For someone who hates getting involved in electoral politics, I sure end up doing it a lot. I especially hate it in instances like this, when instead of fighting to make things better, we have to spend our time and energy working to hold on to what we already have. But yet again, the assholes with money have put an initiative on the ballot that would make a big mess for everyone but them. So I’ve been spending my free time making flyers and running around begging people to vote no on California Proposition 98.
We’re also planning a Reclaim The Streets (RTS) action on May 31 to draw attention to the issue, which should be lots of fun. We’re meeting at Dolores Park at 1:30 pm then parading off unpermitted from there with music and festivities.
So if you live in California, please vote this June 3, because the greedy rich people will.
And here’s the spiel on Proposition 98, which is statewide, by the way. While trying to look like an eminent domain reform, it actually contains language that would phase out rent control, which means landlords will be able to raise your rent or evict you any time for any reason. That would basically kill San Francisco as we know it, since most of the people I know can only afford to live here because of rent control laws. It also overrides local affordable housing requirements, and can eliminate laws requiring fair return of deposits and 60-day notices, as well as laws that protect seniors and the disabled. And for extra kicks, it removes land protections for mobile home owners. Way to go, Republicans-take from the most economically disadvantaged members of society to benefit development corporations and landlords. Great idea.
As if that weren’t enough, it attacks environmental laws, too, in language so sly you need a political analyst to recognize it. The phrase prohibiting "transfer an economic benefit to one or more private persons at the expense of the private owner" means that AB 32 Regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water quality protections, "Smart Growth" regulations, protected areas, and restrictions on the development of polluting industries, as well as many other environmental protections, could all be removed. And since it makes it illegal to use eminent domain to acquire land for public water projects, it’ll bring us one step closer to water shortages and privatization, while wasting lots of taxpayer money on all the lawsuits it’s sure to inspire. Messy, eh?
So how could something so terrible possibly pass? Money and misinformation, as always. They know they don’t have a chance in San Francisco, but they’re spending lots on advertising in Southern California and the Central Valley, where people don’t have rent control anyway and can be bought with the line that 98 means increased rights for property owners. So it’s important that we all tell everyone we know to vote this time around. And while you’re at it, please vote yes on Prop 99, which is a legit eminent domain reform without all the hidden agendas, and if it passes by even one more vote than 98, it overrides it. And for you San Franciscans, please vote yes on F for affordable housing in Hunters Point (no on G!) and yes on A and B.
If you have some spare time and would be willing to hand out or post some flyers, please call or email me and I’ll send you some, especially those of you up north. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And yes, it’s June 3, not November!
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