CA Props and San Diego Measures

Many down-ballot items in San Diego will have a high impact on communities of color, and can either promote or erode racial justice. SURJ San Diego volunteers researched the propositions and measures below. We hope this information will help you as you vote for racial justice.


yes-2CA Prop 55:
Education Funding/Extension of the Proposition 30 Income Tax Increase

What is Prop 55? Proposition 55 would extend the income tax increase on the wealthiest 1.5% of California’s taxpayers passed in 2012 as part of Prop 30. Approximately half the funds generated from this proposition would go towards K-12 education and community colleges. Up to $2 billion per year would be directed to Medi-Cal, health care for low-income people.

What does a YES vote mean in concrete terms? Funding for K-12 and community colleges in California would increase from $4 to $9 billion per year from 2019 to 2030, as the current level of income taxes on the wealthiest 1.5% of taxpayers is maintained. Up to $2 billion per year would also be raised for Medi-Cal, the state’s low income health program.

What does a NO vote mean in concrete terms? The wealthiest 1.5% of taxpayers in the state would see a reduction in their income taxes beginning in 2019. The League of Women Voters estimates annual budget cuts of $4 billion per year to education would be required if Prop 55 loses, requiring layoffs, the elimination of programs and increased class sizes.

How is this issue related to racial justice? Approximately 3 of 4 students in California’s public schools are students of color. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 49% of the state’s children lived in or near poverty in 2013. The poverty rate of Black children is twice that of white children, and the poverty rate of Latino children is more than twice that of whites. Medi-Cal also overwhelmingly serves people of color. In 2014 California’s per pupil spending ranked 35th out of the 50 states. A vote for Proposition 55 is a vote to devote more resources to helping these children and their families.

Nonpartisan Research:
“Child Poverty in California,” Public Policy Institute of California, Dec. 2015
League of Women Voters of California statement on Proposition 55
California Legislative Analyst’s statement on Proposition 55

yes-on-59CA Prop 59: Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory Question

If Prop 59 passes, voters will ask California legislature to “use all of their constitutional authority” to regulate and limit political campaign spending, through overturning the 2010 Supreme Court Ruling ‘Citizens United vs. FEC’.  This Proposition is an advisory measure – a non-binding measure, meant to indicate public intent for future legislative action.

What does a YES vote mean? Prop 59 is an ‘advisory measure,’ meaning that no binding action will be taken as a result of this ruling. A YES vote supports California legislature in taking future efforts to overturn citizens united.

What does a NO vote mean? A no vote indicates you do NOT support California legislature taking steps in the future to overturn citizens united. Since this proposition is an advisory measure, no concrete steps are required as a result of this ruling.

How is Prop 59 related to racial justice? Citizens United vs. FEC amplified the voice and political sway of those already in corporate and economic power, by removing regulation on campaign contributions, and by allowing for the creation of Super PACs.

The list of 2014 ‘mega-donors’ is almost entirely (greater than 95%) white – giving an unbalanced voice and place of power to white people and minimizing the voices of people of color. Other analyses show that the contributions to (overwhelmingly white) super PACs far outweigh contributions from communities of color.

Nonpartisan Research:
Legislative Analyst’s Office
List of ‘Mega-Donors’ for 2014 & 2016 Campaign contributions
Mega-donors, contributions from neighborhoods in the US – based on FEC filings and US Survey dataRacial survey of mega-donors 

62-and-66CA Prop 62: Repeal of the Death Penalty

What is Prop 62? You will vote on whether California should repeal the death penalty. If it passes, the maximum sentence in California will be life in prison without possibility of parole. It would apply retroactively to those currently on death row. It would also require individuals convicted of committing murder to work while in prison and to give a large portion of their earnings to their victims’ families. Prop 62 and 66 go hand-in-hand: to repeal the death penalty, vote Yes on 62 and No on 66. Even if Prop 62 passes, it can be made void if more people vote Yes on 66 than Yes on 62.

What does a YES vote mean? End the death penalty in California.

What does a NO vote mean? Keep the death penalty in California.

How is Prop 62 related to racial justice? Convicted of the same crime, African American and Latinos are more likely to receive harsher punishments than whites, reflecting the way racism has become institutionalized in the criminal justice system. According to a study of homicide convictions in California from 1990-1999, those who killed whites were more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death as those who killed African Americans and more than four times as likely to be sentenced to death as those who killed Latinos.

Nonpartisan Research:
Prop 61—Ballotpedia
Racial Disparity in the Death Penalty

62-and-66CA Prop 66: Death Penalty Procedures

What is Prop 66? This measure asks voters to decide whether to keep the current death penalty procedures as they are or to reform them. The reforms include limiting the time period for appeals, ensuring individuals have adequate legal representation, allowing death row inmates to be placed in any prison, and requiring death row inmates to work and provide most of their earnings to their victims’ families. This is a tricky one. A vote for reform is also a vote to keep the death penalty. Prop 62 and 66 go hand-in-hand: to repeal the death penalty, vote Yes on 62 and No on 66. Even if Prop 62 passes, it can be made void if more people vote Yes on 66 than Yes on 62.  

What does a YES? Keep, but reform the death penalty system in California.

What does a NO vote mean? Keep the current system for the death penalty in California.

How is Prop 66 related to racial justice? Blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to be sentenced to death for committing the same crime. [See information on Prop 62!]

Nonpartisan Research:
KPBS on Prop 66
Ballotpedia on Prop 66

yes-on-64CA Prop 64: Marijuana Legalization

What is Prop 64? Prop 64 legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry. Imposes state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana equal to 15% of sales price, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation. Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products. Allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana. Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana to minors. Authorizes re-sentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.

What does a YES vote mean? Criminal cases for marijuana offenses should drop substantially, as they have in CO and WA, saving the state and local governments millions of dollars annually in court, jail, and prison costs. New jobs are expected to be created from regulating marijuana as an industry.

What does a NO vote mean? Criminal cases for marijuana offenses would be expected to remain the same, as would criminal activity related to the cultivation, production, transportation, and sale of marijuana.

How is Prop 64 related to racial justice? The majority of people charged with felony drug offenses related to marijuana in CA are POC (9171 of 13300 or 69% using 2014 data as an example), which is why the CA chapters of both the ACLU and NAACP are supporters of a YES vote on Prop 64.

Nonpartisan research:
Ballotpedia on 64
ACLU on marijuana
NAACP on marijuana
Impact report on marijuana legalization in Washington state

yes-on-gSan Diego Measure G: Charter Amendments Regarding the Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices

What is Measure G? Measure G changes the name of the Citizens’ Review Board to the “Community Review Board of Police Practices,” replaces all references to the “City Manager” with “Mayor and City Council,” and requires the board review all deaths occurring while someone is in the custody of police and all police officer-related shootings.

What does a YES vote mean? The name of the board changes, the Mayor and the City Council are now given oversight of the board instead of just the Mayor as it stands now, and puts in writing what’s already being done–review of all cases involving deaths in custody and officer-related shootings. There are no tax increases associated with this measure.

What does a NO vote mean? Things stay as they are.

How is Measure G related to racial justice? People of Color are disproportionately targeted by police, and police are rarely held accountable for their actions. The Citizens’ Review Board has been largely ineffective in its oversight of the San Diego Police Department. This measure is a small step towards shifting the power of police oversight to the community.

Nonpartisan Research:
City of San Diego’s Office of the Independent Budget Analysis Report
Voice of San Diego Voter’s Guide

yes-on-kSan Diego Measure K: Charter Amendment Requiring Run-Off Elections for the Offices of Mayor, City Attorney, and Council Member

What is Measure K? Measure K would require that the two candidates who get the most votes in a June Primary in elections for City Council, Mayor, or City Attorney face each other in a run-off during the November Election. Presently, if a candidate in the June Primary gets more than 50 percent of the vote, she wins outright.

What does a YES vote mean? The only possible fiscal impact of passage would be increased cost of more balloting materials for the November run-off elections, anywhere from $30,000 t0 $260,000 according to the San Diego City Government statement.

What does a NO vote mean? A NO vote would maintain the current system.

How is this Measure K related to racial justice? The measure was brought to the City Council by the head of a local Labor Council and Council Member Todd Gloria and approved for the ballot by a 5-4 vote, that split on party lines, (5 Democrats to 4 Republicans). Between 2010 and 2014, the overall turnout for the General Election was twice as high as it was for the primary.When one looks at turnout among People of Color, however, the difference is often three times greater. Passage of this proposition would allow opportunity for the voices of People of Color to be heard and time for the people to make a fully informed choice.

Nonpartisan Research:
Voter Turnout Demographics
San Diego City Gov.
African American Voter Representation Project
Voice of San Diego on Measure K

yes-on-mSan Diego Measure M: Affordable Housing: Increasing the Limit on the Number of Units the City and Certain Public Agencies are Allowed to Help Develop

What is Measure M? State law requires that voters approve any rent-controlled homes that are developed, built or acquired by a public agency. This measure would give the city permission to do so for an additional 38,680 homes reserved for low-income people. It wouldn’t spend any money on any low-income homes or approve any specific projects—it would just preemptively give the city permission to make way for that many additional rent-controlled homes.

What does a YES vote mean? It would increase the number of rent-controlled homes the city is allowed to build, develop or acquire. As this measure only gives permission, there is no fiscal impact or tax increase directly resulting from approval.

What does a NO vote mean? It would maintain the current limit on the number of rent-controlled homes the city is allowed to provide.

How is this issue related to racial justice? As the community of People of Color has a higher rate of economic fragility, the possibility of increased affordable housing, especially in San Diego which has such high housing costs, would be a great benefit. Measure M paves the way for a more equitable housing situation in San Diego for the financially challenged people of all races. Also, there are no arguments against this proposition in the balloting material.

Nonpartisan Research:
Voice of San Diego: Local Ballot Guide

Special thanks to SURJ San Diego researchers Joe Wainio, Matt Warren, Rick Pincus, Doug Thomson, Blair Overstreet, and Susan Cox.

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