Local News

Follow the Money on Ballot Initiatives

Voters cannot count on the truthfulness of signs around town or the various flyers and glossy ads flooding mailboxes before elections. Lots of dirty politics takes place in the attempt to sway voters one way or another—often times against their own best interest. This is true for individual candidate races and also for the often confusing initiatives that show up on the ballot each season.

One way of discerning which is the right way to go is to follow the money to find out who is funding campaigns which gives you a clue as to who truly benefits from a yes or no on the initiatives presented.

Campaigns are required to post the source of contributions several times before elections. This information can be found by visiting the elections portion of the secretary of state website at https://cal-access.sos.ca.gov.

Below are some of the initiatives on this upcoming November’s ballot, and information on funders.

Prop 1: Constitutional Right to Reproductive Freedom: Amends California Constitution to expressly include an individual’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom (to choose or refuse contraceptives, abortion, etc).

Yes: Planned Parenthood, Healthcare Organizations: $10 million.

No: Stop Prop 1 Committee: $68,870 (with $65,000 coming from East Valley Republican Women and Patriot Store, La Quinta, CA).

Prop 26: In-Person Sports Betting in Tribal Casinos: Allows in-person roulette, dice games, sports wagering on tribal lands. Also directs revenues to a general fund for gambling problem programs and enforcement.

Yes: Yes on 26, No on 27 – Coalition for safe, responsible gaming sponsored by California Indian Tribes: $110,469,143. Contributions from numerous California Indian Tribes.

No: Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies (a committee sponsored by licensed card clubs). $41,462,172. Funded by PT Gaming LLC, Garden City Inc. DBA Casino M8Trix, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Knighted Ventures LLC, California Grand Casino, Bumb & Associates Inc & Affiliated Entities, California Commerce Club, Inc, Flynt Management Group, LLC, Blackstone Gaming, LLC, Elevation Entertainment Group & Affiliated Entities and other card clubs and casinos and gambling associations.

Prop 27: Online Sports Betting: Allows online and mobile sports wagering outside tribal lands.

Yes: $169,248, 331: WSI US LLC, Las Vegas, Nevada, BetMGM LLC, Las Vegas, Bally’s Interactive LLC, Henderson, Nevada,  FBG Enterprises OPCO LLC, Jacksonville Florida, BetFair Interactive US, LLC Fanduel Sportsbook, Penn Interactive Ventures LLC, Pennsylvania,  Crown Gaming Inc, DraftKings, Boston, MA.

No: $91,219645: Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming sponsored by Tribal Organizations, San Manuel Band Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, Elk Valley Rancheria, Wilton Rancheria, and numerous other Native American tribes through the Yes on 26, No on 27 Committee.

Prop 29: Kidney Dialysis Clinics: Requires on-site licensed medical professional at kidney dialysis clinics and establishes other state requirements.

Yes: $7,395,711. Californians for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection, sponsored by Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers West, LA & Oakland, CA.

No: $85,933,867. Sponsored by patients, doctors, nurses & dialysis providers but actually funded by Davita, Inc, Washington DC, Fresenius Medical Care, Washington DC, and Newton, Kansas, Satellite Healthcare Inc, San Jose, CA, US Renal Care Inc, Plano, Texas, and Dialysis Clinic Inc, Nashville Tennessee.

Prop 30: Income Tax on Millionaires for Electric Cars: Provides funding for programs to reduce air pollution and prevent wildfires by increasing tax on personal income over $2 million.

Yes: $202,440 from CA Environmental Voters Issues Committee (major funding from Lyft, Inc), $190,000 from CA State Assoc. of Electrical Workers and above committee. $36,832,808 from Yes on 30 – Clean Air California (major funding from Lyft, Inc, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, with smaller contributions from Zinc Collective, CA Electric Transportation Coalition, Norman & Lyn Lear, Alan & Cindy Horn, Karla Jurvetson, Rocky Mountain Institute.

No: $11,504,943 with major contributions from venture capital firms including Arthur Rock & Co., Mark Heising of Medley Partners, Robert Emery of Tourmalet Capital, Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, PISCES Inc managing  director Robert J. Fisher, Mark Pincus founder of ZYNGA, William S. Fisher of Manzanita Capital, Bruce Karsh of Oaktree Capital Managemennt, LP, Benchmark Capital, Sierra Pacific Industries, Catherine Dean of Govern California;   Alphabet, CA Business Rountable PAC, numerous venture capital and investor groups and their CEOs and employees (Prime Group, Thoma Bravo, Spear Street Capital,  Iconiq Capital, MRB Capital,LLC , Bluebird Ventures,  OEL Ventures, Adelize Holdings, American Pacific Group, Sebastes Capital Management, Francisco Partners, Sage Group LLC, Bellco Capital), and individuals Leonard G. Baker, Jr, William H. Younger, Sr, Mary Jo & Richard Kovacevich, Russell Goldsmith, Louise Muhlfeld.

$500,000: CA Teachers Assoc PAC and CA Federation of Teachers COPE Ballot Committee.

Prop 31: Yes or No to Banning Flavored Tobacco Products.

Yes: $3,572,836: major funding from Michael J. Bloomberg and Kaiser Foundation; American Heart Assoc, CA Teachers Assoc. PAC, American Cancer Society Action  Network, SEIU CA State Issues Committee, American Lung Assoc. CA Dental Assoc.

No: $16,253,674: funded entirely by RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and Affiliates and Phillip Morris USA Inc & Affiliates under the committee name “Californians Against Prohibition.”

More non-partisan information about all things including explanations of the initiatives on your ballot is available at the League of Women Voters excellent website www.votersedge.org.

Below is information regarding upcoming forums on ballot measures hosted by the League of Women Voters:


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8 replies »

  1. Hi Sharon. I missed the $$$ part for council campaigns. Thanks for the reference.

  2. Hi Brady – you are right that all the financial info is straight from the candidate financial disclosure forms required to be posted on the state website and also available on the city website – and you probably know by now that the Observer Early October print issue has listed the money supporting each candidate so far – along with each candidate’s answers to questions. The paper only covered candidates for city council and school board. At the end of both features is the link to the info which readers may want to check to see the 496 form late contribution disclosures that may have come in after the 460 form filing date and any 460s submitted late that didn’t make this paper’s print date. Also check the mid-October issue for updates. Thanks!

  3. Not sure how this story could be biased; it lists documents filed with the state. Might have missed it, but will FO be doing a story about campaign funding RE council candidates?

  4. Yes – So terrible that is allowed. And same for all the lying that goes on in shiny election flyers and signs. Going to or tuning in online to the League of Women Voters candidate and Pro & Cons initiative forums can give clearer info too. The Observer is partnering with Fullerton College and Neighbors United For Fullerton in a live meet the candidate forum at 5:30pm to 7:30 on Mon Oct 17 at Room 224, 226, and 228. Should be interesting and I think they are going to film it for those who can’t make the live event.

  5. Better yet, read each proposition and discover what it really is about. The titles are purposefully misleading so voters, unfamiliar with context, will vote for something they do not want.

  6. Please see the current print issue for information on all the candidates in their own words and where they are getting their campaign funds. This particular article is just about the money behind the measures on the Nov ballot. The paper has nothing to do with propaganda. It does provide truthful information at all times and guards against misinformation which is especially rampant around election time.

  7. What about a “hometown” newspaper that is a propaganda machine for Zahra? You don’t ever hold him accountable and allow him without recourse to plagiarize articles on water as his own.