Open-enrollment headache again strikes Covered CA

If you thought the rollout of Obamacare was problematic last year, this year could be worse — including its implementation here, called Covered California.

State officials are still struggling to clear a huge backlog of Medi-Cal applications from the past year, while legislators field numerous complaints from frustrated constituents, insurance premiums are increasing and Medi-Cal renewals are down. The open enrollment period for 2015 begins Nov. 15.

“As much as the first year of enrollment was big and rocky, on some levels the second year is going to be harder,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee at a recent Senate Health Committee informational hearing.

Both Lee and Department of Health Care Services Director Toby Douglas are proud of their progress in implementing Obamacare in California.

“We reduced the number of uninsured by 3.4 million people in this state, from 22 to 11 percent,” said Lee. “That’s the largest reduction by percentage in the entire nation. We can feel proud of California serving as an example for the nation how to do this right.”

“[We] have had tremendous success with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” agreed Douglas. “We have within our Medi-Cal program dramatically changed the perception. The perception overall is positive and it gets high marks.

“That being said, we’ve had challenges, many challenges with the process. We know our implementation has not been without problems. We have to continue to learn from those challenges, continue to improve it and make it a better experience for all of those, whether applying for Covered California or enrolling into our Medi-Cal program.”

Backlog

One of DHCS’s biggest challenges has been clearing the Medi-Cal application backlog. It had reached 487,000 pending applications in July, which were whittled down to 171,681 by Oct. 15. Nearly 1,400 applicants have been waiting a year to find out whether they’ll receive coverage.

This has not only been an embarrassment for state health officials, but it’s also illegal. State law requires that health insurance applications either be accepted or denied within 90 days. Several social advocacy organizations have filed a lawsuit to get the state to abide by its own law.

“There has been an increase recently,” acknowledged Douglas. “Covered California has been going through administrative renewals, and that has pushed populations over to Medi-Cal. And we know that there’s at least 40,000 that are duplicates that need to be denied within the system of 171,000. And there’s 20,000 where we’re looking at our administrative strategies that are eligible.

“We have been going through a lot of different enhancements to try to reduce the pending cases and bring it down. Our ultimate goal is we want all applications determined eligible in the required time frame. And we might still always have pending cases, because counties might be waiting for verification information. But we want to make sure that there is no one out there stuck and pending because of system problems.”

Renewal

Another challenge for Douglas is getting Medi-Cal recipients to renew their coverage. The renewal rate in 2013 was 60-70 percent in many of the state’s larger counties. But that range has dropped to 50-70 percent in 2014, with some counties below 50 percent.

That decrease concerns Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. “This is deeply troubling,” she said. “We spend all this energy talking about congratulating ourselves about our enrollment numbers and that number will be a moment in time because we get to re-enrollment and we lose them.

“And the Legislature will have kneejerk reactions like, ‘Get rid of the status reports, get rid of this, get rid of that’ to try to fix that number. That’s why I ask what the problem is so we can be a partner rather than kneejerk to try to plug this hemorrhage – because that’s huge and a problem.”

Douglas responded, “We’re not sure. We delayed the actual disenrollments to get more outreach. We would have thought it would be the same. This is not what we wanted. We think it’s because it’s a new process. There’s been concern from community groups that … thought it was confusing. It’s going to take a lot of grass roots work to break down and understand this new process and why it’s different.”

Mitchell said the confusion is inherent in the way government does things.

“Government does a horrible job in communicating,” she said. “At first I thought it’s because we really don’t want to enroll people. And I don’t think that’s the case. We are bitten by the IRS bug. Every form we create we have to make it as complicated, use as many words and make it look as academic and unfriendly as possible. It’s not just you, it’s government across the board. I’m not sure why that is. We have a bad habit of making the process as difficult and complicated unnecessarily as possible.”

Lee disagreed: “We certainly don’t, as either a matter of habit or purpose, try to make things complex, as you know.”

That prompted Mitchell to laugh, saying, “It’s government – we can’t help ourselves.”

Outreach

She also criticized the state’s education and outreach efforts to blacks.

“The effort in the first go around was lackluster,” she said. “And we need to have a clear conversation and commitment around who is engaged and contracted to do the advertising and outreach to this very specific and targeted community.

“I sponsored a [Covered California] storefront [in the Crenshaw mall] because I happened to think it was a great idea when I was approached by community-based organizations. But I have to say, I was quite disappointed at the outcome. We had five kazillion touches, but our enrollment numbers were nowhere near what I anticipated.”

Lee responded, “The Crenshaw mall enrolled not as many people as you thought it would and we thought it would. But a lot of people came and asked questions. And one of the things we learned is that it’s not a one-touch-and-done enrollment process. So the fact of having a storefront where people can come in, ask questions, take material home, come in again and then maybe go enroll with an insurance agent at that storefront we say, ‘Hallelujah, wherever you are enrolling is OK.’”

Calls

Committee Chairman Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, voiced a complaint made by legislators at an Assembly Health Committee hearing on Obamacare in September.

“My office on a regular basis is getting calls,” he said. “They get funneled up to Sacramento. These are people who are in support of the Affordable Care Act. And they are just really upset. It can be anything from [a lack of] network adequacy to call time to wait time to length of time in Medi-Cal to get enrolled.

“So I want to make sure that not only California continues to be the leader, but absolutely most important that we address as many if not all of the concerns that the consumers of the state of California have.”

Sen. Bill Monning, D-Monterey, has also received numerous complaints from constituents.

“I represent rural areas where in much of my district there is no competition” among health insurance providers, he said. “Our phones are ringing off the hook with people who have coverage and can’t find a [health care] provider who will accept that coverage. So, coverage without access is not real coverage.

“We have a health care plan in Monterey County advising providers at a local hospital that diabetes prevention is not covered. It’s wrong. They are giving disinformation, turning people away. A major health plan that is our only health plan in the region of Monterey County is advising providers it will not cover preventing for diabetes.”

Lee said preventive care is covered, and insurance companies are reviewed annually to make sure they are providing adequate coverage.

“When we sit down with health plans, we don’t say the first question is: What’s the cost?” he said. “The first question is: Are there adequate networks of doctors, hospitals to make sure people get the necessary care? Not all, but in a number of cases there were areas where we specifically said there appear to be shortfalls in networks. And part of what plans came in with was expanded networks of hospitals or of doctors.”

Lee and Douglas assured the committee that they are working to fix the problems and improve service, but acknowledged that will take time.

This article was originally posted on CalWatchdog.com.

Secretary of State 2014: Tight race, cautious candidates

It’s one of the few competitive statewide races in California. And befitting a close contest, Democrat Alex Padilla and Republican Pete Peterson share remarkably close visions for the job of secretary of state.

CalWatchdog.com asked the two candidates a half dozen questions about the job. The responses from both candidates, which are posted in their entirety below, show frequent agreement on the major issues as well as a similar level of caution in the curve balls we threw their way.

Both Padilla and Peterson intend to use technology to improve the office that oversees everything from the state’s election system to business registration. Both the Democrat and the Republican want to increase transparency in the state’s campaign finance disclosure system and promote greater civic engagement in the political process. Both candidates believe it should be faster and easier to start a business in California.

The pair are so similar on the issues that editorial boards have resorted to tacit endorsements of both candidates and consider each to be an improvement over the embattled incumbent, Debra Bowen, who is leaving due to term limits and has admitted having problems with depression.

“Whether you select Pete Peterson or state Sen. Alex Padilla, our expectation is that a problem-plagued, underperforming office will receive the caliber of leadership that has been lacking under two-term Democratic incumbent Debra Bowen,” the Fresno Bee observed in its editorial endorsement for Peterson.

Alex PadillaPraise for Bill Jones, Jerry Brown

The similarities even extend to their opinion of recent secretaries of state.

“Bill Jones successfully used technology to increase transparency, placing campaign finance information online, and posting live election results online in statewide elections,” Padilla said of the Republican who held the job from 1995 to 2003. Padilla also offered praise for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who held the post from 1971 to 1975.

In response to the same question, Peterson, who has said he is modeling his campaign off of Brown’s past secretary-of state campaign in 1970, offered similar praise for Jones.

“Bill Jones is my Honorary Campaign Chair, and in several ways, it feels that we are both approaching the office in similar environments,” Peterson said. “Bill came to an office that had become bureaucratic and antiquated. Over his two terms, he transformed the office into one that used technology (like Cal-Access) to make government more transparent and responsive.”

Pete PetersonBoth cautious, avoid strong positions on controversial issues

On civic engagement, Padilla said he’d “prioritize greater civic education through schools and community groups.” That’s not far from Peterson’s belief that the state “can be doing a better job in civics education at the high-school level to encourage greater youth civic participation.”

But everyone supports improving civics education. What about a controversial proposal to increase youth involvement in politics by lowering the voting age?

In last month’s Scottish independence referendum, 16 and 17 year olds were allowed to vote. It was a resounding success. Young people took the franchise seriously, registered to vote and then turned out in droves.

“Across Scotland, 90.1 percent of 121,497 16 and 17-year-olds have registered to vote,” one U.K. newspaper reported.

According to the Guardian, “Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, was so impressed, in fact, that he declared there was ‘not a shred of evidence for arguing that 16- and 17-year-olds should not be allowed to vote’.”

Polling showed a huge disparity in public opinion between younger voters who supported independence and older voters who opposed it.

Here in California, neither candidate for the state’s top election post was willing to embrace lowering the voting age. Both candidates demurred — only going so far as to embrace pre-registration for young voters.

Neither candidate champions disenfranchised voters with disabilities

Padilla and Peterson were similarly reluctant to champion the cause of advancing voting-rights complaints by people with disabilities.

VIDEO: Pete Peterson — Modernizing the secretary of state & cutting red tapeEarlier this year, a complaint filed by the Disability and Abuse Project alleged that Los Angeles Superior Court judges used literacy tests to deny voting rights to thousands of people with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities.

The group’s analysis of 61 conservatorship cases in Los Angeles County found that 90 percent of individuals were denied voting rights. With more than 40,000 conservatorships in California, the group extrapolates that thousands of Californians could be illegally deprived of their franchise.

Surely, the candidates for secretary of state would have an opinion about this denial of voting rights?

Padilla seemed completely unaware of the problem, offering a generic statement. “Every citizen has the right to vote and to have that vote counted,” he said. “While many people with disabilities prefer the convenience of vote-by-mail, there are privacy concerns, and some prefer to go to the polls.”

But his reply doesn’t begin to address the disenfranchisement occurring across the state, nor does it offer an opinion on whether “competency tests” should exist.

Peterson proved to be more familiar with the issue but said only that “he was hoping a court or Justice Dept decision might bring clarity to what the appropriate level of capacity should be.”

Peterson offers more specifics on transparency, business fee

About the only difference between the candidates was Peterson’s willingness to offer more specifics about his plans if elected to the position.

Peterson said he’d work to lower the business registration fee from $800 per year to $100, a level comparable with other states. He also definitely pledged to post his calendar online, a move that would aid the press and public, who currently are required to submit formal public records requests to get that information.

“I am committed to putting my calendar online so Californians know what their SoS is doing,” Peterson said.

Padilla didn’t directly answer the question, saying, “I will comply with the Public Records Act.”

While Peterson had more definitive positions on openness and transparency, he was less forthcoming about his vote for governor in the June 3 primary. In the new Top Two system, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown got the most votes. For the second slot, the battle was between two Republicans: Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari. Kashkari won and faces Brown on Nov. 4.

Padilla voted Brown.

Peterson has refused to endorse a candidate, but said he likes Kashkari’s stance on education issues.

Text of the CalWatchdog.com interviews

What follows is the full Q&A CalWatchdog.com conducted with the candidates.

Question: In the June Primary, whom did you vote for governor?

Padilla: Jerry Brown

Peterson: While I’m not endorsing candidates, I can repeat what we discussed in an earlier email exchange, that I like Neel’s focus on jobs and education. And, more recently, I was disappointed with Governor Brown’s decision to oppose the Vergara verdict, which I view (as the judge did, and Neel does) as a civil rights decision.

Question: In Scotland, 16 and 17 year olds were allowed to vote on the independence referendum. Should we lower the voting age in California?

Padilla: I support legislation to allow 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, so that they are automatically eligible to vote when they turn 18. And to increase turnout among young voters, I will prioritize greater civic education through schools and community groups.

Peterson: I don’t support lowering the voting age, but we can be doing a better job in civics education at the high school level to encourage greater youth civic participation, and I will be making proposals in this area. I do support the pre-registration of 17 year olds, and know we must reform our motor-voter registration system to make this easier to do.

Question: Business documents: As secretary of state, will you commit to putting all business registration documents online? Right now, there’s a processing delay and fee for copies. It’s unclear why the documents cannot be posted online. What other changes can we expect in the area of the office’s business programs?

Padilla: We need to make it easier and quicker to start a business in California. The first stop for entrepreneurs starting a new business is the Secretary of State’s office, and the business filing process should take no more than five business days. In the past, business owners have waited weeks, or even months, to get their registrations approved. That’s unacceptable. And yes, I will work to enable businesses to file online.

Peterson: I am committed to transitioning as many business filing processes to an online platform as soon as possible – particularly business registration and the filing of Statements of Information by LLCs. I am also committed to bringing transparency to how the $800/yr Business Franchise Tax is “spent” in Sacramento, then I will fight to reduce to $100 – similar to other states we compete against for small business jobs.

I am also exited about reforming the SoS office into a data gathering office on our “small business climate”, modifying our business registration and dissolution forms to survey businesses as to why the starting up in, and (unfortunately) leaving the state or closing. I want to make this data available on an annual basis.

Question: Openness and Transparency: Will you promise to post your calendar online? How will your administration interpret the California Public Records Act? Under what circumstances will you pursue an exemption from disclosure? What can voters expect in the area of openness and transparency?

Padilla: I will comply with the Public Records Act. I have proudly sponsored legislation to increase transparency and help restore trust in government, including requiring weekly disclosure of all campaign contributions and online disclosure of all advertisements. I will continue to push for greater disclosure if elected Secretary of State.

Peterson: First, I am committed to putting the SoS budget up online in a format that’s understandable by a 10-year old and an 80-year old. I have done some of this work with cities, and advise a data visualization company in Mountain View called OpenGov.com. Whether that platform or similar, we need transparency to how money is being spent in this agency.

I am committed to putting my calendar online so Californians know what their SoS is doing.

I’m not sure how to answer the PRA question. I have been a long-time advocate for government transparency, and promise to bring this perspective to the SoS office.

On a related matter, I am committed to fully cataloging the data resources compiled by the SoS office (in both voter engagement and business engagement), and making that data available (in a secure but “open” format) to all Californians who want to develop their own applications and visualizations. I look forward to working with civic tech organizations (like MapLight, others) to help them develop applications that are helpful to all Californians – whether in campaign finance reporting or business data reporting.

Question: Of recent CA Secretaries of State, who do you think did the best job, and most closely reflects your approach to the office?

Padilla: I admire Jerry Brown for sponsoring legislation to reform campaign finance reporting, and when that failed, he worked with citizen groups to pass the Political Reform Act of 1974.

I respect Bruce McPherson [Republican secretary of state from 2005-07] for visiting with election officials in each of California’s 58 counties, as I have during my campaign. Listening and learning from local elected officials is crucial to understanding how our elections work on the ground.

Bill Jones successfully used technology to increase transparency, placing campaign finance information online, and posting live election results online in statewide elections.

Debra Bowen did the right thing in decertifying unauditable electronic voting machines when legitimate questions were raised about the reliability and security of the vote.

Peterson: Over the last 20 years, Republicans have proven to be excellent Secretaries of State. Bill Jones is my Honorary Campaign Chair, and in several ways, it feels that we are both approaching the office in similar environments. Bill came to an office that had become bureaucratic and antiquated. Over his two terms, he transformed the office into one that used technology (like Cal-Access) to make government more transparent and responsive. He’s also known by “good government” advocates as conducting the operations of the office in a non-partisan way. He worked well with staff, and demonstrated a real commitment – again, over two terms – to the office.

I also know that Bruce McPherson was an excellent Secretary of State in his (almost) two years in the office. He, too, brought a non-partisan commitment to the office.

Question: In late July, Pete Peterson said he was “looking into the story” of disabled citizens being denied their right to vote. The complaint alleges people with disabilities were barred from voting. What are your thoughts on the disenfranchisement of disabled voters?

Padilla: Every citizen has the right to vote and to have that vote counted. While many people with disabilities prefer the convenience of vote-by-mail, there are privacy concerns, and some prefer to go to the polls. For those who prefer poll voting, counties are working to accommodate people with disabilities. In some counties, for example, there are provisions for curbside voting.

Peterson: I think what I said is that I wanted to “[follow] the case” as I was hoping a court or Justice Dept decision might bring clarity to what the appropriate level of capacity should be.

Question: Should Debra Bowen resign? Are you concerned about the administration of the upcoming election?

Padilla: The nuts and bolts of elections are administered at the local level, by county clerks and elections officials. I’ve met with elections officials in every one of California’s 58 counties and they are prepared for the November 2014 election.

I do not think it is necessary for Secretary Bowen to resign and I believe it would be disruptive this close to the election. During Secretary Bowen’s eight years in office, we have had 7 regular elections and 46 special elections, and we have not had controversies such as butterfly ballots or hanging chads. I intend to be a more active and visible Secretary of State as we work to modernize the office.

Peterson: The premise of my campaign has been that the office has not had committed, creative leadership for many years, and has regressed (relative to other states) in both voter engagement and business engagement. As of today, I don’t think we have a clear sense of how much time the Secretary is committing to the operations of the office, so I can’t say to what degree administration of the office is suffering.

This article was originally published on CalWatchdog.com

CHiPS pass around stolen nude photos of suspects

 

 

chipsCalifornia has come a long way from the innocent days of the “CHiPS” TV series of more than 30 years ago, starring Larry Wilcox and the heartthrob of teenage girls of that time, Eric Estrada, as state motorcycle cops.

Here’s latest, from the Contra-Costa Times:

MARTINEZ — The California Highway Patrol officer accused of stealing nude photos from a DUI suspect’s phone told investigators that he and his fellow officers have been trading such images for years, in a practice that stretches from its Los Angeles office to his own Dublin station, according to court documents obtained by this newspaper Friday.

CHP Officer Sean Harrington, 35, of Martinez, also confessed to stealing explicit photos from the cellphone of a second Contra Costa County DUI suspect in August and forwarding those images to at least two CHP colleagues. The five-year CHP veteran called it a “game” among officers, according to an Oct. 14 search warrant affidavit.

Harrington told investigators he had done the same thing to female arrestees a “half dozen times in the last several years,” according to the court records, which included leering text messages between Harrington and his Dublin CHP colleague, Officer Robert Hazelwood.

Contra Costa County prosecutors are investigating and say the conduct of the officers — none of whom has been charged so far — could compromise any criminal cases in which they are witnesses.

It also makes you wonder about the intelligence of the officers hired nowadays as CHiPS. Didn’t they know that, if they could leer into the digital lives of suspects, somebody eventually also could uncover their digital leering?

This also is another reason to cheer the recent decision by Apple to automatically encrypt all the communications on its devices — and to reject the FBI’s objections about the action supposedly compromising national security. Wired wrote:

At issue is the improved iPhone encryption built into iOS 8. For the first time, all the important data on your phone—photos, messages, contacts, reminders, call history—are encrypted by default. Nobody but you can access the iPhone’s contents, unless your passcode is compromised, something you can make nearly impossible by changing your settings to replace your four-digit PIN with an alphanumeric password.

Rather than welcome this sea change, which makes consumers more secure, top law enforcement officials, including US Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI director James Comey, are leading a charge to maintain the insecure status quo. They warn that without the ability to crack the security on seized smartphones, police will be hamstrung in critical investigations. John Escalante, chief of detectives for Chicago’s police department, predicts the iPhone will become “the phone of choice for the pedophile.”

But what if the perverts are in the government?

This article was originally published on CalWatchdog.com

CA is NOT the highest taxed state

You’ve probably heard California has the nation’s highest taxes.

Wrong.

We’re only third-worst, behind even worse New York and New Jersey, according to a new survey by the Tax Foundation’s new 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index.

Broken down, California ranks 50th — worst — on the income tax, for which we are gouged not just to the bone, but into the bone and down to the marrow.

Corporate taxes — 34th best — and salex taxes — 42nd best — only are a little better.

We’re somewhat better –14th best for both — on the unemployment insurance tax and the property tax — the latter due to the much-reviled Proposition 13, the 1978 tax cut. I hear rumors Democrats and their government-employee union controllers are going to move big time to gut Prop. 13 in the 2016 election. We’ll see. The defenders of Prop. 13 also have resources to keep California from going all the way to North Korea.

The Index noted:

“Anecdotes about the impact of state tax systems on business investment are plentiful. In Illinois early last decade, hundreds of millions of dollars of capital investments were delayed when then-Governor Rod Blagojevich proposed a hefty gross receipts tax. Only when the legislature resoundingly defeated the bill did the investment resume. In 2005, California-based Intel decided to build a multi-billion dollar chip-making facility in Arizona due to its favorable corporate income tax system. In 2010, Northrup Grumman chose to move its headquarters to Virginia over Maryland, citing the better business tax climate. Anecdotes such as these reinforce what we know from economic theory: taxes matter to businesses, and those places with the most competitive tax systems will reap the benefits of business-friendly tax climates.”

Blagojevich was convicted of extortion and currently is serving time at the Federal Correction Institution in Englewood. At least in that case taxpayers know where their stolen tax money ended up.

This piece was originally published at CalWatchdog.com

Prop. 48: Pechanga Opposes Expansion of Tribal Gaming

 

 

Pechanga logoA Native American tribe is spending big bucks to limit the expansion of tribal gaming in California.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians recently contributed $1 million to oppose Proposition 48, a controversial compact that would pave the way for off-reservation casinos in California. In the tribe’s view, the state’s agreement with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians would set a “bad precedent” and violate the spirit of Proposition 1A, the measure approved by voters in 2000 that authorized gaming on reservation land.

“Proposition 48 would allow a Nevada gambling company to use a rural tribe to build a casino on off-reservation land,” Mark Macarro, the tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, tells voters in a new ad. “48 would set a bad precedent — allowing off-reservation casinos.”

The tribe’s opposition to Prop. 48 is notable in that it has no vested financial interest in the outcome. Tribes with nearby casinos commonly use ballot measures and legislative approval of compacts as another front in their battle for the $7 billion tribal gaming market. In this case, Pechanga’s popular resort and casino in Temecula would be unaffected by the North Fork’s plans to build a casino in the Central Valley.

Its opposition to Prop. 48 seems motivated by an interest in preserving voter support for a system that has allowed the tribes to lift themselves out of poverty.

Referendum of controversial North Fork compact

In 2013, the Legislature narrowly approved Assembly Bill 277, a gaming compact that authorized the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to build and operate a casino with up to 2,000-slot machines. The 305-acre site is conveniently located off Highway 99 north of Fresno — nearly 40 miles away from the North Fork reservation.

That location would give the North Fork tribe a competitive advantage over the Table Mountain Rancheria tribe, which “played by the rules” and built a smaller casino on its reservation lands.

No on Prop 48

“Years ago, California Indian Tribes asked voters to approve limited casino gaming on Indian reservation land,” opponents of Prop. 48 write in their ballot argument. “While most tribes played by the rules, building on their original reservation land and respecting the voters’ wishes, other tribes are looking to break these rules and build casino projects in urban areas across California.”

Last week, the Table Mountain Rancheria, along with Pechanga, contributed $1 million to the No on 48 campaign, according to Capitol Weekly. In all, Table Mountain Rancheria has spent more than $10 million to oppose Prop. 48.

Prop. 48 bankrolled by Station Casinos

The North Fork tribe says that the land located off Highway 99 was associated with the tribe centuries ago.

“We’re getting back to the historical land that served as a reservation for our tribe in the 1850s,” Charles Banks-Altekruse, a spokesman for the tribe, told the Associated Press.

In addition to its controversial site, the compact would exempt the project from the state’s environmental regulations and benefit its Las Vegas casino operator, Station Casinos. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Las Vegas-based casino company would “reap 30 percent of the profit.”

Unsurprisingly, Station Casinos has bankrolled the “Yes on 48″ campaign. After the North Fork tribe, Station Casinos is the biggest contributor to the Yes on 48 campaign. According to state campaign finance disclosure reports, the Las Vegas-based casino giant has spent $375,000 to convince voters to approve the compact.

“Prop. 48 is not about Indian gaming,” Macarro said in a statement to the Press-Enterprise. “It is about a Las Vegas casino corporation making an end run to locate a casino in an urban area.”

Prop. 48: “Transforming California into Nevada”

Station Casinos’ support for the measure validates criticism that the North Fork compact could pave the way for Nevada-style gaming in California.

“Now, the North Fork tribe aims to change the face of tribal gaming, effectively transforming California into Nevada, where casino gambling is permitted practically anywhere and everywhere,” the Orange County Register wrote in its editorial against Prop. 48. “If that is what is to become of California, the issue should be put clearly before the state’s electorate and not by a ballot measure that does not inform voters that they are being asked, effectively, to ratify the precedent of off-reservation tribal casinos.”

If approved, the compact would provide the state with a one-time payment of between $16 million to $35 million, followed by $10 million annually over the next 20 years. The compact also requires the North Fork tribe to contribute less than 4 percent of slot revenues to the Wiyot Tribe, which has agreed not to build a casino on its nearby land.

Prop 48: Ballot Summary

A “Yes” vote approves, and a “No” vote rejects, tribal gaming compacts between the state and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe. Fiscal Impact: One-time payments ($16 million to $35 million) and for 20 years annual payments ($10 million) from Indian tribes to state and local governments to address costs related to the operation of a new casino.