Supporters of the Cabrillo College initiative Measure R were staying positive last week.
The day after the March 3 California Primary, the Yes on R campaign sent out an email titled “Thank you for your support—votes are still being counted.” The first few rounds of returns showed voter support inching just over 50%. That was five points below the 55% it needed in order to pass. As of Monday night, the measure had inched up a little, but still had just 51.5% support at the polls. Santa Cruz County election officials have fewer than 12% of cast ballots left to count. The community college’s district covers Santa Cruz County, and it expands ever so slightly into portions of counties of San Benito and Monterey, where there are an additional 2,000-plus voters. According to returns so far, just 44% of voters in those areas backed Measure R.
At this point, Cabrillo College Trustee Adam Spickler says it’s unlikely that the measure will pass. “We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board,” he says. Spickler believes that Cabrillo will have to look at its options, get creative and put a different new measure on the ballot before long.
Compounding the issue is the fact that Californians look poised to reject Proposition 13, a statewide 2020 initiative that also aimed to boost revenue for schools via property taxes. Its failure is an even bigger surprise than Measure R’s would be, opening up additional questions about how Cabrillo should fund capital improvements.
GOING RECALL IN
The recall of Santa Cruz city councilmembers Chris Krohn and Drew Glover are still leading in the polls.
Krohn, whose removal from office currently has 53.6% voter support, has a better shot at victory than Glover. As of most recent returns, 55.9% of voters support removing Glover from office. “It just shows the unfortunate influence that large money has had on our election process,” Glover says of the pro-recall effort. Other local media have reported that the recall passed, but reached via email, Krohn stresses that many ballots have not been counted. Of the county’s outstanding unprocessed ballots, a combined 5,710 of them are provisional and same-day-registration ballots. Such ballot results swung in Glover’s direction in the 2018 race. Krohn says if he were to get recalled, he wouldn’t rule out running for office again. “Maybe. This race is not over until it’s over,” Krohn writes. “Wait for the final results. It will get much closer.”
As of press time, the Santa Cruz City Council was scheduled to discuss Glover’s latest violation of the city’s Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy on Tuesday night. Glover disagrees with the finding made by an independent investigator, and stands by his behavior.
Across the state, Californians may be growing increasingly weary of property tax measures.
According to a California Taxpayers Association news release this past Friday, there were 121 school bonds on the ballot in various parts of the state. Voters rejected 64, according to the group, while approving 21, and 36 others were too close to call. Local school tax bond measures, which need 55% voter approval to pass, are not faring much better. All three, including Carbillo’s Measure R, are currently trailing. Taxes went over better in the apparently more liberal Santa Cruz City School District, where voters did pass two school-related parcel taxes, which need two-thirds voter approval—both of them by comfortable margins.
But the general trepidation about school bonds certainly caught the eye of Cabrillo President Matthew Wetstein. “The election results reflect an unease over the economy and housing costs generally throughout the state,” he tells GT via email. “So many bonds and parcel tax measures went down to defeat in this election cycle.”