Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2016  
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  November 8, 2016 Local Office and Ballot Measure Endorsements
November 1, 2016

This is being re-sent at the request of some who did not receive it.

The following are my personal endorsements for the November 8, 2016 Election

Richmond City Council

·         Jael Myrick
·         Jim Rogers

See Endorsements for Richmond City Council in the November 8, 2016, Election, September 13, 2016. I consider both Rogers and Myrick as Pragmatic Progressives. Based on their previous City Council experience, they know how to effectively legislate progressive policies that work.

Richmond Ballot Measures

·    Measure L, Establish Rent Control – NO. See Five Reasons to Reject Measure L - Rent Control and Just Cause, October 27, 2016 and The Critical Case for Measure M in Richmond, October 9, 2016
·         Measure M, Document Transfer tax – YES. See Support Measure M - Real Estate Transfer Tax, October 30, 2016.

WCCUSD School Board

·         Mister Phillips
·         Antonio Medrano


WCCUSD Ballot Measure

·         Measure T – YES

Contra Costa County Board of Education

·         Pamela Mirabella

Contra Costa County Measures

·         Measure X – YES

BART Board

·         District 7 Director – Zakhary Mallett

BART Ballot Measure

·         Measure RR – YES

AC Transit Board

·         Ward 1 – Joe Wallace (unopposed)
·         At Large - H.E. Christian Peeples

AC Transit Ballot Measure

·         Measure C1 – YES

For more information, see and

State Propositions
·         Proposition 51, School Bonds. Funding for K-12 School and Community College Facilities  – YES. All California’s schoolchildren deserve school facilities in good repair and equipped to provide all students a 21st century education. In a perfect world with adequate funding, we wouldn’t need to borrow to build. However, this is not a perfect world, and our facilities needs are massive and require a large infusion of funding. It has been eight years since the last statewide bond measure was passed. Chronic underfunding from the state leaves most public school communities unable to adequately address their needs, increasing the danger of greater disparities among them. Many have passed local bonds but due to insufficient state matching funds, that money remains unspent—a situation this bond measure will help remedy.

·         Proposition 52, Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program – YES. The state has wrongly redirected increasing amounts of hospital fee program funds into the general fund. Proposition 52 will put safeguards in place that will restore the original intention of the hospital fee program and help Medi-Cal patients and low income patients.

·         Proposition 53, Revenue Bonds. Statewide Voter Approval – NO. Proposition 53 will cause delays in much-needed infrastructure maintenance and repair. It will erode local control and contains no exemption for emergencies and natural disasters.

·         Proposition 54, California Legislature Transparency Act -  YES. Prop 54 will make our state government more open, honest, and accountable. With this common-sense reform, every bill must be in print and posted online for at least 72 hours before it may pass out of either house—preventing last-minute, closed-door changes. A video recording of every public meeting of the Legislature must be posted online in a timely way. Our democracy is stronger when more people participate, and this measure empowers all people to review, debate, and contribute to the laws that impact us all.

·         Proposition 55, Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act – YES. Proposition 55 is key in maintaining economic recovery and growth in California by continuing the current income tax rates on the wealthiest two percent of Californians established by the voters in 2012. That measure, Prop 30, has moved California toward financial stability and adequate funding for education and other services we depend on like health care. Without Prop 55 we will be back to the days of pink slips for teachers, overcrowded classrooms, and community college students waiting years for the classes they need.

·         Proposition 56, Cigarette Tax – YES. The measure will help reduce tobacco related health costs and prevent youth smoking and would focus on reversing the harm caused by tobacco marketing aimed at youth. The measure contains effective provisions for transparency and accountability regarding the use of the revenue generated.

·         Proposition 57, Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act – YES. This measure restores the authority of judges, not prosecutors, to decide if juveniles as young as 14 should be tried in adult court, a right judges had until 2000. The prosecution may file a motion, but the court decides. Proposition 57 will also reduce the state prison population and costs by allowing earlier parole of nonviolent felons, with sentence credits for good behavior and rehabilitation or education. This measure could save tens of millions of dollars.

·         Proposition 58, English Proficiency, Multilingual Education, NO. Dual immersion is the best way to learn both English and a foreign language and is allowed under Proposition 227.  Non-English speaking Students who are surrounded by English speakers learn English more quickly than if they are with other foreign language students, and English speaking students can pick up a foreign language naturally in a dual immersion environment.  English should be the primary language of the United States, but learning a second language is also a high priority. English proficiency needs to be a priority and Proposition 227 (1998) has achieved that.

·         Proposition  59, Constitutional Amendment Advisory Measure, YES. The Citizens United v FEC ruling giving corporations the same rights as people has led to disastrous results. It has allowed corporations and the wealthy to control politics Proposition 59 would be a step towards reversing the decision.

·         Proposition 60, Adult Films, Condoms, Health Requirements – NO. The measure is poorly written and would lead to many lawsuits. It will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year.

·         Proposition 61, State Prescription Drug Purchases, Pricing Standards – YES. Proposition 61 fights back against drug company price-gouging. The measure will make drugs far more affordable for consumers who pay unreasonable costs for necessary medication.

·         Proposition 62, Death Penalty Abolition. YES. Proposition 62 will abolish the death penalty, replacing it with life without possibility of parole. It will ensure time in prison is spent in work, with an increased portion of wages going to restitution to victims’ families. Families deserve restitution, not endless legal appeals, and closure through knowing these worst criminals will never be released. California has spent more than $5 billion to execute 13 people since 1978. Nothing indicates this has been effective in reducing crime, while the risk of executing the innocent remains.

·         Proposition 63, Safety for All Act. Yes. The facts are sobering. From 2002 to 2013, 38,576 Californians died from gun violence, including 2,258 children. In the U.S., more than 300 Americans are shot each day, more than 80 of them fatally. Prop 63 helps counter those statistics by strengthening background check systems and ensuring that California law enforcement shares data about dangerous people with the FBI. It ensures that dangerous criminals and domestic abusers sell or transfer their firearms after they’re convicted. This measure requires businesses that sell ammunition to report lost or stolen ammunition, requires people to notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen, and ensures that people convicted of gun theft are ineligible to own guns.

·         Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization. NO. Legalization is probably an inevitability in California, but implementing legislation should be authored by the legislature, not by a poorly written measure  Proposition 215 legalized the medicinal use of cannabis, and according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, not a single individual among the roughly 112,000 now in state prison is serving time for marijuana possession. The state Legislature last year approved and the governor signed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which established a comprehensive regulatory framework and tax system governing sales and distribution of medicinal marijuana. These rules are are a game-changer and essentially legalize marijuana, which is now widely available in California for those who both need it and want it. But much of that work could be steamrolled by the approval of Proposition 64, which would likely leave the future of medicinal marijuana sales in limbo. It would be far better to let the MMRSA system play out and learn from it before moving ahead with legalization.

·         Proposition 65, Carryout Bag, Charges. NO. Don’t be confused by this deceptive measure—vote NO. Large players in the plastic bag industry spent millions to put this disingenuous initiative on the ballot, creating a distraction that could thwart California’s efforts to rein in plastic bag waste and litter. The plastic bag industry wants to use this measure to damage the hard-won agreement between environmentalists and grocers that made the plastic bag ban possible. This is not about helping fund environmental programs but is simply intended to cause enough voter confusion that the more significant environmental measure, Proposition 67, fails. Don’t be confused; Vote NO on 65 and Vote YES on 67.

·         Proposition 66, Shortening Death Penalty Appeals. NO. This poorly written measure would greatly increase California’s risk of executing an innocent person by shortening the time for appeals and limiting the prisoner’s ability to present new evidence of their innocence. Raising significant constitutional issues, this could cause more delays, increase taxpayers’ costs, and add layers of bureaucracy. It is estimated the state would need as many as 400 new taxpayer-funded attorneys to meet the demand. The wise choice is NO on 66 and YES on 62 to save costs, provide restitution, and prevent executing innocent people.
·         Proposition 67, Ban on Single Use Plastic Bags, Referendum – YES. A YES vote on Proposition 67 will retain California’s plastic bag ban. The question on a referendum is not intuitive; you are being asked if you want to retain the new law. Vote YES to keep the 2014 statewide law prohibiting single-use carryout bags. These plastic film bags pollute our oceans, pose a deadly threat to marine wildlife, clutter our landscapes, create toxic byproducts when manufactured, and are very difficult to recycle. California grocers and other retailers support the ban, and many cities and counties have local measures that are working. Don’t let out-of-state plastic bag industry players stop our progress!