By the SPUR Staff*
This November, Bay Area voters will wade through dozens of ballot measures. As usual, SPUR has conducted in-depth analysis and made recommendations on all local measures in San Francisco — and this year we’re endorsing several in San Jose and Oakland, as well. To simplify the results, we’ve distilled our recommendations into verse. For your enjoyment, we present Voter Haiku.
By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
For years, San Jose had to cut services and staff, defer maintenance on infrastructure and postpone policies that would support its transition to a more urban city. Now is the time for the city to shift toward reinvestment. Measure G would update and restructure the business tax and could double business tax revenue from $12.7 million to $25.4 million in its first year.
By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director
Santa Clara County is now one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The median home price is approaching $1 million, and ever-increasing rents have resulted in displacement pressures and a growing homeless population. In November, voters in Santa Clara County have an opportunity to help those who are most in need of housing and improve quality of life for all.
By Laura Tolkoff and Deike Peters*
Over the next decade, San Jose’s Diridon Station will be remade into the first high-speed rail station in the country and the busiest transportation hub west of the Mississippi. What models can guide the planning for this major opportunity? Rotterdam Centraal, in the Netherlands, has a number of parallels to Diridon and offers an excellent model of what a modern transportation hub can be.
By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor
In November, residents of Alameda County will have the opportunity to make their cities more affordable by supporting Measure A1. This $580 million bond is badly needed, and would fund the creation of permanently affordable rental housing and help moderate-income households afford home ownership.
By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
The City of Oakland has $2.5 billion in unfunded capital needs, including a $443 million paving backlog. Libraries and parks need maintenance and upgrades, as do fire stations. And the city’s shortage of affordable housing is displacing long-term residents. But Measure KK, on the ballot in Oakland this November, will help to address these and other problems.
By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director
Measure B, on the ballot in Santa Clara County this November, would raise the sales tax by half a cent and generate $6 billion to $6.3 billion over 30 years to fund critical transportation projects in the South Bay. SPUR recommends a “yes” vote on Measure B.
By Kiyomi Honda Yamamoto, San Jose Special Projects Assistant
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, is key to health and a high quality of life. But many Bay Area residents struggle to afford these healthy ingredients. SPUR recently hosted a conversation about how to expand access to healthy food by increasing low-income families’ purchasing power in grocery stores and at farmers’ markets.
By Ellery Stritzinger, SPUR Intern
In recent years, urban agriculture has been championed as solution to some of cities’ most persistent issues: food insecurity, environmental sustainability and lack of accessible green space. At a recent SPUR forum, three panelists who run urban farming businesses and organizations explored urban agriculture’s potential to provide economic development and jobs, highlighting the challenge of economic sustainability.
By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
The Bay Area is changing. We are living in an age of climate change, housing shortages, income inequality, fiscal stress and — soon — driverless cars, trucks and buses. Our local governments will not be able to take on the significant challenges of these times on their own. We need effective — even visionary — regional government to put its resources toward solving them.