Berkeley residents were given the opportunity to vote on three city measures during the midterm elections Tuesday. Of the three, Measures M and N are looking to pass, while Bond Measure L has seemingly failed to garner enough votes as of press time.
While Measures M and N only require a majority vote, Bond Measure L requires a two-thirds — 66.67% — majority. Mail-in ballots are still in the process of being counted, and election results will be updated on the official Alameda County website throughout the week.
Measure M: Vacancy tax — Passed
Measure M passed with 61.55% of votes in its favor as of press time.
The measure will establish a tax on Berkeley property owners who are in possession of units that have remained vacant for more than 182 days, according to a previous article by The Daily Californian. Endorsed by City Councilmember Kate Harrison, the legislation is meant to generate more marketable and available housing in the city as many preexisting properties have been vacant for “long periods of time.”
Harrison noted that the measure will also secure the city with increased tax revenue — as much as $3.9 million to $5.9 million annually.
“There’s constraints placed on our housing supply by landlords,” Harrison previously told the Daily Cal. “That’s what we’re trying to fix.”
Measure N: Authority to build affordable housing — Passed
Measure N passed with 71.19% of votes in its favor as of press time.
The measure will provide the city of Berkeley with the ability to develop, construct and acquire up to 3,000 units of affordable housing, according to a previous article by the Daily Cal. Although the legislation itself does not secure funding for any specific housing project, Article 34 of the California Constitution mandates that residents must be given the opportunity to vote on any intent to build low-income housing in a community.
“The support in Berkeley for housing primarily rests on support for affordable housing,” Brad Wiblin, executive vice president of BRIDGE Housing, previously told the Daily Cal.
Measure L: $650 million infrastructure and housing bond — Uncertain
Bond Measure L appears to have failed as of press time. Despite accruing a majority in its favor with 56.34% of voters approving, the legislation requires a strong two-thirds majority.
The measure would allocate $650 million of “general obligation bonds” toward affordable housing projects and infrastructure improvements, according to a previous article by the Daily Cal. Endorsed by Mayor Jesse Arreguín and City Council, Bond Measure L would allow for around 1,500 affordable units to be constructed, noted City Councilmember Sophie Hahn.
“We are talking about transformative change for Berkeley,” Hahn previously told the Daily Cal.
Check back for more updates.