Post-Election Wrap Up
by Tracey Corder
Watching the results roll in from the November 8th election was both inspiring and terrifying. While California said a resounding YES to funding education, healthcare and reforming the criminal justice system, the nation said yes to fear, hatred and division. Knowing that someone who has opened the floodgates of bigotry against our families, our friends and our neighbors was voted into the highest office in the land made it difficult to celebrate our collective local wins.
Much will continue to be written about “economic anxiety” or the belief that it was simply the lack of financial security and not the history of racism in our country that contributed to the outcomes at the national level. What is clear is that now, more than ever, we need values-based leadership -- people who will hold steadfast to progressive values regardless of what pundits and polls say and who are accountable to community and not to donors. Both racial and economic justice must be at the forefront of our analysis and policies because one cannot exist without the other.
But it’s not doom and gloom for us, because we know that one election does not halt our work. In fact, challenges that we can anticipate from the Trump administration means we need to up our game. We will continue to decode neoliberal language used to divide our communities, and push back against displacement, discrimination and divestment. Tax cuts will not come at the expense of our kids’ education; safety will go beyond policing; and businesses will provide community benefits in the areas that they develop.
In the midst of the national news, we had some big wins statewide and in Oakland. Oakland Rising ran our largest campaign with a crew of 44 Daily Team members, residents largely from East and West Oakland who talked to their neighbors about how Propositions 55, 56, 57 and Measure JJ would positively impact our communities and bring much needed resources and changes. We spoke to over 20,000 voters, and gained support from nearly 90% of them. And they showed up on Election Day -- while voter turnout for California was 59.6%, 71.2% of Alameda County voters turned in their ballots.
Oakland Rising was a part of the BIGGEST Field Campaign in the state through California Calls and the Million Voters Project.
Measure JJ fundamentally shifts the balance of power away from landlords and to renters in an effort to stop illegal evictions and rent increases. Landlords will have to petition the Rent Board to increase rent beyond the yearly allowed 3% cost of living adjustment and that board will be made up with a majority of tenants. Just Cause eviction protections will also be extended to buildings built before 1995, protecting at least 10,000 more Oakland renters.
Prop 55 will continue the income tax on the wealthy (those earning more than $250,000 annually) to support education and healthcare. Extending this tax for another 12 years means that we will not return to the days of teacher layoffs and deep cuts in recreation and afterschool programs.
Prop 56 taxes cigarettes and other tobacco products to fund Medi-Cal for California children and seniors. We recognize that smoking causeshealth problems for both the smoker and those around them. We also recognize that tobacco companies target young people to make them lifelong smokers. Prop 56 addresses this by also funding education to prevent teenage smoking.
Prop 57 is a major win for those caught in our racially biased criminal justice system. It will do two major things:
- change how youth are treated, taking sole discretion out of the hands of prosecutors when it comes to deciding whether youth are tried as adults, in favor of having those decisions be made by judges instead;
- expand opportunities for adults to be released on probation through good behavior, education and rehabilitation for non-violent offenses.
We are proud of our role in these victories, and also proud of Oaklanders for their decisions to make our city and state more socially just.
Below is a scorecard that shows you Oakland Rising’s position on each measure.
- Measure A1 Affordable Housing for Alameda County YES
- Measure G1 Educator Salary Increases YES
- Measure C1 Extend Tax to Support AC Transit YES
- Measure RR Tax to Improve BART Safety and Reliability YES
- Measure HH Tax on Sugary Beverage Distributors YES
- Measure II Extend Maximum Lease Length for City Land YES
- Measure JJ Protect Oakland Renters YES
- Measure KK Bond for Oakland Infrastructure NO POSITION
- Measure LL Commission to Slightly Oversee the Police YES WITH HESITATION
Voters passed each of these measures.