California 2018 Initiative Editorial Scorecard

Joe Rodota and Matt Klink
Joe Rodota is CEO of Forward Observer and Matt Klink is a Partner at California Strategies

Forward Observer and Klink Campaigns developed the 2018 California Initiative Editorial Scorecard to keep track of editorials for and against the 11 statewide initiatives on this November’s ballot. We will update the scorecard weekly with ballot measure endorsements (pro and con) from the top 20 California newspapers by circulation. The second edition of the California Initiative Editorial Scorecard is based on 100 editorials thus far.

 

The following excerpts are from endorsement editorials that appeared online or in print since our last edition:

Proposition 1 

Los Angeles Daily News, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Riverside Press Enterprise – No

“Since bonds are not free money, this comes at a cost much greater than $3 billion. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the total cost, with interest, for the $3 billion in funding this measure calls for would end up at $5.9 billion. In other words, taxpayers will essentially squander a dollar for every dollar in actual revenue this measure raises.” Link

 

Proposition 2

San Francisco Chronicle – Yes

“California voters in 2004 approved Steinberg’s Proposition 63, a surtax on income over $1 million to expand mental health programs – but the measure did not explicitly mention housing. Prop. 2, on the Nov. 6 ballot, would close that gap.” Link

Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Torrance Daily Breeze, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, San Bernardino Sun, Riverside Press-Enterprise – No

“Bonds are not free money. Selling $2 billion in bonds requires the repayment of not only the $2 billion but interest as well. This means squandering over $1 billion that should have gone to mental health services on interest. Is that how Californians want MHSA money spent? We doubt that.” Link

San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times – Yes

“Numerous studies have shown that mentally ill people who gain access to housing that is supported with services not only improve their lives but also substantially reduce their use of emergency departments and scarce hospital rooms designed to care for the mentally ill. An estimated 25 percent-33 percent of California’s homeless population have mental health problems. Authorizing funds to give them a stable living environment will take them off the streets. It’s the right thing to do. Vote yes on Prop. 2 on Nov. 6.” Link

 

Proposition 3

Orange County Register, Riverside Press Enterprise, Los Angeles Daily News, Torrance Daily Breeze, Long Beach Press Telegram, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin – No

“But of course, bonds are not free money. They must be repaid, with interest. With interest, Prop. 3 would ultimately cost taxpayers twice as much. According to the legislative analyst, taxpayers would be on the hook for an average of $430 million in repayments every year for 40 years.” Link

San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times – No

“When you see that it would spend billions for restoring watershed lands, clean drinking water, water recycling, fish and wildlife habitats, dam repairs and groundwater cleanup, don’t get sucked in. Those are all laudable goals. But there should be adequate oversight, and the funds should be doled out to the most needy projects, not to those that best attract special-interest funding. Prop. 3 is classic pay-to-play. Vote no.” Link

Sacramento Bee – No

“But this is not how water spending should be done in California. While the state’s water politics and finances are immensely complicated, they come down to who pays and who benefits. On Proposition 3, all taxpayers would have to repay the bonds. But the list of beneficiaries is far smaller – not enough to deserve voters’ support.” Link

 

Proposition 4

Los Angeles Times – Yes

“It’s lamentable that children’s hospitals have to keep coming back to voters for help with their capital expenses, but it’s a direct consequence of the state’s low Medi-Cal reimbursement rates. The children these hospitals serve make up a big part of the state’s next generation, and we all have an interest in providing them with the healthcare they need. Vote yes on Proposition 4.” Link

San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times – Yes

“Donations and revenues from services don’t come close to meeting that need. Proposition 4 on the November ballot helps fill the gap. The $1.5 billion state bond measure would provide grants over a 15-year period for construction, expansion, renovation and equipment for California’s children’s hospitals, which include Palo Alto’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Oakland’s UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.” Link

San Diego Union Tribune – Yes

“And as Zocalo Public Square columnist Joe Mathews recently pointed out on these pages, two previous state bonds helping children’s hospitals were well-managed. He also makes the case that the 13 hospitals do an admirable job helping the children of California deal with potentially devastating illnesses – and that their needs for capital improvements are undeniable.” Link

 

Proposition 5

San Francisco Chronicle – No

“What makes this proposition all the more galling is the fact that this is the group of Californians who least deserve another tax break. They’re already reaping the benefit of rock-bottom property taxes and they’ve had the opportunity to build up equity in their homes. Meanwhile, their younger counterparts in California, who would bear the brunt of service cuts under Prop. 5, increasingly find homeownership out of reach. There’s nothing in Prop. 5 that would alter this calculus, and it should go down in flames.” Link

Orange County Register, Torrance Daily Breeze, Long Beach Press Telegram, San Bernardino Sun, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and Los Angeles Daily News – Yes

“While it’s true this reform will benefit many wealthier Californians, the tens of thousands of moves estimated by the legislative analyst to result from Prop. 5 is sure to free up critically needed housing stock.” Link

 

Proposition 6

Los Angeles Times – No

“It’s hard to overstate how destructive Proposition 6 would be for California. It would eliminate $5 billion a year from the state budget, wiping out funds that could be used to fill potholes on local streets, smooth highways and stabilize bridges. It would cancel funding for highway and rail projects designed to move cargo more cleanly and efficiently, hurting the state’s vital freight industry. It would slash money for light rail lines and commuter rail service, meaning fewer trains for people trying to get to work.” Link

Sacramento Bee – No

“No one likes to pay more at the pump. But seriously tackling our state’s $130 billion backlog of highway and bridge maintenance and upgrades takes a significant, separate source of revenue. And these taxes and fees are the fairest method because those who use roads most are paying the most.” Link

 

Proposition 7

San Francisco Chronicle – No

“Absent more compelling evidence of daylight saving’s disadvantages, the advantages of a national standard prevail. In that light, The Chronicle recommends rejection of Prop. 7.” Link

Sacramento Bee and Fresno Bee – No

“Every day, Californians would have to remind people across the country what time it is, as other states continue to fall back and spring forward. And that is saying nothing of the time the Legislature would spend debating this issue, as Chu works to get the two-thirds vote on a bill to set all of this into motion. The would be a waste considering all of the real crises that must be addressed, including housing, climate change and police reform.” Link

 

Proposition 11

Los Angeles Times – Yes

“Proposition 11 on the Nov. 6 ballot would make clear that emergency medical technicians and paramedics working for private ambulance services must remain reachable during paid work breaks so that they can respond immediately when needed. It’s a sensible proposal that would maintain the status quo among emergency responders, and voters should support it.” Link

San Diego Union-Tribune – Yes

“If adopted, Proposition 11 will ratify the on-call provision as a condition of employment going forward. Meanwhile, it appears many emergency medical technicians and paramedics are fine with the current practice. No one bothered to submit a formal statement of opposition to election officials for use in the official state voter guide.” Yes

 

Proposition 12

San Francisco Chronicle – No

“Since Prop. 2’s passage, California egg production has dropped significantly and egg prices have risen by 33 percent, according to the California Farm Bureau. The new measure is also an effective fundraising issue for the primary proponent, the Humane Society of the United States. The Chronicle recommended a “no” vote on the first proposition, saying the ballot box is not the place to regulate this aspect of California agriculture. That is also true this time, and voters should reject Prop. 12.” Link

 

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