There are several local and state measures on the November 3, 2020 ballot that could have an effect on issues related to equity and racial justice:
City of South Pasadena, Measure U:
Because a city’s government services and resources—such as parks, roads, senior services and public safety programs—are available equally to everyone, they can be an important part of equity for all the city’s residents. Measure U would continue crucial funding for a wide variety of services provided by the City of South Pasadena.
Measure U renews the existing 7.5% utility-user tax (approved by city residents numerous times in previous elections) on cable, cellular telephone, electric, gas, water, and telecommunications services. (There is an exemption for low-income residents.) Revenue from this tax is crucial for numerous city services, including parks, street and road maintenance, other public works projects, senior services, public safety (fire and police) and recreation programs.
County of Los Angeles Measure J:
Budget Allocation for Alternatives to Incarceration Charter Amendment
In its editorial supporting Los Angeles County Measure J, the Los Angeles Times pointed out that “One of the county’s core functions is to serve residents in the greatest need, and for too long it has met those needs the wrong way — with arrests, when mental health treatment is critically lacking, and jail, when addiction treatment or supportive housing would bring better results. If our society is to help reverse generations of economic and racial inequity, much of the work must be done at the county level, where such services are delivered.”
Measure J would amend the Los Angeles County Charter to require at least 10% of locally controlled revenue (about a billion dollars) to be invested into local communities and alternatives to incarceration.
|A “yes” vote supports:amending the county’s charter to require that no less than 10% of the county’s general fund be appropriated to community programs and alternatives to incarceration, such as health services and pre-trial non-custody services; authorizing the Board of Supervisors to develop a process to allocate funds; and authorizing the Board of Supervisors to reduce the amount allocated with a vote of 4-1 during a declared fiscal emergency.|
|A “no” vote opposes amending the county charter to require that no less than 10% of the county’s general fund be appropriated to community programs and alternatives to incarceration.|
State of California Proposition 15:
Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative
California property taxes are an important source of funding for many publicly-available services such as schools and many other crucial community services. Because these public services are available equally to all, they are an important part of equity and racial justice.
By closing a loophole in 1978’s Proposition 13 that artificially lowered property taxes on many commercial and industrial properties, Proposition 15 would make our state’s property tax system fairer and would boost funding available for schools and other vital needs in underserved communities.
This proposition would require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value. By creating a “split-roll” system that taxes commercial and industrial property differently from homes, it would transfer as much as $11.5 billion annually from businesses to local governments and schools.
Currently, commercial and industrial properties receive the same protections as individual homes (as a result of 1978’s Proposition 13), which severely reduces the amount of tax paid by owners of commercial and industrial properties. A Los Angeles Times editorial said that Proposition 15 would fix “a wildly unfair and lopsided property tax system that for four decades has starved local governments of the revenue they need to provide services…”
|A “yes” vote supports this constitutional amendment to require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value, rather than their purchase price.|
|A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thus continuing to tax commercial and industrial properties based on a property’s purchase price, with annual increases equal to the rate of inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower.|
California Proposition 15, Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative (2020) – Ballotpedia
State of California Proposition 16:
Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment
California is one of only nine states that bans affirmative action as a tool to fight discrimination. This began in 1996, when voters banned affirmative action programs in public institutions. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial supporting Proposition 16 noted that the current ban on affirmative action “has set back the state’s efforts to promote diversity. It’s past time to remove it.”
|A “yes” vote supports this constitutional amendment to repeal Proposition 209 (1996), which stated that the government and public institutions cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.|
|A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thereby keeping Proposition 209 (1996), which stated that the government and public institutions cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.|
State of California Proposition 17:
Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment
Currently, California’s Constitution prevents people who have completed their prison term for a felony conviction (and are living in the community on parole) from voting. These people are able to hold a job, pay taxes and raise families, but are prohibited from voting. Because about 75% of men leaving prison are Black, Latino or Asian American, California’s Constitution disproportionately keeps people of color from voting.
|A “yes” vote supports this constitutional amendment to allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote.|
|A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thereby continuing to prohibit people who are on parole for felony convictions from voting.|
California Proposition 17, Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment (2020) – Ballotpedia
State of California Proposition 20:
Criminal Sentencing, Parole and DNA Collection Initiative
Understanding the effects of Proposition 20 is particularly important for racial equity and anti-racism, as Blacks and other people of color are disproportionately represented in the prison system.
In its editorial urging a “no” vote on Proposition 20, the Los Angeles Times said that the proposition is “built on a package of falsehoods about critical reforms that California lawmakers and voters wisely adopted over the last nine years to curb some of the most gratuitous excesses of the state’s criminal justice system.” Proposition 20 would limit access to the parole program established for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term of their primary offense by eliminating eligibility for certain offenses.
It would also treat people convicted of some misdemeanors—such as petty theft and possession of small amounts of drugs—the same as felons because their DNA would be banked forever in a state database designed for murderers and rapists.
|A “yes” vote supports this initiative to add crimes to the list of violent felonies for which early parole is restricted; recategorize certain types of theft and fraud crimes as wobblers (chargeable as misdemeanors or felonies); and require DNA collection for certain misdemeanors.|
|A “no” vote opposes this initiative to add crimes to the list of violent felonies for which early parole is restricted; recategorize certain types of theft and fraud crimes as wobblers (chargeable as misdemeanors or felonies); and require DNA collection for certain misdemeanors.|
For more https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_20,_Criminal_Sentencing,_Parole,_and_DNA_Collection_Initiative_(2020)
State of California Proposition 25:
Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessment Referendum
In its editorial endorsing Proposition 25, the Los Angeles Times stated, “There is something repugnant, and corrosive to our collective notion of justice, about allowing people without money to stay locked up in jail while others, accused of the same crimes but with money to spend, can buy their way out. That’s bail in a nutshell. It’s a mechanism to divide the privileged from the punished in the earliest phase of a criminal proceeding, long before any judge or jury makes a finding of guilt or innocence. It is the ultimate insult to our justice system’s claim that all stand equal before the law, and that all are presumed innocent until proved guilty.”
This proposition would uphold a 2018 law, which replaced money bail with an assessment system based on public safety and flight risk. The 2018 law was strongly supported by judges, probation officers and civil rights groups because it replaced a pretrial system based on wealth to one focused on public safety. The law was challenged by the bail-bond industry.
|A “yes” vote is to uphold the contested legislation, Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), which would replace cash bail with risk assessments for detained suspects awaiting trials.|
|A “no” vote is to repeal the contested legislation, Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), thus keeping in place the use of cash bail for detained suspects awaiting trials.|