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Bay Area local elections: Ten things to know

Bay Area local elections: Ten things to know

Sure, it’s true, Election Day 2018 is all about congressional mid-terms. You need to know whether or not Donkeys or Elephants do the completely happy dance. We get it. You won’t be motivated to wade via all these pages behind the election pamphlet about down-ballot local authorities races and measures. We’re right here to assist. From an 18-year-old faculty board candidate to a slew of proposed taxes on every little thing from tech giants, lodge friends, hospitals and pot, right here’s a useful abstract of what each voter wants to know to sound sensible concerning the Bay Area’s local elections.

Santa Clara is taking its district council elections to voters. 

Why are cities and faculty districts adopting district voting?

Civil rights legal professionals have been pushing local governments all through California to have voters elect their leaders by district as an alternative of at-large to promote minority illustration, a transfer critics say balkanizes authorities by shifting focus from citywide to neighborhood wants.

Within the Bay Area, the cities of Santa Clara, Morgan Hill, Menlo Park, Fremont, Harmony and Martinez are taking their first dive into this democracy reboot in November, whereas Sunnyvale ponders placing the query to voters in 2020. Martinez, Morgan Hill and Dublin faculties are doing it too.

Santa Clara isn’t going quietly. Pressured into district elections by a lawsuit, the town is interesting a decide’s order requiring district elections and has put a nonbinding Measure N on the poll asking voters in the event that they actually need the district elections a decide says they should have. It’s unclear how the long-shot attraction may have an effect on Santa Clara’s district elections in November ought to the town prevail.

However the election assures new faces shall be chosen, as most of these cities and districts have races with no incumbents operating.

Mountain View’s proposed “head tax” might generate upwards of $6.1 million a yr for the town, with Google alone paying $three.three million. (AP Photograph/Marcio Jose Sanchez) AP Photograph/Mario Jose Sanchez

Which tech HQ host metropolis is testing the waters with a “head tax”?

Mountain View, recognized to the remainder of the world as Googleville, needs cash for the visitors and housing issues that include being world headquarters for the web search big. Metropolis officers need voters to approve taxing companies between $9 and $149 per worker, relying on firm measurement. If accepted, it might generate greater than $6 million a yr for the town — greater than half of it coming from Google alone.

Know-how executives and neighboring cities are watching intently. Seattle walked again an identical plan amid fierce opposition from Amazon and Starbucks. Cupertino (Apple) and Sunnyvale (LinkedIn) even have thought-about charging comparable taxes.

A number of Bay Area cities are asking voters to tax hashish dispensaries. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area Information Group) 

Which cities are relying on the potential inexperienced from California’s new money crop?

Time was when authorities varieties shunned marijuana, the wacky weed that threatened to lead America’s youth down the street to wreck and reefer insanity. However since California voters in 2016 legalized grownup dope-smoking only for enjoyable, local authorities officers have rushed to get in on what they see as a possible windfall in tax income.

Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Emeryville, Union Metropolis, Daly Metropolis, Half Moon Bay, Redwood Metropolis, San Carlos, South San Francisco, San Francisco and Contra Costa County all have hashish tax measures on the November poll.

Why are tech titans jawing over San Francisco’s homeless drawback?

Things have to get actually dangerous for enterprise executives to spend massive cash selling a pricey tax on their corporations. Welcome to San Francisco, the place piles of human waste and discarded drug needles from legions of homeless individuals are making extra of an impression recently than the town’s scenic bridges, towers and trolleys.

Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff speaks through the grand opening of the Salesforce Tower, the tallest constructing in San Francisco, Calif., Tuesday, Might 22, 2018. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area Information Group) 

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff lastly had sufficient, and has pledged greater than $1.5 million towards passage of Proposition C on the town poll, a gross-receipts enterprise tax on income over $50 million to fund shelter and providers for the homeless. It might increase some $300 million a yr.

Not all of Benioff’s fellow tech moguls within the metropolis are on board. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Stripe CEO Patrick Collison have sparred with Benioff on social media (the place else?!) over whether or not Prop C is the reply.

What do lodge stays, vacant tons and utility payments all have in widespread?

Pot and heads aren’t the one factor The Man needs to tax. The financial system’s good, and local governments determine voters gained’t thoughts a much bigger pinch within the pocketbook. So income measures abound.

Lodge taxes that make an evening’s keep extra pricey are on the poll in 14 Bay Area cities, together with Los Altos, Palo Alto, Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Sausalito, South San Francisco, Daly Metropolis, Foster Metropolis, San Carlos, Belmont and even Colma.

New or prolonged gross sales taxes that make every thing you purchase costlier are on the poll for Santa Clara County, San Mateo County Transit District, Marin Transportation Authority, Los Gatos, Redwood Metropolis, Alameda, Albany, Antioch and Martinez.

Different taxes on companies, utility customers, property transfers, vacant property, paramedic service are on the poll in Berkeley, Hayward, Oakland, Union Metropolis, El Cerrito, Pinole, Richmond,  Daly Metropolis, Larkspur, Sausalito, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Ross and San Anselmo.

And there are parcel taxes and bond measures in Campbell, San Jose, East Palo Alto, Millbrae, Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, in addition to faculty and particular districts all through the Bay Area.

Will voters in Palo Alto and Livermore begin a development to management well being care prices?

A union representing Stanford healthcare staff stated it has sufficient signatures to qualify an initiative aimed toward decreasing prices to sufferers for care on the Nov. 6 poll in Palo Alto, which nonetheless wants to be confirmed by the registrar of voters. Stanford, in a rebuttal, stated the initiative would hurt local residents and its true goal is to achieve SEIU-UHW new paying members. (Bay Area Information Group file) 

Measure F in Palo Alto and Measure U in Livermore say they’ll restrict what hospitals and different well being care suppliers can invoice sufferers and their insurers. The measures would prohibit them from charging greater than 15 % above the precise value of care. At a time when it prices increasingly yearly to purchase insurance coverage and see a physician, that’s a compelling pitch.

However foes like Stanford Well being Care say the trouble is a wolf in sheep’s clothes, the wolf being the SEIU-UHW union that’s sponsoring the measures, plus an analogous statewide poll initiative for dialysis clinics, Proposition eight. Critics say well being care suppliers lose cash treating the poor and aged on Medi-Cal and Medicare, and depend on larger charges for insured sufferers to keep solvent. Ought to the measure cross, they warn, hospitals can be pressured to minimize prices by decreasing staffing, pay and advantages.

Will San Jose voters tax themselves to fund an reasonably priced housing plan?

It prices an excessive amount of to stay right here. Can the federal government assist? San Jose’s Measure V is a $450 million bond measure to fund reasonably priced housing. Metropolis leaders who put it on the poll say it is going to present aid for middle-class individuals struggling to pay for a spot to stay in one among America’s least reasonably priced cities. They are saying it should assist “leverage” federal, state and personal funding to construct extra reasonably priced housing.

If accepted by two-thirds of voters, it might value property house owners $41 a yr per $500,000 of assessed worth over 40 years, and renters would doubtless see these prices handed on to them as nicely. Critics just like the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Affiliation argue making housing costlier with bond funds isn’t serving to, and blame excessive housing prices on authorities purple tape.

Berkeley has its personal $135 million bond measure aimed toward reasonably priced housing. This comes on prime of Proposition 1, a statewide $four billion reasonably priced housing and veteran homeownership bond measure.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks to the media about immigration on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 in Oakland, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area Information Group) 

Will Oakland voters again Mayor Libby Schaaf for an additional time period?

Two of the Bay Area’s three big-city mayors can relaxation straightforward this fall. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and San Francisco Mayor London Breed gained in June.

That leaves Oakland’s Libby Schaaf, who has drawn 9 re-election opponents. Since Schaaf took workplace in 2015 there was the lethal 2016 Ghost Ship hearth exposing deficiencies in metropolis hearth security inspections. There was a police intercourse scandal and succession of latest chiefs. The Warriors and Raiders groups are leaving, and the Athletics’ ballpark plan is mired in uncertainty. The town’s funds stay a multitude.

However Schaaf, who succeeded the unpopular Jean Quan, faces a relatively weak subject of challengers to her left, probably the most outstanding of which is Cat Brooks, who has been criticized for divisive protest techniques. Schaaf has been credited for a extra reasonable view than her rivals of the challenges dealing with her metropolis, in addition to being a visual Oakland booster unafraid to take a troublesome stand. She was criticized nationally — most prominently by the Trump administration — for jeopardizing public security by warning of imminent federal immigration sweeps, a transfer that little question boosted her attraction regionally. Oakland’s “ranked choice” voting system complicates issues as voters could also be inspired to take possibilities on long-shot contenders.

Can a youngster declare a seat on a local faculty board?

There’s been numerous speak about getting younger individuals concerned in politics. One place that’s working is Antioch, the place Shagoofa Khan, 18, and Ellie Householder, 25, are amongst six contenders for 2 open seats on the five-member Antioch Unified Faculty District board. They contemplate themselves operating mates, a youth slate.

Antioch Chamber of Commerce Youth of the Yr recipient Shagoofa Khan is operating for a seat on the Board of Trustees of the Antioch Unified Faculty District whereas beginning her first semester this fall at Los Medanos School. (Photograph courtesy of Shagoofa Khan) 

Their rivals embrace former mayor and faculty trustee Mary Rocha, retired banker Jim Davis, 20-year faculty volunteer Candida Gonzalez-Amigo and Clyde Lewis Jr., a father or mother and schooling administrator.

Khan, who’s beginning at Los Medanos School, stated she and Householder, an academic advisor, share comparable objectives of enhancing faculty amenities, instructor variety and scholar achievement.

Why are San Jose’s mayor and metropolis council relinquishing the facility to set their very own salaries?

Elections are often about who governs, not who decides their pay. However San Jose leaders are asking metropolis voters to take away the mayor and council members’ authority to determine their very own salaries. They’ve framed their proposed Measure U constitution modification as a reform to forestall elected officers from mountaineering up their very own pay.

However their concern is sort of the other. Presently, an appointed metropolis fee recommends wage will increase for the mayor and council, which votes whether or not to settle for them or one thing much less. Metropolis leaders need these raises, however don’t need their very own fingerprints on them. If accepted, Measure U would go away the council pay determination within the commissioners’ palms. The town’s present system is very similar to San Diego’s, whereas the proposed modifications can be comparable to the best way it’s completed in San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento.