California June 2018 Propositions

Only five state-wide propositions this election, and they are all pretty easy to figure out.

Note that all five state-wide measures this time were put on the ballot by the legislature. There are no citizen-proposed initiatives in this election. That is not a coincidence. A law passed in 2011 mandates that initiatives only appear on November ballots, not in June. I guess I never noticed this until now.

Election Day is Tuesday, June 5th. You can also vote before then at Early Voting locations. Check your sample ballot, or ask your county's Registrar of Voters to find out where. For instance, in Alameda County you can vote at the Registrar's office in downtown Oakland, among other places.

State-wide: [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [Governor]
Regional: [RM3]
San Francisco: [A] [B] [C/D] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [Mayor]
Berkeley: [AD15]


yes Prop. 68: Bonds For Small Projects
$4.1 billion in bonds for a variety of small projects. The money would be split about 1/3rd parks, 1/3rd water quality, and 1/3rd flood protection. The project locations would skew towards historically under-served communities. All of this sounds good to me.
yes Prop. 69: Transportation Revenues
Requires that money from a 2017 transportation funding law be used for transportation. Why is this an issue?
no Prop. 70: Supermajority for Cap-and-Trade
Currently cap-and-trade funds can be spent by a simple majority vote. This would change that to require a 2/3rds supermajority, effectively making the money impossible to spend and eventually destroying cap-and-trade. It's a ridiculous idea backed by the oil industry.
yes Prop. 71: Effective Date for Ballot measures
Currently, ballot measures take effect the day after the election. However, elections don't get finalized until about six weeks later, so in theory there could be confusion in close races. This would change the effective date to five days after certification. Not a big deal but yeah, let's do this.
yes Prop. 72: Exclude Rain Capture Systems from Reassessment
This encourages people to install rain capture systems. Sure why not.
California Governor
Gavin Newsom is going to win. There is no question about this. However Newsom is suggesting that the other Democrats should drop out of the race, so he doesn't have to waste money fighting them. Sorry but that's not how it works. Campaigns serve many purposes. Clarifying issues. Getting out the vote for other races. Giving upcoming candidates exposure for future races. It's not a coronation.

In particular, letting a Republican into the November runoff will encourage Republican turnout and hurt down-ticket Democratic candidates. If there are two Democrats in the runoff for the top contest, lots of Republicans will stay home. That would be great for Democrats trying to flip House seats.

I suggest voting for the second-place Democrat, which currently is Antonio Villaraigosa.


yes RM 3: Bay Area Traffic Relief Plan
This will appear on ballots in all nine Bay Area counties. A phased-in $3 bridge toll increase will generate about $4.5 billion, to be spent about 60% on transit / 40% on roads. People who already use transit don't need to be convinced. For the car-centric majority, remember that getting more people onto transit means fewer people on the road in front of you. Improving transit improves traffic too.

San Francisco

yes A: Public Utilities Revenue Bonds
Allows the city's PUC to issue bonds for power facilities, when approved by a 2/3rds vote of the Board of Supervisors. I guess that's ok although it seems pretty specialized.
no B: Prohibiting Appointed Commissioners from Running for Office
Generally, when someone who already holds a political office decides to run for another one, they are expected to resign if they win. This measure would require holders of very specific types of offices to resign as soon as they start running. This would be rather unusual. It smells to me like in-fighting among the SF Board of Supervisors factions. I see a lot of people recommending a yes vote on this but I don't see the need.
yes C: Additional Tax on Commercial Rents Mostly to Fund Child Care and Education

no D: Additional Tax on Commercial Rents Mostly to Fund Housing and Homelessness Services
C and D are a pair - if both pass, only the one with the higher number of Yes votes takes effect. So we have to choose between child care / education, and housing / homelessness services - which is of course terrible, but that's SF politics. All else being equal, I'd go with housing / homelessness. However it turns out that all else is not equal. The tax rate proposed by D is half that proposed by C. Basically, D was added to the ballot at the last minute to block C, either by passing and getting a lower tax rate, or by splitting/confusing the vote so that neither one passes. Dirty pool! Given this, I suggest Yes on C / No on D.
yes E: Prohibiting Tobacco Retailers from Selling Flavored Tobacco Products
I'm pretty much automatically in favor of anything that cuts down on tobacco use.
yes F: City-Funded Legal Representation for Residential Tenants in Eviction Lawsuits
Provides free legal representation to anyone facing eviction. It would cost about $5 million/year, which is cheap. Absolutely.
yes G: Parcel Tax for San Francisco Unified School District
This is a $298 parcel tax to give SF teachers a $5500 raise, plus various other improvments to the school system. My only objection is that the raise is too small.
no H: Policy for the Use of Tasers by San Francisco Police Officers
This is a tricky little measure from the SF police union. SFPD is getting tasers whether or not this passes. Policy for their use is set by the SF Police Commission. If H passes, authority to regulate taser use would be taken away from the Police Commission and frozen as what the union put in this ballot measure. Any future changes in taser policy would become hugely cumbersome.
shrug I: Relocation of Professional Sports Teams
This is an advisory measure declaring that San Francisco should not encourage professional sports teams to move here, especially if they are skipping out on debt in their old location. It would not affect the Warriors moving to SF; that is a done deal. It would not affect anything, really, since it is just advisory. I don't object to teams moving to SF, but it does seem like a good idea to discourage deadbeat team owners. Still, don't really care.


I don't feel qualified to make recommendations for SF Mayor. What I can do is go over the background and issues for the top candidates.

London Breed
Current Supervisor for District 5, the Western Addition / Haight-Ashbury / UCSF. Temporarily Mayor immediately after Ed Lee's death. She is the best on housing - she's the only top candidate who didn't oppose SB827. As a Black woman, identity politics will probably be a big factor. Backed by tech billionaire Ron Conway, which for many people is a big negative.
Mark Leno
Former State Senator and Assemblypern. Before that he was on the BoS, elected to the at-large board in 1998 and representing District 8 after 2000. D8 is the Castro and Noe Valley. Leno is the strongest on LGBT issues.
Jane Kim
Current Supervisor for District 6: SOMA and the TL. SOMA has been adding a lot of housing lately, and Kim likes to point to that as her being positive on housing, but I don't think she actually had much to do with it. What she did do is oppose SB827 and pander to the NIMBYs in the west side neighborhoods. That was nasty. Aside from that she looks like a great candidate. In particular she is very strong on bike issues.
Angela Alioto
Former Supervisor and President of the BoS. This was during the 1980-2000 "at large" period so no district. Also ran for Mayor in 1995 and 2003. She has name recognition from her father, Mayor Joseph Alioto, for any voters who were around in 1968-1976. Her issues seem like: nostalgia for past greatness, Catholicism, and general weirdness. Also apparently racism - she wants to get rid of SF's Sanctuary City policy.

Remember this is a ranked-choice race, so you can vote for your top three picks. Leno and Kim are both suggesting you vote for the other as your second choice, which is an interesting strategy.


Assembly District 15

AD15 covers the East Bay shoreline cities, from Oakland north. There are twelve candidates on the ballot. One of them, Buffy Wicks, has raised three times as much money as any of the others. Normally I'd be suspicious of this, but I looked into her positions and saw a couple things I like.

First, Costa-Hawkins. This is a state law from 1995 that prohibits rent control on new buildings - meaning anything built after 1995. The other eleven candidates favor outright repeal. This is an attractive position, and also safe because it will never happen. It's just talk. The twelfth candidate, Ms. Wicks, wants to change Costa-Hawkins to make the cutoff date variable instead of fixed. For example, it could be five years in the past. New construction gets 5 years at market rate, then could go under rent control. This is actually possible.

Ms. Wicks is also in favor of the split-roll reform to Prop. 13. Again, outright repeal is an appealing position that will never happen, while reform is almost as effective and politically possible.

I'll keep looking at this race but right now I'm inclined to recommend the "big money" candidate.

Secretary of State's voter information page.
Alameda County's voter information page.
San Francisco's voter information page.
SPUR Voter Guide.
The League of Pissed Off Voters.
Pete Rates the Propositions.
My recommendations for the November 2016, June 2016, 2014, November 2012, June 2012, November 2010, June 2010, 2008, 2006, 2005, and 2004 propositions.
Back to Jef's page.