So much is at stake for LGBTQ people in this election, including several state propositions in California and local measures in Los Angeles. The Center is recommending:
PROPOSITION 15: YES
USE COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES FOR SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES
A “yes” vote on Prop 15 will require that commercial property valued at greater than $3 million is reassessed at fair market value every three years. Prop 15 is a fair and balanced reform that closes property tax loopholes unfairly benefiting wealthy corporations, provides small business tax cuts, and reclaims upwards of $12 billion every year to invest in our schools and local communities. Homeowners, renters, small businesses, and agricultural lands will continue to be protected by Prop 15. LGBTQ people need resources for their communities and Prop 15 takes a giant step forward to reduce wealth inequality.
PROPOSITION 16: YES
REMOVE THE BAN ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
A “yes” vote supports repealing Proposition 209 (1996), which banned race and gender based affirmative action in employment, education, and contracting decisions across California. Repealing this ban would help elected officials fight discrimination based on race and gender and address historic inequalities and discrimination. The Center adamantly opposed Proposition 209 in 1996, and we strongly support its repeal now.
PROPOSITION 17: YES
RESTORING VOTING RIGHTS TO PAROLEES
A “yes” vote supports restoring voting rights to every person on parole in California following their release from incarceration. Nearly 50,000 people on parole in California are working, paying taxes, and positively contributing to their communities, yet they are unable to vote. Given the overrepresentation of black and brown communities in jails and prisons, including LGBTQ communities of color, these types of policies uphold structural racism and should be ended.
PROPOSITION 18: YES
EXTENDING VOTING RIGHTS TO 17-YEAR-OLDS FOR PRIMARY ELECTIONS
A “yes” vote supports allowing 17-year-olds to vote in any primary or special election if they will turn 18 by the following general election. LGBTQ youth are often talked about in policy but are not engaged in the process. Young people deserve the right to vote for elected officials that will be making policies that directly impact them. Moreover, early voting is shown to create life long-voters, something we should support now more than ever.
PROPOSITION 20: NO
INCREASING HARSHER SENTENCING FOR MISDEMEANORS
A “no” vote opposes this draconian initiative that seeks to increase criminal penalties and expand DNA collection. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ people are already overly criminalized by our failing criminal justice system, and Prop 20 would lead to even harsher, more inhumane sentencing. We must all say no at attempts to further criminalize already over criminalized communities.
PROPOSITION 21: YES
LOCAL RENT CONTROL INITIATIVE A “yes” vote allows local governments to enact rent control on housing that was first occupied over 15 years ago, with an exception for landlords who own no more than two homes. High rents disproportionally and adversely affect low-income households, people of color, seniors, and families with children. With many people paying 50 percent or more of their income towards rent, the time is now to pass this reasonable rent control measure.
(LA) MEASURE J: YES
INCREASING COMMUNITY BASED PROGRAMS AND ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION IN L.A. COUNTY
A “yes” vote ensures that at least 10% of the County’s general fund is invested in alternatives to incarceration and community-based intervention programs. These include emergency response teams for mental health, substance abuse and homeless crises situations. BIPOC and LGBTQ people, who are incarcerated at alarmingly disproportionate rates, should live in a community where they are supported not jailed. This measure is an important first step in our long-term efforts to reimagine public safety.
The Center believes that passing legislation is the role of elected officials, not a simple majority of voters. Many of these ballot measures are of such complexity that few voters will have the opportunity to fully educate themselves on all the issues. In such an environment, the victor is often the side with the most money to spend on campaign ads. That’s not the way to keep our state and our democracy strong. Moreover, such complicated proposals shouldn’t be able to skirt the normal legislative process, during which they’d be subject to open hearings and public scrutiny. Yet, this is the system we have.
To help our community sift through the most important measures in this election, the Center’s policy team has studied each proposition. These are our recommendations to those propositions which we have chosen to take a position– because of their impact on the LGBTQ community, the services we offer as an organization, or, in many cases, their impact on both.
The Center provides comprehensive social services for the LGBTQ community. This vital social safety net is even more important as our community faces a new set of challenges resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Further, LGBTQ Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have historically been over-criminalized and during what is a long overdue reckoning of systemic racism across this country, the Center firmly believes that we thrive if we invest in preventing violence and supporting communities. These realities, and their impact on our community, have guided our positions on these California and Los Angeles County ballot initiatives.