Bay Area Council Positions on Select Ballot Measures

The Bay Area Council Executive Committee this week (Sept. 8, 2014) voted to endorse Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, which voters will decide on the November ballot. With historic drought gripping the state, the $7.12 billion bond measure will invest in increasing water storage capacity and cleaning up and better managing polluted groundwater basins. The Bay Area Council and its Water Committee, under the leadership of Co-Chairs Andrew Ball, West Coast President of Suffolk Construction Co., and Jim Levine, Managing Partner of Montezuma Wetlands LLC, played an important role over the past year in helping shape the final package. The Council also met with state lawmakers in the days ahead of the Legislature’s vote to place the measure on the ballot, encouraging their support. A Field Poll this week found 52 percent of likely voters support the bond, but that two-thirds know very little about it. Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged to campaign vigorously for the measure.

Among the main buckets of funding included in the measure are:

  • Storage – $2.5 billion
  • Watershed Protection, Watershed Ecosystem Restoration, State Settlements – $1.495 billion
  • Groundwater Sustainability – $900 million
  • Water Recycling – $725 million
  • Safe Drinking Water – $520 million
  • Statewide Flood Management – $395 million

The Bay Area Council has also taken positions on a number of other state and local measures on the November ballot, including:

  • Prop. 2 (Support): Statewide “Rainy Day” measure would stabilize spending by using capital gains, a volatile revenue source, only for debt service or savings instead on funding for ongoing critical programs; and, double the size of the state budget reserve to 10 percent, which will provide increased protection against cuts to programs and painful middle class tax increases during economic downturns.
  • Prop. 45 (Oppose): Statewide measure would politicize delivery of health care by giving single elected official power to determine insurance rates, and would create costly new and duplicative bureaucracy.
  • Prop. 46 (Oppose): Statewide measure would drive up healthcare costs by quadrupling the maximum of $250,000 in damages plaintiffs can receive for non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, despite evidence that boosting caps doesn’t improve quality of care, reduce malpractice, or control costs.
  • Measure A (Support): San Francisco bond measure would invest $500 million, with more than half going to improve public transit and remainder making streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Endorsement came with reservations over lack of funding for regional transportation systems.
  • Measure BB (Support): Alameda County measure would raise $7.8 billion over 30 years to reduce traffic congestion and related air pollution by increasing and extending an existing sales tax. A Bay Area Council Economic Institute study found the spending plan would create $20 billion in economic activity over its lifetime and support 150,000 jobs.
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