Only one in seven San Franciscans is Latino and due to our community’s youth and citizenship status, not all Latinos are eligible to vote. This places a great responsibility on Latinos who are eligible to vote to show up and represent the interests of our community at the polls. We call on every eligible Latino voter to show up on Nov. 8 and vote for the candidates and propositions that are most responsive to Latino political interests.
To help Latino voters determine which local ballot measures would be most responsive to Latino needs, students from the Department of Latina/Latino Studies at San Francisco State University have researched local propositions and their impact on Latino communities. Based on a carefully crafted set of criteria of what is in the Latino political interest, we make the following recommendations for local propositions A-H:
Vote YES Prop A
Prop A would extend and modify a tax implemented to improve the safety of our public schools in San Francisco. The money gained from this tax would go to public schools to upgrade, repair and replace safety systems for fire and earthquake preparedness. In addition, Prop A will create job opportunities and benefits for employees working on these projects. Since Latino students are a majority in public schools in San Francisco, we encourage you to vote “yes” on Prop A. This will ensure proper safety for children and staff in the San Francisco public schools and provide proper safety measures for the facilities in the next 20 years.
Vote YES on Prop B
Prop B is a $248 million bond initiative that seeks to repair the city’s roads and sidewalks. It would be partially paid for with an increase in property taxes and landlords will be able to pass along 50 percent of the resulting property tax increase to their tenants. Despite its slightly higher cost of living, we believe that Prop B is worthwhile because it would improve all modes of transportation throughout the city. Prop B’s $248 million would be spent as follows: $148 million to fix the city’s worst roads; $50 million to improve sidewalks, countdown signals, lighting and landscaping; $22 million to bring the city’s curb, ramps and sidewalks up to disability-access standards; $20.3 million to update and overhaul traffic signals; and $7.3 million for seismic upgrades and to repair old infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels. The repairs would take a total of three years to complete and would last an estimated 30 years.
Vote NO on Prop C
Prop C would boost worker payments to city pension funds and beginning in 2016, would require city employees to pay into a retiree healthcare trust fund. By increasing contributions from workers, the city will save $968 million but city workers will in turn have to pay more. Your “no” vote on Prop C will keep the 41 percent of retirees with pensions less than $25,000 a year from having to pay higher contributions to their pension plans. Prop C would also adversely affect the large population of young Latinos in the work force. If Prop C passes, thousands of families would not be able to provide the same quality of living for their loved ones because a greater portion of their income would be taken for pension contributions.
Vote NO on Prop D
Prop D scapegoats city workers by blaming them for the budget deficit and lowers their retirement benefits while disregarding the need to curb inflated salaries of top earners. It proposes an increase in the contribution rate of retirement pensions for city employees making over $60,000 a year and calls for reduced benefits at lower contribution rates for employees hired after 2011. These changes would not apply to employees of the school district and community college teachers and administrators in the state teacher’s retirement system or in the California Public Employees Retirement System. Prop D targets the benefits of lower paid workers and is anti-labor in general; it is not in the interest of Latinos.
Vote NO on Prop E
Prop E would allow the mayor and the board of supervisors to make decisions affecting all San Franciscans regardless of voter preferences. This, we believe, will affect the Latino population as well as other populations. For example, if politicians propose a local anti-immigrant law, it might be passed without voter input and with only the mayor and supervisors to stop it. Prop E discounts the power of the citizen vote.
Vote NO on Prop F
Prop F would change a prior initiative designed to regulate local political consultants and would allow future changes to be approved by the ethics commission and the board of supervisors without voter approval. We believe that Prop F would reduce the transparency between the community and the Board of Supervisors while transferring decision-making power from voters to the ethics commission. The San Francisco Democratic Party opposes Prop F because it would allow future supervisors to modify or rescind ballot measures and consultant rules that have been passed by voters. We agree. The Latino vote has always been underrepresented and Prop F only diminishes the ability to address the special interests of Latinos in the future.
Vote YES on Prop G
Prop G will increase sales taxes in San Francisco to 9 percent from its current rate of 8.5 percent. The increased funds will pay for public safety, renovation of parks for children and families, and improved services and healthcare for working families and seniors. This would benefit the Latino community by replacing lost funding from the state, improving care for seniors, and providing public safety services with adequate funding. We are recommending a “yes” vote on this proposition because it would give the growing Latino community a peace of mind, and that is priceless. We feel that for the Latino community, the increase in services to families and seniors is well worth the increased sales tax.
Vote NO on Prop H
Prop H would restrict the ability of public school students to attend schools outside of their neighborhoods. This proposition could actually further segregate our schools on racial and socio-economic lines by having most of the student body reflect the neighborhood in which it is located. Currently, children apply for limited spaces in schools across the city. This proposition would give preference to students who live near the most sought after schools, thereby limiting Latino student access to better schools outside of Latino neighborhoods. Because Latino students may be restricted in their choice of school by Prop H, we recommend a “no” vote.
The views expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of Accion Latina, El Tecolote, its staff or contributors.