California Propositions 1, 28, and 31 are all found on the midterm election ballot, affecting students’ lives.
Proposition 1 would enshrine the right to have an abortion and use contraception in the California Constitution, leaving medical decisions up to the patient and provider.
The proposed constitutional amendment is as follows: “The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.”
If the measure fails, state law would continue to protect reproductive rights, but these rights could be revoked in the future. U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla support Proposition 1, along with Governor Gavin Newsom. Opponents argue that it will allow late-term abortions and raise taxes.
Proposition 28 would provide increased funding for arts and music education in all K-12 public and charter schools. As of now, one in five California public schools have full-time art or music programs. This measure would send $1 billion in funding each year to increase access to these programs — equivalent to at least 1% of total state and local revenues that education agencies received in the last year.
Proposition 28 was initiated by citizens through signatures and would amend state law. Parents, teachers and children support this measure, while those who oppose it believe that local decisions should determine funding. The California Teachers Association and Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent Austin Beutner endorsed the Yes on 28 campaign.
Proposition 30, which proposes an income tax to fund ride-share companies, is one of the most divisive measures on the California ballot, largely because of powerful stakeholders on each side of the aisle. Most Democrats in California are siding with the mammoth rideshare company Lyft to support the proposition, but Gov. Gavin Newsom has made an unlikely alliance with California Republicans in opposition to the proposition.
The bill would add a 1.75% tax to Californians who earn over $2 million. This money would primarily go toward electric vehicle infrastructure for ride-share companies, such as Lyft and Uber.
Newsom’s opposition to what many Democrats see as a bill intended to fight climate change is motivated largely by his alignment with the California Teachers Association (CTA). The CTA is opposed to Prop. 30, as the tax revenue would not go to the state general fund — which provides much of the funding for California schools and government programs.
Despite the CTA’s clear stance against Prop. 30, the San Mateo Union High School District Teachers Association (SMUHSDTA), has stayed silent on the issue.
Proposition 31 would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products and decrease state tobacco tax revenues. A “yes” vote would approve Senate Bill 793, passed in August 2020 to fine retailers that sell flavored tobacco products. To reduce tobacco-related healthcare expenses, stores and vending machines would also be prohibited from selling most flavored tobacco products and flavor enhancers.
Governor Gavin Newsom and Lindsey Freitas, advocacy director for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, support passing the proposition. However, some argue that it is already illegal to sell these products to people under 21, and believe that absolute prohibition is unnecessary. The Californians Against Prohibition is campaigning against the proposition and wishes to repeal Senate Bill 793.
Peter Stevenson has been a resident of Burlingame for 30 years, raising his kids in the city and sending them to Burlingame.
His passion for the city is no secret, illustrated through his constant involvement in the community. For example, he served as president of Burlingame Community Education Foundation (BCE), supported the new community center that opened in June by raising funds, helped pass the parcel taxes which is a part of the property tax bill, sat on the Citizens Advisory Board and is a Washington Dads Club alum.
Stevenson had nothing but good things to say about the area when asked about his ongoing devotion.
“What I love about Burlingame is just community,” Stevenson said. “The opportunity to really get to know and be familiar with so many people across the community, and also being a part of the community and its diversity is so important to me.”
If elected, Stevenson plans to devote more time to the concerns of safety and transportation. He’s a big believer in a sustainable mobile world where people are able to be less dependent on their vehicles while still enjoying parts of the community such as Burlingame avenue or Broadway. He also placed emphasis on affordable housing.
“I think it’s important that we maintain the diversity of our community and have affordable places for everybody,” Stevenson said. “When you think of teachers, service workers and first responders, not everyone can afford a home, with the average price set in Burlingame, so, being able to have a balanced view is one solution to better housing.”
Stevenson is determined to make Burlingame the best version of itself and match his expectations for a great city. Above all, he is grateful for the opportunity to serve his community.
“I wanted an opportunity to give back. I’m a roll up my sleeves person you know, not necessarily seeking the limelight,” Stevenson said. “I’m more excited about the outcome of something than I am with a title. And that’s my philosophy. I’ll definitely bring that to the council if I’m elected”.
This is Michael Brownrigg’s fourth time running for Burlingame City Council, having run in the years 2009, 2013 and 2017. So far, Brownrigg describes his experience with the elections as nothing short of hard work.
“The past elections were very competitive,” Brownrigg said. “I worked really hard and made sure I knocked on lots of doors and saw lots of people. We had robust debates between the candidates.”
However, since this election is by district instead of at large, things have changed.
“This election has been entirely different,” Brownrigg said. “Up until this year, every election has been at large. But, the state enacted a law set a number of years ago that made it easy for a law firm to sue smaller cities if they have at-large elections because of the supposed lack of diversity… I don’t like that law, when you’re talking about tiny cities like ours then I think at-large elections are much better.”
Brownrigg wholeheartedly believes that Burlingame is a great city and aims to make it even better. He wishes to keep what makes it great while fixing the challenges the community faces. He loves the eye-catching parks, great schools and pretty streets.
“I think what makes Burlingame the most special is that we have been a community that has lots of different people,” Brownrigg said, “people who are, you know, making a lot of money and people who are not making so much. We have professional firefighters living next to biotech executives.”
In terms of new change, Brownrigg says to look out for a new times square hitting the downtown around 2024 complete with foosball, ping-pong and a stage.
Ricardo Ortiz is no stranger to the Burlingame scene. Ortiz was elected to City Council in 2013 and served as mayor in 2017. As a Burlingame resident for over 20 years, he first moved to the town in 1993 and currently resides with his wife Lauren Barranti.
Ortiz has a long-standing commitment to giving back to his community, which he fulfills through volunteering and taking part in local organizations. He previously served as the president of the Burlingame High School Drama Boosters, president of the Men’s Club, treasurer of the Burlingame Rotary Club, among others.
He is adamant that Burlingame continues to practice fiscal restraint, so that present and future inhabitants can continue to enjoy the town as it is. Ortiz is a great proponent of embracing an environmentally conscious future and doing our share to address local issues without sacrificing the small-town charm.
Finally, in terms of education, Ortiz thinks the city should sustain its tight relationship with the elementary school district. He asserts that Burlingame’s schools continue to be the biggest factor of attraction for families.
This year, Generation Voter, led by senior Ava Giere, offered an “I Voted” sticker competition to involve local youth in the civic process.
The competition judged sticker designs by Burlingame residents under 18; voters will receive the winning submission at polling booths. They received 175 submissions from the Burlingame community.
“Hopefully [the “I Voted” contest] got more people thinking about voting in the November elections,” Giere said.
Generation Voter, a project out of the city clerk’s office, helps young people take part in the civic process and pre-register to vote. Giere is passionate about bringing attention to smaller elections since many constituents only vote in federal elections.
“Citywide issues and community issues also matter,” Giere said.
There are limited chances for youth to be politically involved. This year, the “I Voted” sticker contest was Generation Voter’s way of changing that.
The winner of the competition for ages of 12 to 18 was junior Lauren Cheng. Her design incorporated red and blue squiggles to represent the stripes on the American flag.
“I wanted to include [pieces] that are common in voting settings,” Cheng said.
All the winning stickers portrayed each artist’s diversity, personality and creativity.
Cheng’s experience is proof that Generation Voter achieved its goal of prompting more young people to join the voting process.
“It definitely helped me engage more with the community,” Cheng said.
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