PCC students and millions of other California citizens will be voting in the upcoming California Midterm Election on Nov. 8. 

They will be making decisions on propositions that could affect their daily lives as well as voting in candidates who will be in charge of representing their interests.

For some, this election is their first time making these decisions, as in the case of freshman Maki Chen.

“I’ve seen nothing for the upcoming election,” Chen said. “I probably need to learn more about it. I’m not very educated on it.”

Information that first-time voters like Chen will have to learn about ranges greatly as the 7 state-wide propositions that will be voted on address a variety of issues including reproductive rights, in-person and online sports betting, school art program funding, dialysis clinic practices, electrical vehicle subsidies, and the potential banning of flavored tobacco products.

Coming onto the ballot as a result of the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, the Democrat-led Proposition 1 asks Californians to make access to abortion and contraceptives not only a law, but an explicit right in the California Constitution.

Supporters insist that abortion and contraceptives are medical care and that the existing law should be put into the constitution as a right.

Opponents say the law should not be enshrined in the state constitution because it would make late-term abortions covered under state-funded medical care and result in higher taxation for all to provide such services.

Similarly topical and heavily publicized Proposition 26 and 27 both deal with the expansion of sports betting in California.

Proposition 26 would allow in-person sports betting to be offered in tribal casinos.

Supporters, including 24 Native American tribes, say that the proposition will allow for increased fiscal self-reliance for tribes and growth for tribal casinos. 

Detractors say that this proposition is intended to allow tribal casinos to monopolize the market while having none of the profits go back into the economy due to the tax-free status of tribes.

In contrast, Proposition 27 would allow both tribal and corporate organizations to offer sports betting online and on apps to those 21 and older.

Supporters of the proposition include online sports gambling companies FanDuel and DraftKings who say that 85% of the profits from the proposition will go to California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health to support the construction of temporary and permanent housing for homeless people and that 15% will go to the to-be-created Tribal Economic Development fund that would be dedicated to financially aiding the economic development of Native American tribes.

Critics, including the California Democratic Party, the Republican Party of California, and 5 Native American tribes, are making the argument that allowing corporations into the market would undercut the rights of tribes to fiscal sovereignty by allowing companies to monopolize it and force tribal casinos out of business.

A student who has a familial connection to these propositions is freshman first-time-voter Arleth Pacheco.

“My brother’s wife is really into politics,” Pacheco says. “Her family fights for housing for Natives. She is currently campaigning for this issue.”

In contrast, Proposition 28, which would provide $1 billion in funding for arts and music education in K-12 public schools, is running uncontroversially with the support of the 310,000-member union California Teachers Association and no opposition.

The similarly union-backed Proposition 29 would make it law that dialysis clinics are required to have at least 1 physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant present while patients are being cared for, that data about dialysis-related infections has to be reported, and that discrimination is not allowed based on a patient’s source of payment.

Supporters, namely the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW West) union, argue that dialysis clinics have high profits that should be dedicated to improving patient care through provisions like those outlined in the proposition.

Detractors argue that these services would be too expensive to provide and result in clinic closures. They also believe that SEIU-UHW West has been deliberately exploiting their funds from member dues in order to make ballot measures that target dialysis providers, including Proposition 8 in 2018 and Proposition 23 in 2020.

Similar concerns about cost come into play with Proposition 30, which would raise taxes by 1.75% on those with a personal income above $2 million in order to fund zero-emission vehicle subsidies and their accompanying infrastructure as well as wildfire suppression and prevention programs.

Supporters, including $15 million contributor Lyft, argue that the state should be taking responsibility for the payment of their own environmental initiatives.

Opponents, including Governor Gavin Newsom, argue that the proposition was made to benefit Lyft so the company would not have to bear the costs of converting their current fleet of cars to electric in compliance with the 2020 Clean Miles Standard that requires 90% of vehicles used by ride-sharing companies to be electric by 2030.

Proposition 31 similarly deals with corporations as it brings back into question the once-existing and referendum-pulled 2020 ban on the retail sale of flavored tobacco products.

Supporters of the ban, namely the California Teachers Association, believe that tobacco companies are using flavors like those of fruit and candy to lure underage children into consuming their products.

 

Detractors, including 4 major tobacco companies, argue that, since California law already prohibits those under 21 from buying tobacco products, that prohibiting flavored tobacco products only serves to limit options for adults 21 and up.

 

In terms of local issues, Measure PCC, which would give the college $565 million to repair and replace unsafe buildings on campus, including the long-awaited U Building, will be voted on.

While all of these issues that will be voted on affect students, there are those like 22-year-old Freshman Richard Hauser who doesn’t believe that voting affects change.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,“ Houser says. “They’re going to do whatever they want anyways.”

The group of representatives that Hauser is referring to will also be voted in through the upcoming election, including the California gubernatorial race between incumbent Gavin Newsom and republican Brian Dahle.

Newsom controversially faced a recall attempt in 2021, which was introduced in response to his sanctuary state policy in February 2020, but was amplified by his attendance at a party which contradicted the Covid guidelines set by his own administration in November of that same year.

Despite Newsom’s controversies, he sweeped in 55.9% of the vote in the primaries, while runner-up Dahle earned a meager 17.7%.

In the lead up to Nov. 8, the gubernatorial candidates are set to debate on San Francisco radio station KQED on Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.

Closer to home is the contentious Los Angeles mayoral race between long-time democrat Karen Bass and the newly democrat Rick Caruso.

Bass came into the race heavily endorsed and with experience as the current representative for California’s 37th district and as a former California Assembly member.

She rode this good faith into the June 7 primaries, where she earned 43.1% of the vote, though she does not share this approach with the runner-up candidate Rick Caruso.

Despite also having credentials as a former president of the Los Angeles Police Commission and a former member of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, Caruso has led with a money-first strategy.

He has been using his multi-billion dollar fortune from founding his own real-estate company to fund most of his enormous 60 million dollar campaign.

This strategy earned him second place in the primaries and captured 36.0% of the vote for him.

Post-primaries, Caruso has been upping the ante by employing mass amounts of canvassers and volunteers to knock on the doors of people in the key undecided Latino, Asian, and Independent demographics, believing that they will decide the vote in November.

Candidates with similarly disparate strategies are found in the LA County Sheriff race between incumbent Alex Villanueva and former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna.

Villanueva has faced much controversy in his tenure, most recently for his lack of Covid vaccine requirements in the Sheriff’s Department and for the release of accident scene photos from the plane crash that killed basketball player Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and 7 other people.

Despite the criticism, Villanueva won in the primary with 30.66% of the vote, but his opponent Luna was not far behind with 25.85%.

Many see these close primary results as response to Villanueva’s controversies rather than support of Luna.

All of these issues and more will be voted for on Election Day on Nov. 8. In-person voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m and mail-in ballots have to be postmarked by Election Day. The last day to register to vote for the election is Oct. 24.

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