A report back on key state and local propositions in November 2016
The last week-and-a-half has left us wondering about our nation’s future. Many of us are feeling loss, anger and fear. Protests and demonstrations are giving voice to genuine grief and outrage. And these feelings emanate from something even deeper: our love.
Will we be able to protect ourselves and one another from the bullying, callous, hateful rhetoric we saw move from the margins to the center during the election? From the promises to roll back the progress of many years? Will we be able to continue our movements to heal our communities from racism, (hetero)sexism, trans-phobia and “othering” in all its forms?
The many notable and hard-won successes we saw on the San Francisco and California ballots in November provide an answer: Yes, we can. And we will. Our collective will remains strong and vibrant. Volunteers, residents and organizations of all stripes joined together to move us closer toward the more just and equitable society the majority of us want and will work to bring about.
When you think about the national picture, also remember these things we accomplished this November:
We secured and protected affordable housing. Housing Measure C assured $250 Million dollars in unspent bond-money will go towards affordable housing, housing hundreds of low-income families. Deceptive Measures P and U, marketed to hide that they would have eliminated low-income housing, were defeated resoundingly. GLIDE Associate Pastor Angela Brown and GLIDE’s Center for Social Justice worked together with neighborhood groups and volunteers like you to let San Francisco know what was at stake.
While the tent-banning Measure Q is still being tallied, its companion policing Measure R was firmly voted down. Measure Q was billed as the “housing not tents” measure, but it provided no actual housing. Because of its deceptive messaging, it polled extremely well at the outset and was backed by three-quarters of a million dollars in advertising. But we were able to get the word out to many thousands of San Franciscans who clearly understand: we need solutions, not persecution. Let’s house people, not push them from street to street.
Across the region and state, we saw positive change. San Francisco generated much-needed revenue through a fair and progressive real estate tax (Measure W); enfranchised non-citizen parents of schoolchildren with respect to schoolboard elections (Measure N); protected funding for seniors and those with disabilities (Measure I); and more.
And despite not managing to abolish the death penalty, California voters enacted historic criminal justice reforms, prioritizing early release of non-violent offenders (Prop 57) and reversing an engine of mass incarceration through the common-sense legalization of marijuana (Prop 64).
The Bay Area as a whole saw the passage of measures to provide and protect affordable housing, such as those in Santa Clara County; and help reform policing practices, such as Measure LL in Alameda County.
We have work ahead, to be sure, but this November millions of people worked successfully together to build a more equitable society.
In these times we cannot afford to be complacent. Nor can we afford to be despondent. Let’s not lose sight of what we can do when we work together with a shared vision of a fair, decent and loving world. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415 674 6080 to get involved.
Ben Lintschinger is GLIDE’s Advocacy Program Manager.