The yard signs have taken over. Perhaps a neighbor or local business has made it clear his or her support or opposition to any number of propositions on the November ballot by sticking a square banner in the window, on the curb or rooftop. Regardless of who or where, the number of campaign memorabilia has steadily increased — and none more so than those expressing an opinion over propositions 6 and 10.
In 2017, Senate Bill 1 came to be. This legislation, enacted by the state Legislature, increased fuel and vehicle taxes, specifically, a gasoline excise tax by 12 cents per gallon and diesel sales tax by four percent and created a transportation improvement fee ranging from $25 to $175 annually, which raised the cost of vehicle registration. It also added a $100 fee for zero-emission vehicles for model year 2020 or later. The result: $4.4 billion in estimated state taxes, which are constitutionally bound to be spent for transportation purposes, with two-thirds of revenues allocated for highway and road repairs and the rest for transportation programs such as mass transit.
If passed, Proposition 6 would repeal Senate Bill 1 by retroactively requiring the state legislature to receive voter approval for new or increased taxes on the sale, storage, use or consumption of gasoline or diesel fuel, as well as for any taxes regarding operating vehicles on public highways. The effective date would be Jan. 1, 2017, thus negating Senate Bill 1.
On Oct. 5, the Ventura County Transportation Commission Programming Director Peter De Haan recommended opposing Proposition 6 in a memo, noting that Prop. 6 would require voter approval for “motorist-related taxes or fee” increases, “something that has happened only once in the past century,” citing Proposition 111 in 1990.
According to Haan, over the next five years, Ventura County would receive $120 million for road maintenance and repairs across its 10 cities; $69 million to fund the Rice Avenue bridge project in Oxnard; $25 million for transit operations and maintenance; and $3 million for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Haan also notes that the county would benefit from statewide projects funded by SB1.
Ventura Mayor Neal Andrews says that several local projects would be put in jeopardy should Prop. 6 pass, citing a downtown Highway 101 offramp project and the Stanley Avenue project specifically.
“We have to bear the burden of these costs because it’s just necessary,” said Andrews. “It’s like if you have children, they’ve got to go to school and they need shoes, you’ve got to buy the shoes even if you have to borrow the money; it’s as simple as that.”
In July, politician Carl DeMaio, who successfully placed Proposition 6 on the November ballot, held a rally in Camarillo with fellow Prop. 6 supporter Antonio Sabato, Jr., who is running in opposition to Congresswoman Julia Brownley in District 26.
DeMaio said that SB1 costs the average family an extra $779 annually and described Prop. 6 as “The Robin Hood Act — Stealing our dollars back from the politicians!” as reported by Citizens Journal.
Prop 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins act. Passed in 1995, the law restricts cities’ abilities to enact rent control measures, barring any such action on apartments built after 1995, banning rent control on single family homes and condominiums, and prevents so-called vacancy control, which caps rent even after a tenant moves out.
The proposition would allow local cities and communities to decide to pass rent control measures, if any, meaning that the promise of rent control may or may not come to your city depending on decisions made at city hall.
The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce came out in opposition to Proposition 10 early in August.
“Removing the limitations on locally enacted rent control laws could discourage new construction, decrease the supply of rental housing and reduce the quality of housing available in communities statewide,” says the Chamber’s official opposition.
Opponents of Prop. 10, specifically those behind NoProp10.org, which the Chamber links to in its opposition statement, cite cities such as San Francisco, which have rent control measures, as being prime examples of why rent control doesn’t work, given that the Bay Area has the highest rental and housing costs in the state.
Oxnard Mayor Pro-Tem Carmen Ramirez isn’t so sure that would be the case, however.
“I think that those items are of concern,” said Ramirez. “Some could say I don’t want to build an apartment building because I’d be stuck with rent control, but we don’t have rent control now and believe me the real estate industry is very influential, and they are going to be a very strong voice.”
Ramirez says that locals should decide on what happens in their neighborhoods, and thus, she says she is likely to vote for Proposition 10. Whether or not the city would adopt rent control measures, she isn’t so sure. Rather, the city of Oxnard wants to promote more housing being built in the downtown area, where a project to create a cultural hub would draw developers regardless of rent control measures, she says.
“I think there’s a lot of concern about a lack of housing or housing disappearing,” said Ramirez, adding that “when you have more housing you don’t need rent control.”