November 2008 Voter Guide

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This MIV 2008 Voter Guide was written to make the issues on the ballot easier to understand for everyone. We hope that the information and recommendations in this guide will help you to understand the ballot issues that will benefit low-income immigrant and other marginalized communities, and those that threaten them.

Exercising the right to vote is just one way to make an impact. We need to stay involved after Election Day to help make the long-term changes that we all need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

  • Our Voice is critical on Election Day.
  • Take Action – VOTE on November 4th!

Use your vote to support ballot issues that address the most important needs of immigrants and their families -- quality education, good jobs, health care, public benefits, affordable housing, healthy environments, and human dignity.

When you vote on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 4th You speak for yourself, your family, and your community!

These voter guides are available in Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. You can browse them online at . Your organization can get these voter guides for FREE by becoming a MIV campaign partner!


What's in this guide

  • Information about issues on the ballot this Election Day!
  • Decide how to vote!
  • Information to share with your community, family and friends!

You can also…

  • Make copies and distribute this guide at community events!
  • Take this Guide with you to the polling place!
  • For more guides, visit to find an MIV participating organization in your area

For more information about the MIV campaign go to:

Recommendations from the MIV Campaign

  • PROP 4 Denying Youth Access to Healthcare NO
  • PROP 5 Funding for Rehabilitation, Not Prisons YES
  • PROP 6 Criminalizing Youth and Immigrants (Runner Initiative) NO
  • PROP 7 Increased Production of Renewable Energy NO
  • PROP 8 Denial of Rights to Same-Sex Couples NO
  • PROP 9 Limiting Constitutional Due Process Rights NO
  • Prop 10 Funding to Promote Alternative Energy and Fuel NO
  • Prop 11 Redistricting NO

Three statewide ballot initiatives that are not related to our platform issues are not covered in this voter guide. For information about Propositions 1, 2, and 12, please visit

Proposition 3: Funding for Children’s Hospitals

Proposition 3 authorizes $980,000,000 in bonds from the State’s General fund for the construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing, and equipping of children’s hospitals. A bond is a loan to the state by wealthy investors or private banks, which the state promises to pay back with interest. Bonds must be approved by voters because voters pay back the bond with their taxes, which could instead be used to fund other programs or services.

80% of the funds would be allocated to non-profit hospitals that serve large numbers of Medi-Cal recipients and other underserved members of our communities. However, community clinics and county hospitals, which are often primary healthcare providers for low-income communities, would not be eligible to receive these funds. Some healthcare advocates are concerned that this money would mostly be used for new equipment rather than for expansion of services. We believe in increasing access to quality healthcare for low-income people, including immigrants. However we have concerns that these funds may not address the most important healthcare needs of our communities.

We remain neutral on Prop. 3.

Proposition 4: Denying Youth Access to Health Care

Right now, a young woman under the age of 18 years can go to a health care provider to terminate a pregnancy if she chooses to do so. This is a right that young women have under the California Constitution. Prop. 4 would change the law and require a health care provider to notify the parents or guardians of a young woman at least 48-hours prior to terminating a pregnancy.

We recognize that this issue may be controversial and very personal. We also believe that it is being used to divide our communities. In our discussions with community members statewide, people agreed that encouraging greater communication within a family is a good goal. However, this initiative does not provide parents with the tools to communicate with their kids or funding to educate youth about their reproductive health. There were also concerns that this initiative would increase obstacles to accessing reproductive health services and could force young women to turn to unsafe options. We believe that women should have greater access to preventative healthcare as well as the right to make their own choices regarding their reproductive health.

We recommend: No on Prop. 4.

Proposition 5: Funding for Rehabilitation, Not Prisons

This initiative would reform parole and sentencing guidelines for nonviolent drug offenders, and would increase funding for individualized treatment and rehabilitation. It would provide funds specifically for drug treatment, support programs for at-risk youth and re-direct more people convicted of minor offenses into community-based treatment programs. According to the Legislative Analyst’s office, it would reduce the number of nonviolent offenders sent to prison and save the State money because fewer prisons would need to be built.

Proposition 5 addresses substance abuse more as a health issue than a criminal matter. It would help to address the underlying problems of addiction and improve the health of our communities by investing more money into rehabilitation and treatment and less into prisons.

We recommend: Yes on Prop. 5.

Proposition 6: Criminalizing Youth and Immigrants (Runner Initiative)

Proposition 6 focuses on prisons and harsher penalties as the solution to crime, instead of prevention and rehabilitation. Prop. 6 would increase funding for prisons, increase criminal penalties for some crimes, and establish a statewide gang registry. Youth fourteen or older charged with a “gang-related” felony would be automatically tried as adults, even for nonviolent crimes. Community groups would be prevented from giving input on youth rehabilitation. Prop. 6 would limit constitutional rights by denying bail to all immigrants thought to be undocumented, even if they are never charged or convicted of a crime. It would also require local law enforcement officials to record the immigration status of anyone booked, charged, or convicted of a felony, supporting cooperation between immigration officials and local law enforcement. This could lead to increased deportations and more family separation.

Prop. 6 will hurt our communities because it unjustly targets immigrants, youth, low-income people of color, and it takes money away from the state budget that could otherwise support education and health programs.

We recommend: No on Prop. 6.

Proposition 7: Increased Production of Renewable Energy

Current California laws mandate that by the year 2010, 20% of the energy we receive through our electric lines must come from renewable and cleaner sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric energy. This proposition would require energy providers to double that requirement, amounting to 40% by the year 2020 and 50% by the year 2025. Restrictions would be placed on passing these costs to consumers, with a maximum 3% rate increase.

We agree that there is an immediate need to switch to better energy sources for future generations. Production of renewable energy is crucial for a cleaner environment and the well-being of our communities. However, this proposition is controversial among organizations who work to improve the environment within communities of color, where the impacts of contamination and pollution are disproportionately high. Currently development of non-renewable energy does not adequately involve the most vulnerable communities in decision-making, often resulting in displacement and/or contamination for low-income communities of color and immigrants. This proposition does not include language to address this issue, and in fact reduces the amount of time allotted for public review and input.

We recommend: No on Prop. 7.

Proposition 8: Denial of Rights to Same-Sex Couples

Recently the California Supreme Court ruled that denying the right for same-sex couples to marry was unconstitutional and discriminatory. Prop. 8 would re-write the California Constitution so that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California – allowing discrimination against same-sex couples and denying them the respect, dignity and benefits that come with marriage. The current California Constitution promises the same basic rights and freedoms to everyone, and that no one group can be singled out for unfair treatment. Prop. 8 undermines that promise and singles out one group of people – same-sex couples -- for unequal treatment under the law.

Community members in our Issue Analysis Forums statewide agreed that this is a civil rights issue and that we cannot accept discrimination against anyone. We oppose efforts that divide our communities and deny basic rights to any members of society.

We recommend: No on Prop. 8.

Proposition 9: Limiting Constitutional Due Process Rights

California has very strong laws that protect the rights of crime victims. Proposition 9 includes some provisions to expand the rights of victims, but would significantly limit the constitutional rights of people convicted of crimes. For people eligible for parole, it would reduce the number of parole hearings from once per year to once every 3-15 years. It would make it more difficult to be released on bail or granted parole by expanding the standards that must be met. It would also remove the right to free legal assistance for low-income people in parole revocation hearings.

This proposition would disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. Although the rights of crime victims are important, it is also important that everyone have a fair chance in the judicial process. Rather than more jail time, our state should focus on rehabilitation so that people convicted of a crime are able to positively integrate back into society.

We recommend: No on Prop. 9.

Proposition 10: Funding to Promote Alternative Energy and Fuel

Proposition 10 would grant $5 billion in bonds to be paid from the State’s General Fund to pay for incentives promoting alternative energy and fuel for a cleaner environment. This would include funding to purchase alternative fuel vehicles; research, development, and technology for alternative energy and fuel; and more. A bond is a loan to the state by wealthy investors or private banks, which the state promises to pay back with interest. Bonds must be approved by voters because voters pay back the bond with their taxes, which could instead be used to fund other programs or services.

Switching to vehicles that do not use as much gasoline or use alternative fuel is an important step towards reducing pollution and its health impacts. However, we are concerned that this proposition relies too heavily on taxpayers. By contrast, Proposition 87 in 2006 (failed) would have drawn the funding necessary for the incentives by taxing oil companies, instead of from taxpayer money. We believe the private sector should invest more in these new technologies, rather than passing the cost on to the public.

We recommend: No on Prop. 10.

Proposition 11: Redistricting

Proposition 11 would change the way California decides on the boundaries for districts for certain elected offices. Every 10 years, the Legislature uses information from the census about changes in population to re-draw the boundary lines. This is called redistricting. Currently, district lines are drawn by the State Legislature. One criticism of the current process is that many districts have been drawn so that they are made up overwhelmingly of voters who belong to one political party, concentrating electoral power for that political party in certain areas. Under Proposition 11, the responsibility for drawing district lines for the State Assembly and Senate would be taken away from elected officials in the Legislature. Prop. 11 would create an independent commission of citizen volunteers which would decide on the boundary lines for California Legislative districts, and would set up new rules to decide how the boundaries are drawn.

While MIV agrees that redistricting reform is needed to make elections more fair and politicians more accountable, Proposition 11 does not do enough to guarantee that people of color, women, and low-income people will be adequately represented among the 14-person commission. It also does not adequately ensure that minority communities’ voting rights will be protected by the new rules, creating the risk that our communities will be divided into different districts, diluting our voting power.

We recommend: No on Prop. 11.

How this guide was developed

With input from community members, partner organizations, and allies, the Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) Coordinating Committee developed an Immigrant Voices Platform (see pp 4-5) outlining our priority issues and values to help guide our recommendations on specific ballot initiatives. Nine of the twelve initiatives on the November 4th statewide ballot are related to issues in our platform. We held Issue Analysis Forums around the state, inviting immigrant and low-income communities of color – workers, parents and students -- to discuss and analyze the impact of these initiatives on our communities. We took input from community members in these forums, spoke with allies, and reflected back on our own platform to develop the voting recommendations for this booklet.

Our “YES” recommendation is made with the belief that the initiative will help low-income immigrant communities. Our “NO” recommendation is made with the belief that the initiative will harm low-income immigrant communities. A neutral position means that we did not hear an agreement from community members and allies, and our own collaborative felt it would be best not to make a specific recommendation. This guide will help you decide for yourself. We encourage you to discuss all the issues on the ballot with others in your community to arrive at your own voting decisions.

For information on the three statewide ballot initiatives not covered in this voter guide, please visit

About MIV

The Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) California Collaborative is a multi-ethnic coalition of community-based organizations across the state working to register, educate and mobilize immigrant communities for electoral participation. We believe immigrants bring strength, diversity, and economic vitality to our state and the whole country, but our voices are not being heard on important issues. Voting is one way to make our priorities known and to demonstrate our power. We need a stronger voice on Election Day!

Mobilize the Immigrant Vote 2008 California Campaign is coordinated by: Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (BAIRC), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Partnership (CAP), Korean Resource Center (KRC), Partnership for Immigrant Leadership & Action (PILA) and Services, Immigrant Rights, & Education Network (SIREN).

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