2016 US Bay Area housing ballot measures (California)

From HousingWiki

There are a number of initiatives on the November 8, 2016 ballot in the San Francisco Bay area that are YIMBY relevant.


San Francisco 

PROP C: Loans to Affordable Housing

To Amend 1992 voter approved measure Proposition A, to allow as an additional purpose the incurrence of bonded indebtedness to finance the acquisition, improvement, and rehabilitation of at-risk multi-unit residential buildings and to convert such structures to permanent affordable housing; shall the City and County of San Francisco issue up to $260,700,000 in general obligation bonds, subject to independent citizen oversight and regular audits?

SFYIMBY:  "YES! Authorizes bonds to finance acquisition, improvement and rehabbing of at-risk multiunit buildings and to convert them into permanent subsidized affordable housing. Will result in more units of housing being built or brought back into use."

Results: YES 75% No 24.1%

PROP J: Funding for Homelessness and Transportation

Shall the City amend the Charter to create a Homeless Housing and Services Fund, which would provide services to the homeless including housing and Navigation Centers, programs to prevent homelessness and assistance in transitioning out of homelessness by allocating $50 million per year for 24 years, adjusted annually; and create a Transportation Improvement Fund, which would be used to improve the City’s transportation network by allocating $101.6 million per year for 24 years, adjusted annually?

SFYIMBY: "YES! Designates funding from the General Fund to go to homeless services, including Navigation Centers, and public transportation. Will only go into effect if proposition K passes.

Results: YES 66.4% No 33.6%

PROP K: Sales Tax to fund Proposition J

Shall the City increase its sales tax by 0.75%, for a total tax of 9.25%

SFYIMBY: "YES! Increases the Sales tax by 0.75% for a total sales tax rate of 9.25%. Proceeds would go into the General Fund. The funding in Prop J relies on Prop K passing."

[There is no guarantee in the wording of the measure that the increased sales tax would be allocated to support Prop J just that were funds to be allocated to Prop J from the General Fund then a portion of these would come from the increased sales tax. The sales tax is currently split between the State and its use to fund transportation]. 

Results: NO 65.1% Yes 34.9%

PROP M: Another Housing Commission

Shall the City amend the Charter to create the Housing and Development Commission to oversee two new departments (the Department of Economic and Workforce Development and the Department of Housing and Community Development) that would take over the duties of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, which would cease to exist?

SFYIMBY: "NO! Creates a new unelected “Housing and Development Commission” to oversee two more new departments, the Department of Economic and Workforce Development and Department of Housing and Community Development. It moves responsibilities from the Mayors Office on Housing to an unelected commission. This additional bureaucracy will further slow the production of new housing, especially new affordable housing. The new Commission would add more places for special interest groups to block housing. More hearings, more red tape, more cost, less housing. (In addition, Prop M contains a poison pill for Prop P, which we endorse below).

Results: NO 56.5% Yes 43.5%

PROP O: Office and Housing Development in Candlestick Point

Shall the City permanently exempt new office space on Candlestick Point and most of the former Navy shipyard at Hunters Point from the City’s annual 950,000-square-foot limit, and provide that any new office space in this project area would not count toward the annual limit that applies in the rest of the City?

"Makes an exception to the office square footage cap for a housing and office project in Candlestick Point and Hunters Point. Would allow more office space by exempting this project from the annual limit on new office space. Not great for our job-to-housing ratio, but does add more units of badly needed housing. We know the solution to our housing shortage is not to restrict the creation of jobs. This project won’t pencil out without the office space. We’re not huge fans, but generally think it’s a fine project."

Results: YES 52.5% No 47.5%

PROP P: Competitive Bidding for Affordable Housing Projects

Shall the City be prohibited from proceeding with an affordable housing project on City-owned property unless the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development receives at least three proposals; and shall the City incorporate into City law most current criteria for selecting a developer for affordable housing projects on City-owned property?

Due to our current structure for contracting with subsidized affordable housing construction companies, the City often only receives ONE bid. By opening up the process to allow more competition, especially from state-wide affordable housing construction companies, we could bring down the cost to government of building subsidized housing, giving us the ability to build more units.

Results: NO 67.3% Yes 32.7%

PROP Q: Prohibiting Tents on Sidewalks

Shall the City prohibit the placement of tents on public sidewalks without a City permit and allow the City to remove unauthorized tents if the City provides 24-hour advance notice, offers shelter for all tent residents and stores the residents’ personal property for up to 90 days?

Currently tents on sidewalks can be asked to move along at any time. This legislation would require the City to issue 24-hour notices, offer some form of shelter and require the City to store residents property for about 3 months. Some view this as an improvement on the status quo. Others think it’s not enough support to tent residents and we can do better. Ultimately, Prop Q does not increase the amount of housing availability or shelters for the homeless. This is not going to improve anyone’s housing situation. Yes, it is very slightly better than the status quo. However, we know this is not the ideal policy, and the possibility of passing far superior legislation properly via the Board of Supervisors is relatively high. If this passes as a ballot initiative, it will be extremely difficult to change as problems arise. 

Results: YES 52.8% No 47.2%

PROP U: Subsidized Affordable Housing for Middle Income

Shall the City increase the income eligibility limit for on-site rental units for all new and existing affordable housing units to make them affordable for households earning up to 110% of the area median income?

"In June, we bumped the subsidized low-income affordable housing requirements on new housing projects to 25%. That was a seriously bad idea and has sent shock-waves through the pipeline. Applications for new projects have dropped by half since this time last year. 

"This prop would take the housing currently targeted to people making 55% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and give it to people making up to 110% of the AMI. The argument for Prop U is that it will bring some housing projects back from having been killed by the June percent change.

"There are two arguments against Prop U, however. We decided to vote to against it because it would take away subsidized units for low and and very-low income households, and because we are generally against the idea of subsidizing housing for middle income people.

"Middle income people should be able to afford housing in San Francisco without subsidies. We cannot subsidize our way out of this housing crisis. We need a housing market that functions for middle class people.

Results: NO 64.9% Yes 35.1%

PROP X: Keeping Production, Distribution, Repair Zoning

Shall the City require developers of projects in parts of the Mission and South of Market neighborhoods to build replacement space if they remove production, distribution and repair (PDR) uses of 5,000 square feet or more, institutional community (IC) uses of 2,500 square feet or more, or arts activities uses of any size, and to obtain a conditional use authorization before changing the property’s use

Prop X would reduce housing production. It requires projects that convert or demolish existing production, distribution, or repair (PDR) space a.k.a. urban manufacturing in the Mission & SoMa to get a Conditional Use authorization before building housing on those sites. These projects would also be required to provide a new space to replace the PDR or community space that is converted or demolished, making housing projects more expensive and further limiting space available for housing. 

SFMade, the City’s largest trade group for manufacturers, does not support this measure, in part because the measure’s requirements seem arbitrary (not based in data or analysis), and in part because replacing industrial space building by building often results in the wrong types of industrial spaces being developed.

Anyone who has sat through a Conditional Use hearing knows how tedious and unnecessary they can be. YIMBY believes it should be perfectly legal to tear down under-utilized manufacturing to build in-demand housing.

Results: YES 59.4% No 40.6%

PROP W: Real Estate Transfer Tax

Shall the City increase the transfer tax rate for sales of residential and commercial properties from 2% to 2.25% for sales from $5 million up to $10 million; from 2.5% to 2.75% for sales from $10 million up to $25 million; and from 2.5% to 3% for sales of $25 million or more?

"Prop W would raise the tax on properties over $5 million when they are sold. We couldn't decide whether this would raise the cost of multifamily housing and ultimately increase rental and housing prices by discouraging land transfers, or not. We debated this one quite a bit.

For more information, check out the San Francisco Chronicle.

For a stronger "No" argument, check out the SPUR voter guide.

Results: YES 61.9% No 38.1%

Measure RR - BART Bond Issue

To keep BART safe; prevent accidents / breakdowns / delays; relieve overcrowding; reduce traffic congestion / pollution; 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 acquisition or improvement of real property subject to independent oversight and annual audits?

Results: YES 70.1% No 29.9%

PROP 53: Voter Approval for Revenue Bonds (This is a statewide ballot measure)

"Requires voter approval for projects that cost more than $2 billion funded by revenue bonds. Just because a project is high in cost doesn't mean it should require voter approval. We have elected officials, legislators, and decision-makers - let them do their jobs. We need big infrastructure improvements, transit, drought mitigation, etc., to support our growing population. Ballots are already too long, and creating an unnecessary, expensive approval processes on voters puts infrastructure at greater risk."

Results: NO 51.4% Yes 48.6%

Alameda County (Oakland, Berkeley, etc) 

Alameda County – Bond Measure A1


To provide affordable local housing and prevent displacement of vulnerable populations, including low- and moderate-income households, veterans, seniors, and persons with disabilities; provide supportive housing for
homeless people countywide; and help low- and middle-income households purchase homes and stay in their communities; shall the County of Alameda issue up to $580 million in general obligation bonds to acquire or improve real property, subject to independent citizen oversight and regular audits?

Percentage needed to pass: 66.6667%

Results: Yes: 72.3% No: 27.7%

City of Alameda (2) – Measure L1 Rent Stabilization Ordinance

City of Alameda Measure: Shall the voters adopt the City’s March 31, 2016 Rent Stabilization
Ordinance, which (a) limits residential rent increases to once annually, (b) requires mediation for
all residential rent increases above 5%, including binding decisions on rent increases for most
rental units, (c) restricts reasons for evictions, (d) requires landlords to pay relocation fees when
terminating certain tenancies, and (e) permits the City Council to amend the ordinance to address
changing concerns and conditions?
Percentage needed to pass: 50% + 1

Results: Yes: 55.6% No: 44.4%

City of Alameda (3) – Measure M1 Rent Control, Relocation Fees and Limiting the Reasons for Terminating Tenancies

Shall the City Charter be amended to (a) limit annual residential rent increases for certain units to
65% of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index, (b) create an elected Rent Control
Board separate from the City with authority to hire staff, impose fees on landlords for program
funding and assess penalties, (c) limit the reasons for terminating tenancies and (d) require rental
property owners to pay relocation fees to tenants when terminating certain tenancies?
Percentage needed to pass: 50% + 1

Results: No: 66.4% Yes: 33.6%

City of Berkeley (2) – Measure U1 Tax Increase for Owners of Five or More Residential Rental Units and Housing Advisory Commission

Shall an ordinance permanently increasing the gross receipts tax on owners of five or more
residential rental units be increased from 1.081% to 2.880%, prohibiting landlords from passing
the tax on to sitting tenants, and directing the Housing Advisory Commission to make
recommendations on funding and programs to increase affordable housing and protect Berkeley
residents from homelessness, be adopted? Financial Implications: This amendment is estimated
to raise approximately $3,900,000 annually, increasing with rents.
Percentage needed to pass: Majority 50% + 1

Results: Yes: 74.1% No: 25.9%

City of Berkeley (7) – Measure Z1 Additional Low-Rent Housing

Shall any federal, state or local public entity be empowered to develop, construct or acquire an
additional 500 units of low-rent housing in the City of Berkeley for persons of low income?
Financial Implications: Uncertain, dependent on means of financing used.
Percentage needed to pass: Majority 50% + 1

Results: Yes: 82.6% No: 17.4%

City of Berkeley (8) – Measure AA Rent Stabilization Ordinance and Rental Protections

Shall an ordinance amending the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to: 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 to $15,000 with additional $5,000 for certain tenants; clarify protections for elderly/disabled tenants; require filing of eviction notices; change the source of interest rates for security deposits; and clarify exemptions and penalties to conform with state law, be adopted? Percentage needed to pass: Majority 50% + 1

  • Note: The following City of Berkeley measures BB and CC do not speak directly to housing but are relevant to wages and therefore to housing affordability.

Results: Yes: 72.3% No: 27.7%

City of Berkeley (9) – Measure BB $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance and Mandated Sick Leave

Shall an ordinance: (1) amending the City’s existing minimum wage ordinance to increase the
minimum wage to $15 per hour for all employees in the City of Berkeley by October 1, 2019, and
thereafter by the CPI, with exemptions for youth in job training programs and a $1.50 health
benefit credit; (2) requiring that service charges be distributed to the employees who provide the
services; and (3) mandating paid sick leave for employees, be adopted?
Percentage needed to pass: Majority 50% + 1

Results: No: 66% Yes: 34%

City of Berkeley (10) – Measure CC Increasing Minimum Wage (with $15 starting point and no exemptions) and Mandated Sick Leave

Shall an ordinance: increasing the City’s existing minimum wage to $15 per hour on October 1,
2017, with annual increases based on the CPI + 3% beginning January 1, 2019 until it reaches
$16.37 per hour in 2016 dollars, and thereafter based on the CPI; eliminating exemptions for
youth in job training programs; requiring that hospitality service charges be distributed to the
employees who provide the services; and mandating paid sick leave for employees be adopted?
Percentage needed to pass: Majority 50% + 1

Results: No: 65.9% Yes: 34.1%

City of Berkeley (11) – Measure DD Tax Increase for Owners of Three or More Residential Rental Units and Creation of Citizen Panel on Affordable Housing and Homelessness

Shall an ordinance permanently increasing the gross receipts tax on owners of three or more
residential rental units from 1.081% to 1.5%, prohibiting landlords from passing the tax on to
sitting tenants except as allowed by law, and authorizing the Council to create a citizen panel to
make recommendations on increasing affordable housing and protecting residents from
homelessness be adopted? Financial Implications: This amendment is estimated to raise
approximately $1,400,000 annually, increasing with rents.
Percentage needed to pass: 50% + 1

Results: No: 70.8% Yes: 29.2%

City of Oakland (2) – Measure II Amendment to  Increase the Maximum Lease Term of City-Owned Real Property From Sixty-Six Years To Ninety-Nine Years

Shall the Charter of the City of Oakland be amended to Increase the Maximum Lease Term of City-Owned Real Property From Sixty-Six Years To Ninety-Nine Years?
Percentage needed to pass: 50% + 1

Results: Yes: 52.5% No: 47.5%

City of Oakland (3) – Measure JJ Just Cause for Eviction and Rent Adjustment

Shall Oakland’s Just Cause For Eviction and Rent Adjustment Ordinances be amended by: (1) extending just-cause eviction requirements from residential rental units offered for rent on or before October 14, 1980 to those approved for occupancy before December 31, 1995; and (2) requiring landlords to request approval from the City before increasing rents by more than the cost-of-living adjustment allowed by City law? Percentage needed to pass: 50% + 1

Results: Yes: 73.9% No: 26.1%


San Mateo County

City of Burlingame – Measure R Rent Control

Shall the ordinance (a) enacting rent stabilization with an annual maximum to increase of 4% for most multi-family rental residences with certificates of occupancy before February 1, 1995; (b) establishing Just cause for eviction restrictions on most rental residential units, including single family homes and multi-family residences built after 1995; (c) creating a Commission authorized to enact regulations and set fees to implement the ordinance; and (d) 13 superseding prior restrictions on the passage of rent control be adopted?

Results: NO 67.4% Yes: 32.6%

City of East Palo Alto – Measure J Rent Control Law Revisions

Shall the 2010 Rent Stabilization and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance be strengthened by simplifying administrative processes and procedures, defining maximum allowable rent revising the registration fee pass-through, eliminating annual registration requirements, streamlining annual general adjustment calculations, addressing nuisance-based tenancy termination, strengthening informational notice provisions, and authorizing the City Council to revise the Ordinance when in conflict with federal or state law?

Results: YES 79.5% No: 20.5%

City of East Palo Alto  – Measure O Landlord Tax

Shall the business license tax a landlord with five or more residential rental units pays the City of East Palo Alto, which shall not be passed on to tenants, be set at 1.5% of gross receipts, until terminated by the voters or reduced by Council, and the approximately $600,000 raised annually used as directed by the City Council for general fund purposes, such as funding programs to increase affordable housing, and protect local residents from displacement and from homelessness?

Results: YES 76.9% NO 23.1%

City of San Mateo  – Measure Q Establishment of Rent Control

Shall the charter amendment adding Chapter XI to the San Mateo City Charter to enact rent regulations applicable to apartment housing with an initial certificate of occupancy dated before February 1,1995; and just cause for eviction requirements applicable to apartment housing with an initial certificate of occupancy dated before the date the measure becomes effective; and establishing a Rental Housing Commission To administer and implement these regulations and requirements be adopted?

Results: NO 60.9% YES 39.1%


Santa Clara County 

Cupertino  – Measure C Vallco Shopping District Redevelopment

  • Note: This measure would affect Cupertino's general plan and includes a provision around eliminating residential units in the District.

Shall an initiative ordinance be adopted amending Cupertino’s General Plan to limit redevelopment of the Vallco Shopping District, limit building heights along major mixed-use corridors, increase to 45 feet the maximum building height in the Neighborhoods, limit lot coverages for large projects, establish new setbacks and building planes on major thoroughfares, and require voter approval for any changes to these provisions?

Results: NO 60.3% Yes: 39.7%

Cupertino  – Measure D Vallco Town Center Specific Plan

  • Note: This measure includes requirements for residential housing in the area.

Shall an initiative be adopted enacting the Vallco Town Center Specific Plan for the 58-acre Vallco Shopping District Special Area requiring residential (approximately 389-800 units, including approximately 20% senior housing), office (2,000,000 sf), commercial (640,000 sf), hotel, park, civic/educational uses; requiring funding/community benefits for transportation (approximately $30,000,000), schools (approximately $40,000,000), green roof (approximately 30 acres), recycled water; granting initial entitlements; establishing development standards and limited future approval process; and making related Cupertino General Plan and Municipal Code amendments?

Results: NO 55.2% Yes 44.8%

Gilroy  – Measure H Urban Growth Boundary

Shall an ordinance be adopted to amend the Gilroy General Plan to add an Urban Growth Boundary line (UGB) to the General Plan Land Use Plan Map, designate lands outside the UGB as Open Space and prohibit urban development on such lands, and provide that (with limited exceptions) such restrictions may not be amended or repealed until December 31, 2040 without a vote of the people?

Results: YES 65.6% No 34.4%

Milipitas  – Measure I: Milpitas Extension of Expiring Urban Grown Boundary

Shall an ordinance that amends the Milpitas General Plan Land Use Element to extend until December 31, 2038 an Urban Growth Boundary near the base of the Milpitas foothills, that would limit development within Milpitas to the valley floor and the base of the foothills by prohibiting Milpitas from providing city services to new land use developments in the hillside area, be adopted?

Results: YES 72.9% No 27.1%

Milipitas  – Measure K: Parkland Rezoning Voter Approval Requirement 

Shall an ordinance amending the City of Milpitas General Plan be adopted to mandate that any attempt to rezone parks, parklands or open space to residential, commercial or industrial, or any proposal for residential, commercial or industrial development in parks, parkland or open space, must be placed before Milpitas voters and secure two-thirds support in the City’s next general election?

Results: YES 84% No: 16%

Milipitas  – Measure J: Milpitas Hillside Property Land Use Amendments 

Shall an ordinance, requiring until December 31, 2038, any amendments to the existing “Hillside Combining District” Ordinance and any amendments to the general plan land use designation for lands currently designated as “Hillside” property be approved by the voters before becoming effective, be adopted?

Results: YES 78.6% No: 21.4%

Morgan Hill – Measure S: Residential Development Control System Extension

Shall a measure be adopted to amend the Morgan Hill General Plan and Municipal Code to update the City’s voter-approved Residential Development Control System (RDCS) to extend it to 2035, establish a population ceiling of 58,200, with a slower rate of growth than currently exists, and improve policies to maintain neighborhood character, encourage more efficient land use, conserve water, and preserve open space?
Measure S: Morgan Hill Residential Development Control System Extension 

Results: YES 76.9% No: 23.1%

Mountain View  –  Measure V:  Rent Control Charter Amendment 

Shall a Rent Stabilization CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT be adopted enacting rent regulation and prohibiting amendments except by Citywide election, with annual rent increases limited to the Consumer Price Index (minimum 2%, maximum 5%) for most multifamily rental units built before February 1, 1995; prohibiting evictions without just cause for rental units built before this measure becomes effective; creating a Rental Housing Committee authorized to enact regulations, hire staff, expend funds, and charge landlords fees to implement this amendment?

Results: YES 53.5% No 46.5%

Mountain View  –  Measure W: Rent Control Tenant-Landlord Dispute Ordinance 

Shall a RENT STABILIZATION ORDINANCE be adopted requiring a tenant-landlord dispute resolution program and binding arbitration for rent increase disputes exceeding 5% of base rent per 12-month period and service reductions for most multifamily rental units with a certificate of occupancy before February 1, 1995; prohibiting eviction of tenants without just cause or relocation assistance; prohibiting substantive changes for two years, and requiring a super majority City Council vote for substantive changes thereafter?
San Jose  –  Measure E Additional Hours for Part-Time Workers 

Results: NO 51.2% Yes 48.8%

Santa Clara  – Measure R: Protection of Parkland and Open Space 

PROTECTION OF PARKLAND AND OPEN SPACE. Shall Section 714.1 of the Santa Clara City Charter be added to provide that no City-owned land used for park or recreational purposes, including the Ulistac Natural Area and the Santa Clara Soccer Park, shall be sold or disposed of by the City without being authorized by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote and that development upon such property shall be subject to referendum?

Results: YES 89.2% No: 10.8%

Santa Clara-wide  – Measure A: Affordable Housing Bonds 

To provide affordable local housing for vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, the disabled, low and moderate income individuals or families, foster youth, victims of abuse, the homeless and individuals suffering from mental health or substance abuse illnesses, which housing may include supportive mental health and substance abuse services, shall the County of Santa Clara issue up to $950 million in general obligation bonds to acquire or improve real property subject to independent citizen oversight and regular audits

Results: YES 67.4% No: 32.6%

Sunnyvale  –  Measure M: Sunnyvale City Property and Land Transfer Voter Approval Requirement 

Shall an ordinance be adopted to require the City to conduct a citywide special or general election requesting approval from a majority of voters for any sale, lease, lease extension, lease renewal, land swap, or transfer of any property, facility, or land that the City owns, leases, or uses for government administration, recreation, public park, or similar community purposes

Results: NO 51.1% Yes: 48.9%


Election 2016 results: Presidential, national, California, Bay Area, San Francisco. (n.d.). Retrieved from [1]