IN OUR COMMUNITY

CZI Investing in Community, Equity, and Justice Through Upcoming Ballot Initiatives

Andrea Collier

Oct 2, 2020

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CZI is supporting several ballot measures that will center equity, prioritize health and safety, and unlock resources, access, and opportunity for millions. Illustration by CZI.
CZI is supporting several ballot measures that will center equity, prioritize health and safety, and unlock resources, access, and opportunity for millions. Illustration by CZI.

Why We’re Engaging in California Prop 15, 16, 20 and Oregon Measure 110 This Election Season

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is supporting several propositions set to appear on ballots this November. The measures—which include Proposition 15, 16, and 20 in California, Measure 110 in Oregon, plus local measures Y and W in two Bay Area counties—center equity, prioritize health and safety, and unlock resources and opportunity for millions. This issue-based advocacy work is led by teams on CZI’s Justice and Opportunity Initiative , which tackles systemic barriers in society that hold people back from reaching their full potential.

Here’s a rundown on what each measure means and why we’re supporting or opposing.

YES on CA Proposition 15: Closes a Corporate Tax Loophole to Help Schools, Local Communities Meet Urgent Needs

Proposition 15, also known as the Schools and Communities First Initiative, has the potential to stabilize funding for vulnerable communities across California. If passed, Proposition 15 would close corporate tax loopholes, without changing existing residential property tax mandates. It also has explicit protections for small businesses and renters. Under this measure the highest value properties would pay their fair share (and an estimated 10% of landowners will pay 92% of the tax revenue), generating nearly $12 billion in revenue annually to strengthen vital local services.

Bringing the measure to the November ballot is the culmination of hard work of a host of social justice, public health and education focused organizations and advocates—as well as elected officials like Governor Gavin Newsom—across the state. CZI has invested around 10.8 million in the measure since May of 2018, which includes an additional $4.5 million announced this week.

Local communities—including those most vulnerable to the current crises created by COVID-19 and the California fires—have seen systematic disinvestment for decades. Yes on Prop 15 will generate revenue to provide much needed resources to sustain local health systems, protect essential workers, and support the local education systems and housing for the most vulnerable. 

NO on CA Proposition 20: Protects Criminal Justice Reforms

Another measure on the November ballot is Proposition 20, which, as it stands, would reverse significant criminal justice reforms in California, disproportionately impacting Black and Latinx people across the state. Over the last decade, California voters have approved key reforms that reduced our prison population and routed funding from prisons to rehabilitation, treatment, and victim services. Proposition 20, if passed by voters, would roll back many of those policies, increase incarceration rates, and cut funding to rehabilitation programs.

CZI has been involved, along with California’s criminal justice reform advocates and allies, in supporting the No on Prop 20 campaign because of how harsh and unfair sentencing laws have contributed to the U.S. system of mass incarceration—negatively impacting families and entire communities, especially communities of color. 

YES on CA Proposition 16: Creates Equal Opportunity for All 

Proposition 16 is an important fight for equity in the state. Its passage would repeal Proposition 209, which banned the use of race, gender, or ethnicity as factors in admissions to public universities and in government hiring. A recently released study makes plain the troubling downsides of Proposition 209’s ban on Affirmative Action. It finds that, by ending racial preferences in the California state university system, the ban has harmed Black and Latinx students on multiple levels—among them, reducing both their odds of finishing college and earning a high salary. Proposition 16 would help to remedy decades of an uneven playing field in admissions as well as in hiring within local and state government. CZI stands with a strong and diverse coalition supporting Proposition 16, including the NAACP, Kaiser Permanente, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Dolores Huerta, Gloria Steinem, and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, to help fight discrimination in California.

NO on Measure Y and YES on Measure W: Putting Community Needs First in San Mateo and Alameda Counties 

At the local level, CZI is engaging in two Bay Area measures. With No on Measure Y, CZI stands behind the necessity to end long-held practices of exclusionary zoning that imposes height and density rules in San Mateo County, including its most transit-oriented districts. For Alameda County, CZI supports Yes on Measure W, which addresses the county’s homeless crisis. The measure proposes a half cent general sales tax that will raise roughly $150 million each year over the next decade. The money raised will be used to provide housing assistance, mental health resources, and substance abuse treatment for the county’s most vulnerable residents.

YES on OR Measure 110: A Humane, Health-Based Approach to Drugs and Addiction

Beyond the California propositions, CZI is supporting the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, known as Measure 110 on the ballot this election cycle in Oregon. Its significance is monumental: If the measure passes, Oregon will shift to a health-based approach to drugs and addiction. Instead of arrests and criminal convictions, people possessing small amounts of drugs will get civil infractions that can be waived if they get assessed for drug treatment needs. Measure 110 would expand drug addiction treatment and recovery programs, leveraging money from law enforcement savings from reduced drug arrests.

Drug convictions, among Black and Indigenous Oregonians, which are disproportionately high in the state, could also go down by a staggering 94 percent if the measure passes. Like the propositions in California that CZI has invested in, Measure 110 is a hard but important fight. Oregon, like so many states, has suffered from high numbers of drug overdoses, and people who want to get treatment but can’t find it or can’t afford it. This measure would start to address treatment and interventions in a sustainable and systematic way in order to get people the help they need and deserve.

CZI sees policy change as a critical lever in moving the needle on our core issue areas of housing affordability, criminal justice reform, and immigration reform. Our first ballot measure contributions were made in 2016—focused on hyper-local solutions in housing and transportation in the Bay Area. Since then we have supported numerous statewide and local ballot measures, including California Prop 1 and Ohio Issue 1 in 2018. Learn more about CZI’s advocacy focus


CZI 2020 Ballot Measures Investments At-A-Glance

Why YES on California Proposition 15?

Proposition 15 closes legacy corporate tax loopholes to generate up to $12 billion annually for local community services in California (schools, hospitals and clinics, and other public services).

Why NO on California Proposition 20? 

Proposition 20 would roll back significant criminal justice reforms in California, disproportionately impacting Black and Latinx people across the state.

Why YES on CA Proposition 16? 

Proposition 16 would reauthorize policies and affirmative action programs that were discontinued when Proposition 209 passed—including efforts  intended to increase the hiring of people of color and women, increase diversity in university admissions, and increase participation of women-owned and minority-owned businesses in public contracts. 

Why YES on Oregon Measure 110? 

Measure 110 shifts Oregon to a health-based approach to drugs and addiction. Instead of arrests and criminal convictions, people possessing small amounts of drugs will get civil infractions that can be waived if they get assessed for drug treatment needs. Redirects funding to prevention and recovery. 

Why NO on San Mateo County Measure Y? 

Measure Y ends long-held practices of exclusionary zoning that imposes height and density rules in San Mateo County, preventing housing needs from meeting demand.

Why YES on Alameda County Measure W?

The measure proposes a half-cent general sales tax that will raise roughly $150 million each year over the next decade—providing urgently needed funding that Alameda County can use to provide housing assistance, mental health resources, and substance abuse treatment for the county’s most vulnerable residents.