California’s 2018 Ballot Propositions: An Overview of Props 1 thru 4

by on September 28, 2018 · 0 comments

in California

Looking Down from orbit at the Golden State. International Space Station via Flickr

This is about the first four of California’s 2018 Ballot Propositions for the general election.

What the first four ballot offerings have in common are requests to use taxpayer money for things proponents would like us to believe are for the common good.

Prop 1 would authorize borrowing for housing. Prop 2 would ask voters for permission to use a previously authorized tax revenue stream to include building housing for mentally ill people. Prop 3 wants voters to authorize bonds for water-related infrastructure. Prop 4 wants voters to authorize bonds for updates and construction of children’s hospital facilities.

Proposition 1 – Build More Housing

Authorizes Bonds to Fund Specified Housing Assistance Programs. Legislative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by the Legislature)

Credit: Pixabay

We’re looking at borrowing $4 billion to support affordable housing should this pass (it will). Here’s where the money would be spent.

  • $1.5 billion to the Housing Rehabilitation Loan Fund – To assist in the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of rental housing for persons with up to 60% of the area median income.
  • $150 million to the Transit Oriented Development Fund – To provide assistance to localities with projects increasing housing density near public transit routes.
  • $300 million to Regional Planning, Housing, and Infill Incentive Account – For grants to fund infrastructure (roads, parks, water/sewer) supporting high density affordable and mixed-income housing infill projects.
  • $150 million to Self Help Housing Fund – For assistance in home purchasing to qualified individuals.
  • $300 million to the Joe Serna, Jr Farmworker Housing Grant Fund – Provides funding for agencies rehabbing, buying mobile homes, or building housing for farmworkers.
  • $300 million to the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund -Grants and loans to local housing trust funds in demonstrating innovative and cost-cutting approaches to creating or preserving affordable housing.
  • $300 million to the Self Help Housing Fund – Providing direct, forgivable loans to assist in developing multiple home housing projects, self-help mortgage assistance, and manufactured homes.
  • $1 billion towards funding the CalVets Home Loan Program.

The San Francisco Chronicle and the Bee Newspapers of Sacramento and Fresno have editorialized in favor of Prop 1 as a necessary part of addressing the state’s housing crisis.

The San Diego Union-Tribune argued against the measure, saying it does more to create the impression that something is being done than actually building housing. Then they went into echoing right wing bleating in support of not paying the people doing the construction enough to afford housing.

Prop one is endorsed by 26 veteran’s groups, 32 chamber/business associations, 7 environmentally-focused groups, 38 local governments, 22 Democratic party organizations, 64 unions, and 277 other statewide and local organizations.

Yes on One Website

There is no formal opposition to Proposition 1.

Proposition 2 – Housing for the Mentally Ill

Authorizes Bonds to Fund Existing Housing Program for Individuals With Mental Illness. (Put on the Ballot by the Legislature)

Credit: pixabay

There were technical and legal questions about using revenue from Proposition 63 (2004)—a 1 percent tax on income above $1 million for mental health services—to build housing. This proposition authorizes the funding to be used to make payments on $2 billion in revenue bonds for homelessness prevention housing for persons in need of mental health services.

Payments on these bonds could amount to as much as $140 million annually. Proposition 63 is estimated to generate $2.23 billion in the fiscal year 2018-2019.

The San Diego Union-Tribune and the Bee newspapers of Sacramento and Fresno have endorsed the measure.

The Affordable Housing Now coalition raised just over $2 million to support Props 1 & 2. Major donors include the Chan Zuckerberg Advocacy and California Works – Senator Toni Atkins BMC.

There is opposition to Prop 2, coming from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Contra Costa, which argues the moneys should be spent on direct services. They have yet to report any fundraising for opposition to Prop 2.

I say we gotta build more housing. Especially for all the humans our crappy healthcare system leaves on the streets.

Proposition 3 – More Money for Water

Authorizes Bonds to Fund Projects for Water Supply and Quality, Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Water Conveyance, and Groundwater Sustainability and Storage. Initiative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

Credit: Pixabay

This proposition asks voters to authorize $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds for water infrastructure, groundwater supplies and storage, surface water storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.

The legislature asked for and received voter approval on a $4 billion water bond measure in the June primary. Proposition 3 was put on the ballot by signature gathering drives. The early arguments I’d seen against it were of the buzzkill variety from the usual suspects looking to drown government in a bathtub.

Then the Sierra Club weighed in against Prop 3, and I looked a little deeper.

While there are good reasons to support just about anything helping us with maintaining and distributing our water supply, there’s a pay-to-play aspect with this measure. It seems as though we taxpayers are being asked to pay $750 million for repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal, which was damaged because aquifers were overpumped in recent years.

The way this is supposed to work is that the users (farms) are supposed to pay for upkeep. It turns out it was cheaper to fund a ballot measure under the guise of helping wildlife conservation organizations (who would see some benefit).

The San Francisco Chronicle and the San Diego Union-Tribune have both said vote No on Prop 3. The Fresno Bee says to vote Yes.

Californians for Safe Drinking Water and a Clean and Reliable Water Supply have raised roughly $3 million is support of the measure thought June 30.

There is no formal/funded opposition. Maybe there ought to be.

Proposition 4 – Build Children’s Hospitals

Authorizes Bonds Funding Construction at Hospitals Providing Children’s Health Care. Initiative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

Proposition 4 asks us to authorize $1.5 billion in general obligation bonds to award grants to children’s hospitals for construction, expansion, renovation, and equipment projects.

Credit: Pixabay

Here’s how the money would be spread out, via Ballotpedia:

  • 72 percent ($1.08 billion) to eight nonprofit hospitals providing comprehensive services to high volumes of children eligible for governmental programs and children with special health needs eligible for California Children’s Services.
  • 18 percent ($270 million) to five University of California general acute hospitals, including the University of California, Davis Children’s Hospital; Mattel Children’s Hospital at University of California, Los Angeles; University Children’s Hospital at University of California, Irvine; University of California, San Francisco Children’s Hospital; and University of California, San Diego Children’s Hospital.
  • 10 percent ($150 million) to public and private hospitals that provide pediatric services to children eligible for California Children’s Services.

Californians have approved two previous ballot propositions (2004 & 2008), both developed by the California Children’s Hospital Association, which is also the guiding force this year.

The group’s Yes on Children’s Hospital ballot measure committee raised $10.2 million to support this year’s initiative.

There is no formal opposition to Proposition 4.

The Mercury News, the East Bay Times, and the Los Angeles Times have all editorialized in favor of Prop 4.

From the Mercury News:

California’s 13 children’s hospitals, which receive more than 2 million visits every year from the state’s sickest children, each require investments of $30 million to $50 million a year to meet the expectations of quality care citizens should demand.

Donations and revenues from services don’t come close to meeting that need. Proposition 4 on the November ballot helps fill the gap. The $1.5 billion state bond measure would provide grants over a 15-year period for construction, expansion, renovation and equipment for California’s children’s hospitals, which include Palo Alto’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Oakland’s UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

I’m certainly not going to stand in the way of anything helping kids. [Insert another rant about the crappy healthcare system]

From San Diego Free Press

The OB Rag / San Diego Free Press Progressive Voter Guide, to be published in early October will include these and many other candidates. To see all our coverage for the 2018 elections, go here.

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