One San Mateo’s 2020 Endorsements

In keeping with One San Mateo’s focus on advancing just, equitable, and across-the-board housing solutions, One San Mateo recommends the following choices on this election’s ballot.

 Candidates

Amourence Lee for San Mateo City Council

When Maureen Freschet opted to retire early in 2019, a process ensued to appoint her replacement. At that time, One San Mateo, along with numerous other equity groups in our community, threw our support behind Amourence Lee. We held and continue to hold that it is of the utmost importance that a diverse range of neighborhoods, perspectives, and peoples have a seat at the table of governance. It is for this very same reason that we once again endorse Amourence Lee for a seat on the San Mateo City Council. Amourence brings a unique perspective and a details-oriented focus to her role on the city council. Having herself experienced the trials of poverty and the need for an effective social safety net, we believe that Amo will keep the needs of the most vulnerable close to her heart. From her previous work in addressing the unequal treatment of neighborhoods in the General Plan to her more recent work in championing the causes of LGBTIQ Pride and Coalition Z, Amo has demonstrated that the principles of equality for which One San Mateo also stands will be a defining part of her public service.

Chelsea Bonini for San Mateo County Board of Education

Chelsea Bonini is a courageous campaigner for equity in our community. She takes great care in bringing attention to kids with special needs, both through her nonprofit and her political work. She is deeply aware of how a lack of access to stable and affordable housing can negatively impact a child’s capacity to learn. We can attest firsthand to Chelsea’s deep values, her accessibility, her generosity of spirit, and her willingness to advocate for the most vulnerable. It is with great joy that we endorse our close compatriot Chelsea Bonini for San Mateo County Board of Education.

Measures & Propositions

 No on Measure Y

Back in 2018, when a measure to extend San Mateo’s height and density restrictions was still in its petition phase, One San Mateo began a lengthy process to determine our position on that proposed extension. This process involved presentations on both sides of the issue. In the end, One San Mateo’s membership voted to oppose such an extension—what has now come to be known as Measure Y. To be clear, we are not opposed to all height and density restrictions. What we are opposed to is deciding such matters before the General Plan process—which is intended to consider these very policies in a thoughtful and inclusive way—has a chance to play out. One of the fundamental questions at hand here is whether San Mateo’s current height and density restrictions—which Measure Y would extend—help or hurt the affordable housing landscape. A number of developments have occurred since One San Mateo first articulated its opposition to what would become Measure Y. Chief amongst these from One San Mateo’s perspective was an independent study commissioned by the city at One San Mateo’s behest. The objective of that study was to investigate the possibility of raising San Mateo’s below-market rate mandate—a goal which One San Mateo has forwarded for many years. The lamentable finding of that study was that it was not economically feasible to raise the city’s below-market mandate within the restrictive envelope that Measure Y would maintain. There can no longer be any question: Measure Y’s policies stand in the way of us as a community being able to thoughtfully and inclusively pursue solutions to the affordable housing crisis.

Yes on Measure RR

Numerous transit agencies have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis. With the dramatic drops in ridership, those networks which rely to a significant extent on ticket fares and lack a dedicated funding stream have been hit the hardest of them all. This has been the case with Caltrain. Regardless of what the near-term may hold, the future of the Peninsula will depend on the maintenance of a fully operational Caltrain. As we all have been enjoying reduced traffic and congestion—one of the few undeniable upshots of sheltering in place—imagine if we were to return to pre-COVID traffic levels without Caltrain to reliably ferry commuters on a daily basis. Not only that, but a crippled Caltrain would imperil the models of transit-oriented development being used to responsibly direct the production of future housing. At a 1/8-cent sales tax increase, Measure RR is a small price to pay to keep the Peninsula “on track”.

Yes on Proposition 15

After over 40 years in existence, the data are in on Prop 13. Not only has it failed to provide housing affordability for those with limited options, it has also cleaved a hole in California’s school funding, plummeting our state’s schools from near the top in the nation to near the bottom. As usual, poorer localities with smaller tax bases and less clout to advocate for themselves in school funding battles saw themselves hit the hardest. Prop 15, on the other hand, is a prudent reform to Prop 13. Despite what opponents may suggest, it does not touch residential property taxes. Rather, it requires virtually immortal legal entities who can hold onto commercial properties in perpetuity to pay commercial property taxes not at 1970s but present day rates. Furthermore, the $12 billion in tax revenues this would generate would be funneled chiefly to schools. San Mateo County alone would stand to receive more than $400 million, a minority of which could also go toward programs such as roads and housing. We come to our present predicament in which we are witnessing massive tax shortfalls across the state as a result of the COVID crisis. Therefore, reforming Prop 13 and making commercial property owners pay their fair share is no longer just about rectifying the mistakes of the past, it is an essential lifeline for our state.

Yes on Proposition 21

One San Mateo has consistently advocated for robust tenant protections. We will continue to do so as long as there is a pressing need for them. And the need now, in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a century, is greater than ever. Indeed, many experts are warning us that we are about to see the biggest wave of mass evictions in our country’s history. While Proposition 21 would not put in place any new tenant protections, it would give cities greater freedom to craft tenant protections and other housing regulations that are in line with the needs of today. The time to finally reform California’s unfair and restrictive Costa-Hawkins Act is now.

For info on propositions that fall outside of One San Mateo’s focus on housing, please see this helpful guide from our allies over at Faith Votes.

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