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Why Election Results and Facts Matter to the Future of This Region

By Bill Mueller

Last week’s election was another defining moment for California.  While electoral votes are not fully counted, we now have a new Governor-elect with an expansion agenda intended to grow social, economic and environmental programs. In addition, new investment commitments were made to increase affordable housing and voters agreed that paying for mobility and road improvements is worth higher gas taxes at the pump.

Closer to home, the election results showed once more that the four-county Sacramento Metro Area is a region divided – a microcosm for the state and nation at large.  Two indicators:  the vote for governor, and the vote for Proposition 6, the statewide measure to repeal the gas tax.

If the election for governor was up to just Placer and El Dorado County voters, John Cox would have won by a landslide, prevailing over Lt. Gov. Newsom with 59% of the vote in both counties. Yet in Sacramento County voters supported Newsome 55% over 44% for Cox, and in Yolo County, the margin was wider: 66% for Newsom and 34% for Cox.

The vote for Proposition 6 tells a similar story. The gas tax repeal was backed strongly by Placer and El Dorado County voters, with 57% in favor.  Yet in Sacramento County voters said “no” to the repeal by a 53% to 46% margin.  Yolo County voters were more emphatic, voting 65% against repeal, with just 35% in favor.

Results like these should remind us all that California’s Capital region is diverse; its voters politically distinct in outlook; and that the political divide is not just across the US but, for us, is just a 45-minute drive in any direction.  This is important to know for political, government, business, or civic leadership agencies like Valley Vision as we conduct our daily business to make this region more prosperous, just and sustainable.

How do you govern in times of sharp disagreement?  You start with facts.  For you cannot facilitate understanding or agreement among varied interests if there’s not agreement first upon the nature of the problems that you collectively face.

In the week following Thanksgiving, Valley Vision will release the results of our latest scientific opinion poll that reveals resident attitudes about what they value (and not) about our quality of life in the Greater Sacramento area.  Working with the Institute of Social Research at Sacramento State, we asked nearly 1,000 local residents how they feel about homelessness, poverty, their chances at upward mobility, education, health care access, and more.  We also asked tough questions about whether they feel included in their community or not, and whether we should embrace the present boom in this region, or preserve the lifestyle we have come to value.

We trust that these scientifically-derived results that reflect the voices of local residents – rich and poor, urban and rural, old and young, White, Black, Latino, Asian and more – will arm the elected officials lucky enough to lead us with the knowledge and insights to bring us together to focus on the issues that residents prioritize as most important to their lives and wellbeing.

It’s part of the value proposition that Valley Vision brings to you, and to those governing.  We appreciate your support, and all our thoughts and prayers at Valley Vision are with the families confronting the Camp Fire and other catastrophes across California.


Bill Mueller was Valley Vision’s Chief Executive.