City of Berkeley Ballot Measures

The Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party is in the process of making recommendations on the many local initiatives and candidates that will appear on the ballot on November 8, 2016. Below are the positions that we have adopted and written up so far. Please check this website again for additions as the election season progresses.

YES on Measure U1 – City Rental Unit Business License

Measure U1 would raise the business license tax on residential rental units by 1.8%, initially raising over $3 million annually for affordable housing and homelessness prevention. There is an exemption for small landlords with fewer than 5 units. The Berkeley Rent Stabilization ordinance prevents this tax increase on rental property owners from being passed on to tenants. The measure will direct the Housing Advisory Commission, a citizen oversight committee composed of people with expertise and experience in affordable housing and homelessness prevention, to advise the City Council on how to spend the money.

This measure was placed on the ballot by the Berkeley City Council.

Vote YES on U1 and NO on DD (see below).

YES on Measure V1 – Gann Appropriations Limit

Under Article XIIIB of the California Constitution, a city is limited to appropriating (i.e. authorizing expenditure of) the amount of taxes (adjusted by an inflation factor) that it spent in the 1986-1987 fiscal year. This limit may only be exceeded if the voters approve the excess expenditures by a majority vote. We need to reauthorize the expenditures of already approved taxes for already approved programs every four years. This is a formality and does not increase or impose any tax which has not already been approved or passed by the voters.

YES on Measure Y1 – Youth Voting

This measure would allow people who are at least sixteen years of age to vote for the office of School Director (member of the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Directors). We think that young people should have more control over the institutions that affect their lives. This is a step in that direction.

YES on Measure Z1 – Low Income Housing Authorization

This measure would authorize the development, construction or acquisition of an additional 500 units of low income housing in the City of Berkeley. These projects are rented as affordable to households at 65% of the Area Median Income or less for the life of the project.

YES on Measure AA – Rent Board Ordinance Amendment

This measure would amend the Berkeley Rent Stabilization law to provide more safeguards against owner move-in evictions. It also makes some other adjustments to the law to protect tenants.
The Ordinance currently requires landlords to provide relocation assistance of $4,500 to low-income tenants, but not other tenants, who are evicted from their units for owner occupancy. The proposed amendments would increase this amount to $15,000, and require that it be paid to all tenant households evicted for owner move-ins, with an additional $5,000 for for low-income, disabled, elderly, families
with minor children, or tenancies that began prior to 1999 (when the Costa-Hawkins bill took full effect).

NO on Measure BB – Inferior Minimum Wage Ordinance

This measure would raise the minimum wage in Berkeley to $15 per hour by Oct. 1, 2019. It alters but does not eliminate the existing sub-minimum “training wage” for people under 25 years of age.

The Berkeley City Council originally placed this measure on the ballot. After the backers of Measure CC (see below) collected enough signatures for a much better minimum wage increase, the City Council made a deal with the Alameda County Labor Council and the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce to improve the wage increase to $15 per hour by Oct 1, 2018, with the training wage part intact. The City Council is now telling us to vote NO on measure BB so that the compromise can take effect. We say “Vote NO on BB,” but we don’t buy the compromise either.

YES on Measure CC — Effective Minimum Wage Ordinance

This measure, placed on the ballot through a grass-roots initiative effort, would raise the minimum wage in Berkeley to $15 per hour by Oct 1, 2017. In addition to cost of living adjustments after that, there would be further increases to eventually bring the minimum wage up to the “Berkeley Living Wage Standard” of $16.37 in 2016 dollars. The existing “training wage” would be phased out completely.
The Berkeley City Council, the Alameda County Central Labor Council, and the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce are all telling us to vote this measure down and let their compromise stand (see explanation under BB). We stand by the measure that we worked to put before the voters. Vote YES on CC.

NO on Measure DD – Big Landlords’ Proposed Rental License Tax

Measure DD was placed on the ballot by a group of landlords who own large properties in Berkeley. It would impose a smaller tax increase on rental property than measure U1 and includes a tax on small property owners who are exempted under U1. It will raise a lot less than measure U1 for badly needed affordable housing. It is designed to cause measure U1 to lose and to cost the big landlords less. If both pass and Measure DD gets more votes, it will void measure U1. Please vote NO on DD and YES on U1.