Jonathan Kraut | Misleading Ads and the Truth on State Props

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I am used to TV radio ads directing me to vote because of untrue sweeping statements. And now I get these same maligning messages on YouTube.

Lately when I click on a video I am forced to hear, “Katie Hill will vote with Nancy Pelosi to increase our taxes… and take away our doctors.”

Of course, this depiction of Katie is completely false. Katie is not always going to agree and vote with Minority Leader Pelosi nor does she have the supernatural power to “take away our doctors.”

The same types of media misrepresentation apply to some state propositions on the ballot this Nov. 6.

Not trusting what these ads portray, I actually like to read the fine print. I hope my summaries may help you make some informed choices.

Proposition 1 would authorize about $4 billion in bond sales for “housing assistance.” At an actual cost of about $6 billion to taxpayers, much of these funds are giveaways and grants to developers and as free house down-payments for families that can’t afford a new house. I am voting NO on Prop. 1.

Proposition 2 is a bond measure that would be costing taxpayers $1.5 billion and is similar to recently passed L.A. County Props. H and HHH. Prop. 2 hopes to fund mental illness and drug addict transitional housing in the same ineffective ways as H and HHH.

While I like caring for the mentally ill, I am voting NO on Prop. 2 because paying for drug addicts to stay in state-funded housing without requiring them to quit drugs simply promotes continued drug use.

Proposition 3: Last June, voters approved $3 billion to be spent on “water projects and watershed protection.” As though $3 billion is not enough, the state is asking for $9 billion more at the cost to taxpayers of about $18 billion. Because there are vague and unclear uses for these funds, I am voting NO.

• Proposition 4, at the cost of $3 billion to taxpayers, asks to repair and upgrade children’s clinics at University of California hospitals and nonprofit hospitals like Children’s Hospital. Although I know this bond measure uses “children” as an excuse to raise funds, I like the fact I know where this money would go and our hospitals need updated equipment and facility upgrades. I am voting YES on Prop. 4.

• Proposition 5: This proposition slightly diminishes property taxes for those over 55 by allowing a transfer of part of the old property tax base as credits when buying a new house. This prop makes it easier for us old folks to sell our homes for a more appropriate dwelling while minimizing the property tax assessment on the new property. I am voting YES.

• Proposition 6 asks voters to repeal Prop. 69, which voters stupidly passed last June. YES on Prop. 6 will repeal fuel tax increases and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017, forcing the Legislature to spend more wisely the monies we already pay in fuel taxes. YES also will require voter approval for any new fuel taxes, ending the state Legislature’s ability to affect new fuel assessments and new vehicle fees.

• Proposition 7 allows the Legislature to tinker at will with daylight savings time. I am voting NO.

Proposition 8: I like this proposal as it limits clinic profits to 115 percent of the direct cost of kidney dialysis. Right now, dialysis clinics gouge Medi-Cal and the patients with huge treatment costs. The ads lie when they portray that 66,000 will die of kidney failure if this bill is passed. The profit margin for treating these patients will simply be once again reasonable.

There is no Prop. 9.

• Proposition 10 removes restrictions on what local jurisdictions can impose over landlords. Somehow thinking that artificially lowering the cost of rent will help house the poor and elderly, I see this measure as actually encouraging the complete teardown of cheap housing and building luxury residences in its place. I am voting NO.

• Proposition 11: Currently 911, operators, ambulance drivers and emergency medical technicians are forced to sit on paid breaks while extra bodies are employed simply as rotating fill-ins. This proposition exempts these folks from the state’s uninterrupted break laws. I am voting YES on Prop. 11. 

• Proposition 12 calls for more humane quarters for some animals and livestock. We may as well treat animals better if we can. If this costs our farmers and ranchers more, supply and demand will move any increases back to consumers. I am voting YES.

Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations firm, is the CFO of a private security firm, is the COO of at an acting conservatory, a published author and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.     

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