Rubicon’s June 2018 Primary Voter Guide

By Jonathan Bash May 18, 2018

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.

VOTER INFORMATION

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.

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Rubicon Voter Guide 2016

By Lisa Dyas October 12, 2016

Vote for justice & equity in our communities!


At Rubicon, we are committed to helping our participants move out of poverty through success in building assets, increasing their income, being well, and building their network of professional and personal connections. We have studied the statewide ballot measures and adopted positions that support our participants' movement toward economic mobility and work to dismantle systemic forces that disproportionately impact communities of color. Our guide is grounded in Rubicon's values of hope, justice, and humility. 

We hope that you will consider our recommendations on the upcoming ballot measures. Let's move toward our vision of an East Bay without poverty.
 
Please consider our recommendations on the upcoming ballot measures. Register to vote before October 24 in Alameda & Contra Costa Counties. ​ Let’s move towards our vision of an East Bay without poverty.

Prop 57 - Vote Yes

Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act: Would increase sentencing credits for adult inmates, allow earlier parole for non-violent felons and let judges decide which juvenile offenders are tried as adults.

At Rubicon, we believe prison is not an effective or equitable way to increase public safety, especially as a response to non-violent offenses. We support getting more people out of the prison system and back to their families, where they can build the skills and connections needed to better their lives and be positive change agents in their communities. 

Prop 61- Vote Yes

State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards. Initiative Statute: Would impose controls on state purchases of prescription drugs, establishing that prices can be no higher than what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.

Wellness plays an integral part in being able to secure and retain employment, remain proactive in your life, engage in positive relationships and activities, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty. We support keeping prescription drug costs under control to ensure that people experiencing poverty can continue to improve and maintain their health and wellness.

Prop 62 - Vote Yes

Justice That Works: Death Penalty Abolition: Would do away with the nation's largest death row and substitute life sentences with no chance of parole for nearly 750 condemned inmates. A competing measure to speed up executions is also on the ballot. 

Rubicon is against the costly, dysfunctional, and racially biased death penalty system that disproportionately affect our communities. Mounting evidence indicates the death penalty convictions are often biased, and is applied unevenly to poor people and people of color. We unequivocally support abolishing the death penalty. 

Prop 63 - Vote Yes

Safety for All Act: Would tighten California’s already tough gun control laws by requiring background checks to buy ammunition, outlaw possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and streamline a program that allows authorities to seize firearms from owners who are no longer allowed to own them. NOTE: Increases the penalty for theft of a firearm to a Felony, regardless of whether $950 or under.

Many of the communities that we serve are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. We believe that tightening gun control laws will lead to less violence. There is growing evidence that demonstrates that states with strong gun control laws see fewer overall gun deaths.

Prop 64 - Vote Yes

Marijuana Legalization: Would allow adults 21 and over to buy an ounce of marijuana and marijuana-infused products at licensed retail outlets and also to grow up to six pot plants for personal recreational use. 

Rubicon supports the decriminalization of drug use. Historically, drug laws have disproportionately impacted people of color living in poverty. This proposition also reduces the sale of marijuana to a misdemeanor, and allows for destruction of records within two years for certain marijuana offenses. Individuals with prior marijuana sales or growing convictions would be eligible for re-sentencing, and those with completed sentences could apply to have their records expunged.

Prop 66 - Vote No

Shortening Death Penalty Appeals: Would accelerate appeals by inmates on death row to speed up executions. A competing measure to repeal the death penalty is also on the ballot. NOTE: If both 62 and 66 pass the one with the higher percentage of the vote will become law.

Rubicon does not support the death penalty. The potential of taking the life of an innocent person is unacceptable. Mounting evidence indicates that false convictions are frequent and disproportionately impact people of color.  

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