What to expect on the ballot

Mail-in ballots for General Election to be sent out Tuesday

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Many registered voters in Contra Costa County will receive mail-in ballots for the 2016 Presidential General Election as early as this week. But whether or not residents mail in their ballots or choose to visit the polls Nov. 8, they’ll face a myriad of candidates and propositions to choose from. Here’s a quick look at what Martinez voters can expect to see on their ballots.

For President and Vice President of the United States, voters may choose one of the following pairs: Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka from the Green Party, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine from the Democratic Party, Gloria Estela La Riva and Dennis J. Banks from the Peace and Freedom Party, Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence from the Republican and American Independent Parties, and Gary Johnson and Bill Weld from the Libertarian Party.

For United States Senator, one vote may be cast for either United States Congresswoman Loretta L. Sanchez or Attorney General of California Kamala D. Harris, both of the Democratic persuasion.

Martizians north of Highway 4 are represented in District 5 by their United States Representatives, and this election may choose between business owner, consultant and Republican Carlos Santamaria, or Democratic Congressman Mike Thompson. Those residing south of Highway 4 may select between District 11 candidates Democratic U.S. Representative Mark DeSaulnier or retired HR manager and Republican, Roger Allen Petersen.

For the Senate, Martinez is divided into Districts 3 and 7. In the District 3 race, candidates may choose between Democratic State Assemblymember and businessman Bill Dodd, or Democratic social worker Mariko Yamada. In District 7, the choices for Senator are Republican businessman Joseph Alexander Rubay and Democratic California State Senator Steve Glazer.

For State Assembly, Martinez falls within District 14, in which voters may choose between Democratic educator and park director Mae Cendaña Torlakson and Democratic councilmember and police chaplain Tim Grayson.

For Contra Costa County Board of Education Area 3, voters will be asked to choose one boardmember. The candidates for this non-partisan position are vocational school chairman Leon Raymond Sloan, professor and business owner Vikki Janeen Chavez, and governing board member Daniel A. Gomes.

Four candidates are running for Martinez Unified School District (MUSD) Board Member positions. Voters will be asked to choose three. Candidates include: school board member Jonathan T. Wright, educator and CEO Evelyn Centeno, MUSD trustee John L. Fuller, and incumbent Kathi McLaughlin.

For Supervisor in District 5, voters may choose either Supervisor Federal Glover or vice mayor of Martinez, Anamarie Avila Farias.

Candidates for Martinez City Council, for which voters may choose two, are: small business attorney Courtney Masella-O’Brien, COO John Stevens, councilmember and businessperson Mark Ross, and small business owner Noralea Gipner.

Only one candidate, the incumbent, has entered the race for Martinez City Clerk. R. Gary Hernandez is the sole choice on the ballot.

One candidate may be chosen for Martinez Treasurer. Candidates are incumbent Carolyn L. Robinson and accountant and tax preparer Charles Martin.

Four are vying for a spot as a director of the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCCSD), but voters may only choose three. Business owner Susan Noe Welsh, solid waste manager James A. Nejedly, CCCSD board member Tad J. Pilecki and CCCSD Director Paul Herbert Causey are seeking the position.

For BART Director in District 1, voters may choose between CFO Debora Allen, and BART Director Gail Murray.

Seventeen propositions are on this year’s ballot, including:

Proposition 51 regarding school bonds and funding for K-12 school and community college facilities. Prop 51 would authorize $9 billion in general obligation bonds for new construction and modernization of K-12 public school facilities, charter schools and vocational education facilities, and California Community Colleges facilities. It would cost the state about $17.6 billion to pay off both the principal ($9 billion) and interest ($8.6 billion) on the bonds. Payments would be about $500 million per year for 35 years.

Proposition 52, a Medi-Cal hospital fee program, initiative constitutional amendment and statute. Prop 52 would extend indefinitely an existing statute that imposes fees on hospitals to fund Medi-Cal health care services, care for uninsured patients, and children’s health coverage. This proposition would have an uncertain fiscal effect, ranging from relatively little impact to annual state General Fund savings of around $1 billion and increased funding for public hospitals in the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Approval of Prop 53 would require statewide voter approval before any revenue bonds can be issued or sold by the state for certain projects if the bond amount exceeds $2 billion. Fiscal Impact: State and local fiscal effects are unknown and would depend on which projects are affected by the measure and what actions government agencies and voters take in response to the measure’s voting requirement.

Prop 54 would prohibit the Legislature from passing any bill unless published on the Internet for 72 hours before a vote. It would require Legislature to record its proceedings and post them online. It would authorize use of recordings. Fiscal Impact: One-time costs of $1 million to $2 million and ongoing costs of about $1 million annually to record legislative meetings and make videos of those meetings available on the Internet.

Prop 55 would extend by 12 years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on earnings over $250,000, with revenues allocated to K-12 schools, California Community Colleges, and, in certain years, healthcare. Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues – $4 billion to $9 billion annually from 2019-2030 – depending on economy and stock market. It would increase funding for schools, community colleges, health care for low-income people, budget reserves, and debt payments.

Prop 56 regards a cigarette tax to fund healthcare, tobacco use prevention, research and law enforcement. Passage of this proposition would increase the cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. Fiscal Impact: Additional net state revenue of $1 billion to $1.4 billion in 2017-18, with potentially lower revenues in future years. Revenues would be used primarily to augment spending on health care for low-income Californians.

Prop 57 would allow parole consideration for nonviolent felons. It would also authorize sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, and education. Passage of Prop 57 would allow juvenile court judges to decide  whether juveniles will be prosecuted as adults. Fiscal Impact: Net state savings likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually, depending on implementation. Net county costs would likely be a few million dollars annually.

Prop 58 would preserve the requirement that public schools ensure students obtain English language proficiency. It requires school districts to solicit parent/community input in developing language acquisition programs. It also requires instruction to ensure English acquisition as rapidly and effectively as possible. It authorizes school districts to establish dual-language immersion programs for both native and non-native English speakers. Fiscal Impact: No notable fiscal effect on school districts or state government.

Prop 59 asks whether California’s elected officials should use their authority to propose and ratify an amendment to the federal Constitution overturning the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Citizens United ruled that laws placing certain limits on political spending by corporations and unions are unconstitutional. Fiscal Impact: No direct fiscal effect on state or local governments.

Prop 60 would require adult film performers to use condoms during filming of sexual intercourse. It would require producers to pay for performer vaccinations, testing, and medical examinations. It would also require producers to post condom requirements at film sites. Fiscal Impact: Likely reduction of state and local tax revenues of several million dollars annually. Increased state spending that could exceed $1 million annually on regulation is anticipated, to be partially offset by new fees.

Passage of Prop 61 would prohibit the state from buying any prescription drug from a drug manufacturer at price over the lowest price paid for the drug by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This proposition would exempt managed care programs funded through Medi-Cal. Fiscal Impact: Potential for state savings of an unknown amount depending on (1) how the measure’s implementation challenges are addressed and (2) the responses of drug manufacturers regarding the provision and pricing of their drugs.

Prop 62 addresses the death penalty. Passage would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. It would apply retroactively to existing death sentences. It would increase the portion of life inmates’ wages that may be applied to victim restitution. Fiscal Impact: Net ongoing reduction in state and county criminal justice costs of around $150 million annually within a few years, although the impact could vary by tens of millions of dollars depending on various factors.

Prop 63 would require background checks and Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition. It would prohibit possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and establish procedures for enforcing laws prohibiting firearm possession by specified persons. It would also require the Department of Justice’s participation in the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Fiscal Impact: Increased state and local court and law enforcement costs, potentially in the tens of millions of dollars annually, related to a new court process for removing firearms from prohibited persons after they are convicted.

Passage of Prop 64 would legalize marijuana under state law, for use by adults 21 or older. It would impose state taxes on sales and cultivation. It provides for industry licensing and establishes standards for marijuana products, and allows local regulation and taxation. Fiscal Impact: Additional tax revenues ranging from high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually, mostly dedicated to specific purposes. Reduced criminal justice costs of tens of millions of dollars annually would be anticipated.

Prop 65 redirects money collected by grocery and certain other retail stores through the mandated sale of carryout bags. It would require stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into a special fund to support specified environmental projects. Fiscal Impact: Potential state revenue of several tens of millions of dollars annually under certain circumstances, with the monies used to support certain environmental programs.

Prop 66 is another proposition regarding the death penalty. This proposition would change procedures governing state court challenges to death sentences. It would designate the superior court for initial petitions and limits successive petitions, and require appointed attorneys who take noncapital appeals to accept death penalty appeals. It would exempt prison officials from existing regulation process for developing execution methods. Fiscal Impact: Unknown ongoing impact on state court costs for processing legal challenges to death sentences. Potential prison savings in the tens of millions of dollars annually.

Passage of Prop 67 would ban single-use plastic bags. A “Yes” vote approves, and a “No” vote rejects, a statute that prohibits grocery and other stores from providing customers single-use plastic or paper carryout bags but permits the sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags. Fiscal Impact: Relatively small fiscal effects on state and local governments, including a minor increase in state administrative costs and possible minor local government savings from reduced litter and waste management costs.

Four measures will appear on the ballot, including:

Measure X – the Transaction and Use Tax Measure. It would require 55 percent to pass. If adopted, the ordinance augmenting the sales tax by 1/2 percent would raise $97 million for transportation improvements annually for 30 years with independent oversight, audits, and all money benefiting local residents. The measure is intended to pay for repairing potholes/fixing roads, improve BART capacity/reliability, improve Highways 680, 80, 24, and 4, enhance bus/transit including for seniors and people with disabilities, increase bicycle/pedestrian safety, improve air quality, and reduce traffic.

Measure RR regards BART safety, reliability and traffic relief, and would require 2/3 to pass. It’s presented “to keep BART safe, prevent accidents/breakdowns/delays, relieve overcrowding, reduce traffic congestion/pollution, and improve earthquake safety and access for seniors/disabled by replacing and upgrading 90 miles of severely worn tracks; tunnels damaged by water intrusion; 44-year-old train control systems; and other deteriorating infrastructure, shall the Bay Area Rapid Transit District issue $3.5 billion of bonds for the acquisition or improvement of real property subject to independent oversight and annual audits.

Measure R regarding MUSD would require 55 percent to pass. It’s been presented to modernize, construct and/or renovate classrooms, restrooms and school facilities at elementary schools, improve student access to modern technology, upgrade inadequate electrical systems, replace deteriorating plumbing systems, construct career/technical education classrooms, including science labs; and replace leaky roofs, shall the Martinez Unified School District issue $120,000,000 of bonds, at legal interest rates, with annual audits, an independent citizens’ oversight committee, NO money for teacher or administrator salaries and all funds locally-controlled.

Measure D, presented by the City of Martinez, would require 2/3 to pass. It’s the Martinez Road Improvement and Maintenance Measure. The measure is presented to provide funding that stays in Martinez, to be used exclusively to improve and maintain the City’s roadways. Shall an ordinance which imposes a temporary, half-cent transaction and use (sales) tax for 15 years, providing an estimated $2.1 million annually, with citizens’ oversight and annual audits, be adopted?

To find your polling place, view a sample ballot, or for other questions regarding the upcoming General Election in Contra Costa County, visit the Elections Division website at www.cocovote.us.

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