Editor’s Note: There are 12 state propositions and two local measures on the November ballot. Below you’ll find a brief summary of each. Download the Inside The Daily Press Podcast for additional interviews with candidates running for local positions.
Measure SM would increase the one-time real estate transfer tax paid on each sale of property for $5 million or more by $3 per $1,000 of sales price, exempting affordable housing projects. It is estimated to provide $3 million annually for local services including addressing homelessness, public safety, small business recovery, and after school programs.
Supported by: Kevin McKeown, Mayor of Santa Monica, Danny Zane, Co-Chair of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, and Natalya Zernitskaya, President of League of Women Voters of Santa Monica.
Opposed by: Matt Neco, Attorney & Mediator, and Stanley H. Epstein, Attorney, who believe it fails to close tax loopholes and may have created some new ones.
Measure AB would remove two provisions from the City Charter that establish rules for appointing officials and promoting employees. The measure would remove the requirement of competitive examinations for promotions and the requirement that three candidate names are listed for City promotions or appointments.
Supported by: All members of City Council, who believe these revisions would improve equity, transparency, inclusiveness, and diversity in the hiring process.
Opposed by: Several community members who see it as a power grab to give councilmembers more authority over promotions and appointments.
Proposition 14: More borrowing for stem cell research
Prop 14 would authorize $5.5 billion in funding for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to continue stem cell research. The money would come from government bonds, with no more than 7.5 percent of funds going towards administrative fees, and $1.5 billion going towards research on diseases of the brain and central nervous system.
Supported by: A coalition of patient advocates, scientists, and doctors who believe this funding is essential to continuing life-saving stem cell research.
Opposed by: Individuals who believe the institute’s present research has not lived up to its promises and who seek legislative oversight of the institute.
Proposition 15: Revising commercial property taxes
Prop 15 would allow market rate values to be used as the basis for property taxes on commercial properties worth over $3 million. It is estimated to yield $12.5 billion a year, with 60 percent slated for local governments and 40 percent for schools and community colleges.
Supported by: a coalition of teachers, small businesses, healthcare workers, and mayors who believe it will only affect a small group of wealthy landlords and support community services statewide.
Opposed by: a coalition of homeowners, taxpayers, and businesses who believe the tax increases will be passed on to tenants in the form of rent increase and will hurt businesses already struggling during the pandemic.
Proposition 16: Repealing the ban on affirmative action
Prop 16 would repeal the ban on affirmative action, which was passed in 1996, and prevents the use of quotas or race based point systems for university and job applications.
Supported by: Elected officials including Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, and Eric Garcetti who believe affirmative action is an effective way to level the playing field for Black and Latino applicants.
Opposed by: Several Asian American organizations and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc, who believe preference based on race is inherently discriminatory.
Proposition 17: Voting rights for felons on parole
Prop 17 would allow felons who are released from prison on parole to vote, which would enfranchise approximately 40,000 Californians.
Supported by: Gavin Newsom, ACLU, League of Women Voters, and Brennan Center for Justice, who believe those who have completed their sentences should reenter society and participate in our democracy.
Opposed by: People who believe parolees are not finished making full restitution for their crimes and should not have access to voting.
Prop 18: Allow some 17 year olds to vote in primaries
Prop 18 would allow 17 year olds who will be 18 by the general election to vote in primary and special elections.
Supported by: Assemblymember Kevin Mullin and those who believe allowing 17 year olds to participate in primaries will allow them to be more informed about their vote in the general election
Opposed by: Those who believe 17 year olds have no right to vote before they are legal adults
Prop 19: Adding and limiting property tax breaks
Prop 19 would expand tax breaks to homeowners over 55 and Californians who lose their homes to a wildfire or other natural disasters. It would remove tax breaks from transfer of a home from a parent to an adult child, which often results in no change to the property tax.
Supported by: The California Association of Realtors and a coalition of firefighters, seniors, and community leaders, who believe prop 19 closes unfair tax loopholes and supports family homes and seniors.
Opposed by: Those who think the proposition is bad substitute for meaningful property tax reform and believe limiting property tax would decrease revenue to schools and local governments
Prop 20: Tougher on parole criminal sentencing
Prop 20 would increase penalties for crimes including vehicle theft, firearm theft, serial theft, organized retail theft, and unlawful use of a credit card. It would reclassify 17 crimes as violent crimes, including felony domestic violence and child trafficking, making offenders ineligible for early parole. It would also expand what crimes require DNA collection.
Support: Those who believe the proposition addresses flaws in the justice system and recent justice reform legislation
Opposed by: A coalition of justice reform groups including the ACLU of California who are opposed to a tough on crime approach and believe Prop 20 would increase incarceration unnecessarily.
Proposition 21: Expanding local governments’ rent control authority
Prop 21 would allow local governments to apply new stricter rent control measures on buildings that are at least 15 years old, excluding single-family homes, if they decide to do so.
Supported by: A coalition of elected officials and community organizations, including the City of Santa Monica, who believe this proposition will allow cities to strengthen tenant protections
Opposed by: Governor Newsom and a coalition of affordable housing advocates who think rent control isn’t the answer to the housing crisis and believe Prop 21 will hurt landlords and city tax revenues.
Proposition 22: Job classification for the gig economy
Prop 22 would reclassify drivers for Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and other app-based companies as independent contractors, affecting an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 Californians. Prop 22 would entitle drivers to benefits including 120% of local minimum wage, accident insurance, and health care subsidies. It would not give drivers sick leave, unemployment benefits, or workers’ compensation.
Supported by: App-based companies, around 116,000 app-based drivers, and numerous business organizations who believe drivers are independent workers and prefer to choose their work schedule over being a scheduled employee.
Opposed by: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and several labor organizations who feel this proposition was written by app-based companies for the economic benefit of app-based companies.
Proposition 23: On-site physicians at dialysis centers
Prop 23 would require there always be a physician on-site at dialysis clinics, which provide an essential blood filtering treatment for people whose kidneys do not function properly. It also requires infection reporting, equal treatment regardless of insurance, and requires the government approve clinic closures.
Supported by: California Democratic Party, California Labor Federation, and labor union SEIU-UHW West who believe the proposition will improve patient care and access.
Opposed by: Major dialysis corporations DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care who say an onsite physician isn’t necessary and would increase treatment costs.
Proposition 24: New consumer privacy rules
Prop 24 would strengthen consumer privacy by expanding the businesses that are subject to privacy rules, granting consumers new rights to limit sharing their personal information, increasing penalties for companies that break consumer privacy rules, and creating a new consumer protection agency in state government.
Supported by: NAACP of California, Andrew Yang, and Common Sense Media, who believe the additional restrictions will protect consumers.
Opposed by: Santa Monica Democratic Club, ACLU California, and other organizations that believe the additional restrictions are unnecessary and think the new penalties and agency would come at a great cost to businesses and taxpayer dollars.
Proposition 25: Replace cash bail with risk assessment
Prop 25 would end cash bail and replace it with a risk assessment system where a judge decides whether a suspect is safe to be released until trial or should await trial in jail. In 2018, the California legislature passed this proposition as a bill but a PAC worked to push the law to a November ballot initiative.
Supported by: Karen Bass, Ted Lieu, and the California Democratic Party who believe bail discriminates against poor people and minorities and keeps thousands of people in jail unnecessarily.
Opposed by: Those who believe ending cash bail removes the incentive for people to return to court for their trial and may lead to an increase in crime. Other organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, support ending cash bail but believe risk assessment gives too much power to judges who could be racially biased.