Election night took a turn to the hard right at the national level. But here in California, the results were all about the progressives. The California legislature appears to have failed to achieve a 2/3 supermajority of Democrats in the legislature, although some races are still being counted. However, as KPCC radio reported, the Democrats did get major pickups and are ready to move forward on a progressive agenda.
Among the state ballot initiatives, the big ones for the environment included:
- A yes vote to legalize marijuana with Proposition 64, which could finally bring illegal grow operations under environmental regulations (although it’s unclear if federal environmental laws would pertain, or if grow operations overall would increase in otherwise non-agricultural areas); and
- A no vote on Proposition 53, which would have made high speed rail in particular more difficult to build by requiring voter approval on all new revenue bonds.
Perhaps more importantly, votes at the local level were huge on land use and transportation. The big ones, as I laid out on Tuesday:
- Measure M in Los Angeles passed with almost 70% approval. This puts the region on a dominant leadership path on transit, with $120 billion now slated to improve transportation in the region.
- Measure RR in the Bay Area passed the two-thirds hurdle, meaning BART will be revamped and improved for faster service — and also study of a possible second tube under the Bay.
- Measure LV in Santa Monica went down, meaning NIMBY politics won’t play in the seaside community, and also potentially foreshadowing failure on a city-wide initiative that anti-housing groups are planning.
And around the country, transit measures seemed to be doing well. Voters in Seattle apparently approved funding for a 62-mile rail extension, while Atlanta approved more light rail funding.
So on an otherwise dark night for progressive causes around the country, cities and states are still leading the way.