Cupertino: A Guide for the Progressive Voter

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Cupertino: A Guide for the Progressive Voter | 1

Young, progressive voters are uniquely motivated and capable of changing the direction of American politics. We’ve witnessed this administration’s callous disregard for science, the environment, and the lives of more than 200,000 COVID victims. We live in a nation where our leadership is no stranger to endorsing racist groups, the violent suppression of peaceful protest, and antidemocratic election practices. At the same time, we face looming racial, housing, health, and environmental concerns at home. Now, young and marginalized people in cities across America are mobilized to replace the status quo with a bold, progressive vision of the future. It’s time to bring this effort to Cupertino’s ballot box. Cupertino voters face important choices and few clear answers. In this guide, we explain how your choices can advance progressive goals, and what resources informed our decisions. High-impact local items, on which your vote matters most, are marked with a “HIIMPACT” icon for your convenience.

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This November you have the power to change our community. We look forward to working with you to create a city, state, and country that champions the progressive ideals of fairness, understanding, and inclusivity.


Joseph R. Biden & Kamala Harris

for President and Vice President of the United States

This is the simplest selection across the ballot. Whatever your opinions were during primary season this year, the choice now is as stark as it has ever been in American history. You are either supporting a candidate using the powers of office to enrich himself and his donors,1 inflict violence on the vulnerable, and pursue a catastrophic climate



Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington 2 Democratic Party Platform

Ro Khanna for Congress

Ro Khanna has continued to evolve as a leading progressive voice while serving as our current congressional representative. According to DW Nominate, a measure of political ideology, he was more liberal than 97 percent of Congress with one hundred percent vote attendance.3 Some highlights


policy, or you are supporting Joe Biden. The Biden-Harris ticket has also adopted one of the most progressive agendas in recent American history, endorsing universal health care through a public option, a federal $15 minimum wage, and a path to citizenship for undocumented Americans.2 The choice is clear.

from the 27 bills he’s produced this last session include: HR 5010 which would allow states to create their own universal health care systems, HR 4359 which restricts federal police’s use of deadly force, and HR 8424 which would restrict Supreme Court Justices to 18-year terms.4

Voteview US Congress 3


Dave Cortese for State Senate

This race pits two capable Democrats against each other. However, we believe that between the two, Supervisor Cortese is the better choice for our district. Cortese has deeper connections to the region, working on a school board, San Jose City Council and the County Board of Supervisors. He built strong relationships with regional

labor interests while advocating for poor and housing-insecure constituents, pioneering a universal basic income program for Foster Youth in the county and creating a task force that aims to add 2000 more beds in county shelters by 2021.5 He is the only candidate in the race to have endorsed AB5, which enforced stricter regulations on the

Gig Economy, and SB50,6 which mandated increasing housing density around major transit corridors, both of which are essential for the continued growth of our state. 5

Santa Clara County 6 Palo Alto Online

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Evan Low for State Assembly

Assemblymember Low is an effective legislator who has taken several courageous political positions to advance progressive values during his time in office. This includes his efforts to protect LGBTQ Californians by banning conversion “therapies”7 statewide and his continued support for ACA5 (the legalization of


affirmative action in public hiring), despite major backlash from his constituents.8 With these decisions, and many more, Assemblymember Low has consistently demonstrated the strength and integrity to serve this community.

San Jose Mercury News Spectrum News 1 Sacramento 7


J.R. Fruen & Hung Wei for Cupertino City Council

The city of Cupertino has a well deserved reputation as one of the most dysfunctional city councils in the region.9 Cupertino City Council meetings last longer, have more closed session meetings, and spend more on failed litigation and lobbying attempts to delay new housing development than any other city in the region. Electing Fruen and Wei

would break this status quo. Fruen is a practicing attorney with extensive policy knowledge, having founded his own affordable housing advocacy organization. Wei is a veteran bridgebuilder on FUHSD’s board and has strong connections with both educators and small business owners. Both candidates are supported by numerous local publications and

progressive groups.10 11 Both also advocate for sensible affordable housing development, and are positioned to lead Cupertino towards a greener, more equitable future. Cupertino Matters JR Fruen: Endorsements 11 Hung Wei: Endorsements 9


WHY VOTING LOCAL COUNTS Local offices are easy to ignore because they seem unimportant; after all they have no control over the biggest issues of national policy. While it’s true the city council or school board will never declare war, that does not make their decisions insignificant. Where we live, how we travel, and what we teach are all life-changing

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decisions made by various local offices where we need more progressive voices! Moreover, your impact as a voter is multiplied in a local election; you are only one voter amongst 160 Million in the United States,12 one in 25 Million Californians,13 and one of only 30,000 Cupertino voters.14 That

means your votes and values are roughly 5000 times as impactful locally as they are nationwide. Catalist US Census Bureau 14 Santa Clara County 12



Phyllis Vogel & Sylvia Leong for Cupertino Union School District Trustees

Cupertino Union School District is facing a crisis it did not create. Long-term decline in student enrollment from a lack of housing for new families has already decreased revenues, while the failure of March’s Measure O parcel tax and deep statewide education budget cuts after COVID are proving catastrophic. Schools will close,


there’s no avoiding it.15 CUSD requires the steady leadership of incumbents Phyllis Vogel and Sylvia Leong. Vogel has 13 years of experience on the board, and worked as an educator and administrator in the district for over 40 years.16 In addition to Leong’s two years on the board, she worked 12 years in this district as a parent

and substitute teacher. In these dire circumstances their depth of experience is more valuable than any other consideration. 15

San Jose Mercury News 16 Los Altos Town Crier

Laura Casas, Peter Landsberger, Gilbert Wong for Foothill De Anza Community College Trustees

The Foothill De Anza Trustees are, much like their students and staff, facing a period of great uncertainty from the current economic climate. Community colleges need perstudent funding from the state to function effectively. Given already declining enrollment due to high cost of living and major statewide COVID-related cuts to education,

Foothill-De Anza needs steady hands at the wheel to help the district continue to provide lowcost, high-quality education to tens of thousands of low-income students every year. That’s why we’re endorsing the incumbent candidates in this race, Casas, Landsberger, and Wong. They have all shown themselves to

be competent, empathetic, and conscious to the core mission of FHDA; providing low cost, high quality education to as many students as possible.17 17

Los Altos Town Crier

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NO on Prop 14

Raises new stem cell research bonds

This statewide bond measure would authorize the state legislature to borrow $5.5 Billion to fund stem cell research conducted by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), costing approximately $260 Million per year over the next 30 years.18 We are absolutely in favor of continued research into the medical possibilities of stem cells, but this


Official California Voter Guide Center For Genetics And Society 18


YES on Prop 15

Raises property taxes on non-residential property

Proposition 15 would address one of the greatest disasters of public policy in California, Proposition 13 of 1978. Prop 13 drastically limited property tax that could be collected statewide, limiting it to 1% of its 1976 cash value, preventing reassessment without a change in ownership or new construction. This blew a massive hole in California’s


measure adds substantial yearly costs while California is facing massive budgetary shortfalls and fails to address key inadequacies in the governance of CIRM.19 Meanwhile, the lack of availability of federal funding which prompted CIRM’s creation in 2004 is no longer a serious issue. Research can and should be funded at the federal rather than state level.

budget and led to tuition hikes at UCs and CSUs, increased reliance on regressive sales taxes to fund public services, and disadvantaged younger immigrants and renters.20 Proposition 15 takes a major step forward by taxing commercial and industrial properties (excluding farms) valued over $3 million at market value, thereby unlocking between $6.5-12.5

billion in new revenues to be spent on education and social services.20 20

California Legislative Analyst’s Office 21 Official California Voter Guide

YES on Prop 16

Ends California’s ban on affirmative action

This is a ballot proposition that has engendered significant conflict in Cupertino.22 Prop 16 would permit affirmative action in hiring and admissions decisions in public institutions for individuals from minority backgrounds. There’s been a lot of misinformation spread around this bill in the lead up to the election, mostly surrounding the

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proposition “legalizing discrimination” against Asian Americans, which is categorically false.23 The measure does not eliminate the 14th amendment, but it will allow public institutions to actively pursue the inclusion of BIPOC folks in the public sector, redressing the systemic disadvantages all people of color face.


Silicon Valley Voice 23 New York Times


YES on Prop 17

Restores voting rights to felons on parole

This proposition would continue California’s criminal justice reforms by allowing felons who are currently on parole to vote. The disenfranchisement of previously incarcerated individuals with felony convictions is just one of many ways that our criminal justice system works to deprive

marginalized groups of their political power.24 Civil rights should not be conditioned on people’s pasts, least of all for those who have served their sentence and been released to restart their lives. These are citizens like any other, and they deserve all of a citizen’s rights.


YES on Prop 18


YES on Prop 19


Brennan Center for Justice

Reduces the voting age to 17

This proposition would give 17-yearolds who are turning 18 before the general election the right to vote in the corresponding primary election. Studies routinely demonstrate that developing voting habits early increases voter turnout across a lifetime25 and by extending this right to vote to high school seniors, they can develop these voting habits

while they are studying government and civics in school. These young voters will be facing the brunt of the consequences from climate change and economic inequality, giving them the right to vote will make our political system more responsive to these existential crises.


The Hill

Raises property tax on inheriting property

This proposition makes two key changes to California’s property tax laws; first, it helps homeowners carry their property tax rates to new homes and second, it requires non-resident inheritors of a property to pay tax on the property’s market value. Critics contend that this proposition further embeds California’s tax bias towards homeowners and mainly benefits

the real estate lobby funding this campaign. However, the second component of the proposition unlocks tens of millions of dollars a year for schools, local governments, and state fire protection agencies.26 On balance we support proposition 19, not because it is perfect, but because it makes progress towards a more equitable tax base in California.


Official California Voter Guide

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NO on Prop 20 Rolls back criminal justice reforms

Proposition 20 is fundamentally a referendum on the criminal justice reforms passed by Jerry Brown during his last term in office. These policies were designed to decrease the prison population in California by, amongst other things, allowing parole for a greater number of nonviolent and lowlevel offenders.27 Advocates for

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proposition 20 are campaigning on a platform of scaremongering to suggest, without evidence, that Californians have been made less safe by these changes. Don’t believe them.


San Francisco Chronicle


YES on Prop 21

Allows communities to expand rent control

This proposition would replace a 1995 law that currently restricts the kinds of housing rent control may be imposed on. Proposition 21 would instead allow rent control on units occupied before 2005 (rather than 1995) and significantly expands the types of housing that can be rentcontrolled. It’s important to note that this measure does not in itself



Brookings Institute

NO on Prop 22

Deregulates ridesharing and delivery companies

This proposition would roll back AB5, a bill designed to regulate major employers like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash. AB5 required many independent contractors to be reclassified as employees, preventing Uber and Lyft from denying their workers employment rights like the right to organize, health and accident insurance, and


create new rent control, rather, it permits municipalities to pursue broader rent control if they choose to do so. While the empirical evidence on rent control is mixed,28 we believe that it’s a policy choice that local governments should be able to make if local circumstances necessitate it, therefore we support Proposition 21.

an hourly wage rate comparable to minimum wage. Unfortunately, this threw small business owners and actual independent contractors into disarray. 29 However, for whatever real flaws AB5 had, this ballot measure is a cynical attempt by Uber and Lyft to fool voters into letting them write their own rules. This would be a mistake, both as a matter of policy

and as a matter of governance. While the legislature can continue making adjustments to AB5 to protect genuine independent contractors,30 only another ballot proposition could fix the damage Proposition 22 will do to employment rights. 29

JDSUPRA Lexology


YES on Prop 23

Increases dialysis clinic requirements

This proposition would oblige dialysis clinics to follow new requirements including a mandatory physician onsite, new data reporting requirements, and receiving government consent before closing clinics. This measure will increase the costs of medical care,31 however much of the cost will be borne by the state or federal government

and profit margins of private dialysis clinics, not in new out-of-pocket expenses for dialysis patients.32 Moreover the new requirements which regulate clinic closure provide a necessary level of security to rural patients or those in impoverished neighborhoods whose lives depend on maintaining current clinics.


Official California Voter Guide 32 San Diego Union Tribune

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NO on Prop 24

Expands California consumer privacy act

This proposition seeks to expand the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 and offer more “teeth” to the current enforcement mechanisms contained within it, both of which are admirable goals. However, this legislation is highly complex, and its consequences are unclear. Many organizations focused on individual liberty and



League of Women Voters

YES on Prop 25 Keeps cash bail out of California

Proposition 25 is a referendum on SB10, a law designed to replace the state of California’s current cashbail system with one that would assess a defendant’s risk should they be released pretrial. The genuine concerns with the algorithms being used for accused individuals’ risk assessments merit


consumer advocacy like the ACLU, Consumer Federation of California and the League of Women Voters oppose it.33 When potential laws are highly technical and their outcomes uncertain, it pays to be cautious and let the experts in Sacramento negotiate rather than legislate at the ballot box.

serious discussion.34 However, the ballot is not always a place for a nuanced discussion. The choice before us is between supporting a bail industry that profits by trading cash for liberty and one that at least attempts to scientifically assess the potential risks people on bail pose. We believe that the second system, though flawed, is the better choice.



YES on Measure RR Raises sales tax to save Caltrain

Measure RR is an emergency 30-year ⅛ cent sales tax levied on residents of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties to preserve Caltrain service after their operating revenues plummeted during COVID. While funding transportation through sales tax is unquestionably regressive, it is the only way for Caltrain to gain

a consistent revenue source to continue service for the foreseeable future.35 While not ideal, we urge you to vote yes on this measure.

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San Jose Mercury News


YES on Measure S

Renews tax for flood protection and clean water

Measure S renews an existing parcel tax which funds the Santa Clara Valley Water District to continue its vital work. Among other things the revenue generated by this parcel tax goes to fund flood prevention, creek and wildlife restoration, and seismic upgrades for existing dams.36



San Jose Mercury News

YES on Measure M Renews tax to fund FUHSD schools

This measure renews an already existing parcel tax on properties within the Fremont Union High School District which has been a vital source of funding as enrollment declines districtwide. The previous passage of this measure is a major reason schools like CHS, MVHS, and LHS are not currently facing closure like schools in CUSD.37

If you are interested in the continued existence and success of any of these schools, it’s imperative to vote yes on this measure.


Fremont Union High School District

ABOUT THE AUTHORS This guide was compiled by Monta Vista High School alumni who have remained invested in Cupertino’s local politics long after graduation. After seeing many young progressives return to Cupertino during the COVID crisis, we were inspired to put together a guide to assist young voters in making impactful choices this election

season. Together our experience in campaigning and public policy research spans from the city to gubernatorial level, paired with a passion for housing, labor, and student activism which has helped inform our decisions. Thank you for reading and helping us build a better community.

Eric Crouch, Editor Michaela Murphy, Editor Zach Sanchez, Art Director

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