National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles Chapter Human Rights Over Property Interests

2018 NLG-LA Voter Guide!

Dear Guild Members and Friends

A lot is at stake on November 6th. Big changes are needed in our region, state and nation to protect human rights, dismantle state violence and oppression, and ensure a livable climate. Despite the limitations of the ballot box, there are important initiatives that deserve our attention and our vote.

Notably, our friends at Yes on Prop 10 have been working hard to spread the word about this important tenants’ rights initiative in the face of big moneyed opposition. Please do what you can to support this measure–whether by donating, volunteering, or spreading the word.

This year, we created a Voter Guide for ballot propositions with our recommendations on statewide ballot propositions. Please see the graphic and more detailed explanations below. We hope it’s helpful!

Yours in Solidarity,

Kath Rogers
Executive Director, NLG-LA

ANALYSIS OF NLG-LA RECOMMENDATIONS:
(Thank you to Board Member Renee Amador for taking the lead on drafting the below analysis!)

PROPOSITION 1: Issues $4 billion in bonds for housing programs and veterans’ home loans. Analysis: CA state taking out a 35-year loan to pay for low-income housing, veteran housing support, housing near public transportation, and farm worker housing. Exactly how we want CA spending money—on housing for low-income Californians. Recommendation: VOTE YES

PROPOSITION 2: Authorizes state to use revenue from millionaire’s tax for $2 billion in bonds for homelessness prevention housing. Analysis: This would use the money collected from the “millionaire tax” to pay for mental health housing. Right now, the money is used by each County at its own discretion. State use of the money decides that the money is best spent on housing those with mental illness above County priorities. This proposition is a direct response to the fact that 1 in 4 people who are homeless suffer mental illness and housing is the best way to begin to rehabilitate our neighbors with mental health issues. Recommendation: VOTE YES

PROPOSITION 5: Revises process for home buyers who are age 55 or older or severely disabled to transfer their tax assessments. Analysis: this proposition sounds good at first glance, but it makes a lot of assumptions about homeowners. First, it assumes that by giving a potential advantage to those over 55, the disabled, and those who suffered a home loss from a natural disaster, those three groups would be more likely to be able to either downsize (over 55) or not be punished for needing to relocate (severely disabled and natural disaster sufferers). The assumption is that the qualifying individuals would vacate their larger homes for smaller properties. There is no available analysis as to why that assumption is made, and nothing to stop property owners above 55 (with long-term real estate equity gains) from purchasing new larger or more expensive homes.  The incentive for those severely disabled and natural-disaster-victims is a tack-on to make the proposition more appealing. When confused about the incentive behind a bill, just look to its sponsor: The California Association of Realtors. Why would the CA Association of Realtors want to pass this bill? One pretty obvious option is that it would encourage more real estate movement (buying and selling) among those over 55. The proposition language could be narrowed or revised to actually serve the purpose it claims to achieve, but then less people would qualify, and the Association of Realtors would not make the same quantity of commissions. Recommendation: VOTE NO

PROPOSITION 6: Repeals 2017’s fuel tax and vehicle fee increases and requires public vote on future increases. Analysis: Though this is a regressive tax and thus affects low-income individuals more than wealthier people, the answer is not to end the tax in general. The gas and registration tax raises between $4.4 and $5 billion per year that is used to improve public transportation and roadways. It creates good jobs and fixes potholes and bridges. The money will be spent on ways to decrease time driving, either by creating more public transportation options, or widening roads and decreasing traffic, thus reducing the amount spent on gas and reducing the amount paid in the gas tax. This is exactly what our government should be collecting money for and spending money on. Recommendation: VOTE NO

PROPOSITION 8: Requires dialysis clinics to issue refunds for revenue above a certain amount. Analysis: Dialysis companies are private corporations that make an enormous profit off of life-sustaining dialysis treatments. They find any way to cut corners on patient care and worker’s rights in order to increase their profit margins. The more money spent on patient care, the more money they could stand to profit. Many newspaper editorial staffs point out that this law is a tactic by the SEIU to unionize dialysis workers, as if that’s a reason not to support it. The for-profit dialysis companies also are saying that they will have to close their dialysis centers in California because they will no longer be profitable. Voting YES will show the for-profit dialysis companies that their blackmail won’t work on Californians. For a fun feature on how corrupt and bizarre these dialysis companies are, watch this “Last Week Tonight” clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw_nqzVfxFQ Recommendation: VOTE YES

PROPOSITION 10: Allows local governments to regulate rent.  Analysis: Prop 10 repeals Costa Hawkins and local governing bodies will have the power to regulate rent. The rent is too damn high! People spend too much of their income on their rent so they cannot save or provide for their families in other ways. Rent increases lead to more evictions, more displacement, and more homelessness. Developers threaten that rent control will stagnate the market and lead to a decrease in housing development, however, we know that where there is still money to be made, developers will continue to build, even if they and property owners cannot make as much profit over time. The majority of developers only build “luxury” housing currently, so it is not as if low or middle-income renters can even afford new housing anyways. Rent control allows renters to stay put and pay a fair percentage of their income to housing. Prop 10 is also flexible, because it allows local governing boards to put in place rent control rules that reflect the needs of the local area. Recommendation: VOTE YES (and spread the word!)

PROPOSITION 11: Allow ambulance providers to require workers to remain on-call during breaks paid. Analysis: Prop 11 was sponsored by “American Medical Response”, one of the largest EMT companies in the country, in order to work-around current pending lawsuits against them where they could be found to owe over $100 million dollars in unpaid wages to their EMTs.  Prop 11 should be voted down on that fact alone, but also because these first responders need to be able to take breaks without interruption so that they can rest and think clearly throughout the day. EMTs make low-income wages and work grueling 12 hour shifts in high stress situations. If they are expected to be on-call during every break, then they are truly not “relieved” from work to rest. EMTs may decide that they prefer to be clocked out and still “on-call”, but this decision should come through labor negotiations, not a company-sponsored ballot proposal to unsuspecting Californians. Recommendation: VOTE NO

PROPOSITION 12: Bans sale of meat from animals confined in spaces below specific sizes. Analysis: This one is a no brainer. Sponsored by the Humane Society, Prop 12 gives livestock a minimum standard of living that is still just one tiny step towards more humane treatment of animals. Chickens and pigs will have more room to move around and will be incrementally less stressed out in their living conditions. If you consume animal products, this will also make the food healthier and safer. Recommendation: VOTE YES

LA CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT B: Charter Amendment B is the first step towards creating a socially, economically, and environmentally responsible city-owned bank. This common sense solution will allow the City to hold its own funds, earn profits from those funds, and re-invest into our community. Currently, Los Angeles pays $1.1 billion in interest payments, and $170 million dollars in annual fees to Wall Street Banks which use public dollars to invest with no responsibility to people and the planet. A public bank would also enable the city to loan money for housing development at below market interest rates. A city-owned bank can extend the credit lines of community banks and credit unions to offer loans to low-income residents and help bankroll low-income housing, fund community land trusts, develop new short-term housing facilities, and rehousing programs to address solutions for the increasing homeless population. Recommendation: VOTE YES

LA COUNTY MEASURE W: Supported by both labor and environmental advocates, this measure will improve, protect and increase the amount of safe and healthy drinking water by cleaning up the pollution sources that threaten our water supply. It also funds an action plan to prevent trash, including cigarette butts and syringes, from clogging our storm drains and littering our beaches. It will protect Los Angeles County rivers, lakes and beaches by reducing the dangerous contamination that makes them unsafe for humans and toxic to marine life. With projects like parks, green alleys, street trees, redesigned schoolyards and restored wetlands, Measure W will cool our increasingly hot neighborhoods while creating jobs. It will be accountable, with oversight by community stakeholders & independent experts. Recommendation: VOTE YES

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