Vote 2018: Ballot Initiatives
By Dianne Anderson
Between all the pros and the cons, the slew of statewide ballot propositions should give voters enough reading material to keep them busy from now until the November 6 election.
On Saturday, October 6, for those that haven’t had time to wade through the state ballot propositions, they can still catch up on the fine print with the local nonpartisan League of Women Voters.
LWV is inviting the community to the Garcia Center for the Arts, starting at 9:30 a.m., where they will cover and explain what voters need to know. The event is located at 536 W 11th St., San Bernardino.
Betsy Starbuck said the League welcomes requests for group meetings, at churches and senior centers, and is available to make presentations to keep voters informed on the impact of their vote.
LWV also offers a very detailed website at www.votersedge.org, which includes candidates, propositions and other important information on judges and legislation.
PROP 1 – Vote YES Homeless Housing Bond
Voters will decide if paying $170 million a year over the next 35 years – the fiscal impact of the cost of the state bonds – will help alleviate the housing crisis.
If passed, this proposition authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds, including $1.8 billion to build low income housing, $1 billion to help veterans secure home loans, and $450 million to build in urban and dense areas, $450 million for down payment assistance for low to moderate income homebuyers, and $300 million for farming and workforce development.
The proposition is also endorsed by the United Ways of California, Habitat for Humanity, LWV of California, League of Cities, among others. The proposition is supported by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (Democratic candidate for governor), California Democratic Party, California Federation of Labor, California Chamber of Commerce, California League of Conservation Voters, American Legion, California, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. Opponents are John Cox (Republican candidate for governor), and the California Republican Party.
PROP 2 Vote YES – The “No Place Like Home “Homelessness Housing Ratification”
Prop 2 is also related to housing help. Proposition 2 wants to offer assistance for the mentally ill homeless population, using currently existing Prop 63 ( Mental Health Services Act) funding passed by voters in 2004. If passed, the proposition calls for $2 billion in revenue bonds for homeless and mental health services using Prop 63 funds. It essentially retains some of the money that would have been allocated to counties. The proposition has broad support, including the League of Women Voters, and the California Chamber of Commerce.
PROP 3 Vote NO – Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018
Voters will decide whether an $8.87 billion bond is needed for various water programs and infrastructure projects.
“The flaws in the bond will enable certain dams and other infrastructure we have opposed. It also directs to unspecified water projects a specific category of funds collected through the state’s cap-and-trade program that should be used to efficiently cut climate emissions,” said Sierra Club California in a statement.
This proposition is also opposed by Friends of the River, League of Women Voters of California, Save The American River Association, Southern California Watershed Alliance, Speaker Anthony Rendon, among others.
PROP 4 – California Proposition 4, Children’s Hospital Bonds Initiative (2018)
If passed, Prop 4 authorizes $1.5 billion in bonds for the construction, expansion, renovation, and equipping of children’s hospitals in California.
From the state voter information guide, James Stein, a pediatric surgeon, Maria Minon, chief medical officer of CHOC Children’s, and Roberto Gugig, a pediatric gastroenterologist, wrote the official argument in support of Proposition 4.
At the 13 children’s hospital locations, seriously ill children receive highly specialized care for cancer, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, among other costly treatments, even if their parents or families can’t afford to pay.
“We perform 97% of all pediatric organ transplants, 96% of all pediatric heart surgeries, and 76% of all pediatric cancer treatments. With each new research breakthrough, new lifesaving technology, the finest pediatric specialists, cures happen every single day at California’s Children’s Hospitals. Today, 85% of children with leukemia leave our hospitals cured,” the ballot argument states.
Support for a Yes on Prop 4 includes the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, California Teachers Association, California Democratic Party, among many others.
LWV opposes this proposition, stating that, “…Prop 4 would use $1.5 billion in public, general obligation bond money to support privately-owned children’s hospitals, along with five children’s hospitals in the University of California system.”
PROP 5 Vote NO – California Proposition 5, Property Tax Transfer Initiative (2018)
Considered by opponents to be a tax benefit for the rich, Proposition 5 is mainly backed by real estate agents. If passed, the Legislative Analysts office states that, “Schools and local governments each would lose over $100 million in annual property taxes early on, growing over time to about $1 billion per year (in today’s dollars).”
“People over 55 who can afford to buy bigger, more expensive houses get a new tax break. There are no limits to how many times a wealthy person can get a new tax break when they buy a bigger, more expensive house,” the No on 5 Website says.
“School children and communities are the ones who pay the price, with upwards of $1 billion cut from funding for schools and local services such as fire and emergency response and health care.”
Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project states that Prop 5 does nothing for affordable housing and will even make the current situation worse.
Also calling for a No Vote on Prop 5 are the League of Women Voters of California, the California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, SEIU California, InnerCity Struggle, Lamong, among many others.
PROP 6 Vote NO — California Proposition 6, Voter Approval for Future Gas and Vehicle Taxes and 2017 Tax Repeal Initiative (2018)
Betsy Starbuck said that Prop 6 is a big deal.
The California League of Women Voters calls for a Vote No on Prop 6, which, if it passes, is projected to get rid of $5.1 billion a year, negatively impacting the ability to repair local streets and potholes and fix bridges.
Last year, the state Legislature adopted a new gas tax and last June, voters passed Prop 69, requiring that all of that money must be spent on transportation, but not for any other purpose. If Proposition 6 passes, it would eliminate the existing monies to repair 6,500 transportation, road and bridge improvement projects statewide.
In the Inland Empire alone, the No on 6 campaign website says that pulled funding would halt 644 projects filling potholes and repaving crumbling roads, 103 projects improving the safety of local roads and bridges, 56 traffic congestion relief projects and 42 safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“Our roads and our bridges, here and across the nation, are in need of repair. If it repeals the tax, there’ll be less money spent on roads,” said Starbuck. “And God forbid that there’s an actual catastrophic failure of a bridge.”
Proposition 7 — Daylight Saving Time
If passed, and if the government eventually approves it by a two-thirds vote, this proposition reverts back to the time before 1949, when the state daylight savings was first enacted.
Little or no fiscal impact to this proposition that looks at whether it’s best to turn back time, or not. Those that support a Yes Vote say that heart attacks and strokes would go down, and those that are against the proposition say that it would be bad for kids and the transportation system traveling to school in the dark.
Proposition 8 — Kidney Dialysis Clinics
Proposition 8 has drawn strong debate on both sides.
On the Yes side, among the dozens of supporters are the California Democratic Party, California Alliance for Retired Americans, the Black AIDS Institute, Black Community Health Taskforce, Black Women for Wellness, California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, Californians for Disability Rights and CalPERS.
If passed, Prop 8 would limit how much dialysis clinics in California can charge for treatment, and clinics would not be allowed to charge for the cost of providing direct patient care.
Supporters say that 477,000 people across America depend on dialysis, while Fresenius and DaVita control over 75 percent of the market, but are not doing a very sanitary job. There have been complaints that despite millions of dollars in profits, that the clinics are poorly regulated, have roaches, and many other unhealthful conditions.
“Prop 8 will push for-profit dialysis corporations to spend more money on direct patient care. Dialysis corporation revenues will be limited to no more than 15% above the amount they spend on patient care. By linking revenue to care, dialysis corporations will have a greater incentive to invest in patient care,” says the Yes on 8 website.
On the No side, the concern is that if Prop 8 passes, community dialysis clinics will be forced to cut back services, or forced to close more clinics.
“Without access to community clinics, patients will have to travel long distances or end up in already overcrowded hospital emergency rooms to receive care. Worse, many patients might miss treatments and become very ill. Research shows that missing even one dialysis treatment increases the risk of death for dialysis patients by 30%,” says the No on 8 website.
Vote No on 8 has strong support from the medical community, including the Desert AIDS Project, Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO), Renal Physicians Association, Minority Health Institute, and dozens of others. It is also supported by DaVita Kidney Care and Fresenius Medical Care (FMC).
PROP 10 Vote YES – Repeal Costa Hawkins
League of Women Voters supports Prop 10, stating that the way the proposition is written doesn’t change anything, except that it repeals the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.
Betsy Starbuck said that Prop 10 is not directly about rent control, rather it gives local governments the authority to decide rent control, and give communities options to deal with the affordable housing crisis.
“Will this get rid of the affordable housing crisis? No, not alone. It’s just another tool,” she said.
Several California cities with very high rents took positions of rent control back in the 1970s, and the Costa Hawkins Act came about as the Assembly’s way of taking that authority away from cities and counties. If passed, Prop 10 wants to return that authority back to cities and counties.
Come November and even December, nothing will immediately change for renters.
“If it passes, it would have to work locally with their city or county, depending on whether they live in the city or an unincorporated area. They would seek rent control changes at that level,” Starbuck said.
Supporters argue for “Yes on 10 because the rent is too damn high!” and that corporate landlords linked closely to Donald Trump are shelling out millions to oppose Proposition 10. A UC-Berkeley study also shows Prop 10 passage is key for addressing California’s housing crisis.
“Seniors, Latinos, African Americans, low-wage workers, and families with children face the most severe burdens from the housing crisis. Rapidly increasing rents are displacing residents to areas with fewer quality jobs, well-performing schools, and other resources—reproducing racial segregation, particularly in suburban areas far from urban job centers,” states the policy brief from The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley.