Archive for October 2020

General election 2020 coverage for the deaf

October 11, 2020

I thought this was going to be the election that I stopped writing about it, but several people independently asked to see it, so I said fine. But enough about me. Let’s see what career-limiting things I can write about this time.

President and Vice President of the United States: Gloria la Riva and Sunil Freeman

As usual, the least important thing to vote on, even in 2020. More people vote for the electors for their state than anything else they vote on, which means mathematically your vote matters the least here. And as I love to say, if someone loses a state by 1 vote, they weren’t going to win by placating me, because they would have lost 1,000 other votes in the process.

Are you wondering where Kanye is? Well, in California he is the vice presidential candidate on the American Independent ticket, paired with Rocky de la Fuente. But people may not see his name, because his middle name (Omari) is included. Newsweek decided this was worth documenting.

Breaking news, BTW: Animaniacs has all new episodes on Hulu starting November 20. It has nothing to do with the rest of what I’m writing, but the demographics are the same, so I figure you would want to know.

Howie Hawkins, founder of the Green Party, did not sabotage my Peace and Freedom ticket in the primary by winning, but he is still running on his own. Angela Walker is his veep.

Jo Jorgensen heads the Libertarian ticket and is not paired with a girl named Spike, but surely at least 500 people will vote for her and Jeremy Cohen them because of the name alone.

The odds-on favorite to no one’s surprise is the Democratic ticket Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. You surely did not come here to see what I think of their candidacy. Did you buy a fly swatter yet, though?

Donald Trump and Mike Pence go for reelection on the Republican ticket. We all know how wrong I was 4 years ago (note the lack of link—go find it yourself), so I’m not going to say they have no chance this year. And I did just get knocked out of a poker tournament Friday night on a 4-outer, so this shit does happen! We can’t run the election twice, so be sure to vote.

The last ticket on the ballot is the Peace and Freedom one. (It’s determined randomly. Kanye doesn’t have that kind of pull.) If Gloria La Riva wants to run again, fine. Every presidential election with them on it could be the last one. Sunil Freeman is her running mate.

United States Representative, District 19: Zoe Lofgren

Her opponent is Justin Aguilera, who I wrote about during the primary. The only real mystery is whether Lofgren will stay my representative after redistricting.

Aguilera is the kind of Republican that could win against a mortal opponent in this district. For example, he supports high speed rail. As a resident of San Martin, he understands what commuting is. I bet he supports Measure RR also, but more on that later.

State Senator, District 15: Dave Cortese

Jim Beall is termed out because people are stupid and voted for term limits decades ago. The carousel continues, and we have Dave Cortese and Ann Ravel.

Cortese is the more liberal candidate, although both are Democrats so don’t get too excited. He has the same backers (unions) that he had when he ran for mayor of San Jose and lost. His advantage is he’s been in the area and hasn’t left.

Ravel’s advantage is she has President Obama’s endorsement, and the few remaining Republicans in this district are more likely to vote for her than Cortese. I actually underestimated her in the primary and didn’t expect her to advance. I am out of touch with insider politics, so this tells me she is the establishment candidate. I guess we’ll see what happens.

I know Cortese has ambitions to do more in the public sector, and because of term limits this is the next stop for him. I have no idea what Ravel’s aspirations are.

Member of the State Assembly, District 28: Evan Low

Low is the incumbent and running against Carlos Cruz. Cruz has a mixed identity, generally supporting liberal causes and like most California Republicans would be considered a moderate Democrat in many red states. He does also retweet the President so it’s hard to pin him down.

Meanwhile Low is using Twitter to acknowledge National Coming Out Day. That’s about all you need to know to make your decision. Like a lot of these offices, the candidates are pretty different.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 24: Stuart Scott

In 2014 he was going for Office No. 4. Now it’s Office No. 24. There’s probably a Pittsburg joke from 1970 there somewhere, but I’m going to keep it cool as the other side of the pillow.

Santa Clara County Board of Education, Member, Trustee Area 4: Ketzal Gómez

Did you know not presenting a name as written is a microaggression? It is! And that’s fine. I don’t know why people are so afraid to learn new shit about how to communicate better with others.

Anyway, Joseph Di Salvo is the incumbent and should win handily. He’s been in this role for 12 years and is going for a fourth term. Like many of you in Trustee Area 4, I don’t know much about any of these candidates beyond the ads I get in the mail.

The other candidate is Lucia Garcia, who did not file a candidate statement.

I’m voting for Gómez because Di Salvo went to Bellarmine, and I want to vote for someone who only attended public schools. That reason is as good as any.

San Jose Unified School District Governing Board Member Trustee Area 3: Tomara Hall

Besides seeing where school board candidates attended, I also look at endorsements.

Kristen Brown is the establishment candidate and has endorsements from the usual suspects: our city councilperson, Dev Davis, the mayor, State Senate candidate Ravel and the aforementioned Joseph Di Salvo, which she presents as “DiSalvo.” Microaggression! Anyway, if you’re voting for Davis, Ravel, and Di Salvo, this is your complementary candidate.

Tomara Hall is not Tally’s sister, and she is a Warrior, having attended Stanislaus State. She has a mixed heritage like I do, although she has had to overcome a lot more than I had. She is the “progressive” candidate and a good complement to my ballot.

Carol Myers did not file a statement. She ran in 2004 for the same office and lost to Pam Foley by only 108 votes. I bet she had a statement that time.

Carla Collins is the appointed incumbent. The race is probably between her and Brown. Collins has the mainstream liberal endorsements (Cortese, Low, etc.) so for many of you that’s probably what you need to know. But I’m personally very excited to see someone like Hall in office, and that’s who I will fill the bubble for.

(That’s right, we’re no longer connecting arrows on the ballot. We’re back to standardized testing. #NoStrayMarks)

City of San Jose, Member, City Council, District 6: Jake Tonkel

I’ll tell ya: This district is amazingly full of drama for such an unimportant office. I know San Jose doesn’t have a strong mayor (not yet anyway—stay tuned), but this is the most overrated race on the ballot.

This is another race where you already know how you should vote. Davis is the establishment candidate and incumbent. She didn’t get a majority of votes during the primary, so technically this is a runoff. It’s kind of a bass-ackward way to do it, but I think it is because there are normally not 2 serious candidates.

Anyway, Davis is fine, even if she is a little too establishment for my taste. I wish she would work on her interpersonal skills and run a smarter campaign, but maybe it’s working for her. Anyway, I will give a few examples because I have a captive audience, and we all know the Raiders are going to blow this game against the Chiefs.

The previous officeholder, Pierluigi Oliverio, was not my cup of tea either. But he was very passionate for his work and would give straight answers. So even though I did not vote for him, I knew I didn’t need to freak out about him.

Davis, on the other hand, has minions to do a lot of her communicating, and she is rather outspoken about how she wants to be engaged with. For example, on Nextdoor Oliverio would close most of his posts, which is his right to do. Most local politicians follow this strategy for good reason. We’re an ornery bunch on Nextdoor, and the negativity can have a reverse halo effect. Every now and then the mayor’s social media person forgets and leaves a post open, and all hell breaks loose, every time. This is our city. These are our people. Let’s own our shit, can we? This is who we are.

Anyway, Davis ends all of her posts with this paragraph-long disclaimer that she cannot see posts on Nextdoor and cannot reply to them. What a load. Funny how no one else has the need to say such a thing. One time she posted a poll about which movie to show in a park to the community, and her minion didn’t lock the post! Good times.

But let’s not overlook the things she has done in her first term. Like right there she organized the weekly showing of movies to give the community something to do. I mean, not this year, because, you know why, but in previous years this was a thing.

She also supported Hope Village building tiny houses near Lelong and Willow, which completely blew my mind. Politically it was another strange move for someone who represents a lot of heartless people, to be fair. The news coverage got really out of control, and the city council vote failed, so she was vulnerable for nothing. You know this wasn’t a publicity stunt because it isn’t mentioned on any of the crap I’ve gotten in the mail for this race. Just a lot of unforced errors by this otherwise solid city councilperson.

Enough about her. Let’s talk about her opponent, Jake Tonkel.

Tonkel won the second most votes in the primary and is in the narrow progressive lane as a candidate, similar to the aforementioned Hall. The lane is narrow because there was a road diet, and so now there is a dedicated space for bicycles. The other two candidates were fringish but not crazy. (Well, one of the candidate’s mother was a little outdoor, but that’s more me being on Nextdoor too much than anything.)

From an identity politics perspective, it is clear who to vote for. Tonkel is running on Davis’s left, which is fairly easy to do, and I see this race as a plot point in the biopic on his life in 60 years. He’s got a big future ahead of him in politics, and this is just his getting his feet wet. Like most incumbents, Davis did not get any serious competition, but Tonkel turned on just enough people to keep her below 50%, so here we are.

I don’t know how much of a difference his winning would make in isolation, but other districts have similar candidates running this election as well, and if the electorate votes all of them in, it will be like having a Squad, only for city council.

The only other thing I will say is that the San José Police Officers Association is investing heavily on defeating Tonkel because he supports reallocating police funding for other public safety purposes. I’m not going to get into the “defund the police” movement here, other than to say it is a really stupid name if you want people to support the cause.

I mention this endorsement because of all the negative mail I’ve received about Tonkel that they have paid for. I support restoring pensions for our police and hiring new ones, but they really give me pause when they send out such inaccurate mailers about Davis’s opponent. And is this race really so close that it is even necessary? Davis should win this in a walk.

Anyway, this is a very easy decision for voters. It just depends on what priorities you hold personally. I’m not going to be upset when Davis wins.

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority Director, District 4: Dorsey Moore

I can’t believe I voted for someone who won last time! With literally zero info to work with, I will vote for Moore again. I want more Moore!

Both candidates live within a mile of me, which I find amusing. That’s life in Willow Glen for ya. His opponent Janis Hall has a Gmail email address, which I prefer to Moore’s Hotmail, but she also has a Washington DC area code. Can you imagine, if this were a multimillion dollar race, the kinds of ridiculous negative ads we would get about these things? We need fanfic is what we need.

Proposition 14: Yes

This is a bond issue for stem cell research. Before getting into that, let’s talk about bond issues.

Interest rates are at all time lows. And the way you determine whether to borrow money, whether you’re a government or an investor, is if your return on investment will be greater than the interest you pay. That’s why $24 trillion in public debt is not a problem for the nation. It’s money we mostly owe ourselves, because people are willing to buy bonds that pay very little interest. For the state of California, it works roughly the same way. The main difference is that California has to balance its budget, and the federal government does not.

Anyway, I mention that because $5.5 billion in bonds today that cost $7.8 billion to pay off over 30 years is pretty good. I wish my mortgage only required that much to pay in interest. Having said all that, if you don’t like bonds, then it doesn’t matter what else is involved.

If you voted for Proposition 71 last time, then you probably are voting for 14 this time. It’s just an issuance of more bonds for the same thing. The no argument before was one of morality, and that did not work, so this time they are going for one of fiscal discipline. I’ve already said what I think about that.

Or have I? One more thing: The bonds don’t have to start being paid back until 2026, so whatever financial disaster we may face in the short term because of COVID-19 are unlikely to matter then.

Proposition 15: Yes

In about 50 years, assuming California hasn’t fallen into the ocean because of an earthquake or climate change (or both), people will look back on Proposition 13 as a way to give Baby Boomers more of whatever they wanted, as had been done for their entire life. The writing is starting to appear on the wall, but if you squint just right, you can defend this property tax law, even today.

As millennials take over the world they are not going to stand for an entire generation’s screwing over of the system so they could have inflated housing values and commensurately lower property taxes.

But this is not yet another screed on Proposition 13. The Internet has done this one enough.

Proposition 15 continues the slow dismantling of Proposition 13, focusing on commercial property. The reason why Proposition 13, even today, has majority support is because people don’t want their property taxes to reflect the actual current value of their home, and if they thought about it, they would not want the value of their home to drop because of an increase in property taxes, which is what would happen to the housing market if Proposition 13 were repealed. But Proposition 15 does none of that.

Taking away the tax benefit for commercial property will stabilize funding for the state at a time it needs it most, because of the economy crippled by COVID-19. This was going to be on the ballot anyway, but the case for it now is stronger. Property tax revenue is the most consistent source of funding for a government. That’s why after Proposition 13, locally at least, have seen our sales tax increase more than 50%. Despite what Howard Jarvis thinks, the government will get theirs one way or another, and better to get it from something stable. Sales tax fluctuates with the economy and is extremely regressive. It should not be the primary source of income for anything unless there is no other choice. That’s the world we live in now. More on that later too.

The argument that increasing property tax on commercial property will raise leases is ridiculous. The market will bear whatever the market will bear. If commercial property owners decide to increase leases to counter this tax increase, they will see decreased demand for their office space, at a time when office space demand is already cratering because of COVID-19.

The other “no” argument is the oft-cited slippery slope argument, which is that they will come for your residential property tax benefits next. Maybe, but the passing of Proposition 15 has nothing to do with that reality. Yeah, I said it. Expect in 8 years or so a Proposition that fully repeals Proposition 13 and also cancels the state portion of the sales tax. Jarvis will rise from the dead, and I will be so thrilled to see it.

Proposition 16: Yes

This proposition effectively repeals Proposition 209, which passed when I was in college. It ended affirmative action programs in the public sector in California. Considering that public sector jobs are often a good first step for immigrants and people of color in California, this dealt a severe blow in our state’s efforts for equality.

Looking specifically at admissions standards for the University of California system, we can see relative increases in white and Asian admissions and decreases in Black and Latino admissions in the 24 years since 209’s passage. One can make the case that this is the result of systemic racism and the original reason for affirmative action in the first place.

Many people were not in California in 1996 or were not old enough to vote, and among those who were, there is still a basic misunderstanding (led by conservatives admittedly) of what affirmative action is. I will try to explain it briefly here: When considering whom to hire among qualified candidates, affirmative action allows you to consider other factors in their candidacy, such as their background.

That’s it. It’s not about hiring people who aren’t qualified or having quotas. It’s about giving qualified women and minorities a better chance. And as someone who is uninspired by and sick of working with a bunch of mediocre white guys, I’m all for it. I told you this was career-limiting.

I don’t see how it passes, though. Although many of the people who supported 209 are now dead, a whole generation of people no longer directly see the benefit of such a program.

Proposition 17: Yes

California doesn’t always lead the way. This map can show you where felons can vote and when they can. We are one of two states where you have to be released from prison and not be on parole before being able to vote again. Proposition 17 would put us in with 18 other states plus DC that allows convicted felons to vote once they are out of prison.

The argument against 17 is that parolees would still be in jail if it were not for being on parole. I guess. The larger question for me is why people are allowed to vote. I think of it as you need to interact with society to be an informed voter because that’s where empathy comes from. (And with the shelter-in-place because of COVID-19, I wish that we did not have to make a lot of the decisions we do collectively as an electorate.)

Kevin McCarty helped write the argument in favor of Propostion 17, and I can’t help but wonder whether it is because his name sounds a lot like Kevin McCarthy.

The only argument I would make in favor of Proposition 17 is that people who get their franchise back (that means they can vote) are less likely to commit crime again. So it is fair to say that Proposition 17 would lower crime.

Proposition 18: Yes

The law is pretty clear on whether you can vote. Will you be 18 on Election Day? If so, then the answer is yes. The coincidentally numbered Proposition 18 seeks to tweak that slightly: If you’ll be 18 for the general election, you can vote in the primary as a 17-year-old.

The main argument is that minors are too easily influenced and should not be given this option. My favorite is the all caps argument in the voter guide that “17-year-olds are captive audiences in school.” Yes, because all 17-year-olds listen to their parents and teachers.

I honestly don’t feel very strongly about this one. Most 17-year-olds won’t vote unless they get the day off from school, and if we move our primary back to June, it is less likely for that to happen anyway. The optics of telling someone they can’t vote is a greater concern, and that’s enough for me to vote yes.

Proposition 19: Yes

This one is kind of muddy too. It’s another amendment to Proposition 13, specifically removing the protection granted by Proposition 58. It does two things under the auspice of being a compromise.

Basically, if you’re old, disabled, or lost your home to a wildfire, you can transfer your current property’s Proposition 13-adjusted assessed value to a new home within the state. This means you would not have to pay more in property tax just because you moved. If you bought a more-expensive house, then you would pay normal property tax for the difference in cost.

So how is that revenue loss for the state made up? It removes some protections currently allowed for inherited property, mostly from Proposition 58, which was passed in 1986 before the effects of Proposition 13 were completely obvious.

Now, more money will come in because of the ending of Proposition 58 than from people moving into new homes with this new benefit, so a lot of it will go toward fire protection. The rest will go to the general fund, which by extension will increase school funding because of Proposition 98. Like I said, it’s muddy.

The commercials are pretty disingenuous. A lot of firefighters talking about the benefits if it passes, etc. But look how complicated this is. I get why the ads are the way they are.

This isn’t going to make a lot of difference one way or the other for most people, but the slight increase in property tax revenue, as well as the improved targeting toward inheritance and away from fire victims, the old, and the disabled, is enough for me to pull the lever.

Proposition 20: No

This is another one that is pretty easy for people to figure out. Proposition 20 limits the effectiveness of Propositions 47 and 57. If you voted yes on Proposition 57, you probably want to vote no on this one.

Proposition 20 reduces which crimes are eligible for prisoners to be released early. The argument in favor of it is that Propositions 47 and 57 have increased crime because, somehow, knowing that you won’t be in prison as long for certain crimes removes the deterrent that it provides. I mean, prison does not serve as a deterrent for most crimes in the first place, but that’s not what it is being debated here.

An argument against Proposition 20 is that we would have to build more prisons if it passes, because we would not be able to parole as many inmates. I think that will convince a lot of people, but the reason I am voting no is because Proposition 20 is not going to measurably reduce crime.

Proposition 21: No

This is the one where I lose all my friends, just like with Proposition 10 two years ago. Briefly, rent control does not work. It traps people in houses and wastes natural resources by increasing commutes when people change jobs, because they cannot afford to move closer to their work if they are in a rent-protected home. Brookings, hardly a hotbed of conservatism, agrees.

This is another one where disingenuous arguments, for and against, are simplified to make their point. And of course I know many people who benefit from rent control programs. But in a state with a severe housing shortage, I want the freest market possible to get as many new houses built as fast as possible. The government should be focusing on systemic equality and creating opportunity for everyone.

Having just written about this, I don’t have a lot of new things to say.

Proposition 22: No

It’s really weird to see tech companies and the political machine collide because they’re so different. Tech startups specifically are VC-backed and are focused on growth vs. profitability, whereas governments consume 80% of what they create. They could not be more different.

But that VC money does not last forever, and many logistics-based tech companies are staring down the barrel of a business model that has never made sense, and they are looking for a way out so they can exist for a few more years.

And that’s Proposition 22. After the Assembly passed AB5, these companies pitched a fit and swore they would leave the state. Honestly I would not care if they did. I could get around town before they were here. I could get food delivered to me before they were here. Life would go on, just like if Krusty the Clown were no longer on the air.

The whole thing is ridiculously disingenuous. The only reason they want this to pass is to keep going for a few more years, before autonomous vehicles take over all of the jobs that these companies swear they want to save.

Here is the thing about the economy in general, and I am including a lot of businesses that are going out of business this year as part of this: What people demand is what will thrive. It’s harsh, but true. If people can safely go to live music again someday, there will be demand for live music venues, and they will be created. It may not be the clubs you go to now, just like you may not be able to go to the restaurants you go to now, but people will still want to sit in public with crying babies and eat mozzarella sticks, even if it won’t be Applebee’s. This is the inherent risk anyone who goes into business takes. That’s why they get the profits when it works out. Don’t bully me into saving a donut shop or a karaoke bar. The friends I didn’t lose when writing about Proposition 21 are gone now.

Anyway, back to this proposition. You are not entitled to have someone else get your dry cleaning, or your burrito, or your kids from basket weaving practice. You have to pay them for it. Proposition 22 makes the logistics startups pay for it, and they know if they raise the price you pay, you will not want it anymore. And that’s fine. As a business model it does not make sense until robots are doing all the work! They want all the reward of that future without the expense of paying for it now. And that’s what I mean about the public and private sectors colliding, and I’m not going to vote for the government to take on this burden when they will not receive any of the benefit.

Proposition 23: Yes

This is another version of Proposition 8 in 2018, which failed. All the same ads from all the same backers, only with a new number.

A result of Proposition 23 would be fewer places where people could receive dialysis. Sounds terrible, right?

Well, the places that remain would be safer and be required to have a physician or nurse practitioner on site. That sounds better to me.

Not a lot of new info this time around. If you voted yes on Proposition 8 (not that one, the kidney one), then you want to vote yes on this one too.

Proposition 24: No

This is probably very important to a lot of people, but there’s not a lot of money in it, so you won’t see a lot of ads.

Short version: If you care about your personal data online, you should vote yes. I don’t care about this stuff. That’s why I am voting no. I know my personal information is worthless because it’s about me. But no judgment here! It’s really a decision only you can make about yourself, and Proposition 24 grants you that authority.

The arguments for and against are kind of annoying, but they’re trying to get whichever side they are on to emerge on top, so I get it.

Companies that would otherwise benefit from personal info are behind Proposition 24 because this law doesn’t go as far as it could. If it does not pass, the legislature could pass something stronger. Think about how people feel about GDPR. So that is another reason to vote “no.”

But if you subscribe to the “bird in the hand” argument and you care about your personal info, you’re happier with Proposition 24 than without it. So you have to ask yourself what you think will happen next. See? Pretty complicated.

Proposition 25: Yes

Bail is a funny thing. If you have money, you can use it to post bail, and you can live your life until it’s time to show up in court. If you don’t, then you sit in jail until your trial, and you can’t go to work or pay your bills. So even if you’re found not guilty, your life is forever changed, and the chance of your committing a crime of necessity has just gone up, because those bills need to get paid. This setup exacerbates systemic racism, whether you like it or not.

There is one more thing to think about: If you don’t want to wait for your Constitutionally guaranteed fair trial, you can plead guilty now and hurry up and serve your time. This results in thousands of people pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit, because their primary goal is getting back out so they can try to find work. Of course now they have a criminal record, but this is not the first thing on their mind. This also supports the argument that prison is not a deterrent to commit crime.

I attended a conference a couple years ago that made a strong case about how money bail does not cause so many systemic problems, but subsequent research has not caused me to stick with that opinion. If California gets rid of it, we will figure out pretty quick whether it was a good idea, although other research shows it is promising.

Like Proposition 20, it really depends on your views on crime.

Measure G: Yes

This is a collection of 3 separate things San Jose would like to do differently, and they decided to put them all on the ballot together because, honestly, they aren’t controversial, and it is cheaper to have 1 measure instead of 3.

First, the Independent Police Auditor would have more oversight, which in the current climate can only be a good thing. One negative for some people is it would give the city council more power to change how it works, vs. leaving it up to voters. I’m fine with taking direct power away from the voters on topics they don’t understand.

Next, it would increase the Planning Commission from 7 people to 11. I’m fine with that too. It is being sold as a way to increase diversity, which I don’t exactly buy, but a city of a million people should have more representation. By comparison, the House of Representatives has had 435 members since the country had one-third of the population. No wonder your Congressperson is unresponsive.

Finally, there is a surprisingly proactive clause for if the census is done late. The City Council districts will be redrawn next year, but it would be smarter to do it with the new census data. The law doesn’t allow for postponing this redrawing because why would the census ever be later? Why indeed.

Measure H: Yes

This increases the cardroom tax 10% and allows cardrooms to have more tables. It raises $15 million for the general fund. You’re either for this kind of thing or you aren’t.

Measure I: Yes

This is a 9-year $18 parcel tax for community college job training programs. The most interesting thing about the measure is that they do not capitalize “internet,” which makes it painfully clear to me that I am severely outnumbered when it comes to that argument.

Measure J: Yes

This is an $858 million bond measure for repairing community colleges. Unlike the parcel tax, people owning more expensive property will pay more for it, to the tune of $175 per $1 million in assessed value, amortized over the length of the bonds. Remember, interest rates are at all time lows.

Measure S: Yes

This renews an existing parcel tax for water supply and flood protection.

Measure T: Yes

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the person I voted for last time won, remember?) wants to renew a $24 parcel tax.

Measure RR: Yes

This is a one-eighth cent increase in the sales tax to pay for Caltrain.

Caltrain is a funny story. Unlike most of the eleventy billion transit agencies in the Bay Area, it does not have a dedicated funding source beyond farebox recovery (highest in the Bay Area by a lot incidentally), and it gets the scraps from San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara County budgets, such that they are.

There are not a lot of obvious options in the current climate to raise funding, with ridership (and car traffic for that matter) down across the board because of COVID-19.

The timing for this measure is especially poor because sales taxes are regressive, and most people support public transit for commuting, vs. because of the options it gives people who cannot drive.

People make an argument that someday traffic will be the way it was last year, once the shelter-in-place for COVID-19 is lifted, but I disagree. People commuting to work on average will never be going into the office 5 days a week again. Many in fact will take advantage of offers to work remotely and leave the Bay Area entirely. Personally, I look forward to the decreased demand for roads and housing, and I say this as a property owner. People buying houses as investments are furthering their own portfolio, not the public good, and this will put a stop to it. It’s also why Proposition 21 isn’t as big of a deal as it sounds, even if you support rent control. Rent control keeps rent low when there are outside forces causing it to otherwise increase. Rent is down 20% in San Francisco during the past year, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Anyway, I vote for transit initiatives that give people more options to get around, especially ones that benefit the environment. Remember: Caltrain is being electrified, so it will also be a greener solution than the diesel option presented to us today.