Election Results: Citywide Ballot Measures
Approval of a controversial anti-camping ordinance in Sacramento. Another switch to district-based elections in Santa Rosa. A vote to remove gender references from the Oakland City Charter. These are just a few of the results that came out of the November 8 Election.
Below is a partial list of ballot measures we were following in California’s most populous cities and their status as of November 15.
Measure LH was approved. It will authorize the development of up to 5,000 low-income housing units in all 15 of the city’s council districts.
Measure B remains too close to call. It would let the city start charging for trash pickup from those San Diegans (around 53%) who have been exempt from trash pickup fees for around a century. Estimates say each customer would pay $23 to $29 per month, but there's a chance the final cost could exceed those estimates.
Measure C is also too close to call. would allow construction of new buildings over 30 feet in the Midway District, making the district exempt from height limits imposed in 1972.
Prop A was approved. It will allow city employees who retired before November 6, 1996, to receive a supplemental cost of living adjustment to their pensions regardless of whether the retirement system is fully funded. It will also allow the Retirement Board to enter into an individual employment contract with its executive director.
Prop C was approved. A "yes" vote supported creation of an oversight commission to oversee the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. It also requires the city controller to conduct audits of homeless services.
Prop D was approved. It will eliminate the need for Board of Supervisors' approval for construction of affordable housing projects using city property or city financing.
Prop E is too close to call. It would continue to require the Board of Supervisors' approval for affordable housing projects using city property or city financing.
Prop H was approved. It will change the elections for Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, and Treasurer from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years (in November of presidential election years). It will also change signature requirements for ballot initiatives from 5% of votes cast for mayor to 2% of registered voters.
Prop L was approved. It will continue a one-half cent sales tax through 2053 for transportation project funding and allow the Transportation Authority to issue up to $1.91 billion in bonds for transportation projects.
Prop M is too close to call. It would allow the city to levy a tax on owners of vacant residential units in buildings with three or more units if the units have been vacant for more than 182 days in a year. The rates are $2,500–5,000 per vacant unit in 2024 with inflation adjustments thereafter through 2053.
Prop O was rejected by 64.74% of voters. It was a parcel tax of $150–4,000 per parcel, beginning July 1, 2023 and ending on June 30, 2043. Revenue would have gone to the City College of San Francisco for student and workforce development programs.
Measure M is too close too to call. It would hike the city's sales tax rate from 7.98% to 8.5% in order to improve facilities and services for Fresno veterans. This is a special tax requiring a two-thirds majority.
Measure O was approved. It will make it unlawful to people to camp on public property after refusing emergency shelter. It also requires the city to provide a certain number of shelter beds. A partnership agreement between the city and county is still needed for the measure to be implemented. Its passage is a big win for Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who backed the measure.
Measure S is too close to call. It would amend the city charter to allow non-citizen parents or caregivers of a child to vote for the Office of Oakland School Board Director.
Measure R was approved. The city will now remove gender-specific language from the City Charter.
Measure T was approved with 67.78% of the vote. It supports creation of a progressive tax rate structure for business taxes whereby the highest rates are on the highest grossing businesses. This measure imposes business tax rates of .05% to .55% of gross receipts.
Measure V was approved. It will prohibit no-fault evictions for children and educators during the school year among other renter protections.
Measure W was approved. It will amend the City Charter to establish public funding for candidate election campaigns. Eligible residents will get $100 of public money to spend on candidates for some city offices. This is an attempt to increase voter participation.
Measure X was approved. It imposes term limits for City Council members and clarifies campaigning rules for current officials. It also requires two hearings before the council can place a measure on the ballot, requires that absent council members be counted as "no" votes when the mayor is breaking a tie, and directs the Public Ethics Commission to set the salaries of the city attorney and auditor.
Measure L is too close to call. It would no longer require police and fire chiefs to be chosen from within their respective departments.
Measure J was approved. It will make customers of online travel agencies like Expedia and Priceline pay the 15% hotel bed tax. This was an effort to close a loophole in the hotel tax law. It is expected to yield an additional $3 million in transient occupancy tax revenue per year.
Measure K was approved. It makes a number of changes to the City Charter. One of these is the elimination of the requirement that board and commission members be citizens of the United States.
Measure H was approved. It authorizes an additional sales tax of 1% to go toward general services.
Measure C is too close to call. It would limit council members and the mayor to two consecutive terms and require a two-year break before they can serve again.
Measure 3 was defeated. It would have clarified the attorney-client relationship between the city attorney and the city, specifying that the City Council controls all legal matters. Importantly, it would have allowed the City Council to contract with other attorneys if the city attorney has a conflict of interest.
This measure arose from a controversy involving City Attorney Michael Gates, which you can read about here. Measure 3’s defeat is a major loss for the city council and a victory for Gates, who opposed the measure. Gates also won re-election Tuesday night.
Measure O asks: “Shall the City adopt an Ordinance that taxes cannabis businesses up to 6% of gross receipts for retailers and up to 1% of gross receipts for all other cannabis businesses if they were to be permitted in the City; which is expected to generate an estimated $300,000 to $600,000 annually to fund general municipal services for Huntington Beach and will be levied until repealed by the voters?”
This measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council. It would not automatically legalize cannabis businesses, which are currently prohibited in Huntington Beach, but it would put a pre-emptive tax structure in place. This measure requires a 50% + 1 majority.
Measure E is too close to call. It would authorize an additional sales tax of 1% with revenue dedicated to general purposes.
Measure Q is too close to call. It would authorize an additional sales tax of 1% with revenue dedicated to general services.
Measure H is too close to call, but it has a sizable lead. It supports renewal of the 1/4¢ public safety sales tax for 20 years. This would raise $10 million per year. The measure needs 66.66% to pass.
Measure I was approved. It will amend the City Charter to affirm the transition from at-large to district-based elections.