A First Look at Propositions on the California November 2018 Ballot

by on August 30, 2018 · 6 comments

in California

Image Credit: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley

There are eleven ballot measures for voter consideration on the 2018 general election ballot in California. Three were placed on the ballot by the legislature, the rest via signature gatherers (mostly) paid for groups with an interest in shaping the legal and political landscape.

Four propositions (1-4) ask voter approval for bond measures to borrow money to build things. In the case of General Obligation Bonds, payments are made through the state treasury from tax dollars collected on Californians. In the case of Revenue Bonds, an existing or newly dedicated source of funding is used to make payments. Voters have approved 79.49% of bonds submitted in statewide elections over the past 25 years.

Four propositions (6, 8, 10, & 12) have proponents and opponents with enough money for advertising and public relations campaigns. Hot-button campaigns for and against repealing transportation funding, regulating dialysis clinics, allowing localities to consider rent control ordinances, and how animals raised for food are treated will be vying for voter attention.

Two ballot measures (5 & 6) are already working on re-qualifying for the 2020 ballot in case they don’t make it this time.

This column includes my initial takes on what’s on the statewide ballot. Snark is included at no extra charge, mostly to keep readers interested. And there are a couple of measures I’m unsure about how I feel.

There will be more detailed analyses over the next six weeks, prior to ballots being mailed out. In early October, the San Diego Free Press will post its Progressive Voter Guide, with the endorsements (or not) of our editorial board.

Ready? Let’s get to studying.

Proposition 1Build More Housing

Authorizes Bonds to Fund Specified Housing Assistance Programs. Legislative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by the Legislature)

What it would do: Proposition 1 would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing-related programs, loans, grants, and projects and housing loans for veterans.

Who supports it? Habitat for Humanity, Veterans Groups, Construction Trade Unions, League of Women Voters, Congress of CA Seniors, Coalition to End Domestic Violence.
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $2,118,400.
Largest Contributor: Chan Zuckerberg Advocacy (Yes, it’s those FB Zuckerbergs)

Who Opposes It: There are no committees registered in opposition to Prop1.
Money Raised Against It: $0

My First Take: Bonds for Housing? Hell, yes!
Another Take: Housing advocate Ricardo Flores in a Union-Tribune op-ed:

Proposition 1 is a step in the right direction, but we actually need to go further and should supplement this effort with local measures, several of which are up for future consideration here in San Diego.

For example, the San Diego Housing Federation proposal to raise $900 million locally to build 7,500 affordable housing units will generate hundreds of million dollars in matching funds from the state. The measure will possibly go before voters on the 2020 ballot.

Aside from being the most humane approach, providing a home for the homeless has been proven time and again to be more cost-effective than simply providing emergency services for people without homes.

That’s why affordable housing advocates, business leaders, cities and labor, veterans and environmental groups have all endorsed this measure.

And that’s why San Diegans should vote “yes” on Proposition 1.

Proposition 2 – Fund Even More Housing

Authorizes Bonds to Fund Existing Housing Program for Individuals With Mental Illness. (Put on the Ballot by the Legislature)

Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões / Wikipedia

What it would do: Authorizes the state to use revenue from Proposition 63 (2004)—a 1 percent tax on income above $1 million for mental health services—on $2 billion in revenue bonds for homelessness prevention housing for persons in need of mental health services.

Who supports it? Zima Creason, CEO of Mental Health America (MHA) of California, David Swing, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, and Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, a former member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institute of Mental Health, League of Women Voters.
Money raised in support as of 8/22:$2,066,900.00
Largest Contributor: Chan Zuckerberg Advocacy (Same groups as Prop 1)

Who opposes it? Leaders of the National Alliance on Mental Illness wrote the official argument against Prop 2 for the state’s voter guide. There are no committees registered in opposition to Prop 2.
Money raised against it: $0

My First Take: Sounds like a plan (See Prop 1)
Another take: From the editorial board of the Press-Democrat:

Proposition 2 on the Nov. 6 ballot stands at the crossroads of two of California’ most intractable social issues: mental illness and homelessness.

An estimated one in four homeless Americans suffers from a severe form of mental illness, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration…

…Proposition 2 would make $2 billion available to move homeless people suffering mental illnesses off the street and into housing, where they would have better access to care and other supportive services.

This isn’t a tax increase or a new tax, and approval shouldn’t adversely affect existing mental health programs.

Proposition 3 – Turn On the Water, Maybe?

Authorizes Bonds to Fund Projects for Water Supply and Quality, Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Water Conveyance, and Groundwater Sustainability and Storage. Initiative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

What it would do: Authorizes $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds for water infrastructure, groundwater supplies and storage, surface water storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.

Who supports it: Conservationist groups, farmers, and some water quality experts.
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $3,031,012.73
Largest contributor: Ducks Unlimited

Who opposes it? Officials with the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group wrote the opposition argument. There were no committees registered in opposition to the measure. League of Women Voters says no because it shifts the cost for water from the end users to California taxpayers.
Money raised against it: $0
Polling: A mid-July poll by Public Policy Institute of California indicated 58% of likely voters support the measure

My First Take: A tricky one. Further study needed.

Proposition 4 – Build Children’s Hospitals

Authorizes Bonds Funding Construction at Hospitals Providing Children’s Health Care. Initiative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

What it would do: Authorizes $1.5 billion in bonds for the construction, expansion, renovation, and equipping of children’s hospitals in California.

Who supports it: California Teachers Association, various hospitals.
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $10,222,800.00
Largest Contributor(s): Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, Valley Children’s Hospital (tied)

Who opposes it: There were no committees registered in opposition to the measure. League of Women Voters says no because State funds should not be used to support private facilities.
Money raised against it: $0

My First Take: It’s “for the children…”
Another Take: From a Mercury News editorial:

The bonds issued under Prop. 4 would be repaid from the state’s general fund. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the cost of a 35-year repayment to be about $80 million annually. California has set a goal of keeping debt service for its general obligation bonds below 6 percent of general fund revenues. The LAO reports that even if all of the bonds proposed for the 2018 ballot pass, the servicing debt would still be less than 5 percent.

Voters should make a sound investment in California’s children’s hospitals by voting yes on Proposition 4.

Proposition 5 – A Baby Boomer Tax Loophole

Changes Requirements for Certain Property Owners to Transfer their Property Tax Base to Replacement Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

Image Credit: Pixabay

What it would do: Allows homebuyers who are age 55+ or severely disabled to transfer the tax-assessed value from their prior home to their new home, no matter (a) the new home’s market value; (b) the new home’s location in the state; or (c) the number of moves.

Who supports it: People who sell real estate for a living, California Chamber of Commerce
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $7,204,875.08
Largest contributor supporting Prop. 5: California Association of Realtors Issues Mobilization PAC

Who opposes it: California Teachers Association, National Housing Law Project, League of Women Voters
Money raised against it: $0

My First Take: Another tax break for those who need it the least.
Another Take: Via CALmatters:

“What the real estate industry is really trying to do with this measure is turn the market and drive up prices so their end profit is really to their benefit,” said Dorothy Johnson, an advocate for the California State Association of Counties, which oppose the measure.

The Realtors could not have been pleased with the analysis Prop. 5 received from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which voters will see included in their sample ballots this fall. It concludes that Prop. 5 would eventually cost local governments and schools $2 billion a year in revenue and that the vast majority of Baby Boomers who would benefit from the initiative were likely going to move anyway. In other words, the initiative was not likely to induce a lot of people to move or result in lower home prices.

That’s partly why the Realtors have pursued a somewhat odd political strategy—while pushing for Prop. 5’s passage this fall, they’re already planning to put a very similar initiative on the ballot in 2020. That initiative would provide the same property tax breaks for older homeowners, but would also close some Prop. 13 loopholes to lessen the cost on local governments.

Proposition 6 – Potholes Are Good for You and Other Free Market Fantasies

Eliminates Certain Road Repair and Transportation Funding. Requires Certain Fuel Taxes and Vehicle Fees be Approved by The Electorate. Initiative Constitutional Amendment (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)


What it would do: Drive GOP voter turnout by promising to defeat an “onerous” tax, to wit: repeal fuel tax increases and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017, including the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (RRAA) and require voter approval (via ballot propositions) for the California State Legislature to impose, increase, or extend fuel taxes or vehicle fees in the future.

Who supports it: Carl DeMaio, John Cox, and the folks fearing a Blue Wave.
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $3,364,180
Largest contributor supporting Prop. 6: The California Republican Party

Who opposes it: State Building and Construction Trades Council, League of Women Voters, Democratic candidates, generally., California Professional Firefighters, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, American Society of Civil Engineers.
Money raised against it as of 8/22: $ 20,858,981
Largest contributor to opposition: California Alliance for Jobs – Rebuild California Committee

Polling: Problinsky Research (August): Yes 35.8%, No 48.3%, Undecided 14.6%
Survey USA (June): Yes 46%, No 33%, Undecided 22%

My Take: This is a GOP scam And besides, I already wrote a longer piece on it.

Regardless of whether this year’s measure succeeds or fails, there’s another one waiting in the wings for the 2020 election. DeMaio told the Sacremento Bee he’s calling phase two the “Robin Hood initiative — stealing our money back.”

A key element in such campaigns involves building a narrative around the concept of something being ‘taken’ from voters by unseen forces, also called “government bureaucrats” or “Sacramento politicians.”

Since the GOP’s past support for anti-immigrant ballot initiatives and candidates has ruined their brand in California, DeMaio and his team are hoping they can rebuild the organization’s clout by portraying funding for transportation infrastructure as being tainted.

Proposition 7 – A Daylight Dream

Conforms California Daylight Saving Time to Federal Law. Allows Legislature to Change Daylight Saving Time Period. Legislative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by the Legislature)

Credit: MaestroBen / Flickr

What it would do: Allow the California State Legislature to establish permanent, year-round daylight saving time (DST) in California by a two-thirds vote if the federal law is changed to allow for permanent DST.

Who supports it: Overtired parents everywhere. Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher was one of the authors of the pro-ballot argument.
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $0
Largest contributors supporting Prop. 7: None

Who opposes it: Legislators representing some agricultural districts. And sadists.
Money raised against it: $0
Largest contributors to opposition: None

My First Take: Whatever. Let me sleep. The Feds will want no part of this.

Proposition 8 – Oh Yeah? Well, Take This!

Regulates Amounts Outpatient Kidney Dialysis Clinics Charge for Dialysis Treatment. Initiative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

Credit: Pixabay

What it would do: Requires dialysis clinics to issue refunds to patients or patients’ payers for revenue above 115 percent of the costs of direct patient care and healthcare improvements.

Who supports it: SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $6,021,815
Largest contributor supporting Prop. 8: SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West

Who opposes it: Corporate owners of dialysis clinic chains
Money raised against it: $18,020,966
Largest contributors to opposition: Fresenius Medical Care North America, DaVita (tied)

My First Take: Yeah, it feels like blackmail. But given the unwillingness of the industry to even consider negotiations, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. The SEIU is making good on its promise to punish clinics who’ve engaged in unfair labor practices.

Proposition 9

(This was the split-CA-into-three-states billionaire vanity project)
On July 18, 2018, Proposition 9 was removed from the ballot by order of the California Supreme Court.

Proposition 10 – Can We Even Talk about Rent Control?

Expands Local Governments’ Authority to Enact Rent Control on Residential Property. Initiative Statute (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

Credit: AAGLA

What it would do: Let local governments adopt rent control ordinances—regulations that govern how much landlords can charge tenants for renting apartments and houses–something currently prohibited by the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

Who supports it: The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action, California Democratic Party, California Nurses Association, California Teachers Association, SEIU, League of Women Voters.
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $12,535,697
Largest contributor supporting Prop.10: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Who opposes it: The Republican Party, California Apartment Association, Assorted LLC Property Developers, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, California Chamber of Commerce, California Business Roundtable, United Latinos Vote
Money raised against it: $26,781,128
Largest contributor to opposition: Michael K. Hayde, including Western National Group & Affiliated Entities

My First Take: It allows localities to make choices; it does NOT institute rent control.

Proposition 11 – For da Workers: Corporate Labor Law?

Requires Private-Sector Emergency Ambulance Employees to Remain On-Call During Work Breaks. Eliminates Certain Employer Liability. Initiative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

What it would do: Allow private ambulance companies to require workers to remain on-call during breaks paid at their regular rate, mandate additional training, and provide some paid mental health services

Who supports it: American Medical Response, the country’s largest medical transportation firm.
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $3,650,000
Largest contributor supporting Prop.11: American Medical Response

Who opposes it: There are no committees registered to oppose the ballot initiative; The California Teachers Association has gone on record in opposition.
Money raised against it: $0
Largest contributors to opposition: None

My First Take: An industry-initiated labor law aimed at overturning a court decision. Think about that.

Proposition 12 – Bacon on My Veggie Burger?

Establishes New Standards for Confinement of Specified Farm Animals; Bans Sale of Noncomplying Products. Initiative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

What it would do: Ban the sale of meat and eggs from calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens confined in areas below a specific number of square feet. Current law makes no such requirement, saying only animals need to be able to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.

Who supports it: The Humane Society, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Center for Food Safety, Farm Forward, National Consumers League, Organic Consumers Association, Center for Biological Diversity, Roots of Change
Money raised in support as of 8/22: $4,695,925
Largest contributor supporting Prop.12: The Humane Society of the United States

Who opposes it: Association of California Egg Farmers, Friends of Animals, Humane Farming Association (HFA), National Pork Producers Council, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Money raised against it: $550,000
Largest contributors to opposition: Humane Farming Action Fund

My First Take: PETA and the Pork Producers Council on the same side? That’s akin to ordering a veggie burger topped with bacon. It’s a head-scratcher needing further study.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

‘Stop eating In-N-Out like yesterday.’ California Democrats call for boycott

California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman is calling for a boycott of In-N-Out Burger after the Irvine-based fast-food chain this week donated $25,000 to help Republicans this November.

Read more here: https://www.modbee.com/news/state/article217577065.html#storylink=cpy


Sam Olsen August 30, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Beware: Proposition 12 is an outright scam. There is widespread opposition to Prop 12 from within the animal protection community. And for very good reason.
This measure was co-written by United Egg Producers and would explicitly legalize cruel battery cages in California until at least 2022. And it would forever confine hens inside massive factory farms that restrict hens to only one square foot floor space per bird!
No one should fall for HSUS’s bogus claims that this it will regulate the sale and production of veal and pork from other states. That cynical and constitutionally flawed window dressing will never survive the inevitable years of legal challenges. It was only inserted into the initiative to distract from its massive sell-out to the egg industry.
Find out why Californians Against Cruelty, Cages, and Fraud, the Humane Farming Association (HFA), Friends of Animals (FoA), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and many others are strongly opposing the measure.
Please visit NoOnProposition12.org


denine hunt August 30, 2018 at 8:06 pm

I really appreciate the coverage of the ballot initiatives. I always count on the OB Rag to help me sort things out before casting my vote. Well done Frank!


Michael Douglas September 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Yeah, a perusal of your stands indicates you are a Leftist. Prop 8 was put on the ballot by a very Far-Left radical union (SEIU) which works tirelessly for the Democratic Party, and so naturally you support it. Sorry, but once again another attempt to over-regulate business. Prop 10 — no it is not rent control in and of itself, but it would make is very easy for municipalities to set up rent control boards, and even include in their jurisdiction single family residences. With so many California municipalities governed by Leftist big intrusive government advocates, we can be assured that many would take advantage and institute Communistic rent control. Yes, you heard me — because government rent control IS Communism, and is despicable. Is there anything you Lefties would leave to the impersonal (and therefore fair) interplay of the marketplace? Running to government to solve every problem is just what Socialists and Communists love to do. Prop 10 and it’s proposed rent controls will not solve housing shortages — only the free market giving incentives for individuals to build more housing will do that. NO on 8 and NO on 10 — just more Red Marxism from Sacramento.


Kevin B Stephens September 22, 2018 at 11:37 am

Michael Douglas, a perusal of your buzzwords indicates you are a dedicated fascist.


Will Eaton September 25, 2018 at 6:56 pm

When debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser (Socrates).


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