ENDORSEMENTS: State ballot measures - Page 3


Vote no on Prop 16. Not just because it's an example of a big business single-handedly trying to alter the state constitution for its own economic benefit by pouring millions of dollars into a deceptive advertising campaign. Not just because a two-thirds majority vote requirement is anti-democratic. Not just because there were reports that the signature gatherers who got people to sign on in support of placing Prop. 16 on the ballot were telling people that its purpose was to limit PG&E expansion or encourage solar power. Not just because Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and a half dozen members of the Legislature sent a letter rebuking PG&E CEO Peter Darbee for disrespecting the democratic process by going straight to the ballot to undermine legislation it initially supported that enabled the creation of CCA programs. Not just because PG&E is using $35 million of ratepayer dollars (that's the check you wrote them for your electricity bill!) to put out slick TV ads for this campaign when it should have been repairing the pipelines under those manholes that keep exploding and messing up your morning commute. Not even just because with CCA, you already have the right to vote whether or not you want to be part of it, a choice PG&E will never give you. And not just because PG&E keeps trying to raise rates, which is much more difficult for municipal energy agencies to do.

If for no other reason, vote no because Prop. 16 flies in the face of everything environmentalists stand for. It's a measure that will thwart progress on fighting climate change, brought to you by the company that practically invented green-washing. PG&E is a huge nuclear power player; it purchases coal from mountaintop-removal coal mines in West Virginia that are completely devastating biodiverse landscapes in Southern Appalachia and screwing over poor people by tainting their drinking water; and it's in the process of building fossil fuel-fired power plants in poor communities of color in California. The CCA programs at least represent a glimmer of hope for an alternative model; Prop. 16 kills off that possibility with one fell swoop motivated by pure greed. For the love of justice, democracy, and the planet, vote no on Prop 16.





Mercury Insurance sponsored this measure and is campaigning for it with tens of millions of dollars, betting it can fool voters and make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits by doing so. And if the company is right, insurance rates will skyrocket for new drivers and those who haven't had continuous insurance coverage, which experts say will increase the number of uninsured drivers on the roadways and end up increasing insurance rates for everyone.

Mercury and its founder George Joseph have been truly malevolent players in California, exploiting their customers to make billions of dollars in profits, attacking California's landmark insurance reform measure Prop. 103 with lawsuits and corrupting campaign contributions over more than 20 years, and flouting insurance regulators in such brazen fashion that even Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a conservative Republican, recently chastised the company for its "lengthy history of serious misconduct" (see "Buying power," March 17).

Now, however, the company is hoping its promise to cut the insurance premiums of drivers who have maintained continuous coverage by "as much as $250 per year" will buy their votes and that they'll overlook the myriad negative impacts of increasing everyone else's premiums by $1,000 per year or more, based on Mercury's own estimates.