Who's Trying to Stop Prop 15?

Meet some of the billionaire Republicans and greedy corporations that are spending millions to try and defeat Prop 15:
Blackstone

Blackstone

$5,000,000

Blackstone, the enormous hedge fund & private equity group, is under constant scrutiny for scandalous investments. After the 2008 financial crisis, Blackstone expanded its commercial landlord business by buying up foreclosed homes, driving up rents and refusing to do maintenance. It has financed the burning of the Amazon rainforest. Blackstone owns Motel 6, and had to settle lawsuits in 2018 & 2019 for turning their customers over to ICE. UN officials have criticized Blackstone's use of "aggressive" evictions fueling the housing and homelessness crises. Blackstone's founder & CEO is a major Trump donor and serves as his policy advisor. They donated $5 million dollars to the Business Roundtable, which in turn has spent nearly $9 million fighting Prop 15.

CalTax

CalTax

$839,000

This research and advocacy association seems to have a penchant for anti-working class ballot measures. From donating to No on Prop 21 (rent control) to supporting Prop 22 (Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash’s million-dollar attempt to prevent gig workers from unionizing and avoid paying these workers a basic minimum wage, benefits, sick pay, and unemployment insurance), this group knows who it is advocating for. Our guess? The Fortune 500 companies that partially fund them.

Chevron

Chevron

$500,000

Chevron gave a half million dollars this year to the Business Roundtable, which has made stopping Prop 15 its top priority. Why? We’re guessing it has to do with Chevron getting a $100 million/year tax break from the loophole Prop 15 closes. Chevron is notorious for running Richmond as a company town for its refinery for 100+ years, dodging taxes and dumping pollution on the working class, majority POC city & their own workers with impunity. Paying up now would only begin to undue the damage they’ve done locally, let alone globally.

Next Era Energy

Next Era Energy

$495,000

Next Era Energy is a $45 billion company that owns public utility companies, pipelines, power lines, and power plants around the country. They tout their renewable energy holdings to greenwash their continued investment in natural gas and fossil fuels. Globally, one of the biggest hurdles to decarbonization is the extensive subsidies and tax breaks fossil fuel companies have bought themselves, artificially lowering the price of dirty energy. Closing their tax loopholes brings us closer to a sustainable future.

New Majority

The Golf Industry

$250,455

Once a game made possible by grazing and burrowing animals in the Scottish countryside, the now multi-billion dollar golf industry has shaped landscapes worldwide leading to habitat loss and at times lethal runoff into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes. The construction of golf courses often involves deforestation and the displacement of local communities. And maintaining the pristine look of televised golf courses is usually achieved through large-scale use of chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides, at times lethal to local wildlife and carcinogenic to the humans who work or live near them. It has been estimated an 18-hole golf course uses enough water daily to meet the daily needs of 2,000 families or 15,000 Americans, oftentimes in places like Southern California where water is already a scarce resource. Instead of paying for environmental remediation or even paying their fair share of taxes, golf clubs across our arid state have bended together to protect their tax loopholes. Golfers Against Good Schools Unite!

Vornado Realty Trust

Vornado Realty Trust

$250,000

Vornado Realty Trust is an office & retail mega-landlord in Manhattan. Their primary interest in California seems to be the 555 California St tower in San Francisco, which they co-own 70/30 with Donald Trump. The building houses an empty office leased to the Qatar Investment Corp, widely believed to be a nominally-legal way for the Qatari government to make personal payments to Trump. As owners of one of the largest and most expensive buildings in a famously expensive city, Vornado and Trump will pay far more to support California's schools, roads & firefighters if Prop 15 passes.

Terranea Resort

Terranea Resort

$250,000

This luxury beach resort in Pallas Verdes CA teamed up with the nearby Trump Golf club to stop a ballot measure proposed by their own workers. Unite HERE, the hotel workers union, put a measure on the ballot in 2019 requiring hotels to provide their workers with a panic button to summon help if they're sexually assaulted at work, and to guarantee them a minimum living wage. Terranea spent $1 million fighting the panic button measure - and won.

Sare Regis

Sares Regis Real Estate

$112,4562

The Sares Regis real estate empire has been strategically developing in the Bay Area to build quite a fortune. They utilized a small piece of that fortune recently to donate $112,452 against investing in education with Prop 15. Their foundation gives to the likes of the Sheriff’s Activity League for San Mateo County, Sheriff’s Training and Recreation (STAR) Camp, San Mateo, as well as some community programs. That would be the same San Mateo Sheriff that routinely evades even going to court over their murders of Black residents.

Clint Reilly

Clint Reilly

$100,000

Mr. Reilly is quick to tell you about his very humble beginnings, where he went to private high school and college. His humble upbringing allowed him to start a business on the San Francisco Waterfront. In 1994 the LA times wrote of him, “The 47-year-old son of a Bay Area milkman wears Italian suits, drives a lipstick-red Jaguar and lives just down the street from Robin Williams in a three-story Seacliff home that looks out at the Golden Gate Bridge”. An SFGate article from 1999 shows a net worth of over 10 million. This champion shows that he is passionate, to the tune of almost double what the average Californian makes a year, about the noble cause of preventing a quality public education system for California’s children.

New Majority

New Majority PAC

$100,000

New Majority is California's largest Republican PAC. Per their website, their members donate tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates around the state & to help Republicans hold on to Congress nationwide. The corporate property tax loopholes Prop 15 seeks to close are one of the most enduring victories of the otherwise-marginal California Republican Party.

Jeffrey Palmer

Jeffrey Palmer

$66,000

Jeffrey Palmer is a real estate investor/developer and is a partner at PMI properties which that has investments in “over $500 million in office, shopping center, industry and apartment properties” located in Los Angeles County and San Francisco. The spaces that PMI operates are large, commercial spaces that would be (finally) taxed fairly if Prop 15 passes, which might explain why 500 million dollar Jeff is so opposed to Prop 15. He also credits his company with “reviv[ing] the struggling SOMA district” in San Francisco by leasing out office space to companies like Twitter and Eventbrite. We didn’t need gentrifying landlords to “save” San Francisco, but Jeff could do us a solid by paying his taxes and reviving our struggling public schools and services!

GTL

GTL, Inc

$50,000

A big player on the $1.2 billion dollar prison telecom market, this company has made a pretty penny off mass incarceration across almost 2,300 facilities. As jails have suspended visitations due to COVID-19, Global Tel Link (GTL) is said to have come up with lucrative schemes to offer “free phonecalls” while pressuring inmates to deposit more money into their platform to access these "free" phonecalls. The company is also expected to generate $8.8 million through a similar “free tablets” program, which distributes tablets to inmates while charging them for each email sent. But there's more! The company also sells intelligence services to prison facilities, gathering data from phonecalls and using analytical software to, in their own words, “transform raw data from any structured source into actionable intelligence that can be used to solve crimes that have occurred or to reduce the potential for future crime.”.

Dutton Ranch

Dutton Ranch

$10,236

Dutton Ranch owns and leases a combined 1,300 acres in Sonoma County. That much land in such a place goes for somewhere between $91 million and $195 million. Why might Dutton Ranch would spend $10,236 against Prop 15? Mr. Dutton is President of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, and he makes it clear they will "develop relationships with public officials at all levels of government and with pro-business leaders in the community so that we can have conversation, find common ground." Remember friends that "pro-business" always seems to mean "give the rich more more more and give the working class less less less." Mr. Dutton is no stranger to haranguing voters to give him a tax break. In 2018, he wrote how burdensome an additional $19.53 for every $100,000 of assessed property value in Sonoma County would be in order to, "build housing that serves and is affordable to extremely low, very low and low-income households.” He writes, "As much as we would like to support the intent of the Housing Bond, the financial burden [of 0.0195% -ed] is too great to our members." We will not be taking advice from a guy who thinks millionaires can’t be asked to forego a fancy bottle of wine each year so no one goes homeless in their own community.

Tooley Oil

Tooley Oil Company

$10,000

If you venture to Tooley Oil’s website, you’ll be whisked away to a nostalgic image of America’s glory days. Muscle cars, cheap gasoline, well-funded public schools that paid teachers a living wage, the open road, those sorts of things. The company has an annual revenue of about $60 million, mostly from branding with Shell Oil and Circle K. The starting pay for their workers in the Sacramento area is about $14 per hour, barely a living wage in the city. It is no surprise that the big wigs at Tooley’s don’t care about education funding, since they can send their kids to private schools. But why spend $10,000 against funding public schools? We have 2 guesses: either A) They would let public education suffer rather than pay a pittance more in taxes or B) Their nostalgia trip has led them to believe they really are back in the 1950s, and $14 an hour is more than enough to send little Billy to a private school.

YES on Prop 15

Why does it matter who pays for anti-Prop 15 ads?

Large corporations and billionaires, including Trump cronies and Republicans, are all pitching in to influence this race from all across the country, while grassroots community groups and labor unions fight a David-and Goliath battle against their smears. They’ve been flooding the airwaves and web with ads, stuffing our mailboxes with mailers, and using telemarketers and text bankers to bother us one by one in an attempt to keep their corporate tax loopholes untouched.

As socialists, we believe society should be run democratically and for the benefit of people, not profit. No one should face oppression, state violence, or go without basic necessities like housing, healthcare, education, and a good job.

But the mega-rich don’t agree. They are engaged in a long-running, well-funded, and ruthless campaign to take ever more for themselves and leave crumbs to the rest of us. They don’t want to pay taxes, pay the workers that made them rich, or pay for the damage their profit-obsessed companies do to the world.

To increase their profits, corporations and the mega-rich must wage war on working people. That is why they:
Buy elections at every level of the government through unlimited donations to PACs,
Influence policy and media by funding think tanks and foundations to advance their agenda,
Fight tooth-and-nail against anything that would transfer resources, power, and security to working people, like labor protections, the expansion of the social safety net, and big reforms like Medicare for All, universal rent control, and universal free college tuition.

This is not just about Prop 15. Big donors pool their money and spend it on thousands of candidates ballot measures across the country, at every level of government. This is how they block legislation that favors working people, while passing policies that help the rich--like tax cuts, corporate giveaways, anti-union legislation, and harmful deregulation. This is enabled by the Citizens United decision that permits unlimited political spending under the bizarre logic that money is “free speech.” If money is speech, we wanted to know who’s speaking.

We have the resources to fix the many serious problems we face, but we won’t fix them by allowing corporations to weasel out of paying taxes, or by ignoring the way massive spending by the megarich influences our elections.


What is Prop 15? How should I vote on Prop 15?

Proposition 15 - The Schools and Communities First Act is a ballot initiative that would tax wealthy corporations like Disney and reclaim approximately $12 billion dollars a year for working class communities. As it currently stands, wealthy corporations in California pay property taxes based not on the market value of their properties, but rather on the price they paid to purchase it originally, meaning that many corporations are paying property taxes that are over 50 years out of date. By avoiding paying the full value of their properties, these corporations have robbed our state and communities of tens of billions of dollars that should have been invested into resources for our schools and communities. By closing this tax loophole and charging wealthy owners of commercial properties with assessed value over $3 million to pay taxes based on market value rather than purchase price, Prop 15 will reclaim $10-12 billion annually and allocate those funds to K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local public services such as parks, libraries, homeless services, health clinics, and public transit.

The economic disaster triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic combined with renewed calls for racial justice makes voting Yes on Prop 15 an urgent matter. Prop 15 will direct much needed resources to working-class communities of color that for too long have been underserved and underfunded. The capitalist class continues to hoard absurd levels of profit while California schools, services and the community suffer, but we can begin to put a stop to that with a Yes on Prop 15. Now is the time to tax the rich to fund our schools and services. Vote Yes on Proposition 15!


Who supports Prop 15?

Proposition 15 is supported by nurses, teachers, parents, small business owners, homeowners and renters, and local elected officials managing cash-strapped budgets. From the California Federation of Teachers to the California Nurses Association, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice to Senior and Disability Action and California’s ACLU, Yes on Prop 15 brings together a rich diversity of Californians dedicated to the well-being of their communities.

Socialists organizing in Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) are working hand-in-hand with labor unions to win Prop 15. This coalitional effort, Labor for Prop 15, is primarily led by UAW 2865, the union that represents Tutors, Readers, Graduate Student Instructors and Teaching Assistants at the University of California. Other local unions involved in Labor for Prop 15 involve UPTE-CWA, UAW Local 5810, UTLA, OEA, and SEIU Local 1021. Together, Labor for Prop 15 will be hosting phonebanks for fifteen consecutive days as we approach election day. Sign up for 15 for 15 here.

Who opposes Prop 15?

Wealthy real-estate developers, fossil fuel companies, country clubs and golf clubs are spending millions of dollars to make sure that their tax loopholes are safe. Corporations like Chevron, Blackstone, and Paramount Group, Inc. are donating to No on Prop 15, hoping that Californians do not come for their coffers to fund much needed public services like schools and libraries.

Who made this website? How can I learn more about DSA and get involved in DSA for Prop 15?

This website was made by members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). DSA is a member-run socialist organization in the United States. We believe that working people should run both the economy and society democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. This website was created solely by volunteers in our Californian DSA chapters as a contribution to the inspiring attempt by workers and community members to pass legislation that would allow for the biggest reclamation of wealth for working class Californians in decades.

We want a world run for the benefit of people, not profit. We believe in real democracy, which means ordinary working people having democratic control over the economy and their own lives. We pick big fights that will benefit working people, like Medicare for All and the battle for real rent control; we support strong, democratic labor unions; and we back democratic socialist political candidates like Jovanka Beckles and Jackie Fielder. And we have fun doing it!

Want to check us out? Join us for a phonebank to talk to your neighbors about building power and fighting corporate politics! Find a California chapter near you and follow them on Facebook or Twitter to learn about events and actions!

Where did you get this information?

It’s all public record. We used the California Secretary of State’s campaign finance Power Search site to get a full list of No on 15 donors, and for the big PACs being used as middlemen to shuffle money into No on 15, we looked up their donor lists too.

When is the election? How do I vote YES on Prop 15?

Election Day is November 3rd, 2020. Every registered voter in California will receive a ballot in the mail starting October 5th, and you can register to vote until October 19th. You can mail your ballot (no postage required), drop it at any secure ballot drop in your area, or drop it at any polling place on election day. Vote early to make sure your vote is counted before election day!

To find your polling location and nearest drop box, click here.




Contact Us

Please contact info@eastbaydsa.org with any questions you may have about this website.



Fed Up?

Corporations and billionaires are well organized and already waging class war on working people. Right now, wealthy donors like those featured on this site are setting the terms for what our society can look like. If ordinary working people come together to join in a movement, we can fight back and win! Only together can we build a society that works for the many, not the few. Join us.

Get involved in our fight to tax the rich and fund schools and communities, donate to our effort, and join DSA the largest socialist organization in the United States.

YES on Prop 15