Recommendations for Nov. 2020 Statewide Ballot Propositions

This is the time of year that voters and organizations start the process of supporting or opposing November ballot measures.  Most groups make their endorsements based on what is best for them or their industry.  Some do it for political purposes, trying to show how “moderate” they are.  As for me, I base my recommendations on what is good for the people, conservative values and the Constitution.

So, here are my suggestions for the November 2020 Statewide ballot measures:

Prop. 14  VOTE NO  We passed this years ago—lots of politics, little science

Prop.15 VOTE NO—this bill would kill California jobs, economy and force business out of the State

Prop. 16 VOTE NO.  This CREATES discrimination in the enrollment of students—demeans people of color

Prop. 17 VOTE NO Parolees need to finish their sentence before being allowed to vote.

Prop 18  VOTE NO   Allows kids to vote BEFORE they are 18–unconstitutional

Prop. 19 VOTE NO  Some parts are good–but in total it makes radical changes to Prop. 13. Jarvis Taxpayers Association is opposed

Prop. 20  VOTE YES  Rolls back some of the previously passed pro-criminal measures.  Good, not great

Prop. 21 VOTE NO  another attempt at government rent control—which creates slum housing

Prop. 22 VOTE YES  Repeals a portion of AB 5—a good start back on the road to free the workers

Prop. 23 VOTE NO  We defeated this union backed special interest measure in 2018

Prop. 24 VOTE NO  Creates yet another government agency to harass the public—already have privacy laws

Prop. 25.VOTE NO Reinstates cash bail before most criminals can leave a jail—protect the community. (this is a referendum==a yes vote keeps the no cash bail–this is one of those yes means no and no means yes measures. VOTE NO to return cash bail)

Please pass this along to your clubs, friends, post on Facebook and Twitter.  Let the conservative community know how to vote in November based on conservative values

Props to you, Californians: A preview of what’s on your November ballot

by Ben Christopher, CalMatters,  6/29/20   

Here’s your November ballot preview:

Prop. 14: Borrowing for stem cell research

Who put it there: Signatures via an effort mostly funded by Robert Klein, JDRF International and Open Philanthropy

Type: Bond

What it would do: Borrow $5.5 billion to fund stem cell research

In 2004, voters passed Proposition 71 to create the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The institute exists to channel state money toward stem cell research. Prop 71 also let the state borrow $3 billion to do that. 

That pot of cash is now almost empty. Robert Klein, a Silicon Valley real estate developer who led the Prop. 71 effort and became the institute’s first board chair, is leading the campaign for more.

Prop. 15: Split roll

Type: Constitutional amendment

What it would do: Tax some commercial property based on its market value, rather than the price at which it was purchased. This would raise property taxes on many large businesses across the state, increasing funding for schools and local government. 

In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 13, placing a cap on property taxes, kicking off a nationwide anti-tax revolt and placing city and county budgets in a generation-spanning straitjacket. 

By tying a landlord’s property tax payments to the original purchase price, Prop. 13 has been the gift that keeps on giving to property owners, particularly those lucky enough to have bought cheap real estate decades ago. There’s been bipartisan reluctance among lawmakers to touch it ever since, lest they incur the wrath of irate homeowners. 

This initiative attempts to divide and conquer that political problem by repealing the property tax protections only for commercial landlords with more than $3 million in holdings. If this measure passes, those landowners would have to make tax payments based on the current value of their properties — a tax hike for most — resulting in an estimated $6.5 to $11.5 billion more for cities, counties and school districts.

Prop. 16: Ending the ban on affirmative action

Type: Constitutional amendment

What it would do: Allow schools and public agencies to take race and other immutable characteristics into account when making admission, hiring or contracting decisions. 

In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 209, a constitutional amendment banning affirmative action at state institutions. The result was an immediate drop in Black and Latino enrollment at the state’s elite public universities. Some civil rights organizations have been trying to repeal Prop. 209 ever since.

Each of those attempts has been stymied by a coalition of Republicans, moderate Democrats and some progressive legislators who represent districts with large Asian American voting populations. This year, as in previous years, some of the most vocal and persistent opponents of the effort to reintroduce affirmative action have been Chinese-American political activists. They argue that boosting enrollment of students from underrepresented racial groups would come at the expense of “overrepresented” Asian American students.  

Prop. 17: Restoring the right to vote to people on parole

Type: Constitutional amendment

What it would do: Allow Californians who are currently on parole to vote

In 1974, California voters passed a ballot measure giving people who have committed felonies the right to vote once they complete their sentences and are no longer on parole. 

Thanks to that law, there are some 40,000 Californians who are not in prison but unable to legally cast a ballot. But as with any criminal justice debate, this is also one about race. According to an estimate from 2016, two thirds of people on parole in the state are Latino or Black.

Prop. 18: Letting (some) 17 year olds vote (some of the time)

Type: Constitutional amendment

What it would do: Allow 17-year-old U.S. citizens to vote in a primary and special election as long as they will turn 18 by the subsequent general election.

California Democrats have been on a decade-long tear increasing voting access. Same-day voter registration, automatic registration at the DMV and pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds are among the recent pro-vote innovations to come out of the Capitol.

Letting people under 18 vote would be yet another extension. Already 23 states let 17- year-olds vote in certain circumstances. 

Democratic legislators have tried to do this six times before; this is the first to make the ballot.

Prop. 19: Property tax breaks and closing the “Lebowski loophole”

Type: Constitutional amendment

What it would do: Allow homeowners who are over 55, disabled or victims of natural disaster to take a portion of their property tax base with them when they sell their home and buy a new one. It would also limit the ability of new homeowners who inherit properties to keep their parents’ or grandparents’ low property tax payments. Most of the additional money raised would go into a state fire response fund.

We’ve seen this one before — half of it, anyway. In 2018, the California Association of Realtors put a measure on the ballot allowing older or disabled homeowners to keep a portion of their Prop. 13 tax break. The Realtors argued that the current property tax rules disincentivize longtime homeowners from moving, “trapping” empty-nesters in houses that are too big for them and locking out new families. But because the measure would cost schools, counties and cities, it was opposed by organized labor and local government groups — and failed by 20 points. 

The Realtors tried again this year, but with an added fiscal sweetener. Under this proposal, anyone who inherits a home from their parents or grandparents would only be allowed to keep the low property taxes if they use the home as their primary residence and only on the first $1 million between the home’s original purchase price and its market value. Inspiration for that caveat may have come from the Los Angeles Times, which tracked down a number of California scions, including “The Big Lebowski” star Jeff Bridges, who are still paying 1970-era property tax levels on their rental properties. 

And then there was a last-minute wrinkle. In the final weeks of June, the Realtors sprang a deal: designating that most of the funding generated by the measure would go to fighting wildfires. That won the support of the influential California Professional Firefighters union. It also means the measure will be funding a public need that might be on many voters’ minds come November. 

That bargain was struck after the Realtors had submitted their signatures, so with the help of Assemblyman Mullin, they passed it through the Legislature, pulling their original proposal just before the deadline.

Prop. 20: Rolling back Brown-era “leniency”

Who put it there: Signatures, via a campaign largely funded by law enforcement agencies.

Type: Constitutional amendment

What it would do: Allow prosecutors to charge repeat or organized petty theft as a felony, require probation officers to seek tougher penalties for those who violate the term of their parole three times, and exclude those who have been convicted of domestic violence and certain nonviolent crimes from early parole consideration. 

Gov. Jerry Brown was famously allergic to talk of his “legacy” while in office. But if the former governor has one, it might be the effort he spent in his final two terms as governor supporting efforts to reverse the “tough on crime” policies he helped introduce during his first two terms in the 1970s and ‘80s. 

In 2011, California legislators reduced punishments for parole violators. In 2014, voters passed Proposition 47, recategorizing some non-violent crimes as misdemeanors. In 2016, voters passed Proposition 57, giving inmates convicted of certain non-violent offenses a shot at early release. 

This ballot measure would partially undo each of those.

Prop. 21: Rent Control (Again)

Type: Statute

What it would do: Allow cities to introduce new rent control laws, or expand existing ones.

Despite a 20-percentage point, 56-out-of-58 county defeat in 2018, a statewide rent control measure is back on the ballot. 

Polling from that election season suggested that California voters generally liked rent control as a concept, but worried about the specifics of the proposal. Accordingly, this new initiative makes a few tweaks. 

Under this one, cities would be allowed to apply new rent control ordinances only to homes that are at least 15 years old. And it exempts single-family homes owned by landlords with no more than two properties.

Just like last time, the measure is being pushed by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its pugnacious president Michael Weinstein. State lawmakers — by passing a law last year that set a 7% ceiling on how much landlords can raise rents each year — had hoped to ward off another attempt by Weinstein and company. They had no such luck.

Prop. 22: Self-employment for ride-hail and other app-drivers

Who put it there: Signatures, via a campaign mostly funded by Lyft, Uber and Doordash

Type: Statute

What it would do: Turn “app-based” drivers into independent contractors, exempting companies such as Lyft and Uber from standard wage and hour restrictions. It would also guarantee these drivers an earnings floor, a stipend to purchase health insurance and other minimum benefits. 

Unless you happen to be an anti-vaccine protestor, the most controversial law of the 2019 legislative session was Assembly Bill 5. On its face, the law simply codified a state Supreme Court ruling, making it much harder for companies to treat their workers as independent contractors, rather than full-fledged employees. In practice, it upended the business models of Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Postmates and Instacart, all of which rely on an army of phone-toting gig-workers to provide their various services.

In the months since, all attempts at legislative compromise have fizzled, California’s Attorney General has sued Uber and Lyft for violating the new law and California regulators declared their drivers to be employees. 

As a last-ditch effort, the various companies implicated have poured $110 million — and counting — to push a ballot measure that would simply exclude their drivers from the law. And throwing a bone to critics who say their drivers are mistreated, the measure also imposes some worker benefits and protections.

Prop. 23: Regulating dialysis clinics

Who put it there: Signatures, via an effort funded entirely by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West

Type: Statute

What it would do: Require dialysis clinics to have at least one physician on site at all times and to report patient infection data to California health officials.

DaVita Kidney Care and Fresenius Medical Care own the majority of the for-profit dialysis clinics in the state. For years, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers union has been at war with them. 

After unsuccessful efforts to unionize clinic staff, the union sponsored legislation to cap reimbursement rates to clinics and floated an array of possible ballot measures to boost their staff spending and cut their profits. In 2018, the union finally got one on the ballot: Prop 8, which would have set a cap on clinic profit margins. 

The measure was soundly defeated, but only after the two companies spent over $111 million, making it the most expensive ballot campaign ever. This one isn’t likely to be much cheaper. 

Prop. 24: Stronger consumer privacy laws (again)

Type: Statute

What it would do: Strengthen California’s already strongest-in-the-nation consumer privacy law and establish a California Privacy Protection Agency

In 2018, California lawmakers passed the California Consumer Privacy Act, giving consumers the right to find out what data companies are collecting about them, to opt out of having it collected and to have that data scrubbed. It was — and remains — the only law like it in the county. It was also a compromise. San Francisco real estate developer Alastair MacTaggart had been pushing for an even stricter ballot measure, but the Legislature stepped in, brokering a deal between MacTaggart and the tech industry.

Now MacTaggart is back. Along with setting up a state agency tasked with enforcing state privacy law, the measure would beef up financial penalties for violators and allow consumers to demand that personal information not be shared at all, rather than simply not sold. 

Prop. 25: Ditch or keep cash bail

Type: Referendum

What it would do: Ask voters to either approve or strike down a state law that banished money bail from the state criminal justice system.

In 2018, acting on the advice of state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, legislators passed a bill ending cash bail in California. Rather than letting people pay their way out of jail while they await trial, the law gives judges the right to determine whether someone who is arrested should be kept behind bars based on the risk they are deemed to pose to themselves or others.

Moving quickly, the bail bond industry mounted a campaign to put the question on the ballot as a referendum. Voters will vote either “Yes” to keep the state law and end cash bail for good, making California the first state to do so, or “No” to keep the bail system. 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.


  1. Steve,
    Your recommendation on Prop 25 seems incorrect. Conservatives should vote NO vote to re-establish the bail-bond system that was shuttered by the Democrat legislature.

  2. Rudy Melendez says

    Prop 19 appears to be too convoluted with too many conditions for me to support a california constitutional amendment change.
    As of now Im voting NO on Prop 19 as this measure seems to be an effort to fix something that is not broken.
    I’d be interested in hearing what others have to think.
    Thank You

  3. John Steele says

    The simple answer is VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING. screw the demoRats. I’m so done with this criminal party.. its not even funny anymore.

    • Too simple, I think. Prop 15 will undo Prop 13. As a small business owner renting my office space, I fear forcing building owners to come up with the big bucks for property taxes jacked up to the sky. What happens next? Rent increases for small businesses.

      California is already tax-crazy. As the old saying goes, you can’t get blood from a turnip. The turnips will go broke. Or, join the smarter turnips who have already fled the Golden State.

      • You are right. It is very confusing. Steve Franks please verify if Prop 15 will undo Prop 13, which will give Democrats what they want to raise taxes and drive more Conservatives out of CA.

  4. John,
    I’ve voted NO on every bond issue that concerns “money” since the Gold Rush Days!!!

  5. W. Trent Saxton says

    You can not copy and paste this to Face Book…try it and see what happens..”Goes against their standards”
    My question…do they have any standards?

  6. Democrats only standards are full communism. Socialism first, then communism.

  7. Mary Mitchell says

    Thank you for posting this. I wish every Central Committee did this on their websites…

  8. Laura Tunnell says

    I always vote “no” on any new taxes. Having said that, the behavior of the “republican party” has been nothing less than disgusting.

  9. Why not let 17 year olds vote ( if they are old enough to vote in November)? Shouldn’t they be allowed to select the candidate for their party if they are going to vote for the president later in the year? We always treat high school seniors like children unless it comes to jobs and applying to college, they are about to be adults, they are not “kids”. I understand the constitutional concerns, but I feel like it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal. In just a few short months they are old enough to enlist in the military, they definitely aren’t children anymore.

    • Kevin Monette says

      Why is it that Democrats ALWAYS win the battles of incrementalism?

      I know I’m not the only one who can see this for what it is – a ruse to enlarge the Democrat voting base and, to that end, taking a giant step towards allowing 16 year olds to vote by effectively rendering the age of majority meaningless. What next 14 year olds then 7th graders?

      Also, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to see, if successful, how this WILL BE leveraged by those pursuing deviant prurient interests by conflating the lower voting age with lowering the age of consent for minors.

      The ONLY exception for any minority aged voting should be for active duty, guard and reserves service members, service academy and ROTC cadets in good standing – PERIOD!

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