11 Oct River Voter Guide – November 2018 General Election
Every election matters, but this one could be a watershed moment in our democracy.
There’s no question that November 6th, 2018 is critical election in our country. Our federal government has pursued an agenda that threatens our urban and natural environments and targets the way of life of millions of Californians. Voters in California face crucial decisions that will determine if we remain leaders in the fight against climate change and how we will address inequity and economic pressures facing our most vulnerable communities.
Friends of the LA River is committed to reconnecting the People with Nature, nourishing community health in the neighborhoods, and delivering a new legacy for the future of the River. Day in and out we are advocating in the halls of government and at public meetings on behalf of the River. This Election Day there are a few ballot measures that River Stewards and environmentalists should be aware will have an impact on our ability to implement the changes we wish to see in our communities, city, and state.
You can check your registration status, view sample ballots with all the candidates and measures on your ballot, request to vote by mail, and find your polling station online at Vote.org or on the LA County Clerk’s website. Our friends at KPCC/LAist maintain the Human Voter Guide during election cycle, which demystifies the voting experience for Southern Californians.
CALIFORNIA STATE BALLOT
PROP 1 – Affordable Housing Bond
This proposition authorizes $4 billion in funding to subsidize an array of affordable housing programs. The largest allotment funds construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing for low-income households; the second largest portion of the bond will fund home purchase programs for military veterans. With a staggering number of rent insecure Californians, this bond seeks to fund critically needed increase to housing supply.
PROP 2 – Homeless Housing Bond
This measure allocates $2 billion in bond funding to homeless housing for Californians with mental illness. This funding was initially approved by the legislature in 2016, but has been held up in legal challenges; legislators hope voters will approve the change in use from merely treatment programs to include supportive housing. With nearly 35,000 homeless Californians living with mental illness, it is clear more supportive housing would advance the cause of treating and housing needy Californians.
PROP 3 – Water Supply and Water Quality Act
Proposition 3 would invest $8.877 billion in California water infrastructure and other important categories such as safe drinking water, watershed restoration, fish and wildlife habitat conservation, and infrastructure repair. Unlike the previous bond measure, Prop 68, which passed in June 2018, Prop 3 does not restrict funding that would go to the building of dams or other infrastructure that could be potentially harmful to natural habitat. Environmental groups are divided on this measure. Groups such as Climate Resolve and TreePeople are in support of this measure, while other groups like Sierra Club CA and SoCal Watershed Alliance are staunch opponents. Learn more about who supports and who opposes Prop 3.
PROP 6 – Repeal of Transportation Funding / Gas Tax
Proposition 6 would repeal the fuel tax, created in 2017 by the passage of SB1 into law to fund road repair and transportation improvements. This measure – which was placed on the ballot in a cynical partisan battle – would eliminate funding to improve road conditions for all users, and keep Californian cities stuck in the dismal cycle of unsafe underinvestment on our roadways. SB1 functions in support of other measures, like the FoLAR endorsed Measure M (2016), and the loss of needed funding for roadways will halt hundreds of transit projects already in the works across the state.
PROP 10 – Expansion of Rent Control
Los Angeles and California are in in the midst of a horrific housing crisis. Rent costs outpace wage growth, housing supply is not being constructed fast enough, and vulnerable community members are making difficult sacrifices to avoid displacement. The River has not been spared in this crisis, where increased interest in our natural environment has drawn the attention of real estate developers. The primary intention of the Friends of the LA River’s work is to bring quality of life improvements to underserved communities adjacent to the LA River. River communities should not have to oppose improvements to bus service, shade canopy, park space, and broader River restoration out of fear such investments will be met with speculative development that displaces vulnerable renters. By expanding rent control under Prop 10, communities on the River today will gain needed protection from displacement while California works its way out of its current housing crisis.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY BALLOT
PROP W – YES
This water bond measure levies a tax on impermeable surfaces countywide to raise an estimated $300 million annually to increase investment in stormwater capture, reduce urban runoff pollution which may increase water supply; improve water quality; and provide community investment benefits as defined in the Ordinance. Friends of the LA River, along with many other environmental organizations in LA County, have endorsed this ballot measure. You can learn more at ourwaterla.org.
LOS ANGELES CITY BALLOT
One of the more unique proposals this election cycle asks voters to authorize the City Council to amend the City Charter to authorize a municipal financial institution or bank. As a part of our City’s sustained effort to protect consumers and the environment, and finance affordable housing, leaders in and out of government are pushing for the establishment of a municipal bank independent of Wall Street interests. Cities and states establishing municipal public banks facilitates the broader environmental and progressive agenda of divesting from banks that fund private prisons, immigrant detention centers, oil and gas pipelines and continued fossil fuel extraction. You can learn more about the benefits of a municipal bank online https://publicbankla.com/
Friends of the Los Angeles River is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission since 1986 has been to ensure a publicly accessible and ecologically sustainable Los Angeles River by inspiring River stewardship through community engagement, education, advocacy, and thought leadership. FoLAR is a leading powerful force guiding policy and connecting communities to the River, nationally respected as a leader in urban river revitalization with a membership of 35,000.