Midterm elections tend to be overlooked, as people seem to believe that if it’s got the word ‘presidential’ in it, then it is obviously more important. Yet, the results of midterm elections could impact us directly, as these propositions and measures actually affect what happens in our backyard.
So if you decided to forgo registering and voting this election season, here are some highlights that you probably missed:
Measure A, Transit Improvement. A big win in the eyes of many San Francisco residents is the approval of Proposition A that allows for the borrowing of $500 mil- lion dollars for the purpose of improving MUNI conditions and infrastructure.
Measure E, Soda Tax. While Berkeley’s Measure D passed with an overwhelming majority of 75 percent voting yes, San Fran- cisco’s soda tax measure failed, not able to make even the necessary two-thirds super- majority votes. The measure intended to de- ter high sales of soda with an added 2 cents per ounce of soda sold in the city. Similar measures have been taken in neighboring nations like Mexico, in order to combat the continuing rise of obesity in constituents.
Proposition J, Minimum Wage In- crease. Thanks to San Francisco voters, by July 2018, the minimum wage in our city will be at $15 dollars per hour, making San Francisco the second city, after Seattle, to hit the $15 dollar minimum wage benchmark. By May 2015, the minimum wage will be at $12.25 dollars an hour, until it ultimately
reaches $15 dollars in 2018. It remains to be said that many of the measures on the ballot had their last stand, including the soda tax, a bill that would seem apparently easy to pass in a city as liberal and health-conscious as San Francisco. Unfortunately, according to SFelections.org, out of the approximately 440,000 registered voters, only 50.09 per- cent actually cast their ballot, whether through Vote-by-Mail or in person on Election Day. And it is evident from the remainder of the election statistics that we continue to be a predominantly left-lean- ing, pro-democratic ticket city.
Had the other half of eligible and registered voters been proactive in their civic duty, results like that of the soda tax could have turned out drastically different. Similarly, Measures that did pass like Mea- sure H (Golden Gate Park Athletic Fields Maintenance) and Measure I (Playground, Walking Trails, and Outdoors Spaces Renovations) passed just barely with only approximately 2 percent over the necessary votes needed for their approval.
It is disappointing to realize that 70 per- cent of those that requested mail-in ballots simply did not post their votes. Reasons are uncertain, but it seems based on both nationwide and citywide numbers, that people have begun to lose trust in their governments, which only empowers opposing parties and government officials to continue their work without public input. We, at the Foghorn, can only hope to see more hopeful numbers in the next elections.