(Oct. 26, 2006) -- The most recent poll by Public Policy Institute of CA shows bare majorities of likely CA voters favoring the two costliest proposed taxpayer debt measures on the November 7 ballot: Prop 1B (increased port-related "goods movement" infrastructure capacity, begins mitigation, provides funds for projects that could include freeway carpool lanes and local streets: $20 billion debt) and Prop 1D (additional educational facilities: $10 billion debt).
The poll (likely voters October 15-22, total sampling error +/-2%) shows Prop 1B favored by 51% (no change from last month) with 38% opposed. Prop 1D is favored by 51% (up from 49% last month) with 39% opposed. Two less costly taxpayer debt measures, Prop 1C and 1E (affordable housing and flood control, respectively) are favored by slightly higher margins.
The measures were part of a package placed on the ballot, with support from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, by the Democrat-controlled state legislature without collecting petition signatures.
LB residents recently began receiving print material supporting Prop 1B (port/transportation infrastructure) bolstered by L.A. market radio ads, both tailored to mention local freeways...but Prop 1-B doesn't list or ensure specific local freeway projects. As written by state lawmakers, the measure gives non-elected officials roles in determining how and where to spend the money -- after the election -- with final appropriations left to state lawmakers.
Among the highest stated priorities for the Port of LB is rebuilding the Gerald Desmond bridge which would let new mega-capacity container ships (larger than today) reach the Port's inner harbor and bring larger container volumes.
Groups ranging from the Coalition for Clean Air to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n aren't supporting Prop 1B (both groups are neutral)...and the Republican candidate for Lt. Governor Tom McClintock openly opposes it. "Although some of this money is for long overdue road construction, most goes for equipment, maintenance and social programs that will be obsolete decades before our children have finished paying off the debt. Californians pay the third highest tax per gallon of gasoline in the country -- and yet we rank 43rd in per capita spending on highways. Our neglected roads are not the taxpayers’ fault," Lt. Gov. candidate McClintock says on his campaign website.
The LB City Council endorsed Prop 1B early on...before the Sacramento demise of two bills that would have given the public a legal guarantee against worsened air with port expansion ("no net increase" in pollution) and a container fee to help fund security, air quality and rail-related projects. In August, Assembly Democrats blocked advance of the "no net increase" bill and in September, Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed the container fee bill...both of which were authored by State Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV).
Sen. Lowenthal and LB Mayor Bob Foster, who both strongly urged Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the container fee measure, continue to support Prop 1-B as does the LB Area Chamber of Commerce, which urged Gov. Schwarzenegger to veto the container fee bill. As previously reported by LBReport.com Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal told the crowd gathered at the Port of LB's "Green Port" open house in early October that she strongly supports Prop 1B.
But some LB activists are not on board. Former 9th district Council office aide and NLB activist Dan Pressburg traveled to Los Angeles to tell an October 18 Senate Transportation Committee "informational hearing" on Prop 1B (at which chair Sen. Lowenthal was the only state lawmaker present) that without the "no net increase" and container fee bills, Prop 1B should be defeated.
[Separate coverage coming on LBReport.com regarding this "informational hearing" at which Sen. Lowenthal scheduled LB Mayor Foster as the first witness...and pressed PoLB Executive Director Dick Steinke on future funding sources to address clean air issues.]
Several months ago, veteran WLB activist John Cross urged the City Council not to support Prop 1B, arguing that port-clean up costs should be paid by polluters, not taxpayers.
The "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities," in which the Ports of LB and L.A. are both members, opposed the "no net increase" and container fee bills in the legislature. The Port of LB remained publicly neutral on the bills while the City of LB, via unanimous 2005 City Council votes, supported both measures.
In July 2006, the Ports of LB and L.A. unveiled an ambitious, self-generated draft "Clean Air Action Plan"...but (unlike state legislation) it's not legally binding...and in draft form doesn't promise "no net increase." In July, Sen. Lowenthal commended the Ports for their ambitious draft Plan...but publicly stated that it needed both the "no net increase" bill (to ensure enforcement) and the container fee measure ("show us the money"). The Ports' draft "Clean Air Action Plan," on which the public was invited to comment at multiple community meetings during the summer, is expected to be acted on by the Ports' respective non-elected Harbor Commissions after the election. The Schwarzenegger administration has also scheduled release of its proposed statewide "goods movement" plan until after the election.
Other key findings in the October Public Policy Institute of CA survey:
- Prop 1C ($2.85 billion affordable housing bond): 56% percent of likely voters support this measure, while 34 percent are opposed. Support was similar in September (57%).
- Prop 1D ($10.4 billion education facilities bond): 51% of likely voters support it (up slightly from 49% last month) while 39% oppose it. That's despite 87% of likely voters saying state spending on school facilities important to their region, and 61 percent say it is very important.
- Prop 1-E ($4.1 billion water and flood control bond) has 53% support with 36% opposed.
- Prop 84, a measure put on the ballot with petition signatures that would provide about $5.4 billion for water, flood control, natural resources, parks, and conservation projects, has split likely voters: 42% yes, 43% no.
Other survey findings:
- Trust in the federal government reached a new low: only 26% of state residents -- and 23% of likely voters -- say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right just about always or most of the time.
- Majorities of Californians (53%) and likely voters (56%) believe that the Republican and Democratic parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed.
- Californians are divided about the direction of the state, with 44% saying it's headed in the right direction and 46% believing the opposite.
- Majorities of state residents (54%) and likely voters (59%) favor redistricting [anti-Gerrymandering] reform that would require an independent commission of citizens, rather than the governor and state legislature, to adopt a new redistricting plan after each Census. However, there's little support for even modest changes to term limits laws. 72% of Californians and 73% of likely voters oppose letting members of the state legislature serve up to 14 years of total legislative service in either the assembly or senate.
The Public Policy Institute of CA Statewide Survey's findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,002 California adult residents interviewed between October 15 and October 22, 2006. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The sampling error for the total sample is +/- 2%. The sampling error for the 1076 likely voters is +/- 3%. The poll was conducted by Mark Baldassare, research director at PPIC, where he holds the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Public Policy. He is founder of the PPIC Statewide Survey, which he has directed since 1998.
PPIC is a private, nonprofit organization, established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett.