Use the power of your vote to end poverty in the East Bay
On Tuesday, June 5th, 2018, voters across California will weigh-in on the state’s future by selecting new elected officials and approving—or rejecting—propositions and measures that impact all of our lives.
It’s crucial that we don’t sit on the sidelines; this election is far too important to be ignored. The future of criminal justice reform, housing affordability and the economy are at stake. Will our government work to end poverty, or will it simply accept the status quo?
That’s why Rubicon Programs believes that encouraging our participants, staff and community to participate in the process is absolutely essential to accomplishing our vision of an East Bay—and California—without poverty. Local elections like this one are where you can truly make your voice heard.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 5, 2018.
If you have not yet registered to vote, be sure to do so by the state’s voter registration deadline for the June Primary, May 21, online here. If you are unsure of your status, or wish to find your polling place, be sure to visit either the Contra Costa County Elections Office or Alameda County Elections Office online. And remember, many individuals with a criminal record are allowed vote. If you’re unsure of you rights, check here for further information.
You can also vote-by-mail. Learn how by visiting the Contra Costa County Clerk or Alameda County Clerk. Additionally, Contra Costa residents may also vote early at Regional Early Voting Sites located across the county.
ENDORSEMENTS FOR STATE AND LOCAL MEASURES
This Election Day, voters will be able to weigh-in on many specific policy proposals, as well as select our local representatives. Rubicon carefully reviewed each of the propositions and measures on the ballot and have decided to share our positions with you so that you can make an informed decision and help us in our journey to end poverty. We have also provided a brief explainer—listed after our endorsements—for each of the offices on the ballot. We hope this will help you in your decision-making process.
Here are our endorsements for state and local propositions in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties:
PROPOSITION 68: YES
Bonds for Environment, Parks and Water. Permits the state to sell $4 billion in new bonds to fund various projects, including local and regional parks (including creating new parks), flood protection, addressing the effects of climate change and promoting safe drinking water.
Communities of color, and people in poverty, are the least likely to have access to clean drinking water and safe parks, which provide opportunities for physical activity and good health. They are also the most likely to be impacted by the negative effects of climate change. This bond will greatly improve conditions in these communities and will help prevent large-scale natural disasters, with minor impact on the state budget.
PROPOSITION 69: YES
Transportation Funding. Amends the State Constitution so that funds from the recently passed Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) gas tax and transportation fee increase can only be spent on transportation purposes, protecting those funds from ever being diverted to unrelated purposes by state legislators.
Funds from SB 1 are incredibly beneficial to the community, expanding public transportation and improving roads, all while providing a great boost to the economy by increasing job opportunities in the building trades, which provide good paying jobs to people in poverty. Prop 69 protects these dollars from being diverted to other parts of the state budget, ensuring a decrease in Bay Area commute times that will improve public health and save money in the long run.
PROPOSITION 70: NO
Cap-and-Trade Amendment. Amends the State Constitution to require all revenues from climate change fees on polluters to be deposited in a reserve fund until the legislature authorizes the use of the funds by a two-thirds majority.
In an effort to prevent climate change, California requires certain companies to buy a permit for each ton of greenhouse gases they create. Money from the sale of these permits goes into a state fund called the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). The state typically determines how to spend money from the fund during the annual budget process. This requires a simple majority vote by the state legislature. Prop 70 would raise the threshold on this vote to a two-thirds supermajority, greatly hindering the state's ability to fight climate change and spend funds on environmental justice programs.
PROPOSITION 71: YES
Ballot Measure Effective Date. Amends the State Constitution so that all ballot measures go into effect at the same time. Propositions would become law when the state elections office releases the official “statement of vote,” about 43 days after Election Day.
Currently, propositions in the State of California, if passed, take effect the day after they reach a majority. Since some propositions are counted earlier than others, this means it can be hard to predict when a law will take effect. Prop 71 ensures that every proposition is implemented at the same time, providing predictability for residents who may need to know when they will need to begin complying with new laws.
PROPOSITION 72: YES
Taxes for Rainwater Capture Systems. Amends the State Constitution so that the addition of a rainwater capture system to a property would no longer be considered a taxable property improvement.
Prop 72 would ensure that property owners and developers are able to install rainwater capture systems without worrying that their property taxes may go up, effectively incentivizing investments that will conserve water and prevent drought. This will lower costs for homeowners and renters alike, while also helping prevent droughts that would harm the most vulnerable members of our community.
REGIONAL MEASURE 3: NO RECOMMENDATION
Bridge Toll Increase for Transportation Projects. Raises Bay Area bridge tolls by $3, and ties toll prices to inflation. Allocates $4.5 billion to fund specific highway and public transit improvements.
Regional Measure 3 has both large costs and large benefits. It is abundantly clear that the Bay Area needs more funding for transportation projects in order to keep up with our growing population and ever-rising commute times. Many of our participants, and staff, have multi-hour commutes that lower their quality of life and negatively impact their health. We believe something must be done to increase highway capacity, clear congestion and add public transit options.
Unfortunately, this particular measure disproportionately impacts low-income East Bay families, while primarily benefiting the already thriving Silicon Valley region. Measure 3 will cost East Bay bridge-commuters more than $700 each year, on average. That’s a lot to ask of someone who may be living on the minimum wage.
The proposal tries to help these people by providing a path to Clipper Card discounts of 30-50 percent or more for low-income families, and improved access to bus and ferry lines. But there are no discounts for low-income drivers.
If you don’t cross a bridge to get to work, Measure 3 could provide you with a great benefit at almost no cost to you. But if you do cross a bridge each day, and are paid a less-than-living wage, Measure 3 could provide a major barrier to employment. Therefore, we encourage you to vote your conscience.
ALAMEDA COUNTY MEASURE A: YES
Sales Tax for Childcare and Early Education. Authorizes a 1/2-cent sales tax for 30 years to annually fund $140 million worth of childcare and pre-school programs, programs for homeless and at-risk children, programs to prevent child abuse, and efforts to add childcare locations and employees.
Early childhood education is proven to be one of the most effective tools to break the cycle of poverty. Therefore, we believe the benefits of these programs far outweigh the minor costs of the half-cent increase in the sales tax. The average family earning the minimum wage would only lose about $50 in buying power each year, in exchange for low-cost childcare and pre-school that could be worth thousands of dollars each year. We believe this is a worthy investment and a net benefit for all.
RICHMOND CITY MEASURES E & K: YES
Richmond Kids First Initiative. Allocates three percent of the city’s budget and amends the City Charter to create a Department of Children and Youth, funding after-school and social programs for children and youth under the age of 24.
Measure E & K would allocate significant funds for programs that would directly and indirectly aide our participants, and the Richmond community, by providing support services to children and youth up to 18 years old, and their caregivers, and to disconnected transitional aged young adults through 24 years old. The package includes programs that range from violence prevention to after-school education and health programs, all of which are desperately needed by the community. (Note: These two measures would only take effect if voters also pass additional funding measures by December 2020.)
INFORMATION ON ELECTED OFFICES
This Election Day, residents of Contra Costa County and Alameda County, including most of Rubicon Programs’ participants and staff, will also have the opportunity to vote for the following local elected officials:
- County Supervisors, who determine local housing policy and manage social services.
- District Attorneys, who prosecute the law, determine who is charged with a felony or misdemeanor, and have a major role in shaping criminal justice policy.
- County Superintendents, who oversee school districts and provide education to incarcerated minors and those with special needs.
- County Sheriffs, who manage the jails, coordinate emergency response, and determine law enforcement strategy.
- County Officers—including Clerk, Auditor-Controller, and Assessor—who manage the administration of elections, budgets and taxation, respectively.
They will also choose State Constitutional Officers and legislators, including the:
- Governor, California’s Chief Executive, responsible for approving the state’s budget and implementing the state’s laws.
- Lieutenant Governor, who serves as a critical member of the state’s many policy commissions, and fulfills the duties of the Governor when he or she is out of state or indisposed.
- Attorney General, who prosecutes the law, determines who is charged with state crimes and plays a major role in shaping statewide criminal justice policy.
- Controller, Treasurer and Board of Equalization Member, who, respectively, ensure the state pays its bills, invests its funds, and assesses its taxes responsibly.
- Superintendent of Public Instruction, who oversees California’s schools, community colleges and universities.
- Secretary of State, who manages elections and the administration of business.
- State Senator, State Assemblymember, U.S. Congressmember and U.S. Senator, each of whom write state and federal laws and legislation covering nearly every topic imaginable.
Since this is a top-two, nonpartisan primary, each of these elected officials will be on the ballot again during the November 2018 General Election, unless they are local or education candidates who are able to reach 50 percent plus one in the primary.
We hope that each of our readers and participants study each of the candidates’ positions, so that they can identify and support candidates that prioritize criminal justice reform, early childhood education, affordable housing, and social programs that will help end poverty in the East Bay and throughout the State of California.
If you would like to compare all of these candidates, propositions and measures, and review nonpartisan, unbiased summaries online, please visit www.votersedge.org.
Thank you for participating!
We hope you will stay tuned for our November 2018 General Election Voter Guide, coming later this year.
Sources: Maplight’s Voter’s Edge, League of Women Voters of California Education Fund's Easy Voter Guide, and the California Secretary of State, Alameda County Clerk-Recorder, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder and City of Richmond.