When Californians head out to complete their ballot this November, they will decide on a number of propositions pertaining to public education funding, rent control and affirmative action, which could all affect the residents of Santa Monica.
Proposition 15 would increase funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges and local governments by requiring commercial and industrial real estate property taxes to be based on current market value. Proposition 16 would repeal a law passed in 1996 and thereby remove a ban on affirmative action in public employment, public education, and public contracting for persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. And following a vote Tuesday, both have been endorsed by Santa Monica City Councilmembers.
“I was a product of affirmative action,” councilmember Ana Maria Jara said during Tuesday’s meeting when she detailed the impact the former policy had on her and the lives of many others while she was an employee of Santa Monica College. “That is part of my history… I am very proud to be part of this today.”
The Assembly voted 58-9 to let voters decide whether to repeal the amendment. If the state Senate concurs, the question would be added to the November ballot — further intensifying an election year that already includes a presidential contest.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber authored the repeal and since it passed the Assembly in late June, a number of organizations have come out to support and oppose it.
“Proposition 16 will overturn Prop 209, which has done lasting harm to our state by disenfranchising underrepresented groups and thus has failed our diverse communities. Prop 16 will help level the playing field in the areas of public higher education, employment, and contracting,” League of Women Voters President Natalya Zernitskaya said in a letter to councilmembers that expressed the organization’s support for affirmative action and Prop. 15.
Zernitskaya added in her letter Prop. 15 would protecting homeowners, renters, and agricultural land before citing the state’s Legislative Analyst Office, which estimated that, upon full implementation, the ballot initiative would generate between $8 billion and $12.5 billion in revenue per year.
Kevin McKeown said prior to the unanimous vote Tuesday that some residents may be wondering why the council is not putting forth an official endorsement for Proposition 21, which is a rent control initiative set for the ballot.
“Santa Monica practice and policy for so many years has been supportive of rent control that we don’t actually need to take a vote to be in support prop 21,” McKeown added. “So let everybody know the city of Santa Monica is supportive of and does endorse measurement for prop 21.”