LOS ANGELES — The Latest on the California election (all times local):
Black Lives Matter activists on Wednesday celebrated a potential defeat of the incumbent district attorney in downtown Los Angeles. Jackie Lacey, the current Los Angeles County district attorney, faced challenger George Gascon on the ballot. Both are Democrats. The race is too close to call. Black Lives Matter activists have protested Lacey for more than three years, holding weekly rallies at the downtown Hall of Justice. The group says Lacey, a Black woman, has failed to prosecute police officers who fatally shoot people of colour. Wednesday’s rally was peaceful, with mostly masked participants listening to speakers who said the fight for racial equality continues. The mood of the crowd of several hundred people was jubilant. Police blocked off the street for the rally and did not engage with the people gathered.
A ballot measure to partially dismantle California’s longtime system of tying property taxes to the last sales price trailed Wednesday but the outcome remained uncertain. No votes on Proposition 15 were ahead by 3.5 percentage points with about 11.6 million votes counted, a wider margin than Tuesday night. Another ballot measure that would allow homeowners who are 55 and older, disabled or wildfire victims to transfer a primary residence’s tax base to a replacement home was ahead Wednesday.
San Francisco voters concerned about economic disparity have overwhelmingly approved several tax measures targeting landlords and big businesses whose CEOs earn far more than their average workers.
One law passed Tuesday slaps a 0.1% business tax surcharge on any company that pays its top executive 100 times more than its average worker. The surcharge doubles if the pay disparity is 200 times; triples for 300 times and so on.
Voters also passed sweeping changes that will mean a higher tax rate for many tech companies and a higher transfer tax on property sales valued between $10 million and $25 million.
“The very wealthy are gaining more and more. They’ve gotten much richer during the pandemic, while everyone else has remained stagnant,” said city Supervisor Matt Haney.
He authored the measure titled the “Overpaid Executive Tax,” which sought to balance the growing disparity between wealthy tech executives and lower-paid service workers.
Critics called the surcharge a blatant attempt at redistribution of wealth and criticized raising business taxes in the middle of a recession.
Los Angeles police say more than 50 people were arrested in the city's downtown Tuesday night, including one person for assaulting an officer.
LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell says Wednesday that 54 people were arrested for failing to disperse after police declared several groups gathered downtown to be unlawful assemblies, including 40 people who allegedly blocked train tracks.
Another 30 people received citations and six other people were detained but released near the Staples Center earlier in the night.
Spell says the officer who was assaulted is OK but did not have any additional details.
Hundreds of police officers are stationed around the city in an effort to discourage civil unrest. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department did not have any reports of arrests across the county.
Law enforcement agencies statewide have ramped up their presence but do not report any credible threats related to the election.
California is sticking with its traditional cash bail system, rejecting a nation-leading move to rely instead on risk assessments to decide which suspects should remain jailed awaiting trial.
With more than 11 million votes counted as of Wednesday, Proposition 25 had just 45% support.
Backers had said the traditional bail system punishes the poor, who are often racial minorities, because they lack the money to buy their freedom or can least afford to pay a bail bondsman.
Opponents said the alternative’s risk assessment tools also are racially and socioeconomically biased.
California voters have approved a measure to expand a digital privacy law that was passed two years ago.
Proposition 24 includes provisions to triple the fines for companies that violate kids’ privacy and will create a dedicated state agency to enforce the law that was passed in 2018.
With more than 11 million votes tallied, the measure had more than 56% support Wednesday.
Proponents of the measure said it would strengthen California’s privacy law and help hold big business accountable.
Opponents argued that the 52-page initiative was too complicated for voters and that it was too soon to rewrite a law that just took effect.
California voters have rejected an attempt to reinstate affirmative action programs in public hiring, contracting and college admissions, keeping a 1996 ban on the government granting preferential treatment based on race and gender.
Supporters of Proposition 16 had hoped to overturn the ban amid a national reckoning over racism following the deaths of Black Americans and other people of colour by police.
They say affirmative action programs would expand opportunities for people who still face systemic racism and sexism in education and at work.
Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris backs the effort. Opponents say the government should treat every person equally, and never use race, ethnicity or gender to promote or discriminate against an individual.
The Associated Press