California Ballot November 6, 2018
California’s economy is very strong, now #5 in the world and adding jobs and economic value faster than nearly every other state. We have made huge progress in reducing the numbers of uninsured Californians due to the ACA, and we have achieved very good results in greater longevity, and reduced maternal and infant mortality. Our public higher education system is one of the finest in the nation. We have a balanced state budget with a surplus that is paying down past debt and building up a rainy day fund in anticipation of the next recession.
We nevertheless have some very big problems that need to be addressed by our federal, state and local elected officials. Voting has never been more important, so please vote in the November midterms and get all your friends, family and colleagues to vote as well.
# 1 our housing prices are extremely expensive, causing an affordability crisis for many Californians and increasing homelessness. We must build more housing.
# 2 our public schools are doing a particularly poor job at educating Latino and African American and rural children, and the educational establishment spends way too much time blaming the public charter schools that are often doing a very good job in inner city schools. Charters need to be emulated not stomped on.
# 3 the Trump Administration’s attack on immigrants is already and will become more damaging to our very successful Silicon Valley high tech and our Central Valley agriculture. Its tariffs and attack on international trade will be harming our ports, our agriculture and the other Pacific Rim trade based aspects of California’s economy.
#4 many residents in high priced communities are about to discover that they are double taxed on their incomes due to the cap on deductions for state income and local property taxes.
# 5 the Trump Administration’s attack on federal and state environmental regulations is going to expose us to more and more destructive wildfires and more extreme droughts and reduced snow pack and water supplies and increasing urban v. agriculture conflicts over the reduced water supply. We are going to need to solve some of these problems without any federal assistance and in the face of federal efforts to obstruct us.
# 6 our percentage of residents in poverty is very high and the middle class is being hollowed out by the patterns of our economic growth. We need to narrow the growing wealth gaps and learn how to spread the benefits of economic growth more broadly as European nations do.
# 7 our urban freeways are too often clogged, dangerous and impassible. We need both better roads and more reliable public transportation.
# 8 our tax system is distorted and will be utterly inadequate to respond to people’s needs in the next recession. We will need to revise Prop 13’s inequitable treatment of the state’s homeowners and renters and the Trump Administration’s poorly conceived tax giveaways to the wealthiest.
Here are my initial thoughts (10/14/18).
Dianne Feinstein v. Kevin DeLeon. It’s Democrat vs. Democrat. Senator Feinstein is a well-respected moderate https://ballotpedia.org/Dianne_Feinstein and Senate President DeLeon https://ballotpedia.org/Kevin_de_Le%C3%B3n is a promising progressive. I’ll be voting for her because she plays such an essential role in a time of sharp partisan division.
Ted Lieu (D) vs. Kenneth Wright (R). Representative Lieu https://ballotpedia.org/Ted_Lieu has done a magnificent job and warrants re-election in my opinion. Dr. Wright is a pediatric surgeon with no political experience. https://drwright4congress.com
Gavin Newsom (D) vs. John Cox (R). Lieutenant Governor Newsom has been a leader in covering all Californians, wants to develop universal pre-school and build 3.5 million new homes to address the growing crisis of unaffordable housing. He is the far stronger candidate based on experience and his positions on the big issues facing our state. https://gavinnewsom.com/about
John Cox has been a successful businessman, but has no track record in government. https://johncoxforgovernor.com He is Trump endorsed.
They have had one debate only. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/us/california-governor-debate-gavin-newsom-john-cox.html I’m voting Newsom.
Ed Hernandez (D) v. Eleni Kounalakis (D). Senator Hernandez has been chair of the Senate Health Committee and involved in nearly all aspects of health reform. https://ballotpedia.org/Edward_Hernandez Ms. Kounalakis has been a major fundraiser for Secretary Clinton and ambassador to Hungary. https://www.eleniforca.com/about/
President Obama and Senator Kamala Harris and the Sacramento Bee have endorsed her. Xavier Becerra and Congresswoman Karen Bass and the LA Times have endorsed him.
I like Senator Hernandez’s work on health coverage a lot; Ms. Kounalakis has no public experience in California, so I’m leaning Hernandez.
Xavier Becerra (D) v. Stephen Bailey (R). Attorney General Becerra was appointed to this position after Kamala Harris was elected to the US Senate. https://xavierbecerra.com/about/ Bailey is a retired judge with no political experience. https://www.facebook.com/JudgeBaileyForAG/
Attorney General Becerra is doing an excellent job and should be elected. California needs an Attorney General to stand up to the Trump Administration’s wholesale assault on California.
Secretary of State
Alex Padilla (D) v. Mark Meuser (R). Secretary of State Padilla has done a good job of increasing voter registrations and streamlining the aspects of state government under his purview and warrants re-election. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-election-endorsements-padilla-secretary-of-state-20180921-story.html Mark Meuser has been trumpeting the Trump line of election fraud and illegal voting with no facts to back up his claims. http://www.markmeuser.com/
Fiona Ma (D) v. Greg Conlon (R) Fiona Ma has served with distinction in the California Assembly and California Board of Equalization. https://www.fionama.com She is a CPA and was a member of the SF Board of Supervisors. https://ballotpedia.org/Fiona_Ma She helped shine the spotlight on abuses at the Board of Equalization and would be a great Treasurer. I’m voting for her.
Greg Conlon has been a frequent and unsuccessful candidate for public office. http://www.gregconlonforstatetreasurer.com/who-is-greg-conlon/
Betty Yee (D) v. Konstantinos Roditis (R). Betty Yee is the incumbent and a past member of the State Board of Equalization and has done a very good job as controller. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-endorsement-yee-controller-20180913-story.html I’m voting for her.
Mr. Roditis appears to have had little government or political experience. http://roditisforcontroller.com
Ricardo Lara (D) v. Steve Poizner (independent). Senator Lara is the author of California’s single payer bill and has been a leader in the state’s efforts to protect immigrant rights. http://www.ricardolara.com Lara is a proud and effective progressive. Most health insurance is regulated by the Department of Managed Health Care, not by the Insurance Commissioner.
Poizner was a past Insurance Commissioner who did an excellent job for consumers, then ran for Governor in 2010 as a get tough on immigration hard right candidate. Poizner was a Republican who left the party to run as an independent, a highly successful businessman and strong supporter of charter schools. http://www.stevepoizner.com
The LA Times, San Jose Mercury News and Sacramento Bee endorse Poizner, based on his strong past performance and on Lara’s inability to come up with a viable financing plan for Health for All.
I’m leaning Poizner. I would prefer Lara figure out the financing mechanisms for his single payer legislation in the state Senate and figure out the politics of getting financing for single payer before taking on higher elective office.
Superintendent of Schools
Marshall Tuck (D) v. Tony Thurmond (D). We strongly support Marshall, and I’m voting for him. He has been on the ground turning around poor performing schools for low-income children throughout Los Angeles; he has had phenomenal success at both the Green Dot public charter schools and the Partnership public district schools. https://marshalltuck.com Arnie Duncan, President Obama’s Education Secretary, George Miller, a long time education champion in Congress and LA Mayors Villaraigosa and Riordan, have endorsed him.
California has three problems: 1) low funding per public school student, 2) poor educational outcomes particularly for Latino and African American children, and 3) wide disparities in access to a good public school education based on one’s ethnicity, zip code and parental incomes.
California is going to require major changes in education policy, improved school accountability and better public school funding to help its students compete and prosper in 21st Century jobs; its educational status quo is intolerable. Marshall is the strongest candidate to challenge the low performance of the public schools in educating students of color.
Assemblyman Thurmond chairs the Labor Committee and is strongly supported by the unions and his legislative peers; however he has nowhere near the experience and ideas of Marshall Tuck in turning around poor school performance. https://www.tonythurmond.com
Ben Allen (D) v. Baron Bruno (independent libertarian). Ben is doing an excellent job, and we strongly support his re-election.
Richard Bloom (D) is unopposed.
LA County Sherriff
Jim McDonnell (incumbent) v. Alex Villanueva I’m voting for McDonnell.
LA County Assessor
Jeffrey Prang (incumbent) v. John Loew. I’m voting for Prang.
California Supreme Court (Yes)
Carol Corrigan (incumbent)
Leondra Kruger (incumbent)
California Court of Appeals (Yes)
Gail Ruderman Feuer
California Superior Court
Tony Cho (qualified) v. Holly Hancock (qualified)
Tony Cho is a DA and Holly Hancock is a public defender. He has the most endorsements; she has the LA Times endorsement. I’m voting for Ms. Hancock.
Alfred Coleta qualified v. Veronica Sauceda (well qualified)
Alfred Coleta is a DA with a strong background prosecuting violent crimes. Veronica Sauceda is a Superior Court Commissioner and was a highly effective public interest attorney. She seems to be the much stronger candidate with many strong and diverse endorsements and relevant judicial experience. I’m voting for Ms. Sauceda.
Patricia Hunter (qualified) v. Sydne Michel (qualified) Patricia Hunter is a Deputy LA City attorney with an impressive list of endorsements. Sydne Michel is a Redondo Beach prosecuting attorney with an impressive list of endorsements and the LA Times. Mike Feuer, the LA City Attorney is supporting Patti Hunter; Steve Cooley (ex LA County DA) is supporting Michel. I’m voting for Ms. Hunter.
Javier Perez (well qualified) v. Michael Ribons (qualified) Javier Perez is an experienced DA with a strong list of endorsements, including the LA Times. Michael Ribons is a private practitioner with experience as a Judge Pro Tem in LA and Ventura Counties. I’m voting for Mr. Perez.
California Board of Equalization
Tony Vasquez (D) v. Rick Marshall (R)
Tony Vasquez is a long time city councilman and ex mayor of Santa Monica. Rick Marshall works in IT at the UCI Medical Center. Rick is endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation. https://grm4boe.weebly.com/about.html Tony is endorsed by many local Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Inglewood and Long Beach elected officials and by a number of local unions. https://www.tonyvazquez.org I’m voting for Mr. Vasquez.
This would raise $4 billion for housing construction. It is a legislatively referred initiative, meaning the Governor and Legislature with a 2/3rds vote have signed off and referred it for voter approval. It was part of a package of bills to improve the affordability of California housing by streamlining and speeding up the local permitting process, financing through a real estate transaction fee and subsidizing new construction of more affordable housing. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_1,_Housing_Programs_and_Veterans'_Loans_Bond_(2018)
$1 billion for the CalVet Home Loan Program, which offers loans to veterans for the purchase of homes, farms, units in cooperative developments, and mobile homes;
$1.5 billion for the Multifamily Housing Program (MHP), which offers loans for the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of rental housing for persons with incomes of 60 percent or below of the area median income;
$150 million for the Transit-Oriented Development Implementation Fund, which offers loans and grants to local governments and developers for housing projects near transit stations;
$300 million for the Regional Planning, Housing, and Infill Incentive Account, which offers grants for infill infrastructure that supports high-density affordable and mixed-income housing;
$150 million for the Home Purchase Assistance Program, which offers loans to low-income and moderate-income homebuyers;
$300 million for the Joe Serna, Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant Fund, which offers grants and loans for farmworker housing;
$300 million for the Local Housing Trust Matching Grant Program, which offers matching grants to local housing trust funds for "pilot programs to demonstrate innovative, cost-saving approaches to creating or preserving affordable housing;" and
$300 million for the Self-Help Housing Fund, which provides forgivable loans for mortgage assistance, the development of multiple home ownership units, and manufactured homes.
It is supported by the Bee, Chronicle and Press Democrat and opposed by the Riverside Press Enterprise. In my view it’s urgently needed and of the highest priority; I’m voting for it.
This is another legislatively developed initiative, which authorizes spending up to $140 million in Prop 63 funds on permanent supportive housing for the mentally ill homeless. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_2,_Use_Millionaire's_Tax_Revenue_for_Homelessness_Prevention_Housing_Bonds_Measure_(2018)
Prop 63 was a 2004 ballot initiative that raised taxes by one percent on individual incomes in excess of $1 million annually to be used for county mental health treatment services. It generated over $2 billion in the most recently completed fiscal year. In 2016 the legislature and Governor authorized using the Prop 63 funds to pay for the annual bond payments on up to $2 billion in revenue bonds to help build permanent supportive housing for the mentally ill homeless. It was held up by a court case saying Prop 63 funds could only be spent on treatment, not on the housing for the mentally ill homeless. This proposition had only one no vote in the state legislature, was signed by the Governor and is endorsed by most of the state’s major newspapers and opposed by none. I’m voting yes.
This would authorize $8.9 billion in state GO bonds for water infrastructure projects. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_3,_Water_Infrastructure_and_Watershed_Conservation_Bond_Initiative_(2018) you can see the dedicated projects in the chart at the web site above
This was developed by a wide group of stakeholders in the various projects to be funded. It was not developed in the legislature nor approved by the Governor. It does have opposition led by the Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and others.
The Fresno Bee endorses it saying the Central Valley agriculture needs it while most all other major papers oppose it because of the pay to play manner in which it was developed and the funds will be distributed.
I’m voting no, this should go to the Legislature first to be weighed with the other competing meritorious bond measures.
This would raise $1.5 billion in GO bonds for capital construction at Children’s Hospitals in California. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_4,_Children's_Hospital_Bonds_Initiative_(2018) The Children’s Hospital proponents point to the great services offered to severely ill children in their facilities and their dependence on Medi-Cal, which underpays them. The opponents suggest that they should have gone through the legislative process where the legislature and Governor would have weighed the merits of their needs as contrasted with all other needs for bond financing. This is the third bond ballot measure sponsored by the Children’s Hospitals; prior measures were approved by 55% of the electorate. Most major newspapers endorse Prop 4. I voted yes on the past initiatives, but am troubled at a pattern of bypassing the legislative process. ug
I think there is no good reason to bypass the normal legislative process. The merits of these bonds should be weighed with all the other proposed bond initiatives that need to come before the voters. I’m voting no.
This is an amendment to Prop 13 that allows seniors and the disabled to keep their property tax advantages when they move to more expensive homes or to other counties or make multiple moves.
Prop 13 rolled back property taxes to their 1976 valuations, allowed homeowners (and corporations) to keep their assessed values from the date of purchase of their homes and limits their property taxes to 1% of assessed value and limits property tax increases to 2% annually.
Prop 60 allowed seniors (over 55) and the disabled to keep their Prop 13 tax advantages when they downsized. Prop 90 allowed seniors to shift their tax savings to a new county if both counties agreed – i.e. moving between LA and Orange or Ventura.
This is sponsored by the California Assn. of Realtors and opposed by California counties, Teachers and other public employee unions.
It is endorsed by the Orange County Register and San Diego Union Tribune and opposed by all the other major newspapers because it takes a glaring and regressive tax inequity between newcomers and old timers and makes it far worse. This is truly horrible tax policy benefitting primarily wealthy senior homeowners and harming young first time homebuyers. I’m voting no.
This repeals the 2017 gas tax increase of 12¢ per gallon to pay for roads and bridges and requires that future increases in gas taxes and vehicle license fees be submitted to a vote of the people. The gas tax would increase revenues dedicated to repair, maintenance and improvements in the states roads and bridges by $5 billion annually. We have an estimated deferred maintenance backlog on roads and bridges of $140 billion. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_6,_Voter_Approval_for_Future_Gas_and_Vehicle_Taxes_and_2017_Tax_Repeal_Initiative_(2018)
It is supported by the Republican Party and opposed by the business community, labor and the Democratic Party. The proponent’s justification for repeal are 1) it's a regressive tax and 2) its wasteful spending because the state’s transportation infrastructure spending is not efficiently run and the state has a budget surplus.
The defenders of the tax point out that we are very heavily an individual car culture with huge traffic tie ups in the Bay Area, LA, Orange and San Diego; we also sit at the crossroads of trade and transportation north and south and east and west from our ports which handle 40% of the nation’s trade. Our roads and highways are heavily used and need to be maintained, improved and strengthened.
All the state’s major newspapers oppose repealing the gas tax. Yes on Prop 6 has raised about $4.5 million and No on Prop 6 has raised about $31.5 million. I’m voting no.
This would enact permanent daylight savings time for California if the federal government approves and the legislature approves with a 2/3rds vote. The proponents say it would save lives and money and the need to move clocks forward and back. The opponents say it would put us out of whack with the rest of the West Coast and others on Pacific Standard Time during a good part of the year. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_7,_Permanent_Daylight_Saving_Time_Measure_(2018)
My view “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I’m voting no.
Prop 8 caps dialysis clinics’ reimbursements at 115% of their costs of care. This is sponsored by SEIU-UHW, which is trying to organize clinics’ workers. It is opposed by the dialysis clinics. Most major newspapers oppose it, saying this policy ought to be resolved in the state legislature, not through a ballot initiative. I strongly agree with the policy and would also agree that it should be debated and resolved in the legislature first, before resorting to the initiative. However it is highly unlikely it would pass in the legislature. The union has raised $18 million for the campaign, and the clinics have raised $78 million against it. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_8,_Limits_on_Dialysis_Clinics'_Revenue_and_Required_Refunds_Initiative_(2018)
I’m voting yes because I think we need to start sending a message to providers about excessive reimbursement rates.
Repeal of Costa Hawkins restrictions on local rent control. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_10,_Local_Rent_Control_Initiative_(2018) Costa Hawkins passed the legislature in 1995; it required a version of vacancy decontrol (rates can be increased to market value whenever a tenant moves out) and exempted new construction (after 1995) from rent control altogether. The measure was generated by large rent increases due to the lack of an adequate supply of affordable housing. The affordability crisis is worst in LA, coastal Southern California and the Bay Area. In Southern California cities in LA, Orange and San Diego, many (over 60%) renters are spending more than 30% of their incomes on rent. In San Francisco and San Jose, renters faced median rent increases of about 25% between 2010 and 2016.
The proponents have raised about $20 billion in support of the initiative and the opponents (realtors, apartment owners and rental housing associations) have raised nearly three times as much.
The LA Times and Sacramento Bee endorse saying it's a needed short-term fix until more housing units can be built to solve the affordability crisis. While the SF Chronicle and SJ Mercury News say build more units, that’s the best way to bring down costs and rent control is a deterrent to building more housing units. I’m voting yes because we need to give tenants a break from really high rate increases.
This proposition is supported by American Medical Response, the largest private ambulance provider to provide an exemption to the recent Augustus decision of the California Supreme Court governing uninterrupted lunch and rest breaks. It provides an exemption to the Court’s decision for ambulance service providers so they can require their employees to be on call for emergencies during their lunch and rest breaks. They must compensate their employees at regular pay and give them some extra training and extra mental health benefits. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_11,_Ambulance_Employees_Paid_On-Call_Breaks,_Training,_and_Mental_Health_Services_Initiative_(2018)
The LA Times and the Sacramento Bee endorse while the SF Chronicle opposes. Ex-ITUP staffer and emergency physician, Adam Dougherty is a strong proponent.
I support the policy in the initiative; I think that doctors, EMTs, police and fire need to be on call during emergencies. In my view this should be dealt with in the state legislative process, not through an initiative. However, the bill in the legislature to do so was blocked due to a dispute with labor. I’m voting yes.
This initiative would set the parameters for confinement of calves, pigs and hens. The Humane Society of the US supports it. The pig farmers, egg producers and calf growers oppose it. PETA and the Humane Farming Association also oppose it. The hens must have one square foot of space, calves must have 43 square feet of space and pigs must have 24 square feet. The LA Times, Mercury News and Press Herald endorsed while the SF Chronicle, Sacramento Bee and Santa Rosa Press Democrat are opposed. https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_12,_Farm_Animal_Confinement_Initiative_(2018)
I’m voting yes, this is a step forward.
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin