Official information here (pdf).
This is the follow on to Question 1 which I blogged about on Saturday. There are two possible initiatives to choose from. If Question 1 passes, then the winner in Question 2 will appear on the ballot.
Boiled down, the first option "Initiative 26" makes a number of local offices that have been partisan offices into non-partisan offices. The second option "Council-Proposed Alternative" does the same thing, but also provides for candidates to still identify their party preference on the ballot. (Although such identification would not imply the endorsement of the party.)
The argument is that it is better to be open about a preference which will exist anyway than to hide it, and that putting the party preference on the ballot gives the voters more information in order to make a educated choice.
I frankly think that is bullshit, and is just an attempt to essentially keep the positions partisan, even while calling them non-partisan. It is an effort to maintain the status quo while pretending to do otherwise.
I generally am displeased with political parties and think that any effort to disrupt the influence of such organizations, and rather have people make decisions based not on party identification, but rather by evaluating the individuals involved and their specific views, is a positive development.
If candidates want to make known a party preference, then they can put it on their websites, they can talk about it, people can discuss it. But it should not be on the ballot. (Frankly, I think all elections should be that way.)
And honestly, I think that if an office is truly a non-partisan office, then close identification with any political party should be a major negative for any candidate. If it is a non-partisan office, then people running for those positions, or elected to those positions, should make a significant effort to NOT be tied to beholden to any political party.
In any case, as I'm sure is obvious by this point, my vote is for: