A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator,510-898-2053

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA — The Greenlining Institute announced its positions on California’s June ballot propositions today, urging voters to approve Proposition 15, which sets up a pilot system for public financing of state elections. Greenlining urges voters to reject Propositions 14, 16 and 17, noting that 16 and 17 are special-interest propositions that would benefit particular companies at the expense of the vast majority of Californians.

“Proposition 16 would reduce consumer choice, impede efforts to clean our air, and slow development of the new green jobs that will drive California’s economy,” said managing attorney Samuel S. Kang. “Both 16 and 17 use the initiative process to benefit individual private companies at the expense of most Californians, and pose a particular risk to low-income communities.”

For more information about Prop. 16, including Greenlining’s letter to PG&E President and CEO Peter Darbee, see Below are details of Greenlining’s positions on all five ballot propositions:

no-14Prop. 14 (Open Primaries) – No. Prohibits political parties from nominating a candidate for congressional or state elective office in the primary election. The two candidates receiving the two highest vote totals for each office at the primary election would then compete for the office in the general election. This primary system would put progressive candidates at a disadvantage and likely result in fewer progressives being elected.
yes-15Prop. 15 (Public Financing of Elections) – Yes. Creates a “test run” public financing system for Secretary of State candidates. Public financing would lessen the influence of lobbyists and increase the voices of voters and constituents. The public financing system proposed by this measure would be paid for by assessing fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms and lobbyist employers.
no-16Prop. 16 (Imposing Two-Thirds Voter Requirement for Local Public Electricity) No. Severely restricts consumers’ ability to choose their electricity provider by imposing a two-thirds voting requirement for public power rather than a simple majority. Currently, individual consumers have the right to “opt out” of local electricity systems independent of large utility companies. Passage of this measure may violate existing law and thus result in costly lawsuits and/or legislative challenge. This measure is largely driven by Pacific Gas & Electric, a major investor-owned utility company.
no-17Prop. 17 (Auto Insurance Discounts and Penalties) – No. Changes law to permit insurance companies to offer discounts to drivers who have continuously maintained auto insurance coverage but change their insurance company. However, this change in law would not require insurance companies to offer this discount even if given the opportunity. In addition, drivers who have had a lapse in coverage could be penalized with higher rates. Drivers who would be negatively impacted include drivers who gave up using a car for a period of time or could not afford insurance coverage due to the economic downturn. Passage of this measure may violate existing law and thus result in costly lawsuits and/or legislative challenge. This measure is largely driven by Mercury Insurance Group, a major auto insurance company operating in California.