20 measures, 18 went our way.
While the division and vitriol in congressional races this year was painful to witness, forward momentum in California and the Bay Area gives us hope for a future with more healthy, affordable, connected communities. Here are our takeaways from the issues we were working on most closely.
- Transportation and housing advocates can get more done together. Friends of Caltrain’s amazing Adina Levin had the bright idea to form a coalition of housing and transit advocates to pool our efforts on ballot measures we agree on. Almost 20 Bay Area groups joined this effort, with TransForm developing outreach materials and helping lead volunteer recruitment. Together we mobilized more than 120 volunteers over the course of a month, who directly reached at least 30,000 voters to help defeat Prop 6 and support Measure W and Props 1, 2, and 10. More about those results below, but we wanted to start with a big shout out to our GOTV team, especially Chris Lepe, super-volunteer Sandhya Laddha, and partner organizations Friends of Caltrain, Citizens' Environmental Council of Burlingame, Youth Leadership Institute, San Francisco Transit Riders Union, Urban Habitat, Youth United for Community Action, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, and the Housing Leadership Council.
- Voters care about improving transportation.
Defeating Prop 6 was our top priority in this election, and we couldn’t be happier to see it fail by more than 55%. Voters saw through the misinformation and cynicism and understood how essential it is to dedicate an ongoing revenue source for transportation safety and improvements. Our outreach described above was the only face-to-face get out the vote effort against Prop 6 anywhere in the state that we’re aware of. TransForm was a leading voice for the damage Prop 6 would do to public transit systems and safe walking and biking infrastructure.
Measure W in San Mateo County was our other big priority in this election. Although initially too close to call, it became clear on November 27 that Measure W will pass with more than two-thirds of the vote. Our grassroots voter outreach was instrumental in this win, which will raise $80 million per year to improve public transit, create safer bike and pedestrian routes, reduce traffic, repair roads, and address other urgent community needs. Learn more about why we worked so hard to pass Measure W.
- Statewide, voters want affordable housing, but balked at rent control. We’re very glad that Props 1 and 2 passed, which will fund affordable housing across the state. At the same time, Prop 10, which we also supported and would have repealed statewide restrictions on rent control, failed by a large margin (62% voted no). Now the ball is back in the legislature’s court to address this complex, contentious, and urgent issue. Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom, who opposed Prop 10, says he supports rent control and will immediately get to work to reach a deal and “not wait even the first 100 days.” Legislators should be eager to work with him on this issue — both those who supported Prop 10 and those who opposed it but acknowledge the need for reform.
It’s worth noting that in the debate over Prop 10, both sides used the urgency of the housing affordability crisis to make their case. We hope widespread agreement about the absolutely dire displacement problem will allow us to find solutions that protect renters while making sure we can build new affordable housing. We are deeply engaged in a Bay Area process called CASA that we expect will generate some of these ideas.
- The Bay Area is leading with bold solutions. While the statewide electorate was cautious about solutions to the affordability crisis, Bay Area voters approved some very progressive taxes and tenant protections. Three cities decided to tax large businesses to fund a mix of housing, transportation, and jobs: Prop C in San Francisco will tax large businesses to pay for homeless services; East Palo Alto’s HH taxes businesses based on square footage to fund affordable housing and jobs programs, and Mountain View (home of Google HQ) passed Measure P, a per-employee tax to fund affordable homes and transportation improvements.
In Oakland, despite a vigorous and well-funded opposition campaign, Measures W and Y passed. Measure W is a tax on vacant parcels and apartment units to fund homeless services and illegal dumping cleanup. Measure Y will extend Just Cause eviction protections to residents of duplexes and triplexes, and make further eviction protections easier for the city council to pass.
Below is a list of all the results for the issues we took a position on. And while we can’t take positions on candidate races, we want to congratulate newly elected BART board members Janice Li (District 8), Liz Ames (District 6), Mark Foley (District 2), and AC Transit Director-elect Diane Shaw (Ward 5). Congrats to Robert Raburn for his re-election to the BART Board, and to re-elected AC Transit Directors Mark Williams and Joel Young.
- YES on Prop 1 - State bond for housing assistance programs
- PASS: 54% Yes
- YES on Prop 2 - Authorize spending for supportive housing programs for people with mental illness
- PASS: 61% Yes
- NO WAY on Prop 6 - Don’t eliminate vital state transportation funding
- FAIL (yay!): 55% No
- YES on Prop 10 - Repeal Costa-Hawkins restrictions on rent control
- FAIL: 38% Yes
- YES on Proposition A - Earthquake retrofit for Embarcadero seawall
- PASS: 82% Yes
- YES on Proposition C - Business taxes to fund homeless services
- PASS: 60% Yes
- NO on Alameda Measure K - Restrictions on future changes to rent control policy
- FAIL (yay!): 59% No
- YES on Berkeley Measure O - Affordable housing bond
- PASS: 76% Yes
- YES on Berkeley Measure P - Transfer tax for homeless services
- PASS: 71% Yes
- YES on Berkeley Measure R - Community engagement in Vision 2050
- PASS: 83% Yes
- YES on Oakland Measure W - Tax on vacant parcels and condominiums
- PASS: 69% Yes
- YES on Oakland Measure Y - Expand Just Cause eviction protections
- PASS: 56% Yes
- YES on Richmond Measure T - Tax on vacant parcels
- FAIL: 59% Yes (⅔ to pass)
South Bay and Peninsula:
- YES on San Mateo Measure W - Sales tax for transportation improvements
- TOO CLOSE TO CALL: 65.6% and counting (⅔ to pass)
- YES on San Jose Measure V - Affordable housing bond
- FAIL: 61.5% yes
- YES on Mountain View Measure P - Business license tax for affordable housing and transportation improvements
- PASS: 69% Yes
- YES on East Palo Alto Measure HH - Commercial office space tax for affordable housing and local job opportunities
- PASS: 77% Yes
- YES on Marin County Measure AA - Extension of sales tax for transportation
- PASS: 74% Yes
- YES on Napa County TOT Measures - See voter guide for each city’s hotel (transient occupancy) tax measures for affordable housing
- 5 out of 6 passed, 1 is too close to call.
- YES on Santa Rosa Measure N - Affordable housing bond
- FAIL: 59% Yes (⅔ to pass)