Ballot Measures Abound

hand & ballotDiz Swift
Our work is cut out for us this election season to evaluate, summarize, publish, educate and advocate for the many measures potentially on the ballot. There are currently nine potential measures for Berkeley and five for Albany, excluding “housekeeping” measures. Emeryville has no local measures. We will know all measures on the ballot near the end of July.


Berkeley Measures:

BSEP (Berkeley Schools Excellence Program) Parcel Tax: Parcel tax, first passed in 1986 has been extended every 10 years and is up for renewal. The tax revenue currently provides 20% of the funding for the Berkeley Public Schools.

Redistricting Commission Charter Amendment: Charter amendment to form a citizens redistricting commission independent of the City Council for determining districts following each ten-year census.

Housing for Persons of Low-Income: Authorizes public entities to develop, construct or acquire additional units of low-rent housing for persons of low-income, according to California Constitutional requirements. This measure does not approve specific housing projects or commit City funds to any housing project.

$100 MM Infrastructure Bond: A 40-year bond measure for maintenance and improvements to city infrastructure and facilities.

Increase the Business License Tax on Owners of Five or More Residential Rental Units: An increase to the business license tax on owners five or more rental units, prohibiting pass-through of the tax to most tenants, and with some exemptions. Proceeds of the additional revenue would be used for affordable housing.

Business License Tax on Rental Property is a competing measure with lower taxes and fewer restrictions. This measure is not qualified for the ballot at this writing, but is expected to qualify.

A Charter Amendment and Ordinance to Create a Public Campaign Financing System: Creates a public campaign financing system for candidates for City Council and Mayor. Donations of $50 would be required but would be matched 6:1 with City funds. The cost is estimated at $500,000 annually.

Increasing Berkeley Minimum Wage and Providing for Paid Sick Leave There are two versions of this measure. At this writing potential additional City Council action may either negotiate a single measure for the ballot or put competing measures on the ballot.


Amending Rent Ordinance: Adds tenant favorable restrictions including: prohibit owner move-in evictions of families with children during the academic year; increase the amount of relocation assistance required for owner move-in evictions; clarify protections for elderly/disabled tenants; and others.

Albany Measures:

Property Tax to Fund Sidewalk Maintenance: Parcel tax to provide funding for sidewalk and associated maintenance. Includes an exception for low-income property homeowners.

Soda Tax: A tax structured similar to the Berkeley soda tax, but without creation of a separate advisory body.

Measure D Reform: Eliminate voter-authorized code requirement for two off-street parking spaces per new residential unit; Council will have authority to set parking policy.

Measure R Reform: Eliminate the requirement to direct a specific percentage of revenue from this Landscape and Lighting Assessment District (1996) to just three categories. Broadens to include other categories.

Elimination of Board of Education Term Limits Amendment: Charter amendment to eliminate term limits for Board of Education members.

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