To increase participation in our democracy, our economy, and our society, Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund is developing policy and advocating for change on a number of fronts. Here are some of the issues we’re working on.
Funding Schools and Communities by Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes
We believe that everyone should pay their fair share of taxes in California so we can support world-class schools, health care for all, safe neighborhoods, and affordable homes. Unfortunately, because of a corporate tax loophole in Proposition 13, which was passed in 1978, our schools and locals services are starved of funding. California once had one of the best public school systems in the country. Today our schools are ranked 41st in per pupil funding. Our streets and sidewalks are in disrepair, health clinics and fire stations have closed, and affordable housing is disappearing in our neighborhoods.
Closing the corporate loophole in Prop 13 would allow the state to reclaim an estimated $11 billion every year for our schools and communities to restore our emergency responder services, parks and libraries, health clinics and trauma centers, housing construction and homeless services, roads and bridges, and local schools and community colleges. To close the loophole, ASDMF is joining forces with organizations and supporters across the state to put a state proposition on the ballot to amend Prop 13 and protect homeowners, renters and small businesses. If we are successful, the corporations that have taken advantage of the loophole for decades will finally be required to pay their fair share.
Border Patrol Accountability
We believe that San Diegans should be able to live in peace and dignity without the fear of abuse by border agents who patrol away from the border and in our communities, sometimes violating our constitutional, civil and human rights. We believe that discussions about increasing the power, resources and jurisdiction of border agents must include a conversation about transparency, accountability, and oversight of these agents. And any border policy decisions made at the national level must be based on data, analysis and consultation with border residents and stakeholders.
To that end, ASDMF is working with regional and national partners to draft policies and advocate for legislation that increases the accountability of border agents and includes the perspectives of border residents. From San Diego to Washington, D.C., we are elevating the conversation and moving the debate in order to improve the treatment of border residents.
Election Reform to Maximize Voter Participation
We believe that democracy functions best when the most people participate, and that’s in November general elections. Because the City of San Diego allowed candidate races and local ballot measures to be decided in June primaries, when the fewest voters participated, ASDMF proposed changes to the city charter. Working with City Council president Sherri Lightner, the Independent Voter Project, and other partners, we put two measures on the ballot: measure “K” scheduled final decisions on candidates in November; and measure “L” did the same for citizen-based measures in the city.
Working alongside coalition partners, supporters and volunteers, ASDMF led a successful campaign to pass both measures. Part of this success was due to the roughly 20,000 infrequent voters we talked to about the measures and who turned out at rates higher than the citywide turnout, accounting for 6 percent of the YES votes on each measure. Now San Diegans will benefit from city elections to decide candidates and ballot measures that are aligned with state elections . That means voters -- not special interests who have long taken advantage of low-turnout June elections to force decisions -- will have the power to make final decisions in November elections when the majority votes.
Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave
We believe that everyone deserves a chance to make a just and living wage and earn paid sick days that allows them to take care of their families and live with dignity. To that end, ASDMF joined forces with the Center on Policy Initiatives and people across the city to raise the wage and provide paid sick leave through local ballot measure “I” in San Diego.
In June 2016, ASDMF mobilized 11,000 infrequent voters to support measure “I” and support the city council candidates that supported the measure. The voters we turned out amounted to 6 percent of the YES votes on measure “I” and contributed to its successful passage. Now San Diegans will be able to earn more each year. As a result of this campaign and similar campaigns throughout the state, California’s minimum wage will also rise yearly, reaching $15 an hour by the year 2023.