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Goodwill Disputes Minimum Wage Ballot Argument That It Will Cut Jobs

by Peter Jon Shuler

Goodwill of Silicon Valley is trying to disentangle itself from a political battle in San Jose.

The city’s Measure D would raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10. In their ballot argument, opponents say Goodwill expects to cut 100 job-training positions if the measure passes.

Mike Fox, Jr. of Goodwill says his board voted to remain neutral on the measure.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve been caught up into this controversy through no wish of our own,” Fox said. “We didn’t ask to be. We didn’t give permission to use our name. It just got pulled in. There’s nothing I can do about that other than just correct the record.”

Fox says Goodwill has no intention of cutting 100 jobs, no matter the outcome of the election. He says he has no idea where the opposition campaign came up with the figure.

Video: Props 30 and 38 Both Promise to Help Schools — in Different Ways

There’s a lot riding on the November 6 election for California’s once prized public education system. With $6 billion in trigger cuts looming due to the state budget deficit, two competing tax measures on the ballot propose to temporarily help fill the gap. Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 would raise the state sales tax a quarter cent and income tax on those earning more than $250,000 annually. Competing Proposition 38, sponsored by millionaire attorney Molly Munger, would increase income tax on a sliding scale for those earning at least $7,316 a year.

On Friday, KQED’s This Week in Northern California examined the competing propositions.

Voters Supportive of Local Measures for Schools; More Skeptical of Statewide Solutions

Voters in Redwood City approved a local tax for district schools earlier this year. (Ana Tintocalis: KQED)

Voters in Redwood City approved a local tax for district schools earlier this year. (Ana Tintocalis: KQED)

Redwood City is a suburb just south of San Francisco. In recent years, the city has restored its historic downtown area and cleaned up its neighborhoods. But one thing remains the same: the Redwood City school district still gets the lowest amount of state education funding compared to neighboring communities — a result of the state’s complex school funding formula. That rubs 78-year-old Redwood City education advocate Margaret Marshall the wrong way. “It’s not fair and it’s wrong,” she says.

Marshall served on the district’s school board back in the 1980s. But when the state cut millions from education funding over the last two years, she took action. Marshall and an army of volunteers spent hours drafting a local parcel tax for Redwood City schools this past spring. Parcel taxes have become extremely popular among public school districts because the money raised goes directly into local campuses and teachers.

“If [voters] see the money being spent on their block, on their street, in their child’s school, they’re at least willing to consider that tax increase.”
But passing this kind of measure is tough. It requires a “supermajority” vote — two-thirds voter approval.

Redwood City tried three times before to pass a parcel tax, but this time Marshall says voters were finally ready to listen. “I had more coffee and cups of tea in the little coffeehouses locally,” she tells me. “But when you take the time to explain it to someone, one-on-one, you feel better about it. I think lots of times people distrust because they don’t understand what is happening.” Continue reading

Locals React to Anti-Soda Tax Campaign in Richmond

By Andrew Stelzer

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(Rex Sorgatz: Flickr)

(Rex Sorgatz: Flickr)

From the get-go, the face of Richmond’s proposed tax on sugar sweetened beverages has been city Councilmember Jeff Ritterman. “If we’re successful we’ll make history,” he tells me.

Ritterman is a retired cardiologist who got the council to put the penny-per-ounce tax on next month’s ballot. He says improving the health of the local community isn’t the only goal.

“Once the sugar-sweetened beverage taxes become ubiquitous — and I’m pretty sure they will, it’s just a question of when,” he says, “if we are victorious it will happen a lot sooner.”

But the health issues behind the tax have taken a back seat to questions about how the city will spend the money the tax would raise.

The main argument from Measure N opponents is that the tax proceeds won’t necessarily go to fight obesity. While there is an accompanying measure before voters to direct the money to obesity-fighting efforts, the money raised would go into the city’s general fund. Billboards and flyers all over town — paid for by the American Beverage Association, a soft drink lobbying group — drive that “general fund” message home.

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Mystery $11 Million Campaign Donation May Lead to Formal Investigation

By Julie Small, Polly Stryker and Lisa Aliferis

(Jupiter Images)

(Jupiter Images)

Later today the agency that enforces California’s election laws is expected to decide whether to investigate a mysterious $11 million campaign donation from out of state. It’s unclear why the Arizona group — Americans for Responsible Leadership — contributed the whopping sum to weigh in on propositions in California. The money went to the Small Business Action Committee which is campaigning on two fronts: fighting to defeat the Gov. Brown backed Proposition 30 tax initiative that would fund education; and to pass Proposition 32 which would ban payroll deductions for political donations.

The potential investigation concerns whether the original, anonymous donors were making a donation to a general pool — or specifically to fund Prop. 30 or 32 campaigns.

Federal law permits anonymity for some types of donors in national races … But California law is different.

The Committee’s spokeswoman Beth Miller insists there’s “nothing untoward” about the donation. ”We don’t know who contributed to Americans for Responsible Leadership,” Miller said. “What we do know is that they are a bonafide organization.”

But Gov. Brown doesn’t buy that. “It’s completely clear that the ‘No on 30′ committee has some knowledge of who these people are,” he said. “They didn’t just pick an envelope out of their mailbox with 11 million it.” Continue reading

San Francisco Propositions, Local Races

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Downtown San Francisco (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Below is an edited transcript.

HOST CY MUSIKER: Over the next few weeks, we will be talking about local elections, including races in Oakland and Berkeley, plus partial taxes and school bonds around the Bay. Today we are looking at the most critical races in San Francisco and we are talking to Corey Cook. He directs the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco. And Corey, let’s start with a couple of propositions on the ballot, the highest profile involves the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite Park and no pun intended because it’s around 4,000 feet. Measure F requires the city to study how to drain Hetch Hetchy and replace it as a source of hydropower and water for more than two million people living in San Francisco, the Peninsula and the East Bay.

COREY COOK: Right. In sum, it is a fairly small initiative and it all it does is fund a $8 million study and on one hand, it is really a small scale. On the other hand, the plan is then put on the ballot in San Francisco, an initiative that would ultimately drain Hetch Hetchy, which as you know, it would affect 2.5 million people, it would be enormously costly and as a result you really see this. Every member of the Board of Supervisors and the mayor united in opposition to this measure.

MUSIKER: Mayor Ed Lee and others are backing a Measure E. That is the next measure we are going to talk about. That would convert the city’s chief business tax from one taxing payroll size to one taxing business receipts. And that’s getting a rare consensus again of everybody on the supervisors but also labor and business, progressives and conservatives, why is that?

COOK: Well, in this case, yes, everybody is basically on the “yes” side and for three reasons. One is that the existing payroll tax has been called a job killer because, effectively, it taxes hiring. It taxes payroll. So as the tax on payroll, it’s been unpopular for business, it’s been unpopular for supervisors and with the Mayor certainly for a long time. But it is revenue positive and so certainly, labor is in favor and some of the more progressive voices in the city are happy because it de-rate $28.5 million annually, and it exempts small businesses. So it serves something for everybody. This is this grand compromise that did unite these different fractions in San Francisco. Continue reading

Prop. 40: Candidate for Strangest Ballot Measure Ever

(California Secretary of State)

(California Secretary of State)

There’s a lot to be confused about on this November’s ballot — opaque fundraising, complicated language, unclear outcomes. In a crowded field of confusion, Proposition 40 is one of the leaders in this election, because you have to think twice about voting for the outcome that you want. Tuesday morning on The California Report, host Rachael Myrow spoke with John Myers, political editor for Sacramento’s KXTV, to better understand the proposition.

To start off, Myrow pointed out that Prop. 40 is a referendum, which is different from an initiative.

Here’s the edited transcript of their discussion:

John Myers: A referendum is a different question for the voters, unlike an initiative, which asks the voters to create a law. A referendum asks, “Do you want to overturn an existing law? Do you support an existing law?” So, if you vote “yes” on Prop. 40, you are saying, “Yes, I support the existing law of political districts for the California State Senate.” We may remember that these were drawn by a citizens panel in 2011. A “yes” vote says, “Yes, I like the maps that the independent citizens group drew.” A “no” vote says, “No, I do not like them. I want them redrawn.” So this is a chance for people to weigh in on those maps that were drawn for the State Senate, one of the maps that they drew last year.

Rachael Myrow: It’s good that you mention that, because I think a lot of people think, “Wait a minute, didn’t the Citizens Redistricting Commission have to do with more than just State Senate maps?” But that’s specifically what Proposition 40 is talking about. Continue reading

Archive: KQED Public Radio’s ‘Forum’ Examines 10 State Propositions

Michael Krasny in studio

Through the studio glass: Michael Krasny hosts KQED's daily call-in show "Forum."

Here at KQED, we take elections pretty seriously. It’s a time when our mission of educating the public comes to a head — the messages coming from the campaigns are unrelenting and taken as a whole can present a confusing picture. So helping you cast an informed vote is our aim.

That was the philosophy behind our state proposition guide. Some people, however, prefer listening to reading. For those folks we present a complete archive of Forum’s 2012 state proposition shows. Some are an hour long, some are half an hour, but all present views from both sides and include community input we received via calls, emails, Facebook and Twitter. So sit back, turn up your speakers, and take a listen…

 

Prop. 30: Gov. Brown’s Tax Increase for Education, Public Safety

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Did the No-On-37 Campaign Fabricate a Quote From the FDA?

A mailer sent by the No On 37 campaign to millions of California households is the subject of the latest scuffle in an increasingly feisty tit-for-tat over the state proposition that calls for food made with genetically modified components to be labeled.

GMO soybeans. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

At issue are a single quotation mark – either a typo or a fabrication, depending on whom you ask – and the questionable use of a federal logo.

The mailer that No On 37 sent out highlights five anti-Prop 37 quotes, including one each from the California Farm Bureau Federation and the U.S. Latino Chamber of Commerce. Alongside each quote is the group’s logo.

But one of the quoted organizations, the Food and Drug Administration, cannot, by law, endorse state ballot items. And according to FDA policy, its logo “is for the official use of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and not for the use of the private sector on its materials… Misuse of the FDA logo may violate federal law and subject those responsible to criminal penalties.” Continue reading