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Sunrise Bay Area Voting Guide

At Sunrise, we’re excited about the potential this year’s local elections have in helping us create a just and equitable future, built on the Green New Deal. As a hub, we’ve voted to endorse some candidates and measures, like California State Senate candidate Jackie Fielder and Oakland City Council candidate Carroll Fife! Beyond our endorsements, we’ve sorted through candidate websites and interviews and proposition breakdowns to put together short summaries of the other issues you’ll see on your ballot. To help inform your vote, we’ve compiled the following guide based on where you live! It will start with measures anyone in California will see on their ballot, and then you can click the applicable links to more local races. And, if you want to talk through your options with SBA members, come to our Ballot Breakdown zoom party on Oct. 13! Happy voting!

If you’re not sure about what districts you live in, head here if you live in Alameda County and here if you live in San Francisco County to find out.

SBA Endorsements

State Offices and Propositions:

State Senate, District 11: Sunrise Bay Area endorses Jackie Fielder!

Fielder is an indigenous queer environmentalist, and a radical and frontline activist. She is a strong proponent of public banks that would administer programs to support investment in marginalized and historically disenfranchised communities. She will push hard to defund the police, promote and expand public welfare, make moves to tax the wealthy, put an end to fracking and increase Indigenous land sovereignty. She has demonstrated that she keeps to her values as she has rejected direct contributions from fossil fuel companies, rideshare companies, billionaires, and other “the 1%” entities. The Green New Deal is a top priority for her plans in office. She is also endorsed by the United Educators of San Francisco, California Progressive Alliance, the Affordable Housing Alliance and others.

PROPOSITION 15 — Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative: Sunrise Bay Area endorses a YES vote.

This measure will restore $12 billion in funding for schools and communities in California by closing a tax loophole for commercial & industrial properties. We need more funding for schools! This measure will tax banks and fossil fuel corporations, not small businesses. To push for local GNDs, we need local funding, which Prop 15 will provide. Proponents include Sunrise-endorsed Bernie Sanders.

San Francisco Offices and Propositions:

Board of Supervisors, District 5

Sunrise Bay Area endorses Dean Preston!

Dean Preston has more than established himself as a very strong progressive on the board and is deserving of our support for making bold stances on tenants rights and policing. As part of a Green New Deal, Preston is a strong supporter of advancing our public transit service and infrastructure to encourage both a cultural and modal shift toward sustainable transportation systems that put an end to pollution from automobiles. He wants to see San Francisco build 10,000 affordable housing units in the next 10 years. He also wants to make Muni free by 2025 and create city-owned social housing on public land. He helped lead the fight to save rent control in 2008, formed California’s only statewide tenant rights organization, and wrote San Francisco’s groundbreaking law to provide a right to counsel for all tenants facing eviction.

Prop I, Real Estate Transfer Tax: Sunrise endorses a YES vote.

This proposal will increase the Real Property Transfer tax rate on properties worth over $10 million, and will use that revenue for emergency rent relief and affordable housing for residents of San Francisco. Transfers of properties worth between $10,000,000 and $24,999,999 would be taxed at 5.5%, up from 2.75%; transfers of those worth at least $25,000,000 would be taxed at 6%, up from 3%. The city controller estimates this tax change would create an average revenue of $196 million. Sunrise concurs with Indivisible SF’s evaluation that this additional tax revenue can be used to invest in communities which are most impacted by the pandemic, and has voted to endorse a YES vote on this proposition. Other supporters include City Lights Books, the Sierra Club and the San Francisco Tenants Union.

Prop K, Affordable Housing Authorization: Sunrise endorses a YES vote.

Proposition K would authorize the city to own and construct, acquire or rehabilitate up to 10,000 residential units of affordable housing. This would meaningfully alleviate the existing, and now exacerbated, housing crisis in the midst of the pandemic. Sunrise endorses a Yes on this proposition, as do the Coalition on Homelessness, Housing Rights Committee and San Francisco Democratic Party, among others.

Oakland Offices:

City Council, District 3

Sunrise Bay Area endorses Carroll Fife!

Sunrise Bay Area is proud and excited to endorse Carroll Fife in this race. Fife has a long and successful history in both politics and organizing work; she helped found Moms 4 Housing, is the executive director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), founded the Black Women in Elected Leadership PAC and is a member of the 2020 Platform Committee for the DNC, among many other accomplishments. The two biggest planks in Fife’s platform are defunding OPD and providing immediate housing, mostly in the form of currently empty apartment units, to homeless individuals in Oakland. Fife also supports a Black New Deal and the Oakland Climate Justice Plan and strongly opposes the proposed coal terminal in West Oakland.

SBA Ballot Breakdown

U.S. Presidential Election

While SBA has not endorsed Joe Biden in the presidential election because he is not the ideal candidate for the progressive movement, we also acknowledge that Donald Trump’s actions as president are unacceptable. During the primary process, the Sunrise Movement endorsed Bernie Sanders because his climate plan was most aligned with the science which suggests we need massive social and economic overhaul in order to meet the challenge of a changing global climate. Through the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, Sunrise leaders met with Biden and succeeded in pushing his climate stances to more closely align with our own, although we must continue pushing his stances further to the left if he is elected. Members of our organization are committed to pushing the next administration to act in accordance with Green New Deal principles.

Our recommendation: SURE, vote for Biden.*

*No official endorsement.

California State Propositions

PROPOSITION 14 — Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative

This proposition allocates $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was created to fund stem cell research in 2004. A yes vote goes to allow continued state-funding for stem cell research grants and student fellowships in brain and nervous system diseases and conditions.

PROPOSITION 15 — Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative

Sunrise Bay Area endorses a YES vote on PROP 15!

This measure will restore $12 billion in funding for schools and communities in California by closing a tax loophole for commercial & industrial properties. We need more funding for schools! This measure will tax banks and fossil fuel corporations, not small businesses. To push for local GNDs, we need local funding, which Prop 15 will provide. Proponents include Sunrise-endorsed Bernie Sanders.

PROPOSITION 16 — Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment

This proposition is to repeal the 1996 ban on affirmative action in California. A yes vote would restore affirmative action in government and public institutions, including the University of California system. Affirmative action aligns with Sunrise and GND goals of centering BIPOC voices in the struggle for climate justice and a liveable future. Supporters include the ACLU of California, the California Teachers Association, Gov. Gavin Newsom and many other Democratic politicians, as well as a number of unions and other organizations. Opponents include the American Civil Rights Institute and the Chinese American Civic Action Alliance.

Our recommendation: YEP!*

*No official endorsement.

PROPOSITION 17 — Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment

California currently does not allow people with felonies to vote until both their imprisonment and parole are completed. A yes vote would restore parolees’ right to vote. This proposition is supported by the ACLU of California, the League of Women Voters of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Sen. Kamala Harris, the American Probation and Parole Association and the Los Angeles Times editorial board, among others. Republican State Senator Jim Nielsen opposes it.

Our recommendation: YEP!*

*No official endorsement.

PROPOSITION 18 — Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment

A yes vote for this proposition would allow 17 year olds who will be 18 by the time of the next general election to also vote in the primaries for that election. Proponents of this prop argue that individuals who do not get to participate in primaries but can in general elections are prohibited from casting their most educated vote because they don’t have full exposure to the voting process. Opponents say those who fall into this category will likely be heavily influenced by parents and teachers, making their vote less of a reflection of their own opinions.

Our recommendation: YEP!*

*No official endorsement.

PROPOSITION 19 — Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment

Proposition 19 expands on Proposition 13, passed in 1978, to allow homeowners over 55 to transfer their property tax assessments of their primary residence to ANY property in the state regardless of market value up to three times. Currently, this property tax transferral is only allowed once, within a county or from a county that has opted into this program, and only to homes of equal or lesser market value. Prop 19 would also allow victims of natural disasters and hazardous waste contamination to transfer a property tax assessment once.

Prop 19 would also cap the value of inherited homes that can keep the low tax rate currently extended to them to those worth $1 million or less, and require that the person inheriting the home use it as a primary residence. 75% of the revenue from this measure would go to state firefighting measures, 15% would go to counties that lose tax revenue to make them whole and the other 10% can go to local governments.

Our recommendation: SURE.*

*No official endorsement.

PROPOSITION 20 — Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative

If passed, this proposition would roll back many criminal justice reforms passed between 2011 and 2016 and would result in an increase in prison populations. It seeks to expand the list of crimes considered violent felonies that disqualify inmates from parole, makes certain misdemeanors theft and fraud crimes chargeable as felonies, and requires DNA collection for certain misdemeanors. It would also make it harder for felons convicted of non-violent crimes to get paroled, and classifies an additional 51 crimes and sentence enhancements as violent (ineligible for parole).

This measure is mostly being pushed by corrections officers’ unions. California has had an overcrowded prison system for a long time. We have reduced the prison population moderately over the last ten years, and this measure is designed to reverse that progress.

Because BIPOC and people from disadvantaged communities are disproportionately convicted of crimes in this state, making sentencing harsher and parole more difficult does not align with Sunrise’s goal of increasing political power in BIPOC and disadvantaged communities.

Our recommendation: NOPE!*

*No official endorsement.

PROPOSITION 21 — Local Rent Control Initiative

A yes vote for this measure would expand local governments ability to apply rent control on housing that was first occupied 15 years ago, with an exception for “small landlords” owning no more than 2 homes. A yes vote would allow municipalities more power to protect tenants. Supporters include Sunrise-endorsed Bernie Sanders.

Our recommendation: YEP.*

*No official endorsement.

PROPOSITION 22 — App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative

Current California law restricts “full-time independent contractors” because it allows businesses to skirt labor laws. A yes vote on prop 22 would allow app-based transportation and delivery services to reclassify workers as full-time independent contractors and remove the wage requirements, benefits, and labor protections that these workers would be entitled to as employees. In their place, contractors would be entitled to things like vehicle insurance and healthcare subsidies, but researchers with the Partnership for Working Families and National Employment Law Project wrote, “the benefits contained in the initiative pale in comparison to what workers are entitled to under state law.” Uber and Lyft have threatened to stop providing their services in California if they have to treat drivers as employees.

Letting large corporations literally write the rules under which they engage with their employees does not align with Sunrise or GND goals of empowering workers. Proponents include Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and many state chambers of commerce. Opponents include Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and the California Labor Federation.

Our recommendation: NOPE.*

*No official endorsement.

PROPOSITION 23 — Dialysis Clinic Requirements Initiative

A yes vote on this measure would require dialysis clinics to have at least one licensed physician on-site, report related infection data to state and federal governments, require state approval for the closing or reduction of service of a clinic, and prohibit clinics from discriminating against a patient due to the source of their payment for care. Opponents, including DaVita, Inc. and the California Medical association, argue the measure would increase costs and force clinics to close. . The SEIU-UHW West, the union of health care workers sponsoring the campaign, argues the proposition will make patients safer and that the dialysis corporations can afford the changes Prop 23 would require.

PROPOSITION 24 — Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative

This proposition aims to expand the California Consumer Privacy Act by creating the California Privacy Protection Agency. A yes vote would work to give consumers more control over their private data and discourage the use of algorithmic racial profiling. However, opponents argue the proposition would effectively create a “privacy poll tax” by allowing businesses to provide worse service to those who do not pay to protect their privacy and better service to those who do. Supporters of the proposition include District 17 U.S. Representative Ro Khanna and AFSCME California. Opponents include labor organizer and Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers Dolores Huerta, ACLU of California and Color of Change.

PROPOSITION 25 — Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum

This proposition would uphold Senate Bill 10 to replace cash bail with “risk assessments” for detained individuals awaiting trial. A yes vote would eliminate cash bail, increase power and funding to probation departments, and designate a new state entity for assessing a defendant’s flight risk, which a judge would have final say in approving. Civil rights advocates are conflicted on this proposition, as cash bail is a racist, classist system that incarcerates people before they’ve been convicted of a crime unless they can pay their way out, and “risk assessments” are a racist, classist system that lets black-box algorithms and judges determine who is so “dangerous” they have to be kept incarcerated before they have been convicted of a crime. A Yes vote keeps the “risk assessment” system. A No vote goes back to cash bail.

Alright, if you’re still with us, click on the link that correlates with where you live to continue reading your ballot breakdown!

I live in San Francisco (or some parts of San Mateo County)
I live in Oakland
I live in Berkeley
I live in Silicon Valley

This guide was written and edited by:
David Berney-Needleman
Gershon Bialer
Phoebe Bisnoff
Naomi Flagg
Malcolm Flint
Laretta Johnson
Massimo Lambert-Mullen
Jimmy Le
Jordan Lowe
Molly Morabito
Garrett Nichols
Charlotte O’Keefe Stralka
Ahlad Reddy
Sasan Saadat
Jamie Sheasley
Adam Singer
Noah Tenney
Melina Tessier
Elliott Wong

Written by

We’re the Bay Area hub of Sunrise Movement — building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.

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