(Photo by Valerie Schmalz/Catholic San Francisco)
San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice and Father Tony Vallecillo were among about 100 people who prayed and protested high rents and evictions in San Mateo County outside St. Matthew Church Aug. 20, 2015.
California voters reject death penalty repeal, OK legal marijuana
November 15th, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz
Despite a full-court press by California’s bishops, the Golden State’s voters opted to keep the death penalty and streamline the appeals process for death row inmates which could lead to more executions. However, Prop. 57, a restorative justice measure backed by the bishops, was approved.
Voters also approved Prop. 64, legalizing marijuana for entertainment.
Proposition 62, 66: “The California Catholic Conference of Bishops is extremely disappointed that Proposition 62, which would have ended the use of the death penalty in the state, was not successful. In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, it would have been the fitting culmination of a yearlong call to live out the Works of Mercy,” said Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops in a statement. The conference had urged voters to vote for Prop. 62 and against Prop. 66 streamlining the appeals process for death row felons, which frequently takes decades. Voters rejected Prop 62, 54 percent to 46 percent. Voters approved Prop. 66 by a slimmer margin, 51 percent to 49 percent.
Proposition 57: Was approved by 64 percent of voters. The California bishops urged passage of this combination law and state constitutional amendment which supported increasing parole and good behavior opportunities for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes and allow judges, not prosecutors, to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults.
Proposition 64: Was approved by 56 percent of the voters and will legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, going well beyond the state’s medical marijuana law. The California Catholic Conference did not take a position on Prop.64, but the bishops of the Bay Area spoke out strongly against it, in four separate essays by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Auxiliary Bishop William Justice, former San Francisco archbishop Cardinal William Levada and Oakland Bishop Michael Barber, SJ.
San Francisco Proposition I: Was approved by 66.3 percent of voters. Backed by Catholic Charities and a range of social service agencies including Meals on Wheels, Prop. I establishes a fund to support seniors and adults with disabilities, paid for with an annual set-aside from property taxes. The Dignity Fund will set aside at least $38 million a year, plus scheduled increases, from the General Fund until June 30, 2037.
San Mateo Proposition Q, Burlingame Proposition R: Were defeated. The measures would have imposed some rent controls and increased tenant protection from evictions. In San Mateo, Prop. Q was rejected 61 percent to 39 percent. In Burlingame, 67 percent of voters rebuffed Prop. R. While the local Catholic archdiocese did not take an official position on these measures, local pastors and Catholics worked closely with faith-based political action organizations for their passage.
East Palo Alto Proposition J: Another tenant protection and rent control measure placed on the city ballot unanimously by the City Council, was approved, 79 percent to 21 percent in that traditionally working class Silicon Valley town squeezed on all sides by the tech industry’s expansion. The legislation clarifies the existing ordinance.
Marin County’s Proposition A: Narrowly failed to garner the two-thirds vote needed to become law, getting 63 percent of the vote. Backed by Catholic Charities, Prop. A would have added a quarter-cent sales tax countywide to fund expanded preschool, child care and health services for low income children. The Marin County Board of Supervisors had voted unanimously to place it on the ballot. First 5 Marin, MarinKids, Marin Child Care Commission, Community Action Marin, League of Women Voters of Marin, Parent Voices and the Marin Interfaith Council also backed the measure.
From November 17, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.