Vot­ing is split on im­mense Cal­i­for­nia bond mea­sures

Lodi News-Sentinel - - LOCAL/STATE - By John My­ers

SACRA­MENTO — High-pro­file bal­lot mea­sures to ex­pand rent con­trol on apart­ments and roll back re­cent taxes on gaso­line failed to win sup­port in early Cal­i­for­nia elec­tion re­turns Tues­day, while vot­ers au­tho­rized bil­lions of dol­lars in new bor­row­ing and pos­si­bly paved the way for year-round day­light sav­ing time.

In vote tal­lies re­ported through early Wed­nes­day, a ma­jor­ity of the 11 statewide propo­si­tions ap­peared headed for pas­sage. A few tight con­tests may not be de­cided for sev­eral days. Un­der state law, none of the pro­posed laws can take ef­fect un­til elec­tion re­sults are cer­ti­fied early next month.

Sup­port­ers of the two mar­quee mea­sures on the statewide bal­lot, on rent con­trol and gas taxes, saw their pro­pos­als soundly re­jected.

Propo­si­tion 10 would have re­pealed a state law that, for more than two decades, has pro­hib­ited cities and coun­ties from im­pos­ing most forms of new rent con­trol. After cam­paign spend­ing of more than $100 mil­lion cam­paign in which op­po­nents — pre­dom­i­nantly groups rep­re­sent­ing Cal­i­for­nia land­lords — out­spent sup­port­ers 3 to 1, vot­ers ap­peared to op­pose the ini­tia­tive de­ci­sively. The re­sult would leave in place lo­cal re­stric­tions on rent con­trol poli­cies.

In early re­turns, Propo­si­tion 10 was be­ing soundly re­jected by al­most two-thirds of vot­ers. Should those num­bers hold, it will be one of the most lop­sided de­feats for an ini­tia­tive in re­cent years.

A closer but still un­suc­cess­ful cam­paign was waged for Propo­si­tion 6, which would have re­pealed a re­cent in­crease in the state gas tax and ve­hi­cle fees. The in­fu­sion of some $5.2 bil­lion in new rev­enues is ear­marked to re­pair Cal­i­for­nia’s roads and bridges and bol­ster mass tran­sit.

Crit­ics wrote the bal­lot mea­sure in hopes that vot­ers would re­peal the tax signed into law in 2017 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Propo­si­tion 6 would have also amended Cal­i­for­nia’s Con­sti­tu­tion to re­quire that fu­ture fuel taxes be ap­proved in a statewide elec­tion. But vote tal­lies showed the mea­sure re­jected by 55 per­cent of vot­ers as of Tues­day night.

Propo­si­tion 6 was put on the bal­lot through fund­ing from the Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can Party and GOP con­gres­sional lead­ers. But back­ers failed to pro­vide sub­stan­tial fi­nan­cial help to the cam­paign after the mea­sure qual­i­fied. As a re­sult, sup­port­ers were sig­nif­i­cantly out­spent by a $43-mil­lion op­po­si­tion cam­paign bankrolled by Democrats, the con­struc­tion in­dus­try and the Cal­i­for­nia Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Vot­ers hand­ily ap­proved two bond mea­sures, with a third nar­rowly lead­ing in early re­turns and a fourth trail­ing. In all, the bonds pro­posed more than $16 bil­lion for projects rang­ing from af­ford­able hous­ing to im­prove­ments at chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals across Cal­i­for­nia.

But the largest bond mea­sure was trail­ing in early vote tal­lies: Propo­si­tion 3, which would ded­i­cate $8.9 bil­lion for wa­ter projects, in­clud­ing $750 mil­lion to re­pair wa­ter de­liv­ery sys­tems in the Cen­tral Val­ley and $200 mil­lion to help fix the state-owned Oroville Dam, which faced se­vere storm dam­age in 2017.

The com­bined $6 bil­lion ap­proved in Propo­si­tions 1 and 2 rep­re­sents the largest sin­gle in­fu­sion of state dol­lars to help fi­nance low-in­come hous­ing in more than a decade, at a time when Cal­i­for­ni­ans are see­ing a jump in hous­ing costs and home­less­ness.

Two bal­lot propo­si­tion cam­paigns ei­ther mir­rored or ex­tended bat­tles fought in the Leg­is­la­ture in 2018.

Propo­si­tion 8, which be­came the most ex­pen­sive bal­lot fight in Cal­i­for­nia his­tory, was los­ing by a wide mar­gin in early re­turns. The pro­posal would have re­quired clin­ics to pro­vide re­bates to in­sur­ers and pay a penalty on busi­ness rev­enues that ex­ceed 115 per­cent of cer­tain costs to de­liver care.

The dial­y­sis in­dus­try spent $110 mil­lion against Propo­si­tion 8. Op­po­nents ar­gued it would force cut­backs at dial­y­sis cen­ters. In all, the mea­sure marked the lat­est battle be­tween a union and the in­dus­try it has strug­gled to or­ga­nize.

Propo­si­tion 11, a failed leg­isla­tive ef­fort to re­quire am­bu­lance work­ers to re­main on call dur­ing their meal and rest breaks, found strong ap­proval Tues­day. The mea­sure en­sures the in­dus­try isn’t sub­ject to a re­cent Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court rul­ing that man­dates rest breaks for se­cu­rity per­son­nel and could have been ap­plied to emer­gency crews.

The only other bal­lot mea­sure with enough sup­port for a vis­i­ble statewide cam­paign, one to im­pose new rules on farm an­i­mal con­fine­ment, ap­peared to pass with lit­tle prob­lem. Propo­si­tion 12 im­poses a ban, start­ing in 2020, on the sale of eggs from hens con­fined to an area with less than 1 square foot of us­able floor space per an­i­mal.

Propo­si­tion 12 was pro­posed by the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States. But the mea­sure drew op­po­si­tion from Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals — which split with other an­i­mal rights groups — and the Hu­mane Farm­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, which said the ini­tia­tive would not go far enough in help­ing hens, pigs and calves.

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