Votes are in for pot, Uber and other local issues

CityLab Daily

While votes for the next U.S. president are still being counted, results are clearer about where Americans stand on local issues. The election dealt victories and losses for several ballot measures and local leaders: 

  • California's Proposition 22 passed on election night, allowing ride-hailing and app-based delivery companies to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors instead of full-time employees. That exempts the likes of Uber and DoorDash from guaranteeing benefits like minimum wage and paid leave, as well as unemployment insurance.

  • In Massachusetts, voters approved a right-to-repair measure that requires automakers to hand over highly proprietary mechanical data — including those transmitted wirelessly from cars to dealerships — to independent auto shops.

  • In Austin, Texas, voters approved two transit-related measures — one to raises taxes to expand the city transportation infrastructure, along with financial investments to prevent displacement by new developments, and another to allow the city to borrow $460 million to improve pedestrian and biking infrastructure.

  • Both the District of Columbia and Oregon voted to relax restrictions on psychedelic plants. In D.C., the approved measure makes prosecuting people for possessing or selling psilocybin mushrooms the police department's lowest priority. Oregon is the first to legalize regulated and medical use of psychedelic therapies statewide.

  • Meanwhile, New Jersey has approved a measure legalizing recreational marijuana use, becoming the fourth-most-populous state and the biggest on the East Coast to do so.

  • In Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler became the city's first mayor to win a consecutive second term in over a decade. His re-election follows a contentious summer of Black Lives Matter protests and federal intervention undermining local policing authority.

Today on CityLab, we track some of the most noteworthy and novel initiatives on the 2020 ballot: Transit, Police Reform and Drug Policy See Some Big Ballot Wins

-Linda Poon

More on CityLab

Pittsburgh's Suburbs Try to De-Karen the 2020 Election
Trump's election sparked a movement to fight racism in southwest Pennsylvania. The white women leading these groups are still learning how it's done.
Imagining a Second Life for Midtown Manhattan's Empty Offices
As workers stay home and office buildings sit vacant, some see a new role for New York City's business district — as a site for affordable housing. 
U.S. Exits Paris Climate Pact With Election Outcome Uncertain
Trump began the process to pull out of the deal one year ago. Biden says the U.S. will rejoin if he's elected.

A change worth flagging

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

In a historic move, voters in Mississippi approved a new state flag to replace its original one, which featured a Confederate battle emblem. The new flag will display the state's official flower, the magnolia blossom, surrounded by 20 stars representing Mississippi's status as the 20th state in the union. A yellow star at the top nods to the Native American people who lived on the land, and inscribed at the bottom are the words "In God We Trust."

The change comes as advocates argued that the Confederate symbol on the original flag was a reminder of America's war to uphold slavery. It flew for 126 years before retiring this past June.

-Jameelah D. Robinson

What we're reading

  • In Georgia, Fulton County election results delayed after pipe bursts in room with ballots (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Proposition 22 passes, but Uber and Lyft are only delaying the inevitable (Vice)
  • (De)fund the police: how much do we spend? (Data, et cetera)
  • As Italy's eateries closed early, a small neighbor became a dinner hot spot (New York Times)
  • How Paris is tackling inequalities in its transport sector (The Next Web)

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