Urbanism Wins in the Bay Area
November 10, 2014


Regardless of what happened at the national level, our local elections were full of good news for urbanism.

Ballot measures that passed in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland marked major victories for transit, open space and higher minimum wages across the region. And in San Francisco, we saw many other SPUR priorities — from the Children’s Fund to the Pier 70 project to the Golden Gate Park soccer fields— move forward.

SPUR worked hard to build support for San Francisco’s Proposition A, the bond dedicated to improvements in Muni service and street safety. We are thrilled by its passage and encouraged by what appears to be a broad pattern of voter support for transit, biking and walking, all across the region. Also in San Francisco, the passage of Prop B, which boosts Muni funding to keep pace with population growth, and the rejection of Prop L, which would have rolled back the city’s Transit First policy, signaled emphatic public interest in investing in transportation options and moving away from reliance on cars.

Funding public transit is one of the strategies SPUR has advocated to make San Francisco more affordable. Raising the minimum wage is another. SPUR’s Regional Economic Prosperity Strategy has identified “raising the floor” as one of the most important strategies for improving economic security among the region’s lower-wage workers. On Tuesday, Prop. J passed with 77 percent of the vote, more votes than any other measure in San Francisco. It will raise the local minimum wage to $15 by 2018.

San Francisco's soda tax received 55 percent of the vote (according to the latest tally), which fell short of the two-thirds necessary for passage. But the measure received a majority in San Francisco, in spite of $9 million spent against it, and a similar measure won in Berkeley — two signals of a shift in public sentiment that could lead to soda taxes gaining traction in other places.

SPUR San Jose made one endorsement, which was Santa Clara County’s Measure Q, a ballot measure to generate local funding for open space. Though votes are still being counted, the measure appears to have successfully garnered the two-thirds majority required to win. SPUR hosted the election night party for Measure Q in San Jose. If Q succeeds, it will be a big win for Bay Area open space.

SPUR followed with great interest several key measures in the East Bay. Measure Z, a parcel tax in Oakland to fund public safety, passed handily. Berkeley’s Measure R, an anti-growth effort, was rejected by voters. And Alameda County’s Measure BB will generate $7.8 billion over 30 years to fund transportation improvements.

Finally, while SPUR does not get involved with candidate races, we are looking forward to working with Mayor Sam Liccardo in San Jose and Mayor Libby Schaaf in Oakland. Both have laid out visions for their cities that embrace the benefits of a more urban future.

Here's a look at ballot measure results in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose:

 

City and County of San Francisco

Measure

SPUR's recommendation

Yes (%)

No (%)

A: Transportation Bond

Yes

71

29

B: Transportation Set-Aside

No

61

39

C: Children's Fund Renewal

Yes

73

27

D: Redevelopment Employee Benefits

Yes

55

45

E: Soda Tax

Yes

55

45

F: Pier 70 Project

Yes

72

28

G: Housing Resale Tax

No position

46

54

H: Grass Athletic Fields

No

46

55

I: Renovation of Athletic Fields

Yes

54

45

J: Minimum Wage Increase

Yes

77

23

K: Affordable Housing

Yes

65

35

L: Motorist Policy

No

37

62

 

City of Oakland (and a selection from Alameda County)

Measure

SPUR's recommendation

Yes (%)

No (%)

N: OUSD Parcel Tax

n/a

77

23

Z: Public Safety

n/a

77

23

CC: Public Ethics Commission

n/a

72

28

DD: Redistricting Commission

n/a

60

40

EE: Municipal Retirement

n/a

72

28

FF: Minimum Wage Increase

n/a

81

19

Alameda County Measure BB: Public Transit

n/a

70

30

 

City of San Jose (and a selection from Santa Clara County)

Measure

SPUR's recommendation

Yes (%)

No (%)

City of San Jose Measure G: Retirement Board Governance

n/a

70

30

Santa Clara County Measure Q: Open Space*

Yes

67

33

*Results tentative. Needs 66.67% to pass.
 

Get Email Updates

Get SPUR news and events delivered straight to your email inbox.

Sign up now