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Rob Bonta is listed in the Progressive Voters Guide below. The Courage California Voter Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

  • Democrat
    Rob Bonta
  • Re-elect State Assemblymember Rob Bonta to keep AD-18 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 18th Assembly District includes a third of Alameda County. Democrats typically hold this district. Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta has held this office since being elected in 2012. The most recent election results show 85.9 percent of AD-18 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, and 88.3 percent voted for Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta led Republican challenger Steve Slauson by a margin of 78.6 percent. Bonta’s campaign has raised $1,041,780 and is funded by police money, fossil fuel money, and corporate PACs. Bonta pledged to refuse fossil fuel money, but has accepted a $1,500 contribution from Sempra Energy. Slauson has not electronically filed campaign contributions for this election cycle with the Secretary of State’s office. Slauson also faced off against Assemblymember Bonta in 2018’s general election and lost in a landslide.


    About the Candidate

    Assemblymember Bonta, a civil rights attorney, is from Alameda, CA. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he served as a deputy city attorney for both the City and County of San Francisco, as an elected member of the Alameda Health Care District Board of Directors, as board president for the Social Service Human Relations board, as board president for Alternatives in Action, and as chair of the Economic Development Commission. He is a longtime activist in the ongoing fight for racial, economic, and social justice. According to campaign materials, Assemblymember Bonta is running for re-election to continue working for better schools, safer streets, and more prosperous communities.

    Assemblymember Bonta’s priorities for AD-18 this year include social justice as related to jails, and ICE, taxation, and discrimination. He currently sits on four committees: Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Health. Assemblymember Bonta has sponsored 54 bills about discrimination, labor, taxation, health, and education this year, of which 12 have been successfully chaptered. He scores a lifetime score of 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Bonta has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, he has also supported a problematic bill (AB 1366), which would eliminate critical oversight of telecom companies.

    Assemblymember Bonta is endorsed by several progressive groups, such as California Teachers Association, Equality California, and the California League of Conservation Voters. He is also endorsed by the Peace Officers Research Association of California, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, and California Statewide Law Enforcement Association. However, the threat of Republican challenger Slauson’s potential policies greatly outweighs Assemblymember Bonta’s lack of campaign finance pledges and overwhelming support from police organizations. According to our analysis, Assemblymember Bonta is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Rob Bonta

    Re-elect State Assemblymember Rob Bonta to keep AD-18 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 18th Assembly District includes a third of Alameda County. Democrats typically hold this district. Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta has held this office since being elected in 2012. The most recent election results show 85.9 percent of AD-18 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, and 88.3 percent voted for Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta led Republican challenger Steve Slauson by a margin of 78.6 percent. Bonta’s campaign has raised $1,041,780 and is funded by police money, fossil fuel money, and corporate PACs. Bonta pledged to refuse fossil fuel money, but has accepted a $1,500 contribution from Sempra Energy. Slauson has not electronically filed campaign contributions for this election cycle with the Secretary of State’s office. Slauson also faced off against Assemblymember Bonta in 2018’s general election and lost in a landslide.


    About the Candidate

    Assemblymember Bonta, a civil rights attorney, is from Alameda, CA. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he served as a deputy city attorney for both the City and County of San Francisco, as an elected member of the Alameda Health Care District Board of Directors, as board president for the Social Service Human Relations board, as board president for Alternatives in Action, and as chair of the Economic Development Commission. He is a longtime activist in the ongoing fight for racial, economic, and social justice. According to campaign materials, Assemblymember Bonta is running for re-election to continue working for better schools, safer streets, and more prosperous communities.

    Assemblymember Bonta’s priorities for AD-18 this year include social justice as related to jails, and ICE, taxation, and discrimination. He currently sits on four committees: Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Health. Assemblymember Bonta has sponsored 54 bills about discrimination, labor, taxation, health, and education this year, of which 12 have been successfully chaptered. He scores a lifetime score of 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Bonta has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, he has also supported a problematic bill (AB 1366), which would eliminate critical oversight of telecom companies.

    Assemblymember Bonta is endorsed by several progressive groups, such as California Teachers Association, Equality California, and the California League of Conservation Voters. He is also endorsed by the Peace Officers Research Association of California, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, and California Statewide Law Enforcement Association. However, the threat of Republican challenger Slauson’s potential policies greatly outweighs Assemblymember Bonta’s lack of campaign finance pledges and overwhelming support from police organizations. According to our analysis, Assemblymember Bonta is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Last updated: 2020-10-08

18th Assembly District

18th Assembly District

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Federal

President

  • Democrat
  • Courage California unequivocally recommends a vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President. Full write-up on the race coming soon.

    Joe Biden

    Courage California unequivocally recommends a vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President. Full write-up on the race coming soon.

    Last updated: 2020-10-07

Congress, 13th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • Democrat
  • Re-elect Congressional Representative Barbara Lee to keep CA-13 on the right track.

    About the Position
    The United States is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 individuals. Each district elects a representative to the House of Representatives for a two-year term. California has 53 congressional representatives. There is no term limit for this position.  

    About the District
    California’s 13th Congressional District includes parts of Alameda Counties. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show CA-13 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race
    In the primary, Democrat Incumbent Representative Barbara Lee led Republican opponent Nikka Piterman by 85.4 percent. Lee has held this seat since 2013, and her campaign has pledged not to accept money from the fossil fuel industry. Piterman’s campaign has not committed to any such pledge and is running a campaign based on strengthening the national security apparatus and extraterrestrial defense concerns. Barbara Lee has raised $1,344,189, while Nikka Piterman has raised $5,635.

    About the Candidate
    Rep. Barbara Lee is a former member of the California State Assembly and State Senate and has served as a House representative for 22 years. She is originally from El Paso, TX. According to campaign materials, Rep. Lee is running for re-election to promote the arts and culture in California, strengthen civil rights protections, and invest in public education.

    Rep. Barbara Lee’s priorities for CA-13 this year include blocking the President from declaring war on Iran, continuing her expansion of HIV/AIDS treatment, and fighting domestic poverty with food-assistance programs. She currently sits on two committees: the House Committee on Appropriations, where she is vice chair of the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and the House Committee on Budget. This year, Rep. Lee has voted 96 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi and 96 percent of the time with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Rep. Lee has sponsored 54 bills this year, notably including the expansion of public health care, gun record accountability, increasing CEO tax rates, and tenants’ rights. On January 30, 2020, Rep. Lee’s bill to repeal the 2002 authorization of military force against Iraq was passed into law.

    Rep. Barbara Lee is endorsed by many progressive groups in the district. Her record in Congress is staunchly and successfully anti-war, pro–gun control, and anti–death penalty, and she has recently offered her support to Medicare for All. According to our analysis, Rep. Barbara Lee is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

     

    Barbara Lee

    Re-elect Congressional Representative Barbara Lee to keep CA-13 on the right track.

    About the Position

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

State Assembly, 18th District

Member of the State Assembly

  • Democrat
  • Re-elect State Assemblymember Rob Bonta to keep AD-18 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 18th Assembly District includes a third of Alameda County. Democrats typically hold this district. Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta has held this office since being elected in 2012. The most recent election results show 85.9 percent of AD-18 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, and 88.3 percent voted for Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta led Republican challenger Steve Slauson by a margin of 78.6 percent. Bonta’s campaign has raised $1,041,780 and is funded by police money, fossil fuel money, and corporate PACs. Bonta pledged to refuse fossil fuel money, but has accepted a $1,500 contribution from Sempra Energy. Slauson has not electronically filed campaign contributions for this election cycle with the Secretary of State’s office. Slauson also faced off against Assemblymember Bonta in 2018’s general election and lost in a landslide.


    About the Candidate

    Assemblymember Bonta, a civil rights attorney, is from Alameda, CA. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he served as a deputy city attorney for both the City and County of San Francisco, as an elected member of the Alameda Health Care District Board of Directors, as board president for the Social Service Human Relations board, as board president for Alternatives in Action, and as chair of the Economic Development Commission. He is a longtime activist in the ongoing fight for racial, economic, and social justice. According to campaign materials, Assemblymember Bonta is running for re-election to continue working for better schools, safer streets, and more prosperous communities.

    Assemblymember Bonta’s priorities for AD-18 this year include social justice as related to jails, and ICE, taxation, and discrimination. He currently sits on four committees: Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Health. Assemblymember Bonta has sponsored 54 bills about discrimination, labor, taxation, health, and education this year, of which 12 have been successfully chaptered. He scores a lifetime score of 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Bonta has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, he has also supported a problematic bill (AB 1366), which would eliminate critical oversight of telecom companies.

    Assemblymember Bonta is endorsed by several progressive groups, such as California Teachers Association, Equality California, and the California League of Conservation Voters. He is also endorsed by the Peace Officers Research Association of California, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, and California Statewide Law Enforcement Association. However, the threat of Republican challenger Slauson’s potential policies greatly outweighs Assemblymember Bonta’s lack of campaign finance pledges and overwhelming support from police organizations. According to our analysis, Assemblymember Bonta is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Rob Bonta

    Re-elect State Assemblymember Rob Bonta to keep AD-18 on the right track.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 18th Assembly District includes a third of Alameda County. Democrats typically hold this district. Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta has held this office since being elected in 2012. The most recent election results show 85.9 percent of AD-18 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, and 88.3 percent voted for Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta led Republican challenger Steve Slauson by a margin of 78.6 percent. Bonta’s campaign has raised $1,041,780 and is funded by police money, fossil fuel money, and corporate PACs. Bonta pledged to refuse fossil fuel money, but has accepted a $1,500 contribution from Sempra Energy. Slauson has not electronically filed campaign contributions for this election cycle with the Secretary of State’s office. Slauson also faced off against Assemblymember Bonta in 2018’s general election and lost in a landslide.


    About the Candidate

    Assemblymember Bonta, a civil rights attorney, is from Alameda, CA. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he served as a deputy city attorney for both the City and County of San Francisco, as an elected member of the Alameda Health Care District Board of Directors, as board president for the Social Service Human Relations board, as board president for Alternatives in Action, and as chair of the Economic Development Commission. He is a longtime activist in the ongoing fight for racial, economic, and social justice. According to campaign materials, Assemblymember Bonta is running for re-election to continue working for better schools, safer streets, and more prosperous communities.

    Assemblymember Bonta’s priorities for AD-18 this year include social justice as related to jails, and ICE, taxation, and discrimination. He currently sits on four committees: Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Health. Assemblymember Bonta has sponsored 54 bills about discrimination, labor, taxation, health, and education this year, of which 12 have been successfully chaptered. He scores a lifetime score of 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Bonta has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, he has also supported a problematic bill (AB 1366), which would eliminate critical oversight of telecom companies.

    Assemblymember Bonta is endorsed by several progressive groups, such as California Teachers Association, Equality California, and the California League of Conservation Voters. He is also endorsed by the Peace Officers Research Association of California, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, and California Statewide Law Enforcement Association. However, the threat of Republican challenger Slauson’s potential policies greatly outweighs Assemblymember Bonta’s lack of campaign finance pledges and overwhelming support from police organizations. According to our analysis, Assemblymember Bonta is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Last updated: 2020-10-08

Alameda County

Alameda Judge of the Superior Court

  • Non-Partisan
  • Elect Elena Condes to push the Superior Court of Alameda County in the right direction.

    About the Position

    Judges of the California Superior Courts are elected in nonpartisan, county-wide elections to six-year terms. Once voted in, a judge can run for retention at the expiration of their term. A retention election is a process by which voters decide whether an incumbent judge should remain for another term. If the judge, when not facing an opponent, does not obtain a certain percentage of voters (often 50 percent), they are removed from the position. Many judges join the court through a gubernatorial appointment. If a judge is appointed, they compete in the next general election following the appointment.

    California has 58 trial courts, or superior courts, one in each county. In the more than 450 courthouses of the superior courts, a judge and sometimes a jury hears witness testimony and other evidence. These courts hear civil, criminal, family, probate, small claims, traffic, and juvenile cases. The judge decides cases through the application of relevant law to the relevant facts. 

    About the Jurisdiction

    The Superior Court of Alameda County comprises civil, small claims, family law, probate, juvenile, criminal, and traffic courts. The County’s public defenders see 50,000 cases per year. As of 2016, Alameda County’s incarceration rate was 305 per 100,000 adults aged 18–69, slightly lower than California’s overall 486 per 100,000 average.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Elena Condes led challenger Mark Fickes by a margin of 3 percent. Condes’s campaign has raised $147,196.68 and is primarily funded by individual donors, with about 10 percent from labor unions and 7 percent self-funded. Condes’s campaign has not signed on to any pledges to avoid money from fossil fuels or police unions, but has not taken funding from either source, or from corporate PACs. Fickes’s campaign has raised $131,476 and is 57 percent self-funded. Fickes’s campaign also has not committed to sign on to any pledges to avoid money from fossil fuels or police unions, but has also not taken any funding from either source or from corporate PACs.

    About the Candidate

    Elena Condes, a criminal defense attorney with more than 25 years of courtroom experience, has lived in the East Bay for her entire professional career. According to campaign materials, Condes is running for election to increase access to the justice system, expand and support alternatives to incarceration, and support and mentor youth to increase diversity. If elected, Condes would become the third Latina on the Alameda County bench in a county that is 22.4 percent Latinx or Hispanic. 

    As a criminal defense attorney, Elena Condes started her own practice based on the premise that every person deserves respect and justice. She has worked as a judge pro tem for Alameda County and on the executive committee for the Court Appointed Attorneys Program. Condes is a recipient of the Minority Bar Coalition Unity Award for her dedication to working to advance the cause of diversity in the legal profession. Elena Condes has also served as president and treasurer of the East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association for 20 years with the aim to support Latinx law students in the Bay Area. Condes has also served on the board of Women Defenders, a professional association of criminal defense attorneys. Committed to education and the importance of ensuring that youth have access to the resources they need, Elena Condes served on the PTA of Washington Elementary School in Berkeley and helped create the Educational Equality Alliance, raising money for one-on-one tutoring for those not proficient in English, and purchasing bilingual books for students and families.

    Elena Condes is endorsed by a strong majority of local progressive groups in the district. Her opponent, Mark Fickes, is endorsed by more moderate Democatic Party members or party-aligned groups. According to our analysis, Elena Condes is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Elena Condes

    Elect Elena Condes to push the Superior Court of Alameda County in the right direction.

    About the Position

    Last updated: 2020-10-16

Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition #14

  • No Position
    Vote on Stem Cell Research Funding
  • Voters will be asked to vote YES to authorize $5.5 billion in bonds to continue a large-scale, long-term stem cell research funding initiative or vote NO to not authorize bond funding and let the initiative lapse.

    Proposition 14 asks voters to authorize a total of $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to continue the California stem cell agency that funds research, therapy, and grants to educational, nonprofit, and private entities for Alzheimer’s, Parkison’s, epilepsy, strokes, and other central nervous system and brain conditions and diseases. Prop 14 is an extension of Prop 71, which created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in 2004. The CIRM ran out of the original Prop 71 funds in 2019 and has not been funding new projects since then.

    YES on Prop 14 Supporters Say

    Vote YES to continue the CIRM, a state agency that has distributed a significant source of funding to scientific research programs and enterprises across the state, both nonprofit and for-profit.

    • Funding from the CIRM has been available for 15 years, and ending the program could have a limiting impact on research programs in areas that include central nervous system and brain conditions, but also immunotherapy trials, cancer research, and vision-loss research currently funded by the CIRM.
    • In 2018 (the last year it was fully funded), CIRM-funded companies raised more than $1 billion in funding from outside investors; a sign of validation not just for the companies and their therapies, but also for CIRM and its judgment.
    • Stem cell research has the potential to lead to groundbreaking medical treatments, which we need more than ever in the face of COVID-19.
    • CIRM has changed its policies for those who receive CIRM funding through an academic or nonprofit institution to require project proposals to address considerations of racial, ethnic, sex, and gender diversity, which is an important step in remedying past inequities in medical research. It is important to note that this policy change does not appear to apply to for-profit entities funded by the CIRM.
    NO on Prop 14 Supporters Say

    Vote NO to not authorize the sale of $5.5 billion in state bonds for the CIRM and eliminate a financially burdensome stem cell research program that no longer has significant impact on medical research.

    • The federal government provides significantly more funding for stem cell research now  than it did 16 years ago, which makes the CIRM less necessary as a source of stem cell research funding. According to National Institute of Health estimates, the federal government will spend $2,129 billion on stem cell research just this year alone, while the CIRM has granted a fraction of that, $2.7 billion, in its entire 16-year history. Private-sector funding is also growing for stem cell research.
    • There is a lack of accountability and transparency around the funds distributed to the various research entities, as there is no legislative oversight in the program design, and the program has built-in conflicts of interest that Prop 14 does not address. In fact, multiple sources state that the majority of the board overseeing the CIRM come from institutions that have received the bulk of the CIRM’s spending.
    • Prop. 71 was designed to kick-start the research at a time when federal funding was blocked. Opponents say the CIRM should continue its work as a self-sustaining nonprofit organization or close down and allow federal grants and venture funding to push the industry forward.
    • The California Constitution prevents the state from holding equity, and Prop 14 is designed in such a way that any returns the state could generate are then used to improve the affordability of stem cell treatments, with no possibility of paying back the interest being paid back over many years by the state.
    • Prop 14 will add billions of dollars in debt through bond financing tied to the state's General Fund. The bond interest has to be paid first, which makes the overall General Fund budget smaller for other services for years, even while the debt from Prop 71 still hasn't been paid back.
    Top Funders of Prop 14

    Robert N. Klein II, a Silicon Valley real estate developer and the top donor for Prop 14, was also the chief author of Proposition 71, which authorized $3 billion in bonds to create and maintain the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in 2004. There is no registered financial opposition.

    Misinformation

    There is no notable misinformation about Proposition 14.

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape

    Voters will be asked to vote YES to authorize $5.5 billion in bonds to continue a large-scale, long-term stem cell research funding initiative or vote NO to not authorize bond funding and let the initiative lapse. Proposition 14 asks voters to authorize a total of $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to continue the California stem cell agency that funds research, therapy, and grants to educational, nonprofit, and private entities for Alzheimer’s, Parkison’s, epilepsy, strokes, and other central nervous system and brain conditions and diseases. Prop 14 is an extension of Prop 71, which created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in 2004. The CIRM ran out of the original Prop 71 funds in 2019 and has not been funding new projects since then.
    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #15

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Schools and Communities First
  • Vote YES on Prop 15 to provide between $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in additional funding to local schools and governments. 

    Proposition 15 asks California voters to raise an estimated $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in funding for local schools and governments by increasing property taxes on commercial and industrial properties based on current market value instead of the price they were purchased for. Based on the most recent report by Blue Sky Consulting Group, 10% of the biggest corporate property owners will pay 92% of the funding and more than 75% of total revenues will come from properties that have not been reassessed since prior to 1990 -- just 2% of all commercial and industrial properties! Proposition 15 will maintain the existing commercial and industrial property tax at a 1% limit and will also maintain existing exemptions for small businesses, homeowners, agricultural lands, and renters.

    Why voting YES on Prop 15 matters
    • Proposition 15 closes a corporate tax loophole by taxing all large commercial properties of $3 million or more at fair market value – not purchase price. This reform will restore $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion of critically needed funds for schools and local community services without raising taxes on homeowners, renters, or small businesses.
    • Prop 15 also cuts taxes for small business owners who have been especially harmed by the pandemic.
    • Prop 15 is a way to invest in our communities without having to raise taxes on small businesses, renters, and homeowners. Closing the corporate tax loophole will restore billions to underfunded public schools that serve low income and communities of color.
    • California schools have the largest class sizes in the nation, and California ranks 41st (with adjusted cost of living) out of all states and Washington, D.C. in spending per K-12 student (California Budget & Policy Center). 
    • California is ranked 51st in three categories: number of K-12 students per teacher, number of K-12 students per guidance counselor, and number of K-12 students per librarian (National Education Association / National Center for Education Statistics).
     
    Misinformation about Prop 15 includes
    • "It hurts small businesses" -- FALSE. Prop 15 exempts small businesses, homeowners, renters, and agricultural land.
    • "It taxes working families" -- FALSE. 92% of the revenue comes from only 10% of large commercial properties that have been undertaxed for decades.
    • "It is a step towards repealing Prop 13" -- FALSE. – This is scare tactic used by large commercial property owners to avoid paying their fair share. Prop 15 protects homeowners, renters and small business owners.
    • "Small business operations from home aren’t protected under Prop 15" -- FALSE. Prop 15 not only clearly exempts small businesses, but helps them by exempting the first $500,000 of business equipment from being taxed. This eliminates this tax for nearly all small businesses.
     
    Primary Funders of Prop 15 include

    Prop 15’s main opponents include realty and industrial property owners, while the California Teachers Association and SEIU California State Council are main supporters.

    Top Funders of Prop 15

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 15

    Prop 15: Schools and Local Communities Funding Act - YES

    Vote YES on Prop 15 to provide between $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in additional funding to local schools and governments. 

    Proposition 15 asks California voters to raise an estimated $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in funding for local schools and governments

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #16

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Affirmative Action
  • Vote YES on Prop 16 to repeal 1996’s Prop 209 and reinstate affirmative action in the state.

    Proposition 16 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to repeal Prop 209’s restrictions on local and state governments from considering race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracting. If passed, Prop 16 will permit governments to consider those protected categories in order to promote inclusive hiring and admissions programs in California’s public universities, government, and public agencies.

    Why voting YES on Prop 16 matters
    • It is time that California follows the other 42 states that have taken gender, race, ethnicity, and national origin into account for college admissions and hiring in government and public agencies.
    • Prop 209’s affirmative action ban resulted in an over $820 million loss every year in Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program (MWBE) contracts with the state of California.
    • Reports conclude that the percentage of contracts granted to MWBEs never returned to pre-Prop 209 levels. Restoring affirmative action is the next step in building a more equitable and diverse future for California.
    • The University of California’s analysis of Prop 209 revealed that affirmative action had increased the population of underrepresented students by at least 12 percent, with the largest effects seen at UCLA and Berkeley.
     
    Misinformation about Prop 16 includes
    • "Gains for women of color in workforce diversity have already been addressed." -- FALSE. Women of color continue to face systemic racism in the wage gap and earn an estimated $946,120 less than white men over a 40-year career.
    • "Black civil workers are overrepresented." -- FALSE. According to the 2018 Civil Service Census of California employees, Black Californians made up 5.5 percent of the total population and 9.8 percent of the total civil-service workforce, compared to white Californians, who made up 37 percent of the total population but 43.5 percent of the total civil-service workforce.
    • "Colleges and universities would be able to use racial quotas." -- FALSE. Racial quotas for university admissions have been outlawed as unconstitutional since Regents of the University of California v. Bakke in 1978.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 16 include
    • Opposition to Prop 16 is sponsored by Students for Fair Admissions, Inc., which contributed to the Californians for Equal Rights committee.
    • Support for Prop 16 is largely financed by philanthropists M. Quinn Delaney and Patty Quillin, California Nurses Association Initiative PAC, California Works (a project of California Labor Federation AFL-CIO), and Elizabeth Cabraser.
     
    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 16

    Prop 16: Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment - YES

    Vote YES on Prop 16 to repeal 1996’s Prop 209 and reinstate affirmative action in the state.

    Proposition 16 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to repeal Prop 209’s restrictions on local and state governments from considering race, sex, color,

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #17

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Restored Voting Rights
  • Vote YES on Prop 17 to restore voting rights to Californians on parole. 

    Proposition 17 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while on parole. If passed, Prop 17 will restore voting rights to approximately 50,000 Californians currently on parole.

    Why voting YES on Prop 17 matters
    • California is one of the 31 states that do not automatically restore voting rights upon completion of a person’s sentence. In Maine and Vermont, there are no laws that disenfranchise and discriminate against people with criminal convictions even when they’re still serving out their sentences.
    • Parolees who are reintegrating into society resume other civic responsibilities, such as paying taxes and jury duty. Being barred from voting while paying taxes is taxation without representation.
    • In 2017, Black Californians made up 28% of all prison populations despite only making up 6% of California’s total population. With an astonishing and horrifying incarceration rate at 8 times the rate of white Californians, it is clear that the disenfranchisement of parolees is the disenfranchisement of Black voters.
     
    Misinformation about Prop 17 includes
    • "Voting is a privilege" -- FALSE. Voting is a right, not privilege. Projecting voting as a privilege and not a right inherently undermines our democracy. 
    • "Individuals who have not completed their parole period have not completed their sentence" -- FALSE. As soon as a person completes their sentence in prison, they are released into their parole period in order to reintegrate into society. The sentence in prison and parole period are two separate phases.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 17 include

    There are no contributions recorded for support or opposition to Prop 17.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 17

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #18

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Expanded Voting Rights
  • Vote YES on Prop 18 to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will turn 18 by the following general election.

    Proposition 18 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will turn 18 by the following general election. At the age of 18, Californians are technically given the right to vote in all elections. However, those who are not 18 by the time of the primary are not able to have input on who would or would not appear on their ballot in the general election. A YES vote on Prop 18 solves this problem.

    Why voting YES on Prop 18 matters
    • Nineteen other states, including D.C., allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will be 18 by the general election.
    • Research has proven time and again that voting is habit-forming. These states recognize the importance of allowing 18-year-olds to vote, to help form their voting habits and amplify their voices.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 18 include

    There are no recorded contributions in support of or opposition to Prop 18.

     
    Misinformation about Prop 18 includes

    There is no prominent misinformation about Prop 18.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 18

    Prop 18: Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment - YES

    Vote YES on Prop 18 to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will turn 18 by the following general election.

    Proposition 18 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #19

  • VOTE NO
    No to More Housing Inequity
  • Vote NO on Proposition 19 to maintain property tax savings for all and avoid increasing housing inequity.

    Proposition 19 asks voters to amend sections of 1978’s Proposition 13 to increase the number of times a property tax base can be transferred to three times for longtime homeowners. Prop 19 is almost exactly the same as Proposition 5, which was on the 2018 California ballot and overwhelmingly defeated by voters, with 60 percent having voted against the proposition. The main difference in the proposition this year is that Prop 19 includes an additional amendment to Prop 13 that narrows an existing inheritance property tax break and promises to distribute any revenue generated from that amendment toward fire protection agencies and schools.

    Why voting NO on Prop 19 matters
    • Proposition 19 widens the generational wealth gap by giving homeowners older than 55 and other qualified groups a way to keep property tax breaks they receive for having bought their homes decades ago if they move anywhere else in the state, up to three times. They can also keep that break if they move to a more expensive property.
    • Proposition 13 caps most property tax rates at 1 percent of a home’s sale price and holds annual increases in assessed value to 2 percent or less. This means people who purchased their home a few decades ago already pay significantly less property tax than newer homeowners. Prop 19 further builds the wealth of longtime homeowners and denies wealth-building opportunities to people who don’t own a home or who may be struggling to buy one.
    • While Prop 19 does eliminate a $1 million property tax exemption for parent-to-child transfers and could potentially generate state revenue that would be distributed to fire protection agencies and schools, this amendment is being paired with the primary tax break for longtime homeowners to make it more appealing.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 19

    Realtor associations have contributed $36,270,000 in support of Prop 19. There is no registered financial opposition.

     
    Misinformation

    There is no prominent misinformation about Proposition 19.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 19

     

    Prop 19

    Vote NO on Proposition 19 to maintain property tax savings for all and avoid increasing housing inequity.

    Proposition 19 asks voters to amend sections of 1978’s Proposition 13 to increase the number of times a property tax base can be transferred to three times for long

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #20

  • VOTE NO
    No to More Incarceration
  • Vote NO on Prop 20 to protect criminal justice reforms and constitutional rights to privacy.

    If passed, Prop 20 increases penalties for low-level offenses and would create a state database that collects DNA samples from persons convicted of specified misdemeanors for use in cold cases by repealing parts of Props 47 and 57. Prop 20 would expand the list of offenses that disqualify inmates from a parole program, consider an individual’s collective criminal history and not just their most recent offense, and impose stronger restrictions for a nonviolent offender’s parole program. Additionally, Prop 20 would reclassify theft between $250 and $950 as a felony.

    Why voting NO on Prop 20 matters
    • Prop 20 is a dangerous proposition put forth by Courage Score Hall of Shame Assemblymember Jim Cooper, and it is sponsored by Courage Score Hall of Shame Assemblymember Vince Fong. Time and again, Assemblymembers Cooper and Fong vote to protect police brutality and discriminatory criminal justice policies. Both voted no on AB 1600, which would expedite access to police misconduct records for a trial.
    • Association for L.A. Deputy Sheriffs, L.A. Police Protective League, and the Peace Officers Research Association of California all support and have heavily financed Prop 20.
    • Prop 20 would increase recidivism by removing positive incentives from Prop 57.
    • Parole review boards would consider an individual’s entire criminal history, not just the offense they are on parole for, when deciding to release a person convicted of a felony on parole.
    Top Funders of Prop 20
    • Three police unions are the top funders in support of Prop 20, including the CA Correctional Peace Officers Association, the Association for LA Deputy Sheriffs, and the LA Police Protective League Issues PAC.
    • Philanthropists are the top funders of campaigns against Prop 20, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Patty Quillin, and Stacy Schusterman.
    Misinformation about Prop 20
    • "Criminals are getting away with more violent crimes." -- FALSE. The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Prop 47, which Prop 20 attempts to roll back, not only decreased racial disparities in bookings and arrests, but also found that violent crimes did not increase after it was passed.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 20

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #21

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Local Rent Control
  • Vote YES on Prop 21 to allow cities and counties to establish and regulate rent control.

    Proposition 21 asks voters to amend state law in order to allow (not require) local governments at the city and county levels to establish and regulate rent control on residential properties. This proposition would affect residential properties over 15 years old and exempts individuals who own up to two residential properties. Additionally, Prop 21 would allow rent in rent-controlled properties to increase up to 15 percent over a period of three years with the start of a new tenancy. Prop 21 is more or less the same proposition voters rejected in 2018.

    Why voting YES on Prop 21 matters

    California has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation, which can be attributed to the overwhelmingly high median rates for rent throughout the state forcing residents to pay 50 percent of their income just toward rent.
    The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act prohibits rent control on residential properties built after February 1, 1995. Since then, housing built in California has become accessible only to those who can afford uncontrolled rent increases, and low-income families have largely been shut out from newer housing developments.
    According to a Stanford study, those who lived in rent-controlled properties when Costa-Hawkins passed ended up saving a cumulative total of $7 billion over 18 years, which confirms that rent control is an effective way to prevent displacement from the city.

     
    Misinformation about Prop 21 includes
    • "Makes the housing crisis worse." -- FALSE. With one in three Californians paying 50 percent of their income just for rent, Prop 21 offers local governments the opportunity to prevent displacement, and as a result, prevent homelessness. A person who experiences homelessness will cost taxpayers an average of $35,578, and chronic homelessness generally costs around $100,000.
    • "Removes a landlord’s right to profit." -- FALSE. Prop 21 actually guarantees a landlord’s right to profit.
    • "California just passed AB 1482, which went into effect in January of this year, so California doesn’t need any more rent laws." -- FALSE AB 1482 only affects residential properties built after 2005, and according to Zillow’s analysis, only 7 percent of renters would have benefited from AB 1482’s rent cap in 2018.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 21 include
    • Three of the top 10 property owners in Silicon Valley (Prometheus Real Estate Group, Inc., Essex Property Trust, and Equity Residential) have contributed over $10 million in opposition to Prop 21.
    • The leading funder in support of Prop 21 is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and its housing advocacy division Housing Is A Human Right is a leading sponsor of the Rental Affordability Act.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 21

    Prop 21: The Rental Affordability Act - YES

    Vote YES on Prop 21 to allow cities and counties to establish and regulate rent control.

    Proposition 21 asks voters to amend state law in order to allow (not require) local governments at the city and county levels to establish and regulate rent control on residential p

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #22

  • VOTE NO
    No to Worker Exploitation
  • Vote NO on Prop 22 to protect labor rights and classify app-based drivers as employees, not contractors.

    Proposition 22 asks voters to exempt companies like Lyft, Postmates, Uber, DoorDash, and others from a recently implemented state worker protection law, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), so they can classify gig economy drivers from ride-share and delivery companies as independent contractors, not as employees. Additionally, Prop 22 would restrict local regulation of app-based drivers and would criminalize the impersonation of drivers.

    Why voting NO on Prop 22 matters
    • By classifying workers as contractors and not employees, companies like Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash are exempted by state employment laws from ensuring basic protections to their workforce including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.

    • Currently, rideshare and delivery workers are entitled under AB 5 to labor rights that every other employee in California receives, such as the right to organize, health insurance, and Social Security benefits. Prop 22 would take those rights away.

    • AB 5 also guarantees paid family leave, paid sick days, and unemployment insurance to those classified as gig employees. Proposition 22 asks voters to make gig-economy employees exempt from this law and replaces their rights with fewer benefits of much less value to their workers.

    • More than 2,000 drivers have filed claims against Uber and Lyft for over $630 million in damages, expenses, and lost wages. Prop 22 will codify Uber and Lyft’s abilities to systematically steal wages from drivers.

    • Uber and Lyft currently owe California  $413 million in unemployment insurance contributions due to misclassifying drivers as independent contractors under AB 5. If Prop 22 passes, Uber and Lyft would get away with not paying what they owe.

     

    Misinformation About Prop 22
    • "The cost of ride-share will go up, decreasing the amount of people who will pay for rides and services and forcing companies to lay off more workers." -- FALSE. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office found that because these companies would not have to pay for standard employee benefits and protections (roughly 20 percent of total employee costs), companies can charge lower delivery fees and fares. It is projected that this will increase companies’ profits and drivers’ state income taxes.
    • "Prop 22 will guarantee 120% of minimum wage to all drivers." -- FALSE. The UC Berkeley Labor Center released a report that estimates Prop 22’s “pay guarantee” for their Uber and Lyft drivers would only end up being $5.64 per hour after accounting for all the expenses that drivers are responsible for themselves. At that rate, even if an individual worked 10 hour days, 7 days a week under Prop 22, they would be living below the California poverty line.

    • "Prop 22 will give health insurance to all drivers." -- FALSE. Under Prop 22, companies do not pay for health insurance, but instead provide a stipend to drivers. This stipend is valued at only 82% of the minimum coverage provided by state law, and is actually worth even less because workers would owe state and federal income taxes on the stipend. Prop 22 forces drivers to work more than 39 hours a week to qualify for the health stipend, so many workers would never even qualify for the stipend. For drivers who do qualify, Health Access California estimates that the health stipend would be just a couple hundred dollars—and could be just tens of dollars for younger workers—not enough for drivers to cover the purchase of their own health insurance.

     

    What Is At Stake

    If Prop 22 is passed, all future labor legislation surrounding Uber and Lyft would have to be approved by 7/8 of the total California State Legislature. Making this happen is virtually impossible considering Uber and Lyft have donated $2 million to the California Republican Party campaign committee. This is why Uber and Lyft are spending millions of dollars: to make their operations virtually untouchable in terms of regulation.

     

    Top Funders of Prop 22
    • Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash are leading contributions in support of Prop 22, with over $148 million between the three of them. Both InstaCart and Postmates have contributed $27 and $11 million each respectively, for a grand total of over $187 million in support of Prop 22. Their coalition to pass Prop 22 is now the most expensive California ballot measure since 1992.
    • International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, Service Employees International Union, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 770, and SEIU-UWH Political Issues Committee have contributed a total of $5.5 million in opposition to Prop 22.

    Top Funders of Prop 22


    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 22

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #23

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Quality Clinical Care
  • Vote YES on Prop 23 to require infection reporting and state approval to close or reduce services at hospitals.

    Prop 23 would add sections to the California Health and Safety Code about how dialysis facilities can operate, requiring a physician to be on-site at every dialysis clinic to oversee operations, and mandating that each chronic dialysis clinic submit quarterly reports on dialysis-related infections to the California Department of Health. The on-site physician would assume a non-caregiving role, as they would not be required to be specially trained in nephrology or interact with patients at all. Additionally, Prop 23 would prohibit discrimination against patients based on their coverage or care.

    Why voting YES on Prop 23 matters:
    • Prop 23 builds upon current federal requirements that report dialysis-related infections to the National Healthcare Safety Network at the Center for Disease Control to include reporting these infections to the California Department of Health.
    • Having a physician on-site at chronic dialysis clinics during all treatment hours provides a higher quality of medical care with an additional layer of patient safety.
    • Prop 23 protects the 80,000 Californians who require dialysis on a weekly basis by ensuring chronic dialysis clinics cannot discriminate against patients based on how they are paying for their treatments. Insurances like Medi-Cal pay less for dialysis treatments than private insurance, which is why corporations like DaVita and Fresenius are spending millions to oppose this proposition.
     
    Top funders of Prop 23 include:
    • Opposition to Prop 23 is heavily financed by dialysis giants Davita and Fresenius, who maintain larger profit margins if Prop 23 fails.
    • Support for Prop 23 is financed by SEIU United Healthcare Workers West PAC.
     
    Misinformation about Prop 23 includes:
    • “Prop 23 is just being used as leverage in unionizing against dialysis employers.” A spokesperson for SEIU-UHW West, Sean Wherley, said that health-care workers in dialysis clinics “want these [initiative] reforms regardless of what happens with their union efforts.”

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 23

    Prop 23

    Vote YES on Prop 23 to require infection reporting and state approval to close or reduce services at hospitals.

    Prop 23 would add sections to the California Health and Safety Code about how dialysis facilities can operate, requiring a physician to be on-site at every di

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #24

  • VOTE NO
    No to Pay-For-Privacy Schemes
  • Vote NO on Prop 24 to protect consumers’ personal information.

    Proposition 24 asks voters to amend the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) to include pay-for-privacy schemes, which provide better services and internet connection to those who pay more in order to protect their personal information while providing suboptimal services for Californians who cannot or do not want to pay more. Additionally, Prop 24 caters to tech companies by allowing them to upload a California resident’s personal information as soon as that resident’s device, computer, or phone leaves the state’s borders, and permits tech companies to completely ignore a programmable universal electronic “do not sell my information” signal. Under current law, privacy follows a Californian wherever they go, and businesses must honor the electronic signal.

    Why voting NO on Prop 24 matters
    • Prop 24 removes the existing ability for a consumer to direct all companies to not sell their personal information with one instruction. Instead, consumers will have to direct each individual website and app to do so. This puts an impossible burden on consumers.
    • Prop 24 removes the existing prohibition on companies from tracking a consumer's data once an individual leaves the state boundary.
    • Prop 24 requires consumers to pay for privacy, disproportionately affect working people and families of color. California should maintain net neutrality so people do not have to pay for companies to safeguard their personal information.
    • Prop 24 would create a new state agency to exclusively oversee and enforce consumer privacy. Adding a new agency that costs an estimated $100 annually is pointless when the power to enforce new consumer privacy rights is built into the position of the State Attorney General and the justice department.
    • Prop 24 is written to make it extremely hard for legislators to pass new legislation regulating consumer privacy in the future.

     

    Misinformation about Prop 24
    • "It will better safeguard consumers’ information." -- FALSE. Prop 24 will weaken existing safeguards and strengthen them only for consumers who are financially able to pay for better protections.
    • "It will give us the strongest privacy rights in the world." -- FALSE. Not only does Prop 24 revoke several protections established in the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act, but Europe's GDPR protects consumer data regardless of location within the EU and consumers’ citizenship/residence. This is not true of Prop 24.

     

    Top Funders of Prop 24
    • Alastair Mactaggart, a real estate developer from San Francisco, donated the majority of the total funds for the support campaign entirely by himself, with a total of $4,892,400.
    • A coalition called California Consumer and Privacy Advocates Against Prop 24 has been registered in opposition, with $20,000 contributed by California Nurses Association.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 24

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #25

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Ending Cash Bail
  • Vote YES on Prop 25 to eliminate the use of cash bail in pretrial incarceration.

    Proposition 25 is a referendum, which asks voters to directly weigh in on whether to keep or reject SB 10, a bill originally passed in 2018. Voting YES on Prop 25 will keep SB 10 in place and eliminate the cash bail system of pretrial incarceration in California, which is directly responsible for the disproportionate incarceration of Californians who cannot afford bail. The bail bond industry is directly responsible for placing Prop 25 on the ballot and calling SB 10 into question.

    Why voting YES on Prop 25 Matters
    • Nearly two-thirds of the jail population—nearly 48,000 people—are incarcerated pretrial, and California’s average bail is $50,000, more than five times the national average. The cash bail system directly ties an individual’s wealth and ability to pay to the question of whether they pose a risk to the community and their conditions of pretrial release. This system is unfair from every angle and perpetuates the cycle of poverty and incarceration existing in many low-income communities, which are also disproportionately Black and brown communities.
    • In New Jersey, where similar legislation passed eliminating the use of cash bail in 2017, overall pretrial incarceration rates have dropped, racial disparities in pretrial incarceration rates have lessened, and the use of invasive monitoring strategies after release have been applied in far fewer eligible cases (8.3 percent) than feared. California’s SB 10 goes further than New Jersey’s legislation by fully eliminating the cash bail system and has the potential to have even more positive outcomes.
    • The bail bond industry uses its influence to lobby for legislation favorable to them, which perpetuates but also escalates the cycle of poverty and incarceration. Passing Prop 25 will permanently end their influence in the political process.
    • If Prop 25 does not pass, voters will be perceived as having rejected SB 10’s reforms, in particular the effort to end the cash bail system. This will be framed as a significant precedent for opponents of criminal-justice reform to use in lobbying and legal arguments to keep the system intact in the future.
    • If Prop 25 passes, community groups will have the opportunity to advance further criminal-justice reforms related to this initiative.
     
    Special Circumstances Surrounding Prop 25
    • Originally, there was unanimous support for SB 10 from most criminal-justice reform groups across the state. The process of making amendments to the legislation caused many groups to drop their support. In our research, we discovered that the legislative decision-making process around SB 10 was strongly influenced by applied political pressure, resulting in a process and an outcome with less buy-in. Despite the widely acknowledged flaws in the overall process, a strong majority of Courage California's statewide progressive partners are aligned around a yes position on Prop 25.
    • In a ruling in August 2020, the state Supreme Court issued a binding resolution in the case of In re Humphrey that orders all trial judges in the state of California to consider a person’s ability to pay in setting the cash bail amount for pretrial release. Grassroots groups objecting to Prop 25 argue that this ruling already creates systemic reform that will mitigate the impacts of the cash bail system, making SB 10 unnecessary. Advocates for Prop 25 contend that ending the cash bail system is an essential first step in eliminating the cycle of poverty and incarceration entirely.
    • Organized opposition to Prop 25 from grassroots groups is strongest in Los Angeles County, where community leaders have been most successful in partnering with county officials to design and implement community-based alternatives to the incarceration system. In Los Angeles County, there are major concerns about how the implementation of a state-mandated pretrial incarceration program could interfere with their major strides in redressing the harms done to communities by an unfair justice system. These concerns are entirely valid, and attention will be focused on the actions of L.A. County’s Board of Supervisors to ensure that the alternatives to incarceration recommendations developed through a robust, community-driven dialogue process will continue to be implemented. The breakthroughs achieved by L.A. County’s criminal-justice reform movement have been characterized as historic and a model for other counties in California to follow, and this work must continue to move forward without delay.
     
    Concerns About Prop 25

    There are three major components to grassroots groups' objections to Prop 25. Here we provide our assessment of these concerns and how they can be addressed in the future if Prop 25 passes.  

    • Algorithm-based risk-assessment tools will be used as the core component of the new pretrial incarceration system in all California counties. There are concerns about how inherent biases in the system could influence the implementation of these tools. There are two notable countermeasures in place to address these concerns, and both are overseen by the Judicial Council, the policymaking body of the California court system.
      • First, counties must validate the chosen risk-assessment tool for the communities in which it will be used. This is not a standardized approach to validation; the tool must be proven to provide a higher level of responsiveness and sensitivity to community conditions before it is implemented. The Judicial Council will have to certify each county's tool, and the tool must be revalidated for the communities it serves every three years.
      • Second, counties are now required by law to track and publicly report how a defendant’s circumstances and background correspond to the decision a judge makes about their pretrial release conditions. This data has to be collected, compiled, and reported annually to the Judicial Council, as well as made publicly available for review. This law was passed the year after SB 10 to provide an avenue to monitor the implementation of SB 10, and is an important step in making risk-assessment tools more accountable and the overall pretrial incarceration system more transparent.
    • The new pretrial incarceration system is directly implemented by the probation departments of each county in California. Probation departments are currently responsible for investigating offenders’ backgrounds, making sentencing recommendations to the court, enforcing court orders, and supervising sentenced offenders. They also recommend and collect restitution, oversee community service, and provide oversight of criminal-diversion programs. There are strong concerns about how probation departments will approach the oversight of people who have not been convicted of crimes. Probation supervision has been historically used for people who have been convicted and are released, and SB 10 expands that pool of people to those who are accused but not convicted. Probation violations are a primary driver of incarceration in LA, and in Sacramento under SB 10, initial data indicates that 30-40% of people released end up rearrested and 90%+ of those that are released have high conditions of release.
      • We encourage counties to 1) require probation departments to work in partnership with other agencies, including the public defender’s office, mental-health services, and other community-based programs, in both implementing the risk-assessment system and in the pretrial release and monitoring of released individuals; 2) use their power to hold probation departments accountable for how they implement pretrial incarceration programs in communities with a particular focus on ensuring non-invasive monitoring, minimizing conditions of release, and maintaining a low rearrest rate ; and 3) invest in alternatives to the overall incarceration system, such as Measure J on the ballot in Los Angeles County, which amends the county charter to require that at least 10 percent of the county’s local revenues go to community-based programs, such as affordable housing and rent assistance, job training, and mental-health and social services.
    • There are also concerns that judicial discretion is greatly expanded by SB 10. While this is technically true, there are two additional changes to the judicial role in the pretrial system that limit judicial discretion.
      • First, anyone arrested with a misdemeanor, with some exceptions, is considered to not pose a significant risk to a community and is automatically released without going in front of a judge. This greatly reduces the overall role that a judge currently plays in the pretrial incarceration system.
      • Second, while judges are not required to adhere by the risk scores findings in their determination of pretrial release or pretrial detention, this is not an expansion of judicial discretion from the current system. Instead, SB 10 simply gives judges additional information to inform their decision.
      • Third, all judicial decisions are now required to be publicly recorded and therefore more transparent and available for public scrutiny. This is essential because judges now have increased discretion over the more serious felony cases, and they also have discretion to carve out other other exclusions from release for misdemeanors at the county-level. Under the new system, when a prosecutor exercises their option to seek detention, a judge must hold a hearing and make the findings available on record before they order the person detained pretrial. In the current cash bail system, judges can use their discretion to set cash bail at any number with no requirement to make any findings public, which effectively detains an individual with no judicial accountability. The new judicial transparency requirement makes it easier for an individual to appeal a judge’s preventative detention decision. This is a clear improvement over the lax requirements that existed before SB 10.
     
    Misinformation About Prop 25

    The bail bond industry has invested heavily in a No on the Prop 25 campaign in an attempt to spread misinformation and save the industry.

    • “Prop 25 denies a U.S. constitutional right.” FALSE. The 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the courts from imposing excessive bail. By eliminating the cash bail system, Prop 25 simply makes this prohibition irrelevant.
    • “Prop 25 puts our public safety at risk.” FALSE. Judges will have increased judicial discretion over the more serious felony cases, which means defendants who may pose a threat to a community or specific individual will be given individual consideration. All decisions made by judges will also be required to be publicly recorded.
    • “Prop 25 deprives justice for crime victims.” FALSE. In New Jersey, where similar legislation passed eliminating the use of cash bail in 2017, a recent study concluded that defendants are continuing to show up for court cases at the same rate and that people released under the new regulations are no more likely to commit a crime while waiting for trial than those released under the previous system on money bail.
    • “Prop 25 creates additional biases against minorities and the poor.” FALSE. In New Jersey, similar legislation passed eliminating the use of cash bail has reduced racial disparities in the jail population. In California, new reporting requirements enable racial disparities to be systematically tracked for the first time. And ending cash bail immediately eliminates the most immediate factor in the criminal-justice system that drives the cycle of poverty and incarceration existing in many low-income communities, which are also disproportionately Black and brown communities.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 25
    • The two largest donors in support of Prop 25 are Connie and Steve Ballmer. Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the L.A. Clippers team. The Ballmers are philanthropists who have given over $300 million to 70 nonprofits over the last three years for gun safety and racial justice. They have also pledged $25 million in coronavirus aid. In a statement, they said that “far too many people that are not a danger are getting stuck in jail waiting for their trials simply because they can’t afford bail.”
    • The next largest donor is John Arnold of Arnold Ventures and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Arnold’s foundation created an algorithm-based pretrial risk-assessment tool called the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) that is currently used in 30 different counties including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Tulare counties in California. The foundation has also created several think tank projects including the National Partnership for Pretrial Justice and Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research, which produce research, policy advocacy, and implementation support for the PSA specifically and more generally for the process of replacing cash bail with pretrial risk assessments. Arnold has been sued for a judge’s use of PSA resulting in a murder by the released suspect. In our research, we did not find a connection between Arnold and any of the three pre-trial assessment service providers that have been approved for use under SB 10, which are Journal Technologies Inc., FivePoint Solutions, and Equivant. It is also unclear if the PSA will continue to be used in California counties under SB 10. Arnold is a former hedge fund manager and was involved in the Enron scandal in which he walked away with an $8 million bonus.
    • The other three top donors in support of Prop 25 are SEIU California State Council; Action Now Initiative, LLC; and philanthropist Patty Quillin.
    • The top donor in opposition to Prop 25 is Triton Management Services, LLC, the parent company of Aladdin Bail Bonds.
    • The American Bail Coalition, consisting of several insurance and bail companies, is opposed to Prop 25, as it wants the bail system to remain in place to avoid going out of business.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 25

     

    Prop 25

    Vote YES on Prop 25 to eliminate the use of cash bail in pretrial incarceration.

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

City of Oakland

Oakland City Council

  • Non-Partisan
  • Re-elect City Council Member Rebecca Kaplan to keep Oakland on the right track. 

    About the Position

    Oakland is governed by an eight-person city council. A city council is responsible for establishing policy, passing local laws (called ordinances), voting on budget appropriations, and developing an overall vision for the city. In Oakland, the position of mayor is limited to two terms of four years each, while City Council members can serve for an unlimited number of terms. The Council is made up of one representative from each of seven districts and one at-large representative. 

    About the District

    Oakland is Alameda County’s most populous city. Oakland City Council oversees the needs of 390,724 people, according to the 2010 Census, and manages an estimated budget of $1.5 billion annually. Oakland is managed by a mayor-council structured government. 

    About the Race

    Incumbent Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s campaign has raised $95,785 ($15,000 from candidate self-financing) and is not funded by fossil fuel, corporate PACs, or police money. However, she has not pledged to refuse money from any of those groups. Challenger Derreck B. Johnson’s campaign has raised $187,469 and has not committed to any of the pledges, either.  Challenger Nancy Sidebotham has not reported contributions at this time.

    A committee in opposition to Kaplan was formed by Ernest Brown, chair of the board of directors at YIMBY Action. However, Lyft has recently overtaken the committee in contributions, accounting for 72 percent of the total contributions as of October 6, 2020. Brown informed local newspapers that he is unsure why Lyft donated, considering the committee is about housing. Kaplan cites her attempts to tax companies like Lyft and Uber to pay for road infrastructure and previous votes against those companies’ requests to alter rental bike/scooter contracts with the City of Oakland to achieve a monopoly, like they did in San Francisco, as the reason why Lyft is lobbying against her. Kaplan concluded in an interview with The Oaklandside:  “This is not about housing. This is about a billionaire corporation that doesn’t want to pay its fair share in taxes and wants to abuse its workers.”

    About the Candidate

    Rebecca Kaplan, current Oakland City Council Member At Large since 2008, is from Oakland. She is the first openly-LGBTQIA+ elected official in Oakland. Prior to her election to the Oakland City Council, Kaplan worked as a housing rights attorney in Oakland and served as the elected director on the AC Transit Board and on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board. She is a longtime supporter of increasing affordability and accessibility to public transportation, racial justice, and LGBTQIA+ rights. According to campaign materials, Kaplan is running for re-election to protect public health in a pandemic and beyond, improve regional transportation and infrastructure, promote gun safety, and protect renters and sexually exploited youth.

    Kaplan’s priorities for Oakland this term include public transportation and police accountability. Notable district achievements by Kaplan as City Council Member At Large include banning the loading and storage of coal in Oakland, passing gun legislation that provided technology and systems to shut down sources of illegal guns and banned leaving guns loose in unattended vehicles, organizing the LGBTQIA+ roundtable, and helping to write and pass the $8 billion Measure BB, which increased transit service, provided free bus passes for school-age children, and created thousands of local jobs. Kaplan is the lead author of Measure S1 - Amending Powers of Police Commission, which will appear on Oakland residents’ ballots this November. The measure seeks to provide independence of police oversight to help provide accountability and trust. Kaplan currently sits on four committees: Life Enrichment, Public Safety, Rules and Legislation, and City/Port Liaison Committee (chair).

    Kaplan is endorsed by a strong majority progressive groups, such as Equality California, Planned Parenthood, Oakland Rising Action, and Black Women Organized for Political Action PAC. At this time, Kaplan does not have any problematic endorsements. According to our analysis, Rebecca Kaplan is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Rebecca Kaplan

    Re-elect City Council Member Rebecca Kaplan to keep Oakland on the right track. 

    About the Position

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    Last updated: 2020-10-17