NEWS MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Friday, October 9, 2020

Contact: Fred Glass 510/579-3343,

“Rush Hour Banner Action” for Prop 15

Human billboards over freeways to call for closing corporate tax loophole, raising billions for schools and services

What: Demonstrations on behalf of Prop 15

Who: DSA members and other Prop 15 supporters

When: Friday, October 9, 4 pm - 6 pm

Where: Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond

Visuals: People holding banners over a river of metal and rubber

Overpass locations: Hwy 580 (Grand Ave., and 35th Ave., Oakland; and Central Ave., Richmond)); Hwy 80 (University Ave., Berkeley; Sacramento Ave/San Luis, Richmond); Hwy 13 (La Salle and Moraga, Oakland); Hwy 880, 66th Avenue, Oakland); Hwy 980 (14th Street, Oakland)

Oakland, CA—Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members and unionists will take their message of tax justice through Prop 15 to East Bay freeway overpasses during rush hour (4-6 pm) on Friday, Oct. 9. Prop 15, the ‘Schools and Communities First’ ballot measure, proposes to close a commercial property tax loophole that gives California’s richest corporations an avenue to escape paying their fair share to support public education and local services. 

The overpass banner action is a tactic for these Covid-19 times. “When the pandemic makes a regular door-to-door canvassing campaign a health risk, you have to find new ways to talk with your neighbors,” said Andrea Mullarkey, a librarian and DSA and SEIU 1021 member. “You have to be creative with your organizing,” she said. “And Prop 15 is absolutely necessary. We saw what happened during the Great Recession to libraries. Hours and staffing were cut, and we’ve never really recovered. Big corporations and wealthy commercial property owners can afford to pay fair tax rates to support libraries and other important community services.”

Demonstrators will stay socially distanced and wear masks while advocating for Prop 15 on eight overpasses in the East Bay and in a half dozen other California cities at the same time. The demonstrations are being coordinated by DSA chapters in each city. 

“Since this loophole took affect some 40 years ago, California schools have fallen from fifth in the nation to 42nd in per-pupil funding,” said Oakland Education Association (OEA) President Keith Brown. “Prop 15 won’t work miracles, but it will make a real difference for our students, especially in severely underfunded districts like Oakland Unified.”

Prop 15 will raise between 10 and 12 billion dollars for schools and services in a non-pandemic year, with 92% of the measure’s revenues coming from the 10% biggest commercial property owners. Prop 15 helps small businesses struggling with the pandemic depression, as it exempts all commercial properties under $3 million in assessed value, and provides a business equipment tax break. It also leaves all current residential property tax rates untouched.

SEIU 1021 member Sheleka Carter, who works for the Alameda Health System, is currently on strike. “If we had been receiving Prop 15 funding all these years, our relationship with management would probably not have had to be so adversarial. We might have had the money for protective equipment to make it possible to safely come to work. The chronic lack of funding has been undermining our staffing levels and our ability to serve the community, and it’s corrosive to the entire health care system. Prop 15 would change that for the better.”

Democratic Socialists of America has more than a thousand members in the East Bay, many thousands of members throughout California, and 70,000 nationally.  More info.