South San Francisco, CA October 20, 2022 by Margaret Brodkin, Founder/Director Funding the Next Generation
AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT CHILDREN, PARENTS, WORKERS, AND THE ECONOMY
This November, South San Francisco voters have an unprecedented opportunity to make four transformative changes in their city by passing one groundbreaking measure.
- Measure DD provides year-round, full-time early care and education (ECE) to all 5 to 5 year-olds whose parents live or work in South City. Research shows that high-quality ECE is associated with better health, success in school, higher earnings in adulthood, and lower rates of public assistance and crime.
- Measure DD allows more parents to enter the workforce, increasing family incomes and bringing tax benefits to South The high cost of ECE (median $16,000 per year) can instead go toward housing and other essentials.
- Measure DD provides a living wage for in-demand ECE workers, who are leaving the field due to low pay. Instead of supplementing their minimum wage with SNAP benefits, South City ECE workers will earn $36 per hour to start. And good wages will retain and attract experienced teachers, the cornerstone of quality ECE.
- Measure DD rescues 53 small businesses—primarily minority- and women-owned home-based childcare providers—who have struggled to stay open because parents can’t afford the true cost of their programs.
Childcare is in crisis, creating a disaster for families and the economy. It just costs too much— one year of care exceeds the tuition of many four-year colleges—and there isn’t space to serve every child. (SSF’s own city-run childcare program has 700+ children on a four-year waitlist.) The pandemic intensified the childcare shortage, and the federal funds that rescued some providers are about to run out. The growing crisis, as recently reported in the Washington Post, threatens the rest of the economy.
However, some flat-out refuse to address the issue. The corporate-funded opposition to Measure DD is flooding South City with ads filled with egregious lies—all to scare voters into believing that the childcare provided by the measure would somehow be risky and unsafe. This
dishonest campaign to attack a grassroots citizens’ initiative benefiting working families is disgraceful. The three elected officials abetting these smear tactics should be ashamed of scaring parents instead of admitting to their real reason for opposing Measure DD: obeisance to extremely wealthy biotech corporations.
For the past 40 years, I’ve worked on every childcare ballot measure in California. Measure DD enacts the same (and sometimes more) protections and accountability as every other successful childcare measure, ensuring a high-quality program for all. South City voters should know that California has extensive childcare safety requirements, and that San Mateo County has added additional quality enhancements. Measure DD also puts in place:
- an 18-month planning process to create Preschool for All, including a needs assessment, public input, and final approval by City Council;
- an oversight body of parents and childcare professionals who receive regular reports on all aspects of the program;
- an experienced City Council–appointed childcare administrator to manage and disseminate Measure DD funds;
- regular independent evaluations of safety, quality, affordability, and accessibility;
- semi-annual public reporting on expenditures and quality to ensure transparency; and
- a vetted application process to guarantee care providers meet the highest
Measure DD is funded by a parcel tax on commercial office properties over 25,000 square feet. Not one dime is paid by homeowners or small businesses. (Note: $2.50 per square foot is the same amount as East Palo Alto’s 2018 Measure HH, which passed with 80 percent approval and hasn’t slowed business development.) Genentech, the opposition’s largest donor, had $26 billion in revenue last year and can easily pay this modest tax, yet it would rather block universal preschool and a living wage for childcare workers.
The City of South San Francisco’s own reports strongly support Measure DD:
- SSF’s Child Care Master Plan (approved June 2022): “A vision for success: a mixed delivery system that is consisting of childcare centers, family childcare providers and license-exempt caregivers.”
- SSF’s tax expert: Parcel tax costs will have a “relatively minor effect” on slowing development and will “encourage the redevelopment of older, less intensely developed ”
- SSF’s childcare expert: When fully operational, Measure DD will have a “surplus of
$340,677” to fund high-quality preschool for South City children.
Research proves that when it comes to government funds, there is no bigger bang for our buck than high-quality early care and education. When voters pass Measure DD, they will be proud to know South San Francisco leads the nation in solving the childcare crisis for good.
Never before have South San Franciscans had the opportunity to accomplish so much with one vote! YES ON DD.