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Voting has always been a way to channel our voice. This seems especially important when many of us have been Sheltering in Place for the better part of the year. We’ve seen the pandemic strengthen the connection between health and housing, and exacerbate inequalities. We are reeling from police violence and racial injustice, and climate change is no longer a looming specter. It is all here and happening now. We’ve endured a lot and it feels heavy.
So, this election season is historic on multiple fronts. In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have an unprecedented opportunity at the state and local levels to effect change that would benefits millions of residents and positively impact affordable housing, racial justice, and economic equity for decades to come.
MidPen Housing recommends ballot measures and propositions addressing these issues at the state, county, and city-wide levels. With 83% of eligible Californians registered to vote, we have the power to make things better – if we turn out.
Every vote counts. Please join me in in casting yours to make a genuine difference in the vitality of our region and the lives of Bay Area residents.
Matthew O. Franklin,
President and CEO
Some people have called California ungovernable, and while that may be true, Californians have a certain pride in grappling with the complexities of our state ballot measure system. We want to go deep, and that’s a good thing because in November there are no fewer than 12 ballot initiatives for us to study and consider. Two of the most important, change-making ballot measures speak squarely to our mission.
Prop 15: Schools and Communities First, Amends the 1978 Proposition 13
Prop 15 would change the way some commercial property taxes are assessed — basing them on current market value rather than purchase price.
Prop. 13 has provided a massive break to some of the state’s largest businesses. If this passes, large businesses would fund cities, counties and school districts. We know our local partners and schools could really use it. It may also open up new sites for affordable housing development.
Yes on 15: Schools & Communities First – www.yes15.org
Prop 16: Repeal the 1996 Ban on Affirmative Action (Prop 209)
Prop. 16 would reverse California’s ban on using race, gender or ethnicity as factors in admissions to the state’s public universities and in government hiring and contracting.
Structural racism exists and to adhere to an “equal rights means everyone is treated equally” philosophy is to be blind to the impacts of racism. This one hits close to home. In our ABIDE (Advancing a Culture of Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) work, we are looking at recruitment practices internally, and our Real Estate Development team is intentionally trying to increase the number of women and minority-owned businesses that we work with. This would make it easier for our government partners to do the same, and we think that would be a good thing – for our developments and for our residents.
Yes on 16: Opportunity for All – www.voteyesonprop16.org
Regional Measure RR: 0.125% sales tax increase for $100 million annually for Caltrain
The future of Caltrain is on the ballot. The stakes are high for this essential part of our regional transit system and we can’t reach our climate or transportation equity goals without it. Earlier this year the Caltrain Board of Directors passed a policy requiring at least 30% of homes built on Caltrain land be affordable. And the Board also developed an equity policy framework that includes a fare reduction of 50% for lower income riders. We are grateful for this leadership and want to work together to preserve the system, while pushing to make it more accessible and relevant to our residents and people who live in our Headquarters’ region.
Yes on RR: Rescue Caltrain, Relieve Traffic, Reduce Pollution – www.rescuecaltrain.org
In contrast to the complexity of understanding the state ballot, the local issues are straightforward. We’ve taken a position on measures that increase revenue for housing and services or change land use policies that have made it hard for us to build enough housing to meet the demand.
Sonoma County Measure O: ¼ cent sales tax increase
The measure will generate an estimated $25 million per year for a term of 10 years for homeless and mental health services.
MidPen is supportive of increasing resources available for these services, which include permanent supportive housing.
Yes on O
Alameda County Measure W – Home Together: ½ cent sales tax increase
The measure will generate an estimated $150 million per year for a term of 10 years for housing and services for those experiencing homelessness, along with mental health services.
MidPen is supportive of increasing revenue for housing, and is especially so when the measure is supported by our partners and allies.
Yes on W: Home Together – www.hometogether2020.org
Alameda City Measure Z – It’s About Community: Repeals 1973 City Measure A
City leadership is trying to move the City forward by eliminating laws that have shut down the construction of multifamily housing and have left the Council powerless to approve affordable housing projects.
We support this as it would make up-zoning, project approvals, and future planning for housing possible. It is an overdue move to rid redlining, exclusion and discrimination from the City’s books.
Yes on Z: It’s About Community – www.yesonmeasurez.com
San Mateo City Measure R: Allows Smart Growth
The City Council also opposes Measure Y and placed their own competing measure on the ballot. It would allow increased height and density in some locations.
We’re supporting this as a bit of a strategic move – it is a workable compromise to what currently exists. The San Mateo City Council has made big moves on housing and recently approved our Downtown Opportunity Sites community. Lastly, if both Y and R pass, it will be important that R pass by a wider margin.
Yes on R
East Palo Alto Measure V: 2% TOT Increase
Within the next two years it would phase in a 2% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) increase for the funding of affordable housing, site acquisition, and rehabilitation.
Although this may not be a year we see TOT revenue increasing, these funds have historically been some of the only local funds the City has to contribute towards affordable housing. We are supportive of East Palo Alto using its precious resources for housing.
Yes on V
San Mateo City Measure Y: Continues the legacy of constrained height and density
The measure would extend height and density limits that have worked to severely constrain every major affordable housing development we’ve built for the last generation.
Looking forward, if Measure Y is defeated, it will unlock many new sites for higher density while complementing the character of their neighborhoods.