Much energy has been spent discussing the Democratic and Republican candidates for President of the United States. Not nearly enough time has been spent discussing the myriad of state and local propositions on the ballot, not to mention the handful of other offices up for election.
As a resident of California and City and County of San Francisco, I have an eye-watering number of propositions to vote on. I read each and every one of the 42 initiatives (17 state and 25 local) including the proponent and opponent arguments as well as the full legal text in some cases. In addition, I have read all of the candidate statements. Below are my endorsements.
United States Senator
Kamala D. Harris
President and Vice President
Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine
United States Representative
Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 7
Member of the State Assembly - District 17
PROP. 51 - NO
Unaffordable, unaccountable, and unnecessary $9 billion bond to fund K-12 and community college facilities at the state level instead of the local level.
PROP. 52 - YES
Would make permanent a fee that hospitals pay so the state can meet a matching requirement for federal health funds.
PROP. 53 - NO
Calls for an unnecessary state vote on any revenue bond measure larger than $2 billion. Primarily created to stop the high speed rail project.
PROP. 54 - NO
Misleading initiative to require any (major or minor) revision to a bill to be in print and posted online for 72 hours before it could pass out of either house. This creates unnecessary delay and time for special interests to deploy lobbyists. All bills are already available online.
PROP. 55 - YES
Would extend a tax approved in 2012 on upper incomes to 2030.
PROP. 56 - YES
Would raise the tax on cigarettes by $2 a pack.
Prop. 57 - YES
Would encourage nonviolent offenders to use their prison time to improve themselves in order to earn parole. Also grants judges more authority to review cases before trying a juvenile as an adult.
Prop. 58 - YES
Would remove the bureaucratic barriers to allowing school districts to offer dual-language immersion programs for native and non-native English speakers.
Prop. 59 - YES
Calls on elected officials to use “all of their constitutional authority” to help overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Pretty pointless initiative as it has no actual impact.
Prop. 60 - NO
Would add additional regulations on the porn industry, which is already heavily regulated by OSHA and local health agencies, while also allowing anyone to sue an actor for perceived violation of regulations.
Prop. 61 - NO
Would prohibit state agencies from paying more for prescription drugs than prices negotiated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This will eventually lead to drug companies raising prices on the VA and thus other departments.
Prop. 62 - YES
Offers a straightforward and certain solution to the death penalty debate: abolish and replace it with a punishment of life without the possibility of parole.
Prop. 63 - YES
Would tighten a set of gun-control laws recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and enact others that state legislators have failed to pass like licenses to sell ammunition, tighter background checks, and removal of firearms from prohibited persons.
Prop. 64 - YES
Would legalize the cultivation, sale, and taxation of recreational marijuana in California.
Prop. 65 - NO
Would require proceeds from a 10-cent paper bag fee go toward environmental causes. Several environmental groups have shunned the proposition, which is being pushed largely by the plastic bag industry.
Prop. 66 - NO
Proposes a highly complex, probably very expensive and constitutionally questionable scheme for streamlining the death penalty appeals process in hopes of shaving years off the timeline between conviction and execution.
Prop. 67 - YES
A referendum on the law passed two years ago banning single-use shopping bags.
San Francisco Local Propositions
Prop. A - YES
A 20-year public school spending plan totaling $744 million to repair and rehabilitate SFUSD facilities to current accessibility, health, safety, seismic and instructional standards, replace worn-out plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and major building systems, renovate outdated classrooms and training facilities, construct school facilities and replace aging modular classrooms, improve information technology systems and food service preparation systems.
Prop. B - YES
A parcel tax increase to help City College of San Francisco.
Prop. C - YES
Relabels a seismic safety bond package with remaining funds and directs them toward affordable housing.
Prop. D - NO
Would require the mayor fill a vacant position within 28 days otherwise an election will need to be held. The person appointed to temporarily fill the vacancy would not be allowed to run for that office.
Prop. E - YES
Would create a permanent maintenance fund in the city budget to take care of street tree maintenance. Transfers tree planting, maintenance, & liability responsibility from homeowners to the city.
Prop. F - YES
Would allow young San Franciscans to vote in local and school board elections starting at the age of 16.
Prop. G - YES
Gives an existing outside review panel more independence and power in keeping tabs on police officer conduct.
Prop. H - NO
Would create an unnecessary elected public advocate, with a staff of up to 26 and budget from $800,000 to $3.5 million per year, to survey any and all issues.
Prop. I - YES
Would reserve a $38 million portion of the budget for programs for seniors and disabled adults.
Prop. J - YES
Creates a Homeless Housing and Services Fund, which would provide services to the homeless including housing and Navigation Centers, programs to prevent homelessness and assistance in transitioning out of homelessness by allocating $50 million per year for 24 years, adjusted annually. Also creates a Transportation Improvement Fund, which would be used to improve the City’s transportation network by allocating $101.6 million per year for 24 years, adjusted annually. All money would come from the General Fund.
Prop. K - YES
Would set up a sales tax increase of 3/4 of a percent.
Prop. L - NO
Would let the supervisors name three of the seven members of the Municipal Transportation Agency instead of giving all of the picks to the mayor. Introduces more politics into SFMTA.
Prop. M - NO
Would create an unnecessary new panel to set the city's economic development course.
Prop. N - YES
Would allow noncitizens to vote in San Francisco school board elections. Gives immigrant parents a voice in how their children's schools are run.
Prop. O - YES
Expedites office and residential development at Hunters Point.
Prop. P - NO
Would oblige the city to seek three bids when offering city land to affordable housing builders. This would lead to useless delays where three bids cannot be found.
Prop. Q - NO
Prohibits the placements of tents on sidewalks and allows the city to remove those tents with 24 hours notice. City must provide "temporary" (undefined in length) housing without requiring any new housing or shelters to be created. City must also store personal belongings for up to 90 days with no defined process for verifications of possessions. Sleeping on the sidewalk after 11:00 pm would still be legal so many people would end up ditching the tent for sleeping on concrete and/or moving to a different neighborhoods once the 24 hour notice is posted. Well intentioned initiative with poor implementation details.
Prop. R - NO
Would require 3 percent of the police force — some 60 officers — to be delegated to a new Neighborhood Crime Unit at all times. The creation of this unit and officer allocation to it should be up to the police chief and not voters.
Prop. S - NO
Specifies that the city should move the hotel tax revenue from the General Fund to the Arts Commission.
Prop. T - YES
Proposes string of requirements to control lobbying activities.
Prop. U - NO
Increases the income eligibility limit for on-site rental units for all new and existing affordable housing units to make them affordable for households earning up to 110% of the area median income instead of 55%. This removes housing opportunity from low-income families and gives it to middle-income families. Also allows developers and landlords to make more money from low-income units.
Prop. V - YES
Would place a one-cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks.
Prop. W - YES
Real estate transfer tax on high-end homes.
Prop. X - NO
Would require replacement space in new projects in the South of Market and Mission neighborhoods for small businesses and arts groups whether or not they are actually needed.
Prop. RR - NO
A $3.5 billion bond program to repair, replace and redesign BART’s infrastructure. BART's fiscal mismanagement, high-salaries, and unnecessary positions (mainly lead by their union) have lead to underinvestment in infrastructure, not lack of funding.
Note: Some of the proposition descriptions were provided by the San Francisco Chronicle's 2016 Voter Guide with many of them being updated or fully rewritten to reflect my personal positions.