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September 14, 2010 > General Election November 2010

General Election November 2010

State Propositions
Proposition 19: Legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in California (Initiative Statute)
Permits people 21-years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use; allows local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21-years old or older; bans possession of marijuana on school grounds, use in public, smoking it in the presence of minors or providing it to anyone under 21; maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired. According to official sources, State and local governments would save up to tens of millions of dollars annually on the costs of incarceration and supervision of certain marijuana offenders. The benefits to State and local governments from the cultivation and sale of marijuana products have not been quantified but potential major tax, fee and assessment revenues are deemed possible. The official advocacy group for the initiative is "Yes on 19."

A NO vote means under State law, possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use and commercial marijuana-related activities remains illegal, unless under the auspices of the State's existing medical marijuana law.

As of September 2010, even if Proposition 19 passes, the sale of marijuana will remain illegal under federal law, as per the Controlled Substances Act 1970 which regulates the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances.

Proposition 20: Redistricting of Congressional Districts (Initiative Constitutional Amendment)
The State Constitution requires the State to adjust the boundary lines of districts after the federal census for the State Assembly, State Senate, State Board of Equalization and congressional districts in the US House of Representatives. Federal law requires the redistricting process to produce districts with approximately equal populations. Hitherto, the State Legislature has been tasked with redistricting. Proposition 11 (2008) created the Citizens Redistricting Commission to assume responsibility for the process from 2010 but a formal transfer of authority is required.

A YES vote transfers responsibility for establishing California's 53 congressional districts from elected representatives to the 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission which comprises five Democrats, five Republicans and four voters registered with neither party. Proposition 20 requires nine commissioners, including three Democrats, three Republicans and three from neither party, to approve newly-proposed district lines.

If both Propositions 20 and 27 are approved, the one with the greater number of YES votes will take effect.

A NO vote continues to vest the State Legislature with the authority to re-draw California's district boundaries in the US House of Representatives.

(see Proposition 27)

Proposition 21: Establishes $18 annual Vehicle License Surcharge to help fund State parks and wildlife programs and grants free admission to all State parks to surcharged vehicles (Initiative Statute)
Proposition 21 places an annual $18 surcharge on all vehicles registered on or after January 1, 2011. Commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches are exempt. The Department of Motor Vehicles will collect the surcharge when annual vehicle registration fees are paid. Surcharged vehicles will enjoy free admission to all State parks.

Surcharge revenue will be deposited in a new State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund, used only for the State park system and conservation of wildlife and natural resources and be subject to annual independent audit and review by a citizen's oversight committee.

The measure will raise approximately $500M and potentially generate annual savings up to approximately $200M for the State's General Fund and other special funds for parks and wildlife conservation programs. Free vehicle admission will reduce State and local revenues from State park day-use fees by about $50M annually. This loss could be offset by potential increases in fees for camping, tours and other activities.

A NO vote means existing State and local funding sources will continue to finance State park and wildlife conservation programs and admission and parking fees could continue to be charged for vehicles entering State parks.

Proposition 22: Prohibits the State from taking funds used for transportation or local government projects and services (Initiative Constitutional Amendment)
State and local funding responsibilities are inter-related, as per the State Constitution. Some State decisions benefit the State fiscally and others, local government. Voters have limited the State's authority over local finances with Proposition 1A (2004) and Proposition 1A (2006). However, the State is still allowed to temporarily borrow or redirect some city, county and special district revenues. It can also redirect local redevelopment agency funds earmarked for elimination of blight.

Proposition 22 prohibits the State from shifting, taking, borrowing, or restricting the use of tax revenues dedicated by law to fund local government services, community redevelopment projects or transportation projects and services. The measure also stops the State from delaying the distribution of tax revenues for these purposes even when the Governor deems it necessary due to a severe State fiscal hardship.

A YES vote restricts State authority to use or redirect State fuel tax and local property tax revenues from a city, county, special district and redevelopment agency leading to higher and more stable local resources, potentially affecting billions of dollars in some years. There would be commensurate reductions in State resources, resulting in major decreases in State spending and/or increases in State revenues.

A NO vote means the State's current authority over State fuel tax and local property tax revenues will continue.

Proposition 23: Suspends air pollution control laws requiring major polluters to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming until unemployment drops below specified level for full year (Initiative Statute)
This measure suspends certain existing laws and implementation of AB 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act (2006), which requires reduced greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, until California's unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters. It requires the State to abandon implementation of a comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program (AB 32 Scoping Plan whose cap-and-trade scheme allows emitters to trade their emissions allowances) that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension is lifted.

According to official sources, there are potential positive, short-term impacts on State and local government revenues from the suspension of regulatory activity, with uncertain longer-term impacts. Suspension of future implementation of cap-and-trade regulations could lead to loss of State revenues from the auctioning of emission allowances by State government.

A NO vote means the State will continue to address global warming, as per AB 32.

Proposition 24: Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to carry back losses, share tax credits, and use a sales-based income calculation to lower taxable income (Initiative Statute)
The measure would prevent businesses from carrying back operating losses to two prior tax years and restrict the carrying forward of operating losses to 10 years instead of 20 years. It would also prohibit corporations from sharing tax credits with affiliated corporations in the same unitary group. Proposition 24 will not allow multi-State businesses to choose between a sales-based income calculation or a combination property-, payroll- and sales-based income formula, whichever is better for the business, to determine taxable income in California.

Repeal of legislation will increase business taxes by approximately $1.7 billion when fully phased in, beginning in 2011-12.

A NO vote means the three business tax provisions enacted in 2008 and 2009 will be unaffected. Businesses will be able to deduct losses in one year against income in more situations. Most multi-State businesses could choose to determine their California income on a single sales factor. A business will be able to share its tax credits with associated businesses.

Proposition 25: Changes legislative vote requirement to pass a budget from two-thirds to a simple majority. Retains two-thirds vote requirement for taxes (Initiative Constitutional Amendment)
Changes the legislative vote required to pass the State budget from two-thirds (67 percent) to a simple majority (50 percent plus one). If the Legislature (State Assembly and State Senate) fails to pass a budget bill by June 15 and send it to the Governor, all State legislators will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses from June 15 until the day a budget is presented to the Governor.

Proposition 25 may make it easier to approve a State budget. Lowering the voting requirement to a simple majority of each house would enable the majority party to approve a budget bill without the support of members of the minority party, given the current composition of each house. Support from some members of the minority party is needed to achieve a two-thirds vote.

A NO vote means the current, necessary two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature to send an annual budget bill to the Governor will remain unchanged.

Proposition 26: Increases legislative vote requirement to two-thirds for State levies and charges. Imposes additional requirement for voters to approve local levies and charges with limited exceptions (Initiative Constitutional Amendment)
Individuals and businesses are subject to a range of State and local government taxes, fees and charges. Typically, taxes fund general public services whereas fees and charges pay for specific services and programs benefitting individuals and businesses. Usually, a governing body (Legislature, city council, county board of supervisors...) can cast a majority vote to introduce or increase fees and charges. However, State proposals to increase taxes require two-thirds approval from each house of the Legislature and from the electorate for local tax measures.

Proposition 26 broadens the definition of what is a State or local tax to include payments currently regarded as fees or charges. Consequently, two-thirds of each of the Assembly and Senate and of the electorate would have to approve State revenue measures and local revenue proposals, respectively. Some fees and charges are unaffected because they either comply with the proposition's provisions or are exempt. This measure also raises the necessary approval to two-thirds, from each house, of State laws that increase taxes for any taxpayer even if the net fiscal effect does not generate any revenue to the State. Proposition 26 also repeals any State laws adopted between January 1, 2010 and November 2, 2010 that conflict with the measure a year after the proposition is approved, unless two-thirds of each house re-approves them.

A NO vote leaves current constitutional requirements regarding fees and taxes unchanged.

Proposition 27: Eliminates State Commission on redistricting. Consolidates authority for redistricting with elected representatives (Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute)
Returns responsibility to the State Legislature for delineation of district boundaries after the federal census for the State Assembly, State Senate, State Board of Equalization and congressional districts in the US House of Representatives and eliminates the 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission created by Proposition 11 (2008). Reduces budget and limits how much the Legislature may spend for redistricting. Voters will have the authority to reject district boundary maps approved by the Legislature. Requires populations of all districts for the same office to be exactly the same.

If Propositions 20 and 27 are both approved, the one with the greater number of YES votes will take effect.

A NO vote confers the Citizens Redistricting Commission with responsibility to determine the boundaries of Legislature and Board of Equalization districts.

(see Proposition 20)

Alameda County, School District, Municipal and Special District Local Ballot Measures
Measure F: Alameda County Transportation Improvement Measure - Vehicle Registration Fee (majority vote needed)
To repair and maintain local streets and roads; improve traffic flow and bicyclist, pedestrian and driver safety; improve public transportation; and encourage green transportation options; shall a local vehicle registration fee of $10 be established in Alameda County with expenditures subject to strict monitoring and with all revenues staying in Alameda County.

Measure G: Ohlone College Job Training/Quality Education Local Bond (55 percent votes needed)
To improve and continue affordable college education, job training/workforce preparation by constructing/acquiring equipment/sites/facilities and making repairs/upgrades, including renovating classrooms/science laboratories; acquiring up-to-date classroom technology; upgrading for earthquake/fire safety; and improving disabled access, shall Ohlone Community College District issue $349M of bonds, at legal rates with all funds spent locally, independent citizens' oversight, annual audits, no money for administrators' salaries or Sacramento.

Measure K: Fremont Unified School District Parcel Tax - (2/3 votes needed)
To provide Fremont schools stable funding for quality local education and programs that cannot be taken away by the state, including maintaining math, science, reading and writing programs; keeping school libraries open; supporting classroom/learning technology; maintaining college and workforce preparation programs; and retaining qualified teachers, shall the Fremont Unified School District levy $53 per parcel annually for five years, exempting seniors, with citizen oversight, no money for administrator salaries and all money benefiting local schools.

Measure M: San Leandro Unified School District Bond Measure (55 percent votes needed)
To continue to improve and modernize its schools, renovate athletic facilities including Burrell Field, replace the pools at San Leandro High School, enhance energy efficiency and promote safe, healthy schools for all students, shall the San Leandro Unified School District be authorized to replace, renovate, acquire and construct school facilities, and issue $50.1M in bonds at legal interest rates with no funds for administrator salaries, conduct annual independent audits, and appoint an Independent Oversight Committee to monitor bond expenditures.

Measure U: City of Newark - Newark Temporary Fiscal Emergency Utility Users Tax Measure (majority vote needed)
To prevent closure of Silliman Center and elimination of school police officers and parks/recreation programs; restore public safety services, reopen the Senior Center; and prevent additional cuts to neighborhood patrols, crime prevention, anti-drug/gang-prevention programs, 9-1-1 emergency, and other city services, shall the City of Newark establish a 3.5 percent utility users tax for five years, exempting seniors and low-income residents, requiring independent audits, with no money for Sacramento.

Measure Z: City of San Leandro - San Leandro Temporary Emergency Funding Local Sales Tax (50 percent plus one votes needed)
To protect and maintain local services, such as fire and 9-1-1 emergency response times, neighborhood police patrols, investigation and gang suppression officers, library hours/programs, street and pothole repairs, youth after-school and senior programs, and other general City services, shall the City of San Leandro enact a quarter-cent sales tax, for seven years, reviewed by a citizens' oversight committee, annual independent audits, and all funds for San Leandro and no funds for Sacramento.

Measure AA: City of Union City Local Sales Tax (50 percent plus one votes needed)
To prevent severe cuts to essential services such as police, fire, paramedic, library, streets, parks and other services, shall Union City adopt an Ordinance enacting a half-cent sales tax expiring four years from the date it is first collected, reviewed by a citizen's oversight committee, with annual independent audits, and all funds for Union City and no funds for the State of California.

Santa Clara County, School District, Municipal and Special District Local Ballot Measures
Measure A: Santa Clara County Children's Health Protection Parcel Tax (2/3 votes needed)
To protect and maintain children's health and prevent serious illnesses through regular medical checkups, immunizations, and early detection; to reduce costs from unnecessary emergency room use; and to prevent elimination of insurance coverage for low-income children of working families; shall Santa Clara County enact a $29 annual parcel tax; limited to 10 years; with independent citizens oversight, full public disclosure of all spending, and subject to audits.

Measure B: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Vehicle Registration Fee (majority vote needed)
To repair potholes, repave and maintain local streets, improve traffic flow on local roads; increase Santa Clara County's share of state/federal matching funds; improve safety; and pay for other congestion and pollution mitigation projects; shall the motor vehicle registration fee be increased $10 for each vehicle registered in Santa Clara County; thereby relieving traffic congestion, improving streets and reducing polluted, toxic roadway runoff which contaminates water supplies, with all revenues to remain in Santa Clara County.

Measure C: Santa Clara Valley Water District Term Limits (majority vote needed)
Shall an ordinance of the Santa Clara Valley Water District limiting Board members, whether elected or appointed after the established effective date, from serving more than three successive four-year terms; which sets forth the effect of partial terms; and which establishes an effective date of December 3, 2010 be approved.

Measure I: East Side High School Union High School District Parcel Tax (2/3 votes needed)
To retain and attract excellent teachers and support staff, increase student access to science, technology, math and core academic classes required for college admission and careers, keep guidance counselors, continue to fund art, music and athletics and keep our schools safe and secure, shall the East Side Union High School District be authorized to levy $98 per parcel annually for six years with citizen oversight, an exemption for seniors, no money for administrator salaries, and guaranteed local control of funds.

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