The 4 measures on your Berkeley ballot

Voters will find four local measures on the Berkeley ballot on Nov. 6, 2018. Photo: Natalie Orenstein

There’s a lot to keep up with during campaign season, from heated regional races to statewide propositions asking voters to weigh in on everything from daylight savings to dialysis. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read up on your local issues yet, Berkeleyside has rounded up our coverage on the Berkeley ballot measures.

There are only four city measures on the list this year — compared to a whopping 12 in 2016 — but they all pertain to issues considered by many voters to be among the most pressing: housing, homelessness and infrastructure.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Measure O

Are two-thirds of Berkeley voters willing to approve a $135 million bond for affordable housing? Supporters of Measure O are hoping so. The measure language would allow the bond revenue to be used to create and maintain affordable housing for a range of populations, including low-income residents, seniors and teachers. It would also establish a citizen oversight committee and include independent audits.


Proponents have called Measure O the game-changer that’s needed to address the affordability crisis, and opponents have said it’s yet another unfair burden on Berkeley homeowners. The city expects the measure to cost property owners $22 per $100,000 of assessed value at first, then jump to $33 per $100,000 in 2025. Some critics have taken issue with figures the city has used to determine the average homeowner’s cost — $97 for $425,000 — saying they’re based on outdated averages.

Read the ballot language.

More coverage:
* Berkeley mayor makes case for tax measures O and P, hits resistance
* Berkeley to put $135M affordable housing bond on November ballot
* Big money is flowing in to support and oppose measures O and P, AD15 race

Measure P

The well-funded campaigns for and against Measures P and O have promoted the two items as a package, but P would more narrowly fund homelessness services. The revenue would raise the property transfer tax, bringing money into the city’s general fund to pay for shelters, rehousing and mental health services and related programs. The measure would raise the transfer tax from 1.5% to 2.5% for the top third of both residential and commercial property sales. At first, only sales of $1.5 million or more would be taxed, but eligibility would be adjusted annually to specifically capture the top third.

Critics have said the ballot language leaves room for the city to use the revenue for unrelated purposes, but the measure would create a panel of experts on homelessness services to make recommendations on how the money is spent. Unlike the bond measure, P and the others on the ballot only require a simple majority to pass.

Read the ballot language.

More coverage:
* Berkeley mayor makes case for tax measures O and P, hits resistance
* Big money is flowing in to support and oppose measures O and P, AD15 race


Measure Q

One measure on Berkeley’s ballot is contingent on a decision by voters across the state. If California’s Proposition 10 passes, Costa Hawkins, the law restricting rent control, will be repealed. In that case, cities like Berkeley will return to more comprehensive rent-control systems. With Measure Q, Berkeley voters are asked to decide whether or not to tweak the city ordinance that has lain mostly dormant since Costa Hawkins passed in 1995. The measure would maintain all “vacancy decontrol” increases that occurred under Costa Hawkins — the rent boosts that were permitted when tenancy changed — and begin the incremental rent-control increases from that existing amount. The measure would also exempt new construction from rent control for 20 years, and exempt all accessory dwelling units permanently.

Read the ballot language.

More coverage:
* With rent control in state spotlight, five seats open on Berkeley rent board
* Berkeley puts rent-control update measure on November ballot
* Berkeley prepares for potential repeal of Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act

Measure R

Measure R would “advise” the city to draw up a 30-year strategic plan called “Vision 2050” for Berkeley’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure. In short, it’s a plan for a plan. There is wide support for a Vision 2050, which would take into consideration the impact of climate change and technological advances. Work has already begun in this realm, with the city holding information sessions and establishing citizen and staff committees to make recommendations. Although there’s no immediate cost associated with Measure R, it could open the door to potential future bond measures and expenses to cover the infrastructure projects.

Read the ballot language.

Read more:
* Berkeley’s Measure R: ‘Vision 2050’ aims to tackle climate change, failing infrastructure


What else is on the ballot?

All Berkeley voters will also get a say in who fills three School Board seats, five Rent Board seats, the city auditor position, the Alameda County assessor role and the AC Transit director position. If you live in districts 1, 4, 7 or 8 you will also vote for City Council.

Countywide, there are two Peralta Community College measures (E and G) and one East Bay Regional Park District measure (FF). At the state level, voters will have 11 propositions, 12 offices — including Assembly District 15 — and several judge positions to consider. Find out more, and see your customized ballot, on Voter’s Edge.

Read more at Berkeleyside’s Election 2018 hub and the city of Berkeley’s election page.