A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Bruce Mirken,
Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 415-846-7758(cell)

Samuel S. Kang,
Greenlining Institute Managing Attorney, 415-317-5946

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA — In a California campaign heavily dominated by special interest money, the Greenlining Institute expressed disappointment at the results available thus far as of 10:30 p.m.

“Two huge corporations just spent a combined $60 million to rewrite the law to boost their profits, turning an initiative process that was supposed to be a tool of grassroots democracy on its head,” said Greenlining managing attorney Samuel S. Kang. “While it’s not certain yet that they’ve won, it’s time to think seriously abour reforming the initiative process to give control back to ordinary citizens.”

Proposition 16, leading narrowly so far, “would be a setback for clean, renewable energy and the new jobs it can create,” said Kang. “But if PG&E wins, with that victory will come responsibility. The company will need to follow through on its promises regarding clean energy and to really listen to all the communities it serves or face a serious backlash. Until this campaign, PG&E had a reasonably good record of working with California’s diverse communities, and how they handle a victory will be a real test.”

Passage of Prop. 17, which was leading by nine points, “would be a real blow to low-income Californians who’ve had to forego driving due to tough economic times but now want to get insured,” Kang said. “Ultimately, we’ll all pay, because this will mean more uninsured drivers on the road.”

Regarding the defeat of Prop. 15, Kang said, “It’s unfortunate that Prop. 15 got so little attention amid all the better-financed campaigns, but the need to reclaim our democracy from moneyed special interests continues to grow. This issue won’t go away.”

As a nonpartisan organization, Greenlining did not make candidate endorsements, but Kang expressed disappointment with the candidates’ campaigns thus far, saying, “In this extraordinarily expensive campaign, the fact that this is the most diverse state in the nation, with a population that’s 58 percent nonwhite, went almost unmentioned except for promises to get tough on the undocumented. The nominees must address the needs of all California communities if they want our votes this November.”