A Latino Voter Guide to San Francisco’s 25 Local Propositions and California’s 17 Statewide Propositions
By the Latino Politics course, Latina/Latino Studies, San Francisco State University Submitted by Professor Teresa Carrillo and students of Latino Politics
On Nov. 8 San Francisco voters will be faced with the longest ballot in our voting history. There are 25 local and 17 statewide initiatives concerning some of the most pressing issues facing our city and state. With so much to vote on, we want to ensure that Latino voters have access to fair explanations and recommendations before voting. Students in Teresa Carrillo’s upper-division Latino Politics class (LTNS 660) in the Latina/Latino Studies Department at the SFSU College of Ethnic Studies have carefully researched all 42 measures to understand what changes are being proposed and how they might affect the Latino community. Listed below are explanations and recommendations for El Tecolote readers. We hope you will represent your community on Nov. 8 by taking the time to vote on these and other important issues.
Prop 51— YES
Bond for Public School Facilities
Prop 51 would provide $9 billion dollars to public schools for maintenance and retrofitting of buildings and facilities. California is earthquake prone, yet most public schools are not up to code. Funds from Proposition 51 will fix this problem while creating jobs in construction. More than half of California’s students are Latino, as is nearly one third of its construction workers.
Prop 52— YES
Medical Revenue for Health Services
A “yes” vote on Prop 52 extends the current hospital fee program that provides Medi-Cal assistance to seniors, children, and low-income families, as well as prohibiting the diversion of funds into other programs without the vote of the people. In 2015, $900 million in fees paid by California private hospitals were diverted into CA’s general fund instead of into Medi-Cal. We support this proposition because these fees are meant for Medi-Cal unless voted otherwise by the people.
Prop 53— NO
Voter Approval Requirement for Large Bonds
Prop 53, known as “The California Voter Approval Requirement for Revenue Bonds above $2 Billion Initiatives” would require statewide voter approval for issuing public infrastructure bonds larger than $2 billion. We oppose Proposition 53 because statewide approval for local infrastructure projects isn’t necessary. It could delay badly needed projects and would disqualify any infrastructure repairs that are needed after natural disasters.
Prop 54— NO
Public Display of Legislative Bills Prior to Vote
Proposition 54 would require potential legislation to be published in print and on the Internet for 72 hours prior to being voted on. This would only prolong the time that it takes to pass legislation and could hinder our elected officials. If passed it would also increase taxpayer costs due to unnecessary steps that must be taken in the legislative process.
Prop 55— YES
High-Income Tax Increase for Schools
Prop 55 is a 12-year extension of Proposition 30, which passed in 2012, raising income tax for single filers with income over $250,000. Eighty-nine percent of the money will go to K-12 public schools and 11 percent to California Community Colleges. We consider this beneficial to Latinos because we are the majority in public schools; one out of every two K-12 students in California is Latino. Proposition 55 will increase funding without increasing taxes to most Latinos.
Prop 56— YES
Prop 56 will increase the cigarette tax from 87 cents per pack to $2.87, with similar increases on other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. The additional revenue will primarily fund existing healthcare programs with more than $1 billion expected in extra taxes in 2017-18. This will reduce tobacco-related healthcare costs and prevent youth from smoking and becoming addicted to nicotine at a young age. Latinos are a very young population and many smokers get hooked while they are children. With the taxes collected, smokers can get help and access programs that help them quit. We join doctors and youth groups in our support of Proposition 56.
Prop 57— YES
Parole for Nonviolent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements
Prop 57 seeks to reduce the prison population by offering early parole to felons convicted of nonviolent, non-serious crimes. Proposition 57 allows prisoners to earn credits for good behavior and allows judges, not prosecutors, to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults. Proposition 57 will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually by reducing the prison population. We support it because it allows those who are in actual need of rehabilitation to attain it while keeping those who are a danger to society in prison.
Prop 58— YES
Bilingual Education in Public School
In 1998 Californians passed Prop 227, reducing bilingual education programs in schools to transition to English-only programs. Proposition 58 would undo this, allowing California schools to have a variety of bilingual education programs. Parents would have the option of placing their children in programs other than transition-only programs. By lifting the English-only, students will be able to learn from teachers who speak their native language and English. Schools will have more bilingual programs and parents will not have to go through the waiver process to get bilingual education in their school and parents will be able to request to have more English-learner programs as well. In support of bilingual education, we support a “yes” vote on Prop 58.
Prop 59— YES
Repeal the Citizens United Decision
Prop 59 aims to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled that labor unions and corporations have the right, under the first amendment, to donate an unlimited amount of money to any political campaign or super PAC. A “yes” vote on Proposition 59 means repealing Citizens United and setting limits on how much money can be contributed to political campaigns. Voting “yes” benefits more than just the Latino community because it would bring equity to elections so that people have a chance to see equal representation of the candidates.
Prop 60— NO
Require Condoms in Pornographic Films
Prop 60 requires adult film performers to use condoms and show proof of condom use in any produced material. We are against Prop 60 because as written, any “producer” can be sued. Using the word “producer” instead of “performer” purposefully leads voters to believe that it would only affect big companies, but anything “distributed” can be subject to a costly lawsuit. It would undermine the work done by the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal-OSHA). While we support condom use, this proposition is less about sexual safety and more about benefiting those who have the money to sue. We don’t believe it’s the right way to achieve the changes that its proponents have outlined.
Prop 61— NO
Drug Price Standards
Proposition 61 would give pharmaceutical companies power to increase prices on prescription drugs at their own discretion. We believe it is in the best interest of the Latino community to vote “no” because veterans and many Latinos on Medi-Cal will bear the greatest impact of the price increases. A recent example of price gouging is when the price of Daraprim went from $18 to $750 overnight. Price gouging of name brand drugs will hurt Latinos who may need prescription drugs that are more effective than generic drugs. By voting “no” on Proposition 61, we hope to prevent major corporations from taking control over pricing of prescription drugs.
Prop 62— YES
Abolish the Death Penalty
Proposition 62 would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The proposition also states that inmates must work and pay restitution to the victim’s family with 60 percent of the inmate’s pay going towards restitution. Since the establishment of capital punishment in 1978, only 13 people have been executed in California, one having waited 24 years at a cost of $4 billion in taxpayer dollars. We support Proposition 62 because it costs taxpayers $184 million more per year to keep inmates on death row than it does to sentence them to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prop 63— YES
Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases and Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban
Proposition 63 would require any individual who wishes to purchase ammunition to first obtain a four-year permit from the California Department of Justice. Vendors would be required to verify the permit with the Department of Justice before selling. Courts will be required to inform individuals prohibited from owning a firearm that they must either turn their firearms over to local law enforcement or sell them to a licensed dealer. We believe that these controls on ammunition and firearms will help to curb the gun violence that our community and all Californians are subject to.
Prop 64— YES
Proposition 64 allows for the legal sale of recreational marijuana and calls for its taxation and regulation. We support Proposition 64 because so many Latinos get caught up in marijuana-related felony offenses in California. Legalizing marijuana will reduce prison overcrowding and will grow the tax base while possibly lowering the price and increasing the safety of recreational marijuana.
Prop 65— NO
Dedication of Revenue from Disposable Bag Sale to Wildlife Conservation Fund Initiative
Put forth by the Society of the Plastics Industry, Proposition 65 proposes that, if there is a ban on single-use plastic bags which results in stores having to sell reusable bags for a minimum of 10 cents, the revenue from these sales would be directed towards a Wildlife Conservation Fund and used for grants for environmental protection. Proposition 65 is actually an underhanded attempt by the plastics industry to reverse the ban on single-use plastic bags by diverting revenue to a general conservation fund and away from small business that need to provide bags to their customers. For this reason, we recommend voting against Proposition 65 (and in favor of Proposition 67), in order to keep the ban on single-use plastic bags and avoid hurting small businesses.
Prop 66— NO
Reform the Death Penalty
Prop 66 proposes to keep the death penalty in California while making changes that would speed up court processes of appealing and carrying out a death sentence. Proposition 66 is connected to Proposition 62 to repeal the death penalty, which we support; whichever wins more “yes” votes will be implemented and will void out the other.
Prop 67— YES
Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum
Prop 67 keeps California’s current ban of plastics bags. A “yes” vote will ratify the ban Senate Bill 270 and permit businesses to charge a minimum of $10 cents per bag and use the money collected from the sale of reusable and recyclable bags to cover their costs. Prop 67 reduces litter and waste management costs for the state and local government and is friendly to small businesses by allowing owners to keep investing the money from sale of reusable bags back into their businesses. Because small businesses are so important to the Latino community, we recommend a “yes” vote.
San Francisco Local Propositions on the Nov. 8, 2016 Ballot
Prop A— YES
Repair and Rehabilitate School Facilities
Proposition A would repair and rehabilitate San Francisco Unified School District facilities. By voting “yes,” $744,250,000 will be used to replace worn out plumbing, renovate outdated classrooms, improve food service preparation systems, and bring buildings up to code for accessibility, health, and seismic retrofitting. Both students and teachers will benefit from a safer, healthier and more appealing learning environment. Teachers will also benefit from the $5 million set aside to contribute to construction of below-market-rate housing for teachers and other educational professionals in the San Francisco Unified School District.
Prop B— YES
Funding for City College of San Francisco
Proposition B will replace the existing $69 City College parcel tax with a new $99 parcel tax to provide stable local funding for City College of San Francisco (CCSF). The money will be used to support the maintenance of academic programs in math, science, reading, writing and career training. It will also provide compensation for faculty and staff, but will not be used for administrators’ salaries, benefits or pensions. Proposition B will give City College funding to add more academic counselors and increase the overall performance of the school. There are more than 15,000 Latino students at CCSF. Proposition B will improve educational opportunities for Latinos and everyone else.
Prop C— YES
Proposition C will authorize San Francisco to issue $260 million in new bonds and to re-purpose existing bonds to fund the purchase and improvement of buildings in need of repair, in order to convert them into affordable housing. The government will issue loans to fix at-risk and unsafe apartment buildings in all areas of San Francisco, including the Mission District. New permanent affordable housing will provide safer environments and give the local community a chance for affordable housing. We recommend a “yes” vote on Proposition C because better and safer affordable housing will make our community stronger and will reduce the problem of displacement.
Prop D— YES
Charter Amendment for
Proposition D requires the mayor to appoint a temporary replacement to fill any vacancy in city government of someone who could not run in the replacement election and to follow up with a replacement election within five months. Prop D also calls for set deadlines for vacancy-related appointments and elections. Without Prop D, there is no deadline to fill a vacancy and the mayor’s appointee is allowed to run as a candidate to fill the vacancy. Without Prop D the mayor retains extraordinary power to appoint Supervisors. We support Prop D because it gives the power to elect Supervisors and other city officials back to the voters of San Francisco.
Prop E— YES
Responsibility for Maintaining Street Trees and Sidewalks
Property owners are currently in charge of maintaining the trees and sidewalks on or adjacent to their properties. If Proposition E passes, the responsibility will transfer to the city and establish the Street Tree Maintenance Fund. The city would also be liable for any property damage caused by failure to maintain trees instead of property owners. With no tax increase, a “yes” vote is in the Latino interest because trees and sidewalk maintenance is often expensive and many residents do not have the resources to properly care for their trees and sidewalks.
Prop F— YES
Lower Voting Age to 16
Proposition F would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in San Francisco city/county elections. This would benefit the Latino community in terms of voter outcome and registration by creating a habitual voting practice among the youth, and enabling underrepresented communities to gain representation through young voters. We support this proposition because it allows Latino youth to express their political concerns for a historically underrepresented community/population.
Prop G— YES
Department of Police Accountability
Prop G proposes to rename and reorganize the Office of Citizen Complaints as the new Department of Police Accountability (DPA) and provide it greater access to information making it a more effective watchdog. The DPA would be required to conduct a performance audit every two years, evaluating how the SFPD has handled claims of officer misconduct and use of force. The DPA’s director will be appointed by the mayor from a list of nominees selected by the Police Commission and then confirmed by the Board of Supervisors. We support this because we believe it will provide more transparency and help to curb police misconduct.
Prop H— YES
Create the Office of Public Advocate
Prop H would establish a new Office of Public Advocate and a Public Advocate position responsible for overseeing a support staff of 25 city employees, to review and address complaints about city services and programs. The Public Advocate will have access to city records, third-party witnesses and records, and will have the responsibility to develop programs to transmit information to the public as well as receive, investigate and attempt to resolve citizen and whistleblower complaints. We support Proposition H even though the cost will be paid by taxpayers, because we believe that a Public Advocate is needed to balance the distribution of power within city government.
Prop I— YES
Funding for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities
Prop I proposes to create the Dignity Fund to provide services and support for seniors, veterans, adults with disabilities and adults living with chronic and life-threatening health conditions. Beginning with $38 million, the fund will increase by $3 million yearly, until it reaches an annual budget amount of $71 million in the 2026-27 fiscal year. The fund will grow with the city’s discretionary revenues but will not increase when the city has a deficit. Any unspent funds will roll over to the next year, and it will not raise taxes. We recommend a yes vote in support of seniors and disabled San Franciscans.
Prop J— YES
Create a Homeless Housing and Services Fund and a Transportation Improvement Fund
Prop J proposes to create two new funds using sales tax revenues to aid homeless people and to improve transportation. The Homeless Housing and Services Fund will receive about $50 million in tax dollars annually and will be used to offer services that will help prevent homelessness and provide access to stable housing. The new Transportation Improvement Fund will receive about $100 million annually to improve conditions and efficiency of public transportation through timely repair, restoration, upgrades and expansion. Even though in principle we oppose the regressive sales tax in Prop K that is linked to Prop J, we feel that the need for these transportation and housing services are so necessary that we are recommending a Yes vote on both Prop J and Prop K
Proposition K— YES
Sales Tax Increase
Prop K proposes to increase the sales tax in San Francisco from 8.75% to 9.25% to fund a Homeless Housing and Services Fund and a Transportation Improvement Fund. Prop K is linked to Prop J as a way to fund the creation of the new public services funds. In principle we oppose regressive sales taxes, which place a greater tax burden on low-income people, but in this case we feel that the housing services and transportation improvements are so necessary that we reluctantly support Prop K.
Prop L— YES
Governance of the Municipal Transportation Agency
Proposition L proposes to move some of the power to make appointments to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) from the Mayor’s Office to the Board of Supervisors. Proposition L also reduces the number of supervisors needed to reject the SFMTA’s budget from seven to six. The SFMTA board members are currently appointed by the mayor and it takes more supervisors to reject an SFMTA budget proposal. We support Proposition L because we believe that Latino interests in public transportation will be more actively and vigorously pursued by supervisors than by the mayor.
Prop M— YES
Create a Housing and Development Commission
Proposition M would create a Housing and Development Commission to take over the current job of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. The new commission will supervise the city’s work regarding affordable housing, including selection procedures for development on city property and allocation of funds. We believe that will allow for more transparency and representation with decisions made about low-income housing, rent control and tenant rights, decisions that are presently made behind closed doors.
Prop N— YES
Non-Citizen Voting in School Board Elections
Proposition N would allow parents, legal guardians, or caregivers of children residing within the San Francisco Unified School District to participate in elections for the Board of Education regardless of their citizenship status. This will allow parents to best represent the interests of their child, and allow that child to have a voice in their education, bringing equity and better educational opportunities to the Latino community.
Prop O— NO
Office Development in Candlestick Point and Hunter’s Point
In 1986 San Franciscans voted to place a 950,000 square foot limit on office space developments and now Prop O proposes to bypass that limit and allow developers to build more square footage in Candlestick Point and Hunter’s Point. We oppose Prop O because developers are not offering anything to the citizens of those areas in exchange for the right to bypass the building limits. We feel that developers should provide additional affordable housing and parks in exchange for an allowance to go over the existing limit.
Prop P— NO
Minimum of Three Bids for Affordable Housing
We join affordable housing advocates to oppose Prop P because it could delay or impede needed affordable housing development and it does not create more affordable housing on city property.
Prop P could also lead to the construction of low quality housing that might cost taxpayers in the long run. We want to address San Francisco’s worsening housing crisis but we feel that Prop P is the wrong way to do it.
Prop Q— NO
Prohibit Tents on Sidewalks
Prop Q would prohibit tent encampments on public sidewalks. The homeless would be given 24 hours to pack their things and move. Proposition Q fails to address the actual source of San Francisco’s homelessness and fails to provide homeless people with an alternative living situation that would improve their housing situation. It would basically allow any law enforcement officer to remove a tent from the sidewalk, adding another problem to the growing frustrations and struggles of our homeless population. Vote “no” on Proposition Q because it aims to remove homeless people from the sidewalks without giving them an adequate alternative.
Prop R— NO
Create a New SFPD Neighborhood Crime Unit
Prop R would create a Neighborhood Crime Unit with its own dedicated staff that would work in conjunction with the Department of Public Health, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and the Human Services Agency. The neighborhoods that would be most affected are low-income communities in which Latinos have a significant presence. We recommend a “no” vote because it would be difficult to regulate the crime unit, which may result in abuse of power and profiling of Latinos and people of color.
Prop S— YES
Hotel Tax Funds for Arts and Homeless Families
Prop S has two main goals: to re-allocate hotel tax funds and to establish new programs. It would allocate part of the current hotel base tax (8 percent) for arts programs and family homeless services. This will provide more funding for arts programs for youth, design of city-owned structures, and the Moscone Center. Proposition S will also establish two new program funds: the Neighborhood Arts Program providing funding and assistance to nonprofit organizations that establish or improve affordable facilities for artists and arts organizations, and the Ending Family Homelessness Fund, which would receive 6.3 percent of the money raised by the hotel base tax.
Prop T— YES
Restricting Gifts and Campaign Contributions from Lobbyists
Prop T restricts gifts and campaign contributions from lobbyists to city officers to ensure governmental decisions are not (and do not appear to be) influenced by gifts or financial support. This proposition will help prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption by creating a more transparent and restricted platform for lobbyists. The proposition will work to further protect public confidence in the electoral and governmental processes.
Prop U— NO
Affordable Housing Requirements for Market-Rate Development Projects
Prop U increases the income eligibility limit for on-site rental units for all new and existing affordable housing units from 55 percent to 110 percent of median income. This proposition will allow persons of medium income to participate in the lottery for affordable housing. It does not, however, call for more units to be designated for low and median income families. Proposition U will therefore create a disadvantage for low-income families by allowing more medium income people into the lottery. Although we would like to extend affordable housing, this proposition does more to increase profits for developers while not guaranteeing more housing for low-income families.
Prop V— YES
Sugary Drink Tax
Prop V establishes a one-cent-per-ounce fee on sugary drinks to be paid by big soda companies. An advisory board of SF health professionals, parents, and community representatives will hold open meetings and recommend how the revenue (an estimated $15 million annually) will be spent. Latinos can attend these meetings to help decide where to invest the money in order to improve our communities. This could provide funding for health education, nutrition, and recreational programs, and access to clean drinking water to improve the health of our families. Since Berkeley passed the same law in 2014, soda consumption in low-income neighborhoods has decreased by an estimated 21 percent.
Prop W— YES
Luxury Tax on Real Estate to Fund Education
Prop W will allow a tax on items such as sodas and luxury homes to fund things such as health education and the public school system. This would allow for more education for the local community and in the case of the sugary drink tax, a reduction in soda intake.
Prop X— YES
Replacement Space Requirements for Development Projects
Prop X would help the Mission and South of Market neighborhoods to preserve their community spaces previously used for neighborhood arts, small businesses and community services. It would also help preserve spaces used by Latinos that are threatened by the high cost of commercial real estate and help original residents stay where they are. Voting “yes” on Proposition X protects recreational spaces, allows those spaces to operate under rent control, and helps the Latino community to maintain its rich cultural values.
Prop RR— NO
BART Funding Through a Bond
In June 2016, BART directors voted 9-0 to put Proposition RR, the Bart Bond Initiative, on the ballot. This bond would provide $3.5 billion to BART in order to improve safety, increase train reliability and reduce traffic. However, the cost of these projects is estimated to be more than the $3.5 billion, so this bond stops short of covering them. We recommend a “no” vote in the hopes that BART propose a more comprehensive and viable plan to develop and pay for the future mass transportation system we need.
This Voter Guide was written by Professor Teresa Carrillo and students Adrianna Teresa Almaguer, Jorge Banuelos Jr., Karina Bañuelos, Elizabeth Barragan, Francisco Buenrostro, Vanessa Campos, Christian Casillas, Jessica Daney Cuevas, Alexander De Haro, Kimberly Farias, Mario Figueroa, Francisco Flores, Cassandra Franco, Olivia Franco-Perez, Jacqueline Galicia, Jasmine Garcia, Carla E. Gonzalez, Gabriel Gonzalez, Maria Gonzalez, Natalia Gottschalk, Juana Guerra, Adriana Gutierrez, Jeffrey Haspell, Yaratzed Hernandez, Leilani Jimenez, Sarah Monique Jimenez, Stephanie Lopez, Yessica Lopez, Ivan Magaña, Kimberly Mata, Raymundo Meza-Peralta, Jose Alfredo Orozco, Alejandra Picazo, Geovanni Ramos, Jennifer Rodriguez, Kelly Rodriguez Murillo, Anthony Ortiz, Gabriela Sanchez, Guillermo Sanchez, Luis Soto, and Natalie Villalobos.