YES on Proposition 15 – California Schools & Local Communities Funding Act
Passing Prop 15 will reclaim resources from corporations who haven't been paying their fair share of property taxes and move $6.5 – $11.5 billion a year to schools and local community services. The underfunding of vital community services and schools, particularly in communities of color, is structural racism at work. It is difficult for all California communities to raise revenue via property taxes, but wealthier communities can make up losses with private resources. Less affluent neighborhoods on the other hand, whose residents are disproportionately people of color, remain unable to collect the funds they need.
YES on Proposition 16 – Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment
Equal opportunity programs are a time-tested way to fight systemic racism and gender discrimination by leveling the playing field and giving everyone a chance at good public jobs and wages and quality public schools. Prop 16 would provide all Californians a fair opportunity in education, employment, and contracting.
In the brief time since its passage, Prop 209 has had far reaching negative consequences. Since 1996, there has been a 12 percent drop in enrollment of students from underrepresented groups across the University of California system. In turn, this caused further declines in college graduation rates, graduate school admission and completion rates, and average wages for underrepresented Californians. Women- and minority-owned businesses have lost over $1 billion/year in contracts.
Prop 16 won’t allow quotas for college admissions. Quotas are and will remain illegal if Prop 16 passes. It also won’t allow discrimination in any form. California has some of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the nation, none of which will be altered by Prop 16.
YES on Proposition 17 – Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment
Prop 17 allows Californians who are no longer incarcerated to fully participate in our democracy. Parole is a time of reintegration into society after a prison term is served. Giving people returning home from prison access to civic participation is one of the ways to ensure their successful re-entry into the community. Governmental decisions impact their lives just as much as they impact everyone else’s lives. The opportunity to meaningfully express an opinion through the vote gives people a stake in the decisions made. Blocking their voting rights is fundamentally undemocratic. It means our neighbors who are working, paying taxes, and raising families in this state are deprived of the ability to have a say in the policies and representatives that shape their daily lives.
NO on Proposition 20 – Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative
Over the past decade, California has made progress enacting laws that reduce the prison population and create a more effective and equitable public safety system. Crime is significantly lower in the past few years per the Public Policy Institute of California. Prop 20 would roll back many advances in criminal justice reforms and reinstate a “get tough” law enforcement system that believes longer incarceration is a solution to crime. These new standards would not stop crime but will swell our prison population through reclassification of offenses, to no discernable public benefit. It would make minor theft of some goods worth over $250 punishable as a felony. It allows the state to collect DNA from people convicted of misdemeanors like shoplifting and drug possession. Prop 20 sends California in the wrong direction at a time when there is forward momentum toward smart justice approaches that increase public safety and reduce costs to the state.
YES on Proposition 21 – Rent Stabilization
Proposition 21 allows local communities to enact or expand rent control policies that limit how much rental prices can increase each year. Rent control directly improves housing stability, especially for low-income tenants. By setting a fair, predictable schedule for rent increases, rent control allows low-income households to secure a better economic footing, plan long term, and save money to reinvest in their communities.
YES on Proposition 25 – Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum
The move away from money bail is important for reasons of equity and justice. Detention in jail because of a financial inability to “make bail” means that a person may lose their job, their housing, their children, and more, despite the fact that there has been no judgment of the person’s guilt. It also dramatically increases the pressure on someone to agree to a plea bargain to avoid extended detention in jail awaiting trial. Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on needless pretrial detention of individuals. Because of our country’s history of structural racism, poverty continues to impact communities of color more heavily and a money bail system magnifies that inequity by disproportionately keeping people of color detained in jail awaiting trial. Money bail systems have long been criticized for being unrelated to public safety and reduction of flight risk. Instead, access to wealth too often determines who is released pretrial and who remains detained.
YES on Measure X – Contra Costa Needs Sales Tax Assessment
Income loss and growing housing and food insecurities during the current pandemic have crippled the ability of Contra Costa County families to feel secure in meeting their most basic needs. New revenues from Measure X are now essential to address the needs of residents and families, creating a healthy and safe Contra Costa. It will establish a 20-year ½ cent sales tax, excluding food items and medicines, raising an estimated $81 million per year. This will keep our regional hospital open, invest in fire and paramedic services to protect residents in emergencies, connect vulnerable residents to essential food, housing and other safety net county and community resources and fund critical services for children and seniors.
Thank you to all who attended the Voting for Equity Event. If you missed the event, you can find the recording by clickinghere. The Slides are also avaiable by clicking here.