By Lola Weber
November 9, 2020
November 3rd didn’t necessarily provide any closure for those following the painful presidential race, however, it did give invaluable insight on the mindset and priorities of California voters. Local elections hold the same, if not more, value to people as presidential elections do, but this consistently fails to be noticed.
There were several ballot measures a part of this year’s general election for California, which had strong significance for the working class, homeless, and marginalized communities. California tends to pride itself on being one of the most progressive states, however when it comes down to the choice for people to instill protective measures and propositions, California fails to do so.
Proposition 15, was one of these measure results that exemplified California’s lack of concern for public funding, and further protected corporate hoarding of wealth. This measure was an initiative to close the tax loophole which allowed commercial property owners along with investors to keep billions of dollars through avoidance of corporate real estate taxation. These billions of dollars would have been reallocated to funding public K-12 education, along with community colleges and libraries.
The results of proposition 15 are still trailing, however there is a clear margin against passing this measure, which is an extreme disappointment. With an initiative such as proposition 15 failing, which would have provided much needed support for the vast majority of Californians, it is evident that California has a long way to go in terms of truly progressive policy and concern for public institutions.
Proposition 21 was another ballot measure that failed to push through, with nearly 60% of voters in opposition to the measure. Proposition 21 would have modified the ‘Costa Hawkins’ state law, essentially eliminating the rule that properties built after 1995 could not have applied rent control. Both of California’s major cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, have pressing housing crises, and propositions that provide rent protection can mitigate these issues and protect more people.
Proposition 16, which would have ended the ban on affirmative action, was an initiative to overturn the “California Civil Right Initiative” set forth by wealthy white California Republicans in the mid 90s. Again, California voters took a firm opposition to this measure, proving that a lot of the activism and strong support for people and communities of color in recent months were merely actions to gain social capital, rather than real change.
In what became one of the most controversial measures of this election, proposition 22 ended up passing with a nearly 60% margin, being a huge victory for silicon valley. Proposition 22 was written up by tech companies to change their workers’ classification from employees to independent contractors. This meant that these companies were no longer responsible for providing basic worker ‘benefits’ such as minimum wage and healthcare.
This measure was a clear attempt for these companies to further exploit their workers and their labor to the fullest extent imaginable, all under the weak mask of protecting gig-workers. Rideshare and service apps such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash all spent a record 200 million dollars on promoting Proposition 22, making this the most expensive measure campaign to date.
Unfortunately, a clear majority of California voters were influenced by this expensive campaign, leading to the passing of this measure. This was a pitiful blow to the rights of workers, emboldening the very prevalent neoliberalism of California.