General Election: SDG Positions

The 2020 election is upon us! A reminder that while the recommended drop off date of mail-in ballots expired yesterday, rest assured your vote will be counted as long as it’s postmarked by November 3. If you choose to vote in person, be aware that there will be fewer in-person voting locations this year and you may not be voting at your usual polling place. Be prepared for everything to take just a little longer than usual as polling locations work hard to ensure safety and social distancing. And, of course, don’t forget your mask!

For complete information on returning your ballot by mail or drop box and voting in person, check the Registrar of Voters in your county:

Imperial County

San Diego County

As usual in California, there are numerous ballot measures gracing our ballots this year. For the first time, San Diego Grantmakers has taken a position on one local ballot measure and two statewide propositions. After requests from partner organizations that we consider taking a position, education and discussion in our Public Policy Committee, and discussion by our Board of Directors, San Diego Grantmakers determined that taking a “Support” position on Local Measure A and state Propositions 15 and 16 is consistent with our vision of an equitable, collaborative, and impactful social change ecosystem that improves the lives of all residents in the region.

Measure A—Homes for San Diego Bond Measure: The Homes for San Diego bond measure (Measure A) authorizes up to $900 million in bonds to acquire and improve property to provide affordable housing to extremely low-, very low-, and low-income individuals. The bond would be financed by property tax assessments estimated between approximately $3 and $21 per each $100,000 of assessed valuation for fiscal years 2022 through 2068. The bond is expected to be able to fund 7,500 housing units, well over the 5,400 units called for by the city’s Community Action Plan for homelessness. Funds will be administered by the San Diego Housing Commission with an oversight committee and be externally audited. Both YIGBY and Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego support this measure and San Diego Grantmakers agrees that prioritizing housing accessibility is a necessity to the quality of life of the residents of our region.

Prop 15— The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2020: Proposition 15 would make changes to Proposition 13 by instituting what is commonly referred to as “split roll.” Under Proposition 15, California property taxes for commercial and industrial property will be based on the current real cash value of the current year (value to be determined by county assessors). All residential property is exempt and would continue to be taxed under Proposition 13 rules (whether occupied by homeowner or renter), as is land zoned for commercial/industrial but being used as residential. The exemption includes residential property being used as home offices/home-based businesses. 40% of the revenue would go to schools in California and 60% to counties, cities, and special districts (allocated by current funding formulas). All school districts, community college districts, cities, counties, and special districts will be required to disclose the amount of money received and how it was spent.

Philanthropy’s resources augment, but do not replace, public sector support of public sector funded priorities, such as education and municipal services. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to deepen and the economic impacts grow exponentially, public education systems and municipalities are facing tremendous systemic challenges without the resources needed to provide the public education and municipal services essential to Californians. Philanthropy cannot close the gap between the growing needs in these areas and the resources available. Proposition 15 provides needed funding for services and schools that were already struggling before the pandemic, particularly in areas that serve those most vulnerable to economic downturns. While Proposition 15 makes significant changes to current property tax law, it does so in a manner that protects residential property owners and small businesses.

Prop 16—The Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment: Proposition 16 would rescind Prop 209, allowing for the state government, local governments, public universities, and other political subdivisions and public entities to—within the limits of federal law—develop and use affirmative action programs that grant preferences based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting. California would still be bound by all federal laws governing discrimination and bias.

The climate of racial injustice in the country demonstrates that championing policies that advance equity are of paramount importance to realizing our vision of and equitable, collaborative, and impactful social change ecosystem that improves the lives of all residents in the region.

To learn more about San Diego Grantmakers’ Public Policy Committee, read here.