D-Day is Tomorrow!

The United States of America’s Election Day is finally here and it’s tomorrow. If you still haven’t voted, please make sure you get out early as lines are reported to be very long.

This is an unprecedented election unlike any other for various reasons. Each person’s reason differs one to the other. But, we all agree that this year’s election is different.

The difference can also be seen in the number of pre-election-day voting that has already taken place. Click here to read more.

Get out and vote or mail it in postmarked by November 3rd!

Trillion of things have been said; we’ve heard the Presidential debates and more, are aware of the unrests and chaos that stemmed from the racial divide, …

. . .

I finally received my ballot papers and mailed them back, over the weekend! Yippee!!

But, I am still “angst about the outcome for some weird, but understandable reasons. Weird in the sense that I have never ever being angst about Presidential elections. Why now?

Understandably in the sense that we know that these are critical times in the history of our nation, America. As such it is eagerly awaited and everything is being done to ensure that folks get out to vote.” (ThinkTalk, September 2020). I hope you have voted, or are getting ready to vote, and certainly will vote in person or by mail. Remember, D-Day is tomorrow!

Please join me in praying that all will go smoothly now, during, and after, and that peace will reign.

. . .

For your information, I had to call my County’s Election Office to ascertain why my information was missing from the Secretary of State’s website. The lady pleasantly explained to me that it was because I used a physical Post Office address. A real home address was also required. Since I supplied both, my ballot papers were mailed and received. I was glad that I took the initiative to call at the time that I did, which was in time before the deadline, rather than waiting endlessly for ballot papers that will never show up. And no-one had the courtesy to let me know!

Regarding the Bills and Propositions on the Ballot

There are 115 measures on the November 3 ballot, twelve (12) of which are for California.

Do you know what propositions are on the November 3rd ballot for your State? Find out by clicking your State here. It is an interactive U.S. map. Select the Year 2020-2029 from the Table, then select the Year 2020. You might need to scroll down to read the detailed information.

Final Note

By now, you already know who you’re voting for. If not, you have one more day to do your research.

Regarding the propositions, do not merely listen to the paid-ads, but research and critically think through every point; ask if it makes sense or not.

The semantics used on the Ballot regarding the Propositions can be confusing such that one tends to agree with it rather than voting it down. Remember that most of the bills were initiated and sponsored by those who wanted it passed. So, be diligent in your reading and understanding of each measure.

Remember that whatever you do, do it totally with your heart knowing that you have done your best in exercising your civic duty and rights.

I pray for God’s outcome in the Election tomorrow.

Californians and November 3rd

In less than a week, Californians have decisions to make in addition to deciding whether to join the nation next Tuesday, November 3rd, on who to choose as President for the next four years. It is a critical voting year. As such, unprecedented numbers of voters, more than ever before, have already trooped out to vote.

To-date, “more than 64 million Americans have already voted — and about half of them are in the dozen or so competitive states that will ultimately decide who wins the Electoral College.

The following are Californians’ State and Local Ballot Measures. ThinkTalk hopes that, in addition to your own due diligences, it helps you to be better informed.

  • Proposition 14, the Stem Cell Research Institute Bond – This initiative would issue $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was created to fund stem cell research.
  • Proposition 15, Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding – This initiative would tax certain commercial and industrial real property based on fair-market value—rather than, under current law, the purchase price with limited inflation. Exempts agricultural property and certain small businesses.
  • Proposition 16, Repeal of the Ban on Affirmative Action at Public Institutions – This amendment would repeal provisions in the state’s Constitution that prohibit the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. The California Constitution defines the state for these purposes to include the state, any city, county, public university system, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of, or within, the state. This measure would repeal these provisions. The measure would also make a statement of legislative findings in this regard.
  • Proposition 17, Restores Voting Rights for Persons on Parole – This initiative would amend the state Constitution to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while serving a prison term as soon as they complete their prison term—essentially extending the right to vote to those on state parole. Proposition 17 is a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that requires a simple majority (50% + 1) to pass.
  • Proposition 18, Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds – This amendment would give 17 year olds the right to vote beginning in the next general election cycle.
  • Proposition 19, Changes Certain Property Tax Rules for Certain Property Owners – This initiative would allow homeowners who are over 55, disabled, or wildfire/disaster victims to transfer their primary residence tax base to a new residence, change taxation of family property transfers, and establish a fire protection services fund.
  • Proposition 20, Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection – This initiative would impose restrictions on parole program for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term for their primary offense. Expands list of offenses that disqualify an inmate from this parole program.
  • Proposition 21, Expand Local Governments’ Authority to Enact Rent Control – This initiative would amend state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. It would allow rent increases on rent-controlled properties of up to 15% over three years from previous tenant’s rent above any increase allowed by local ordinance. It would exempt individuals who own no more than two homes from new rent-control policies.
  • Proposition 22, Changes Employment Classification Rules for App-Based Transportation and Delivery Drivers – This initiative would establish different criteria for determining whether app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers are “employees” or “independent contractors.” Independent contractors are not entitled to certain state-law protections afforded employees—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. Instead, companies with independent contractor drivers will be required to provide specified alternative benefits, including: minimum compensation and healthcare subsidies based on engaged driving time, vehicle insurance, safety training, and sexual harassment policies.
  • Proposition 23, Changes Dialysis Clinic Requirements – This initiative would require at least one licensed physician on site during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics. It would require clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to state and federal governments. It would prohibit clinics from discriminating against patients based on the source of payment for care.
  • Proposition 24, Amends Consumer Privacy Laws – This initiative would permit consumers to: (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—such as precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; union membership; private communications; and certain sexual orientation, health, and biometric information. Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with these laws. Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary. Triples maximum penalties for violations concerning consumers under age 16. Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency to enforce and implement consumer privacy laws, and impose administrative fines.
  • Proposition 25, Replaces Cash Bail with Risk Assessments – This ballot measure would prevent a 2018 law that replaces the money bail system with a system for pretrial release from jail based on a determination of public safety or flight risk, and limits pretrial detention for most misdemeanors from going into effect.

California Local Ballot Measures

References for these compilations are from:

  1. https://www.californiachoices.org/ballot-measures-2020-11
  2. https://www.stateside.com/election/2020-state-and-local-ballot-measures
  3. https://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php?search=Proposition+15&searchToken=2wofvgqmg70vx51zyd1mtm7fo
  4. https://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/

Thanks for reading; liking, and sharing. We hope that Americans, and particularly Californians, will get out to vote, or mail-in their votes on/before November 3rd.

What do we know about Proposition (Prop) 22?

You probably have seen the television ads on Proposition 22. But, you probably know nothing about it except what you’ve seen or heard the proponents and opponents of the Proposition tell through the paid-ads.

What should we really know about Proposition 22?

Everything that there’s to know.

How do we find out what we need to know about Proposition 22?

  1. By doing our own due diligences to be informed before November 3rd;
  2. By talking directly (aka interviewing) with those directly impacted by the Proposition; that is, the Uber and Lyft drivers, including the UberEats, Postmates, DoorDash, Lyft (and the other lesser-known companies’) drivers/couriers;
  3. And by voting accordingly based on our own conclusions.

What is Prop 22?

Prop. 22 addresses the “Self-employment for ride-hail and other app-drivers.” Read more about it here.

“Proposition 22, the App-Based Drivers-as-Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative, is on the ballot in California as an initiated state statute on November 3, 2020.”

. . .

There are both proponents and opponents for the Proposition.

“Through September 23, 2020, the Yes on Proposition 22 received $184.3 million, which is the most funds that an initiative campaign has ever received in California (not adjusted for inflation). Uber contributed $50 million, Lyft provided $48 million, DoorDash contrubuted $47 million, InstaCart provided $28 million, and Postmates provided $11 million.”

The amount contributed by these five companies pales in comparison to the amount of $10.7 million raised by the opposition; the campaign for No on Prop 22, which had the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, SEIU-UHW West, Service Employees International Union, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 770, and United Food & Commercial Workers Western States Issues PAC—labor unions or union-affiliated committee as the top-five donors.

This is what I know …

  • My belief is that Proposition 22 hurts the drivers/delivery/couriers. If you believe otherwise, I’ll like to hear your reasons.
  • The drivers/couriers (aka gig workers or independent contractors) use their vehicles, on the big companies’ platforms, for the business of transporting folks from one point to the other.
  • Some of these companies also engage in food and grocery deliveries.
  • That the pay is meagre and there’s no payment for mileage; neither is medical or dental benefits given.
  • The drivers/couriers’ use of their personal vehicles rack up horrendous miles on the car.
  • Insurance for the average vehicle covers only 9,000 miles per year. Some insurance companies might cover up to 12,000 miles per year.
  • But an Uber, Lyft driver racks those miles up in roughly two months or less resulting in four to five times the mileage coverage per year. This is heavy wear-and-tear on the owner’s vehicle which non of the companies care to compensate!
  • A few wise drivers might get a commercial insurance that allow for such heavy usage. But, the heavy wear-and-tear is uncoverable!

Five companies donated a whooping $47 million each towards fighting to defend Proposition 22.

If

  • • the companies deem their drivers/couriers as significant assets to their businesses, and
  • • recognize that human capital is the greatest asset of any business, and
  • • had each “donated” half of those monies to their drivers/couriers’ welfare,

there, would not have been any need for either AB 5 (the predecessor) nor Proposition 22 to repeal the former.

. . .

Other Opinions

I agree with the Los Angeles (LA) Times’ opinion ed that “these companies are predators that exploit workers and compete unfairly.” They found a loophole in the system and are riding on the backs (and vehicles) of their drivers/couriers.

According to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article, “Uber says fewer than 2% of its more than 200,000 drivers in California use its app for 40 hours or more a week; Lyft says 86% of its more than 300,000 drivers in the state drive fewer than 20 hours a week.”

This data, if true, sheds more light on the whole issue and questions why the companies are paying exorbitantly to defend the Proposition.

Will, or can, these companies fully-employ all?

Will, or can, these companies fully-employ all their drivers/couriers, who consist majorly of the “vulnerables” – my definition of those desperate for work – including minorities who presently hustle for them, is unrealizable.

The drivers/couriers, in my opinion, fall into three main categories; namely those who

  1. 1. driving/couriering has become their main job,
  2. 2. drive/deliver part-time to make extra income for a specific event, such as a vacation, to make a big purchase, etc.,and
  3. 3. drive just because they have the extra time and chose to fill it up being useful to themselves, the companies, and society.

The second and third categories above have their main jobs and are only supplementing.

Our concerns therefore should focus on the first category; that is, those who drive/deliver as their main job. These are folks who work at least thirty (30+) hours per week. Most of these folks put in tons of hours per week. Labor laws allow them to work a maximum of 14 hours per day, with a six (6) hour break thereafter before returning to work. These long hours is comparable to the long hours worked medical and investment boutiques staff. But, these workers do not earn anything comparable to the other professions!

Did I hear someone ask, “but they don’t have the same degree?” Not true, the majority of these drivers/couriers are degreed and unemployed but are being paid minimum wages. The only folks making the money are the companies.

Should the opponents of Proposition 22 win, categories two and three above might not even qualify to be employed and thus be automatically eliminated. Except, of course, they accept the late and/or weekend hours that will allow the two categories to drive/deliver after their main jobs.

Which takes me to the second concern that the companies might force the drivers/couriers to work undesirable hours thereby taking away the independence of the drivers/couriers.

These companies also do not fully pay their drivers/couriers the tips earned, they often delay the payment of those tips, and also restrict/cap the amount and/or percentages of allowable tips. For example customers who desire to pay their drivers/couriers over 18% are incapable of doing so because the companies’ apps have been restricted. I am unaware of any Labor Laws in support of capping tips. Please comment if you are aware of any such law(s).

In Conclusion

Californians, on November 3rd, please think before you vote on Proposition 22. It is more than losing the alternative to taxis, and definitely more than taking “self-employment” away from the people. It is more about making the “Big Greedy Brothers” accountable and exercising fair employment to the human capital that drives their industry.

My two cents. Thanks for reading and sharing. Open to comments and constructive opinions.