Luckily, there’s no need to wait until November to get the ball rolling on midterm elections. With the June primaries just around the corner, voters should be getting ready to enact change in both their local and state communities. For Alameda County, there are measures on the June 5 ballot that could impact everything from climbing the peaks on Mount Whitney to riding Caltrain through the Santa Clara Valley. Don’t forget that every vote matters — just take a look at Proposition 71. With midterm elections comes the opportunity for progress, and the primaries are just the first round in a whole cycle of political change. So it’s time to do your research and get out to the polls to vote.
PROPOSITION 68 — YES:
Have you stood on Stinson Beach, toes purple from the icy Northern California water, and breathed in a relaxing breath of salty Pacific air? Do you go to Tilden Regional Park on the weekend to hike away the stress of studying and working in one of the most tech-savvy places in the world? Prop. 68 aims to protect those parks, beaches and other natural resources that color the California landscape. With the proposed $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds, the state would preserve the California environment and make parks more accessible to the public, while also working to prevent severe droughts and wildfires.
PROPOSITION 69 — YES:
Traversing from the East Bay to San Francisco during peak hours has left many commuters more tangled than the more than one dozen highways that weave themselves from San Jose to Sonoma County. In an effort to tackle the issues many Californians face with transportation, a tax on gas and vehicles was passed in 2017. Since then, it has amassed about $5 billion.
Prop. 69 would ensure that these funds are transferred into the Public Transportation Account — an account that distributes funds to public highway and transportation works. If this proposition passes, the Bay Area could expect projects that make the commute to work a little easier.
PROPOSITION 70 — NO:
California’s cap-and-trade program requires many companies to purchase permits to send carbon into the air. In 2016, the Bay Area received funding from this program that went toward environmentally conscious transportation projects, such as adding more light rail vehicles to the Muni Metro system.
Currently, the state Legislature only needs a simple majority to approve cap-and-trade spending, but if Prop. 70 passes, in 2024, this revenue will go into a special fund that will require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature to approve projects. In other words, Democrats and Republicans would likely have to come to a consensus on spending. While this proposition’s intention is to promote wiser spending, ultimately, it would result in little more than gridlock.
PROPOSITION 71 — YES:
At UC Berkeley, students come from counties that span the state. During election periods, students registered outside of Alameda County are mailing ballots back home — ballots that may not make the count if they are sent in past a certain date.
If ballot measures do not have a specified start date, they go into effect the day after the election, which discounts unreceived mail-in votes. With Prop. 71, measures will have up to 43 days to be put into action. This proposition would help to ensure that most every ballot is accounted for and that voices in the community are heard.
PROPOSITION 72 — YES:
Mark Twain said it best: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Even in the early summer, the Bay Area’s June gloom brings rainy days to a month the rest of the country spends soaking in the sun. In an effort to encourage putting this rainfall to good use, Prop. 72 would exclude rain-capturing systems from property taxes — incentivizing the construction of this eco-friendly piece of infrastructure. From 2012 to 2016, California experienced a drought that left the state with shriveling crops and yellowing yards. The encouraged use of these water-conscious systems would be the next step in ensuring California’s lush and droughtless future.
MEASURE A — YES:
The road to higher education does not just begin with SAT prep and AP courses; early childhood is a key period for the development of problem-solving and social skills. Nevertheless, low-income families often do not have access to the same child care services and preschools that higher-income families do. Passing Measure A would increase the retail sales tax by a small amount, but in an area with some of the highest income inequality in the nation, it would ensure that all children, regardless of background, have better access to educational and developmental services.
REGIONAL MEASURE 3 — NO:
Bay Area residents are no strangers to the congested, poorly maintained transportation infrastructure that litters the region. Regional Measure 3, with its 25-year goal of raising $4.45 billion in funding for 35 transportation projects, aims to alleviate this Bay Area congestion. But while the Bay Area desperately needs solutions to its transportation problems, the eventual $3 increase in bridge tolls that the measure would necessitate makes transbay travel unsustainable for the scores of low-income workers who commute to San Francisco. Ultimately, while this measure is a step in the right direction, the benefits of this plan are not realistic, given the cost for many who live in the East Bay.