Propositions and Races to Watch in California

Read more about why, even in an era of widespread protest against racism, Proposition 16 is complicated.

Proposition 22

When California legislators passed a landmark law late last year that would require gig work companies to treat workers as employees rather than independent contractors, it tipped off an intense and really, really expensive battle over the future of work. The law was meant to give a rapidly growing work force benefits and protections afforded to full-time employees.

But gig work companies like Uber and Lyft said their drivers preferred the freedom and flexibility of being considered contractors. And so, they put Proposition 22, which would exempt them from many of the new law’s provisions, on the ballot before voters and have spent roughly $200 million to persuade voters to support it. They say prices for their services may rise and be harder to come by.

Opponents, including major labor groups, say that if Proposition 22 passes, it would not only leave workers vulnerable, but it could also demonstrate that big companies can spend their way out of rules. The fight has become a kind of prelude for looming federal-level debates over how to regulate app-based work.

Read more about why Proposition 22 is unique and why it’s important.

Los Angeles district attorney

This summer was defined by widespread protests against police brutality and racism. But in California, debates over how to police the police were already well underway. For years, Black Lives Matter activists in Los Angeles have slammed District Attorney Jackie Lacey for failing to prosecute police officers who have killed people on the job. Now, she’s facing a serious challenge from George Gascón, who was until recently San Francisco’s district attorney and has pitched himself as a progressive reformer.

Still, the recent uprisings have shifted the terrain: Earlier this month, Los Angeles’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, withdrew his endorsement of Ms. Lacey and endorsed Mr. Gascón.

San Diego mayor

The race to become mayor of California’s second largest city is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it’s come down to two Democrats — Todd Gloria, a state assemblyman, and Barbara Bry, a city councilwoman — to replace Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican who will be termed out. Also, the two candidates have similar views on most issues, with one major exception being how they’d tackle the housing crisis. Mr. Gloria said he supported legislation that would allow denser development in single-family neighborhoods. And neither is in the clear lead.

  • Because millions of people are voting by mail, Californians’ ballots will continue to be counted days and even weeks after Nov. 3. Here’s how long that’s expected to take in every state. [The New York Times]

  • Here’s more information on California’s senate, congressional, and assembly races. [CalMatters]