GPSC Recommendations for Past General Election: November 3, 2020
Green Party of Sonoma County
Recommendations for the Election
The Green Party of Sonoma County has endorsed the following candidates:
|CA State Assembly – District 10 –||Veronica “Roni” Jacobi|
|Rohnert Park City Council, Area 4 –||Jackie Elward|
|Sonoma County Junior College Santa Rosa Area –||Caroline Bañuelos|
|City of Santa Rosa High, Trustee Area 1 –||Ever Flores|
|Petaluma City Council (3 seats) –||Brian Barnacle and|
and also recommends voting for
The Green Party of Sonoma County recommends voting for:
|Healdsburg City Council –||Ariel Kelley|
|Healdsburg City Council –||Skylaer Palacious|
|Rohnert Park City Council, Area 1 –||Walter “Willy” Linares|
|Santa Rosa City Council, Area 1 –||Eddie Alvarez|
|Santa Rosa City Council, Area 7 –||Natalie Rogers|
|Sebastopol City Council (2 seats) –||Diana Rich and |
Evaristo “Evert” Fernandez
Green Party of Sonoma County positions on the following local propositions:
|YES on Measure P–||The Evelyn Cheatham Effective IOLERO Ordinance|
|NO on Measure DD–||Sonoma County Transportation Authority, Go Sonoma Act|
|Green Party of California positions on Statewide Propositions|
|The Green Party of California has taken the following positions on the California’s Statewide Ballot Propositions on the November 3rd Ballot, following a vote by our Standing General Assembly Delegates from all active County Green Parties.|
click on the proposition titles below for more detail
|NO on Proposition 14 –||$5.5 Billion in Bonds for Stem Cell Research Institute.|
|YES on Proposition 15 –||Funding for Schools and Local Governments by Fairly Taxing Large Commercial Properties.|
|YES on Proposition 16 –||Allows Diversity and Affirmative Action, repeal of Prop. 209.|
|YES on Proposition 17 –||Restores Right to Vote after Completion of Prison Term.|
|YES on Proposition 18 –||Primary voting for 17-year-olds who will be 18 for the general election.|
|Proposition 19 –||Changes Certain Property Tax Rules.|
The Green Party of California did not take a position on Proposition 19.
The Green Party of Sonoma County is recommending NO on Proposition 19.
|NO on Proposition 20 –||Restricts Parole for Non-Violent Offenders and Authorizes Felonies for Some Current Misdemeanors.|
|YES on Proposition 21 –||Expands Local Governments’ Authority to Enact Rent Control.|
|NO on Proposition 22 –||Exempts Some App-Based Companies from Providing Employee Benefits.|
|YES on Proposition 23 –||Establishes Requirements for Kidney Dialysis Clinics.|
|NO on Proposition 24 –||Consumer Privacy, and Privacy Protection Agency.|
|NO on Proposition 25 –||Approves Replacing Money Bail with an Algorithm-Based System.|
Welcome to the Green Party of Sonoma County 2020 Voter Guide! Whether you are newly Green (welcome!) or have been registered Green for many years, you are probably aware that each presidential election is billed by the Democratic Party as fraught with peril. We’re told that if we just hold our nose one more time, we will have the opportunity to hold a Democratic president’s feet to the fire and move the party to the left. That this never happens is never mentioned. And when a Republican wins, the Democrats always blame the Green Party. The facts never backup this claim, but for the Democrats it’s easier than looking to their own failings. That said, this election may feel more perilous than usual and the Green Party understands that some of its members will vote for Joe Biden. Here in California, where Biden will win by a large margin, Greens can feel free to vote their values. Maintaining the Green Party as a viable entity in the country’s most populous state is terribly important. In other states, the Democratic Party has expended a great deal of time and money to getting the Green Party removed from the ballot, all while claiming to be the party of democracy. Much that is wrong in the United States has its roots in the two party system and it is, therefore, vitally important that additional parties maintain their strength. Therefore, the Green Party of Sonoma County encourages you to vote for Green presidential candidate Howie Hawkins and Green vice-presidential candidate Angela Walker. And there are other opportunities to vote your values. The Green Party of Sonoma County is endorsing and recommending local candidates and measures down-ballot which reflect our values. Additionally, we have worked with the statewide party to make recommendations for the California propositions. See them below. Thank you for being Green!
Proposition 14 — NO
$5.5 Billion in Bonds for Stem Cell Research Institute Proposition 14 authorizes $5.5 billion in extremely wasteful, high cost, interest-based, public bond financing, for both public and private colleges, and private medical corporations, to subsidize stem cell research. The medical and pharmaceutical industries have a long history of leveraging such government funding for private research that they should instead be paying for themselves. These private industries all too often retain private monopoly ownership of important medical advances, forcing patients in the U.S. and California to pay extremely high and debilitating costs for life saving medicine, that should instead be provided at low cost to the public, especially when those treatments were developed with public funds. Even medical advances created through public university research are often transferred at little public gain to private corporate ownership. There is nothing in the language of this proposition to ensure that profits generated from the research will be fully returned to the public, which will actually be obligated to pay $7.8 billion for Proposition 14’s bonds once the interest charges are included — if we allow this measure to be approved. In addition, there are no longer federal limits on stem cell funding; indeed, the National Institutes of Health is now providing $1.5 billion per year for similar research, which further demonstrates that Prop. 14 is simply a very expensive boondoggle. The U.S. is in a decades-long crisis of corporations hoarding billions in profits for medical products developed with public dollars. This private capture of the public good is unacceptable and must be ended. The Covid-19 virus crisis has shown clearly that the corporate capture of health care must end, and that medical advances developed with public funds must be available freely and at low cost to the public which funded those advances. Vote NO on Proposition 14.
Proposition 15 — Yes, yes, yes!
Funding for Schools and Local Governments by Fairly Taxing Large Commercial Properties Schools and Communities First, Proposition 15, provides up to $12 billion a year for public schools, community colleges, and local government services by requiring commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on regularly re-assessed market value. Yes, this reforms the much-beloved Prop 13 from 1978, so it’s important to tell everyone that Proposition 15 does not affect residential property at all — not homeowners or renters, mobile homes, assisted living facilities, vacation homes, Airbnb, live/work spaces, or home-based businesses. Big Money, however, will come out with all guns blazing to retain their corporate property tax loopholes and use misrepresentations and downright lies to try to stoke fear in the hearts of voters who say, “I love Prop 13. Prop 13 kept me in my home.” That love has been unrequited: the totals paid in property tax used to be roughly 50/50 between residential and commercial, and now residential pays a whopping 72% of property taxes while commercial properties only pay 28%. All residential properties are exempted, along with agricultural land and commercial and industrial properties worth under $3 million. Big business will claim as usual that this will hurt small business when in fact Proposition 15 cuts small business taxes! Two full signature drives were successfully completed, and the second version helped small businesses even more, which prompted some criticism from progressives who wanted the taxes to be more broadly applied not less. The target was clearly the huge corporations that had reaped most of the benefits of 1978’s Prop 13. Small and home-based businesses will be better off than before. California’s “business personal property tax” requires, for example, a local restaurant to pay taxes on everything it owns, from tables, chairs, and office equipment to saucepans and stoves. Proposition 15 helps small businesses by eliminating the tax on the first $500,000 of personal property, which will entirely eliminate this tax for 90% of California’s small businesses, saving them thousands each year. Opponents say corporations will pass their increased costs on, and consumers will end up paying for it. In fact, prices are based on what the market will bear. Gas stations that pay very different property taxes than neighboring stations don’t pass along either their savings or their extra costs to their customers. As to property owners passing along the costs to small business tenants, they already raised the rents as high as possible, even when the owners were paying rock-bottom property taxes for decades. California is the only state in the country that does not regularly reassess commercial property, and most states tax commercial property at a higher percentage than residential property. Texas, for instance, taxes their commercial property at 2.5% of fair market value while California is capped at 1%. Only a handful of statewide and federal elected officials have endorsed Proposition 15 as of early August, rationalizing their non-support with the same arguments used by big business. However, many mayors across the state have endorsed it. In this time of the COVID crisis, local officials see first-hand the devastating effects of the pandemic on municipal budgets. A good reference is: https://www.evolve-ca.org/scf-facts
We strongly recommend a YES vote on Proposition 15. This is a needed step in the right direction of taxing the super-rich — starting with wealthy corporations — and restoring billions to our schools and communities.
Proposition 16 – Yes, yes, yes!
Allows Diversity and Affirmative Action Recent events have renewed the call for action against persisting racial injustice in this country. Proposition 16 serves as a sign of hope as it would repeal Proposition 209, passed in 1996, which prohibits the state of California from considering “race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Known popularly as “affirmative action,” Proposition 16 would allow California to make great strides once again towards equality in the workplace and higher education, which have suffered greatly from decreased opportunity for people of color and women since the passage of Prop. 209. Inaccurately caricatured as “reverse discrimination,” affirmative action instead amounts to institutional commitments that serve as one significant action (amongst many that must be taken) to counteract hundreds of years of structural oppression against racial and ethnic minorities as well as women. By passing Proposition 16, Californians can: Remove barriers to equal opportunity in the workplace. A conservative estimate from a 2016 study holds that the passage of Prop. 209 has cost women and people of color $1,000,000,000 annually in lost contract awards. Remove barriers to equal opportunity in higher education. Prop. 209 has prohibited California universities from active recruitment and support for high-performing minority students, leading to a decreased likelihood of matriculation within six years. Thus, enrollment for underrepresented minorities at the University of California has fallen by at least 12 percent, with Berkeley and LA’s falling by more than 60 percent. Fight wage discrimination. White women continue to be paid 80 cents and Black women 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men doing the same work. Give women, including women of color, an equal shot at job promotions and leadership positions, and expand career and educational opportunities for women and girls in science, technology, and the trades, where they remain underrepresented. Proposition 16 would not require racial quotas, which the Supreme Court banned in 1978 for use in college admissions. Neither would it allow the selection of unqualified candidates, which is not permitted under federal law. Instead, Prop. 16 would allow for a range of potential policy measures such as training programs and outreach efforts to recruit and retain qualified individuals from underrepresented groups. A persistent racial wealth gap, rooted in income inequality, cannot be overcome by color-blind policies which posit that institutional racism, which has persisted since the time of slavery, will disappear through mere awareness of the problem. Likewise, sex-blind policies will not eliminate institutional sexism, which is deeply imbedded in our society.
For all these reasons, the Green Party unequivocally supports the passage of Prop. 16, as an initial step towards undoing the damage wrought by Prop. 209 and addressing the systemic racism and sexism in our society. Vote yes, yes, yes!
The statistics noted in this article can be found here: https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/ballot-measures/pdf/aca-5.pdf
This webpage helps debunk 10 common myths surrounding affirmative action: https://www.usf.edu/diversity/equal-opportunity/ten-myths-about-affirmat…
Proposition 17 – YES
Restores Right to Vote after Completion of Prison Term Proposition 17 would restore voting rights to prisoners who have completed their prison sentence during their period of parole. Current law restores these rights at the end of the parole period, which is generally about three years. While on parole, parolees are living in the community, finding housing, looking for work, and paying taxes if they find work. Because of existing California law, under this new framework, parolees (unless they had violated other rules such as being arrested for bribery or perjury) would also be allowed to run for public office. The legislative analysis predicts both county and state costs, each in the range of “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to alter systems and register newly eligible voters. Proponents of Proposition 17 argue that restoring these rights during the parole period encourages parolees to have a stake in the community. They point to a Florida study (sample size not provided) which found that, during the years 2007 to 2011, parolees whose voting rights were restored were 2/3 less likely to return to prison for the commission of new crimes than parolees without voting rights. The opponents of the proposition rely on the allegation that 50% of parolees commit new crimes and return to prison, though they provide no pointers to data to that effect. Existing statistics are mixed, and generally do not distinguish between parole violations (such as missing appointments or phone calls) and new crimes. Opponents also cite the pain and suffering of victims, and allege that giving the offenders “social equality with them before they have been fully rehabilitated simply adds to their lifelong pain and misery.”
Relying on the California Green Party core value of grassroots democracy, the increasingly indisputable need to defend voting rights against a Republican assault, and the fact that the penalties of prison disproportionately affect Black and Brown people, we recommend that you vote YES on Proposition 17. Voting rights are rights, not rewards to be arbitrarily taken away.
Proposition 18 — YES
Primary voting for 17-year-olds who will be 18 for the general election Proposition 18 proposes allowing 17 year olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the date of the general election. Varying sources state that between 18-23 states presently allow 17 year olds who are US citizens, and not felons, to participate in primaries if they will be 18 by the general election. The argument against Prop. 18 is primarily that propositions in California are on the primary ballot, which is not the case in most other states. Because taxes and bonds for school funding may appear on the ballot, and as 17 year olds are likely to be in high school, the argument is that they will be unduly influenced by teachers and schools to vote in favor of these propositions, and lack the life experience to make an independent decision. One of the three signatories to No on 18 is the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. It would appear that fear of increases in education funding underlies their argument.The other arguments against the proposition cite the many ways in which 17 year olds are not legally adults. The Yes on 18 arguments include that as 17 years olds are allowed to join the military, and therefore are allowed to risk their lives for the country, they should be allowed to vote. It makes sense to us that if 17 year olds will be voting in the general election, they should have the opportunity to choose the candidates they will be voting for, and that surely experiences in higher education, workplaces, and community participation will continue to influence young voters after their 18th birthday. Voting is a lifetime habit, and if young people can be encouraged to begin voting while in high school they are more likely to continue voting throughout their lives. A small percentage of voters under 25 vote. Only 108,000 17 year olds in California are registered to vote when they are 18. The cost for the state to update voter registration systems would be a one-time hundreds of thousands dollars, less than 1% of the General fund. It could be hundreds of thousands of dollars for counties to send these additional voters election materials in each two year cycle depending on how many 17 year olds register. This would be a small price to pay to encourage the life-long active citizenship of more of California’s citizens.
Proposition 19 — Neutral (No position)
Changes Certain Property Tax Rules Proposition 19 is a convoluted tax law that provides tax relief for some elderly and disabled homeowners, and wildfire victims who are forced to relocate, and provides some tightening of tax loopholes, but at the same time it relaxes other property tax rules. This year’s proposition is roughly similar to Prop. 5, which the real estate industry put on the November, 2018 ballot. Prop. 5, however, would have significantly cut government revenues, including funds for education, so it generated widespread opposition, including unions representing teachers (both the CTA and the CFT), firefighters, and other government employees (SEIU and AFSCME). Consequently, Prop. 5 was soundly defeated, by over 19% of the vote. But this year’s proposition (#19), includes a source of funds to counterbalance the flaw of loss of government revenue in Prop. 5. This revenue would come from reassessing property that is inherited from one’s parents (or in some cases, one’s grandparents), except for the first $1 million of value, or unless it’s one’s primary residence. So that particular “unfair tax loophole” which benefits the wealthy would be closed by Prop. 19 — but how about wealthy seniors who move to other $5 million or $10 million dollar residences? They would still benefit, under Prop. 19, from their current low assessment rates, so that huge “loophole” would not in fact be closed here.
Therefore, on the one hand, Prop. 19 does benefit some seniors and others who aren’t wealthy, but on the other hand, it also benefits the very wealthy too — along with the real estate industry, who will profit from the significant increase in property transfers which this measure will produce. You could say that this measure merely “shifts around the deck chairs of the failed Titanic that is the California property tax system” — and that ultimately, we really need a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s property tax laws to make wealthy individuals, corporations, and real estate speculators pay their fair share of taxes. Consequently, we’re going to remain neutral on Prop. 19, since it helps some who aren’t wealthy, while at the same time it benefits others who are in fact very wealthy, along with the real estate industry itself. As we go to press, Prop. 19 supporters have raised over $19 million (almost entirely from the real estate industry), while the opponents haven’t yet raised anything, so it seems likely that the measure will end up passing — but that of course is not a reason why voters should support it.
Proposition 20 – NO
Restricts Parole for Non-Violent Offenders and Authorizes Felonies for Some Current Misdemeanors Proposition 20 has four parts: first, it would increase criminal penalties for some “theft-related crimes”; second, it would change how people released from prison are supervised; third, it would modify the process through which prison inmates are considered for release; and fourth, it would increase required DNA testing to a wider group of prisoners and parolees. The legislative analysis predicts that the new law would cost tens of millions of dollars in state and county funds. Proponents of the measure focus primarily on its extension of California’s “violent felony” crimes list, which almost all stakeholders find problematic and in many circumstances insufficient. A 2017 Los Angeles Times article describes this list as stemming from “piecemeal legislation and voter initiatives.” According to the legislative analysis, all changes in how violent felonies are handled by the proposition come play in parole hearings and community supervision practices; the crimes being elevated from misdemeanor to felony status are nonviolent crimes against property: theft of (some) items that cost between $250 and $950. Proponents also claim that no new criminals will be sent to prison under this bill, that the initiative requires rehabilitation programs, and that the legislative analysts’ budget estimates are seriously incorrect. Proponents also claim that increased DNA collection will help with criminal investigations in the future. Opponents focus on the increased number of imprisoned people. They also note the very significant increased costs of the legislation. Proposition supporters deny both of these claims, which are supported by theoretically nonpartisan legislative analysis. Opponents then make the jump to claiming that these expenditures will reduce available funds for mental health programs, drug addiction rehab, and other initiatives that mitigate prison time. This claim seems probable, but is not within the four corners of the proposed legislation. The proposition actually qualified for the ballot back in 2018, long before the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprising following the police-involved deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others. However, it seems certain that in 2021 there will be no way to find tens of millions of dollars to implement these stronger prison policies anyway. The programs opponents are afraid will be slashed if this becomes law are in dire straits under existing circumstances. Finally, increased DNA testing raises privacy concerns which no one seems to be addressing head-on. With the understanding that a full revision of California’s treatment of violent crimes might be a useful task for the legislature, we recommend a NO vote on this patchwork, disorganized initiative. The legislature should do its own heavy lifting here. In the interim, Proposition 20, if approved, if it does nothing else, would certainly increase felony convictions for minor crimes against property and threaten individual privacy.
Proposition 21 — YES
Expands Local Governments’ Authority to Enact Rent Control Proposition 21 would allow local municipalities to add buildings/units over 15 years old to rent-control. In this regard it is a modest improvement to Costa-Hawkins, the statewide act that freezes rent-control in Cities that have enacted it to the date of that city’s rent-control ordinance. Proposition 21, unlike Proposition 10 two years ago, exempts homeowners with up to two residences from rent-control. It also sets some modest limits on vacancy decontrol, the mechanism in Costa-Hawkins that allows property owners to charge market rate (or higher) once a rent-controlled unit is vacant. Proposition 21 has been endorsed by Housing Now! California, Eviction Defense Network, DSA, UC Student Association, Bernie Sanders, SEIU California, ACCE Action, and a wide array of other housing and progressive organizations.
Vote YES on Proposition 21.
Proposition 22 — No, no, no!
Exempts Some App-Based Companies from Providing Employee Benefits This is a ‘no brainer’. If ever there was a measure of corporate greed and exploitation, here is a clear example, one that requires our active opposition. Current law embodied by AB5 requires Uber, Lyft and Door Dash to provide their drivers with a minimum wage, health care options, paid sick leave, and unemployment and worker compensation coverage just like every other California business. Now these profits-obsessed firms have spent millions on lawyers and operatives to put Prop. 22 on the ballot. It ONLY applies to Uber, Lyft, Door Dash and other app-based delivery and transportation companies and only they would profit from it. The operative word here is PROFIT!
While there are still issues on the application of AB5, there’s NO doubt that the drivers referenced here are paid workers, not subcontractors. This initiative would undermine their protections and rights; if any change is to come, it should be to expand them. While the language in the initiative discusses “earning guarantee” and “health care subsidy “, they are below that in state labor law. It references “driver protections”, but state law already requires background checks; Prop. 22 would eliminate requirements around harassment training and obligations to investigate harassment claims for both drivers and passengers. The corporate backers claim to be concerned with “flexibility “ for “part-time“ drivers, while a recent UC study notes that over 70 percent of Uber and Lyft drivers work 30 or more hours per week. Moreover, 78 percent of drivers are people of color, and many critics, including The NY Times editorial board, identify these companies as not providing sufficient PPE resources or guidance for safety during the pandemic.
Community groups and labor, including tens of thousands of drivers, say NO to 22. So should we!
Proposition 23 — YES
Establishes Requirements for Kidney Dialysis Clinics How should progressives and radicals be voting until we can either replace capitalism, or massively reform it? THAT is the context in which we ought to be viewing Proposition 23, given that there are several details “underneath the surface” of this proposal. In particular, this is clearly a struggle between the for-profit kidney dialysis industry (which in California is dominated by just two large companies), and the effort to unionize the dialysis workers, led by SEIU-UHW West. So — while we’re working against neo-liberal capitalism’s war on healthcare, the Green Party will continue, in general, to support unionization efforts. To be sure, there will always be “exceptions to the rule”, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. Therefore, we endorse Prop. 23, especially as part of our collective struggle against the capitalist plutocracy. Here are some specifics about the measure: Prop. 23 is an initiative that would require the following of dialysis clinics: (1) not discriminate on the quality of care on the basis of who is responsible for paying for the treatment, (2) not refuse to provide care on the basis of who is responsible for paying for the treatment (for example discriminate on the basis that one patient’s treatment is paid for by private insurance and another’s by Medi-Cal), (3) have a licensed physician at the clinic when patients are being treated, unless there’s a shortage of physicians in which case there has to be a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, (4) submit quarterly reports of any infections resulting from dialysis treatments, and (5) get the consent of the California Department of Public Health to either close a dialysis clinic or reduce services of a clinic. The fight between the Yes on Prop. 23 supporters (“Yes”) and the No on Prop. 23 group (“No”) is round two of the battle between SEIU-UHW West and the state’s two largest dialysis companies, DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care, which own about three fourths of the 600 clinics in the state, that serve about 75,000 patients. Round 1 was 2018’s defeated Prop. 8, which sought to have the clinics refund profits in excess of 115% of patient care and healthcare improvements. The $130 million spent on Prop. 8 was the third largest amount spent on a California ballot measure since 1999. “No” argues that the passage of Prop. 23 would increase clinic costs — for example it would cost more to have physicians onsite for each treatment. On the other hand, through the findings cited in the text of Prop. 23, and the testimonies of dialysis patients on “Yes”’s website, one concludes that more clinic staff really is needed. Furthermore, “Yes” says the two big companies earn more than $350 million a year in California, so the industry can afford to hire the additional staff. In and of itself, Prop. 23 will likely bring relatively modest benefits to dialysis patients, but it will definitely cut into the big profits that the dialysis companies have recently been raking in. And in the bigger picture, the passage of Prop. 23 will be a win in our struggle against the tyranny of capitalism, and for unionization as a stepping stone within the urgently needed transformation of society. Vote YES on Proposition 23.
Proposition 24 — NO
Consumer Privacy, and Privacy Protection Agency Proposition 24, the California Consumer Privacy Act, is a sprawling 53-page set of amendments to the California Privacy Rights Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2020. According to its supporters, its goal is to give California consumers the “power to stop businesses tracking you [..] without your knowledge and permission”.
At first glance, it seems hard to object to that. A deeper look, however, exposes some significant problems with the proposition as written. Here are some of the most serious weakness: It takes privacy rule-making out of the hands of the state Department of Justice, instead creating a new state agency. Not only will this agency likely be underfunded by the initiative, it will be much more vulnerable to influence by the deep-pocket tech giants. It continues the “pay-for privacy” provisions of the existing law, under which tech companies can demand payment or reduced services for increased privacy rights. It delays for several years the rights of workers and job applicants to know what personal data of theirs has been sold. It allows the tech companies to access one’s personal data once they travel outside of California with a cell phone or laptop. It allows tech companies to ignore a universal do-not-sell signal that can be set once in a browser. Instead, one will need to opt out from each site separately. Prop. 24 is the product of a multimillionaire real estate developer and landlord who worked behind closed doors with the very tech companies who profit over the sharing and selling of personal data, according to opponents of the proposition in the Official Ballot Argument Against Prop. 24, while rejecting 38 suggested changes from 11 privacy advocacy groups.
These are some of the reasons why groups like to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Color of Change, Californians for Real Privacy, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and others oppose Prop. 24. We join with them in calling for a NO vote on Prop. 24.
Proposition 25 – NO
Approves Replacing Money Bail with Algorithm-Based System This proposition is a veto referendum that will determine whether the 2018 law SB-10 will go into effect. A “Yes” vote affirms SB-10, while a “No” vote will repeal SB-10. Prop 25 would replace the cash bail system with algorithm-based risk assessments to determine whether a person would be released from jail prior to their trial. Risk assessments use data such as prior conviction history, age, employment status, and neighborhood of residence to estimate the likelihood that a given person would fail to appear in court or be arrested for another crime. People determined to be “low risk” would generally be released from jail, “medium risk” individuals would be released in some cases, while “high risk” individuals would not have any opportunity to be released. The cash bail system is deeply unjust, burdening poor families who are forced to pay non-refundable fees to bail bond businesses to get a loved one released from jail. Communities of color suffer the most because of deep racial wealth gaps and it is wrong that bail businesses are profiting off them. And in fact, the bail bond industry is the primary funder of this ballot initiative because a “No” vote will preserve their industry for the time-being. However, algorithm-based risk assessments are racially-biased because the data they rely on are driven by racist systems of over-policing, mass incarceration, and residential segregation, among others. Groups such as Human Rights Watch also argue that a risk assessment system will allow judges to detain more people in jail prior to their trial with no possibility of release. This proposition would also increase funding to local courts to oversee the risk assessment process and those dollars would be better used elsewhere. Understanding the history of SB-10 is critical. For years, a broad coalition fought for legislation that would curtail or eliminate the use of cash bail. They championed and supported SB-10 until, inexplicably, legislators worked out a backroom deal with judges and law enforcement unions that completely gutted the text of SB-10 without input from the coalition. For the reasons outlined above, the vast majority of the organizations in this coalition reversed their support of the bill and began to actively campaign against it. The system of cash bail needs to be eliminated, but SB-10 / Proposition 25 is not the answer. Visit the No on Prop 25 website to learn more
Green Party of Sonoma County explanations on positions on the local propositions:
Measure DD — NO
Sonoma County Transportation Authority, Go Sonoma Act Measure DD would institute a ¼ cent sales tax from 2025 to 2045 and will increase Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHGs), saddling us and the upcoming generation with a double whammy of unfair economic burdens and climate consequences. We are already facing the impacts of the climate crisis. Transportation accounts for 60% of the GHGs emitted in Sonoma County. Measure DD continues the same mistakes of the 20th century, prioritizing funding for roads and cars instead of public transit and walkable bike-able communities. Measure DD allocates 65% of the funds for roads and only 35% for everything else. These percentages should be flipped the other way as many other governmental jurisdictions have done. A broad community coalition has called for at least 60% of transportation funds to be dedicated to climate-smart spending (40% transit, 20% bicycle & pedestrian). In a letter to Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA), the coalition noted the “multiple benefits that can flow from investment in alternative transportation cannot be overstated: Safer streets; Healthier communities; Thriving streetscapes supporting local businesses; Low income families with more money in their bank accounts at the end of the month; Facilitation of new housing inside cities and rural towns; Cleaner air; A healing planet.” SCTA rejected the coalition’s proposal and instead SCTA put Measure DD on the ballot. Beyond its window dressing language about climate concerns, Measure DD does not truly address the climate crisis and would result in increased GHGs. Twenty-two of the Measure DD proposed infrastructure projects include roadway widening, extension, addition of new roadways, and interchange or ramp construction. It is a well-established principle of transportation analysis that expansion made to roads that initially alleviate congestion will, over time, result in additional auto use. That means traffic will simply increase over time and we’ll be back where we started in terms of congestion, but with increased GHGs. The optimal policy approach to reduce vehicle miles traveled and GHG emissions is to invest the greater percentage of funds in active mobility amenities and transit. We need to have a bus system that is affordable, safe, convenient and that really serves peoples’ needs. Measure DD fails to follow the guiding principles of equity and climate mitigation called for by the coalition. Measure DD is a regressive tax. Regressive taxes unfairly take a larger percentage of wealth from those of lower-income than those of higher-income. This kicks people who are already down financially harder. Measure DD would also authorize the SCTA to saddle us and the coming generation with debt on bonds that are likely to be issued against the projected sales tax revenues. Sales tax funds would go to pay the financial industry for interest on the bonds for years and years into the future rather than for public services. Vote NO on Measure DD