Results for a selection of notable California local ballot measures on March 5

Across California, voters decided on 138 local ballot measures, in addition to the statewide measure, Proposition 1, on March 5. While we are awaiting finalized results for the ballot measures, below is a selection of local ballot measure outcomes, which addressed policing, voter ID, school curriculums, and more:

Fresno County Measure B: Voters rejected Measure B, which followed the renaming of Squaw Valley to Yokuts Valley. Measure B would have amended the Fresno County Charter to state that the Board of Supervisors is responsible for establishing or changing “geographic feature or place names within the unincorporated portions” of Fresno County that are not subject to federal, state, or other local government jurisdiction. In 2022, the California State Legislature passed AB 2022, which required the word “squaw” to be removed from geographic feature and place names in the state. The legislative analysis said, “… the term primarily has been used as an offensive ethnic, racial, and sexist slur for Indigenous women.” AB 2022 received unanimous consent in the Assembly and Senate. The U.S. Board of Geographic Names renamed Squaw Valley to Yokuts Valley in 2023. County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said Measure B is about local control. “(People) who live in that area should able to decide for themselves what that name their community is going to be.” He said locals preferred the alternative Bear Valley. State Sen. Anna Caballero (D-14) said locals should have the power to rename jurisdictions. She added, “Unfortunately, the county of Fresno persisted in insisting that they had the right to name the places and to continue using the derogatory terms.”

Long Beach Measure RW: As of March 7, Measure RW was too close to call. ‘Yes’ was leading by 600 votes. The ballot initiative was designed to increase the minimum wage for qualifying hotel workers. Currently, the minimum wage for hotel workers is $17.55, based on an initiative, Measure N, passed in 2012. The minimum wage is set to increase to $23.00 per hour on July 1, 2024, and then increase each year until reaching $29.50 on July 1, 2028. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted based on inflation. Unite Here! Local 11 supports the ballot initiative. Ada Briceño, co-president of the union, said, “During the pandemic, our members lost their livelihoods overnight and since then the tourism industry has bounced back with the help of billions in PPP loans. Hotels are now near maximum capacity, and making record profits.” Sarah Wiltfong, Director of Advocacy for the Los Angeles County Business Federation, said, “Measure RW’s unsustainable wage mandates will devastate our local economy – putting the hospitality sector’s $1.8 billion economic impact and 18,000 jobs at risk.”

Los Angeles Measure HLA: Voters approved Measure HLA, a ballot initiative designed to require Los Angeles to implement the Mobility Plan 2035, a transportation-planning guidelines document adopted in 2015. Specifically, Measure HLA required the City of Los Angeles to implement street modifications, such as wider sidewalks and bike lanes, outlined in the Mobility Plan 2035 anytime a street improvement, such as paving, is made on a street segment that is at least one-eighth of a mile long. Former City Councilmember Mike Bonin said, “I’ve dealt with [LA] long enough to know that the city needs to be forced to do anything worthwhile. … This is just the history of modern LA. … [Measure HLA] not making the city do anything [it] doesn’t say it wants to do; it’s just making the city do what it says it will do.” Freddy Escobar, President of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles, said “there is an issue with public safety” because some of the street modifications “will delay the response time for the members that I represent.”

Huntington Beach Measure 1: Voters approved Measure 1 in Huntington Beach. The charter amendment was designed to make several changes to election policies in Huntington Beach, including requiring voter identification and requiring that ballot dropboxes be monitored for compliance. Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) and Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) said Measure 1 would conflict with state law and suppress voter participation without a discernible local benefit. Bonta said, “If the city moves forward and places it on the ballot, we stand ready to take appropriate action to ensure that voters’ rights are protected.” Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates responded, “I think it’s a stretch to say that voter ID in Huntington Beach and monitoring of ballot boxes is a statewide concern.”

Huntington Beach Measure 2: Voters also approved Measure 2 in Huntington Beach. The charter amendment prohibits the city from displaying flags on city property without a unanimous vote of the city council, with exceptions for certain flags. Opponents said Measure 2 was designed to target the LGBTQ Pride Flag. Peg Coley, Executive Director of the LGBTQ Center Orange County, said, “It’s not just that they’re making a decision not to fly any nongovernment flag. They are unwinding an inclusive policy. They’re reversing diversity and inclusion.” Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark supports Measure 2. She said, “Now if you want to fly whatever flag you want in your home, that’s perfectly fine. Businesses can fly whatever flags they want, but in our government buildings we should only stick to government flags.”

San Francisco Proposition B: Voters rejected Proposition B, which would have increased the minimum police officer staffing levels. However, that would have been contingent on voters approving a new tax or changing an existing tax to fund those staffing levels. San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí said, “Our initiative, Proposition B, will achieve a fully staffed SFPD while being transparent and honest with San Franciscans regarding where the money is coming from.” Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who drafted an earlier version of Proposition B but opposed the final version, said, “Proposition B is a confusing mess of political gamesmanship that actually prevents San Francisco voters from mandating a fully staffed police department — unless and until they pass ‘a future tax measure’ to ‘generate sufficient additional revenue’ to recruit and hire more officers.”

San Francisco Proposition E: Voters approved the second policing-related measure in San Francisco, Proposition E. The ballot initiative changes several policing policies, including limiting the amount of time that officers spend on administrative tasks; requiring written reports for use-of-force incidents only if there is a physical injury or a firearm is drawn from an officer’s holster; allowing the use of drones in vehicle pursuits; and permitting surveillance and facial recognition cameras without the need for approval from the police commission or board of supervisors. Mayor London Breed supported Proposition E, while the San Francisco Democratic Party opposed the measure.

San Francisco Proposition F: Voters approved Proposition F, which requires drug testing for individuals suspected of illegal substance use receiving County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP) benefits, with continued assistance contingent upon participation in free treatment programs. Mayor Breed, who supported Proposition F, responded to the results, saying, “These are additional tools that are going to help us deliver some real results for San Francisco.” Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, opposed the measure. She said, “Those suffering from addiction deserve actual solutions and real opportunities for treatment, not false promises and election year politics.”

San Francisco Proposition G: Voters approved Proposition G, which declares it the official policy of San Francisco to urge the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to offer Algebra 1 to students by the eighth grade. Proposition G has no binding effect on SFUSD. Supervisor Joel Engardio, who sponsored the proposal, said, “The Board of Supervisors does not have control over the school district. Our schools are governed by an independently elected school board. But every resident of San Francisco is our constituent, including parents and students. Their voices deserve to be heard.”

Mountain House Measure D and Measure E: California will have 483 cities on July 1, 2024, as voters approved Measure D, creating the City of Mountain House in San Joaquin County. As Measure D was approved, Measure E also took effect. Measure E provided voters with three options for how to elect their future city council. The option to elect council members at large prevailed over district-based elections.