Wednesday, August 21

Breakdown of the Nov. 6 ballot propositions and measures

Voters in Los Angeles will vote on 11 statewide propositions, three city constitutional amendments and one countywide measure Tuesday. Here’s some information on all of them:

Proposition 1

Proposition 1, officially called the Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loan Bond, would authorize the state to sell $4 billion in bonds to fund affordable housing programs. About $3 billion of the bond money would be used on various housing programs, such as building more multifamily housing, transit-oriented development and providing assistance to first-time homeowners. The remaining $1 billion will be used on home loan assistance for veterans.

Proponents of Proposition 1 say California currently has a shortage of affordable housing and the subsidies the proposition includes will encourage developers to build more affordable housing they otherwise might not due to economic incentive against it. Opponents of Proposition 1 argue it will increase the state’s debt and use money from the state’s general fund to repay the bonds. The fund helps pay for areas such as education and transportation.

The largest group organized in favor of both Propositions 1 and 2 is Affordable Housing Now. Its largest donors include Mark Zuckerberg’s advocacy fund and construction workers’ unions. There is no individual ballot measure committee formed against the proposition.

Proposition 2

Proposition 2 would allow the state to borrow $2 billion to fund housing for those with mental illnesses. The money would be borrowed from a fund established by 2004’s Proposition 63, which raised California’s millionaire’s tax to fund mental health services. If not passed, the money will be used for its current purpose of funding general mental health services such as prevention and early intervention mental health programs.

The legislature passed a bill similar to Proposition 2 in 2016. However, Mary Ann Bernard, a Sacramento lawyer, sued the legislature, saying Proposition 63 funds were not earmarked for housing and the state did not have the right to spend the money without approval from the voters. Instead of going to court over whether a referendum was necessary to use the funds for housing, the state decided to hold a referendum.

Those in favor of the proposition argue housing is an important component of mental health services and the state will spend the money on mental health services regardless of whether the bond passes. Those against it say it will divert money from general mental health services and the state will spend the money inefficiently.

Proposition 3

Proposition 3 allows the state to borrow $8.877 billion in bonds to fund water and environmental projects. It follows June’s Proposition 68 and 2014’s Proposition 1, which allow the state to borrow $4.1 billion and $7.1 billion in bonds, respectively, for the same purpose.

The funds from Proposition 3 will go toward protecting watershed lands, improving water supply, improving water infrastructure and other water-related spending. The largest portion of the bond money will be spent on rebuilding aqueducts that send water from the Sierra Nevada mountains to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

Those in favor of the bond say California needs to fix its aging water infrastructure and the state needs long-term, recession-proof streams of revenue to do so. Opponents argue two long-term water bonds have already been passed in the last four years and water infrastructure improvement should be funded directly by users, not taxpayers. They also argue the proposition lacks the oversight measures of previous water bonds.

The largest donors in favor of Proposition 3 have been farmers’ associations and hunting advocates. There is no individual ballot measure committee formed against Proposition 3.

Proposition 4

Proposition 4 would authorize the state to sell $1.5 billion in bonds to help fund children’s hospitals in California. Part of the bond money would go to hospitals in the UC system, including $54 million to Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. This measure follows 2004’s Proposition 61 and 2008’s Proposition 3, which authorized the sale of $750 million and $980 million in bonds, respectively, for the same purpose.

Those in favor of the proposition argue low Medi-Cal reimbursement rates make it hard for hospitals to buy the best possible technology to treat children, necessitating increased funding. Opponents argue part of the bond money would go to already profitable private hospitals and that there has not been enough transparency on what exactly hospitals would spend the money.

The largest donors in favor of Proposition 4 have been children’s hospitals. There is no individual ballot measure committee formed against the proposition.

Proposition 5

Proposition 5 would tweak 1978’s Proposition 13 to allow homeowners age 55 or older or severely disabled to have their property tax rates remain the same when they move. Currently, homeowners can only transfer their property tax rates if they buy homes of equal or less value within their own county or if they are moving to one of 10 certain counties, including Los Angeles County. Property taxes in California can increase up to only 1 percent annually beyond the assessed value when the home is purchased. Assessed values for new homes tend to be higher.

Proponents of the proposition argue that older homeowners suffer from a “moving penalty” when they relocate because new homes tend to be assessed at significantly higher values. They also argue the proposition will free up homes for younger families to buy since older people will no longer have an incentive to stay in large, old houses with low property taxes. Opponents argue the proposition will deprive local governments of tax revenue and increase inequality, citing a report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimating governments initially will lose more than $100 million in annual revenue.

Currently, the Yes on 5 Committee is outraising the No on Prop 5 campaign about four-to-one. The Yes campaign’s biggest donors have been realtors’ associations, while the No campaign’s biggest donors have been service workers’ and teachers’ unions.

Proposition 6

Proposition 6 is a measure to repeal the 2017 state gas tax increase, while also making any future gas tax increases subject to a statewide vote. The primary purpose of the tax increase was to increase funding for road repair and maintenance, with some funding going toward public transportation projects. The city of Los Angeles has applied to use gas tax funds on more than 65 new public transportation projects to be constructed before the 2028 Summer Olympics.

[Related: Study predicts billions in state revenue will be in jeopardy if Prop 6 passes]

Those in favor of the proposition say repealing the tax increase would save an average family of four about $779 per year in taxes and that using gas tax funds on public transportation projects is unfair to drivers. The state department of finance says the proposition would only save a family of four about $236. Opponents say repealing the tax would jeopardize thousands of infrastructure projects across the state and that the gas tax needs to be increased to adjust to changes in the state’s infrastructural challenges.

The Yes on Prop 6 committee has been funded largely by California Republican Party figures, who have made the proposition a major part of their midterm campaigns. The No on Prop 6 committee has been funded mainly by construction lobbying groups and has outraised the Yes campaign about nine-to-one.

Proposition 7

Proposition 7 would allow the California state legislature to make daylight saving time permanent if approved with a two-thirds vote. The state legislature would approve this if the federal government gives it permission.

Those in favor of the bill say time switches in fall and spring have adverse effects on public health and wastes energy. Those against the bill say it is unnecessary to fix something that isn’t broken and later sunrise times under daylight saving might harm children going to school in the morning.

There are no organized committees for or against Proposition 7.

Proposition 8

Proposition 8 would make dialysis companies pay back any profits over 15 percent of their qualified business costs – which include staff salaries and medical costs – to the insurance companies or patients paying directly. Dialysis is a form of treatment for kidney dysfunction. Currently, a combined 72 percent of dialysis clinics in California are owned by two for-profit companies. Nationwide, the two clinics make over $4 billion in profit. According to studies by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, California has been found to have a higher quality of dialysis care than the national average.

Backers of Proposition 8 say dialysis companies are overcharging their customers for poor care and that lowering the profit incentive will induce companies to hire more workers and give better care. Dialysis companies were found to have 370 deficiencies from 2014 to 2017, according to reporting by CALmatters. Those against Proposition 8 say the measure will not help improve patient care and that dialysis clinics in the state might close if the proposition passes, putting patients at severe risk.

Proposition 8 has received more spending than any other California ballot measure in 2018. The main supporter of the proposition has been the Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers West, a healthcare workers union. Opponents of the proposition have spent over $100 million, with main contributors DaVita and Fresenius, the two largest dialysis companies in the United States.

Proposition 10

Proposition 10 would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents cities from placing rent control on buildings built after 1995 or the year when the city passed its most recent rent control measure. In the case of Los Angeles, this was 1978. Costa-Hawkins also prevents rent control being placed on single-family houses and condos. Currently, the majority of California’s renters spend over 30 percent on rent. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in California is about $720 more than the national median rent. In Los Angeles, rent increased at least 3 percent annually from 2012 to 2016.

[Related: Luskin Center releases Prop 10-pertinent report on LA rent control history]

Those in favor of Proposition 10 point to California’s high housing costs as a reason for why the state needs expanded rent control and why renters need short-term relief. Opponents argue expanding rent control would discourage developers from building new housing units, which bring down the cost of rent through increased supply, because there would less economic incentive to build at a below-market rate. Proponents of the proposition counter this by saying building more housing is a long-term solution and expanded rent control will alleviate the short-term crisis.

The largest financial backer of the proposition is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which primarily focuses on preventing HIV. The foundation has been heavily involved in other recent ballot measures, such as 2017’s Measure S, which would have significantly increased barriers for housing development in Los Angeles. Other supporters of the proposition include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the California Democratic Party. Opponents of the measure include the California Apartment Association and other apartment associations, along with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Proposition 11

Proposition 11 would require ambulance workers and emergency medical technicians for private companies to stay on call during meal and rest breaks. The proposition comes after a 2016 California State Supreme Court ruling stating private security guards did not have to be on call during their breaks, and the class action lawsuits against private ambulances brought in response to the decision. Ambulance companies are hoping for an exception to this ruling, and workers would be compensated for any missed breaks.

Those in favor of the proposition argue workers not being on call at any time will reduce response times to emergency situations. Opponents argue this fear is overblown and it is unfair to give ambulance companies a special exception to state law.

The main financial supporter of Proposition 11 is American Medical Response, an ambulance company. There is no individual ballot committee formed against the proposition, though the California Democratic Party has chosen to endorse voting against it.

Proposition 12

Proposition 12 would require cages that hold farm animals such as pigs, calves and hens to be of certain sizes. It also would ban farmers from keeping hens in cages after 2022. It follows 2008’s successful Proposition 2, which specified farm animals should have enough space to stand up and turn around in their cages. However, advocates found it to be too vague and say it did not achieve its goals.

Proponents of Proposition 12 argue it will increase the living standards of farm animals and will not negatively affect California’s food supply. Some opponents argue the measure will force farmers to go out of business and increase the cost of California’s food products. Other opponents, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, say the measure does not go far enough providing better conditions for farm animals as it does not immediately ban cages for them. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, if the measure passes, it likely will increase the prices of eggs, pork and veal.

Supporters of Proposition 12 include the Humane Society of the United States, a group committed to increased animal welfare. The main financial opponent of the proposition is the Humane Farming Society Association, another animal welfare group.

Amendment B

Amendment B would allow the city of Los Angeles to create a public bank, which would operate similarly to a private bank. Currently, the only other public banks in the United States are in North Dakota and American Samoa.

Advocates of Measure B argue Los Angeles would be able to use the $1.1 billion it deposits in private Wall Street banks better than the banks currently do, and that the bank could be used as a source of investment for the city’s infrastructure and small businesses. Opponents argue there are still many unanswered questions about how the bank would operate and what its starting costs would be. Private banks have argued they would be at a disadvantage to a public bank and that there already are enough financial institutions in LA.

Amendments E and EE

Amendments E and EE would move city elections to March of even-numbered years, at the same time as the statewide primary elections. Voters approved two charter amendments in 2015 to move city elections to June during even years so that they align with state primary elections. However, the state then chose to move its primary election from June to March, prompting the need for the city to vote again on shifting election dates.

Measure W

Measure W would tax property owners 2.5 cents for every square foot of land that is impermeable to water. At the moment, only 20 percent of Los Angeles County’s stormwater ends up soaking into the ground, while the rest of it flows to the ocean. LA’s water infrastructure was intentionally designed for this to occur. Because of changes in storm patterns due to climate change, it has become harder to collect stormwater, and incentivizing people to have more permeable property could lead to greater collection of water. Since this measure increases taxes, it requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

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Khatri is the Daily Bruin Copy chief. He was previously a slot editor in 2017-2018, Copy staffer and Copy contributor. He is also a News contributor.

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  • wo

    Thank you for being concise, unemotional, and balanced!

  • Bethany Rishell

    IF you care about animals at all, please vote #YesOn12! It would reduce the suffering of MILLIONS of animals by getting them out of tiny cages into cage-free facilities. Moreover, it even bans the sale of egg and meat products throughout California that don’t adhere to Prop 12′s humane requirements, thereby encouraging producers everywhere to shift to cage-free so they can continue selling to the world’s 5th largest economy! Plus, Prop 12 benefits human beings by improving food safety, reducing environmental degradation, and making conditions safer for farm workers. Hence the endorsements of the Center for Food Safety, Sierra Club California, NRDC, National Farmers Union, National Black Farmers Association, and National Womens Farming Association. And of course, it’s also endorsed by the top animal protection charities across the nation–Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Mercy for Animals, San Francisco SPCA, Palo Alto Humane Society, Compassion in World Farming, and many, many more! Some change is better than nothing and it’s way better to live in a cage-free facility than in a tiny cage. For food safety, worker safety, environmental preservation, and innocent animals, vote YES on Prop 12!

  • George Orwell

    I like W being looked at as an incentive to rid concrete from property rather than a tax. It looks terrible and is not eco-friendly.