Proposition 17

Ballot Initative's Real Aim: Consumer Pocketbooks

By Brian Stedge-Stroud, Consumer Watchdog
North County Times

A billionaire insurance executive is spending $8 million on a November ballot measure to undermine a key consumer protection that has saved California drivers more than $62 billion since 1988.

Common sense leads to one basic question: When has a billionaire insurance executive spent $8 million just to save drivers money?

The real aim of the ballot initiative, sponsored by Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph, is to increase premiums by as much as 40 percent for millions of Californians seeking new or renewed auto insurance. Those most affected include graduating students entering the workforce, Californians who previously used mass transit, and the long-term unemployed who are getting back to work.

The California Super-Majority Stays Home

By Peter Schrag

The most trenchant analysis of this month’s primary election results didn’t come from California’s certified media punditry and its blather about angry voters, but from my friend and former colleague Mark Paul of the New America Foundation, who offered a much more disturbing read.

On the morning after the election, he wrote in his blog, the papers were “full of stories telling us what the voters said on Tuesday. To which I have to ask, what voters?

“The real story of the Tuesday elections is that voters have given up on believing in democracy under California’s current electoral system.”

Big Oil’s Hazardous Landscape on Repeal of AB 32

By Warner Chabot
California League of Conservation Voters

When Texas oil refiners Valero and Tesoro were contemplating whether to buy their way onto the California ballot last winter, they envisioned a ripe environment for their proposition to repeal the state's clean energy and air standards: skyrocketing unemployment rates, a Tea Party-inspired anti-regulation backlash, and increased skepticism about the science of global warming fueled by the rants of right-wing talking heads Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

The Lesson of June 2010: Corporate Power Can Be Beaten

By Robert Cruickshank

In looking at the disparate results of the June 2010 election, there are two themes that stand out to me:

1. Republicans will do what they are told by their corporate masters. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina won their primaries because they spent an enormous amount of money to tell Republicans that they should vote for CEOs because they're smarter than everyone else and more likely to beat the Democrat this fall. That's it.

Joe Mathews has a good take on Whitman's victory, but it really does come down to her money. Same for Fiorina. Both dominated the messaging and TV airwaves with their ads, and did so early and often.

June 2010 Election Day: Corporations vs. Democracy

By Robert Cruickshank

There is a very clear theme to today's election: will corporations take over California's politics, or will the voters stand up in defense of their democracy?

This theme appears again and again and again in races across the state, from the governor's race on down to the ballot propositions and state legislative races. Corporations and the CEOs that used to run them are convinced that their money will be enough to sway voters to give those corporations and CEOs much more power over our wallets and our elections. A massively underfunded, but broadly-based progressive coalition is fighting back, and in some of the key races, the outcome is far from clear.

Corporate "Smart" Initiatives Will Test California Voters' Smarts Tuesday

By Jamie Court
Consumer Watchdog

During my two decades battling in California's ballot initiative process never before have large corporations been poised to gain so much so cleverly as in next Tuesday's election.

Industries have long tried to lard ballots with outright power grabs and voters have sent them packing. What Tuesday's ballot represents is new stealth strikes by corporations going at it alone for discrete rights and privileges that legislatures, courts and voters have denied them before.

Prop 17 Ads Refer to Consumer Protections as a "'Flaw"

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

If California voters approve Mercury Insurance Company’s initiative, Proposition 17 in June, they will be repealing part of the consumer protections enshrined in the state's Proposition 103 voters passed in 1988 in response to a poorly regulated and increasingly predatory insurance industry creating new ways to justify rate increases, say initiative opponents.

Los Angeles Times reporter, Michael Hiltzik, calls Proposition 17 ”essentially the latest attempt by Mercury (Insurance) to eviscerate Prop 103."  

Contra Costa Times columnist, Byron Williams, called both Propositions 16 and 17 “Deceptive Perversions of California’s Initiative Process."

Mercury Insurance Drops $10 Million on Prop. 17 Shell Game

By Scott Martelle
Protect Consumer Justice

One of the oddities of California politics is the way different factions use the initiative process to try to sneak into law programs and policies that, given full attention and airing, would die an inglorious death. Add Proposition 17, the bizarrely named “Allows Auto Insurance Companies to Base Their Prices in Part on a Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage,” to the list of propositions-as-shell games.

Mercury Insurance’s Prop 17 Would Hit California Workers Hard

By Naomi Seligman
Consumer Watchdog

When was the last time an insurance company spent millions to save you money? The answer? Never.

Mercury Insurance, the sole sponsor of Proposition 17, on the June ballot, has already spent over $7 million in its effort to give insurance companies the power to raise rates on millions of responsible Californians.

This deceptively written initiative allows insurance companies to surcharge people who have not been previously insured – even if they are perfect drivers but weren't insured because they weren't driving or didn’t own a car. Prop 17 also penalizes anyone who had to drop coverage for more than 90 days over the last five years, or missed a single insurance payment.

California Needs The FCC To Restore The Fairness Doctrine


By Roy Ulrich and Richard Holober

One of the lesser-known tragedies of the Reagan era was the Federal Communication Commission's decision to abolish the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. That doctrine used to require radio and television stations to air opposing and contrasting views on controversial issues of public importance. In 1992, the FCC expanded its ruling to include ballot measures.