Newsom endorses affirmative action, stays silent on property tax, gig economy measures

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday officially endorsed several ballot measures related to race and criminal justice, but did not weigh in on other high-profile measures to increase business property taxes and allow gig-economy companies to treat drivers as independent contractors.

Newsom endorsed the following:

Proposition 16, which would overturn a ban on “affirmative action” by allowing the consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in university admissions, public employment and contracting

Proposition 17 to allow Californians on parole to vote

Proposition 25 to end bail in California

Newsom had already publicly expressed support for the affirmative action measure. He also publicly supported ending bail when the proposal passed the Legislature in 2018.

He also announced his opposition to Proposition 20, which would roll back some criminal justice changes he had supported in past ballot measure campaigns. The measure would expand the list of crimes that make someone ineligible for parole and would make some misdemeanor offenses eligible for felony sentencing, including some theft crimes.

“California has proudly led the way on fundamental civil rights and criminal justice reform but, as we’ve witnessed first hand across our country, there’s more we must do to root out racial inequity and structural bias and to embrace proven reforms that work,” Newsom said in a written statement. “This November, state voters will once again have the opportunity to make California a national leader in the unfinished fight for equity and justice.”

Newsom did not weigh in on the other eight measures California voters will decide in November, including a high profile effort to raise commercial property taxes and a measure that would allow gig-economy businesses like Uber and Lyft to continue employing their workers as independent contractors.

In 2018, Newsom opposed a measure to expand rent control in California that voters ultimately rejected. An updated version of the proposal will appear on 2020 ballots, but Newsom has not weighed in on it, either.

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