This year’s convergence of crises has had a devastating impact on almost everyone in our state. We came into this year battling rampant economic and social inequity in addition to a housing unaffordability crisis, both of which were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic fallout.
These events have had an acutely devastating impact on our most vulnerable communities and young people, who were already struggling to make ends meet.
Young Californians have been at the forefront of fighting back against the injustices and shortcomings that the pandemic has exposed and intensified.
In Los Angeles and Oakland when our teachers went on strike to demand fair pay and benefits in the face of extreme costs of living, many students joined them on the picket line. As our state burns in-part due to the effects of climate change, young people have been relentless in organizing for climate justice. As our Black and Brown peers face a racist criminal justice system that takes far too many lives, students took to the streets to demand the dismantling of abusive and racist policing.
Now we need you to stand with us at the ballot box. This election’s ballot measures address some of the most important issues we face as a state.
When you cast your vote, remember that you are setting policy for future generations. Please vote YES on these ballot measures.
Prop. 15 will provide a much-needed boost in funding to schools and essential government services by fairly taxing the wealthiest corporations in the state who have been getting a free ride for far too long. California currently lags behind most of the nation in education funding and the effects of this are felt severely in the most disadvantaged communities.
Prop. 16 addresses the steep racial inequities in education and the workplace by allowing race-conscious affirmative action. Prop 16 would not institute discriminatory quotas, rather its passage will ensure equal opportunity for all Californians.
Prop. 17 would reinstate voting rights for those on parole, an essential step toward fixing the systemic racism and injustice of the criminal justice system.
Prop. 18 would allow people old enough to vote in the general election to vote in the preceding primary while they are still 17. This is a common-sense step to ensure young voters can participate in both stages of California elections. States which have already taken this step have seen an increase in political participation from young people.
Prop. 21 would allow local communities to enact farther reaching rent control laws on certain homes while still ensuring new construction is not disincentivized and landlords can get a fair profit. This is urgently necessary to combat the crisis of displacement facing many California communities. Families being priced out of homes is especially harmful to young people who are uprooted from schools and communities and suffer significant setbacks in their education when displaced and expanded local rent control is vital for protecting the most vulnerable families and communities.
Prop. 25 replaces money bail with a risk-assessment system. Though this change is flawed and still presents serious risks of racial bias, it is preferable to the current cash bail system which penalizes poor Black and Brown Californians with long pretrial jail time when they are not even convicted of a crime.
Additionally, there are some measures on this year’s ballot that take California in the wrong direction. Please vote NO on these propositions.
Prop. 20 reintroduces ridiculously high sentences for nonviolent offenses. At a time when we need to be moving away from racist mass incarceration policies this is exactly the wrong step to take.
Prop. 22 is an attempt by corporations, namely Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and Postmates, to undo labor protections for gig workers. These companies have spent over $180 million in support of the measure. This attempt by corporations to buy our California elections is wrong, as is the stripping of vital worker protections.
Rohin Ghosh is a co-chair of the Santa Clara County High School Democrats and the policy director of the California High School Democrats. He is active in several local and state campaigns and advocacy projects, especially relating to housing justice. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].