California Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer said he hopes the election results in the state stand as a stark contrast to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s strong performance across the country.
“I really feel as if the question here is going to be: Do we fully embrace each other's humanity? That's actually going to be the question on the ballot for me in 2016 in California,” said Steyer, speaking outside state Democratic Party headquarters before the polls closed in California. “I think the answer is going to be yes. I think this is a year where honestly the opposite has been stated very loudly by Mr. Trump and I'm hoping that the California citizens in a very extended fashion are going to step up and say no to that kind of Trump hate-filled rhetoric.”
Steyer was a major donor behind seven state ballot measures, including those to end the death penalty and allow for bilingual education in schools. Steyer was the largest contributor in support of Proposition 56, which would raise the cigarette tax by $2 a pack, spending $11.6 million. He also supported local tax hikes for transportation and low-income housing measures.
Activists are not taking the idea of a Donald Trump presidency quietly. Hundreds of demonstrators across the U.S. hit the pavement during the day and evening Wednesday to protest the Republican's electoral victory.
California voters have approved Proposition 51, a $9-billion bond for school construction projects across the state.
The measure was leading 53.9% to 46.1%, according to election returns at 5 a.m. Wednesday, and the Associated Press has called the victory.
State funding to help finance repairs and new school facilities across California had run dry, and Proposition 51 will refill the pot. School construction needs billions of dollars every year, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. With the new cash infusion, the state will once again match local district funding for construction projects.
California voters have approved a significant change of the rules in how proposed laws are approved by the Legislature, overwhelmingly supporting a new mandate for public review of legislation before any final vote.
The change in legislative rules was long discussed in the state Capitol but failed to gain momentum until the initiative written by a former GOP legislator and bankrolled by a wealthy Bay Area activist.