What we know about the 138 local ballot measures Californians decided on March 5

Welcome to the Thursday, March 14, Brew. 

By: Mercedes Yanora

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. What we know about the 138 local ballot measures Californians decided on March 5
  2. Two candidates running in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District Democratic primary 
  3. Learn about the states banning private funding of election administration in the latest episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

What we know about the 138 local ballot measures Californians decided on March 5

Voters decided on 138 local ballot measures during California’s March 5 statewide primary. We’ve highlighted the results from 11 notable measures below:

 Want a deeper look into each measure? See below:

  • Fresno County Measure B: Voters rejected Measure B, which followed The U.S. Board of Geographic Names’ renaming of Squaw Valley to Yokuts Valley in 2023. In 2022, the California Legislature unanimously approved AB 2022, which required the word “squaw” to be removed from geographic feature and place names in the state because the term “… has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial, and sexist slur, particularly for indigenous women.” 
  • 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. 
  • Long Beach Measure RW: As of March 12, Measure RW was too close to call. “Yes” was leading with 52.74%. The measure would increase the minimum wage for qualifying hotel workers from $17.55 to $23.00 per hour on July 1, 2024, and increase each year until reaching $29.50 on July 1, 2028. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted based on inflation. 
  • Los Angeles Measure HLA: Voters approved Measure HLA, which will require Los Angeles to implement the Mobility Plan 2035, a transportation-planning guidelines document adopted in 2015. Specifically, Measure HLA requires Los Angeles to implement street modifications, such as wider sidewalks and bike lanes, anytime a street improvement, such as paving, is made on a street segment that is at least one-eighth of a mile long. 
  • Huntington Beach Measure 1: Voters approved Measure 1 in Huntington Beach. It requires voter identification and that ballot dropboxes be monitored for compliance. 
  • Huntington Beach Measure 2: Voters also approved Measure 2. It prohibits the city from displaying flags on city property without a unanimous vote of the city council, with exceptions for certain flags, primarily government-related ones. 
  • San Francisco Proposition B: Voters rejected Proposition B, which would have increased 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 Proposition E: Voters approved this second policing-related measure in San Francisco. It 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 an officer draws a firearm; 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. 
  • San Francisco Proposition F: Voters approved Proposition F, which requires drug screening of individuals receiving County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP) benefits if the city suspects they are using illegal substances. It also requires the individual to participate in treatment programs (if the treatment program is free) to continue receiving assistance benefits. 
  • San Francisco Proposition G: Voters approved Proposition G, which declares it the official city policy of San Francisco to urge the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to offer Algebra 1 to students by eighth grade. Proposition G has no binding effect on SFUSD. 
  • 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. Because Measure D was approved, Measure E will also take effect. Measure E gave voters three options for how to elect their future city council. They chose at-large elections.

As of March 12, Californians have approved 72 of the 138 local ballot measures and defeated 22. These numbers only cover ballot measures within our coverage scope and do not include 44 that were too close to call. 

Looking at California’s statewide primaries from 2016 to 2022, 138 was less than the average of 174 local ballot measures appearing on primary ballots.

In even-numbered years, voters decide hundreds of measures. The number of local measures has ranged from about 530 to over 800 in the last three two-year cycles. In odd-numbered years, local voters generally decide between 100 and 200 measures.

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Two candidates running in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District Democratic primary 

Throughout the year, we’ll bring you coverage of the most compelling primaries — the battlegrounds we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive. 

Earlier this week, we previewed the March 19 Republican primary for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. You can catch our previous coverage of other battleground races here.

Today, we’re looking at the April 23 Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Incumbent Summer Lee (D) and Bhavini Patel (D) are running. Laurie MacDonald (R) filed to run in the Democratic primary but withdrew and is running as a write-in candidate in the Republican primary.

Lee was first elected to the U.S. House in 2022 and previously served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 2018 to 2022. She describes herself as a progressive and is campaigning on her legislative record. Her priorities include education, voting accessibility, raising the minimum wage, and the environment. 

Patel is a member of the Edgewood Borough Council and a former small business owner. She is campaigning on her support for President Joe Biden (D). Her priorities include public safety, passing gun legislation, increasing the amount of union jobs, and increasing access to abortion. 

The New York Times’ Jonathan Wiesman wrote that the candidates’ views on the Israel-Hamas war are a central dynamic of the race. In October 2023, Lee co-sponsored a cease-fire resolution. At a candidate forum, Patel mentioned Lee’s social media posts regarding the conflict, specifically a post accusing Israel of bombing a hospital, saying, “To me, that’s stoking hatred. That’s stoking antisemitism.” Patel also said that she attended rallies in support of Israel following the start of the conflict. In response, Lee said the conflict “elicits deep pain in multiple communities … The reality is that peace — a just and lasting peace — has to start with centering all of the folks who are impacted.” 

The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter’s 2023 Partisan Voter Index gave Pennsylvania’s 12th District a +8 Democratic advantage.

Below is a campaign finance summary as of Dec. 31, 2023:

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Learn about the states banning private funding of election administration in the latest episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

On the Ballot, Ballotpedia’s weekly podcast, is taking a deep dive into the ongoing debate over private funding for election administration. 

The debate picked up after individuals made donations to nonprofits, including Mark Zuckerburg’s $350 million donation to Center for Tech and Civic Life, ahead of the 2020 general election. These donations went to election administrators for the purpose of conducting or administering an election. 

As of March 2024, 27 states had enacted laws banning or otherwise restricting the use of private donations for election administration purposes. Twenty-one of these states had a Republican trifecta when the law was adopted. The other six states had divided governments at the time. No states banned or restricted private election funding prior to 2021.

In this episode, Marquee Writer Joe Greaney talks to our host, Ballotpedia Podcast Producer Frank Festa, about the origin of this debate, arguments for and against banning private funds, the partisan leaning of states with bans in place, and upcoming legislation. 

And remember, new episodes of On the Ballot drop every Thursday afternoon. If you’re reading this on the morning of March 14, there’s still time to subscribe to On the Ballot on your preferred podcast app and catch this episode on private funding for election administration!

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