For immediate release: Aug. 3, 2020
Contact: Geoff Vetter, (916) 634-9051
What They’re Saying: California Media Skewers Attorney General Becerra for “Biased” Ballot Summaries
SACRAMENTO – Over the last week, multiple California media outlets have questioned California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s ability to impartially execute the responsibilities of his job and deliver fair and unbiased ballot labels and titles and summaries. Last Thursday, the Yes on Prop 22 campaign sued the attorney general for writing a false and misleading ballot summary that is “obviously calculated to create voter bias against Prop 22.”
From The San Diego Union-Tribune July 30 editorial:
“But the current attorney general, Xavier Becerra, rejects this in favor of putting his thumb on the scale. Backers of Proposition 22, which seeks to override Assembly Bill 5, the state’s contentious gig-economy law, sued Becerra on Wednesday.”
From The San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times July 24 editorial:
“Attorney General Xavier Becerra released the titles and summaries for the measures that will appear on the Nov. 3 statewide general election ballot, providing more evidence, as if any was needed, that this is a job for a neutral, nonpartisan analyst, not a partisan elected official.”
From The San Francisco Chronicle July 26 column:
“In the case of this year’s Proposition 22, the attorney general’s description all but cries out for voters to reject it. The best that can be said of the title is that it is woefully incomplete in stating that it “exempts app-based transportation and delivery companies from providing employee benefits to certain drivers.” Curiously, the attorney general’s Jan. 2 description for signature gathering was more expansive in spelling out the alternate benefits that would be extended to drivers who remained independent contractors. Organized labor, which heavily finances campaigns for Becerra and other Democrats, is lining up against Prop. 22.”
From The Southern California News Group July 22 editorial
“Tricking the electorate into believing they’re voting for one thing when they’re really getting another is a formula for increased cynicism. Distrust of government can spill over into other issues, and the consequences can be very severe.”
The ballot title and summary is printed in the California Official Voter Information Guide and a condensed version of the title and summary called the ballot label is printed on every ballot issued to California voters.
Election Code Section 9051 subsection (c) specifically states that, “In providing the ballot title and summary, the Attorney General shall give a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure in such language that the ballot title and summary shall neither be an argument, nor likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure.”
In January, the attorney general wrote an accurate title and summary. However, despite nothing changing in the law or in the measure, the attorney general rewrote a completely new title and summary on July 3.
Supporters of Prop 22 include a growing coalition of more than 75,000 California drivers, plus social justice, seniors, business, and community groups, and public safety organizations. By a 4:1 margin app-based drivers want to remain independent contractors, despite efforts by politicians to force them to become employees.
A study by the Berkeley Research Group confirms an employment model would further eliminate up to 900,000 app-based jobs, a reduction of between 80-90 percent of drivers currently driving today. These job losses will come at the worst possible time, when California is facing soaring unemployment and app-based work opportunities will provide a lifeline for people to earn income.
Proposition 22 would save this very important work, ensure driver flexibility, protect the ability of California’s one million app-based drivers to choose to work as independent contractors, and provide new earning guarantees and benefits. These include:
Prop 22 improves the quality of app-based work by requiring app-based platforms to provide drivers:
- Guaranteed minimum earnings, including compensation toward expenses
- Funding for new health benefits for drivers who work at least 15 hours a week
- Occupational accident insurance to cover injuries and illnesses on the job
- Protection against discrimination and sexual harassment
Prop 22 implements strong new public safety protections:
- Recurring background checks of drivers
- Mandatory new safety courses for drivers
- Zero tolerance for alcohol and drug offenses
- Making it a crime to impersonate a driver