Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Election costs rise as Contra Costa Supervisors OK $3.6 billion 2020-2021 budget

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Source: CoCoCo

Gioia makes his support conditional on reviewing county jail facilities for closure

Includes funding for the Sheriff’s Office to hire 24 deputies for mental health duties at  Martinez jail

By Daniel Borsuk

On the same day Contra Costa County taxpayers were pinched with a new $3.6 billion 2020-2021 fiscal year budget, supervisors also unanimously approved on Tuesday  a County Clerk-Recorder’s request to boost 2021 election ballot printing and mailing costs an additional $1.8 million to a new payment limit of $6 million.

“This is going to be the costliest election year that I have experienced in my 25 year -career,” Assistant Registrar of Voters Scott O. Konopasek said in reference to the upcoming Presidential election and how the county’s contract extension with K&H Printers-Lithographers, Inc. to print and mail ballots and election pamphlets will alarmingly rise again by $8 million for elections held in 2021.

Konopasek said Governor Gavin Newsom’s Emergency Order instructing California counties election officials to mail ballots to every registered voter for the November election means an additional 160,000 Contra Costa voters, or 25 percent of all registered voters, will receive ballots in the mail thereby driving up costs linked to printing and mailing.   That Emergency Order applies to any and all elections conducted in 2021.

 

While supervisors ignored the Registrar of Voters expense item, they unanimously approved the $3.6 billion 2020-2021 budget that garnered the support of all the supervisors, including Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who several weeks ago had said he would vote against the budget when it was ready for formal adoption.  He said he now supports the budget provided supervisors study the closure of the Marsh Creek detention facility, and to have a study conducted on the future of the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility in Byron and Juvenile Hall in Martinez.

When Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill questioned Gioia why he switched his initial negative vote on the budget, Gioia responded, “I support the county budget as a whole that is over $3 billion and as long as these three issues – Marsh Creek, Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility and Juvenile Hall are studied and come back to the supervisors for consideration.”

County Administrator David Twa said supervisors can expect Covid-19 related costs to continue to increase over the next 12 to 24 months.  The county spent $131 million overall in Covid-19 connected expenses because it operates a hospital, health services for the homeless, provides Covid-19 testing and numerous other public health services.

Twa said operating costs will increase $28.4 million because of the newly opened County Administration Building and the Emergency Operations Center/Public Safety Building, both located in Martinez.

Supervisors provided funding for the Sheriff’s Office request to hire 24 deputies for the Martinez jail to handle mental health duties, a budget item that met public criticism especially in the summer aftermath of the George Floyd murder case.

Because of rising expenses, the county has placed on the November ballot a half-cent sales tax measure, Proposition X, that county officials counts on to generate new revenues, some $81 million a year for 20 years to fund hospitals, health centers, childhood services, and other community services.

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Antioch School Board approves pay raises for top three district staff on split vote

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, the Antioch School Board approved compensation agreements for the top three staff in the district to comply with changes in state law.

AB 1344 makes changes to the Elections Code and Government Code concerning city charter elections, employment contracts for local agency executives, new notice requirements for open meetings, and penalties for misuse of public office. The law impacts principal entities and K-12 education agencies. These contracts incorporate the necessary provisions under state law.

Employment contracts for senior management must be approved at a regularly scheduled board meeting. The amendments to the contracts include a one-year extension and a step increase effective July 1, 2020.

Retroactively to July 1, 2020, Superintendent Stephanie Anello will be paid $270,585; Deputy Superintendent Jessica Romero will be paid $250,651; and Associate Superintendent Christine Ibarra will be paid $216,135.

Trustee Ellie Householder, “I was hoping Ms. Romero could explain to us how this is related to what we voted on at the last board meeting.”

“No, it’s not the same. The last one was looking at the ’19-20 school year. This is for the ’20-21 school year,” Romero explained.

“At the last meeting it was retroactive, although we have the management listed, it’s not saying it’s guaranteed for the next three years. Whoever was in these roles would get this over the next t three years,” Householder said.

“No. The three of us were not at the top step and this takes into account our years of service,” Romero shared. “Your step is generally based on the amount of years with the district.”

“How does this compare with similar positions in neighboring districts?” Householder then asked.

“I think you’ll find it’s in the ballpark of neighboring districts,” said Romero.

“Were these calculations taken into consideration in the budget revise we looked at?” Householder asked. “I’m just concerned about our longevity over the next three years.”

“It was taken into consideration when we looked at the budget,” said Romero. “We calculate a 1% increase across the board for all employees.”

“I will be saying ‘no’ on this…I’m just worried about us being able to afford it. It’s nothing personal. I just don’t think we can afford it,” Householder said.

Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White spoke on the matter next, saying, “I echo Trustee Householder. I review other districts. Parents are unemployed. To extend this contract out until 20-23 we can’t predict the future. Why we can’t take into account the new

“Each year on July 1st, our right to a step increase

“Yes, but we’re in a pandemic, and other districts are required to present a performance review which we haven’t done for the past two years or so,” Sawyer-White said. “I will be voting ‘no’, too. This is not appropriate use of state funds.”

“If you’re going to use that argument, we could use it for every…employee,” said Trustee Gary Hack. “There is precedence on this. It’s brought to us every year. It’s been an agreement for a long time.”

“I’d have to disagree. Classified and certificated employees are not making six-figure incomes,” Sawyer-White responded.

Hack moved approval and Trustee Mary Rocha seconded the motion.

It passed 3-2 with Board President Diane Gibson-Gray voting along with Hack and Rocha.

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Antioch projects tax revenue decrease of almost $3 million, council will have to adjust budget

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

$1.1 million drop in 1% sales tax revenue from Measure W

By Allen Payton

During the budget workshop on Tuesday night, the Antioch City Council was presented with the 2020-21 Budget Update from staff showing a projected decrease of $2,960,435 in tax and other revenue. That includes a decrease in regular city sales tax revenues of $1,671,239 and a decrease in the 1% sales tax from Measure W of $1,105,833, and a $270,196 drop in property tax revenue.

According to the staff report, “as of May, California has had a 20.1% decline in sales tax revenue. The financial implications are still a moving target for the City with a lot of uncertainty and no end date for the crisis in sight.”

Antioch’s projected drop in Measure W sales tax was 7%, but the City only experienced a 5.2% decline in both sales and property tax revenues, from a budgeted $62,447,821 to a projected $59,200,553.

Also, according to the staff report, the council will be asked to adjust the budget in the future. The City operates on a two-year budget. The next one will be approved in June 2021.

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DA Becton supports closing Contra Costa Juvenile Hall, establishes Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Supervisors Glover, Gioia support her efforts

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the District Attorney, Contra Costa County 

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton. From CCC website.

On Tuesday, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued the following statement regarding the status of Contra Costa County’s Juvenile Hall and the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility.

“These are historic times and we have an opportunity and a responsibility to re-imagine our justice system so that our youth have a greater chance to lead successful and enriching lives.

I am forming a Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force, which will include county departmental and community representatives, that will study and make recommendations on the most effective ways to invest in our justice involved youth through restorative, community-based solutions, with an initial focus on developing an effective process for closing Juvenile Hall.

Youth crime has been on a steady decline over the last twenty years, reinforcing the conclusion that moving away from youth incarceration is in the best interest of rehabilitation, public safety, and fiscal responsibility. Research has shown that youth can be better treated and rehabilitated in community contexts where they can retain ties to family, school, and their community. Programming and services which are based in the home or in the community are more successful at holding youth accountable and positively changing behavior than institutional settings.

Despite the steep decline in youth crime and consequent reduction in numbers of incarcerated youth, the money invested into the operation of youth prisons has not been reduced accordingly. Data shows that the average cost per incarcerated child in Contra Costa Juvenile Hall skyrocketing to over $473,000 per year.

The Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force will make explicit recommendations for financial investments in community-based services for youth instead of investing in youth prisons which have proven to result in worse outcomes for our children and families. Such an approach will allow for critical re-investments in basic needs such as housing, mental health services, and workforce development as well as support the creation of alternatives to incarcerating children in locked facilities.

In the meantime, we should pause and not take any actions to close the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility until the Task Force has made its recommendations to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

This transition is urgent. The Task Force should finish its efforts by the end of this year and make evidence-based recommendations for the process to close Juvenile Hall to the Board of Supervisors in January 2021. The Task Force will present a proposed timeline and transition process for closing Juvenile Hall and will identify alternative investments for our public dollars into community-based services and programming for youth. Implementing these recommendations will create a safer community and help youth get on the right track in their lives.”

“I support District Attorney Becton’s efforts to reimagine youth justice in our County,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia. “We need to move away from institutionalization of young people and instead invest in community based restorative justice solutions which make us safer and are more fiscally responsible.”

“I applaud District Attorney Diana Becton’s effort to examine restorative justice alternatives to simply incarcerating our county’s youth,” District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover said. “The factors that lead young people to run afoul of the law are as varied as the youth themselves. In many cases a service-oriented approach will achieve much more in rehabilitating and helping them to become productive members of our community.”

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors move forward half-cent sales tax increase for November ballot, extend rental eviction moratorium

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Andersen only one to vote against tax increase measure; support Martizians for Black Lives and mural; approve Grand Jury report on wildfire preparedness; finalize recruitment process for new County Administrator

By Daniel Borsuk

Just as Contra Costa County’s top public health official Anna Roth informed the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors  on Tuesday the number of COVID-19 positive cases has risen to 2,586 cases, an increase from 92 cases three weeks earlier, and with 79  COVID -19 stricken patients in county hospitals, up from 35 patients in county hospital six weeks previously, Supervisors reacted swiftly by extending a county-wide ordinance prohibiting rental evictions and rental increases until September 30.

Supervisors received overwhelming telephone citizen support to extend the ordinance’s benefits to renters and small businessowners two and half months during Tuesday’s teleconference meeting.  The ordinance that had protected tenants from evictions and rent increases would have expired on Wednesday, July 15.

The new ordinance won unanimous support from supervisors.

“The emergency is not over with the COVID 19 pandemic.  The economic impact our residents face has not subsided, said Board Chair Candace Andersen in a statement.  “We sincerely hope passage of this new ordinance to extend the eviction protection of rent freeze will continue to protect renters and small businesses even as landlords and renters work together to have tenants pay what they can over a longer period of time.

The ordinance contains a no-fault provision that landlords cannot increase the rent on a residential property until Sept. 30, Andersen said in her statement. It applies to all 19 cities in the county as well as all unincorporated areas.

Support Placing Half-Cent Sales Tax Increase on Ballot on Split Vote

The Supervisors, on a 4-1 vote, also flashed the green light to allow county officials to proceed in drafting a county-wide ballot measure possibly for the November election for a half-cent sales tax increase to support county services.

Supervisors reviewed findings from a poll that cost $10,000 and conducted by FM3 Research that found  among 666 persons who were polled, “To keep Contra Costa’s regional hospital open and staff; fund community health centers; provide timely fire and emergency response; support crucial safety-net services; invest in early childhood services; protect vulnerable populations; and for other essential county services, shall the Contra Costa County measure levying a half-cent sales tax, exempting food sales, providing an estimated $81,000,000 annually that the State cannot take, requiring fiscal accountability, with funds benefitting County residents, be adopted?”

The FM3 Research poll found that 62 percent of the respondents would possibly support a tax measure, 31 percent oppose, and 7 percent had no response.

Board Chair Candace Andersen, who represents District 2, cast the lone no vote against the sales tax proposal saying she had “serious concerns” about the measure.  The supervisor from Danville said “it would add further tax burdens to families now stressed by the economic impacts of the  COVID 19 pandemic restrictions.”

“A sales tax is the most regressive form of taxation for those who can least afford it. I think the timing is really, really off,” she added.

But District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who has constantly defended the need for a countywide sales tax to support county services, said, “The need is more apparent now that county services are underfunded and need additional tax support.”

 

The tax increase would require support of a 50% plus one simple majority of voters to pass. The Supervisors have until August 7 to place the measure on the November ballot. According to the Contra Costa County Elections website, supporters and opponents would have until August 19 to file Arguments in Favor or Against and until August 24 to file rebuttals.

Support Martizians for Black Lives & Mural

Supervisors approved, without opposition, a resolution “supporting Martizians for Black Lives in their legal public commentary through their ‘Blacks Lives Matter’ mural, and strongly condemns those who illegally deface this mural as a racist and illegal act.”  The resolution is in reference to the Black Lives Matter mural that was painted and temporarily defaced in front of the Martinez court house with black paint by a woman and assisted by a man, who said they were defacing the mural with comments such as “Racism is a lie,” “There is no racism,” “This is not happening in my town, “ “No one wants Black Lives Matter,” and “All lives matter.”

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton stated, “The mural completed last weekend was a peaceful and powerful way to communicate the importance of Black lives in Contra Costa County and the country.  We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country.”

Grand Jury Report on Wildfire Preparedness

A Grand Jury Report, “Wildfire Preparedness in Contra Costa County,” was approved as a consent item, but among the panel’s recommendations were:

“The Board of Directors of Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District, and San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District should consider directing their Fire Chief to update wildfire evacuation plans and incorporate pre-determined polygons and advanced routing technology, by June 30, 2021.”

The Grand Jury Report also states directors of the five county fire districts “should consider identifying funds to adopt or expand the use of new technologies, such as ground sensors, drones, satellites, and fire spotting cameras, to help detect fires in high-risk areas by June 30, 2021.”

Additionally, the report recommends that directors of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District and Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District should review and consider an ordinance similar to the one the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District passed that would enable their fire district to recover labor and equipment costs from PG&E for overseeing electrical utility work that presents a high fire risk by June 30, 2021. “

In other action, supervisors approved the sale of two parcels of county owned land at 1750 Oak Park Blvd. and 75 Santa Barbara Road, that is the site of the former Pleasant Hill Library, for $13.8 million to developer Davidon Homes. The site is part of a proposed development calling for the construction of a new City-owned library, 34 single-family homes, and open space.  No one spoke either in opposition or in favor of the sale.

Finalize Recruitment Process for New County Administrator

Supervisors also authorized recruitment consultant Peckham & McKenney, a Sacramento firm that supervisors had hired to recruit a new County Administrator to replace David Twa, who will retire at the end of this year to begin the recruitment process.  The supervisors had approved a $30,500 contract last month with Peckham & McKenney.

The successful candidate could earn an annual salary of as much as $381,000.

The recruiter has proposed a schedule that includes resume deadline of Sept. 22, preliminary interview running from Sept. 23 through Oct. 9, Recommendations of Candidates on Oct. 13, Interview – First Round the week of Oct. 26 and Second Round the week of Nov. 2.

The recruiters work is slated to be completed with the successful replacement of a new county administrator before Jan. 31, 2021, the end of the contract with Peckham & McKenney.

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Contra Costa Supervisors to consider extending rent, eviction moratorium during special meeting Tuesday

Monday, July 13th, 2020

By Allen Payton

In response to Gov. Newsom’s order on June 30 giving counties and cities the authority to extend their moratoriums on rent payments and evictions to Sept. 30, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will consider extending the county’s moratorium during their meeting on Tuesday, July 14. The current moratorium expires on Wednesday, July 15. (See agenda item D9)

The proposed ordinance applies to  offers a variety of reasons for extending the moratorium, including:

“The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health orders have resulted in the closure of many local small businesses, and have imposed extreme restrictions on other local small businesses.

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health orders are expected to result in a loss of income to a widespread portion of the local population that depend on wages or business income to pay rent and result in medical expenses for certain Contra Costa County residents.

Contra Costa County and the cities within the County are also experiencing a housing affordability crisis, which is driving homelessness and displacement of residents.

Many County residents are experiencing or will experience losses of income as a result of the local emergency and shelter-in-place orders, hindering their ability to pay rent and leaving them vulnerable to eviction.

Many of the County’s renters are rent-burdened, paying over 30 percent of their income on rent, and some renters are severely rent-burdened, paying over 50 percent of their income on rent, which leaves less money for families to spend on other necessities like food, healthcare, transportation, and education.

Without local protection, eviction notices, including notices for failure to pay rent, are likely to surge as residents and businesses are unable to earn income due to the COVID19 pandemic, or are forced to pay medical expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic; and

Housing displacement due to rent increases and evictions occurring during the local emergency would hinder individuals from complying with state and local directives to shelter at home, and would lead to increased spread of COVID-19, overburdening the healthcare delivery system and potentially resulting in greater loss of life.”

If the board members vote to extend the moratorium, they will have to choose which date, up to September 30th, they want it extended.

The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. and can be viewed live on Comcast Cable 27, ATT/U-Verse Channel 99, and WAVE Channel 32, and can be seen live online at www.contracosta.ca.gov.

Those who wish to address the board during public comment or with respect to any item that is on the agenda may call in during the meeting by dialing 888-251-2949 followed by the access code 1672589#. To indicate you wish to speak on an agenda item, please push “#2” on your phone.

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Antioch School Board unanimously approves revised school calendar, teachers and management contracts Wednesday evening

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

New school year will begin Sept. 1; no decision yet on in classroom or distance learning.

By Allen Payton

During a special meeting, Wednesday evening, the Antioch School Board voted 5-0 for a revised school calendar for 2020-2021 and for contracts with both teachers and management staff. The meeting began at 5:00 p.m.

School Year Schedule

The new school year will begin Monday, September 1st. According to the staff report on the agenda item, district management representatives have worked in collaboration with leadership from the Antioch Education Association (AEA) and the California School Employees Association (CSEA) to develop a revised draft calendar for the 2020-2021 school year in accordance with the provisions of the AUSD-AEA collective bargaining agreement.

Asked if the board has decided on in person classes, distance learning or a combination, Superintendent Stephanie Anello responded, “no decision has been made regarding the learning model.” Asked when she expected that to be decided, she replied, “We hope to make a decision, soon.”

“I am hopeful that a later start date, even if we have to start in distance learning, will make more in person learning possible, as restrictions ease,” Anello added.

Teachers Contract

According to the staff report, the Board of Education and the District Administration have been engaged in contract negotiations with the Antioch Education Association.  The parties reached a tentative agreement on all outstanding matters on June 23, 2020. Since then, the Antioch Education Association membership ratified the tentative agreement.

The contract adopted by the board provides district teachers with a 2% raise in salaries and a 0.12% increase in benefits, resulting in approximately a $1.8 million increase in the district’s budget. View the contract, here.

Management Staff Contract

According to the staff report, the Antioch Management Association (AMA) is comprised of certificated and classified management, supervisory, and confidential employees in the District. Because it is not an exclusive bargaining representative like the Antioch Education Association and the California School Employees Association, all matters regarding compensation, work year and hours, and other terms and conditions of employment for these employees are determined exclusively by the Superintendent and the Board of Education.

The District recently completed negotiations with the Antioch Education Association for the 2019-2020 school year. The terms which were agreed upon between the parties included increases in compensation and increases in the District’s monthly contribution to employee health and welfare benefits. Staff requests that the Board of Education approve equitable increases for employees in the AMA on the Certificated and Classified Management Salary Schedule with the same effective date.

Specifically, it is recommended that:

1) All salary schedules and associated stipends listed on those schedules be increased by 2.00% effective July 1, 2019.

2) The District’s annual contribution to health and welfare benefits be increased to the following levels effective January 1, 2020.

  • Employee Only:    $ 11,856.00
  • Employee Plus 1:  $ 16,980.00
  • Cash in Lieu:        $   3,120.00

The contract approved by the board will increase costs to the District’s general fund for management, supervisory, and confidential staff by approximately $308,659 (including salary and statutory costs) for 2019-2020. View the contract, here.

The district’s contract with classified staff has yet to be approved.

“We are still negotiating,” Anello shared. “However, we expect that it will be finalized, soon.”

The meeting can be viewed at https://youtu.be/8AkqwZYh53U.

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Secretary of State Padilla assigns numbers to November ballot measures, invites ballot arguments

Monday, July 6th, 2020

Two tax increases included in Props 15 and 19; Prop 18 lowers voting age to 17

SACRAMENTO, CA – Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Wednesday, July 1, assigned proposition numbers to the legislative, initiative, and referendum measures set to appear on the November 3, 2020 General Election ballot. Secretary Padilla also invited interested Californians to submit arguments to be considered for inclusion in the Official Voter Information Guide. The guide is mailed to every voting household in California and posted on the Secretary of State’s website.

The propositions are listed below, along with the Legislative Counsel’s digest or the Attorney General’s official circulating title and summary.

Proposition 14

AUTHORIZES BONDS TO CONTINUE FUNDING STEM CELL AND OTHER MEDICAL RESEARCH. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Authorizes $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine to educational, non-profit, and private entities for: (1) stem cell and other medical research, therapy development, and therapy delivery; (2) medical training; and (3) construction of research facilities. Dedicates $1.5 billion to fund research and therapy for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, and other brain and central nervous system diseases and conditions. Limits bond issuance to $540 million annually. Appropriates money from General Fund to repay bond debt, but postpones repayment for first five years. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: State costs of $7.8 billion to pay off principal ($5.5 billion) and interest ($2.3 billion) on the bonds. Associated average annual debt payments of about $310 million for 25 years. The costs could be higher or lower than these estimates depending on factors such as the interest rate and the period of time over which the bonds are repaid. The state General Fund would pay most of the costs, with a relatively small amount of interest repaid by bond proceeds. (19-0022A1.)

Proposition 15

INCREASES FUNDING FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS, COMMUNITY COLLEGES, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES BY CHANGING TAX ASSESSMENT OF COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Increases funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local governments by requiring that commercial and industrial real property be taxed based on current market value. Exempts from this change: residential properties; agricultural properties; and owners of commercial and industrial properties with combined value of $3 million or less. Increased education funding will supplement existing school funding guarantees. Exempts small businesses from personal property tax; for other businesses, exempts $500,000 worth of personal property. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Net increase in annual property tax revenues of $7.5 billion to $12 billion in most years, depending on the strength of real estate markets. After backfilling state income tax losses related to the measure and paying for county administrative costs, the remaining $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion would be allocated to schools (40 percent) and other local governments (60 percent). (19-0008.)

Proposition 16

ACA 5 (Resolution Chapter 23), Weber. Government preferences.

The California Constitution, pursuant to provisions enacted by the initiative Proposition 209 in 1996, prohibits the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. The California Constitution defines the state for these purposes to include the state, any city, county, public university system, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of, or within, the state.

This measure would repeal these provisions. The measure would also make a statement of legislative findings in this regard.

WHEREAS, Equal opportunity is deeply rooted in the American ideals of fairness, justice, and equality. Programs to meet the goals of equal opportunity seek to realize these basic values. Equal opportunity not only helps individuals, but also helps communities in need and benefits our larger society. California’s equal opportunity program was upended by the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209, entitled the California Civil Rights Initiative, amended Article I of the California Constitution to prohibit race- and gender-conscious remedies to rectify the underutilization of women and people of color in public employment, as well as public contracting and education; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209 invalidated a series of laws that had been enacted by the California Legislature over the 20 years prior to it that required state agencies to eliminate traditional patterns of segregation and exclusion in the workforce, to increase the representation of women and minorities in the state service by identifying jobs for which their employment was underrepresented due to discrimination, and to develop action plans to remedy such underrepresentation without effectuating quota systems; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209 also overshadowed other landmark civil rights and antidiscrimination laws. In 1959, after a 37-year campaign by labor and civil rights groups, the Unruh Civil Rights Act was passed, which was the forerunner of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and

WHEREAS, As a result of the passage of Proposition 209, women and people of color continue to face discrimination and disparity in opportunities to participate in numerous forms of association and work that are crucial to the development of talents and capabilities that enable people to contribute meaningfully to, and benefit from, the collective possibilities of national life; and

WHEREAS, The State of California has provided employment opportunities for people of color and women of all races. However, lingering, and even increasing, disparity still exists, particularly for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Black Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, and women, and should be rectified; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209 has impeded California’s continuing interest in supporting the equal participation of women in the workforce and in public works projects, in addressing the historical and present manifestations of gender bias, and in promulgating policies to enforce antidiscrimination in the workplace and on public projects; and

WHEREAS, In the wake of Proposition 209, California saw stark workforce diversity reductions for people of color and women in public contracting and in public education. Studies show that more diverse workforces perform better financially and are significantly more productive and focused; and

WHEREAS, Since the passage of Proposition 209, the state’s minority-owned and women-owned business enterprise programs have been decimated. A 2016 study conservatively estimates that the implementation of Proposition 209 cost women and people of color over $1,000,000,000 annually in lost contract awards. Most procurement and subcontracting processes remain effectively closed to these groups due to the changes brought on by Proposition 209; and

WHEREAS, Women are vastly underrepresented among firms receiving public contracts and the dollars awarded to certified women-owned business enterprises fell by roughly 40 percent, compared to levels before Proposition 209. In addition, only one-third of certified minority business enterprises in California’s transportation construction industry are still in operation today, compared to 20 years ago; and

WHEREAS, Women, particularly women of color, continue to face unequal pay for equal work. White women are paid 80 cents to every dollar paid to white men doing the same work. Black women are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men doing the same work and would theoretically have to work an extra seven months every year to overcome that differential. This persistent gender wage gap continues to harm women, their families, and communities; and

WHEREAS, Despite a booming economy with almost full employment, a persistent racial wealth gap remains rooted in income inequality. Improving minority access to educational and labor market opportunity reduces the wealth gap and strengthens the economy; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209 has had a devastating impact on minority equal opportunity and access to California’s publicly funded institutions of higher education. This violates the spirit of the California Master Plan for Higher Education by making it more difficult for many students to obtain an affordable and accessible high quality public education. While federal law allows schools to use race as a factor when making admissions decisions, California universities are prohibited by Proposition 209 from engaging in targeted outreach and extra efforts to matriculate high-performing minority students. This reduces .the graduation rates of students of color and, in turn, contributes to the diminution of the “pipeline” of candidates of color for faculty positions; and

WHEREAS, Since the passage of Proposition 209, diversity within public educational institutions has been stymied. Proposition 209 instigated a dramatic change in admissions policy at the University of California, with underrepresented group enrollment at the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses of the University of California immediately falling by more than 60 percent and systemwide underrepresented group enrollment falling by at least 12 percent. Underrepresented group high school graduates faced substantial long-term declines in educational and employment outcomes as a result of these changes; and

WHEREAS, Among California high school graduates who apply to the University of California, passage of Proposition 209 has led to a decreased likelihood of earning a college degree within six years, a decreased likelihood of ever earning a graduate degree, and long-run declines in average wages and the likelihood of earning high wages measured by California standards. The University of California has never recovered the same level of diversity that it had before the loss of affirmative action nearly 20 years ago, a level that, at the time, was widely considered to be inadequate to meet the needs of the state and its young people because it did not achieve parity with the state’s ethnic demographics; and

WHEREAS, The importance of diversity in educational settings cannot be overstated. The Supreme Court of the United States outlined the benefits that arise from diversity, as follows, “the destruction of stereotypes, the promotion of cross-racial understanding, the preparation of a student body for an increasingly diverse workforce and society, and the cultivation of a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry”; and

WHEREAS, Federal courts continue to reaffirm the value of diversity in favor of race conscious admissions, as exemplified by United States District Judge Allison D. Burroughs who stated, “race conscious admissions programs that survive strict scrutiny have an important place in society and help ensure that colleges and universities can offer a diverse atmosphere that fosters learning, improves scholarship, and encourages mutual respect and understanding. Further, Judge Burroughs recognized that there are no race-neutral alternatives that would allow a university to achieve an adequately diverse student body while still perpetuating its standards for academic and other forms of excellence; and

WHEREAS, It is the intent of the Legislature that California remedy discrimination against, and underrepresentation of, certain disadvantaged groups in a manner consistent with the United States Constitution and allow gender, racial, and ethnic diversity to be considered among the factors used to decide college admissions and hiring and contracting by government institutions; and

WHEREAS, It is further the intent of the Legislature that California transcend a legacy of unequal treatment of marginalized groups and promote fairness and equal citizenship by affording the members of marginalized groups a fair and full opportunity to be integrated into state public institutions that advance upward mobility, pay equity, and racial wealth gap reduction; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2019-20 Regular Session commencing on the third day of December 2018, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

That Section 31 of Article I thereof is repealed.

Proposition 17

ACA 6 (Resolution Chapter 24), McCarty. Elections: disqualification of electors.

The California Constitution requires the Legislature to provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony. Existing statutory law, for purposes of determining who is entitled to register to vote, defines imprisoned as currently serving a state or federal prison sentence.

This measure would instead direct the Legislature to provide for the disqualification of electors who are serving a state or federal prison sentence for the conviction of a felony. This measure would also delete the requirement that the Legislature provide for the disqualification of electors while on parole for the conviction of a felony. The measure would provide for the restoration of voting rights upon completion of the prison term.

Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2019-20 Regular Session commencing on the third day of December 2018, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

First-That Section 2 of Article II thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 2. (a) A United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this State may vote.

(b) An elector disqualified from voting while serving a state or federal prison term, as described in Section 4, shall have their right to vote restored upon the completion of their prison term.

Second-That Section 4 of Article II thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 4. The Legislature shall prohibit improper practices that affect elections and shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony.

Proposition 18

ACA 4 (Resolution Chapter 30), Mullin. Elections: voting age.

The California Constitution authorizes any person who is a United States citizen, at least 18 years of age, and a resident of the state to vote.

This measure, in addition, would authorize a United States citizen who is 17 years of age, is a resident of the state, and will be at least 18 years of age at the time of the next general election to vote in any primary or special election that occurs before the next general election in which the citizen would be eligible to vote if at least 18 years of age.

Proposition 19

ACA 11 (Resolution Chapter 31), Mullin. The Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act.

The California Constitution limits the amount of ad valorem taxes on real property to 1% of the full cash value of that property, defined as the county assessor’s valuation of real property as shown on the 1975–76 tax bill and, thereafter, the appraised value of the property when purchased, newly constructed, or a change in ownership occurs after the 1975 assessment, subject to an annual inflation adjustment not to exceed 2%. The California Constitution authorizes the Legislature to authorize a person over 55 years of age or any severely and permanently disabled person residing in property eligible for the homeowner’s exemption to transfer the base year value of that property to a replacement dwelling of equal or lesser value located in the same county, or another county that has adopted an ordinance allowing base years value transfers from other counties, as provided. The California Constitution also provides that the purchase or transfer of the principal residence, and the first $1,000,000 of other real property, of a transferor in the case of a transfer between parents and their children, or between grandparents and their grandchildren if all the parents of those grandchildren are deceased, is not a “purchase” or “change in ownership” for purposes of determining the “full cash value” of property for taxation.

This measure, beginning on and after April 1, 2021, would authorize an owner of a primary residence who is over 55 years of age, severely disabled, or a victim of a wildfire or natural disaster, as defined, to transfer the taxable value, defined as the base year value plus inflation adjustments, of their primary residence to a replacement primary residence located anywhere in the state, regardless of the location or value of the replacement primary residence, that is purchased or newly constructed as that person’s principal residence within 2 years of the sale of the original primary residence. The measure would limit a person who is over 55 years of age or severely disabled to 3 transfers under these provisions.

The measure, beginning on and after February 16, 2021, would exclude from the terms “purchase” and “change in ownership” for purposes of determining the “full cash value” of property the purchase or transfer of a family home or family farm, as those terms are defined, of the transferor in the case of a transfer between parents and their children, or between grandparents and their grandchildren if all the parents of those grandchildren are deceased. In the case of a transfer of a family home, the measure would require that the property continue as the family home of the transferee. The measure would require that the taxable value of the property be determined as provided. In the case of property tax benefits provided to a family home under these provisions, the bill would require the transferee to claim the homeowner’s or disabled veteran’s exemption within one year of the transfer. The measure would specify that the above-described provisions relating to transfers between parents or grandparents and children or grandchildren would apply to transfers occurring on or before February 15, 2021.

The measure would establish the California Fire Response Fund in the State Treasury. The measure would require the Controller to annually transfer a specified amount, based on calculations by the Director of Finance, of the additional revenues and savings that accrued to the state from the implementation of this measure’s provisions from the General Fund to that fund. However, the measure would provide that, if the amount required to be transferred to the California Fire Response Fund exceeds the amount transferred for the previous fiscal year by more than 10%, that excess amount would not be transferred to the California Fire Response Fund. The measure would require the Legislature to appropriate moneys in the fund solely for the purpose of funding fire suppression staffing by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and underfunded special districts that provide fire protection services, as provided.

The measure would also establish the County Revenue Protection Fund and continuously appropriate moneys in that fund for the purpose of reimbursing eligible local agencies, as provided. The measure would require the Controller to annually transfer a specified amount, based on the above-described calculations by the Director of Finance, from the General Fund to that fund. The measure would require each county to annually determine the gain of the county and any local agency within the county resulting from the implementation of this measure and, if that amount of gain is negative, provide that specified eligible local agencies may receive a reimbursement from the County Revenue Protection Fund. The measure would require the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to provide a reimbursement to each eligible local agency that has a negative gain, determined every 3 years based on the aggregate gain of the eligible local agency, as provided, and require the Controller to transfer any remaining balance in the County Revenue Protection Fund to the General Fund at the end of each 3-year period, to be available for appropriation for any purpose.

Proposition 20

RESTRICTS PAROLE FOR NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS. AUTHORIZES FELONY SENTENCES FOR CERTAIN OFFENSES CURRENTLY TREATED ONLY AS MISDEMEANORS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Imposes restrictions on parole program for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term for their primary offense. Expands list of offenses that disqualify an inmate from this parole program. Changes standards and requirements governing parole decisions under this program. Authorizes felony charges for specified theft crimes currently chargeable only as misdemeanors, including some theft crimes where the value is between $250 and $950. Requires persons convicted of specified misdemeanors to submit to collection of DNA samples for state database. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state and local correctional costs likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually, primarily related to increases in penalties for certain theft-related crimes and the changes to the nonviolent offender release consideration process. Increased state and local court-related costs of around a few million dollars annually related to processing probation revocations and additional felony theft filings. Increased state and local law enforcement costs not likely to exceed a couple million dollars annually related to collecting and processing DNA samples from additional offenders. (17-0044.)

Proposition 21

EXPANDS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS’ AUTHORITY TO ENACT RENT CONTROL ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Amends state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Allows rent increases on rent-controlled properties of up to 15 percent over three years from previous tenant’s rent above any increase allowed by local ordinance. Exempts individuals who own no more than two homes from new rent-control policies. In accordance with California law, provides that rent-control policies may not violate landlords’ right to a fair financial return on their property. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Potential reduction in state and local revenues of tens of millions of dollars per year in the long term. Depending on actions by local communities, revenue losses could be less or more. (19-0001.)

Proposition 22

CHANGES EMPLOYMENT CLASSIFICATION RULES FOR APP-BASED TRANSPORTATION AND DELIVERY DRIVERS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Establishes different criteria for determining whether app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers are “employees” or “independent contractors.” Independent contractors are not entitled to certain state-law protections afforded employees—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. Instead, companies with independent contractor drivers will be required to provide specified alternative benefits, including: minimum compensation and healthcare subsidies based on engaged driving time, vehicle insurance, safety training, and sexual harassment policies. Restricts local regulation of app-based drivers; criminalizes impersonation of such drivers; requires background checks. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Increase in state personal income tax revenue of an unknown amount. (19-0026A1)

Proposition 23

AUTHORIZES STATE REGULATION OF KIDNEY DIALYSIS CLINICS. ESTABLISHES MINIMUM STAFFING AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Requires at least one licensed physician on site during treatment at outpatientkidney dialysis clinics; authorizes Department of Public Health to exempt clinics from thisrequirement due to shortages of qualified licensed physicians if at least one nurse practitioner orphysician assistant is on site. Requires clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to state andfederal governments. Requires state approval for clinics to close or reduce services. Prohibitsclinics from discriminating against patients based on the source of payment for care. Summaryof estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Increased state and local health care costs, likely in the low tens of millions of dollars annually, resulting from increased dialysis treatment costs. (19-0025A1.)

Proposition 24

AMENDS CONSUMER PRIVACY LAWS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Permits consumers to: (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—such as precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; union membership; private communications; and certain sexual orientation, health, and biometric information. Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with these laws. Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary. Triples maximum penalties for violations concerning consumers under age 16. Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency to enforce and implement consumer privacy laws, and impose administrative fines. Requires adoption of substantive regulations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Increased annual state costs of roughly $10 million for a new state agency to monitor compliance and enforcement of consumer privacy laws. Increased state costs, potentially reaching the low millions of dollars annually, from increased workload to DOJ and the state courts, some or all of which would be offset by penalty revenues. Unknown impact on state and local tax revenues due to economic effects resulting from new requirements on businesses to protect consumer information. (19-0021A1.)

Proposition 25

REFERENDUM TO OVERTURN A 2018 LAW THAT REPLACED MONEY BAIL SYSTEM WITH A SYSTEM BASED ON PUBLIC SAFETY RISK. If this petition is signed by the required number of registered voters and timely filed, a referendum will be placed on the next statewide ballot requiring a majority of voters to approve a 2018 state law before it can take effect. The 2018 law replaces the money bail system with a system for pretrial release from jail based on a determination of public safety or flight risk, and limits pretrial detention for most misdemeanors. (18-0009.)

Ballot Arguments

Arguments may be submitted for or against the measures. Arguments selected for the Official Voter Information Guide will be on public display between July 21 and August 10. If multiple arguments are submitted for a proposition, state law gives first priority to arguments written by legislators in the case of legislative measures and to proponents of an initiative or referendum; subsequent priority goes to bona fide citizen associations and then to individuals. No more than three signers are allowed to appear on an argument or rebuttal to an argument.

Ballot arguments cannot exceed 500 words and rebuttals to ballot arguments cannot exceed 250 words. All submissions should be typed and double-spaced.  Arguments may be hand-delivered to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division at 1500 11th Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, California 95814; faxed to (916) 653-3214; or emailed to VIGarguments@sos.ca.gov. If faxed or emailed, the original documents must be received within 72 hours.  The deadline to submit ballot arguments is July 7 by 5:00 p.m. The deadline to submit rebuttals to the ballot arguments is July 16 by 5:00 p.m.

Candidate Statements in the County Voter Information Guide

Candidates for the United States House of Representatives, California State Senate, and California State Assembly have until August 7 to submit candidate statements to their county elections official for the local sample ballot in the county or counties in which the district lies.

For more information on ballot measures, candidate filing requirements, and election deadlines, please visit: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/general-election-november-3-2020/

 

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