For the most part, California voters did indeed #BikeTheVote on Tuesday. Voters approved CalBike positions on every ballot measure we endorsed, and bike-friendly candidates won the right to compete in November in each of the three races we endorsed.
With voter approval of Prop 68, the infrastructure bond for parks and trails, and in the Bay Area, a graduated $3 increase in bridge tolls to pay for transportation, voters showed they support paying for public infrastructure. That is a good sign. But the success of the recall of Senator Josh Newman in southern California (Senate District 29) solely because of his vote in support of the gas tax shows how fragile that support can be. In November, the stakes are much higher, and the result from SD 29 is a warning that we could face a reversal of the landmark decision to invest $5.2 billion each year into transportation, including more than $100 million into active transportation.
One key difference between this election and November’s is potential turnout. While votes are still being counted, initial projections about California’s voter turnout for the June primary aren’t looking good. Just 35% of Californians are expected to have exercised their right to cast a ballot. One of CalBike’s priorities for the next five months before the November general election is to encourage people to get registered and to vote!
Statewide Ballot Measures
Voters agreed with CalBike on all three of the positions we recommended.
They passed Proposition 68, the Parks, Environment & Water Bond with 56% of the vote. If you live in a neighborhood where the nearest park is more than a 10-minute walk away, or there are no trails or bike paths to get to and around your neighborhood park, the chances of fixing these problems just got better! A #BikeTheVote win.
They defeated Proposition 70, soundly, with 64% of the voters saying ‘No’ to the measure that would have required a two-thirds vote to approve expenditures from the state’s greenhouse gas reduction fund. Its was a defeat for the oil and gas industries that wanted to put the brakes on efforts to reduce climate change more say, and a #BikeTheVote win.
Voters also supported Proposition 69, a common sense measure that required revenue from transportation-related taxes to be spent on transportation-related projects. A #BikeTheVote win.
Statewide Lieutenant Governor
CalBike’s endorsed candidate for Lieutenant Governor did not finish high enough to make the general election ballot in November. Gayle McLaughlin would have been a huge champion for neighborhood control over infrastructure, including, of course, transportation projects and bikeways.
Local District Races
CalBike-endorsed candidates in 3 local races each placed in the top two with a good chance to win in November. Christy Smith, the bike-friendly candidate in AD 38 (Simi Valley, Santa Clarita) placed second with 46% of the vote. Tasha Boerner Horvath in AD 76 (Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas) finished just 337 votes out of first place. Horvath has campaigned on the importance of safe routes to school and active transportation and was the only candidate to attend a forum on active transportation prior to the election. In Senate District 22 (San Gabriel Valley), our endorsed candidate Mike Eng came in a very strong first place with 44% compared to the second place finisher with just 27%.
Each of these candidates is not just the best of the field, but a true champion who we will be able to rely upon as leaders for the role that bicycling can play in making our communities better. With five months before the November election, we have a strong chance to get these champions elected!
In the only local loss of Election Day, State Senator Josh Newman (Fullerton, Diamond Bar) was recalled in a purely partisan campaign to prevent Democrats from controlling two-thirds of the state Senate. The Republican Party stoked opposition to SB1, the transportation tax package that included a gas tax. The success of the recall based solely on the unpopularity of the gas tax is a worrying sign about the potential for the tax to be repealed in November when the repeal of this critical transportation funding source will be on the ballot. CalBike will be fighting that repeal in November.
In summary, California voters did #BikeTheVote in three out of four races where CalBike made a recommendation. Our communities understand how important it is to the future of our state and our environment to have leaders who will stand up for safe, sustainable streets.
In the next month, CalBike will be evaluating the slate of Assembly and Senate races and the statewide propositions for potential endorsement or involvement, so make you keep up with our process here and at our blog The Latest.