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What We’re Following
Roll back: On Tuesday, California voters will revisit one of the most politically difficult decisions for the state’s politicians: raising the gas tax. Proposition 6 would roll back a fuel tax and vehicle fee increase from a bill passed in 2017—and make it much harder to raise those taxes in the future. The goal was to raise $54 billion over a decade to fund road repairs, highway improvements, and transit systems like the L.A. County Metro and BART. It established a rare source of sure funding for mobility infrastructure, but also became a lightning rod for the state’s anti-tax campaigners.
Proposition 6 faces long odds, but even if it flops, it has become a tool to galvanize GOP voters in a heavily Democratic state. Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, who has little chance of winning over Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom, has made it a focal point for his campaign. And all this might just be a prelude a 2020 fight over the state’s $100 billion high-speed rail project, which Cox says he’d cancel in lieu of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop. CityLab’s Laura Bliss has the story: California’s Gas Tax Repeal Could Decide Transit’s Future
More on CityLab
The New York Times has a heartbreaking story about Brent Taylor, 39, the mayor of North Ogden, Utah, who was killed on Saturday in Afghanistan. In January, Taylor was called to duty as a major in the Utah National Guard for his fourth deployment. Just after winning re-election last year, Taylor handed over his municipal duties for his suburb of about 19,000 people north of Salt Lake City to his friend, Brent Chugg, as he served overseas. Here’s an excerpt that highlights his leadership at home:
Mr. Chugg said that as mayor, Major Taylor was dogged in pursuit of city improvements, building an amphitheater, a public works building and new roads. Other city officials, he said, had been satisfied with the status quo: “Not Mayor Taylor.”
A small memorial began to form on Sunday outside City Hall, below a soggy American flag lowered to half-staff. One woman, Deborah Eddy, 63, dropped off a bright yellow lily in a flowerpot. Another, Judy Viskoe, 36, stood by, gripping a black umbrella.
“I cried all day yesterday,” Ms. Viskoe said. “I don’t politically align with him. He’s a Republican. But I noticed in his running of this town that he treated everyone with respect, and he listened, and he didn’t bring his politics into the mix. He’s just unlike any other mayor I’ve ever experienced.”
What We’re Reading
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto leads his city through its darkest days (Washington Post)
How Seattle’s democracy vouchers fought big money in politics (Vox)
Technical difficulties may jeopardize food stamps at Farmers Markets (NPR)
Childhood obesity linked to air pollution from vehicles (The Guardian)
Amazon in advanced talks about putting HQ2 in Northern Virginia, those close to the process say (Washington Post)