Physicians for Social Responsibility – LA 2020 Voter Guide

Propositions:

County Measure J – Budget Allocation for Alternatives to Incarceration Charter Amendment – YES

Summary: Adopts a proposed charter amendment that requires the County to spend no less than 10% of the locally unrestricted revenues in the general fund to address the disproportionate impact of racial injustice through community investment and alternatives to incarceration.  It would also prohibit those funds for carceral systems and law enforcement agencies. A ⅘ vote by the Board would be able to lower the percentage in case of a fiscal emergency. 

Our Reasoning: Black and Brown communities have been and continue to be underfunded and overpoliced, and LA county runs the world’s largest jail system.  Measure J begins to correct these injustices by requiring that at least 10% of the County’s unrestricted funds go directly into addressing disparities in community programs and the criminal justice system throughout the County.  As PSR-LA continues to push for divest-invest strategies to fund real community priorities, initiatives like Measure J will help ensure that this funding is built into how the County Board operates.

Supporters: Re-imagine Los Angeles, United Way, L.A. Community Action Network, Abundant Housing, ACLU Southern California, and several unions

Opponents: Association of District Attorneys, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Coalition of Probation Unions

 

Prop 14 – Authorizes Bonds Continuing Stem Cell Research – NO 

Summary: Authorizes $5.5 billion in general bonds to go to stem cell research, including research on treating Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Our Reasoning: While we fully support additional funding for stem cell research, we have concerns about some of the specifics of this Proposition. The funding mechanism used means that taxpayers will have to pay back significantly more than they borrowed to finance the research, and any patents created will not be owned by the public, creating a giveaway to private companies and financiers. There is very little oversight into how the money will be used, and the Proposition requires a supermajority (70%) to make any amendments, further limiting oversight.

Supporters: California Democratic Party, UC Board of Regents, JDRF, Black Women Organized for Political Action

Opponents: The nonprofit Center for Genetics and Society, California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA)

 

Prop 15 – Increases Funding Sources for Public Schools, Community Colleges, and Local Government Services by Changing Tax Assessment of Commercial and Industrial Property  – YES 

Summary: The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act proposes a constitutional amendment that will: Reclaim $12 billion for schools and local government by closing a huge property tax loophole that benefits large corporations and wealthy investors. Require the regular reassessment of some commercial and industrial properties at fair market value for property tax purposes and keep the 1% cap on the property tax rate to ensure that property taxes will continue to be among the lowest in the country.

Our reasoning: Most of us want similar things: good schools for our children, a healthy family, and safe neighborhoods. But for more than four decades, big corporations have not been paying their fair share, leaving California’s school funding falling behind. California now has the most overcrowded classrooms in the U.S. and some of the worst ratios of counselors, librarians, and nurses per student. Schools & Communities First ensures that our schools and communities come first – with the resources to educate all of our kids and the services to support all of our families. It closes commercial property tax loopholes beneting a fraction of corporations and wealthy investors, without affecting homeowners or renters, and reclaims $12 billion every year to fund world-class schools and strengthen local economies to lift up all Californians communities invest in California’s communities safety, health, education, and overall well-being.

Supporters: SCOPE-LA, CA Teachers Association, ACT-LA, Climate Reform, Sierra Club CA, and a large  of labor, housing, and environmental groups

Opponents: California Chamber of Commerce, the California Business Roundtable, California Independent Petroleum Association, Western Propane Gas Association

 

Prop 16 – Allows Diversity as a Factor in Public Employment, Education, and Contracting Decisions. Legislative Constitutional Amendment – YES

Summary: Permits government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to address diversity by repealing article I, section 31, of the California Constitution, which was added by Proposition 209 in 1996. Proposition 209 generally prohibits state and local governments from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, individuals or groups on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, education, or contracting. Does not alter other state and federal laws guaranteeing equal protection and prohibiting unlawful discrimination. 

Our Reasoning: All Califorinais deserve equal opportunities to thrive with fair wages, good jobs, and quality schools. As income inequality continues to grow and unemployment rates rise, it is more important than ever with COVID-19 and the rise of white supremacy, to ensure marginalized communities have equal access and opportunity in a just recovery. We must ensure access to good jobs and solid wages, support women and women of color, who serve disproportionately as essential caregivers/frontline workers during COVID-19, and improve access to quality education for all. PSR-LA believes that we must take action against systemic racism and ensure anti-discimiation laws remain in effect with a YES vote on Proposition 16. 

Supporters: CEJA, California Democratic Party, UC Board of Regents, AFSCME California, CA Federation of Teachers, ACLU of Southern California, California Nurses Association 

Opponents: American Freedom Alliance, American Civil Rights Institute, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc.

 

Prop 17 – Restores Right to Vote After Completion of Prison Term. Legislative Constitutional Amendment – YES 

Summary: Amends the state constitution to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while serving a prison term as soon as they complete their prison term. 

Our Reasoning: Proposition 17 restores a person’s right to vote upon completion of their prison term. When a person completes their prison sentence, they should be encouraged to reenter society and have a stake in their community. Restoring their voting rights does that. Civic engagement is connected to lower rates of recidivism. When people feel that they are valued members of their community, they are less likely to return to prison. People on parole who have completed their prison sentences raise families, hold jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to society in every other way. Restoring a person’s voting eligibility removes stigma and helps strengthen their connection to the community.

Supporters: California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), ACLU, League of Women Voters, California Democratic Party, Democatic Socialist of America – Los Angeles

Opponents: Republican Party of California 

 

Prop 18 – Amends California Constitution to Permit 17 Year-Olds to Vote in Primary and Special Elections if They Will Turn 18 by the Next General Election and Be Otherwise Eligible to Vote – YES 

Summary: Amends constitution to permit 17-year-olds who will be at least 18 years old and otherwise eligible to vote at the time of the next general election to vote in any primary or special election that occurs before the next general election.

Our Reasoning: In order to ensure that young people’s voices are adequately represented throughout the electoral process, we believe that 17 year olds who will be eligible to vote in a general election should be able to vote in that election’s primary.  As PSR-LA endeavors to increase participation in the civic engagement process, particularly among underrepresented groups, we believe that this Proposal is one way to increase participation among younger voters, who tend to be underrepresented in most elections.

Supporters: California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), California Democratic Party, ACLU of Southern California

Opponents: The Election Integrity Project California

 

Prop 19 – Increasing the Number of Times a Property Can Be Transferred w/ Tax – NO 

Summary: Permits homeowners who are over 55, severely disabled, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or disaster, to transfer their primary residence’s property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state. Limits tax benefits for certain transfers of real property between family members. Expands tax benefits for transfers of family farms. Allocates most resulting state revenues and savings (if any) to fire protection services and reimbursing local governments for taxation-related changes.

Our Reasoning: We already have an inequitable property tax system in California, and Proposition 19 would make it worse by offering tax breaks to people who do not need them. Providing tax breaks to homeowners over 55 who purchase a replacement home and allowing them to “transfer” their current tax assessment to a new home anywhere in the state does nothing to help low-income seniors or families struggling to find housing. Affordable housing is not only a human right, but a public health necessity especially during COVID-19. This proposition would create more challenges for the legislature to fund the state’s response to other natural disasters or public health crises. 

Supporters: California Association of Realtors, California Nurse Association (CNA), California Business Roundtable, California State Federation of Labor

Opponents: California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), ACLU SoCal, Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

 

Prop 20 – Restrict Parole for Certain Offenses Currently Considered to be Non-Violent. Authorizes Felony Sentence for Certain Offenses Currently Treated Only As Misdemeanors. Initiative Statute – NO 

Summary: Limits access to parole programs established for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term of their primary offense by eliminating eligibility for certain offenses. Changes state law to increase criminal penalties for some theft related crimes. Changes how people released from state prison are supervised in the community. Makes various changes to the process created by Proposition 57 (2016) for considering the release of inmates from prison. Requires state and local law enforcement to collect DNA from adults convicted of certain crimes.

Our Reasoning:  Petty theft would be treated as a felony. That’s out of line with other states and means more teenagers and Black, Latino and low-income people could be incarcerated for years for a low-level, non-violent crime. Proposition 20 reverses progress made to reduce wasteful prison spending. It would eliminate funding for rehabilitating people before prison release which is the most effective way to improve public safety, cut mental health programs to reduce repeat crime, and cut funding to schools, housing, and homeslessness. 

Supporters: Los Angeles Police Protective League, Republican Party of California, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Albertsons Safeway

Opponents: SEIU California State Council, ACLU of California, California Teachers Association, NextGen California, League of Women Voters of California, California League of Conservation Voters

 

Prop 21 – Expand’s Local Government’s Authority to Enact Rent Control on Residential Property. Initiative Statute – YES 

Summary: Amends state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Allows local limits on annual rent increases to differ from current statewide limit. Allows rent increases in rent-controlled properties of up to 15 percent over three years at start of new tenancy (above any increase allowed by local ordinance). Exempts individuals who own no more than two homes from new rent-control policies. 

Our Reasoning: This proposition allows for expansion of rent control. Renters face uncertainty at an unprecedented time. With the housing crisis and rising rents, Californians need housing security. Proposition 21 helps children, parents, seniors, and essential workers stay in their homes instead of being pushed out onto the streets where they are at increased risk of health complications, violence, and lack of adequate nutrition. 

Supporters: California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), California Nurses Association (CNA), Los Angeles Tenants Union, Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles, Eviction Defense Network

Opponents: State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, California Chamber of Commerce, California Taxpayers Association

 

Prop 22 – App-Based Drivers Re-Classified as Independent Contractors – No 

Summary: Classifies drivers for app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery companies as “independent contractors,” not “employees,” unless company: sets drivers’ hours, requires acceptance of specific ride or delivery requests, or restricts working for other companies.

Our Reasoning: This Proposal was put forth by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash in order to exempt themselves from CA law which requires these companies to pay a minimum wage, provide healthcare, paid sick leave, unemployment, and worker’s compensation, just as every other CA business must do.  This Proposition is designed to increase profits for these specific companies, while decreasing benefits and wages for their workers. We stand solidly in opposition to this Proposition.

Supporters: Republican Party of California, California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association, DoorDash, Instacart, Lift, Postmates, Uber, California Chamber of Commerce

Opponents: California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Democratic Party, AFSCME, California Labor Federation, California Teachers Association, ACLU of Southern California, California League of Conservation Voters

 

Prop 23 – Requires Physician On-Site in Dialysis Clinics – Yes 

Summary: Requires at least one licensed physician on site during treatment at outpatient
kidney dialysis clinics; authorizes California Department of Public Health to exempt clinics from this requirement if there is a shortage of qualified licensed physicians and the clinic has at least one nurse practitioner or physician assistant on site.It also prohibits clinics from closing or reducing services without state approval or refusing to treat patients based on the source of payment.  It would also require clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to state and federal governments.

Our Reasoning: We believe that all patients deserve access to quality care provided by a licensed medical professional, and this Proposition begins to address the uneven and underregulated care provided to patients in some of the state’s dialysis clinics.  We believe that the additional cost borne by these companies is acceptable for a hugely profitable industry, and that these changes can help improve health outcomes and potentially save lives.

Supporters: SEIU healthcare workers union, California Democratic Party

Opponents: For-profit dialysis clinics like DaVita and Fresenius and the California Medical Association, California NAACP State Conference, Republican Party of California

 

Prop 24 – Changes to CA Consumer Privacy Act – Neutral 

Summary: Proposition 24 (1) changes existing consumer data privacy laws, (2) provides new consumer privacy rights, (3) changes existing penalties and limits the use of penalty revenues, and (4) creates a new state agency to oversee and enforce consumer data privacy laws. If approved, most of this proposition would take effect in January 2023. Some portions of the proposition, such as the creation of the new state agency and requirements for developing new regulations, would go into effect immediately.

Our Reasoning: As far as we can tell, there is no clear link between this Proposition and our issues, which include racial, social, and environmental justice, health, and nuclear abolition.  Therefore, we chose not to take a stance on this proposition, and recommend reviewing the resources below to make an informed decision.

Supporters: Alastair Mactaggart – real estate developer

Opponents: California Environmental Justice Alliance, ACLU

 

Prop 25 – Replaces Cash Bail — Neutral  

Summary: Proposition 25 is a referendum on an existing piece of recently passed legislation (SB 10) that replaced cash bail with a system of pretrial risk assessments.  These pretrial risk assessments mean that judges have the discretion to decide who is likely to show up to trial and let out on bail, and who is unlikely to show up and is therefore kept in prison.  While cash bail is economically unfair, we believe that the new system still allows for implicit biases to determine someone’s fate unfairly, most likely affecting Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities the hardest.  A yes vote upholds SB 10, while a no vote repeals it, putting cash bail back in effect.

Our reasoning: No matter what happens with this Proposition, we believe that the State Legislature must take further action to create a pretrial system that is fair, just, and reduces the unnecessary suffering that stems from being held in jail indefinitely without a trial. That means that neither cash bail nor racist pretrial assessments are the answer. We are against cash bail, which disproportionately impacts low-income people and people of color.  And we are against giving judges unchecked power with no accountabillity to jail a person indefinitely at their discretion. PSR-LA believes that we cannot replace a broken criminal justice system with an equally corruptible system. As an anti-racist organization we know racism is a public health crisis, including the detrimental mental health impacts of being imprisoned.  Therefore, we remain neutral on this Proposition, and encourage you to work with us to push for a better system in the next legislative session.

Opponents: Justice LA, Dignity and Power Now, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), Reform LA Jails, Color of Change, Human Rights Watch

Supporters: CA Democratic Party, League of Women Voters, California Medical Association, California Democratic Party, Black Women for Wellness

 

References/Other Voter Guides: 

Props to you, Californians: A preview of what’s on your November ballot

Here are the 12 propositions on California’s November ballot

California propositions: A voter’s guide to the 2020 ballot measures

CEJA Voter Guide

Justice LA: No on Prop 25

Knock-LA Progressive Voter Guide

CA Official Voter Guide