Join members of Berkeley Citizens Action and Berkeley Tenants Union to discuss the measures and propositions on the November Ballot and make endorsements. The following are the recommendations by BCA Steering Committee members:
Berkeley City Measures
T1 – Infrastructure & Facilities Bond – YES, with reservations: Permits $100 million in bonds to fix sidewalks, storm drains, streets, parks, Senior & Rec Centers, etc. For a property assessed at $600,000, increases taxes by $128/yr. Two commissions, Public Works & Parks & Waterfront will obtain community input. Some Steering Committee members want more specificity and accountability about how funds spent. No argument filed against. Needs 66.667% to Pass.
U1 – Rental Unit Business License Tax – City Sponsored: YES, YES, YES – Real Affordable Housing Rental Tax. Funds affordable housing, protects tenants from homelessness. Written with community & housing advocate input, has broad support, as real estate investors earned more than $100 million per year in windfall profits. Increases rental property tax about $30 per unit per month. Housing Advisory Commission to oversee how $$ is spent. Provides many exemptions: landlords with only 4 or less units, affordable-housing nonprofits, subsidized low-income units, units with long term tenants, new units for 12 years (to encourage new construction), landlord hardship. Increases cannot be passed to tenants. Conflicts with Measure DD; if both pass, the one with more votes prevails. No argument filed against. Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
V1 – GANN Appropriations Limit – YES: City must get voter approval to spend interest earned from investing previously passed taxes, for next 4 years. No Brainer to approve this. No argument filed against. Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
W1 – Citizens Redistricting Commission – YES: Creates independent body to determine district boundaries, randomly selected from volunteers; won’t be appointed by politicians. No argument filed against. Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
X1 – Public Campaign Financing – YES: Provides candidates for mayor and city council with 6X matching for funds from donors, if they accept new donations limits (maximum $50). Candidates get up to $120,000 for mayor & $40,000 for council runs. Maplight proposal, heard at BCA forum. No argument filed against. Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
Y1 – Youth Voting – YES: Lets 16 & 17 year olds vote for school board candidates, if no city $$ is spent & city elections can still be consolidated with county ballots. No argument filed against. Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
Z1 – Low Income Housing Authorization – YES: Constitution says cities must get periodic voter approval to develop, construct, or buy up to 500 units of housing for low-income tenants. No argument filed against. Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
AA – Rent Board Ordinance – YES: Increases tenant protections: delays “no fault” owner-move-in (OMI) evictions (OMIs) of families with school-age children until end of school year. Voters have required landlords in OMIs to provide relocation help of $4,500 to low-income tenants, but not other tenants, since 2000. Measure AA would update this amount to $15,000, and require that it be paid to all tenant households, plus an additional $5,000 for low-income, disabled, age 60 or older, or long-term (since 1998) tenants. No argument filed in opposition. Needs Simple Majority to Pass.
Minimum Wage Compromise Update: The following 2 measures have been superseded by a late compromise approved by City Council Wednesday, August 31. This new agreement gets to $15 per hour by October 1, 2018, with yearly inflation increases; allows up to 72 hours of paid sick leave; ensures employees receive service charges and provides for a flexible youth-job-training wage for non-profits. Advocates of Measures BB and CC then went to court – the ballot arguments & rebuttals for both BB & CC are to be pulled. The arguments against both measures will now ask you “to support the City Council’s progressive minimum wage ordinance BY VOTING NO ON BOTH MEASURES BB & CC, thus enabling the Council ordinance to be the governing law.”
BB – Minimum Wage – Council and Business sponsored – NO: Raises minimum wage to $15 by October 2019, with annual cost-of-living (COLA) increases; excludes youth & job-training agencies; credits to $1.50 of employer-paid employee medical benefits toward minimum wage. Provides 1 hour paid sick leave per 30 hours worked for all employers, allows service fees to be pooled. Hinders future changes, by requiring a 2/3 council vote to modify. Competes with Measure CC; if both pass, the one with more votes prevails, but if Measure BB passes with less votes than CC, then any items in BB that are not directly in conflict with CC will still be implemented. Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
CC – Minimum Wage – Initiative – NO: Labor-supported citizen initiative, raises minimum wage to $15 in 2017, annual COLA plus 3% from 2019 until reaching a living wage, with COLAs thereafter, with gradual increases for nonprofit youth employment & training agencies. Includes 1 hr of paid sick leave for every 30 hrs worked for small businesses; requires service fees go to the employee providing service. Competes with Measure BB (see above BB). Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
DD – Rental Unit Business License Tax Initiative – NO, NO, NO: Bankrolled by Big Landlords to get themselves off the hook and confuse voters. Proponents spent $65,000 collecting signatures to get this on the ballot. Competes with Measure U1, but raises much less money. Creates new citizens panel to advise council how to increase affordable housing and protect tenants from homelessness. Taxes more landlords, with fewer exemptions, so Big Landlords pay less, includes hardship exemption. Increases cannot be passed to tenants. If both U1 and DD pass, the one with more votes prevails. Needs 50%+ 1 to pass.
A1 – Affordable Housing Bond – YES: Creates & protects affordable housing options for those who need it most: homeless, seniors, vets, disabled, & workers who cannot find affordable housing near their work in Alameda County. Raises up to $580 million, must be used in our county only, helps both renters and homeowners. Needs Supermajority (66.667%) to Pass.
E1 – Berkeley Schools: Educational Excellence Act of 2016 – YES: Renews parcel tax for 8 years. Known as BSEP, first passed in 1986, this tax now provides 20% of school budget. Funds smaller class sizes, enrichment programs, counseling and academic support, and teacher training. Tax is 37 cents per square foot of residential property, with annual cost-of-living increases. Exempts property occupied by very-low-income seniors. Needs Supermajority (66.667%) to Pass.
C1 – AC Transit – YES: Extends existing $8/month parcel tax at current level for 20 years — no increase in tax rate, raises approximately $30 million annually. Needs Supermajority (66.667%) to Pass.
RR – BART – YES: Would authorize BART to issue $3.5 billion bonds for repair and upgrade of aging tracks, tunnels, train control systems and other infrastructure. Needs Supermajority (66.667%) to Pass.
51 – School Bonds – leaning YES with reservations: $9 Billion price tag for school construction. Allows some funds to be used for charter schools. Broad support, polling well. Local bond measures are a better way to raise money for this purpose. Jerry Brown opposes. Needs Supermajority (66.667%) to Pass.
52 – State Fees on Hospitals – YES with reservations: Protects use of Medi-Cal fees guaranteed to health services, draws matching federal dollars, so legislature can’t redirect to other purposes without 2/3 vote. Hospitals support. SEIU-UHW opposes.
53 – Revenue Bonds – NO: Stymies passage of big public work projects by forcing state to go to voters to borrow $2 billion or more. Bankrolled by wealthy central California farmer.
54 – Legislature – NO: Requires bills be available for public and legislative review at least 72 hours before voted on; written and funded by billionaire Charles Munger, but has the support of Common Cause, League of Women Voters and others proponents of good governance. Opposed by California Democratic Party, environmental and labor groups.
55 – Tax Extension to Fund Education & Healthcare – YES: Extends personal income tax for wealthier folk, to support community college, Cal State and Kindergarten through 12th grade funding.
56 – Cigarette Tax – YES: Increases cigarette tax to $2 per pack, equivalent increases on other tobacco products, e-cigs. First increase since tax was created. Funds health care, treatment and quit smoking programs. Broad support for this tax. Berkeley Community Health Commission recommended support. Opposed by Big Tobacco.
57 – Juvenile Criminal Sentences – YES: Increases parole and good behavior opportunities for those convicted of nonviolent crimes; allows judges, not prosecutors, to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults.
58 – Bilingual Education – YES: Makes it easier for schools to establish bilingual programs for both English learners and native English speakers seeking to gain fluency in a foreign language.
59 – Overturn Citizens United – YES, YES, YES: Money out, Voters in. Instructs California’s elected officials at state and national level to act NOW to pass a 28th Amendment to US Constitution, end corrupt Super-PACS, end corporate constitutional rights and stop secret money in our elections.
60 – Adult Films – NO, with reservations: Modeled on L.A’s Measure B, this sounded good at 1st reading. Requires condoms in sex films, producers to register with state, pay for STD testing. Allows anyone to sue studios, distributors if condoms not used. Condoms already required for performers, but industry may ignore. Opponents (CA Democratic, Republican & Libertarian parties, performers group, SF AIDS Foundation) say performers and crew could be sued, might drive industry further underground; sets up proponent Michael Weinstein as “state’s porn czar, apparently for life”, per SJ Mercury.
61 – State Prescription Drug Purchases – YES: Prohibits state agencies from paying more for medications than US Veterans Affairs pays. Supported by Bernie’s Our Revolution. Opposed by Big Pharma.
62 – Death Penalty – YES, YES, YES! Repeals death penalty, replaces with life without parole, convicts must work in prison, more of their pay will be taken for restitution.
63 – Firearms – YES: Gavin Newsome’s gun control – Would prohibit possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines.
64 – Legalizes Marijuana – YES: Legalizes marijuana and hemp cultivation; enacts a 15 percent sales tax plus cultivation tax of $9.25/ounce for flowers and $2.75/ounce for leaves, with exceptions for medical marijuana. Prevents licenses for corporate or large-scale marijuana businesses for 5 years.
65 – Carry-Out Bags – NO: The Fake Bag Ban. If Proposition 67 is approved, bag fees go to a special fund handled by state Wildlife Conservation Board, not retailers. Opponents say four out-of-state plastic bag companies who keep interfering with California’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution put this on the ballot.
66 – Death Penalty – NO, NO, NO: Opponents say this would make it harder to appeal death penalty. Opposition includes Ella Baker Center, labor groups, Exec board of Calif. Democratic Party, ACLU; sheriffs, police and district attorneys support.
67 – Veto Referendum to Overturn Bag Ban – YES, YES, YES: California Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum. Reaffirm the bag ban. A “YES” vote is a vote in favor of upholding the contested legislation banning plastic bags enacted by the Legislature under the SB270. Say NO to Big Plastic bag manufacturers, who oppose this.