Balance of State Measure Recommendations by LPSF for Mailer & Website

Hi All. Since we didn't finish these up in our last meeting, I promised I
would research them more and provide input for our recommendations for the
mailer and website. Prop 11 was complicated, so sorry for the windy
explanation on this one. Please read, review, advise your thoughts, and
vote on each measure by Friday so we can finish this off.

*Prop 2 (Authorizes Bonds to Fund Housing for Homeless Individuals with
Mental Illness or at Risk for Chronic Homelessness)*. I’m revisiting this
one because during the September meeting, I said that this proposition was
another bond issue, and we saved time during the meeting by recommending a
NO vote on all bond issues, as we usually do. However, I took a closer
look at this one because I noticed that the San Diego LP recommended a YES
vote on this one, so maybe I missed something. They were correct that this
is not a traditional bond measure since the money to repay the bonds and
interest would come from Prop 63, the tax on millionaires the voters
approved in 2004. Hence, theoretically this proposition would be revenue
neutral, something that might change our recommendation. The legislature
created the “No Place Like Home Program” in 2016 for homelessness housing
in 2016, but with no dedicated funding, so the intent is to fund it with
the extractions from Prop 63. The courts are currently ruling on whether
it’s legal for the state to use the funding for various county mental
health services for the state homelessness program, but if the voters
approve the measure, the court’s approval would not be needed. Of course
none of this is any good from a Libertarian viewpoint, but if the
extractions are going to happen, it’s probably best to leave the money with
the counties rather than giving it to the state to waste, though the
counties could waste it too. And of course bonds are bonds—never a good
thing to begin with—but if the government agency is going to do something,
why not pay for it from the current budget rather than with expensive bonds
that end up costing almost twice as much? SDLP’s reasoning is,
“Understanding that the taxes have already been collected, the SDLP is in
favor of making more clear the dedicated expenditures of the already
collected funds.” This is not clear to me at all why we would support
another government program destined to waste money which will be paid with
borrowed money and which will transfer control from the counties to the
state. Bad as Prop 63 is, I think the money is better spent leaving it
with the counties, which are primarily charged with providing mental health
care for folks without private coverage. I’m still recommending a NO vote.

*Prop 11 (Requires Private-Sector Emergency Ambulance Employees to Remain
On-Call During Work Breaks)*. This measure has several things that are
abhorrent to Libertarians, like “requiring” several things that obviously
should be decided between employers and employees, but I’m still
recommending a YES vote on this one for the following reason. The state
created an impossible problem for employers like security firms and ER
companies by requiring that all employees be granted “real” breaks where
they step away from their job for a short time and not have to deal with
any job-related functions. Obviously this mandate wouldn’t work for
companies like security services or ER services where you can’t just step
away from your job, even for a short time, because the place may get robbed
or the person needing to get transported to the hospital may die in 5
minutes. These kinds of jobs are unique, and the folks voluntarily
choosing to take them are obviously aware of the job requirements, so they
shouldn’t have any problem with them because they knew what they were
getting into. In actual practice, security guards and ER folks have not
been getting their mandated “real” breaks for a long time because it’s just
not practical in their industries, and they have been “on call” when
they’ve been on breaks, but by the same token (per the ballot measure),
“EMT’s and paramedics are often unable to plan their meal and rest breaks. As
a result, most ambulance shifts include down time between emergency calls. As
a result, crews often have enough down time in their shift to take
uninterrupted meal and rest breaks even though they are technical on call.”
So, they’ve technically been breaking the law for years, and it’s been
working out just fine. What prompted this ballot measure is a court
decision where employees of a security firm shamefully sued their employer
because they didn’t get “real” breaks and they wanted back pay for all the
time they didn’t get “real” breaks, and the court ruled in their favor. It
is highly likely that this situation will now be applied to ER employees,
and some of them have sued their employers and are looking for a shakedown
too. That’s how they came up with Prop 11, which now “requires” the ER
employees to be “on call” and not get the “real” breaks everyone else is
required to get. In addition, Prop 11 will shield the ER companies from
having to pay all the back pay for the missed “real” breaks, and it adds in
a politically correct requirement for giving the ER employees mental health
services and training. So a one-size-fits-all mandate that simply did not
fit security and ER companies gave birth to a measure with more
requirements. Both LPCA, Santa Clara LP, and SDLP recommended a NO vote,
but I see it differently since this helps ambulance companies do their job
without incurring a lot of extra costs that eventually would be paid by
someone (anyone taking an ambulance who has private insurance). It helps
to fix a problem that was caused by a mandate and allows the ambulance
companies to more or less go back to operating like they were (ignoring the
law) without anyone getting hurt. I could do without the parts of the
proposition that mandate when the breaks take place and the mental services
requirement, but those parts are minor, and overall I see the proposition
as solving a government-caused problem with a mostly satisfactory solution.
Just insisting that we do not approve of mandates and government
requirements that obviously shouldn’t exist isn’t going to do anything when
clearly the government has its nose firmly fixed in between employees and
employers, and it’s not removing that nose anytime soon. I recommend a
reluctant YES vote.

*Prop 12 (Establishes New Standards for Confinement of Specified Farm
Animals)*. This measure creates new minimum requirements for farmers to
provide more space for hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal, and
it also bans the sale of products that don’t measure up to the new animal
housing standards. First of all, we already have Prop 2, which the voters
passed 10 years ago, which contains housing requirements for such animals,
and there’s already another law which made it illegal for businesses to
sell eggs where they knew the cages did not meet the Prop 2 standard.
public interest in animal welfare has been increasing over the years, and
many grocery stores and restaurants are voluntarily already moving towards
requiring their food suppliers to give their animals more moving space. So,
why pass another law mandating more requirements when society is already
organically moving in that direction? Also this proposition is heavy on
enforcement, and it even talks about having “to check that farmers in
California *and other states* that sell to California use animal hosing
that meets the measure’s requirements (my emphasis).” Pay for bureaucrats
to travel to other states to ensure that everything is kosher? I recommend
a NO vote on this unnecessary measure.


Thank you Aubrey for your thoughtful and well-reasoned statements.


Here's a very long argument arguing for No on Prop 11 that I copied from

Friends and Neighbors,

I am sharing a plea written by my coworker in EMS to vote no on Proposition 11. It is currently California law that all workers receive a break in which they are not on call. As this is unrealistic in a 911 environment, we can still get pulled off our breaks to respond to a call, but we are compensated for a missed break. AMR is attempting to remove the compensation requirement, and their campaign makes it sound as if it is safer for the community to do so. This is untrue, as we always have been, and still will be, "on call" to respond to you and your family. Passing Prop 11 will only reduce our rights as EMS workers. Please remember when you see advertisements for this, that AMR has millions of dollars to spend on advertising, and our EMS workers union does not, so we have to rely on word of mouth and forums like this to spread the word.

Please read the passage below, and please vote NO on Prop 11. Sharing this would be appreciated as well. Thank you!

A little more detail regarding Prop 11:

The current practice regarding meal breaks for emergency medical services (EMS) workers:

EMS workers can ask for a lunch/meal/rest break, which are usually ½ hour in duration and up to two of these per 10-12 hour shift.

Contrary to what Prop 11 is suggesting, these breaks DO NOT exempt EMS workers from responding to 911 emergencies. If an emergency call goes out, the closest unit MUST respond, even if they are on a break.

If this were to happen, EMS workers are compensated, as they will not receive a “replacement” break for this.

For example: Ambulance Unit 35 is granted a break and the on-duty crew goes into a restaurant and pays for their food. While the food is being made, a 911 emergency comes out and they are dispatched to this call. They leave behind this food (and the money spent to buy it); unless the crew is fortunate enough to return to the restaurant later that day, they miss out on this meal and don’t get a refund.

If Prop 11 passes, private ambulance companies can continue this current practice of having EMS workers on duty during their lunch breaks, but without compensating them for interrupted breaks. While the verbage suggests that companies would attempt to reschedule the break, there is no guarantee that this will ever happen, as is the case currently. EMS workers would still be at the mercy of the 911 system and given the unpredictable nature of EMS, there is no realistic way of avoiding this.

It is well known that the burnout rate in EMS is high: a stressful working environment coupled with long hours (12 and 24 hour shifts) and few, if any breaks, leads to emotional and physical fatigue for EMS workers. Keep in mind there are no restrooms on an ambulance, no microwaves to heat food, and no refrigerator to keep food cold. Imagine EMTs and paramedics who have not had a break in 10 hours; they are hungry, fatigued, haven’t used a bathroom in 4 hours, and they are now responding to your emergency. Or your parent’s. Or your child’s.

These breaks genuinely enable EMS workers to have access to basic human rights i.e. running water, toilets etc.

As mentioned above, the 911 system cannot guarantee breaks. But if EMS workers are forced to operate in these strenuous conditions, they deserve appropriate compensation for the loss of these breaks. Removing one of the few protections our public safety workers have will in turn lead to degradation of mental and physical wellbeing, lower workforce morale, increased sick calls, higher rates of turnover, and as a consequence, poorer patient care as a whole.

These workers sacrifice a great deal to serve our public; they work 24/7 - holidays, nights and weekends to ensure your safety. Beyond simply thanking them for their service, they deserve our support at the polls.

For the reasons above I will be voting NO on Prop 11.

Hi Rebecca. Thanks for posting this. More food for thought on a
complicated ballot measure. I just reread the posting and also Prop 11
again. First of all, the post was written by a union member (possibly a
union official), and I'm sorry to say that, as a rule, union people only
care about their own members and not the society at large. Second, in the
analysis by the Legislative Analyst, it does note that the problems in the
industry with EMT's and paramedics taking uninterrupted breaks, but it also
mentions the other half of the equation that the union person conveniently
left out: "At the same time, most ambulance shifts include down time
between emergency calls. (Urban areas tend to have less down time than
rural areas do.) As a result, crews often have enough down time in their
shift to take uninterrupted meal and rest breaks even though they are
technically on call." By neglecting to mention this significant point, the
cheerleading for the "exploited" workers seems suspicious.

As Libertarians, all we really care about here is which outcome will lead
to more freedom for all concerned without government coercion. The first
coercion was the state law mandating breaks. Apparently the industry kind
of ignored the mandate and seemed to get along OK until disgruntled
employees used the power of government to enforce the law. The court
decision will most likely apply now to ER workers, even though the lawsuit
was by security guard personnel. Prop 11 is a step in the direction of
allowing the ER industry to operate like it did before the court decision.
Mind you, it does contain unnecessary mandates like requiring mental health
services and when breaks cannot be taken, but again I consider those minor
compared to the basic issue of letting the industry operate "hands-off"
like before the court decision. Per the Legislative Analyst again, "In
effect, the measure continues the *industry practice of requiring* (my
emphasis) EMT's and paramedics to remain on call during breaks." Please
note this is an industry requirement due to the nature of the job, not a
government requirement, as we prefer it to be. As always, the folks who
choose to take this type of job should have known what they were getting
into--and even if they didn't, what stops them from quitting and working in
a different industry if the conditions are too harsh--so I have zero
sympathy for the bellyaching.

I will stick with my YES recommendation, but welcome other angles or
thoughts on this one.


Thanks Aubrey for posting these, sorry I have not responded already. I am with you for NO on 2 and 12, but I don't see a practical reason to support 11. I can't imagine a scenario in which ambulance workers will fail to respond to an emergency because they are on a state mandated break. If they do, I doubt they will have much of a career. If they break the law and work through a break, is the state really going to go after this? I'm more inclined to o agree this is a political move than addressing a serious issue. Call me an optimist but I just don't see that happening. I will still say NO on 11.

More on Prop 11 from the Chronicle:
"This issue should be resolved in the Legislature, with all parties at the table to negotiate and compromise. Vote no on Prop. 11."

This proposition plus the kidney proposition (8) shouldn't even be in the ballot to begin with.


Most excellent analysis. Thank you for sending Rebecca.