June 8, 2010 Voter Guide

Your Rights, Your Voice. June 8, 2010 marks the California Primary Election. There are five propositions on the ballot. We have provided short descriptions of each proposition and have detailed how it would impact your rights. Make YOUR voice heard.

PRINT this guide and take it with you to the polls!

Currently… What this means for civil rights… Vote
Prop 13

Property Taxes & Earthquake Safety

Taxes owed on a property are based on its “assessed value,” which is set as the amount paid at purchase. Prop 13, passed by voters in 1978, placed a 2 percent limit on how much a property’s assessed value can increase each year after that. A property gets a new assessed value (which affects its taxes) when the property is sold.  It may also be subject to “reassessment” if it undergoes construction for improvements. Prop 13 provides that construction to seismically retrofit existing buildings will not trigger reassessment of property tax value, regardless of the type of building. Sets a statewide standard for the types of seismic retrofit improvements exempt from reassessment. Limits the exemption from reassessment to specific components of construction or reconstruction that qualify as seismic retrofit improvements, as defined by the Legislature.

CCRC takes no position on Prop 13.

Currently… What this means for civil rights… Vote
Prop 14

Primary Elections

Voters registered with a party get a primary election ballot with only their party’s candidates. Independent voters get a ballot with candidates only for nonpartisan offices. Some political parties allow independent voters to ask for their party’s ballot in the primary; others do not. Prop 14 would change the primary election process for congressional, statewide, and legislative races so that all voters would receive the same primary (June) ballot and may choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference. The two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes will appear on the general election (November) ballot regardless of party preference.

Proponents Say:

  • You will be able to vote for any candidate you wish for state and congressional offices, no matter your political party preference.
  • Representatives will have to win more votes from a broader cross-section of voters, not just from one party, and may be able to work together better once elected.

Opponents Say:

  • The general election would offer only two candidates per office instead of one from each party; voters would have fewer choices.
  • Small party candidates would get shut out.
  • Prop 14 could lead to many races with both candidates from the same party.

CCRC says NO on Prop 14. While it could give independent voters an equal voice in primary elections, which may lead to higher voter turnout, we believe this proposition will cause more harm rather than good. The possibility of dominant groups pushing out smaller more marginalized groups is high and the potential benefits of open primaries do not outweigh the risks.

NO
Currently… What this means for civil rights… Vote
Prop 15

Public Funding of Campaigns

Current state laws ban the use of public funds for campaigns for elected office.  Candidates must raise funds to pay for their campaigns. Prop 15 would repeal the ban on public funding of political campaigns, and establish a voluntary program to test public campaign funding for those running for Secretary of State* in 2014 and 2018. Candidates who opt in to the test program would qualify for a public campaign grant if they agree to limitations on spending and private contributions. Each candidate demonstrating enough public support would receive same amount, and be prohibited from raising or spending money beyond the grant. There would be strict enforcement and accountability. Prop 15 would be funded by voluntary contributions and an increase to the biennial fee paid by lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers.

*The main job of California’s Secretary of State is to oversee elections, including among other duties, reviewing the activities of lobbyists, or people who communicate with public officials to try to influence government actions.

Proponents Say:

  • Politicians will get out of the fundraising game, so they will focus on California’s priorities.
  • Political donors’ influence over campaigns and politicians would be reduced.
  • More: www.yesfairelections.org

Opponents Say:

  • Public funds could pay for negative campaigns and junk mail if there are no restrictions on how candidates spend the money.
  • Could allow politicians to continue to raise money from special interest groups.
  • Potential use of taxpayer dollars for public campaign funding for other offices.
  • More: www.stopprop15.com

CaCCR says YES on Prop 15.Though CCRC believes this proposition is limited, we believe it is a step in the right direction. Public financing campaigns is necessary to effective policy and politics that is in the best interest of the people rather than the best interest of reelection. The amount of money currently in politics is outrageous and corrupts the system. Elections should be won, not bought by special interests. Public campaign funding allows politicians to spend more time solving problems and focusing on the issues instead of fundraising.

YES
Currently… What this means for civil rights… Vote
Prop 16

Local Public Electricity

A local government’s decision to contract for electricity services does not need voter approval. Similarly, if service from an existing publicly-owned utility is to be expanded into a new area, voters in the existing service area do not usually need to approve the expansion. Californians get their electricity from either corporate utility companies, like PG&E or SCE, or publicly-owned utilities, like the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Cities and counties can choose to form their own electric service or they may contract service from a provider other than a corporate utility. Prop 16 requires two-thirds voter approval before local governments provide electricity service to new customers or establish a community choice electricity program using public funds or bonds.

Proponents Say:

  • Local governments must secure voter approval before they can spend or borrow public money to enter the retail electricity business.
  • Give taxpayers the final say in how government spends their money.
  • More: www.taxpayersrighttovote.com

Opponents Say:

  • Prop 16 drastically limits your choice in determining who provides you with electricity.
  • Lets the for-profit utilities in California raise your electricity rates again and again, by protecting their monopoly and eliminating competition.
  • More: www.powergrab.info

CCRC says NO to Prop 16. This ballot initiative would reduce competition between utility companies and may increase rates, which would have a disproportionate impact on working class, people of color and immigrant communties. Also, CCRC believes the two-thirds super majority vote has been an impediment to passing effective and progressive California policy. Thus, we do not support a vote requiring a super majority vote as opposed to a simple majority.

NO
Currently… What this means for civil rights… Vote
Prop 17 Auto Insurance Insurance companies are not allowed to use gaps in auto insurance coverage as a factor in setting rates. Auto insurance rates are based mostly on a driver’s safety record, the number of miles driven each year, and the number of years a person has been driving. Prop 16 permits companies to reduce or increase cost of insurance depending on whether driver has a history of continuous insurance coverage.

Proponents Say:

  • Allows insured drivers to take continuous coverage discounts with them if they change insurers, just like good driver discounts (a flaw in California law prevents this).
  • Requires insurance companies to base rates on Prop 103 guidelines passed by voters.
  • More: www.YesProp17.

Opponents Say:

  • Prop 17 enables insurance companies to raise premiums as much as $1,000 on good drivers, potentially pricing out vulnerable communities.
  • It reverses a voter-approved law and allows new insurance surcharges that will harm middle-class families and lead to more uninsured motorists. Consumer advocates oppose Prop 17.
  • Prop 17 could create extra costs for people who didn’t need to drive for a period of time and then later started driving again such as students or those in the military.
  • More: www.StopProp17.org

CCRC says NO to Prop 17. Allowing auto companies to charge more for a lapse in coverage will likely disproportionately affect working class communities, people of color and immigrants causing these groups to pay more than others.

NO